Class and the Left

As a young man I was a member of the Socialist Workers’ Party – until, that was, I gained my senses and left. In Southend, Essex, where I was at college and starting to get politically active, it was the only organisation taking to the streets nearly every week, and certainly were a notable presence campaigning against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I remember thinking how much I hated the navalgazing, spending weeknights listening to the same old lines on General Pincohet or the Poll Tax riots with a room full of other people who all knew the story, but felt they had to do something under the swappie banner they’d erected upstairs in The Railway Pub function room.

Among us common lot we’d do down on the Middle Class whenever we could – no matter our own backgrounds we knew our enemy, it was all those people not suffering, not cleaning the streets, not emptying the bins. We were decidedly bitter about the petit-bourgeoisie – we had an image in our heads of them we didn’t like, and we found the right company to share that in.

But come conference time, in London, among the Alex Callinicos’ and the other aristos bankrolling the newspaper production, we’d drop the Middle Class hatred like it was hot. Instead we did the dirty on the bourgeoisie proper; we sided with the squeezed middle before there was even such thing as a squeezed middle, it was the owners of the means of production – a significantly smaller percentage of people – that were our bugbear then.

The reason, implictly, being was that to shun the Middle Class at a Swappie conference is like Turkey’s voting for Christmas or noted Nazi Jews acting as architects for the final solution. For every wire-haired, gravel-voiced trade unionist in the room, there were ten double-barrelled silver spoons from Plumshire.

But while my old comrades carried on disavowing the Middle Classes, I learnt to embrace them, and actually see this embrace as being crucial to the eventual dissolution of the class system in general.

I’ve grown to the idea that inter-class relations within a state socialist system will actually spur the end of the class system far quicker than if Trotskyite groups, behind closed doors, denied their own Middle Class roots and/or embarked on class hatred themselves.

As a socialist, I think it is important to have a strong state, and a strong head of state to keep the Prime Minister, and the First Ministers in the devolved governments, under constant check. It will be of no surprise then to find that I am excited that our future King, Prince William (whose RAF salary is to the tune of £37,170), has decided to marry well outside his class – the lovely Catherine Elizabeth Middleton.

It might seem strange to hear, but the dreadful class system in this country, which has single-handedly ruined true social mobility (and with it the lives of many Working Class families), might be dealt its strongest blow to date by the marriage of William and Kate – for which the Left today ought to be truly grateful.

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  1. Conrad Barwa
    April 1, 2011 at 2:05 am | #1

    As a young man I was a member of the Socialist Workers’ Party – until, that was, I gained my senses and left.

    You joined that lot?! Come on be serious, you never really regained your senses did you :D

  2. April 1, 2011 at 2:20 am | #3

    April Fool yeah?

  3. April 1, 2011 at 2:29 am | #5

    hahaha

  4. Dunc
    April 1, 2011 at 10:42 am | #7

    Bit obvious… ;)

  5. Packers
    April 1, 2011 at 10:44 am | #9

    Am liking your strategy

  6. April 1, 2011 at 12:23 pm | #11

    Erm…Scary thing is that I did believe the post…. well first couple of paragraphs or so. Oh dear. I did truly think that Carl had been whacked on his head at DavidAllenGreen’s party and fallen into some deep concussion that had totally impacted on his political consciousness or more boringly this is just Carl..well being, Carl and that he has developed some strange views (could also be connected to the concussion). And then it occurred to me……maybe the young upstart is pulling ya chain and this is an April Fool… But it was a good gotcha as I did initially erm believe it.

    Oh, and must have been thoroughly disorientated as you didn’t answer my text on Saturday after I answered yours nor asked after my health after having protesters fall on me due to cops surging forward (long story). Very remiss comrade ;)

    • April 1, 2011 at 1:06 pm | #12

      haha hey I’m nothing if not consistent. I’m glad I got you though.

      Actually come Sunday I could be commissioned to have some of my strange opinions aired in briefing – that is if Simon my third-campist advocate keeps his word.

      Saturday was peculiar, but Anna assured me you were ok, but apologies for not texting back, I felt like I’d spent most of the day trying, and failing, to organise a lefty bloggy piss up, which apparently – if you’re me – is harder to do than you’d think. We settled on a piss up with an ex-Thatcherite lawyer. Close enough.

      Hows your back?

  7. April 1, 2011 at 1:21 pm | #13

    “Third campist” that’ll cheer Simon up. Yes, Briefing would love you!!

    My back…tis still sore along with shoulder blade but thank goodness for the invention of painkillers. I was just unlucky but luckier than some on Saturday. Though with me it never rains but pours as something unbelievably crap has cropped up which I will tell you about at some point. Pissed off I most certainly am at the moment.

  8. tim f
    April 1, 2011 at 11:40 pm | #15

    That picture is truly revolting. Why did you have to make it so big?

    • April 2, 2011 at 1:10 am | #16

      haha don’t you like their teeth?

      • tim f
        April 3, 2011 at 5:30 pm | #17

        I can’t even place what it is that produces such a visceral reaction in me, and I don’t want to look at the picture again in order to try and work it out. Certainly the roles they’re being asked to play to send out reassuring messages about fulfilling gender expectations are disgusting, and there’s probably some reverse snobbery on my part too, but there’s something else that really elevates how horrible a photo it is. Maybe it’s the forced intimacy for mass public consumption in a family that epitomises cold, stiff upper-lip cordial relations.

        It is just about possible I am reading too much into it.

  1. April 1, 2011 at 2:15 am | #1

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