Sunday, November 14, 2010

classaliciousness, my political post for this week

I'm going to avoid "classism" from now on. That's just the word folks with academic pretensions use for "snobbery".


The Mississippi Pardons. When you think the US (in)justice system can't get worse....

The Cosmopolitan ‘Meritocracy’ and Class Stratification of Black Nationality. It's not about the rage of neoliberal antiracists, but it explains it:
This is a social layer that is insecure in its class position. It lacks the confidence exhibited by the bourgeoisie, even by the nouveau riche bourgeoisie. The propertied rulers—comprising only hundreds of families, not thousands—are a confident class (except during prerevolutionary crises or times of a rapidly accelerating breakdown of the capitalist order). Not only do they own, control, and hold the debt in perpetuity on the commanding heights of industry, banking, land, and trade. They also dominate the state and all aspects of social and political life, and finance the production of culture and the arts, including its “cutting edges.”

The meritocracy, to the contrary, is not confident. Dependent on cadging from the capitalists a portion of the wealth created by the exploited producers, these privileged aspirants to bourgeois affluence—a lifestyle they are convinced “society” owes them—nonetheless fear at some point being pushed back toward the conditions of the working classes. On the one hand, due to their very size as a stratum of society—it’s millions, if not tens of millions in the United States today—they recognize that the rulers find them useful to bolster illusions in the supposedly limitless “careers open to talent” under capitalism. At the same time, and despite their shameless self-promotion, many of them also sense that since they serve no essential economic or political functions in the production and reproduction of surplus value, they live at the forbearance of the bourgeoisie. In the end, large numbers of them are expendable, especially at times of deepening social crisis.