No Minister

Class war

Readers and fellow authors on this site usually scoff when I mention social class, because for most people “class” is what you see on Downtown Abbey, stuff that communist union leaders used to say back when there were such things, or a vague notion of “working class” or “middle class” as matters of personal identity.

The reality is very different: in modern society, class is a matter of who owns the means of production and who hires their labour to those owners, something that hasn’t changed in a couple of centuries now regardless of how much people scoff at the idea our society is class-based.

A fine description of actual class warfare is in the Guardian today: Donald Trump’s four-step plan to reopen the US economy – and why it will be lethal

The article is, as promised, about how Trump’s campaign to re-open the US economy will kill people, but it lists two related actions as part of that campaign that show class warfare happening live.

First:

Remove income support, so people have no choice but to return to work.Trump’s labor department has decided that furloughed employees “must accept” an employer’s offer to return to work and therefore forfeit unemployment benefits, regardless of Covid-19.

Second:

Shield businesses against lawsuits for spreading the infection.Trump is pushing to give businesses that reopen a “liability shield” against legal action by workers or customers who get infected by the virus. 

This week, he announced he would use the Defense Production Act to force meat-processing plants to remain open, despite high rates of Covid-19 infections and deaths among meatpackers.

Marx, the guy who’s supposedly so irrelevant now, would have immediately recognised the relationship between those two things for what it is: class warfare.  People in modern society, with a supposedly so much more advanced understanding of economics, not so much.

Written by Psycho Milt

May 3, 2020 at 8:10 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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