David Rovics: Welcome to the Working Class

Dandelion Salad

3.29.11 Working Class

Image by iampeas via Flickr

David Rovics on Jul 10, 2013

An update on Joe Hill’s “Mr. Block,” conceptually at least. The term “middle class” is confusing enough, but add to that completely amorphous notions like “lower middle class” and “upper middle class,” and what you get is nothing less than capitalist propaganda, designed to induce amnesia. They want half the population to forget what they really are — members of the working class. It’s just divide and conquer, plain and simple. Fact is, the “middle class” is a fantasy that mainly exists on TV, and for the top 10% or so of society.

Lyrics:

The average annual income of the richest one percent is about seven hundred grand
The average annual income of the poorest one percent is a couple Food Stamps and a pile of sand
Smack-dab in the middle, 350 thousand, but that’s actually the top four percent
Most everybody else, say, in the bottom eighty, is struggling to pay their mortgage or their rent
You who say you’re in the middle, I wonder what you mean? In the middle of what and what?
I’d say you’re probably full of something that hopefully will soon be coming out of your butt
I could join you in your fantasy, but I think I’ll have to pass
And just say welcome to the working class

If you’re wondering how you might send your kids to college, if your savings is smaller than your debt
If your main mode of transport is an auto or a pickup, not a helicopter or a private jet
If you drive yourself to the supermarket, you know where to find the milk upon the shelf
If you bring the groceries home and then you cook the food all by yourself
If your idea of a night out is ordering a pizza and watching a DVD
If your idea of social mobility is the fact that you have broadband and a high-definition TV
You can try to convince me that you’re in the bourgeoisie or you could just stop smoking that grass
Welcome to the working class

If half your income’s spent on taxes, no second home on a tropic isle
If flying in economy and renting a car is your notion of vacationing in style
If you’ve never seen the world’s Seven Wonders and you think you probably never will
Because you only get two weeks holiday each year and you just don’t have the time to kill
If you think because you’re employed and have a roof over your heads
That you’re so very privileged because your kids sleep in separate beds
But you can’t afford the rest home for your parents and it’s you whose gotta wipe their asses
Well then welcome to the working class

see

It’s Your Sole Decision, President Obama by Ralph Nader + Bernie Sanders: The Minimum Wage

Ralph Nader: A Society That Has More Justice Is A Society That Needs Less Charity

Michael Hudson: What is Debt Deflation?

Occupied Social Centers in Spain + Cooperatives, Another Mode of Production

Richard Wolff: Obama Preaches Stimulus to Europe and Practices Austerity at Home

see also

Class Today, Part One

Class Today, Part Two

The Great British Class Survey: Chopping Up the Working Class

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20 thoughts on “David Rovics: Welcome to the Working Class

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  6. I have no problem being defined as working class although from what I know working with the working class I find that I am not what the working class aspirations have nor do I fin the ideology of what I think or what they think is what I am about, maybe if you require examples of what I mean I can go further in to this, surely the top 10 per cent have to work? that is they have to work on their next ponzi scheme on how to maintain power and so on, is this work? if so are they working class?

    • Anyone who actually works, is a member of the “working class.” Whether one’s work is either honorable or ethical is another question altogether. If you work for some corporate industrial doom machine, you’re still “working class” but what are you participating in? totalitarian ecocide. Nice work, if you can get it.

      Surely the real issues are worker choice through participatory stake-holding, accountable ownership and sustainable livelihood ~ honest effort for a proportionately reasonable return. The problem in society is the self-aggrandizing greedy bastards. Stop feeding their egos!

      Class is a socially engineered trap in my estimation. Why permit yourself to be defined in terms of someone else’s historically derivative characterization of reality? If you are a capable human being and moderately free enough to make choices, doesn’t it dignify people more when we respect their integrity, resourcefulness, due diligence and creativity?

      • Thank you for your guidance, can you advise me as whether you feel that nationalization is OK? the definition here that I mean as a individual should I see myself as living on a planetary system and identifying with some aspect of the the Universe in terms of scale, space and so on? or identify with national border protection? and we should support our government in defense spending or attack spending? put in this way should one avoid taxes that can be used for military? as in my case I am against world armament and this position is taken as I was bombed in London in WW2, and doodlebugged in East Grinstead,and was then evacuated to Somerset and bombs and planes were not a uncommon sight eventually deposited in Southern Wales, the worst part of this war was the aftermath of destroyed psyche of people such as my parents.
        By my being egotistical are defining me as being born dy divine proxy as a superior being? the other aspect is any member of the human race superior as a result of the mind having developed to a greater degree of insight? taking in account this individual may make no claims as such nor be rewarded for any known accomplishment here on Earth and may have no comprehension of any reward in any other dimension, thanks don wreford.

        • I’m interested in lifelong learning Don. You’re obviously a bit older than me, as I was born after the WW2. I’m firmly convinced that the old school simply doesn’t appreciate the incredible educational resource that is a single life lived as best as that person is able, given the social constraints, the cultural cues and vicissitudes the world throws at us.

          I view this “notional” nation idea as yet another potential trap, like class; it is often extremely predatory and gratuitous so far as the individual is concerned, a bit like a medieval succubus/incubus stealing the vitality of souls. What a waste this really is! I mean, yes, of course, genuine decency, honour and integrity are what constitute the backbone of any society, but to expect people to conform to some prescriptive type of morality that simply supports the crimes of elitist and corrupt “infidels” is criminal. It renders otherwise potential people of conscience as merely dumb patriots and peddlers of weapons as you point out; & well, in my book that is shameful and deeply stupid.

          I bank with the Cooperative here in the UK only because it has an ethical policy that does not condone those type of investments.

          As for the superior man business, I think it’s difficult to get the post-colonial balance right. I don’t subscribe to any de facto sense that because some person has this or that education, or is privileged or whatever, that they are in any way superior. I really believe it is this idea of education as a process of lifelong learning that separates the sheep from the goats. If such education leads a person to gravitate toward the metaphysics of initiation, than I think we are beginning to get somewhere in terms of your cosmic scaling of priorities.

        • David thank you for your response, I thought you were baiting me, when you get back?.
          I have checked out your background a bit and you are of some substance I see, I would like to go into the idea of the superior man idea, what comes to mind is a individual who has insight to the human dilemma as opposed to the individual who’s brain and mind has not clicked in, and is unable to grasp certain ideas that are enlightened in terms of application and mindfulness, I suggest a person who has superior intellect in no way would declare this as it would be sheer vanity to do so and serve no purpose, in particular would divert attention from the possible education of someone who will become polarized in becoming difficult and get side tracked, serving no greater cause than to create hostility.
          I had a nerve jerk on your comment of the Cooperative Society, my Father who worked for the London Coop all his life and become branch manager of Edmonton, N18, and Harringey, N4, you have in fact opened up pandoras box, as this society being socialist and a noble cause had influenced my ideas extensively on the level of a subconscious level,looking at the roots of this society I believe instigated by what I would call a altruistic calling established I believe in Wales, as I am reminded by the site operator I may be banned or chastised for going off the point, my defense is that all stuff is interconnected, and was pleased to hear from you.

        • Thanks.

          The topic here is class, and frankly I see education intimately responsible for and responsive to this notion. It’s a contentious and complex minefield, but not intractable.

          There are new types of leadership being advocated that we need to scrutinize carefully. Some of it’s good but I’m always wary. The present trend of big (oil) money seems to be land-grabbing. So the world is rapidly becoming a neo-colonial corporate fiefdom (for biofuels?) notwithstanding the already substantial land & property holdings of both Crown and Vatican.

          The Crown (& “Commonwealth”) is its own hybrid religious brand, but I think when the Vatican is reduced, exposed & secularized, the British monarchy will have to transform itself. Into exactly what though, is a good question. The reflex of entitlement is deeply ingrained.

    • Actually the income rage is quite skewed with the top .01% being extremely wealthy and the rest having to work to provide a home and food for their families. We are also talking about the US, not European or other countries in the world. Their statistics for income inequality will vary.

      See the chart and description: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affluence_in_the_United_States#Extreme_affluence

      See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_income_in_the_United_States#Income_distribution

      The top 10% are still working people; they are not in control of the rest of us like the top .01%.

      Michael Parenti, Bernie Sanders, and others have written and/or spoken on this topic.

      See also: https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/tag/inequality-on-dandelion-salad/

      The best explanation on why inequality is not a good thing is this video interview:

      https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2010/07/04/richard-wilkinson-kate-pickett-why-greater-equality-makes-societies-stronger/

      • I agree with the moral principle Lo, but complete equality is not terribly realistic or practical; it is an ideological paradigm not commensurate with the reality of working contexts.

        I am more in favour of transparent reciprocal proportionality, each according to their ability, capablity and capacity.

        (PS where did the Malala at the UN comment go?)

        • But the inequality that exists today is very extreme. That is my point. In the US, over 47 and a half million people receive Food Stamps! That is outrageous and obscene.

          I deleted the comment with the link to the video. It’s possibly propaganda.

        • Of course it’s obscene, but a world that is an ideological flat-earth can’t work! A participatory, representative society will allow both lesser and greater lights to shine. The issue for us all is how to ensure restraint through grown-up regulatory measures that are both practical and fair. Even in the US, requisite needs will vary from state to state, community to community.

          Sure the fat cats are repulsive parasites, but how do we empower their helpless dependents? Not by preaching equality. Social justice begins with recognizing difference, not my imposing artificial uniformity. That is precisely where the old soviet style communist tyranny has failed so abysmally. It leads to sterile monoculture and dreadful neglect.

          The crucial difference between corporate “diversity” and an ecosystemic approach to self-management, is that the latter implies bio-diversity. Nature becomes our true teacher and our creative resource, not some man-made ideology.

          As for the propaganda, yes it was a very good-hair-day for Ban Ki- moon and his cronies, but did you actually hear all of Malala’s 17 minute address, to her actual words? This girl was shot in the head by an ignorant young “talib” imbecile, just because she demanded education for girls.

      • I suggest the higher income levels consortium have a entrenched position that has been consolidated over some period of time,taking in account the “Tavistock Institute of Human Relations” in London has been controlled by people like Rockefeller who have injected big time money to secure a interest in the control of the masses mind since I believe 1947, who having spread the message to most parts of the developed world such as The Rand Corporation, these are all think tanks, also the British politicians are recruited from places such as Cambridge, and the old establish rich, who enforce the historical doctrine and definition of self, the police such as MI5/6, the so called intelligencia of police politics are the lap dog of the rich paid by the lower classes, which have poor quality service from this organization.
        What ever your aspiration in overthrowing this dominant group is doubtful, in the immediate or future, the definition of this group is to stay in power however this takes, such as murder, planned uprisings to destroy democracy, this is a ruthless enterprise that has no bounds nor morality, conversely those who oppose this group have no plan that is concise as to what it requires, as outcome.

        • Not sure where you received the idea that I, or the blog, Dandelion Salad, or any of the particular writers here, are planning to overthrow anything. That you are mistaken.

          Keep to the topic of this blog post, please. It is not “who controls the world?” There are other blog posts that go into that issue.

  7. The working class are dish washers, cleaners and so on, the middle class are those with a training such as plumbers, they were working class a few years back now they have gone in to the middle class also mental or people not so much as hands on as trades, people such as accountants are middle class, prostitutes are middle class unless they are in the third world, the upper class as royals, usually well connected and also people like the Rothschilds are upper class, but they are also can be pigs as the royals are, the upper class are some of the most stupid, but also the lower class can be stupid as a result of malnutrition, outsiders include criminals, artists, priests, these are general definitions that are open to discussion.
    Their is some merit in the reduction of all to one class, and the ruling class.

    • That’s the propaganda we have been given by the corporate media.

      If you have to work for a living, you are part of the working class.

      I highly suggest watching the video and/or reading the lyrics.

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