Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The reason I scare some folks

After much self observation I've decided that possibly the main reason some of my writing and opinions scare people is not because they're anti-bourgeois but because they ignore bourgeois society altogether. My thinking comes from the social strata before the bourgeois and, strangely enough, from that which is so rich it hates the bourgeoisie as well. I never experienced typical bourgeois values. I didn't live in a suburb in a tract house, with piano lessons after school and a soccer mom helping me along. My life never resembled that, and the values I grew up with are foreign to it as well. Ok, I had piano lessons for a few months. But, I was basically shunned in the Cub Scouts because my family didn't have that much money, so there. Now I want a pony. Just kidding. But my hatred of large parts of society doesn't come from a simple reversion of what I grew up with, it comes from watching these people from afar and developing a resentment towards them that way.

And people don't know how to handle that. Oedipal revolt, sure, but revolt against society by someone who chooses to not even acknowledge bourgeois values altogether? That's another. I just do what I do, and I'm reminded that bourgeois society exists when I walk out my door or go for a drive and go past more conventional middle class people and setups. Beyond that, I don't give a fuck about them. I have my own life to lead, and the thought of sitting stone quietly in a front room somewhere drinking tea with the folks is absurd.

Which is why I like Proletkult and the autonomous workers' movements in Europe and elsewhere. The Proletkult, the Ministry for Proletarian Culture in early Soviet Russia, was all about developing a new society based on workers' culture, as opposed to one based off of some variation of bourgeois culture. The working class has a unique culture, but the problem is that it's never been allowed to flourish as a dominant culture. It's always played second fiddle, unlike upper class culture, which is semi-feudal and aristocratic, and bourgeois culture, middle class and ignorant. But it's not just an adaptation to circumstances, it's a whole way of life, one that in its essence potentially prefigures what life in a workers' state should be like. Working class culture is much more collective than bourgeois culture. I come from working class culture, although I've experienced its polar opposite as well. Compared to working class culture the cold world of academics and college was a really inhospitable place, where alienation like I'd never experienced before lived. Interestingly enough, and I'll leave the post with this, working class culture did exist prior to the massive expansion of capitalism in the 19th century, but it had been much smaller before, limited to the working traditions of urban towns and things like mining communities. So it's not a flash in the pan but something that has roots.

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