Saturday, June 26, 2010

Socialism, in whatever sense you want to take it, anarchist or not, can also be seen as a completion of the movements started in the '60s

One thing that was the great fortune of the movements of the '60s and '70s to have, but that turned out to be not long lasting, was the favorable postwar economic climate, which allowed basic country wide economic issues to take a sort of second place to social issues. This turned out to be a positive thing because movements that had subordinated themselves to economic struggles in the past were able to speak for themselves without having to work with organizations that were fighting for generic, white centered, change in the social environment, but it didn't last. What I mean is that in the post-war boom basic class struggle within white society was thought to be over, meaning that there was now no obstacle to asking the question about why aren't there more minorities making the same money as white folks, why aren't black auto workers promoted as much as white auto workers, and why is it that the people who are in charge of it all don't resemble the workers on the ground floor? Since then, though, we've returned to a system where both black and white face significant and increasing class divisions, with economics manifesting itself in people's lives like never before, and where both black and white workers would benefit greatly from cooperating in pursuing social change with each other. And organizing between minority communities and non-minority communities is probably going to be more essential in the future than ever before as the economy either goes downhill further or stays where it is for an extended period of time. The tendency, which first showed itself in the late '70s and early '80s when the economy went south and the golden age ended, is for minority communities to experience hostility from whites when the sort of middle class deal, where prosperity and some social mobility was assumed to be a normal part of life provided no one rocked the boat too hard, starts to collapse and class starts to more obviously reassert itself as a force. This fueled the anti-welfare and anti-affirmative action movements, it's fueling the anti-immigration movement today. In order to defuse that class conscious movements that also recognize not only basic minority rights themselves but the validity of the movements that formed in the '60s and '70s need to be forged. The choice shouldn't be put in terms of either class or minority rights, which is how the populist right is putting it, but in terms of both class and minority rights acting together for a common purpose, which is to make all of our lives, black and poor white both, and brown and yellow, better. Because it's not just black and white anymore, it's also black and white, on the one side, and the owners on the other. Being white doesn't necessarily gain you a ticket into the middle class or into greater social mobility anymore.

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