Thursday, October 07, 2010

The One Nation Working Together working class whites favoring Republicans 58%, something is wrong here

The 58% figure comes from This Story. Basically, the count saying that the One Nation Working Together rally was 165,000 people is bullshit. No non ultra-partisan news source has confirmed it, and pictures taken of the rally show it to be significantly less attended than Glenn Beck's. My conclusion is that the folks who ran the One Nation rally are out of touch with basic America if they can't even draw the same amount of people as Glenn Beck to their rally. It's not surprising, looking back on it. These folks are the organizations representing the old New Deal Coalition, albeit with minority organizations from the New Social Movements of the '60s and '70s added in. As such, their political reality does not reflect what's going on in America right now and probably hasn't since the '80s. That they've sort of limped on and are now coming together, with little change, speaks volumes to their strategic thinking or lack thereof. Which is not to say that all the groups that participated are wrong or ineffectual; the NAACP was part of it, for example, but it is to say that this particular strategy of depending on rump union support combined with minority organizations alone, with maybe an environmental group thrown in for some variety, is not the way to go. The overall strategy isn't working.

Instead, what we need is a broader based socialism that appeals to regular people in general, including but not exclusively aimed at white working class voters. Socialism in particular needs to cut itself loose from the old union movement and forge new ties with folks on the grass roots level if it's ever going to be a force that can compete with the Tea Party. So let's start doing this.

1 comment:

Richard S. said...

Notice that the poll itself defines "working class" as people without college educations while ignoring the more accurate criteria for working class; i.e., being one who has to sell his labor to survive (or must depend on inadequate and dwindling social programs if he cannot do so), who does not make money from owned wealth or by employing and exploiting the labor of others.

Of course, there are many gray areas these days, especially re. that "owned wealth" criterion, but the point is that "working class" should be understood mainly as a definition of one's economic role and means of survival, and certainly not exclusively as some cultural or educational category without consideration of people's practical function in the here and now. (Think of all the college educated people who end up as service workers, temps, low-wage "intellectual laborers" or one of the chronically unemployed. Yours truly has fit into all those categories...)

This poll reflects more general American ignorance about the nature of class. IMO, socialists cannot and should not "get past" the idea of building a movement through class struggle, but we sure do need to find some way to expand and improve Americans' definition of "working class."