The Past Lives On: The Elite Strategy To Divide and Conquer, by Edward Curtin

Every politician pays homage to the working class, then ignores it (at best) or pursues policies that destroy it. From Edward Curtin at off-guardian.org:

Photo by Sonder Quest on Unsplash

They call my people the White Lower Middle Class these days. It is an ugly, ice-cold phrase, the result, I suppose, of the missionary zeal of those sociologists who still think you can place human beings on charts.  It most certainly does not sound like a description of people on the edge of open, sustained and possibly violent revolt,” wrote the marvelous New York journalist, Pete Hamill in “The Revolt of the White Lower Middle Class” in New York magazine.

He added:

The White Lower Middle Class? Say that magic phrase at a cocktail party on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and monstrous images arise from the American demonology. Here comes the murderous rabble: fat, well-fed, bigoted, ignorant, an army of beer-soaked Irishmen, violence-loving Italians, hate-filled Poles. Lithuanians and Hungarians….Sometimes these brutes are referred to as ‘the ethnics’ or ‘the blue-collar types.’ But the bureaucratic, sociological phrase is White Lower Middle Class. Nobody calls it the Working Class anymore.

He wrote that on April 14, 1969. Yesterday. Little changes.

Transferred from NYC to the middle of the country half a century later, these people are referred to as Trump’s “deplorables.” They comes in baskets, as Hillary Clinton said.  And even though they represent nearly half the voting public in the last two presidential elections – 70+ million Americans – their complaints are dismissed as the rantings of ignorant, conservative racists.

Name calling substitutes for understanding. This is not an accident.

Like Hamill, I am a NYC born and bred Irish-American – my working-class Bronx to Pete’s Brooklyn. We both attended the same Jesuit high school in different years. Unlike Hamill, known for his gritty street reporting, because I have been a college sociology professor, I could falsely be categorized as a northeastern liberal intellectual oozing with disdain for those who voted for Trump.  This is false, because, like Hamill, I see it as my intellectual duty to understand what motivates these voters, just as I do with those who voted for Biden.

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