My view of the world includes the idea that the dominant views of the world are the views of the dominant class,although those ideas are not a conspiracy nor a monolith.It is not neat and tidy,perfect or faultless.If it were,change would be even more difficult than it appears if not impossible.
This idea seems very relevant to what is happening in many parts of the world now,including here in Britain,and over several years.
It was early last year when i went to my trades union branch meeting,to hear the distress from a number of members who had been made redundant in yet another round of”machinations”by our employer.That cut had been carried out so”badly”,that many of those made redundant had been told nothing,and others redundancy letters had been sent to the wrong people in the wrong places.The letters did not even tell the truth,brutal though it was that workers had been made redundant.They were informed that they had”been deleted”.I tried suggesting that corresspondance from the union should refer to”solidarity with the deleted”-which seems to me to resonate with other workers in other countries,thrown out of their livelihoods,like los indignacios.
I wrote comments in various places about the casual,careless brutality of it,the incompetence,the dishonesty….A friend retorted with the view that there was a brutal honesty in the idea that staff were”deleted”.Initially quite shocked by my friends comment,i thought about it and realised that in a way it is true.
For it seems to me,that there are some corollaries that go along with the idea about the dominant ideas in a society.It now seems to me that both at the froth and the substance of public discussion,such as it is,in the media and elsewhere,what we get is an almighty amount of detail about the rulling class and its minions,but not a lot about ourselves.The vast bulk of what we read about ourselves is at any serious level superficial,reductionist and highly alienated-we do not really recognise ourselves,or we inhabit ourselves as actors inhabit their parts because it is us filtered through their dominant view with all their prejudices and fears.So that when they delete us,they really do think they have dealt with us.If they see us only as labour,then when they dispose of our labour then i think they regard us as effectively set aside.We have in away been made to dissappear.
Yet it also seems to me that this gives a form of truth to the opening line of the Communist Manifesto-that there really is “a spectre haunting Europe(the world)-communism”,at least in the form of the gravediggers of the capitalist system,the as yet not entirely moulded for purpose working class….
Just over a year on,as their class continue to carry out class war against us-i came across an article which opens with the idea that government ministers either don’t understand the impact of their devastating cuts to the welfare state,or they don’t care.
For me,it reinforces the idea that the pattern of ideas that constitute ideology do go some way way to explain this.From their perspective,i think that many do understand the depth of their cuts but disconnected from some of their feelings by their very own ideas about this society,which after all is a capitalist society riven by class,race,gender and other differences,cut them off from seeing more of the truth.Many,I believe,like that recently deceased politician of their will not care,or if they do care,restrict that caring to their own class agenda.I do think that they really don’t see it,or understand it.
Indeed,whilst in crisis,their class might act together in blocs or fractions,they really are riven by the notion of competition which is so fundamental to their system.They present themselves to themselves and to us,as driven by special talent and perhaps genius,in a competition with each other in which they scramble of themselves and each other.
Meanwhile on the other side of the tracks,we are pushed and drawn together by the same forces but in the opposite direction.We refuse to be reduced to our labour,and demand at one level or another to have lives-which they have to acknowledge in some respects because without our survival,we cannot be the labour which underpins their profit and exploitation.We realise that in order to labour,to survive,to live we must collaborate and co-operate no matter how alienated that process might be at present.
What is both our problem and our strength is that the contradictions are lived out in our very selves.In managing it,in understanding it and in organising it,we have a strength they do not and cannot have.In exploiting and in some way paying for our labour,that is what they get.We learn to give them only what they pay for,and to struggle to meet our own individual and collective needs,in the struggle over suplus value.Whilst they are essentially locked in competition with each other which requires them to seek to have an edge over each other,and therefore that there is always some level of mistrust,we learn that in order to understand the world and how to change it we are not just dependent on the strength of numbers as a physical force but that our understanding can be developed through sharing it>If we can overcome the divisons they impose on us,it is us that have many minds,brains,hands,eyes,talents and energies.
Brought together those talents make us not just the builders of their world at present,at the root of our own alienation but also not even just make us the gravediggers of their exploitation,oppression and division of us,but also and i believe most importantly the makers of a new world,a world we have to win,a common treasury in which we can learn to live and share together.We can be our own redemption.Ultimately,if the choice is socialism or barbarism,they only have the barbarism to look forward to…..they too can make choices.If they are not careful it will be the rubbish pile of history for them,either way.Competition depends on mistrust and ultimately on alienation.Socialism will see them and theirs forgotten,as it simply ceases to fit in a world that does not depend on exploitation,greed nor on people trying to reach the top of a pile.For it all becomes meaningless if we can make”from each according to their ability,to each according to their need”a reality.