Just watched a youtube video of Christopher Hitchens interviewing Eric Hobsbawm, wasn’t particularly interesting so I won’t post it… one thing it did do however, was remind me how much I hate hearing people reminiscing about the golden age of the British Working Class as if it was some romantic ideal of honest hard working salt of the earth cartoon characters going around slapping each other on the back and singing ‘roll out the barrell’ while helping old ladies across the road or some shite.
Hobsbawm actually said “because back then there actually was a British working class”… the fuck is that supposed to mean? What are we now then? Excuse me if I don’t give two shits about whether or not working class people still fit the romanticized ideal of a fucking Cambridge professor. You get it a lot though, from all sorts of different quarters; this idea that we should feel bad because we’re not like the post-war, leave your door unlocked, community spirited ‘respectable’ working class. “Old Labour” types love to escape into this comforting nostalgic fantasy every bit as much as conservatives do.
But it’s bullshit. If you want to know how great and community spirited it was back then, ask someone who was an unmarried mother. Ask one of the countless working class people who spent their lives hiding their true desires from the world, locked in sham marriages for the sake of appearances, expecting to go to hell when they died. Ask a victim of domestic abuse that everyone knew about but no one said fuck all.
Don’t get me wrong, there are things our communities have lost that were worth keeping - but for fuck sake let’s not let this racist, homophobic, misogynist and bigoted community act as our ideal of working class solidarity, or feel bad because we’re not them, or that we’re not really working class or whatever. Fuck that. I’m glad it’s gone. Nostalgia is a poison.
"That capitalism has established a centralized state administration for the strengthening of its hegemony over people, which through steady intensification of authoritarian pressure has continually increased the power of capital and retroactively caused a constant expansion of state authority to the detriment of the workers and to the benefit of the privileged, simply means that the state directed from above is the only form of organization suitable for the maintenance and promotion of the capitalist-directed economy; however, it means at the same time that only capitalist conditions can harmonize with state centralism in its intended effect, and further that every centralized state power can develop capitalism and generate it anew wherever it is not or might never have been at all."
— Erich Mühsam
I’m probably not the best person to ask, I almost never follow tankies and don’t give much of a shit about their nonsense - but the impression I got from over here in anarcho-tumblr was that they self destructed after it emerged that most of them were transphobic bigots.
I accept that there is not “neutral” telling of history, but at least there are well established standards or guidelines of historical scholarship. Like, if an historian plagiarises or makes up some bullshit, other historians can find out (“like, check ur sources”).
Yeah, and the fact is that professional historians live for catching each other out, absolutely live for it. In general they care much more about personal rivalries and prestige than any political agenda they have.
There is a tendency among both the left and the right to discount the work of historians because of their political beliefs, which is totally lazy and inadequate. If someone has gone to the archives and pulled out stuff that seems to prove their political point, you need to assess that evidence and say why it doesn’t prove what they say it does. The fact that the person who dug out the evidence is an aoplogist for capitalism or communism doesn’t counter their argument all by itself.
Guys like Niall Fergusson et al are neoliberal empire loving historians, yes - but the fact is that of they’ve done the work, we need to do the work too, otherwise it’s their version of history which stands.
Solidarity with the residents of Pizzeria Anarchia squat in Vienna, being evicted by the filth right now
Der Ofen ist noch lange nicht ausgebrannt!
Die Welt ist eine Pizza und gehört uns allen!
"While the number of international migrants has almost doubled between 1960 and 2000, the world population has grown at the same pace. The relative rate of migration has thus remained stable, and less than three per cent of the world’s population is an international migrant. Yet the nature and direction of migration has changed. For the past centuries, it was mainly Europeans who emigrated and colonized foreign territories. Since WWII, Europe has evolved into the world’s most attractive migration destination. However, particularly since the end of the Cold War politicians have increasingly portrayed migration as a fundamental threat to security and prosperity, inflaming a panic over migration. This contributed to the incorrect idea that migration is accelerating."
— Human Migration: Myths, Hysteria and Facts, Hein de Haas
In the current listless economy, every generation has a claim to having been most injured. But the Labor Department’s latest jobs snapshot and other recent data reports present a strong case for crowning baby boomers as the greatest victims of the recession and its grim aftermath.
These Americans in their 50s and early 60s — those near retirement age who do not yet have access to Medicare and Social Security — have lost the most earnings power of any age group, with their household incomes 10 percent below what they made when the recovery began three years ago, according to Sentier Research, a data analysis company.
Their retirement savings and home values fell sharply at the worst possible time: just before they needed to cash out. They are supporting both aged parents and unemployed young-adult children, earning them the inauspicious nickname “Generation Squeeze.”
New research suggests that they may die sooner, because their health, income security and mental well-being were battered by recession at a crucial time in their lives. A recent study by economists at Wellesley College found that people who lost their jobs in the few years before becoming eligible for Social Security lost up to three years from their life expectancy, largely because they no longer had access to affordable health care."
— In Hard Economy for All Ages, Older Isn’t Better … It’s Brutal, New York Times, 2/2/13
More facts about those darned baby boomers
- Individuals age 55 and over have consistently experienced longer durations of unemployment than younger workers.
- The median length of unemployment has more than tripled for older workers.
- Only 31 percent of those older workers age 55-64 who were displaced between 2007 and 2009 had regained full-time employment.
- Several experts interviewed said long-term unemployment diminishes the likelihood that older workers will ever be re-employed.
- Long-term unemployed older workers who exhaust unemployment benefits before turning 62 are particularly at great risk.
- Displaced older workers suffer greater wage losses than younger workers.
- The effects of job loss are likely to be longer-lasting for older workers, including them being more likely to lose subsequent jobs and experience additional unemployment spells.
- Losing their jobs has taken a toll on their sense of self-worth, reduced their standard of living, and put them at risk of long-term financial hardship.
- Long-term unemployed older workers struggled to pay health insurance premiums and some said they had found it difficult to secure private insurance because of high costs or preexisting conditions. Many had forgone seeking medical care altogether, and stopped taking prescribed medications because they could not afford them.
Baby boomer facts
- Most baby boomers were working class
- Working class people didn’t start any wars
- Working class people didn’t “ruin the economy”
- Most baby boomers don’t have a degree
- Unemployed working class baby boomers find it almost impossible to get rehired. Unemployable at 50 they face decades of scraping by and government dependence
- Most baby boomers will be poorer in old age than their parents were