Are British workers unified by class or values?
The values we in the western world now accept without question were born in the fierce heat of 18th Century Capitalism. They were described by Marx as bourgeois values. They were in addition to freedom from feudal oppression, the freedoms of Contract, Choice and Consent. There was of course unfairness which meant that unless you “made it” within this system you could not enjoy the full fruits and freedoms of bourgeois life. You might have had the right to contract, choose and consent but your life was defined by your wealth.
Of course whilst Capitalism, as a system was gender, religion and racially unprejudiced (anyone could become a Capitalist) society, discriminated mercilessly. So back in the 18th Century, bourgeois rights were essentially male rights and white male rights at that.
The intervening period up to today has seen the extension of these bourgeois rights to an ever-expanding population of people few of whom can actually call themselves “bourgeois”. Being bourgeois identifies your relationship to Capital, it isn’t about how much money you have but who created the wealth that you possess. If it was created by “exploited” workers you are a Capitalist in possession of Capital. If you are public sector Chief Exec on £300,000 you are not a capitalist just a very wealthy person paid out of the Nations Debt.
On this basis, therefore with the decline of “capitalism,” the “workers” have become more so than ever before a large unified group of people, women, men, people of all ethnicities and identities for whom the values of contract, choice and consent are an expectation of daily life. Only the confused on the left seem to regard removing or limiting these rights a legitimate policy objective. They would usher in a 16th-century policy of silencing dissent and showing prejudice against certain groups. For the vast majority of people, the challenge is to protect these bourgeois rights now we have acquired them and learn to use them to personal and social advantage without inflicting economic and social decay via a breakdown in social cohesion.
A breakdown in social cohesion is the major threat to western societies and there are many pretenders to the Wests throne offering various sorts of primitivism to compensate for the apparent breakdown of society arising from our new found freedoms. What these various groups of primitives fail to appreciate however is that whilst there will be some “adjustment” as we start to accept the full personal responsibility for the freedoms we have, we are all united in our desire not to have these freedoms compromised by politicians, religions or simply nasty unpleasant people.
British working people are in economic terms no longer differentiated by class and are largely an undifferentiated group who have fought hard to get the shared values we now enjoy. Now we must scan the horizon to establish who is trying to undermine us and our values of contract, choice and consent and deal with them robustly.
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