Class consciousness was once widely understood to be the vehicle that the workers would use to liberate themselves from the divide-and-conquer tactics of the rulers. For that reason, the rulers sought to oppose the flourishing of class consciousness wherever they could. Today, class consciousness is dead – and we can tell you how it was killed.
From the point of view of the ruling class, watching class consciousness take root is like being a feudal lord and watching the peasantry assemble outside your manor with pitchforks and burning torches. You know that you’re going to have to do something about it sooner or later, or risk losing your position.
For the rulers of our society, it’s an imperative to destroy class consciousness wherever they can.
For a long time, the go-to tactic for destroying class consciousness was virulent nationalism. The ruling class had learned that they could take the hate and anger ordinary people had as a result of their suffering, and channel it towards rival neighbours. All they had to do was subject their working classes to several years of propaganda about how the neighbouring nation was evil, and then those working classes could safely be marched off to kill each other, at no threat to the rulers.
The ruling class eventually overplayed their hand. After the Hemoclysm of World Wars I and II, class consciousness made a resurgence. Although fraternisation between opposing troops was rare, it was common enough that the average soldier was able to figure out who their real enemy was – their real enemy was behind them all along.
Returning to the West, these soldiers brought with them an immensely strong class solidarity and a dogged refusal to allow the ruling class to divide and conquer them. This powerful class consciousness set the stage for the economic boom times of the 1950s and 60s. Because class consciousness was so strong, wages were high and working conditions were favourable. One worker could easily buy a house and raise a family on one wage.
The extreme unfashionability of nationalism meant that workers were no longer willing to kill another man simply because he wore a different uniform. The ruling class needed a new way to divide and conquer the workers. The ongoing Civil Rights Movement would provide the inspiration for their next strategic advance.
The masterstroke was to divide and conquer the workers in the exact opposite way to how they were divided and conquered before 1945. Thus, the workers never saw it coming. Whereas they were once united along ethnic lines, now they would be divided among them. Since the advent of neoliberalism, which was when the ruling class started to win back the territory they had lost over the previous 40 years, the working class has been divided among racial lines.
The secret to this has been manipulating a rise in the level of racial consciousness. The logic was that, if racial consciousness could be increased beyond a certain point, both working-class and middle-class people of the same race would come to see each other as being on the same team, and start to see people of the same class but a different race as being on a different team. With this achieved, working-class people of any race would stop fighting for their class interests.
To that end, the ruling class directed their lackeys in the mainstream media to overemphasise racial issues and underemphasise class issues. Any incident of racial conflict was magnified out of proportion and made to appear a terrible evil, while measures that damaged the working class were trivialised or made to appear inevitable (and therefore not objectionable).
Thanks to all of this, the number of people who identify with their race first and foremost has increased sharply, while the number of people who identify with their class first and foremost has decreased. People now say “If Maoris do well, then New Zealand does well,” but no-one ever says “If the working class does well, then New Zealand does well.” They used to – back in the days when class consciousness existed.
Wages were much higher back in the days when class consciousness was stronger than race consciousness, as was housing affordability, which ought to provide a couple of clues as to why it’s important. Sadly, not enough people get it.
Today, the ruling class knows that it can divide the working class neatly in two, simply by appearing to exclusively help the non-white half. They don’t have to actually help them – the Government gives with one hand and takes away with the other – they just have to give the impression that they do, and that they’re ignoring the white proportion of the working class.
As they do this, they tell the non-whites that this advantageous treatment is the result of past white racism. When the whites complain about being demonised, they’re told to suck it up because of the crimes of their ancestors. The outrage and resentment that naturally arises from this inevitably causes the working class to disintegrate from bickering. Then the ruling class laugh and go back to their gated communities.
The reality is that class consciousness is by far the greater threat to the ruling class’s stranglehold on our society than race consciousness ever could be. It allows the working class to present a united front to their rulers, which makes their negotiating position much stronger, and consequently their wages much higher.
A smart person will ask themselves, the next time they see a racial issue being blown out of all reasonable proportion in the mainstream media: what important issues is this hysteria intended to distract me from? In most cases, a small amount of investigation will reveal a class issue that our rulers would rather sweep under the rug. Racial issues were always a distraction from class issues, and the focus on them has made the working class much poorer.
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