The Working-Class as a Lifestyle

Although it’s probably not a new thing, in recent years I’ve noticed a trend in the working-class being treated as more of a lifestyle than a classification based on one’s relation to the means to production. This is particularly common in the more anarchist influenced circles, but I’ve seen liberals, Maoists, and others do it as well.

The conversion of being a worker, a proletarian, poor, or simply a broke commoner into a lifestyle completely ignores the traditional definition of the working-class by Marxism and the broader “left.” Instead of a worker or poor person being someone who doesn’t own the means of production, doesn’t manage the means of production, and doesn’t get paid the full value of their labor, it’s now something any edgy, left-leaning activist can apply to themselves to differentiate themselves from “yuppies” and “suburbans” despite the realities of both economics and their own personal lives and finances. For the sake of this op-ed, I want to stress that these leftists define a yuppie as any young person with a halfway decent job who lives in the city. They don’t follow the traditional/dictionary definition of someone who is making enough money to be considered rich or almost rich (affluent), young, and lives in the city.

I knew someone who was fairly well-known in the Industrial Workers of the World who one day decided to engage in some yuppie-bashing on Facebook. The only problem was that he is a yuppie himself. He is a young, professional journalist living in an urban area. Or my friend who dislikes suburbanites even though his family could afford to live there if they wanted.

During my activist days, I met so many people who had the opportunity and resources available to them to learn a trade or go to college, but they refused to do so. Again, they weren’t from poor families and they definitely had the option to further their education or skills. Instead, they opted to live as minimum-wage workers. It appears as if so many people on the left believe that the shittier job they have, the more morally superior they are. It’s reminds me of David Rovics’ song “I’m a Better Anarchist Than You.”

I know another guy who pretty much never had any sort of job from the time I met him. He instead prefers to hitchhike, sneak aboard trains, and panhandle for money (from actual proletarians). He honestly insisted a panhandler can make as much money as a “yuppie” does at a job in less time, but anyone who is legitimately down on their luck knows that isn’t true. Oh, and he also hates suburbanites despite being from the suburbs (but he won’t admit that). By the way, this guy isn’t an anarchist at all.

In short, being a proletarian, especially one who is absolutely poor, is fetishized on the left to the point that people will ignore the economic and financial realities of their lives just to fit in and feel smug, while others seem to care more about having “prole cred” than paying their rent.

Let’s look at the cold, hard economic realities. Firstly, rich people, the real enemy, such as landlords, politicians, and business owners are either raising rent or demolishing working-class housing in the cities in order to make more money. Why rent to poor folks when you can fix the apartments up a bit and rent to people in the lower middle-class? Why run cheap apartments with roaches when you can build businesses or sports stadiums?

The “yuppies” are just a symptom of the larger issue, and “yuppies” (as defined by left activists, not the dictionary) are generally regular people trying to get by in life. Yes, they make more money than a cook at McDonald’s. Yes, many yuppies are just the traditional petty-bourgeois class with a 2016 twist, but most of them aren’t. They might have white collar jobs, but most of them don’t own or manage any business and they barely make enough to have modest savings after paying back their enormous student loan debts. Yes, yes, I know there are those who are quite rich and work in the tech industry (more in line with the dictionary definition), but most “yuppies” as defined by the left are school teachers, office drones, and other boring stuff.  Just don’t tell the more posh leftists that, they might breakdown, lose their minds, and become nihilists (another posh identity).

With the systematic attack on and oppression of young people, which much of the lifestylist and identitarian left refuses to acknowledge, is it really productive to tear down and demonize Millennials who were lucky enough to get decent paying jobs? Fighting ageism isn’t trendy, cool, or posh now so I guess it’s OK.

As far as the suburbs go, where do you think the traditional residents of working-class urban areas are going to live after gentrification? The moon? No, they’re going to live in the suburbs! 26 percent of people living in concentrated poverty in America’s largest metro areas live in the suburbs. And those who aren’t poor are, as with “yuppies,” probably not managers, owners, or rich in any way. I’ve met bartenders, maintenance staff, tradesmen, unemployed people, truck drivers, soldiers, teachers, people who have to work multiple jobs to get by, and even drug dealers in the suburbs.

Some lifestylists seem to categorize people as evil “yuppies” and dreaded suburbanites based not on their income or job description, but rather on their own lifestyle. As a someone told me recently, “it’s about your appearance.” While this is at least understandable, it again brings to the foreground all that is pretentious and smug in the left of 2016. People are branded as reactionary for listening to this or that big-time rock band instead of local punk rock bands. People are labeled as evil “yuppies” and suburbanites for taking advantage of the fact that they can afford clothes from a chain retailer and don’t need to go to the thrift store. Whether or not the trendy lifestylists want to acknowledge it, the average worker or poor person would prefer to dress better than these non-bathing lifestyle activists. People on welfare look cleaner and wear nicer clothes than your average dumpster-diving anarchist or self-righteous Maoist. People are demonized for going to ball games or concerts, as if the sections of the working-class they fetishize don’t enjoy such things. While it’s true that, for example, sporting events in a city can cause trouble for the workers who live there, the lifestylists only pretend to care about that. It’s more about hating those who are different than them than aiding the workers in their struggle. It has all the solidarity of a feud between high school cliques.

And if you think for even a second I’m speaking only of the white working-class, you’re wrong. Workers of color are just the same, and they aren’t any more in line with your lifestyle than anyone else. If you honestly think they are, then you clearly haven’t been listening or paying attention to them.

The left would do well to realize that the real enemy isn’t determined by lack of “prole cred,” but by their relation to the means of production. It’s 2016, it’s the Information/Computer Age, not the Industrial Age of the early to mid Twentieth Century. Times have changed, job descriptions have changed, pay has changed (even declined), but the class system is still the class system. The proletariat isn’t a life choice, it’s a cold, hard economic reality that is way more diverse in job description, race, age, gender, and so forth than any leftist sect with a few token women or p.o.c.

Your lifestylism is fucking boring.


A normal worker.

A New Direction

1280px-Red_B-double_truckPolitics and my personal and professional lives, or the closest thing the capitalist economy has allowed me to have of a professional life,  have always been very connected in my mind. So I figured that I might as well go all out and take this website in a whole new direction.  As a writer, I value creating new, or at least unique, material. It seems I’ve been saying the same stuff over and over again since I started my first blog eight years ago, and it hasn’t really gotten my message very far.

Right now I’m in school working to obtain a Class A Commercial Driver’s License.  I’ve already got two endorsements lined up, but that doesn’t mean I’ll end up driving vehicles that require them. I might even end up in a Class B vehicle for all I know.

So from now on I’m going to have two sections for articles on this website. One section will be for news commentary and my theoretical/political essays, and the other will be a journal of my experiences and thoughts as a political trucker. I think I’ll call it “Red Comet” because I’m a red who is in a hurry.

I am hoping to make the Red Comet section relatable to those in the transportation industry. I also hope to do some organizing out there on the road, whether it’s a local job or one that sends me to the ends of the highway. Of course, with your average truck driver and long-distance bus driver working between 60 and 70 hours a week, it won’t be without a good helping of roadblocks and hiccups.

Martin’s to Close 3 Stores in Richmond

martinsstonyGrocery chain Martin’s, owned by Royal Ahold NV, plans to close down three Richmond, Virginia area stores by summer. Stores will be closed in Petersburg, Mechanicsville, and Richmond city. 357 people will lose their jobs as a result.

Corporate officials say it’s due to “expiring leases.” Apparently the stores weren’t profitable enough to keep running despite the fact that Martin’s is the top chain in the Richmond area. Some speculate that, despite what executives say, these closings are relevant to a merger between Martin’s parent company Royal Ahold and the Delhaize Group which owns the Food Lion stores.

Corporate executives seem to think that allowing the workers who will soon be unemployed to apply and compete for positions at other locations is fair, but the workers are losing their livelihoods due to corporate shortcomings and mistakes. It isn’t the employees’ fault, but they are being kicked as if it is. Other locations already have employees, meaning the majority of these workers will have to hope and pray that they find work with another company. When workers from the shuttered locations are brought in to the other Martin’s stores, it will only result in a reduction of hours for everyone. Those who are already not getting enough hours to pay their bills on will get even less.

Richmond has been described as the most “over-stored” area by industry publication Food World. James Ukrop, who sold his family chain of stores to Martin’s in 2010, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the Richmond market “has been overcrowded for years. And with the German stores taking hold and Wegmans coming, it’s going to get worse.”

Martin’s, Food Lion, Kroger, Walmart, Whole Foods, Target, and others have been operating in Richmond for a long time. Now stores that are new to the area, such as Wegmans and Aldi, are moving in to increase the competition.

The grocery competition in Richmond, as well as the rest of the country, has been heating up for quite some time now, but what does this mean for the average worker? With increased competition between employers comes lower wages for workers. The cost of competition cuts into the profits of the business, and so the difference is made up by getting more work out of fewer workers for less pay. Grocery workers across America should stage wildcat strikes and occupy their workplaces in order to demand an end to layoffs caused by the continuous competition and mergers. Those who are being laid off should demand full, collective ownership of the stores. The workers make the store run, the executives just take the money. Labor is entitled to all it produces.

Defend Basic Rights, Stand with those who Defy the French Ban on Demonstrations

Originally published on the International Luxemburgist Network website.

The French national government’s ban on public demonstrations, now extended for up to three months, is an assault on the basic rights of working people not only in France but in the entire world. The so-called “Socialist” government of President Hollande, backed by almost the entire parliament, has made its first huge capitulation to the growing force of fascism by emulating its tactics. They have made a terrorist attack into the excuse for the suppression of basic rights—a scenario that originated in the Reichstag fire of 1933. If this ban is allowed to succeed, it will encourage every capitalist government to copy it, at untold cost. In France itself it will pave the way for the National Front.

But France 2015 is not Germany 1933. The working class movement, the left organizations, the unions have not suffered the crushing defeats that the German workers had leading up to 1933. And sections of the French movement have already declared their willingness to defy the ban on demonstrations.

It is crucial that activists everywhere express concrete solidarity with those in France who fight against the repression of basic rights. While the struggle will begin with the planned November 22 demonstrations in defense of immigrants, it will almost certainly not end there. As in Quebec in 2013, when similar prohibitions against demonstrations were defeated by mass mobilizations in the streets, a defeat of this repression will probably take weeks or months. Demonstrations of solidarity with the struggle in France throughout the world will not only strengthen the movement in France but build global working class unity.

Wildcat Strike Wins Change for Young Athletes in Michigan and Missouri

Young athletes from Michigan down to Missouri have made waves and won changes this week after successful wildcat strikes.

Flint, Michigan was stunned this week when hockey players from the Flint Firebirds staged a walkout on Sunday. The players went into the General Manager’s office and threw their jerseys on the floor in protest after learning that management fired all of the coaching staff without reason.

While many hockey teams have fired coaches already this season, including the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and the Swiss NLA’s HC Ambri-Piotta, the decision to fire the Flint coaches remains puzzling.

OHL Insiders has floated the theory that they were fired because the owner, Rolf Nilsen, felt his son, Hakon, wasn’t getting enough ice time. Interestingly, Hakon Nilsen was among the players who walked out. Team officials have denied that Hakon’s ice time had anything to do with the firing.

On Monday it was announced that all of the fired coaches were reinstated, and the players would be returning as well. Rolf Nilsen described his decision as “an irresponsible mistake.” The Ontario Hockey League is now investigating the situation.

Down south at the University of Missouri, dozens of black football players (and sympathetic white players) refused to take the field until University President Tim Wolfe resigned or was fired. Student activists had been pressuring Wolfe to take action against racism, sexism, and homophobia on campus.

Minority students at the overwhelmingly white university simply wanted officials to do something about the widespread racism on campus.

Students of color were often targeted for verbal harassment, such as when student body President Payton Head was followed down the street by a truck full of people screaming racial slurs at him. Last month a swastika was drawn on the wall of a gender-neutral bathroom. While you’ll find many swastikas throughout American restrooms, this one was unique in that it was drawn with human feces instead of a marker or pen.

Graduate workers were also set to stage a walkout of their own on Monday.

Both Wolfe and Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin resigned on Monday after realizing they just couldn’t win.

Both of these incidents show the power of the wildcat strike. You don’t need union bureaucrats to tell you when a strike is in your best interests, and management and owners can be defeated when people stand in solidarity and shut down production so that no profit can be made.

Tuscaloosa Police Beat Non-Violent Students

ynjpd41srkev7r64t47zTuscaloosa Police arrested three University of Alabama students after responding to a noise complaint early Sunday morning. The altercation ended with police beating and deploying a taser on one of the students.

Multiple videos of the incident have been posted on various news websites. The videos begin by showing the officer standing in the door and the residents telling him he isn’t welcome inside. The officer then proceeds to tell one person that he is under arrest, but he doesn’t say why. The policeman then begins to pull the man out of the apartment, but he doesn’t succeed. After this, the original cop and other officers swarm the apartment, drag out three students, and arrest them. Throughout the video the students were non-violent and within their rights to deny entry to the police, ask for a warrant, and demand to know why they were being arrested.

Matthew Gimlin Macia, 22, Brandon James Williford, 21, and Caroline Elizabeth Giddis, 22 were arrested. Macia is charged with obstructing governmental operations and resisting arrest. Williford is facing the same charges plus harassment, and Giddis is charged with obstructing governmental operations and harassment.

The Tuscaloosa police department has placed three of the responding officers on (paid) administrative leave and is conducting an internal investigation.

None of the arrested students have made comments to the media.

This goes to show that, despite what the activist cool kids table deems important, young people are oppressed in this country. This is how young people are treated over a minor noise complaint, and you can bet it will be impossible for them to find steady work at a livable pay rate in the future because of this unjust, unconstitutional, and scandalous arrest, as well as the fact that the media has demonized Millennials so badly they aren’t even viewed as human anymore. You are encouraged to watch the video and see for yourself.

All Cops Are Bastards.

50 Million Americans Among World’s Poorest

Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse recently released new data for its Global Wealth Databook which states that 50 million American adults are part of the world’s poorest 10 percent.

This means that one out of ten of the poorest people in the world is American, and much of this is due to the fact that they are burdened by incredible amounts of debt. On the flipside, the richest 10 percent of Americans have gained the majority of the wealth since the beginning of the recession, meaning the increase in US wealth since 2009 has gone almost entirely to the upper-class.

The new data also states that only 21 percent of the national wealth is held by the North American middle-class, which is in stark contrast to the rest of the world.

“The average wealth of middle-class adults in North America is barely half the average for all adults,” Credit Suisse states.

“In contrast, middle-class wealth per adult in Europe is 130% of the regional average; the middle class in China is three times better off in wealth terms than the country as a whole; and the average wealth of the middle class in both India and Africa is ten times the level of those in the rest of the population.”

Only Kazakhstan, Russia, Libya, and Ukraine were reported to have more wealth inequality than the US.

This is bad news for all the “third-worldist” activists out there who think Americans have it easy. It’s also bad news for the hopes and dreams of the average, working American unless they wake up to the horrible realities of capitalism sometime soon.