By Carl Davidson
Here’s a perfectly decent chart showing how the value created by increasingly productive Pennsylvania workers ‘trickles up’ to the top. Fine, then comes the claim that the ‘middle class’ is shrinking because workers aren’t getting a fair share.
What drives me nuts is that the same people are called ‘middle class’ and, indirectly, also ‘working class.’ Why do we need to be in two classes? The first is entirely arbitrary and, as the chart shows, only has to do with income levels. The second is about your relation to production, and not owning any means of production, ‘be your payment high or low’ (Marx).
Here’s the rub. The use of ‘middle class’ can be heard to be dismissive of those workers in greatest need. We need unity between both groups, those in greatest need and those more recently pushed down. ‘Working class’ is a fine inclusive term for that. Let’s brush aside the disdain from those who think themselves our ‘betters’ and take more pride in who we are.
Bob Dylan, for goodness sake, even uses the word ‘proletariat’ in his last album, another fine Latin word for ‘people of no property.’ But I’ll settle for ‘working class’ for now.