What can be done to eliminate classism? Nothing. Unlike most ism’s, it is a necessary part of reality, nature, human nature, or whatever you want to call human social interaction. At best, someone not in the ruling class can fight to prevent the powers-that-be from doing too much damage, but in the end it will be a losing battle to eliminate it. Because of technology’s overriding control of our Technological Society, technological development and technique will control and decide future social classes and how classism will develop; individuals are now insignificant in the evolution of the technological society and beyond. Working individuals are faced with making a choice between either finding happiness in an existentialist battle against the nature of human society and their class in life or finding happiness through accepting its nature and their class in life. Though Albert Camus makes Sisyphus heroic in his meaningless struggle against the indifference of the universe and ends The Myth of Sisyphus by stating “one must imagine Sisyphus happy”, we must remember that George Orwell also ended his 1984 with his anti-hero Winston Smith happy to the point of tears when he finally surrendered the battle and accepted the loss: “but it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.” Happiness is happiness, the choice of which path to take is pretty much a random one; no Pascal’s Gamble here. In making this choice, however, one should understand at least how the nature of the struggle has changed through the development of our modern technological society: classism is no longer just about physical suffering that risks strengthening the human spirit but of destroying the human spirit directly so that the only happiness a worker will enjoy is that of a slave with a kind and benevolent master.
Through the ages until recently, the only way to battle classism was by physical rebellion. It was a miserable battle beyond the comprehension of most living Americans notwithstanding that beheading is making a comeback in the East; beheading and lynching are relatively recent and “civilized” methods in the fight against the powers. Impalement, skinning alive, gutting, drawn and quartered, and, of course the most famous one, crucifixion are more of the tone for old school armed rebellion and its suppression. Though many pundits treat our ancestors as idiots, I have nothing but respect for most of them (except for dead powers, as many have said, “a statesman is a dead politician”). We should especially respect those who will forever be unknown in unmarked graves who fought the powers-that-be varying from tribal chiefs to divine right kings mano-a-mano usually with a 50% chance of dying from disease before the battle even started, then in battle facing gory and painful deaths and wounds with no modern medicine, and if captured facing punishment such as disembowelment. I am forever grateful and indebted to them though it does not seem to be a debt that I can ever pay back. They teach us that the human spirit can survive almost any physical attempt to destroy it — whether it can survive direct attacks on the human spirit is a challenge for us and our descendants.
The physical nature of the old school battle with the powers is true of all types of powers. Many such as Karl Popper in his book The Open Society and Its Enemies promote democracy as a means of reforming the powers-that-be without using violence. It is a nice thought written by a man who decided to leave World War II Europe for the safety of New Zealand to write about this thought but there is no historical evidence nor any evidence for it. Practically all societies in history that have gone beyond tribalism (and even some tribes) have had some form of democracy or democratic institutions in their structure at some point in their history. Eventually, regardless of whatever democratic form or institution is used, it becomes an oligarchy, plutocracy, or some other tyranny and the struggle begins anew. Given Western history of the last 200 years, only a fool believes that the United States and modern Western Civilization will be an exception. At present, the United States is a democracy in name only, barely a republic, and it is only a matter of time before our Republic goes the way of the Roman Republic.
At least our plebeian ancestors had the benefit of battling known powers of flesh and blood and of the ability to unite in battle against them. Such is no longer true. When the Spartan oligarchy installed the government of Thirty Tyrants to eliminate democracy in Athens after its defeat in the Peloponnesian War, the pro-democracy rebels knew who the thirty were. Eventually, these Athenian rebels could gather their numbers, get their swords, go to their houses, and kill or expel them. When Roman plebeians had enough of Senate patricians under the Republic, they could gather, get their sticks and stones, strike, and negotiate directly with the Senate for power. Those days are gone forever.
Even if you could unite with others in the struggle against the powers in sufficient numbers to be a threat, the powers now are no longer in substance flesh and blood people but entities and legal fictions: corporations and corporate law; trusts and trust law; estates and estate law; the tax code; international finance and investment entities; and all sorts of abstractions that serve to create and maintain power for the few ever-changing members of the Inner Party for whom power is an end itself. The only way to battle these abstractions is by hiring a lawyer, politician, or judge. If you have the resources to do so than you are an Inner Party or Outer Party power yourself and have no reason to fight them but only to amend them as necessary to further consolidate or to give you power.
Armed rebellion against these modern powers is no longer an option for anyone but suicidal homicidal solitary nut cases and any attempt at it by any possible group of workers with good intent would only make manners worse. With the power of modern technology and the omnipresence of law governing every aspect of our lives, the government can arrest anyone they want any time they want for anything — once they decide they want to do so. A simple reading of the history of union organizing in the United States will show what the powers could do even without modern technology, i.e. the Haymarket Square riots that are the basis for International Workers’ Day. With modern technology and its ability to market and have accepted as true any propaganda necessary to maintain power, the powers need not fear and do not fear any serious armed rebellion from workers. Second or no Second Amendment, even assuming modern individuals have the social awareness and connections to organize into a coherent rebellion (something they do not have), any group of working class who even begin to think and start organizing an armed rebellion against our modern powers will not made it past the stage of initial contacts. If by some miracle they make it to a stage where they are a real physical threat, not only will they fail miserably but the ramifications will only increase and strengthen the powers through the fear created and would not diminish their power in anyway — “the consciousness of being at war, and therefore in danger, makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival.” George Orwell, 1984.
Do not get me wrong here, I agree that the ending of armed rebellion as an option for forcing social change is a good result of modern technological technique, but we must understand its overall effects on classism and not end it at this one good. One of the bad effects is that while freeing individuals from social physical constraints on their individuality, it also makes individuals insignificant and unnecessary. Except for suicidal and homicidal anomalies, we are all becoming simply data in an algorithm for maintaining social order. General George Patton’s response when asked his thoughts on modern wonder weapons (such as drones killing humans from politician’s commands 10,000 miles away) that will avoid the need for physical combat replied: “Wonder weapons? My God, I don’t see the wonder in them. Killing without heroics. Nothing is glorified, nothing is reaffirmed. No heroes, no cowards, no troops. No generals. Only those that are left alive and those that are left… dead. I’m glad I won’t live to see it.”
We are living to see it. We are developing a Brave New World in which individuals can survive completely alone: work; get food; get entertainment; leisure; medical treatment; get sex; and eventually order their perfect progeny from a DNA lab and pretty much get whatever they want without ever leaving their supposed home and its internet access thus never having to suffer through the inherent and often miserable difficulties of human social interaction. The downsize of this individual freedom is it will be a life without the social bonds, loyalty, and allegiances among workers that would allow for creating rebellions against the powers of classism:
Tragedy, he perceived, belonged to the ancient time, to a time when there was still privacy, love, and friendship, and when the members of a family stood by one another without needing to know the reason. His mother’s memory tore at his heart because she had died loving him, when he was too young and selfish to love her in return, and because somehow, he did not remember how, she had sacrificed herself to a conception of loyalty that was private and unalterable. Such things, he saw, could not happen today. Today there were fear, hatred, and pain, but no dignity of emotion, no deep or complex sorrows. George Orwell, 1984.
I am not saying that this potential Brave New World even as outlined by Aldous Huxley is an evil or even a dystopia. Compared to many lives that I could have lived in history, living a hermit’s life in a technological society does not seem too bad and as with Winston Smith could be a happy one. Frankly after a lifetime of struggle, I have had it with human interaction and not only its misery but its banality in which racist idiot cowards like Mr. Coates receive “genius” awards — even internet pornography is better than reality since it lacks the emotional trauma of love and hate. A fight against classism is a fight against the naturally ordained power structure of humanity. Since God is not only power but the ultimate Big Brother of reality, in essence it is a fight against God. Unless one has religious faith, no chance for success there.
So, should one decide to fight it anyway? Since neither armed nor concerted rebellion by my class are options any longer, how is one to be a rebel against classism in any meaningful way? I will consider these questions next.