Classism and the Law / Part II

I was hoping to give some specific options for viable civil disobedience of the law; but given the constant ongoing social and cultural changes in modern technological society and the almost hourly change in the “law”, I see no way of giving realistic options. How to engage in this disobedience is a personal choice dependent on each individual’s abilities and material position in life. Any suggestions I give ignorant of those abilities and position would be worthless. Instead I want to give an example of the possibilities and some hope for options by describing events that happened to my daughter.

My daughter worked for a year in Los Angeles living in the old Koreatown in an apartment building whose tenants were primarily Hispanic immigrants. Most did not speak English and at least some were illegal. While there, she did her laundry in the building laundry room and would often return for her clothes after the dryer cycle was over. When this occurred, the clothes would not only be neatly stacked in a corner of the laundry room table but were often folded and placed in a neat stack on the table. There was never anything missing. Throughout her stay there, despite the radical social differences between them, most of the other tenants saw her as a single woman, alone, that needed to be watched over as they would a daughter.

In a later year, she worked in Washington, D.C. and lived in an apartment in the prestigious Kalorama Heights. The other tenants of the building were law-abiding citizens working either for the government directly or for powers working for the government but without doubt all were concerned with enforcing equality and respect for all. As with Koreatown, she did her laundry in the building laundry room and again would often return for her clothes after the dryer cycle was over. However when this occurred, the clothes would not be neatly stacked in a corner of the laundry room table but she was lucky to find them thrown on the table instead of a corner of the room. Not only were the clothes not folded and placed in a neat stack on the table, but many times something was stolen from the stack. At best they saw her as a competitor in the struggle for power, at worse as a chump.

As I have covered before, the only options for the working class to survive as an opposing culture outside of the law is by physical rebellion, family, or religion. Physical rebellion is suicide in the modern technological society and of no value at least for the foreseeable future. Western religion has itself surrendered to the law as its ethical master. Eastern Religion was always a vassal of secular politics. This leaves family. By family, I use the word as defined by George Orwell in 1984:

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.

The concept of family is radically changing and will continue to change in the near future. The intent of the powers and their law seems to be a unisex, beige world consisting of secular religious cults called work made up of wage slaves and their masters that respect each other in the way the Kalorama Heights residents publicly say they do and publicly expect you to do — or else. Koreatown shows that this intended Brave New World need not be the end of the family. As Orwell’s Winston of 1984 discovered:

What mattered were individual relationships, and a completely helpless gesture, an embrace, a tear, a word spoken to a dying man, could have value in itself. The proles had stayed human. They had not become hardened inside. They had held on to the primitive emotions which he himself had to re-learn by conscious effort. And in thinking this he remembered, without apparent relevance, how a few weeks ago he had seen a severed hand lying on the pavement and had kicked it into the gutter as though it have been a cabbage-stalk.

One can only hope.

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