Bigotry, Racism and Capitalist Class Privilege

The ultimate end of all revolutionary social change is to establish the sanctity of human life, the dignity of man, the right of every human being to liberty and well-being.

— Emma Goldman, My Further Disillusionment with Russia, 1924

Class divisions are prime factors in all systems, governing where, how and if people live, work, eat, dress, school and survive. All members of a class share its privileges, not just some few, as in the case of what is called “white” privilege, as though it was experienced by all humans characterized in racist society as “white”. No matter the skin tone, sexual preference or ethnicity of the persons, class status governs whether they live in some degree of physical comfort, are educated, make investments and are able to plan for the future, or live in relative and often severe discomfort, in debt, in low cost housing, ghettos, jails or on the street, with their only future plan being able to survive another day, let alone another week.

Class privileges come before and count for more than sexual privileges, which are very real but are at least based on the organic nature of humanity, while race differences are a filthy lie under which we live in the promotion of capitalist class society, along with all other separations used to divide humans from our commonality.

The lawyer reduced to ambulance chasing still enjoys a more comfortable material standard of living than the driver of the ambulance, no matter the lawyer’s sex or skin tone or the driver’s religion or sexual preference. Those able to  graduate from college enjoy privilege by comparison to the majority who have no such luck and those with enough money or program access to get them into the “better” schools enjoy more privilege than those who go to ordinary colleges, but both groups enjoy a class status beyond that of the majority, of all shapes, sizes, beliefs and skin tones, who haven’t a prayer of attending college unless making deliveries, cleaning its toilets or building a wing on the chem lab or art studio. And a less formally educated class of majority  Americans owe what education they have to their teachers, all of whom are and were college graduates who enabled them to become, according to some political bigots, unsophisticated, ignorant, and even “deplorable” members of a working class.

Being born into an educated and materially comfortable family does not guarantee a person wont wind up a miserable and suffering human, but that suffering is much less likely to be physical and may at least have the assistance of therapists and legal drugs, rather than reduce them to seeing a parole or probation officer for therapy after consuming the only drugs they can get, illegally.

These aspects of material class reality should be understood by all but are still buried by consciousness controllers who sell us the prevailing mythology that sees all social ills as the result of individual problems or blamed on those most visible as members of lower economic classes, frequently and most malevolently but not exclusively called “people of color”, as though they were blue or purple, but, in fact, covering for a racist history that reduced some of us to even lower economic status by virtue of skin pigmentation.

The horrid story of chattel slavery, in which hundreds of thousands of Africans were transplanted to the western world in chains as the cheapest form of labor, serving as the back bone of capitalist profits for a long period of history, is still almost a secret to many Americans. But while that treatment was uniquely cruel it was a continuation of the inhumanity and abuse of first, the indigenous people who lived here centuries before European colonization, and later, immigrant labor from Europe and Asia which sometimes suffered miserable conditions even beyond some slaves who happened to be owned by benign masters. While the squalor and bigotry encountered by millions of immigrants may not have been as disgraceful as the suffering of slaves, the lesser evilism implicit in such comparisons serves as an example of what passes for our democracy, when voters are frequently reduced to selecting someone who sickens them less than the opposition candidate after an alleged political debate that often amounts to pimps arguing about which one represents true love.

In a system dependent on individual consumption at the market as the be all/end all of human relations that finds a majority of humans the world over relating to life in poverty and misery, class divisions are used by rulers to keep democracy from ever happening. The result can be as ridiculous as people with cancer  seeing people with polio as being privileged, with lesser evilism carried to a point very close to current conditions of working people so divided by ethnicity, sex and skin tones that they keep minorities in power by allowing themselves to be so humanly reduced.

Our ruling billionaire class, smaller in number and richer than any in history, hires and rents a professional class to maintain its rule while those professionals hire, rent, administer and educate the working class to maintain everyone’s status as members of separate classes but all somehow democratically equal. During slavery, the upper class House Negroes sometimes organized and led rebellions when they saw how their people suffered while the masters lived on what they slaved to produce.  But most went along to get along, often hoping to bring change about by slowly working to bring understanding to all concerned, or maybe just making life better for themselves, as most of us do. Their behavior was the same as any other group trying to survive as best it can under circumstances seemingly beyond its personal control. Welcome to 21st century capitalism, the time when the system has never been as unjust but has more people thinking and acting beyond imposed and taught differences but as united humans whose experience is far beyond past expressions of change, though with the same opponents, problems and with even more serious calamities for the future if humanity is not successful.t

When there are social breakdowns, as are currently being experienced in possibly the most severe and communicated way in capitalist history, class differences become bolder and clearer than ever. The latest political economic crisis in America is due to a possibly overdone but still deadly virus compounded by another in a long series of killings of Black Americans by white police, highlighted as never before in the age of instant communication, as well as instant mis-communication. Long dominance by major media over citizen consciousness is often countered now by what is called social media –though it is still at times very anti-social – but the views of a dreadful and at its roots social crime is, as too often, treated as the act of a bigoted individual, or group of individuals who perform state services in maintenance of American class society.

The horrid scene of a victim with a police officer’s knee on his neck causing his death even though he offered no resistance has ignited outbursts of understandable pain and rage but also sometimes cynical manipulation mostly directed at the police as though they are individually acting out racist behavior in some social vacuum in which the formidable economic barriers between communities originate because of servants of the state, rather than the owners and operators of that state: the ruling class.

A relatively comfortable sector of the population has suddenly been confronted by a nearly shut down society under assault by a seemingly new virus and simultaneously seen the most vile aspects of racism for the first time, which the collapsing system has spread in its lust for private profit at public expense, but still clouded by mind management into placing blame for increasing horrors on evil individuals or “identity groups” deemed guilty of perpetuating injustice all by themselves.

Blaming police for the wretched social reality of communities segregated by economics and alleged racial difference is like blaming the military for the wars that destroy nations and kill hundreds of thousands of foreigners while most of us go to work, school, shop, watch TV, feed pets, eat taco-pizza-burgers or health food, buy guns and demonstrate against wars. The political economic realities that treat some humans as lesser commodities in a diseased culture that reduces everything to a market item to be bought and sold are rarely dealt with let alone confronted. The forces of the market exclusively under minority control can no longer be tolerated by any of us wishing or claiming to be working on behalf of humanity and not just a sector of it.

The present moment of a virus which may get worse with demonstrating crowds breathing on one another may end with more deaths and social division but as long as it pits people against the police it will be just what our rulers want. Sincere comments offered by politicians and celebrities are nice but in substance they amount to the usual speeches about hearts going out to the sufferers of whatever tragedy of the moment is being discussed. They are very much like the hordes of us who demonstrate against a war or another injustice, and then go home for dinner while the war and the injustice continue after we vote for another candidate who supports the system of war and injustice.

Our rulers have made even more billions during this pandemic phase of a crumbling system which may yet fall on all our heads if we don’t stop lashing out simply at those employed by them and paid for by us and aim our rebelliousness at the top where it resides.

Capitalism will continue pouring billions into the accounts of the fraction of 1% at the top  while millions lose their jobs, hundreds of thousands lose their homes and  businesses, and well meaning if often misled manipulated “rebels” lash out at working class state servants or a handful of shaved headed bikers or other selected by their manipulators enemies, while the real problems ride around in chauffeured limousines, private jets and soon, even space ships. As we continue pouring wealth into the coffers of Wall Street, the Pentagon and Israel, reducing more Americans to crippling debt and poverty while killing more people in foreign countries, the current resident of subsidized presidential housing and some “white” cops are still seen by too many of us as the source of all our woes.

Some of us are reduced to thinking the poor, the homeless and those on the dole are great problems because we not only hear that from our mind managers but frequently see them on the street and under the freeways, while our rulers are never seen unless on major media and might as well be gods. Their upper class servants live in gated communities while they are in walled estates less accessible to common people than the royalty of feudal days were in their castles with moats and drawbridges to keep the common people out and under control. The police certainly serve in the same capacity in some communities but attacking them as the source of our problems would be like feudal rebels attacking the moat or drawbridge while remaining ignorant of the people and wealth they protected.

We share a material social reality no matter what our personal comfort level may be for the moment and it grows more dangerous to our future the longer we allow ourselves to be ruled by an unelected tiny minority running a system that works against all our interests. We do not need to simply end poverty and injustice in one or another community: we need to end poverty and injustice for all by insisting on jobs, healthcare and housing for all people. We do not need to simply stop killing people in the Middle East or in American ghettos: we need to cut military budgets, work for global peace and disarmament, and stop killing people everywhere. That calls for a radically different system than the one under which we live, one that puts the public good before — way before — private profit, and that needed transformation can only come about when we of the majority class unite to bring it about.

Frank Scott writes political commentary which appears online at the blog Legalienate. Read other articles by Frank.