by Ramin Mazaheri
White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America (2016) by Nancy Isenberg is a book which is credited with the groundbreaking idea of studying the history of poor Whites in America.
It’s a necessary book because it gives us a lot of badly-needed historical information to analyze the major divide in the United States today: between pro- and anti-Trump factions.
Hillary Clinton denounced Trump supporters as “a basket of deplorables” – i.e., White Trash.
And her supporters applauded. If you are pro-Trump you “do not represent America”, and certainly not the best of America.
Anti-Trumpers enjoy this incorrect feeling of superiority, but this cannot be a long-term policy.
What’s needed is understanding, and a good place for Americans to start learning about the absolutely real historical oppression of the class known as White Trash is with this book.
After reading it, I found it quite logical that today’s White Trash support Trump’s conservative call for rolling back the administrative state – this book proves over and over that the US government has done very little to help poor Whites, while it’s done plenty to elevate and maintain the status rich Whites.
We communists generally call this “capitalism”.
While Europe had the revolutions of 1798 and 1848, finding an actual remedy to White Trash poverty was never a real issue in America: It was only temporarily a focus after the crisis of the Civil War, the Great Depression and Johnson’s “Great Society” programs of the 1960s.
This experience is the opposite of Trash in places like Cuba, Iran, the USSR, the mourning Trash of Yugoslavia, China and elsewhere – in these countries a 20th-century revolution put a permanent focus on the needs of the average Trash, and they delivered.
Receptivity to socialism in the US is higher now than at any time since the Great Depression, and this should be no surprise: The underground earthquake which produced the tsunami of Trumpism was the Great Recession, which vastly expanded the social strata unfairly derided as White Trash.
The subsequent failure of Obama to hold anyone accountable allowed everyone to see the false lies of the “American Dream” – White Trash has been (re-) reminded of the “1%” and how “only profits are capitalized, but losses are socialized”.
Oh yes, they fear the White Trash Revolution (WTR)
According to The New York Times review of this book: “’White Trash’ is indeed a bummer….”
LOL, yes, national truths can never be as satisfying as national myths.
The fact is that White Trash are starting to take over, and they must, democratically. The key is for the left to win them over.
This is an enormous challenge in a country as politically reactionary as the United States, where leftist thought has been systemically oppressed and exterminated by the FBI, media owners and a culture that has always adhered to racist, capitalist, empire-maintenance.
But so many leftists in the US, even the more sincere ones, will never win them over if they don’t both understand and sympathize with them.
One would think that the archetype of today’s “White Trash” politician would be Dubya Bush, but he is surprisingly not mentioned at all in the book. Bush was a fake redneck, after all, and a teetotaling, born-again one at that.
But an interesting quote can be drawn from the author’s discussion of Sarah Palin, the Vice-Presidential nominee of John McCain and the first redneck woman to appear on a presidential ticket.
“Writing in the New Yorker, Sam Tanenhaus was struck by Palin’s self-satisfied manner: ‘the certitude of being herself, in whatever unfinished condition, will always be good enough.’”
If Sarah Palin is White Trash – an American peasant – this is how the fake left views them: unevolved.
Palin is not a great political leader, sure, but my point is that anyone even resembling Sarah Palin has been contemptuously looked down on for more than 400 years.
Now imagine if Tolstoy had used the same description while writing about his archetypal “good peasant” Platon Karataev in “War and Peace”…would it have been out of place? I think not.
But Tolstoy’s great love allowed him to see the virtues in Russia’s peasants. For the New York Times, The New Yorker and a seemingly-gigantic majority of the mainstream media, America’s peasants and pro-Trumpers are not only without political intelligence but also moral virtue.
Tolstoy is usually defined as a Christian Anarchist – and this is extremely close to a Communist in 2017. After all, Cuba reconciled with Catholicism two decades ago; China is promoting Confucianism and it’s necessary yin component of Taoism; Iran has married many communist ideas with religion.
While Tolstoy uplifts, reading the New Yorker is like getting a root canal because their elitist sentiment is so smugly pro-establishment. Shouldn’t it be “good enough” to be yourself? Must we put on fancy airs and pretend to be something we are not?
But there is no archetypal “good” White Trash in America – they are despised, marginalized, oppressed and segregated in American life, as this book repeatedly proves.
The WTR is looking more and more like a real historical wave, especially if the National Front wins in France and topples the European Union. If Le Pen is voted in she’s promised a ‘Frexit’ referendum within 6 months if elected.
If the WTR is a historical trend, what does it supplant?
It supplants the Politically Correct Revolution (PCR), which was a great revolution, despite its many xenophobic detractors.
The PCR has enabled it to now be well-known that the US democracy was always a sham due to racism and sexism – prior to that you had to have read or listened to somebody like Malcom X. I.e., you were you on the fringe.
Yet I always found it funny that the most impassioned PCR adherents expressed such respect for the Trash of, say, India, and yet they would look down as though from Mount Olympus on poor White cultures in America?
Part of this fine: Giving the hicks – of the Andes Mountains or Central Africa or the Eskimos or whoever – their cultural due is absolutely necessary. Looking down on them only proves your inability to comprehend their culture.
Yet these PCR die-hards expressed SUCH contempt for the hillbillies in America – for White Trash – and they still do.
I am thankful to say that I had White Trash friends (I don’t to write ‘have’ and offend them, LOL) and they were great. They taught me a lot and certainly taught me that city folk and middle-and-upper class people were totally ignorant of many key aspects of life.
But in segregated, suburban, gated America, it seems very few getting out to the country and sincerely trying to make friends?
The WTR is feared by these supposedly “left” publications, because White Trash, and Trash in general, are on the verge of upsetting the established order. But it is not the order established by the PCR, but a rigid class order that was established from the moment of British colonization, as the author repeatedly demonstrates.
The WTR created by the end to the denial of their democratic power
The book elevates the importance that post-Civil War poll taxes were also unaffordable for White Trash. It is the banning of poll taxes with the 24th amendment in 1964, and not the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which finally gave poor, landless White Trash a true democratic voice.
This gives the WTR a truly historical basis which has been largely ignored by the PCR in favor of their false, class-ignorant, “poll taxes harmed only Blacks” theory.
The reality is that poll taxes – which would not even begin to be eliminated until the 1930s and would not be fully eliminated until 1964 – allowed all Trash regardless of color to finally participate in American democracy.
Because there has been no modern revolution in the US since 1776, American Trash have only had the slow slog of those forced to work within the constraints of the capitalist/social democratic system (due to the constant and violent suppression of communist thought).
Well, it has taken 50 years, but the White majority – who come from the 99% – has finally elected a president who did what White Trash have always asked for: End four centuries of oppressive rule by the moneyed elite, the landholders, the wage-stealers, the aristocratic class, the global capitalists (who also happen to be mainly White, for those who are permanently stuck in the PCR).
The WTR, after 50 years of mass media control, also finally surmounted the media domination of the capitalists. Trump was endorsed by just 2 of the top 100 newspapers; even right-wing Fox News fought him for months; Hollywood was a constant stream of anti-Trump messages.
Another thing the WTR did was overturn the idea that the president should be an aristocrat in nature, and the book proves this idea has been dominant for decades.
As the move to end poll taxes became inevitable, “…the longing for a more regal head of state was advanced. The Democrats swooned over Kennedy’s Camelot, and Republicans ennobled the Hollywood court of Reagan.”
Trump is no moral hero like Carter (LOL to that notion), no reformed alcoholic/Christian like Dubya, no (sellout) racial hero like Obama.
Trump is probably no “great man” but, as Tolstoy would agree, one drop of the historical WTR wave. This wave has eliminated Cameron, Renzi, Sarkozy, Hollande, Clinton and others.
It’s unfortunate that this wave includes xenophobia, but we must agree that the nationalism is no longer petty: average Americans and Europeans and are now victims of a global corporate imperialism and radically-new digital high-finance class.
Trump is not White Trash – he is a billionaire – but Trump is clearly the first White Trash President.
Trump was elected to smash the system
This is something which White Trash has wanted to do since always.
And what does that mean?
Smashing the system is what revolution is: you chase out the rich, you retake control of the armed forces and you finally reflect the democratic will.
This is an enormously rare event, and it has only been done recently in places like Cuba, China, Iran, the USSR and a few others. This has happened in places like Burkina Faso, only to be subverted by the West. This is also something which has not been done in Western nations since 1776 for the US, 1789 for France and never in the UK.
Trump is not a revolutionary, but he could accomplish some of these WTR dreams. He could reorient US foreign policy away from imperialism; he could reorient the US from free-trade global capitalism.
The WTR is an exciting idea, but it is just a phase and not an end.
The reason Trump is destined to fail – although he is about 50/50 after six weeks in office – is that he is trying to do it from within the system and through reforms.
That is not revolution, but a coup.
Still…history is also full of coups that turned out well for the average person, mainly in places where the bar was already set quite low.
Trump receives only one mention in the book, and his presidency will probably turn out like the author wrote:
“Donald Trump’s The Apprentice, billed as a ‘seductive weave of aspiration and Darwinism,’ celebrated ruthlessness. In these and related shows, talent was secondary; untrained stars were hired to serve voyeuristic interests, in expectation that, as mediocrities, they could be relied on to exhibit the worst of human qualities: vanity, lust and greed.”
We simply cannot fairly say if Trump will finish as an object of hero worship like a Castro or as a mediocrity who was hired to serve non-White Trash interests – his actions as president will determine that.
But we must realize that what Trump has achieved is based on the strategy of not bashing White Trash and their political interests.
And what are Trash interests?
Historically that has been land, just like in every country.
In every modern, anti-imperialist revolution “land reform” has been essentially the guiding policy: USSR, Cuba, Zimbabwe – the list goes on and on.
The book proves that White Trash was systematically excluded from good land as a matter of government policy. The idea that the Frontier provided a White Trash family the ability to claim, clear and hold good farmland for generations is totally disproven. “They are blamed for living on bad land, as though they had other choices.”
Out of sight, out of mind: the most restrictive and undemocratic laws in America are zoning laws, after all.
They are still used to keep White Trash segregated: gated communities, trailer parks, congressional redistricting…all are designed to keep rich Whites away from Trash of any color.
Highways block off Black-filled urban housing projects; trailer parks are on the outskirts of town and by the factory/railroad/cattle pens/dump.
I think some White Democrats express genuine concern about Black poverty, but you never hear them utter a sentence like in this book: “Trailer trash had become America’s untouchables.”
They certainly are.
As the author demonstrates, this is because extreme White poverty has been systematically obscured and ignored in America.
White Trash has always been a huge problem and it’s gotten much bigger due to the Great Recession.
Despite the decline of individual farming, land reform is still required in America because nothing has really changed: the biggest marker of class and status is the value of the land where you live.
Just like everyone in real estate knows: “Location is everything. Location determines access to a privileged school, a safe neighborhood, infrastructural improvements, the best hospitals, the best grocery stores.”
The obvious solution is for the government to force economic integration via rent controls, to subsidize poor people to live in rich areas and to use economic redistribution to uplift poor areas.
News flash: This is what communists have already done in places like Cuba. The most run-down areas of Havana are at least the most desirable real estate as they are just steps from the water. In any capitalist city Havana’s waterfront property would instead be the most valuable and reserved for the ultra-rich.
After the Iranian revolution the government first rebuilt south Tehran, the city’s poorest area. Ahmadinejad, so derided in the West, was a rock star in rural areas but an “illegitimate president” in the richer areas of the cities.
Doesn’t that sound familiar in 2017?!
Republican France has laws for housing integration on the books but they are never properly enforced, even under the fake-Socialist Francois Hollande.
The facts are all in: Communism leads to more stable growth and actual equality while capitalism shuns equality and widens the gaps during any downturn.
Trump, and we see this from his pro-capitalist stance, is probably only going to exacerbate this lack of justice.
Again, the WTR is just a phase, and it’s a bumpy one, but it’s better than the previous era that followed the death of the USSR, the “TINA-UCV”: There Is No Alternative-Unstoppable Capitalist Victory.
So what is White Trash, really?
In describing NASCAR fans the author writes: “They embraced a certain species of freedom – the freedom to be a boor, out in the open and without regrets.”
Does this not perfectly describe the electoral campaign of Donald Trump? Goodbye PCR!
Sloughing that off – as it became no longer just a necessary tool but an end in itself – is indeed progress.
But here in France we just call those types of boors “the French”.
And these people are far more interesting, fun and numerous than the other French archetype: aloof, stylish (rich) and sexually sadistic…but also “cosmopolitan”, pro-EU, fundamentally pro-capitalist, anti-Le Pen but still racist because the hijab is a “prison”, etc.
The gulf between the boor and the angelic yet earthy peasant Karataev is real.
But was Karataev angelic and earthy, despite being White Trash, due to the superiority of Russian genes? Certainly not.
Karataev was so wonderful and inspirational because he was not a real person but a fictional character; but we can assume Karataev, and his author, “learned” his socialism/Christian anarchism from his culture.
Karataev would probably be proud to be called a “redneck” today, but he would not have been proud to have been called a “boor”. He’d be a fun clown at a party, yes, but that is not a boor.
This book does a great service because it investigates, redeems and promotes the historical class oppression endured by America’s White Trash.
It seems clear that Trump and Bannon do not truly idolize the hidden virtues of White Trash – they idolize King Reagan and King Croesus– but it is still too early to say for certain.
They say getting money shows who a person really is – the same probably goes for power.
It is capitalism which accuses, however: “You White Trash must raise yourself up.” It is socialism, and only socialism, which lends both the helping hand and the shield from those who will certainly try to break brotherly bonds.
Middle- and upper-class America are desperately fighting the WTR, just as they have historically always fought off White Trash demands for justice and fairness. And it is true that there is no guarantee at this date that the WTR will not descend into fascism. Certainly, many of the same xenophobic and fascist elements are similar to the 1930s.
This is partially why the demonization of Trump supporters is something which should never be tolerated by any thinking or moral person – it only fuels the climate of ignorance and anger which fascism thrives upon.
Regardless, the separate point is that this book shows that the WTR – via the empowerment of White Trash – has been decades in the making in the United States.
Fortunately, socialism is centuries in the making across the world.
(This editorial is paired with a complete book review of “White Trash”.)
Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.
If you wanted to understand why poor White southerners became stock figures of contempt in American literature (from novels and plays to newspaper editorials) you had only to note who owned/controlled the press, contrasting the conservative Christian values of the southerners to the liberal values of the other-ethnicity press moghuls.
It was (and largely still is) an iron rule that rural southern people must be portrayed as backward, low-IQ, sexual degenerates in literature (Tobacco Road stereotype) ; any display of empathy with their horrendous exploitation (Let Us Now Praise Famous Men) was only possible in this context. Otherwise publication was not an option.
The sexual depravity rule was relaxed only for mass-consumption humorous mockery of them (Beverly Hillbillies, Dukes of Hazard) or cloyingly sentimental chick flick programs (country music star TV bios) but not eliminated.
“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” — George Orwell
“Stories make a place. Without stories there is no place, but without place there can still be stories. If your stories are not organically grown, but imposed on you by those who hate everything about you, then you’re virtually dead.” — Linh Dinh (“Ashland, Pa.”)
Think about this.
“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” — George Orwell.
Great one, sir.
The opinion moulders, think tanks and intellectuals are just doing that. They hate ordinary Majority population and their way of life.
But the same group would applaud any other minority groups whose way of life differs from Majority groups, whether from India or any other countries, even if these people are TRASH.
PS : This extends even to regional accents. When was the last time you (American) heard a national news announcer or entertainment program host on TV speaking in other than the artificially homogenized “standard” (midwest) American diction ?
Give me a refined, deep southern accent any day over the grating New Yawk or New Joisey patois I hear incessantly on the boob tube. Lord help . . .
Turf the boob tube.
And realize what Socrates realized: Posing the right questions to a slave boy leads to truth and discovery faster than the elite young men of Athens could ever arrive at without some poor old man questioning their pampered assumptions.
Trash is an unfortunate classification, even used with empathy. I prefer “salt of the earth”.
Here you have an inspiring instance of how they can make valuable scientific/psychological discoveries, and free themselves of dimocratic mind control::
“The densest element in the known Universe has been found – Pelosium”
Posted on 4/3/2010, 4:54:50 AM by trooprally
“Pelosium: A major research institution has just announced the discovery of the densest element yet known to science. The new element has been named Pelosium. Pelosium has one neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 311.
These particles are held together by dark forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.
The symbol of Pelosium is PU.
Pelosium’s mass actually increases over time, as morons randomly interact with various elements in the atmosphere and become assistant deputy neutrons within the Pelosium molecule, leading to the formation of isodopes.
This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientist to believe that Pelosium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as Critical Morass. When catalyzed with money, Pelosium activates CNNadnausium, an element that radiates orders of magnitude more energy, albeit as incoherent noise, since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons as Pelosium.”
The Pelosium picture, though is worth a thousand words:
I think Pelosium has been mislabeled, should be “Politicium”. Remains in a state of deadly radiation forever, generates an ever increasing amount as time passes.
Can only only be brought under control by a liberal application of “Guillotinium”.
Most people wanted Trump to win because they absolutely did not want Hillary.
After 1865, poor white Southerners migrated to northern cities to work in the factories. The South lay in ruins, while the economies of the North were booming. Unfortunately, the southern states sent mostly human garbage (white trash) to the North. Would you like to live and work with these people. Do you want your kids to go to school with theirs:
Jeff Foxworthy describes it well. “You might be a redneck, if…..” Unfortunately, the people living in the southern states have not listened and learned:
Larry the Cable Guy celebrates stupid, dirty, vulgar white trash and people love him. Again, the people living in the southern states have not listened and learned:
Why would anyone enjoy listening to Country Music? How many Country songs celebrate the redneck lifestyle?
The real Yankees are people who live in the American northeast. Midwesterners really hate southerners placing them in the same group with people from New York and New Jersey.
Ramin Mazaheri: Why do the French look at the French-speaking (quebecois french) people in Canada, as rednecks? By contrast, why are accents and dialects celebrated in the German speaking countries?
@ Talks to Cats: Actually, the “US broadcast accent” has been linguistically analyzed as more closely related to the Canadian/Ontario urban dialect than any US regional style. Leaving out the jibes of comedian-emphasized “oot” (out) and “zed vs zee”, US broadcasters would be unremarkable speaking on the streets of Toronto while Ontarians are noticeable by our “dialect” in such places as… Buffalo.
That said, Zed Zed Top is one of my favourite bands.
And so how far back shall we go in determining the appropriate historical “culture” of a given region/nation? To the Clovis peoples in the US south-east, or to the enigmatic, possibly Europeans from at least 2,000 years earlier? Turns out the Native Americans probably descended from Eurasian stock that crossed the Bering Strait (or land-bridge/glacier) were far from the first.
Or just to the relatively recent layers laid down by bulldozer of US “exceptionalism” and capitalist/consumerist propaganda?
Those caricatures of backwoods Southern life are not so far from the truth. In 1960’s Ontario, north of Hwy 7, there were still places where you’d swear were where they shot “dueling banjos”. Some family friends moved there and on our first few visits we took baskets of fruit (we live in the Niagara region) and some of the local 10-12-year-old kids up there didn’t know to spit the pits out of the cherries because they had never had them before. But those kids could gut/fillet a fish faster than anyone I’ve ever seen, and could live quite well in the environment they grew up in.
So defining culture through the frame of civilization, particularly the last “great’ one to occupy the area is an imperialist notion.
i am going to watch a episode of BONANZA now. :-)
Divide and conquer has always been the strategy of the elites… you pit the poor white trash against their equally economically oppressed black couonterparts… you pit those of faith against the abused cynics, you pit those who value order against those who see the order as biased and protective of only the rich. You play on blind fear and blind faith with narratives that produce factionalism…
But what is the narrative that will keep the WTR united?… or is it simply a wave that will crash and shatter on the rocks of its’ heritage of prejudice? The USSR had the ideal of ‘the new man’… the elites offered a new world order. Both collapsed under their unexamined baggage and failure to produce anything remotely resembling what was promised. Trump offers a ‘new America’… but seen in the light of this author, it never was great – so that phrase – even though politically and momentarily covenient, lacks the substance of sucess.
Putin was able to use the heritage of Russian Orthodoxy as a rallying point for faith, egalitarianism, and racial tolerance on the way to a more economically and socially just society. i do not see anything in the American cultural landscape that could serve such a purpose.
True enough. But Marx set proles & bourgs to playing “Let’s You and Him Fight” to forestall the likelihood of both uniting against the bad guys. Nobody saw this before, apparently. Well worth 15 minutes : mileswmathis.com/marx.pdf
Thanks mate, to open my eyes and remind me of that what I learned in school and had a little bit forgotten, class and class struggle is all what matters. Now I understand, why the “modern left” in the west and especially in Germany completely lost it and will never lead anybody to anything – because the pushed away the lesson of the struggle of classes against each other and only want to become part of the ” decision makers”. In other words, the forgot, for whom the shoud make politics and only want to be ” part of it”, means stabile income, save social status etc.
Very well done and a well chosen point to examine. It has been said, by Americans, that capitalism in the gentleman’s form of slavery… Look. You tell me if this claim is true. I concede that the definition beggars the word “gentlemen”…
One sharp error that I want people to understand – revolution follows change, it does not create change. Obviously, after a revolution there are more changes, but, if these are logical, they cement the revolution. But the revolution, the einmalig in der geschichte des landes, follows some large rapid change and is the result, not the cause. This is important to keep in mind. Revolution occur when things cannot continue as they have done, and yet must continue…people must eat, love, raise children, and work – when they cannot… Well, that is the ground of revolution.
For a deeper and far more difficult but also masterly and powerful understanding of the real peasant/capitalist bifurcation in America, read and critically understand Melville’s The Confidence Man
‘capitalism is the gentleman’s form of slavery’
I grew up deep in the middle class of Australia from 1955.
When I reflect, I was no deep thinker, no revolutionary, I would have fought in the Vietnam war because that is what you did if you were from the deep middle class. We were comfortable, had a ‘middle’ life of comfort.
The working class did things, we organised things, we were the teachers. The rich were a small minority that did not bother us really. If they controlled things we did not notice. They must have been smarter than this current lot.
I remember at time when both the working class and the middle class had good, permanent, secure jobs that gave them a comfortable standard of living. A time when a worker could raise a family, the mother looking after the children, buy a house, retire in comfort. Not rich, but in comfort.
( as an aside – at the mention of ‘the mother looking after the children’ the feminists, the PC-Greenies all spin out of control, totally missing the point, mouthing half understood slogans about the woman’s right to work etc etc. From having the right to work, now women have to work, the hot issue in an election being childcare costs. Talk about not being able to see the wood for the trees.)
Where was I, oh yes, ‘Not rich, but in comfort.’ All this rolled along happily until cracks started to appear in the 1980’s, ever deepening fissures in the 1990’s, a party until 1908, then “what the fuck was that?!!!” ……then do nothing Obama carefully letting all the wriggling grubs off the hook ….. then, then Trump.
Over the last year or two I have been writing and talking about how the working class and middle class are being turned into slaves. After a brief glorious time from the end of WWII to around the 1980’s the working class and middle class had a reasonable standard of living, sharing in the spoils of capitalism, hard work actually was repaid.
The 1990’s heralded a change.
Was that connected with the Internet? I do not know, interesting thought though.
Capital has always been free to roam the globe exploiting labour that was generally unable to escape.
That has been magnified by computerisation of labour and the Internet
Our clueless politicians tell us not to worry, we can all become menials, serving coffee to the privileged few, or to rich Chinese tourists.
The Unions have long since given up and sold their bums to the big end of town.
The term ‘working poor’ crept into our vocabulary, unnoticed by the majority. A more accurate term/word would be ‘slave’. After all, if you work your butt off and have nothing left at the end of the week, how is this different to slavery?
I am generally laughed at or ignored. “Ho, ho ho …. slaves worked for nothing, we get a wage, we buy things ….”
“ …. and how much money do you save? How much is left after you pay for everything to feed, clothe and shelter yourself and your family?”
Do you have full-time secure jobs?
Yes, I know, relics, ideas from before 1990, from the 1960’s, ancient history.
The greedy little sods who seem to control things now are no gentlemen.
Yet, I suspect the ‘gentlemen’ never really left, were always there, patiently manipulating behind the scenes to bring back the natural order of things ….. gentlemen and slaves.
Bit of a technical point here, but applicable and not to be forgotten.
“I remember at time when both the working class and the middle class had good, permanent, secure jobs that gave them a comfortable standard of living.”
If the middle class (a largely propagandist term) have jobs they need to live on, that means they are working class. The range of wages and salaries may be substantial, but the capitalist is one who does not have to work to live because of the returns from what they own — the wealthy, the rentier class, in the US those who make money from capital gains (untaxed).
‘Middle class’ is a term used to make those with earning a bit more money feel happy the are not ‘working class’ and not want to unite with poorer workers in social revolution.
(BTW, I dare say the last time I went to an auto mechanic he knew more about the job he did then the doctor I am assigned to knows about his, and the most knowledgeable and aware friend I have makes his living by driving a truck.)
“I remember at time when both the working class and the middle class had good, permanent, secure jobs that gave them a comfortable standard of living.”
That time was post-WW2 when the corporate/capitalist keepers of the 0.01% cashbox had to sit down across the union negotiating tables from men hardened by war, having had to kill, see the deaths of their fellow soldiers and witnessing the horrors of the death camps. These men would not be denied the democracy guaranteed in the Constitution and “a chicken in every pot, a car in every garage” promised (but not delivered) by FDR.
The US/Rothschild corporate combine knew fear like they had never known. The returning US soldiers could easily turn and organize against a gov’t and corporate culture that put profit over the well-being of their families, communities and country. This was no Bonus Army and Ike’s military would not have stood against them, but with them.
The Rothschlds, Soros, Rockefellers and Bilderbergs again need to learn to fear for their lives, or this war-profiteer horror they visit on us will never end.
Damn Straight, let’s do it!
Anon21 – great point about how “revolution follows change, it does not create change”.
Reminded me of Quran 13:11 – “Truly, God does not change the state of a people until they change the state of their own selves.”
This goes against the “personality” or “great man” theory of history so popular in the West and especially Western fascism. Such a theory totally denies that the people have any role in shaping society when it is truly the people who have changed, who then make changes, who then have a revolution to “cement the revolution”, as you wrote.
As many have written: Trump is the symptom, and not the disease. Therefore, blaming him for seemingly everything wrong in America misses the point entirely.
I just wonder, if Mazaheri mentions anything about Michael Moore?
He’s someone strange, in totally looking like WT, but actually not at all.
My quick take on Michael Moore is that he is truly not appreciated anywhere as much as he should be.
He is very easy to lampoon, and very easy to criticize for being such a Democrat-party shill (which he is), but the truth is that a nation of Michael Moores would be very concerned with social justice and equality.
I know his hometown of Flint, Michigan rather well, having visited it many times. It is the 2nd Blackest city in the US, and I lived for years in the 1st, Gary, Indiana. Both are factory towns. I used to go to Flint and say “It’s much better here than Gary – I am quite jealous!” LOL
Anyway, enough about me – I wish Moore would propose more radical solutions politically, but if Moore was an open communist he would never have been able to make as many fine movies as he has.
I think the US left should appreciate how radical he actually is because he operates in the unique American context, and there are enormous limitations on leftism in American society.
I haven’t seen his last couple movies…I will, tho.
Isn’t it amazing how the term “white trash” rolls off of certain tongues as if it was the most natural thing in the world? Can anyone here even FATHOM the amount of kvetching that would come from the Saker’s leftist commentariat if he published an article that contained the words “African Trash” or “Black Trash” or “Mexican Trash” or “Han Trash” or “Shi’a Trash” or “Slavic trash”?
No, I don’t think you can fathom it.
The writer calls a lot of people Trash in this article and the other one.
“This experience is the opposite of Trash in places like Cuba, Iran, the USSR, the mourning Trash of Yugoslavia, China and elsewhere – in these countries a 20th-century revolution put a permanent focus on the needs of the average Trash, and they delivered.”
Apparently he thinks Yugoslavian Trash are sad on top of being trash! What? Didn’t NATO make that area better? Hardly. Good articles.
The most famous book about “White Trash” is probably Grapes of Wrath.
Some have tried to blame “White Trash” for the Iraq war but I think this is an error; while these people may seem comfortable with American imperialism, at least today, they were not the driving force behind the invasion and did not benefit from it. That was the neocons.
A similar error is made in “Idiocracy”, which tries to blame “White Trash” for America’s problems. It is an entertaining movie but not really accurate. Again, the driving force for the bad policies was not WT.
With that said, I can’t say I admire the way Americans have gone along with some terrible policies.
Europeans have political awareness (not always of best quality) of necessity. They have many near neighbors whose behavior must be anticipated and reckoned with.
Americans do not. They only think about politics in MSM terms (are deluded) as a rule, and the proles not at all except when some politician succeeds in implanting the suggestion that some other country is doing “us” wrong or disrespecting us (looking for a fight). Otherwise, beer, TV sports and diversions. They don’t sense how much events in other parts of the world affect them, or in what ways. They are more aware of NASCAR racing than of Russia or Ukraine.
Even most of the snowflakes protesting in the streets cannot give any coherent account of what they are protesting that even minimally accords with facts.
I think they go along with what they are manipulated into going along with from sheer simplicity.
Unfortunately, I agree with you. Americans probably have some understanding of Europe. Of countries such as Ukraine or Iraq, though, forget it.
Noam Chomsky actually argues that educated people are more indoctrinated then the “White Trash”. Less educated people are not as propagandized.
@ Talks to cats: USicans only THINK they don’t have to deal with “neighbours” (they barely know Canada or Mexico exist except when the need someone to “blame”… ya, that’s a South Park/Trumpy reference). There are some glimmers of intelligence in the US pop scene (Don’t wanna be an American Idiot, Green Day) but this seems to have little impact. Much less than Buffalo Springfield’s For What It’s Worth had in its day.
One hopes that USican citizens, trash or upper-crusty, soon realize that in the current hypersonic ICBM age, “neighbours” means Russia and China. As in you don’t even get time to stick your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye. Just a white flash and you are now part of the 96% of the universe we don’t know anything about. Maybe cut a striking carbon shadow on the nearest wall. But who would be around to see it?
I never met anyone personally who supported Trump, perhaps because I live in Israel. In fact an Israeli friend, who knows his country well, says he never met an Israeli who supported Trump either. On the other hand, the English-speaking blog called SyrianPerspective is full of bloggers who, like myself, supported Trump (warily) against the so called “liberal left” kleptocandidate, Clinton. Nor would I classify any of them as “trash” – quite the contrary, they were well informed people, writing from many countries to deplore the Obama regime’s casual attitude to mass slaughter, its venality, its cynical disregard of truth, its obtuseness, its savagery, its campaigns of hatred against Libya, against Syria, against Iran, against Russia and China. Behind its “liberal left” mask the Obama regime was putrid from top to bottom, and the Clintons are diseased in body and soul. So the Trump rallying call, to Drain the Swamp, resonated with people who are not only “white” and definitely not “trash”. Whether the Trump revolution can drain the pus from the pustule on the face of Western Democracy remains to be seen.
Ok you really got my white trash balls boiling.
“Well, it has taken 50 years, but the White majority – who come from the 99% – has finally elected a president who did what White Trash have always asked for: End four centuries of oppressive rule by the moneyed elite, the landholders, the wage-stealers, the aristocratic class, the global capitalists (who also happen to be mainly White, for those who are permanently stuck in the PCR).”
Who are you referring to? Surely not Trump, who is just part a different sector of the rich ruling class, and almost certainly will do the reverse Robin Hood act — already started it.
As for Palin…
I’ve know many of the so-called ‘white trash’ (there are likely those who would apply that term to me) who understand quite a bit about the reality, and are not dumb at all, but have escaped from the propaganda and BS — but Palin is dumb, as dumb as a lot of other politicians, and many in the middle class, and up to twice as crazy.
There is too much ‘trash’ around, but it doesn’t mean color, money, or class. (Ferinstance… I worked for a while as a consultant in a big bank’s computer center and there were people there who didn’t know enough to flush the toilet after themselves.)
Oh! Time for an examination! Taken from the backwardized perspective of a pompous Semite.
Readers should know that “semite” refers to speakers of a specific language group prevalent in the Middle East, most Arabic ethnicities included…
The Christian/Zionists deliberately confiscated and twisted the term to mean “anti-Jewish”, or “anti-Israel”, but intelligent people here at Saker see through the dog whistle.
So are you accusing the author of being a semite, or a Zionist? Big difference, as most Arabs are also semite. Most Jews in Israel or elsewhere are technically not semite. Given that a large number of the post WW2 “Jewish immigrants” to Palestine were Nazi death camp/discrimination/displaced survivors that neither the US nor Britain would accept…
Batman’s alter ego Brucewhain/likely self-proclaimed genetic superhero,
Iranians are not racially classified as Semites.
The people of Iran – please note how these two words are the EXACT same – Aryan.
Think about that one for bit.
We Iranians always thought Hitler was talking about us being the super race!
But this is a foolish conversation, in my opinion.
Hope I didn’t ruin your day!
I’ve lived among pindo white trash since the late 1960’s. In my opinion your view of them is very much through “rose coloured glasses”. I’ve also lived among black trash and new immigrant trash, as well. I found I prefer the company of the latter 2 groups to the first.
As for trump, he seems to have less clout in his own regime than pence, and pence is little different than mccain. The math here is very simple.
I had good friends who lived in trailer parks, what can I say?
The were not perfect – I am not positing White Trash as being any better than the rest of us – but they were able to prove the artistic merits of Metallica!
”This is also something which has not been done in Western nations since 1776 for the US, 1789 for France and never in the UK.”
I would humbly point out that the ending of monarchical rule took place in England between 1642-1649, in a political and military struggle between Parliament and King Charles I. Parliament’s New Model Army, under the command of Cromwell and Fairfax inflicted decisive defeats on the Royalist forces at the battles Naseby 1645, Worcester 1650 and a mercenary Scottish Army at Dunbar 1652. Charles eventually lost his head – literally – for treason against the English nation in 1949. Cromwell Ruled England as Lord Protector until he died and was succeeded by his somewhat incompetent son Richard, whose ineptitude resulted in the return of Charles’ 1’s son Charles 2. But this was only a partial restoration: absolute monarchy was finished and Parliamentary sovereignty was now established, until, that is, the advent of the EU.
Leon wrote a potted history of these events in his pamphlet ‘Where is Britain Going.’ He was particularly impressed by the name of the Cavalry of the New Model Army – the Ironsides.
End of History lesson:
The Putney Debates
In this connection.
[I could have hit the reply button, but this turned out to be a long post and I figured it’d mess up the thread, so I’ll post it separately, if you folks don’t mind]
“If the middle class (a largely propagandist term) have jobs they need to live on, that means they are working class. The range of wages and salaries may be substantial, but the capitalist is one who does not have to work to live because of the returns from what they own — the wealthy, the rentier class, in the US those who make money from capital gains (untaxed). [..]”
The problem I see, is that lots of people have no real idea what being middle class actually is. There was an article where they conducted a poll asking people that question; they got some seriously ridiculous answers, the one that stuck in my mind the most was that a lot of people classed themselves as middle class because they owned a microwave oven (not a joke), while others, fancy themselves as middle class just because they had a University diploma, totally lost in them was the fact that they were broke :/
To be true middle class you have to have a household income of six figures, very little or no debt, you own – outright – the house you’re living in and everything inside it, plus the car/s sitting outside. Your retirement is taken care of and you might even be able to put a little extra on the side for eventualities. If you have children they will be going to college on your dime, and not by taking-on student debt. That’s the bear minimum to be middle class.
If you have a mortgage, you’re not middle class, if your car is a lease, your not middle class [etc] and at that point it doesn’t mater if you make six figures or not, until the deed papers are in your hand and you cleared most of your debts, you’re not middle class. Aspiring to be? Yes, but that’s it. If a financial crash like in 2008/2009 could leave you with your aspirations in the trash overnight; you guessed it: you’re most definitely not middle class. [Incidentally, the film remake Fun with Dick and Jane – with Jim Carrey, illustrates that scenario beautifully]
And particularly that last point is what most people don’t understand which in turn is also an important part of the class struggle. At some point the ‘masters of the universe’ figured that to keep people docile and content in their pathetic little lives, they didn’t have to actually be middle class, you just had to convince them that they were. To achieve that they used two approaches: 1- they erased from the media and the political discourse any reference to the working class, when they talk about “the people” they always refer to them as; families, middle class, or middle income families [< whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean] 2- they made loans accessible to more and more people, in order to give them the illusion of being middle class while simultaneously making the banksters rich of course.
The ‘Rise of the Hillbillies’ [LoL] we’re seeing is just good old fashion class struggle, trouble is… I don’t think they, themselves understand it that way. They tend to be allergic – thanks to decades of brainwashing – to anything even resembling Socialists ideas. Whether they like it or not the concept of class struggle is the center piece of both Socialism and Communism, but you go and try to tell them that, they’ll chase you away for being a ‘dirty commie.’ The fact that the ‘alt-right’ is blaming everything on the “Left” (when what they actually mean is the fake-left) doesn’t help either. Then you have to convince the permanently disoriented that they are part of the same class struggle too; the poor, the working poor, the minorities (particularly ethnic ones), the hipster campus dwellers with eye-watering student debts, the snobbish graduates who care more about identity politics than they care about not being able to get a decent job, let alone a job on their chosen fields and oh yeees, the ones I mention above: the fake middle class.
If we somehow manage to get those various groups jumping on-board this ‘deplorable’ train, we might get an actual shot at the globalists, at the very least slow them down, which at this point in time; while not ideal, it’s better than nothing.
I get what you mean about a simple reply morphing into an essay – easy to do when one starts down the thinking path.
I like your thoughts about what middle class is, but it seems too focused on money and property as the only determinants. I like what blue said about middle class really being just working class in disguise or in aspiration.
I suppose it comes down to a discussion about just what we mean by ‘class’ in the first place. Is it based on money and stuff, on values, on education level, on professional qualifications, on how one earns their living, on the presence or absence of debt, on whether one works for a living or lives off the work of others or the largess of the government? I don’t see an easy or obvious answer to that question. But I’m glad the essay by Ramin brought it up.
Class is a classification — a way of grouping objects, people, ideas, etc. Working class here refers to economic class, but specifically to ‘working’ — as opposed to say, leisure class or capitalist class, although the money available can surely influence what else they can, don’t, or have to do. Kids with working class or poor families generally do not go to Ivy League schools, or lately maybe not any higher education, or often, don’t even finish high school.
(I suppose those who can’t afford cars are walking class, while those with some money and connections might be wonking class or (along with many politicians) wanking class, since they spend their time on it. Perhaps mainstream history and economic professors would be called winking class, given what they tell people should be said with a wink. Entertaining are often now twerking class … etc., etc.)
The big thing about ‘trash’ people is that those in power use them up and then discard them. Free slaves, not as a verb, but a noun: the capitalists get them largely for free — don’t have to buy them, and they don’t need much maintenance — if a Walmart employee needs medical care or more food they are taught how to apply for government benefits, so big corporations are often the largest ‘consumers of welfare type payments in the usual sense of the word and not just bailouts and other perks from the government such as a police force, legal system and structures (used mostly by companies), and bridges and roads which they need to do business — and, of course, the military (what does the working class need with a huge standing army? It’s the military which needs them).
(Now that that’s all out the commie in me says ‘class dismissed’. :-D )
I went straight out and purchased a copy of this book. Promises to be most informative.
First, two minor things in support of your argument (and that of White Trash, though I believe the author failed to mention them):
To Kill a Mockingbird is an American classic. Harper Lee (the author) made it very clear that one family was white trash—and made it clear what white trash was, for those who might not have had in-person contact with white trash. The portrait was stereotypical, and extremely negative. The movie reinforced this.
The second minor thing is, if I recall correctly, the novel/movie Deliverance, and the portrayal of white trash hillbillies in West Virginia. Again, reinforcing a highly negative stereotype.
And now to take issue with you: it seems you are a romantic, and obviously a radical leftist (as a communist). That is fine. But the “bad guys” have won time and time again precisely because the “lower orders” lack the sophistication to adequately deal with the bad guys. Even in Cuba, Castro won a great revolution—and then pretty much ran the economy into the ground despite his wonderful achievements in health care, education, etc..
What happens is that the bad guys nearly always succeed in identifying and then co-opting the potential leaders among the lower orders…to in effect induce them into betraying their class of origin. This is what happened with the Populist Movement in the USA in the 1890s.
Trump is going to lose (and with him, the entire world) because white trash (and Americans in general) have been indoctrinated in certain basic beliefs: (1) being anti-Russian, (2) being racist (and this now includes reverse racism), and (3) having a keen desire to move up in the world—even if that means betraying the interests of their fellows in the lower orders.
The pattern of being betrayed and then outmaneuvered has existed since ancient Greece (the city-states that sided with the Persians), and runs through the English peasants’ revolt and the medieval peasants’/artisans’ revolts in the Italian city-states, right into modern times (1848). The exceptions are rare. America will not now be among those exceptions—in part because Trump himself is not sophisticated enough to understand what he is up against.
After the bad guys have disposed of Trump (which they will do, one way or the other), their return to power will be complete and with a vengeance. It’s just sad that people have already been conditioned to we willing yet unwitting victims (paradoxically), and that the coming “Triumph Over Trump” will prove disastrous for not just the lower orders, but also for the middle class.
Ronin the Samurai,
The author discusses both “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Deliverance”, so you are spot on. Interestingly (DELIVERANCE SPOILER ALERT) she notes that the guy who dueled banjos with the albino White Trash kid had to be the one to die…as he was the only one who sympathized/identified with White Trash. I found that very interesting.
Regarding your analysis: I’m not sure I would say the “bad guys” won time and again; I view many times as the “good guys” as having won. I am not anywhere as critical of Cuba’s economy as you are, given that I view the International Blockade as the primary cause of Cuba’s economic woes.
And I’m not sure I can agree with the idea that the “lower orders” lack sophistication as a reason for failure: Certainly, to me, it is the total failure of the “upper orders” which lead to the rise of Trumpism. And I am not talking about the 1%, I’m talking about the 30% of the US which has a college degree; I’m talking about all my fellow journalists who seemingly can’t/won’t/don’t know how to their job properly.
I agree with you that Americans are extremely conditioned…but I cannot remain pessimistic. There’s no reason that socialism can’t make headway over time. Socialist ideas – Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security – are already established, and more are coming. It does take time.
And I don’t know – other than The Saker! – what media is going to give a platform for deconditioning. I would say that the best deconditioning is life experience, and the Great Recession is giving many people plenty of that right now, sadly.
It was a pleasant response that you replied. Thank you. I do not mean to quibble with you, and what follows is not meant to do so. (Too often intellectuals love to split hairs rather than to unite. –That’s another reason the bad guys nearly always win.)
I have a copy of White Trash, but have made little headway reading it: it’s so distressing. So I apologize for mentioning To Kill a Mockingbird and Deliverance, not realizing she’d already discussed both.
I know it sounded condescending to refer to the “lower orders,” but I think the label fits, as a simple empirical fact. And the history of the world seems to be that of the Haves exploiting and oppressing the Have-Nots (and the “Have-a-Little, Want-Mores”). It’s the docility of the middle class—which is so desperate to show its superiority to the lower orders—that is so, well, demoralizing. (Example: The “Lacy Curtain Irish” immigrants to America who strove to distinguish themselves from the “Black Irish”—yes, “Black”—who were poor.) That’s why I am steadfast in pessimism, though I dearly hope your optimism proves justified. At any rate, thank you for your writing, and thanks to The Saker for posting your work.
If the aristocratic elite is racist and xenophobic then they are the really bad it. Our Anglo Zionist overlords are flooding the West with the dregs of 3rd world. This kind of muddled thinking reminds of the dumb argument that the CIA is run by Nazis because they imported Braun to help the US build rockets.
Our elites hate salt of the earth White people for the same reason they hated Russian peasants in Czarist Russia. Our Zionist/Anglo overlords hate everything beautiful in the world.
The 1% have been engineering society for centuries. By now they have it down to a sciecne. Simply, Obama was false hope for the public school slave class people of colour. Trump is the false hope for the public school slave class whites. There is a rural urban element involved. But what unites the voters in America is that they believe the election system really works. These public school educated slaves have no idea of how the slave masters manipulate their entire existences.
The 1% use oppositional forces in a carefully choreographed divide and conquer stratagem.
There really is no White Trash Revolution. It is an illusion create by the 1% to mollify the people. The people have always been the great enemy of the 1%.
Forget about the politicians. The politicians are put there to make you think you have a choice. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you the slaves.