The biggest threat to Working Class mobilisation is the infiltration of the Middle class into Working Class political spaces under the pretence of being just like “one of us”. This breeds classism, sexism, racism and a whole plethora of unchecked abuse. The middle class, more often than not privileged white men, enter and impose their fallacies and hierarchies, utilising their superior resources such as wealth, property and social connections to control and dominate Working Class spaces, finally resulting in internal division and the example of the Socialist Worker’s Party is integral to all this.
I’ve observed this phenomenon for a long time now. I grew up within a poor family but in a very wealthy London neighbourhood. I noticed that while I was trying to cover up my poor background, making sure that I had perfect grammar and vocabulary and sounded polite and posh so people would find a Brown Muslim woman less threatening on the one hand, or less easy to abuse and disrespect on the other, there were a number of posh middle and upper class kids from the local private schools who were pretending to be poor. They wore “street” clothes and tried to use slang. The vast majority would thankfully eventually grow out of it and in areas like Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea you very much get what you see. I prefer that authenticity over assertions of fake oppression or the weaponisation and utilisation of imagined or adopted / stolen oppression for political point scoring and ultimately exercising of power over the oppressed Working Class in what I can only consider a betrayal of truth and reality. If you ever wondered why the left wing Working Class political movements have “issues”, this is a strong idicator.
I’ve thought a lot about where covert types of abuse comes from — and it often than not comes from middle class people who are pretending to be Working Class. This is their way of protecting the status quo they’re used to being the centre of, which very much benefits and grants them upward mobility and is one of the reasons why I am hesitant to put historical figures such as Karl Marx up on a pedestal — because he was not Working Class or “proletariat”, but very privileged in his education and resources and comfortably upper middle class. The people I look up to, but by no means deify as having all the answers and solutions, are people who have struggled since birth from economic and social deprivation and worked their way up through self-education not only with very little help but with monumental barriers. This is the miracle I can truly identify with as someone from a very precarious background.
The entitled middle class infiltrate Working Class spaces, with shabby clothes, unsightly locks, and a stench alongside their idea of a Working Class accent and with a great sense of entitlement, obviously on some level insecure about the level of privilege they have — not that that’s something they should project onto the Working Class. It happened while I was at SOAS; children of politicians and diplomats bemoaning being “broke” because they’d spent their £500 a week allowance on eating out, alcohol and Dr. Martens while I’d be thinking of the pennies I’d have to count just to get by. At SOAS, wealthy students have a dominace over the physical and intellectual space, and profit greatly from this when they go on to get their establishment jobs in the U.N. etc. Their parent’s generation started the wars which they would go on to apparently go and “fix” with so-called leftist development work. Meanwhile forever resisting the idea that the Working Class can actually be intelligent and self-sufficient without a framework of privilege granted at birth and a silver spoon in their mouthes.
Then there is the white male “Communist”. I am highly suspicious of anyone who tries to apply a label onto anyone else even when they explicitly and repeatedly say “no”. Over the last three years I’ve frequently been told by rather priviledged white men that I am a Communist. I say “no, I’m not a Communist”. They go on to ask me a string of questions which seem pre-prepared like a party trick because all white male Communists have this exact same approach; and when I respond in the affirmative, they say; “you’re a Communist!” and I say “no, I’m not.” They look disheartened and start going on about collective action and how we can’t do anything unless we come under a collective or whatever. They even get angry when I joke that “I’m a Black Panther not a Communist” because they’d rather I centre my politics around whiteness than Black history and Black historical figures. By this point I actually lose interest because I really won’t be convinced by hot air coming out of what can only be described Champagne Socialists. But it doesn’t mean that I haven’t picked up on the anti-Blackness, nor the attempts to divide Black and Brown. I was being provocative, yes, and the white man showed his true colours.
This notion of collecivisation is just a means not only to infiltrate the Working Class and dominate our spaces while giving themselves a great big pat on the back and a massive and dangerous ego boost, but also to exploit us; our resources and our labour both intellectual and practical. For the middle class, issues of inequality are nothing more than sports not far off from how aristocrats shoot animals simply for their own amusement. I’m using a strong analogy here to drive the point home and because the abuse is serious, and the way the abuse is conducted through not only actions, but very often intellectual arguments is very dangerous for the Working Class mind. Since the aim is to destroy it and adopt a mindset that benefits the middle class in the form of accepting their “superior” “leadership” and guidance bred from privilege, inheritance and property. Essentially putting the Working Class experience on a back foot and at risk of being annihilated.
The type of abuse I’m talking about is sexism. Let’s look at the SWP — the largest “Socialist” Party in the UK. I live with a white man who routinely produces propaganda for the SWP. When I heard about this knowing he’s doing this work for his dad, I didn’t say anything. I’d heard things about the SWP during my time at SOAS; something about rape allegations. There have been so many times when I’ve bitten my tongue like when this person’s sister’s new partner used the word “darkie” twice in front of me; apparently quoting someone else but I could tell it was very much gratuitous and provocative. Which battles do you fight and which ones do you let slide?
This white middle class Communist SWP propagandist had won £5,000 prize money from his Master’s program and brought a risograph which he uses to print SWP propaganda. Does it surprise anyone that his family own multi-million pound properties in Central London while he emphatically puts himself forward as Working Class or more accurately; God’s gift to the Working Class? Does it surprise you that there is a clear hierarchy within the flat I’m currently living in whereby this middle class infiltrator doesn't clean up after himself deeming cleaning as “Fascist” and so expects others to clean instead? Does it surprise anyone that this has created a division between myself and the two other genuinely Working Class members of the household, while making race the focal point? Does it surprise anyone that this person deems me as Working Class when he wants to infiltrate my space and present us as “equals” yet when it suits him takes digs at my precarious work situation whereby I’ve been working for years to create my own means, by saying “As I have a job, I’ll respond later”. I’ve overheard him tell another woman to “go and get a job”…and other bits of abuse he always get away with.
Does it surprise you that he works for his white family owned business, while opposing Black-owned business as “pro-Capitalist”? Does it surprise you that he mocked my religion meanwhile using his Jewish ancestry for political point scoring? Does it surprise you that he’s called me a “delusional woman” in response to my email calling him out? This is all classic middle class privileged, entitled white male, posing as an ally f***ery.
Working Class people have better things to do with their time, than become envious that a woman is being very productive with her own work and development meanwhile beating him at Fantasy Football — something which he has obsessively been working away on for weeks while at work, instead of actually working — something which he actually boasts about. That is literally what has happened and indicative of what different plane the middle class live on, what gripes them and their entitlement to have, own, win and dominate EVERYTHING. THAT, my friends is all toxic white male middle class privilege and abuse of anyone who won’t tolerate it and it frankly has NO place in Working Class political spaces.
This has all been a very simple exercise not only of abuse along class, race, gender and religious lines but a very clear explample of the privileged British white man’s favourite game of all time; divide and conquer. The book by Reni Eddo-Lodge “Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race” gives a very good insight into a lot of the dynamics I have written about, and the examples of what we have to lose, what I have indeed lost, when I decided to speak up. I am moving out of this flat once again displacing myself and I have been punished and shunned by the other two white flat mates who entertain and deify this abuser, in ways the book gives very accurate descriptions of.
These very simple things like respect, equality and keeping communal spaces clean for all by participating fairly in the household tasks seemed to me like basic principles for “Communism”. Yet my attempts to talk about this have been shut down point black or painted as “divisive”. Yet, whenever I’ve used collective terminology like “none of us are his mother” and “can we not slam the door when leaving the house?” thinking this was a softer way of putting it, I was resented and told that collective language is unacceptable. This is the level of pettiness that the middle class toxicity brings to any envionemnt because their concerns are not those of the Working Class who are living very precariously and very much for survival and would do anything just to live in peace like clean up after and make excuses for an entitled white man who they think will protect and guide them. The middle class man’s privilege is taken as protective and even enlightened. The entitled, abusive and exploitative middle class know very well how to exploit Working Class vulnerability and do so with ease and with great pleasure. It is very much second nature and a product of inherited privileges they like to claim they have somehow worked for when it is crystal clear to anyone who isn’t willfully blind that this is simply not the case.
My overall point is that middle class people, should they wish to be allies with the Working Class in working towards rights for workers, equality etc. then they should be very clear and actually self-accepting of their privilege rather bringing this baggage to Working Class political spaces and constantly trying to cover it up by claim that they are coming from the same background of struggle and precarity of resources when they are frankly not. This denies our needs, our narrative and our ownership of our experiences as the Working Class and how and where we we wish to take our liberation.
Their contributions come from excess, not sacrifice. They should be aware that their resources are largely a product of inherited privilege, not hard work. They should be willing to put that on the table and humble themselves if they wish to enter our spaces. They should be willing to introspect and do the unlearning required not to let their ego, entitlement and privileges breed into classism, racism, sexism, and so many other types of abuse whereby they will deliberately use their university degrees and whatever other finely tuned and institutionally sanctioned intellectual manipulation as a weapon against the Working Class by clear subjugation.
This article will make the entitled, dishonest and exploitative middle class angry and the genuine Middle Class introspect, while making the Working Class aware, I hope. There is no point pandering to the middle class, they will not save us. They will only work to abuse us, exploits us and divide us. We are better off and much more self-sufficient and powerful without.