Thursday, January 06, 2011

Class conflict in the Republican Party

Financial Times:

[T]ranslating the Republicans’ campaign ambitions to cut $100bn from government this year into a budgetary reality will be a difficult task. Top Republican lawmakers backtracked on that promise on Wednesday, saying they were likely to push through only less than half of the promised cuts.
The speaker will have to juggle the expectations of conservative activists, who are dead set against political compromise, with the demands of many in the business community, a crucial constituent that is at odds with the Tea Party movement on issues such as trade and immigration.

This is a very good example of class conflict. Working class communities want to seal the border between Mexico and the United States, because they bear the brunt of an illegal immigrant-based economy, at least in relative terms (their standard of living declines the most). The business community is opposed, because illegal immigration affords them workers without rights. Between working class and business objectives, "force decides" to use Marx's expression.

The important point here is that all of this is happening within the Republican Party. It is a class conflict. On the one hand, we have Republicans who own productive wealth and decide how it is used; on the other, we have Republicans who have no way to live except to work for the former group. Between the two, the working class Republicans take the hits and absorb the betrayals, because that is the role assigned by all rulers to their working class.

If we want to understand how anything happens in human history, we have to begin by examining the capacity of different groups to produce an intended effect: our political categories must reference power. In and of themselves, the categories "Democrats" and "Republicans," or even "left" and "right," tell us zero about power, because they imply a spectrum. They obscure what is meaningful, the conflict between classes, in order to elevate what is not, the "conflict" between ruling parties.


what the Tee Vee taught said...

With this one:

You've left the cave... and you're coming back with bad news.

Well done.

zencomix said...

On a related note, the AFL-CIO and the Chamber of Commerce (ha! I started writing Chamber of Congress by mistake and went back and changed it) agree on something.