[OPE-L] The conservative ideology of 'under-classes'

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Fri Dec 01 2006 - 21:47:26 EST


When I received the following today I was reminded of your comments
on themes in contemporary conservative ideology [in your post on
"The killer instinct - human or animal?"].

In solidarity, Jerry


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Introduction to debate on the new 'under-classes'
An article published in the German magazine Wildcat in summer 2006.
Having a historical look at labour migration and welfare policies in
Germany the article criticises the current attempt of those in power
to create the picture of the dangerous under-classes opposed to the
good class of working people. "The income disparity in Germany
aggravates, the rate of long-term and youth unemployment
consolidates, the majority of workers have to face real income
losses, particularly in the low wage sector: the number of working
poor increases, people who work but cannot make ends meet. "Of course
there are under-classes in Germany", says the conservative
historician Paul Nolte and he refers to people who are "unwilling to
work and integrate.."   People who eat too much fast-food, they watch
telly all day (and the wrong programms!), make too many children to
whom they cannot serve as role-models. These 'underclasses'
themselves are responsible for their situation, therefore it is wrong
for the welfare state to grant them a livelyhood. This is the
ideological background music for the enforcement of the Hartz IV
welfare reform which first of all aims at extending the low wage
sector. In order to do that the 'superfluous' and 'delinquent' parts
of the working class are captured as caricatures and put on stage for
public bashing. This picture of the 'underclass' is an offer to other
parts of the working class to draw a clear line between them and
those 'on the bottom' by showing self-initiative and proper
behaviour. In times of social upheavels similar pictures served for
the legitimation of 'security' measures and repression'.

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