Re: [OPE] fantasy intermission

From: Gerald Levy <>
Date: Sun Nov 15 2009 - 08:04:42 EST

> But if you think that your ability to do something is conditional on
> acquiring money, or if you hunt for a rich partner who will look after
> your material needs (so that you don't have to work), you're suffering
> from an impoverished intellect, or you are fairly desperate.

Hi Jurriaan:

The majority of the world's population, then, is fairly desperate.

> The Abba song is in a sense quite clever, because by overstating or
> lampooning the joys of a rich man's world, it affirms the desire for money
> as reasonable or legitimate in itself, while simultaneously conveying a
> charming naivety about how to get money, and sympathy for the tragic
> plight of not having "a little money" to be all you can be, shifting
> between major key to minor key. Point is, if you really tried to be all
> you can be, if you had the confidence in this sense, you might reap a
> monetary reward in the end.

The more important point is the systematic role of working class *fantasy*
in *social control under capitalism*. The fantasy of being rich is perhaps
most powerful narcotic which workers are prone to. It has *huge*
To begin with, there are important industries such as the varied gambling
industries which cater to this fantasy. A significant percentage of the
including the working day, of workers is spent fantasizing about this.
Whether it's
betting on the numbers, the ponies, football, or whatever or in casinos
(mentioned in the Abba song) there is a massive transfer of funds from the
working class via the market towards the fantasy industries. Much of what
passes for entertainment consumed by workers (e.g. on TV, the movies,
the print media) relates to this fantasy. The state is also directly and
indirectly implicated in reproducing this fantasy. For instance, there are
state-sponsored lotteries. More significantly, educational and other
social instititutions perpetuate the fantasy and the myth that under

"you can be anything you want to be - all you've got to do is work hard

How much misery by how many hundreds of millions of workers is tolerated
(more) by virtue of this myth? If you talk to workers they will individually
allude to
individuals who have done this - starting out in the mailroom, for instance,
and by virtue of hard work becoming a CEO of a major international
corporation. And, those individuals often explicitly relay the message "if I
did it, so can all of you". It's, perhaps, the most important social
example of the
fallacy of composition. This myth must be confronted and de-bunked -
although it's
*not* the story that most workers want to hear - if there is to be
revolutionary change.

In solidarity, Jerry

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Received on Sun Nov 15 08:12:17 2009

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