Monday, January 16, 2012

The Working Class Does Not Exist In The Economic Structure Of A Single Nation

rich tub-thumper
Oswald Spengler:

"[T]he uneducated and half-educated middle class believed in this picture and does so to this day. The word "worker" has been surrounded by a halo since 1848, without consideration of its meaning and the limits of its application. And the "working class," which does not exist in the economic structure of a single nation - for what have miners, sailors, tailors' apprentices, metalworkers, waiters, bank officials, ploughmen, and scavengers in common with one another? - becomes a political reality, an attacking party, which has split all "white" nations into two armies, of which the one has to feed, and to give its blood for a host of party agents, tub-thumpers, newspaper-writers, and "people's representatives," who pursue their own private aims. That is the purpose for which it exists. The contrast between Capitalism and Socialism - words for which, all this time, literature has searched in vain for a definition, for catchwords are not to be defined - is not derived from any reality, but is purely a built-up challenge. Marx introduced these terms into the English engineering industry, he did not draw them from it; and even so he could only do it by ignoring the existence of all the people engaged in agriculture, commerce, traffic, and administration. This picture of the time had so little to do with the world of reality and its inhabitants that, in theory, the South even became separated from the North: the boundary lay somewhere about the line Lyon-Milan. In the Latin South, where one needs little to live on and does little work, where there is no coal and therefore no industrialism, where thought and feeling are racially different, there developed anarchist and syndicalist tendencies whose wish-picture was the dissolution of the great national organisms into systemless, small self-sufficing groups, Bedouin- like swarms occupied in doing nothing. But in the North, where hard winters mean harder work and make such work not only possible but essential, where from time immemorial the battle has been against hunger and cold combined, there arose out of the Germanic will-to-power, and its urge to large-scale organization, systems of authoritarian Communism which aim at a proletarian dictatorship over the whole world. And, simply because in the nineteenth century the coalfields of these northern lands had attracted an assemblage of people and of national wealth of a hitherto unheard-of order of magnitude, a very different impetus was given to demagogy both within them and outwards from their boundaries. The high wages of English, German, and American factory-workers triumphed, precisely because they were anything but "starvation rates," over the low wages of the land-workers in the South, and only because of this "capitalistic" superiority of party means did Marxism triumph over the theories of Fourier and Proudhon. The peasantry had already ceased to exist for all of them. As a weapon in the class war it had small value, not merely because it was not available on the pavements at any and every moment, but also because its traditions of property and labour were contrary to the views of theory. It was therefore ignored by the catchwords of the Communist program. Bourgeoisie and proletarian - that is the picture one can take in, and the simpler one is, the less one notices how much there is left outside this scheme."