Daily Archives: February 7, 2011

Class Composition 2011

Paul Mason, BBC analyst and regular guest at the London anarchist bookfair, puts forward some theses about the recent waves of unrest and tries to draw out the connections between Egypt, Tunisia, UK and the almost certain wave of protests to come.

Very interesting argument that a new sociological, and also political, subject is coming into the limelight – enter the disenfranchised graduate.  Often students and young people are key to new social movements (historically less to lose, ideas often at odds with established societal rules) but what is different now is the new materiality of hope (as a really open university article argues here). The old promises of society are now seen for what they were, lies, whilst the emerging political arguments from the political centre seem laughable – big society, austerity for some, belt tightening… This certainly promotes the development of conditions of social conflict.

Not sure I’d agree with the emphasis on technology and perhaps Mason is a bit light on the economics and political side of this, but still an interesting attempt. Also, not sure about arguing that the 1910’s and ’20’s were much more radical in many ways. Whilst I’m definitely not that clues up on the history of the workers movement we shouldn’t fool ourselves that all the demands of the workers movements were radical. Many of the workers movements were composed of specific strata’s of specialised, skilled workers and I’m doubtful of the universally emancipatory nature of all of there politics. Lots of the protests here in the UK are fairly radical in deed/content if not word, struggles over the nature of education, access to woodlands and corporate tax evasion move beyond fairly self-interested politics. However, Mason clearly states these are notes and they are a very good start. Maybe some time in the future I’ll try and develop on these ideas and write about the UK in particular.