Saturday, 29 September 2012

Book Review: Chavs: The Demonization Of The Working Class By Owen Jones

Over the last thirty years the utterly defeated social democratic left has abandoned the working class in favour of identity politics-a stew of single issue politics based on anti-racism, anti-sexism and environmentalism, devoid of any overarching class analysis which was characteristic of the old left, reformist and revolutionary alike. Owen Jones' book arrives on the bookshelves at just the right time, when all the nostrums of 'we are all middle-class now' are demolished by rampant austerity and recession. Chavs exposes this acceptable form of hatred in popular culture, directed at the working class and the poor, as the result of Thatcherism's savage attack on working class living standards and trade union organisation in the 80's and does an excellent job of busting the myths that have accumulated around the chav stereotype. For instance rather then filled with bigoted BNP supporters, working class communities are more racially mixed then middle-class ones with a higher percentage of inter-racial marriages. Likewise during the Iraq invasion it was those on the lower income scale who opposed the war. 

The limitations of Chavs though lies in its nostalgia for the 'good old' working-class Labour Party of times past and its almost complete reliance on parliamentary politics to bring working class representation-for a fuller critique read Clifford Biddulph from The Commune here

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