I like this for its utility in terms of experience and not possession.
Sure, but doesn't it also imply property relations? If you are middle class, you're likely to feel more protected by cops since they are also guarding your property and the bureaucratic system which you—to some degree—have stakes in.
I think the idea is that it does imply it but doesn’t quantify anything. Thus you can adapt it to any context you want.
Yeah, it's broad enough to be widely applicable and understandable but not so specific it can't be contextualized to edge cases.
For example, I lived a lot of my life working-poor and would probably hit the conception of "middle class" by some metrics a few years ago, but my other perceived identities prevent simple things like owning a house from making me comfortable with police...or a hell of a lot of other state-entities.
Absolutely. I think that to frame middle-class as a strictly material thing is too reductive to be all that useful to an anarchist.
AnarchoSpook wrote (edited )
Ah yes, I agree with the point. Maybe "middle class" is not a very helpful conceptualization after all. Especially now with neoliberalism rebooting capitalism to its default mode (after the anomalous 1950-1970) and society finds itself in early 1900s in terms of inequality. This will I suppose be even more the case in covid times with so much of the middle class being indebted and forced into precarious jobs.
You can have a short or a long answer, but heres my take: the middle class is the bulk of western society (as in "the western world") is formless and deprived of any aggregative factor (they don't have much to identify themselves, this becomes clear when you try to compare different countries or different economic backgrounds).
You can appel to other concepts, proletariat, working class, petit burgeoise, etc, but at the end they don't mean the same as them used to. And there are some propaganda in the way "middle class" is used, american dream, european social welfare, etc. So when I said the millionaires were the new middle class, was unironically to admit, we can't have illusions anymore.
existential1 wrote (edited )
I agree with this. Its especially complicated by using average vs median statistics when inequality is becoming even more common.
You almost have to index the concept of middle class to a particular time and place. Like, 2020 middle class in state of New Mexico vs 1965 middle class in state of New Jersey vs 2010 middle class in Stockholm.
I have no idea anymore. Seems like everyone here in the US thinks they're middle class. From people in a trailer living paycheck to paycheck to someone making six figures .
They have property. They own their own house.
Graeber in the Utopia of Rules provided a definition which I was very fond of: "[...] the real definition of being "middle class" is whether, when one sees a policeman on the street, one feels more, rather than less, safe."