The Right White Working Class

Posted on March 16, 2012 by

The class divide that’s tearing apart the republican party is a dream-come-true for Barack Obama and mainstream democrats.

With the president’s re-election increasingly likely, we can enjoy watching his opponents fight over who’s the more extreme conservative.

We can even commend so-called white working class republican primary voters for correctly perceiving Mitt Romney as an elitist and a phony.

And agree with them that Rick Santorum is more authentic and earnest in his beliefs.

Keep in mind, though, that the rise of the right white working class is the crowning achievement of American business and its decades-long crusade to strip workers of economic power.

There was a time when unions could moderate right-wing sentiment among white workers.  But in certain regions of the U.S. – the southeast and parts of the west – the labor movement is almost invisible.

We can argue the question of  how workers have been tricked by corporate and financial elites into voting against their “own interests”.  But the fact is that unions were the only institution which could – however imperfectly – transform the material well being of workers and productively channel class resentment.

U.S. employers knew that decapitating the labor movement was the single most important thing they could do to gain control over the workforce, de-industrialize and de-unionize this economy and move jobs to low-wage countries.

The added bonus for corporations would be a pool of future workers with no allegiance to – or experience with – class-driven collective action.

Who now comprise that very visible segment of the white working class most identified with Rick Santorum.

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