allan siegel on Wed, 15 May 2013 09:24:51 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> the middle class doesn't exist

"Twenty years ago, class was not in the vocabulary of Swedish pundits and mavens. Class was something that belonged to the past. Today, however, it is back with a vengeance. Recently the Swedish Occupy movement "Allt åt alla" (Everything for Everyone) organized a bus "safari" through exclusive Stockholm suburbs to take a look at the millionaires' villas there and "fuel class hatred". Every leading newspaper has already had its own "class debate". Class is simply everywhere in Swedish society. 

"Anyone who wants to understand both the age in which we live and the future will have to talk about class," write editors Malena Rydell and Mikael Feldbaum in Arena. But not just any class. The cover of the new issue spells it out: "The middle class doesn't exist." The slogan is from poet and pundit Göran Greider's "54 theses for a new class awareness", a manifesto for a new Left packed with sound bites such as: "Treat the very word class as a teenager: it grows; it's unruly; it doesn't obey; it stuns you." Or: "Today's working class is mainly female." 

The thesis of the death of the middle class is simple and not peculiar to Sweden: every time you try to define the allegedly most important contemporary social formation, this "middle class" breaks into two, writes Greider; one part that serves the economic power and another that has more in common with blue collar workers and unemployed, with the sans papiers and the precariat."

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