Lisa Irving Venus's picture

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  by  Lisa Irving Venus

Discussions on class divisions often center on the highly disproportionate wealth and power concentrated in the hands of a few. Analysts use a myriad of terms to define this group. For author Michael Lind the term is the "managerial elite," who he describes in his latest book The New Class War published this past January. In this book he explains how the overreach of a dominant, unchecked managerial class produced a populist backlash culminating in the 2016 election of Trump.

"The new class war is very real—and the managerial class is winning," Lind wrote in a Wall Street Journal column that coincided with the release of The New Class War. The tone was somber yet seemingly actionable.

Now, closing in on four years of the Trump Administration, Lind sees room for even more pessimism for the working class. In the July Tablet column "Would a Biden Victory Be a Win for the Working Class?," Lind appears resigned to defeat, writing that no matter which party emerges victorious this Fall, the managerial class has already won.

Lind begins the column optimistic that "a new appreciation of the importance of many working-class jobs" following the coronavirus crisis will result in pro-labor voters demanding policies consisting of higher wages, improved bargaining power, increased American onshoring and manufacturing and tight labor markets brought about by reduced immigration.

In this sense Lind likens 2020 pro-labor enthusiasts with the 2016 populist movement he wrote about in The New Class War, both groups hopeful that a vote cast in November will bring about more economic justice for workers.

But the optimism is a ruse. "Just kidding! I had you going there for a minute, didn't I? I didn't mean a word of what I said in the first four paragraphs of this essay," he writes. He then goes to say how he really feels.

Lind focuses most of the column deploring the "Wall Street, anti-labor wing of the Democratic Party that has been dominant since the 1990s" to tell how a Biden victory would ultimately lead to disheartenment for pro-worker advocates. At the same time, he does not offer how a Trump second term would be better.

Lind's advocacy for the middle and working classes can be seen at work through his long-held stances on immigration and labor policies. He laments the reversal of these stances on the left over the past decades, writing:

"As recently as the 1980s, many on the labor left wanted the federal government to limit unskilled immigration and crack down on the employment of illegal immigrants by American businesses. This pro-labor perspective was reflected in the 1996 report of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, chaired by Barbara Jordan, the first African American woman from the South to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. At that time, the constituency for increasing unskilled immigration and turning a blind eye to illegal immigration was limited to business-class Republicans and kooky far-right libertarians."

Lind writes now of coming to terms with how the ever increasingly powerful liberal and conservative elites and corporate entities have become entrenched in unrelentingly undermining the working class - so much so that not even a historic pandemic with record job losses can stem their sabotage of labor.

"Even if the Democrats win a trifecta of the White House, House, and Senate in November, the boss class will remain firmly in control, kicking American labor while it is down. Welcome to the 2020s, American workers of all races. Have a nice decade."

LISA IRVING VENUS is the Volunteer Coordinator for the Media Standards Program for NumbersUSA

Updated: Thu, Aug 27th 2020 @ 4:40pm EDT

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