The demonization of the working class

Putting Socialism back on the agenda

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Estelle Cooch and Jack Farmer spoke to Owen Jones, a left wing member of the Labour Party and author of Chavs, about New Labour, capitalism and the demonisation of the working class

What was it that first motivated you to write Chavs?

Above all it was to put class on the agenda. I wanted to challenge this idea that we're all middle class now and that all that remains of the working class is a feckless rump. The point is that if you don't have class, then you don't have class politics and if you don't have class politics, then you don't have a left.

Chavs

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Owen Jones

This excellent book provides a long overdue look at the state of the class war in Britain today. It takes as its starting point the demonisation of the "underclass" or "chavs", as much of the media and popular culture choose to portray the poorer working class sections of society.

Owen Jones argues that in modern Britain an aggressive bigoted snobbery has emerged that allows the upper and middle classes to treat with utter contempt those they consider to be beyond the pale of decent society. Even among sections of the liberal middle classes this contempt is deemed acceptable.

Challenging the whitewash: ruling class stereotypes of workers

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The recent BBC White Season painted a bleak picture of the white working class in Britain today as bigoted and broken. Martin Smith argues that these stereotypes are encouraged by politicians and the media to divide us and are far from the experiences of working people's real lives.

The white working class is an embittered minority: racist, bigoted, broken and fragmented. That was the view of several programmes in the recent BBC television series The White Season. The problem, according to the programme makers, is that the white working class has lost its identity due to the impact of de-industrialisation and immigration. Richard Klein, the commissioning editor of the White Season, went further, saying "I feel that the white working class has been ignored by the political classes because they feel the pressure of political correctness."

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