The debacle of the French socialist party – which seems well on its way to achieving a place in the museum of extinct parties, next to the Frei Democratische party in Germany – can be explained, in large part, as a phenomenon of the class struggle.
Class struggle! Haven’t we all gone beyond that since Reagan and Thatcher freed the free world?
Well, one would think so as class becomes the absent category in sociology and theory. But its sinking into the collective unconscious doesn’t make it any less so.
The postwar years, from the late forties to the early eighties, saw an almost Hegelian progression: the wage class and its unions triumphed in the construction of the welfare state all over the developed world. That very triumph, however, produced the children who buried the wage class – the technocrats and meritocrats whose natural sympathies were for Capital, not Labor. They looked like business execs and they thought like business execs, and if they climbed through the channels of the Socialist Part (or the SPD or the Labour party), they had no sympathy or understanding for the culture and existences of the wage class. However, in the class system, certain kinds are spinkled at random in the top and the bottom: especially women and gays. In that respect, these technocrats did liquidate that old lefty puritanism and patriarchal attitudes. What was never sprinkled at random in the top was, of course, Africans or arabs, and one notices that they are still not sprinkled in any ratio to their population through the top no matter what flavor the government is.