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The New Wave of Class Struggles


           The newest wave of resurgent working class struggles has brought picket lines and protests to many retailers including Wal-Mart. And finally the fast food chains are experiencing the wrath of the working class in an economic environment where changing jobs has become difficult and clawing a path toward upward mobility has disappeared. Thousands are coming to the conclusion that the only option is to stand and fight. As the world economy continues to stagnate, we can only assume that this new wave of working class struggles will broaden and deepen.
            Against this social backdrop new techno processes have been emerging. We have seen the development of the e-book over the last few years. More providers of the technology have come into the marketplace, and the process has become more and more economical for authors – to the point where one of the mega dot coms, Amazon, has been offering free publication, world-wide electronic distribution, and even accounting.
            In the world of publishing and literature, more literary magazines come on line every day, including ones with a working class bent and a taste for offering an alternative view of society. These start-ups typically begin with electronic publication and distribution, but as an audience develops, they can move back to the direction of printed material.
            The midsized and major publishers have never had much of an appetite for producing working class literature. As a life-long author, I’ve had stories and essays rejected by unambiguously middle-class editors with strong dislikes of working class stories that contain plots involving class struggles. I had one editor write a three page criticism on the backs of a three page short story complaining that I had created evocative story titles, and compelling characters, but all I wrote was propaganda. The story was accepted at the next literary journal where the editor presumably came from a different social class.  
             This blatant censorship, of course, dates back to the time of Chekhov. In a story, which I believe was entitled, “The Village,” he takes a photograph, in words, of a Russian village and its abysmal poverty. Unfortunately, as near as I could research it, the story was written just before the upheaval of 1905 in Russia. Chekhov, by all accounts, was a wonderful middle-class person who did a lot of charity work. However, Chekhov, the artist, had nothing to say about the vast social drama unfolding around him. The primary problem?  He came from the middle-class. Working class authors have a point of view, and middle-class editors don’t want to hear it.
             As the new round of class struggles unfolds around the planet, we are probably going to see many more working class artists and writers taking advantage of the new democratic technologies that permit self-publication. We can expect an entirely new art to develop in the coming years that challenges middle-class assumptions and ruling class domination. As those writers and artists find new audiences who previously had no use for a literature that didn’t speak to them, we can expect to see an acceleration in social change.

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