Chavs

Chavs
Owen Jones

The historical thesis of this book seems to me irrefutable, and broadly applicable to most Western countries: that after the political right turn of the 1980s (Thatcher in England, Reagan in the U.S., the collapse of the Soviet Union, the rise of free trade/globalization), the working classes were essentially crushed, their unions broken and their jobs shipped overseas. What followed was demonization, “the flagrant triumphalism of the rich who, no longer challenged by those below them, instead point and laugh at them.” Enter the chav. Today the working classes, both utterly demoralized (I can testify firsthand to this) and having lost the battle of ideas, probably have less political and economic power than at any time since the early days of the industrial revolution. Unfortunately, Jones’s hopes for a new class-based politics seem dim to me. Things will have to get a lot worse for the chavs before they’ll get better.