No Class

By John Stepling

Class analysis is not conspiracy theory. Full stop. Class exists and is part of the hierarchical system of global capitalism. The so labeled *Climate Change* crisis — as it exists on the level of Green New Deal or Extinction Rebellion — has very little to do with protecting Nature. Global warming is a fact that humanity will have to adjust to and learn to live with. So much of the rhetoric and identifications that exist in the Greta narrative are driven by a subterranean belief in technology to fix any problem. Global warming can’t be fixed. And there are enormous difficulties for the entire global population, really. . . The incursion of technology into nearly every waking moment of the daily life of the Westerner has conditioned a populace, one that doesn’t read, to see the acceleration of everything as natural. . . And capitalism is not compatible with the direction those changes and care must take. Risking the direction for needed change by allowing capital investments to chart the course is a very dangerous idea.

In class society, everyone lives as a member of a particular class, and every kind of thinking, without exception, is stamped with the brand of a class.  — Mao, On Practice, 1937

That belief in Christ is to some a matter of life and death has been a stumbling block for readers who would prefer to think it a matter of no great consequence. — Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood, March 6, 2007

I think that most of the confusion in this respect has been the product of a failure to develop a class analysis of these changes. From a class perspective, it is clear that what we are seeing is the growth of various movements in the fascist genre (whether prefascism, protofascism, classical fascism, postfascism, neofascism, neoliberal fascism, ur-fascism, peripheral fascism, white supremacism, or national populism—you can take your pick). Fascist-type movements share certain definite class-based characteristics or tendencies. Although it is common in liberal discourse to approach such movements at the level of appearance, in terms of their ideological characteristics, such an idealist methodology only throws a veil over the underlying reality. — John Bellamy Foster, Interview, Monthly Review, September 2019

The purveyors of free-market global capitalism believe that they have a right to plunder the remaining natural resources of this planet as they choose. Anyone who challenges their agenda is to be subjected to whatever misrepresentation and calumny that serves the free market corporate agenda. — Michael Parenti, Interview with Jason Miller, 2016

When environmentalism unfolds within a system of heightened inequality and inadequate democratization, it does so unequally and autocratically. The result is not a “saved” climate, but rather enhanced revenue streams for corporations. — Maximillian Forte, Climate Propaganda for Corporate Profit: Bell Canada

John Bellamy Foster noted that it was a lack of class analysis that has stifled left discourse over the last twenty years. And I have noted that when one does engage in class analysis the first response, very often, is to be called a conspiracy theorist. Now, this is largely because any class dissection will tend to unearth connections that have been hidden, consciously, by Capital — that those hidden forces and histories are experienced by the liberal left and faux left as somehow impossible. Class analysis means that the non-marxist liberal left is going to be faced with the malevolence of the ruling class, and in the U.S. certainly, the ruling class tends to be adored, secretly or otherwise, by the bourgeoisie.

When the U.S.S.R. dissolved the West intensified its propaganda onslaught immediately. And a good part of this propaganda was focused on the denial of class. On the right, the FOX News right, “class warfare” became a term of derision and also humour. And among liberal and educated bourgeoisie the avoidance of class was the result of a focus on, and validations of, rights for marginalized groups — even if that meant inventing new groups on occasion. Class was conspicuously missing in most identity rights discourse.

And the climate discourse, which was suddenly visible in mainstream media early 2000s, there was almost never a mention of class. Hence the new appropriation of that discourse by open racist eugenicists like “Sir” David Attenborough, and billionaire investors and publishers. Even by royalty. By 2015 or so there was what Denis Rancourt called the institutionalisation of a climate ethos. I have even seen of late self-identified leftists suggesting the “Greta” phenomenon was the working class finding its voice. (No, I’m not making that up). I have also seen many leftists — many of whom I have known for years — simply hysterical around the subject of this teenager. Her greatest appeal is to middle aged white men. I have no real explanation for that. But then these same men quote, often, everyone from Guy McPherson (who I think needs a padded cell, frankly) to Bill McKibben — an apologist for militarism and wealth… here …. […]


7 thoughts on “No Class

  1. Class is a part of human nature and is found in all places and times. Is this elephant in the room ignored because of a desperate need for a need for a weapon to be used against capitalism regardless of the type of capitalism referred to?


    • is it possible to get some clarification on the question or how it relates to the point? I’m sure it does but I don’t get it and I would like to. (BTW I haven’t read the full article yet…


    • Marblenecltr, as a feminist I follow the work of feminist anthropologists like Sylvia Federici, who simultaneously trace the origin of patriarchy and class (as the two are related). However most anthropologists will tell you that when primitive societies lived communally, these societies were egalitarian and everyone participated equally in governance. And like Sha’Tara, I’m confused what you mean by types of capitalism.


  2. Reblogged this on AuntyUta and commented:
    I started reading this article. I find it stimulates my thinking, very much so. “Risking the direction for needed change by allowing capital investments to chart the course is a very dangerous idea.”
    This is just one of the sentences that I would like to think about a lot . . . .And so it goes on. I want to see whether reblogging this article by John Stepling is going to help me to continue with a bit more thinking! 🙂


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