Working classes with middle-class values (2)
I'm frankly puzzled by the question because of its many assumptions. Is the assumption that poor people and working class people don't have "middle-class values?" Just what are "bourgeois" and "middle-class" values. The history of American immigration is of one wave of hard-working people after another. They brought values with them and shaped American society as much as they were shaped by it. A whole series of Catholic institutions helped socialize new immigrants in the 19th century and the same is true for other groups.
I recently completed a study of contemporary community organizations, primarily composed of poor and working class people, and they want the same things that middle-class people want - good schools, safe streets, decent housing, adequate health care, good jobs, and so on.
2) [Victor Greene <vicgre@CSD.UWM.EDU> continues the thread with a specification of the original query, and valuable bibliography:]
Patrick Rael offers an important issue about "bourgeois" values among American workers. I offer a labor history course which STEMMING from Werner Sombart's original WHY THERE IS NO SOCIALISM IN THE US (1906) has that paradox as one theme. [Note the 1976 paperback edition with Michael Harrington's Foreward] One of my explanations is to keep in mind that most immigrants came from a peasant culture which treasured land ownership and hence, private property. A major motive for the emigration of many was to earn enough money here, return and buy farmland in the Old Country. This was true especially for the working class Slavic immigrants. Certainly immigrant radicals existed and at times newcomers were conscious of class differences. But try as they might, Socialists could rarely recruit the unskilled immigrant, the Jurgis story in the JUNGLE, and the Lawrence and other strikes notwithstanding. My position, I believe, is also at odds with J. Bodnar's TRANSPLANTED and E. Morawska's FOR BREAD WITH BUTTER. But I believe Melvin Dubofsky's works support the American workers' conservatism. I believe the American Catholic Church and ethnic nationalism had some influence also on keeping immigrants away from universal social revolutionaries. Finally Patrick might consult my SLAVIC COMMUNITY ON STRIKE (1968).
Return to H-ETHNIC Home Page.
[an error occurred while processing this directive]