White underclass crushed by economy

William Bowles reviews Joe Bageant’s new book, Rainbow Pie: a Redneck Memoir.” Bageant died on March 27 from cancer. He will be missed.(I’ll be revieweing the book soon)

A few excerpts.

I don’t know where to start with Rainbow Pie: A Redneck Memoir. It’s a book of two sides, two faces even. On the one hand there’s Joe’s evocative, heartfelt nostalgia for a life destroyed by corporate capital and on the other, his anger and frustrations, rants on occasion, as if analyzing sets off an uncontrollable chain reaction to how capitalism destroys human beings and all in the name of free choice! It’s a frustration many of us lefties feel, a sense of powerlessness made all the worse by the knowing.

What Joe called the white underclass, some forty-plus million Americans, who struggle to survive out of sight and out of mind of the urban middle class who not only manage capitalism but who also shape the kind of self-image people end up having of themselves. They are Marx’ surplus labor writ big, real big. They are the (former) heartland of the American Dream turned nightmare. A class turned in on itself and entirely ignored by mainstream everything.


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