If there was hope, it MUST lie in the proles, because only there in those swarming disregarded masses, 85 percent of the population of Oceania, could be the force to destroy the Party. The Party could not be overthrown from within. But the proles, if only they could somehow become conscious of their own strength, would have no need to conspire.

In George Orwell’s seminal classic 1984, Winston Smith tells us the proles don’t realize they are oppressed by their government. This is why they don’t rise up.

For decades, Americans have been fed the lie of capitalism. At the same time, they witnessed the rise of the plutocracy as fat cat corporate leaders hijacked the political system.

Those in energy, finance and big technology grabbed the reins of the country’s economic engine and started steering us toward the rocks.

Capitalism Kills the Proles and Middle Class

“…Capitalism is not an economic system that produces a middle class. In fact, if left to its own devices, capitalism tends towards vast levels of inequality and monopoly. The natural and most stable state of capitalism actually looks a lot like the Victorian England depicted in Charles Dickens’ novels” — Salon

Consumer protections were gutted, unions were busted and laws were enacted to serve corporations. The systematic dismantling of America had begun. Today, it is fully realized.

Government is controlled by the Neo-American oligarchy — people like Trump, McConnell, Graham, Ryan and organizations such as the Republican National Committee, Fox News, the NRA and hundreds of bloated predatory corporations.

While the middle-class mourned the loss of mid-management positions, corporations continued to put an end to high-paying jobs. This is the legacy of conservatism. The burgeoning powerhouse of American labor market has been replaced with a shitty gig economy where workers are exploited in the name of benefiting a few at the top.

“Alternate” as a Euphemism

According to Forbes, 29% of workers or 58 million people have an “alternate work arrangement” as their primary job.

Workers no longer compete for jobs, but for the opportunity to earn wages in a perverse system where employment has become a giffen good.

The rise of gig work like Uber, Lyft, Fiverr, Flexjobs and dozens more dangle the mere possibility of earning money while in reality often paying well below the federal minimum wage.

This is legal. Thanks to a political system where the ones tasked with oversight, it is the lawmakers who are becoming enriched. How can workers expect the members of Congress controlling some $2.43 billion — 20 percent more wealth than their predecessors — to address this disparity?

After decades of exploitation, most workers still do not have a firm grasp on the dynamic, but they know something is wrong. The struggle is all too real. They are bombarded with reasons for their plight from the very ones oppressing them.

Anything else is to blame — minorities, immigrants, entitlements, liberals, taxes, government regulation. Those in power do not reveal the truth that the problem is due to economic mobility. The ability for children to earn more than their parents, has dropped over 40 percent since the 1940s, according to Harvard researchers.

People are desperate. They believe that if they work harder and pour more effort into their side hustle, they can be one of the lucky ones.

In reality, Americans who used to fight over the crumbs are now scrambling for the opportunity to compete for pennies.

Welcome to Class, Proles

The middle class has been shuffled into the “Precariat”, the emerging social group defined by instability, an existence without security. It is a fitting portmanteau of precarious and proletariat.

If you’re not a member of the 1% and have become a victim of wealth inequality, congratulations on your new socioeconomic class. As it now exists, the hierarchy is the Elites and Plutocrats at the top. Below them are the shrinking Salariat of white-collar workers, and finally the Precariat. This is the food chain, this where we find ourselves.

You never move up, unless you start above a certain threshold. The trend for everyone not born into great wealth and privilege is to move lower. The American Dream is a fantasy, a slick piece of marketing sold to the workers along with the idea of patriotism and freedom.

While the Precariat has sufficient opportunity to change this through a grassroots political movement, it would require the voters acknowledge their plight and resist the avalanche of propaganda that tells them how the economy is thriving.

The oppressed do not recognize their chains, Orwell tells us.

Welcome to your new class struggle, proles.

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Shelly Fagan

Shelly Fagan is a freelance writer living in Arizona. She is passionate about American politics, business, universal basic income and worker rights. Follow her on Twitter @FaganWrites or on Medium at https://medium.com/@shellyfaganaz

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