Sunday, 27 June 2010

Darts is a "Working Class" Sport

All I will say about the football is bring on an England v. Germany darts match :o)

I must apologise to my regular readers (both of them) for the absence of a recent blog post. My work occasionally requires me to travel, and the last couple of weeks have been hectic. Apologies.

I feel I must get something off my chest which has been bugging me for a long time.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have heard darts described as a "working class" sport, as if that somehow means it should be considered less valid than other sports. When I've pointed out to the people claiming this that Wayne Rooney is not "of the Hampshire Rooneys" and didn't go to Eton, I've received, more or less, the response "Yes, but darts is different isn't it?".

I think class is irrelevant in sport (and indeed should be in any other walk of life); however, I've given up trying to convince people that darts isn't exclusively "for the working classes". That being so, I'm going to try a different tack. Instead of convincing people that darts isn't "working class", I'm going to start arguing that they are "working class".

Most people who talk about class have never actually read Marx. Marx is one of the most misunderstood writers in all history, and particularly when he talks about class.

Class, as defined by Marx, is about the ownership of the means of production. The bourgeoisie own the means of production, be it companies, factories, shops, whatever. The crucial point is that because of their ownership, they cannot be sacked. It does not matter whether you own Microsoft or the Durham City Nanomart, you own it and it cannot be taken away from you.

If you WORK for Microsoft or the Durham City Nanomart, it makes no difference whether you earn a million dollars a year or £4.00 an hour; the key point is that because you do not share in the ownership of the company (capital), you can be dispensed with at any time because you are, in effect, selling your labour and skills to the company. If they decide that they do not want to buy, or that your price is too high, you have to accept that. You are therefore selling your labour, which is the only thing you own, and therefore a member of the proletariat; you are working class.

It does not matter if you go to work wearing a suit, sit in an office, earn a large salary, have a mortgage, pay school fees, read the Daily Mail, vote Tory and attend Ascot every year; you are, as defined by Marx, working class if you cannot control your own destiny through the ownership of capital. The fact that you can command a much higher premium for your labour than your hammer and torch wielding forebears is irrelevant; the fact that you have a University education, belong the golf club and sit at a computer all day is irrelevant.

The overwhelming majority of the British population is "working class", because they do not have any control over the companies for which they work. Unless you own enough shares in Macdonalds to stop them being able to fire you, you are "a worker" because, whatever your skills are and however much you can charge for them, the only thing you own is your own labour. People talk about how there is no such thing as the working class any more, but that is rubbish; just because most people don't forge steel or mine coal for a living doesn't mean that they have any more ownership of capital than they did before. You might support capitalism, you might benefit from capitalism, but none of those things make you bourgeois or a capitalist.

So the next time some snooty sod tells you darts is "working class", just point out that they almost certainly are too :o)

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