This world is divided into unrepresentative and irrelevant categories. Rather than looking at what we have in common with others, we are told to focus on the differences. It was in Austria, whilst staying with friends of mine in Vienna, that this became apparent.
The only divide I had with these people was that of nationality. In almost every single way we were identical. We were around the same age, we held the same interests, had university educations, participated in the same leisure activities and were in financially similar positions. My friends in the UK and my friends in Austria were only separated because of the land mass that they happened to have been born on. Being British in Austria, the only difference that existed was that of nationality.
Once I returned to Britain that difference of nationality obviously disappeared. I was surrounded by my “countrymen” and we were all alike. This though, was a fantasy. As is the case in any country there are differences amongst the populace. Differences that when maintained are in the interest of the ruling governments. We are told, by the powers that be, that we are British, and that “we are all in this together.” Since those words were uttered, it is clear that that was not the case. There is a silence surrounding the issue of class, and this silence is beneficial to the elite that rule. This silence exists because of the deafening roar on the topics of nationality, foreigners and immigration.
It is human nature to want to categorize things, to make groups and order where there seemingly is none. Class is a category which unites. It transcends borders and because of this it is viewed as a major threat to the established order. Nationality, on the other hand, is not a threat, it is beneficial. Along with patriotism, it is preached by governments to harness support. Whilst the population joyfully wave the flag and focus their attention on a “united” nation, the issue of class within that nation is ignored. If you are told that the enemy is located outside of your country, i.e. immigration, you tend to miss the true enemy that is located within your country, i.e. classism.
I would not say that I am a follower of Marx, or indeed Communism, in fact I am opposed to many of the ideas espoused, but I am in agreement that the world is divided upon class rather than any other social distinction. Nationality and patriotism are the focus of governments because it is in their interest to do so. All the tools are already in place, the government need only to ring the bell and the people come running to defend the flag. The danger for governments worldwide is of a conscious populace who realise that the elite in charge of the country are as alien to them as E.T. was to California.
As mentioned previously, the issue of class is a threat to those in power because class is not restricted to a single country, it transcends borders. The thought of hundreds of millions of people uniting and working towards a common goal strikes fear into the hearts of the ruling elites. The Occupy movement clearly demonstrates that people are beginning to see past loyalties based on nationality, and are instead establishing loyalties with those of the same class across the globe. Let us hope, then, that the Occupy movement was just the beginning.