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The First Oppressors in England


 Once upon a time, many thousands of years ago, when this country was covered with forests and swamps and there was no sea between it and the rest of Europe, a race of rather small, long-headed dark people roamed in the river valleys living on wild fruits and the flesh of what animals they secured in hunting. Their homes were caves and rabbit-like burrows. Their neighbours the mammoth, the woolly rhinocerous, the reindeer, the elephant, the hippopotamus and the lion. Life was very hard for them as their acquirements were few. They made tools and weapons out of stone roughly chipped into a form that helped to some extent in the struggle for life. Of boatbuilding they knew nothing beyond the skin boats in which they hazarded their lives on the watercourses. Of property they were equally ignorant, for they had none. Their social organisation was the horde with women at the centre.
 

A Question of Class

Exploitation is now a thing of the past. If you don’t like your job you can always leave it.

Who Do You Think You Are?

Let's get some things straight.

Being working class does not mean scrubbing front doorsteps of terraced houses on hands and knees, or wearing a cloth cap or a donkey jacket, does not mean smoking Woodbines, or playing darts, bowls or crib for the local pub team, does not mean watching Coronation Street and Carry On films, or speaking in a local dialect, heavy accent or slang, or passionately supporting a football team standing on the terraces, does not mean filling a mantelshelf with little ornaments from Blackpool, or keeping pigeons or greyhounds, does not mean shopping at the Co-op or reading the Daily Mirror, or . . .

A Question of Definition (2) Class and Reform

Class was originally a general term for a division or a group and was thus equivalent to modern “category”. Thus it had no particular social significance but from the period 1770 to 1840 it came increasingly to be used to describe divisions in society. Williams explains its displacing of previous words for social divisions such as rank, order, estate, degree by the fact that, unlike them, class did not imply a hierarchical arrangement of society—such as feudalism had been but as (an) emerging capitalism was not.

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