The new class war

Michael Lind on the tyranny of the managerial elite.


Michael Lind, author of The New Class War: Saving Democracy from the Managerial Elite, joins spiked’s editor for the latest episode of The Brendan O’Neill Show. They discuss the disenfranchisement of the working class, the rise of the technocratic elite and the populist fightback.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.


Tom Thumb

30th May 2020 at 6:10 pm

To define the class war between ‘the haves and have not is simplistic’. After all, it was the elites during the election when a young girl from an obvious middle class or higher background was videoed as openly describing the working class as disgusting. If that is not the criteria then what is it? The managerial case war is nothing new. It existed in Roman Times. A spiteful managerial class taxed wealth to the point of despair leaving the coffers bare and unable to pay the army. The rest is history.

Camille Paglia described its origins on Youtube admirably. I knew nothing about this lady until she had a discussion with Jordon Peterson on this topic the concept of the rise of the managerial class which she claims originated from the people who would have been bohemians by nature but otherwise saw a lucrative opportunity in overpaid managerial positions many existing in the proliferation of Quangos. They are by nature left-wing and more recently adhere to progressive views and political correctness rather than the traditional left-wing which had genuine concerns about the plight of the less well off in society.

Delia Scales

23rd May 2020 at 9:34 am

An excellent interview. I had no idea that the rise of the public service/university educated/politically correct elite occured at the same time as the collapse of unions, church and local community power. The different working, social and family values of these two groups is laid bare. Well done.

Jackie Robbins

21st May 2020 at 7:15 am

Why was my comment on John Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy (Attorney General) hint family…does that make JFK a narcissist? Regarding Ivanka and Kushner…why was it CENSORED? at Spiked? sigh…?

Jackie Robbins

21st May 2020 at 4:11 am

Fascinating interview, as always. But be careful of falling into traps of your own biased making, lovies.

Can we PLEASE stop putting Trump into a pre-defined little box with a bow tied around it called: Populist?

Here’s what journalists don’t grasp about the man: Trump defies all categories. He’s a Master of Chess in the Game of Politics.

Perhaps the reason he is neatly labeled as a populist is because he wants to improve conditions for working Americans, a mere slogan for Obama and the Elites, but a REALITY for Americans! given the extraordinary high employment he created until they launched the virus at him.

Also, Brendan, Do you have a problem with John Kennedy making his brother, whom he believed was the best man for the job, based on legal knowledge, merit, and humanitarian goals, the Attorney General?

Have you taken the time out to study Ivanka and Kushner’s background?

Oh please, please, PLEASE invite Krushner for an interview at Spiked!

These two individuals are perhaps the most interesting and intelligent spokespeople for the White House that I’ve come to appreciate in I don’t know how many years!

Maybe it’s not favoritism or narcissism in the least, maybe it’s similar to President John Kennedy’s decision, given Robert Kennedy’s intelligence, legal mind, and goal to lift Anericans, ALL Americans, including oppressed blacks, to a better life…

Careful of conveniently stuffing Trump into a neat little box with a tidy label called Populism. I dare any journalist or politician, for instance, to study our complicated Trade Deals to see if they can even comprehend the confusing legal language…

Trump DOES understand that language like nobody else. Obama couldn’t get past the first paragraph.

Thank you!

Dave Patterson

26th May 2020 at 12:50 pm

Excellent rebuttal and thank you, saves me the work! – far too many people who really should know better seem to have fallen to the ‘Trump derangement syndrome’ created by the mainstream media during the last months of he campaign and throughout, really, his presidency, and seem unable to let facts get in the way of their prejudices. It’s unfortunate, as it has something of an effect on their overall credibility, as here.

Robert Pay

20th May 2020 at 2:35 pm

It is interesting as a Brit in NYC to notice how similar the mindsets are between the technocracy in the U.K. and U.S. Brendan has developed into such a good interviewer…he should be at the BBC, but of course, they’d never touch him.

Paul Donaldson

20th May 2020 at 12:15 am

Insightful and enjoyable discussion which described the power and cultural shifts in society post WWII. I think Linden espoused a pragmatic rather than idealistic view of how a restoration of power to certain class groups to establish some balance that is currently out of kilter.

Tim Wheeler

19th May 2020 at 9:39 pm

Given the content of this (excellent discussion), I was very amused to see the advert for ‘Wine Delievery’ on the right hand side of the page.

Tim Wheeler

19th May 2020 at 9:49 pm

And it’s not just ANY old wine delivery: – it’s Virgin Branson Davos Billionaire wine delivery LOL.

Steve Roberts

19th May 2020 at 8:29 pm

Odd that an interview that wants to discuss the class war hardly discusses the failures or limits of capitalism but concentrates on the institutional /organisational forms that the opposing classes take and the cultural implications, that ensures a limited discussion.
There is no doubt as to which side of the fence that Lind is on and also which side he opposes but as with many “radicals” it is a tortuously limited opposition , almost a shallow moral one.
He more than once makes it clear that he , despite some claims to the contrary, really would like to see a return to a “tripartite” democratic social settlement, little more than demanding the reformed institutions of the working class be given more of a voice at the table of capitalism, pathetic limiting old fashioned labourism.
No thank you, to hell with demanding a few more crumbs we should be demanded a bigger cake for all to share.
He may well accept that the present Anglo /American parties are irreformable, but its not just an organisational problem, it’s a political one, Lind just wants the same old same old but with a health warning about a new ruling class, the new elites.
He also like so many others , Goodhart was mentioned , speaks of the “communitarian” the “traditional” without explaining in political terms what they mean, there is a very serious problem with these categories, they are effectively apolitical ones endowded with faux political ideas that attempt to short circuit the need for political contestation to pursue a genuine universalist approach, communitarianism really means narrow parochialism .
There is nothing wrong at all in pursuing a “cosmopolitan” approach in terms of wanting to get out into the world explore it and expand ones horizons, that is a pefectly visionary approach to take and there is no reason why a radical democratic transformative and universalist political outlook is compromised by that at all, it doesn’t exist except at the fringes but we can fight for one, while at the same time fight for a national political outlook where democratic decision making can take place, in fact it can be the basis for our internationalism .
Lind is on the right side of history but hasn’t learnt to accept that the previous institutions and parties of the working class failed, they need to be built anew, likely not around the workplace, that itself is far too narrowing and divisive, but the important point is to determine and clarify the political content, vision and understanding what the obstacles to building anew are.
What form the new will take is yet to be decided, the present crisis has opened up the opportunities for the settlement of class differences again, that will be resolved by either our aquiescence to the dominant minority or challenging them, but we will need far more than a rehash that LInd harks back to.

Mor Vir

20th May 2020 at 12:39 am

Some good comments from Steve there.

The working class has no political representation within capitalism, nor can it, only bourgeois fronts to perpetuate the interests of capital. The last thing that the working class needs is narrow bourgeois state parochialism that is all about conformity to the status quo.

Capitalism has hit its historical limits with terminal zero productivity growth and it can no longer better the lives of the working class. Our critique of capitalism is not moral, it is historical materialist. Capitalism has had its day and it is only a matter of time before it falls due to its own failures.

No one can predict where we go from here, economically or politically but it will be interesting to see where the capitalist economy is in a year’s time. It is new material conditions that will be the basis of new working class political organisation.

> Sunak warns UK economy could suffer permanent ‘scarring’
Chancellor dashes hopes of ‘immediate bounce back’ as jobless claims hit record

Rishi Sunak has warned that the economy may not “immediately bounce back” from the coronavirus crisis and could suffer permanent scarring, as jobless claims soared at a record rate to more than 2m.

The chancellor struck a sombre note on a day that saw the biggest month-on-month increase in out of work benefits claims since records began in 1971. A further 10m are now precariously relying on the state to pay their wages.

“We are likely to face a severe recession, the likes of which we haven’t seen, and, of course, that will have an impact on employment,” Mr Sunak said. “It’s not obvious there will be an immediate bounce back.”

The chancellor’s words reflect a Treasury view that early hopes of a “V-shaped” recession — an optimistic outlook shared by the Bank of England — were misplaced, and Britain is heading for a period of mass unemployment.

– FT

Mor Vir

20th May 2020 at 10:07 am

It is clear that the TP has not got a clue what it is on about.

They have gone within the space of a fortnight from saying that the UK economy is ‘fundamentally sound’ and that it will bounce right back, to saying that Britain faces an unprecedented, severe recession with mass unemployment.

That is a very, very major about face. This is the economy that we are talking about here, people’s livelihoods. Just two weeks ago, the TP had no clue whatsoever what the impact of the c 19 shutdown would be on the economy. They thought that it was all going to be a bed of roses.

So which is it? Is the UK economy ‘fundamentally sound’ or has it got deep underlying problems? Is the TP in any position to make a realistic evaluation of the state of the economy and to predict the effect of its policies on the economy?

Sorry, but this is alarming. To say two weeks ago that the UK is fundamentally sound, and that it will bounce right back, and now to come out with that UK faces an unprecedented severe recession with mass unemployment, is just not good enough.

It is not only the state of the economy that is alarming, and what faces working communities, but also the state of the TP is alarming. The government of the UK has not got a clue what it is doing with the economy. It does not even know whether we are bouncing right back or suffering the worst recession on record.

The problems of the UK economy are indeed very deep, with a tendency toward terminal zero productivity growth in all ‘mature’ capitalist economies since at least the 1970s. The ‘fourth industrial revolution’ of IT failed to make any lasting impact on that downward trajectory.

The only countervailing factor to prop up GDP growth is the mass incorporation of workers from abroad, and that does not raise wealth and living standards without any productivity growth.

Capitalism is spent as force to improve the living standards of the working classes. And now the UK economy is headed into an unprecedented severe recession of mass unemployment. When is the TP going to get real about the situation in the UK economy?

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