Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Class Act

As a surpassingly ideological woman, Margaret Thatcher would probably recoil at how the new film The Iron Lady depicts her in distinctly personal terms as an aging, widowed, out-of-power politician struggling with dementia. But in at least one way the film reflects a political sea change that Thatcher helped set in motion: the decline of the idea that class is a relationship that structures both inequality and solidarity.

In The Iron Lady, class is a form of social distinction, a kind of snobbery that Thatcher overcomes in her own Conservative Party (along with sexism) to become prime minister. In this view, her rise is a triumph for pluck and meritocracy. The Labor Party politicians that she battles and the demonstrators arrayed against her are cardboard figures, either simpletons or hooligans.

Thatcher triumphed as a politician, the film suggests, because she remained true to herself in the face of all opposition. The content of her policies, and their impact, receive comparatively little attention. Yet this is the woman who did as much as anyone to popularize the neoliberal world we live in today, where society is a fiction, greed and gain are the engines of progress, and the most modest forms of social democracy are decried as nothing more than socialist dictatorship.

Some of this is unavoidable in a feature film organized around one central character. But I can't shake the feeling that some viewers will come away from The Iron Lady seeing Thatcher's career as a triumph for diversity (grocer's daughter overcomes the snobs) while never thinking that her vision of politics and government, which denied inequalities of class and exalted individualism at the expense of solidarity, brought us to the atomized, insecure, and massively unequal world that we inhabit today.


4 comments:

Hulser, public historian said...

Incisive and to the point. Sad how few people in America understand that class is a relationship of power, even as the powerless see themselves "revolting" under the banner of a Tea Party, which is secretly structured as a stalking horse for upper class hegemony. Yikes.

Ronald Helfrich Jnr. said...

Have you seen the two BBC programmes on Thatcher?

Technician 101 said...

HVAC technicians must undergo training at any licensed facility in the state of New York. In New York, there are various universities, training institutes and community colleges have HVAC degrees.
HVAC Training in New York

Trekking in Nepal said...

Trekking in Nepal is part of world excellent journey. Natures to renew one’s own self regard, to relive oneself, to realize Nepal beauty of TreksHimalaya, to interact with its generous, friendly peoples are highlights of Nepal. Trekking is one long term activity that draws repeat visitors. Nepal is final purpose for trekking offers numerous options walking excursion to meet snowy peaks, their foot hills, valleys but however there is amazing for each who hope trek in Nepal hill, mountain area. Typical trekking and hiking in Nepal as unique combination of natural glory, spectacular trekking is most rewarding way to skill Nepal natural beautification and cultural array is to walking, trekking, width and the height of country. Trekking is important of Nepal on description Nepal tours of large range of ecological features. The country nurtures a variety of flora and scenery. Addition to natural atmosphere is rich Himalayan culture. Many of visitor trek to different part of Nepal every year to experience its rustic charm, nature and culture. Most treks through areas between 1000 to 5185m, though some popular parts reach over 5648m. Trekking is not climbing, while the climb of Himalayan peaks, enjoy walking in Nepal might be an attraction for travelers. Every travelers knows for the trek in Nepal from all over the words an inspiring knowledge of Tours Trekking in Nepal.