Carrol Cox wrote:
> When they wrote the Manifesto, Marx & Engels were not yet “Marxists.” That
> is why they made the mistake of referring to history as a record of _class_
> conflict. In fact, as Marx later demonstrated¸Class (an abstraction¸a
> relation and a process) exists _only_ in capitalism. _Caste_ (or _Estates_)
> is the proper designation for what is called class in non-capitalist
> societies. Thus you don’t have to label Eliot (or anyone else) a Communist
> on the basis of their view of the modern world resembling that in the
> quotation I posted.
> Eliost clearly abhorred the disappearance of distinctios in the “modern
> world”: Consider that as a beginning for analysis of the opening paragraph
> of East Coker. We start with archaic language mng a period whenthere was
> still an English Peasantry (a caste or Estate rather than a class). And the
> house agent’s clerk is “one of the low,” because he exists in a world in
> which only the abstractions of “high” and “low” exist. _Murdfer in the
> Cathedral_ pays homage to a world of visible distinctions and relations, a
> world of _estates_. _The Cocktail Party_ may be seen as an effort to
> reconcile himself to a world of abstract individuals. (Abstract in that they
> exist separately and in abstraction from any of a large number of slots into
> which they can fit themselves or be fitted. The stability, the solidity of
> relationships, the clear demarcation between the sacred and the profane
> which characterized pre-modern societies has disappeared.
I have called her [Marie Lloyd] the expressive figure of the lower
classes. There has been no such expressive figure for any other class.
The middle classes have no such idol: the middle classes are morally
corrupt. That is to say, it is themselves and their own life which find
no expression in such a person as Marie Lloyd: nor have they any
independent virtues as a class which might give them as a conscious
class any dignity. The middle classes, in England as elsewhere, under
democracy are morally dependent upon the aristocracy, and the
aristocracy are morally in fear of the middle class which is gradually
absorbing and destroying them. The lower classes still exist; but
perhaps they will not exist for long.
The population should be homogeneous ; where two or more cultures
exist in the same place they are likely either to be fiercely
self-conscious or both to become adulterate. 1
1 Or else you may get a caste system, based on original distinctions of
race, as in India: which is a very different matter from classes, which
pre-suppose homogeneity of race and a fundamental equality. But
social classes, as distinct from economic classes, hardly exist to-day.