The Average Joe Amerikkkan
The Average Joe Amerikkkan
“The average Joe” has a special place in the American consciousness. A popular literary character, the “working class hero” appears in film, tv, and on stage. He is valorized by politicians. And, for the First Worldist revisionists, he is the key to the future, to communism. Such is the myth of the “average Joe,” but what is the reality?
The average “Joe American,” who is 25 or older, has an income of $32,000 per year. (1) By contrast, most people in the world barely survive on less than $1,000 a year. For example, there are more people in India who make under a dollar a day than there are people residing in the United States. (2) With his high income, the average Joe has access to luxuries and a lifestyle that is far out of reach for most people in the world. With this income a decent house, a car, a computer, stereos, a modern kitchen, swimming pools, education, vacation travel, entertainment, investments, are all within reach of Joe. Joe earns far in excess the value of his labor. With this income, Joe has more access to capital than many capitalists in the Third World. Joe earns far in excess the amount that would be entailed by an egalitarian distribution of the social product worldwide. In other words, socialism would entail a big pay cut for Joe. He would lose most of his income according to a global, socialist distribution of income. He would lose his American lifestyle under socialism. In other words, Joe has about as much interest in socialism as the imperialist bourgeoisie. And he knows it, which is why again and again Joe lines up with his own bourgeoisie against the Third World.
According to the myth, Joe is a blue-collar worker. This image of Joe has been handed down in such characters as Ralph Kramden in the Honeymooners, Dan and Roseanne in the sitcom Roseanne, or Homer in the Simpsons cartoon. The reality is different. The average Joe holds a white-collar office job. (3) These jobs are not the backbreaking, body-wrecking, life-ending jobs that many in the Third World endure. By comparison, Joe’s job is incredibly high paying, comfortable, with short hours and long breaks. The culture associated with this kind of job has less in common with the work culture of the proletariat of the Third World, and more in common with the work culture of the bourgeoisie. Also, Joe does not identify himself with the global proletariat, those Marx described as “having nothing to lose but their chains.” It is more common that Joe identifies himself with the imperial bourgeoisie.
According to the myth, the average Joe lives in an urban jungle, ghetto or some corner of the backwoods. The reality is that Joe lives in his home in a suburban setting. (4) The suburbs as they now exist largely evolved after World War 2. The affluence of the United States rose sharply as it emerged from the Great Depression and World War 2 as the main imperialist superpower. The suburban life is part of a utopian vision associated with the pax Americana of the post-war years. To live in the suburbs is often part of what is meant by “living the American dream.”
Let’s get real. The idea that the average Joe is the social base for revolution is ridiculous. There is no way in hell that Joe is going to sacrifice his American privilege to throw his lot in with those who are truly exploited and oppressed in the Third World. This is true for not only the United States, it is true of the First World as a whole. At the core of Marx’s conception of the proletariat, of the revolutionary subject, is the idea that the life of the proletarian is a miserable, cruel one. The proletariat is exploited, has nothing but their labor to sell, has nothing but their chains. This, by no reasonable stretch, describes the vast majority of First World peoples. What kind of “Marxism” is it that agitates on behalf of the richest populations in the world? It is social imperialism, social fascism, First Worldist revisionism. What kind of Marxism stands with the vast majority of humanity, who truly have nothing to lose but their chains? What kind of Marxism stands against the First World as a whole as the class enemy? Real Marxism, Leading Light Communism. The fakes stand with the First World. The Leading Light stands with the Third World.