On another note, if anyone has any quotes/suggestions/recommendations they think are meaningful, thought-provoking or otherwise relevant, feel free to leave a comment if you'd like, and I'll try incorporate it along with a thank-you credit. For example, if anyone has some good sources for this article's theme from a more conservative viewpoint, I'd be glad to read them. This quick issue's theme is the importance of class, something fundamental to much of modern political theory and an issue still hotly debated.
Theme: Class; "Us and Them"
"The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles"
- Karl Marx
"Throughout recorded time, and probably since the end of the Neolithic Age, there have been three kinds of people in the world, the High, the Middle, and the Low. They have been subdivided in many ways, they have borne countless different names, and their relative numbers, as well as their attitude towards one another, have varied from age to age: but the essential structure of society has never altered. Even after enormous upheavals and seemingly irrevocable changes, the same pattern has always reasserted itself, just as a gyroscope will always return to equilibrium, however far it is pushed one way or the other."
- George Orwell, (1984)
"The rich run a global system that allows them to accumulate capital and pay the lowest possible price for labour. The freedom that results applies only to them. The many simply have to work harder, in conditions that grow ever more insecure, to enrich the few. Democratic politics, which purports to enrich the many, is actually in the pocket of those bankers, media barons and other moguls who run and own everything."
- Charles Moore, (note: a surprising source for such an apparently left-wing quote; its author is in fact an Eton-educated, dedicated and long-time conservative. Given his later support for many right-wing causes, I can only assume this was written at a time his convictions were shaken, and has since resolved once more in favour of the right)
"The essence of a class system is not that the privileged are conscious of their privileges, but that the deprived are conscious of their deprivations."
- Clive James
Even if you abhor its conclusions, the Communist Manifesto is a mandatory read to understand one of the most significant strands of political theory of the past few centuries. Though it visits several subjects, the influence of class on its writing and the influence of its writing on class tie it intrinsically to the concept of a conflict of classes.
"The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists" is an influential work from the early 1900s that shows the conditions of the working class in late industrialisation, the crucible in which many of the defining aspects of 20th century politics were forged.