Working Class Quotes

Quotes tagged as "working-class" Showing 1-30 of 66
Tawni O'Dell
“She hated her job the same way I hated my jobs because she knew she was worth more, but she also hated herself so there wasn't much point in trying to do better.”
Tawni O'Dell, Back Roads

Jeanette Winterson
“I didn't want to be in the teeming mass of the working class.[...] I didn't want to live and die in the same place with only a week at the seaside in between. I dreamed of escape - but what is terrible about industrialisation is that it makes escape necessary. In a system that generates masses, individualism is the only way out. But then what happens to community - to society?”
Jeanette Winterson, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Alan Sillitoe
“Well, it's a good life and a good world, all said and done, if you don't weaken.”
Alan Sillitoe, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

“I'm not working-class: I come from the criminal classes.”
Peter O'Toole

George Orwell
“This business of petty inconvenience and indignity, of being kept waiting about, of having to do everything at other people’s convenience, is inherent in working-class life. A thousand influences constantly press a working man down into a passive role. He does not act, he is acted upon. He feels himself the slave of mysterious authority and has a firm conviction that ‘they’ will never allow him to do this, that, and the other. Once when I was hop-picking I asked the sweated pickers (they earn something under sixpence an hour) why they did not form a union. I was told immediately that ‘they’ would never allow it. Who were ‘they’? I asked. Nobody seemed to know, but evidently ‘they’ were omnipotent.”
George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier

Amor Towles
“--You're rather well read for a working-class girl, she said with her back to me.
--Really? I've found that all my well-read friends are from the working class.
--Oh my. Why do you think that is? The purity of poverty?
--No. It's just that reading is the cheapest form of entertainment.
--Sex is the cheapest form of entertainment.
--Not in this house.”
Amor Towles, Rules of Civility

Christopher Hitchens
“As to the 'Left' I'll say briefly why this was the finish for me. Here is American society, attacked under open skies in broad daylight by the most reactionary and vicious force in the contemporary world, a force which treats Afghans and Algerians and Egyptians far worse than it has yet been able to treat us. The vaunted CIA and FBI are asleep, at best. The working-class heroes move, without orders and at risk to their lives, to fill the moral and political vacuum. The moral idiots, meanwhile, like Falwell and Robertson and Rabbi Lapin, announce that this clerical aggression is a punishment for our secularism. And the governments of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, hitherto considered allies on our 'national security' calculus, prove to be the most friendly to the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Here was a time for the Left to demand a top-to-bottom house-cleaning of the state and of our covert alliances, a full inquiry into the origins of the defeat, and a resolute declaration in favor of a fight to the end for secular and humanist values: a fight which would make friends of the democratic and secular forces in the Muslim world. And instead, the near-majority of 'Left' intellectuals started sounding like Falwell, and bleating that the main problem was Bush's legitimacy. So I don't even muster a hollow laugh when this pathetic faction says that I, and not they, are in bed with the forces of reaction.”
Christopher Hitchens, Christopher Hitchens and His Critics: Terror, Iraq, and the Left

Núria Añó
“The land of easy mathematics where he who works adds up and he who retires subtracts.”
Núria Añó

Douglas Coupland
“Face it: You're always just a breath away from a job in telemarketing.”
Douglas Coupland, Microserfs

Roman Payne
“Let these men sing out their songs,
they've been walking all day long,
all their fortune's spent and gone...
silver dollar in the subway station;
quarters for the papers for the jobs.”
Roman Payne

“Embrace dysfunction" this one helps in the workplace!”
Rick Hein

A.H. Septimius
“We are just peasants with money.”
A.H. Septimius

Joyce Rachelle
“I think the worst sort of time travel is how the clock speeds up when I'm on my break.”
Joyce Rachelle

Quentin R. Bufogle
“I don't mind being a team player. I'm just tired of being the soccer ball.”
Quentin R. Bufogle, Horse Latitudes

Sheila Fitzpatrick
“Thus the Russian working class had contradictory characteristics for a Marxist diagnosing its revolutionary potential. Yet the empirical evidence of the period from the 1890s to 1914 suggests that in fact Russia's working class, despite its close links with the peasantry, was exceptionally militant and revolutionary. Large-scale strikes were frequent, the workers showed considerable solidarity against management and state authority, and their demands were usually political as well as economic. In the 1905 Revolution, the workers of St Petersburg and Moscow organized their own revolutionary institutions, the soviets, and continued the struggle after the Tsar's constitutional concessions in October and the collapse of the middle-class liberals' drive against the autocracy”
Sheila Fitzpatrick, The Russian Revolution 1917-1932

Quentin R. Bufogle
“To all you who believe we shouldn't have a minimum wage -- that the minimum amount you can be paid should be determined solely by your employer. We tried it once before: it was called SLAVERY.”
Quentin R. Bufogle

“Go home now. Keep away from the saloons. Save your money. You going to need it. [Someone shouted] 'What will we need it for, Mother?' For guns [I said].”
Mother Jones

“Being an elite is not a mere possession or something "within" an actor (skills, talents, and human capital); it is an embodied performative act enabled by by both possessions and the inscriptions that accompany experiences within elite institutions (schools, clubs, families, networks, etc.). Our bodily tastes, dispositions, and tendencies are not simply something we're born with; they are things that are produced through our experiences in the world. Not only do they occur in our minds, but they are things we enact repeatedly so that soon these performances look less and less like an artificial role we're playing- a role that might advantage us- and instead look more and more like just who we naturally are. pg. 136”
Shamus Rahman Khan, Privilege: The Making of an Adolescent Elite at St. Paul's School

W.E.B. Du Bois
“As negroes moved from unionism toward political action, white labor in the North not only moved in the opposite direction from political action to union organization, but also evolved the American Blindspot for the Negro and his problems. It lost interest and vital touch with Southern labor and acted as though the millions of laborers in the South did not exist.

Thus labor went into the great war of 1877 against Northern capitalists unsupported by the black man, and the black man went his way in the South to strengthen and consolidate his power, unsupported by Northern labor. Suppose for a moment that Northern labor had stopped the bargain of 1876 and maintained the power of the labor vote in the South; and suppose that the Negro with new and dawning consciousness of the demands of labor as differentiated from the demands of capitalists, had used his vote more specifically for the benefit of white labor, South and North?”
W E B Du Bois, Black Reconstruction in America

A.J.P. Taylor
“On the contrary, all experience shows that revolutionaries come from those who are economically independent, not from factory workers. Very few revolutionary leaders have done manual work, and those who did soon abandoned it for political activities. The factory worker wants higher wages and better conditions, not a revolution. It is the man on his own who wants to remake society, and moreover he can happily defy those in power without economic risk.”
A.J.P. Taylor, The Communist Manifesto

A.J.P. Taylor
“Increasing prosperity for the capitalists has everywhere brought with it increasing prosperity for the proletariat, instead of the increasing misery which Marx foretold. The most advanced capitalist countries are also those where the working class has the highest standard of life.”
A.J.P. Taylor, The Communist Manifesto

Joyce Rachelle
“Sometimes the gap between what you are and what you want to be is a little piece of paper called your college degree. So jump.”
Joyce Rachelle

Vivek Shraya
“dad had to... three jobs he had to
give his time off to sleep
instead of knowing me”
Vivek Shraya, Even this Page is White

V.O. Diedlaff
“When a man wants to rob a bank he hides behind a mask, but when a banker wants to rob a man, he hides behind a corporation.”
V.O. Diedlaff, We Can Fix It: Reclaiming the American Dream

Haruki Murakami
“O.K., so I’m not so smart. I’m working class. But it’s the working class that keeps the world running, and it’s the working class that gets exploited. What the hell kind of revolution have you got just tossing out big words that working-class people can’t understand? What the hell kind of social revolution is that? I mean, I’d like to make the world a better place, too. If somebody’s really being exploited, we’ve got to put a stop to it. That’s what I believe, and that’s why I ask questions. Am I right, or what?”
Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

Ta-Nehisi Coates
“America's indispensable working class existed as property beyond the realm of politics, leaving white Americans free to trumpet their love of freedom and democratic values.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Case for Reparations

Stewart Stafford
“If you’re working class, they try to walk all over you. If you escape that and become a celebrity, they put you on walks of fame and name streets after you, so people can walk all over you in perpetuity.”
Stewart Stafford

“E sapevo anche un’altra cosa. Che se non fossi andato per il mondo, non avrei capito niente della mia storia, della storia della mia parte. E se non si capisce nulla, a cosa servono le mani fini dei privilegiati? Cosa racconti, cosa scrivi con quelle mani se gli occhi non vedono, se il cuore non desidera e non spera, se lo stomaco non conosce la fame e il fegato la rabbia? Come puoi fare il morso del ciuco alla realtà senza le castagne in tasca?”
Prunetti Alberto

Graciliano Ramos
“He was stupid, yes; he had never had any schooling; he didn't know how to explain himself. Was he in jail because he doesn't know how to explain things right? What was wrong with his being stupid? He worked like a slave, day in and day out. [...] Was it his fault he was stupid? Who was to blame?”
Graciliano Ramos, Vidas Secas

Ben Aaronovitch
“Or as my dad always says: it only becomes a social problem when the working man joins in.”
Ben Aaronovitch, Lies Sleeping

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