Once upon a time, there were a bunch of workers who wanted to organise One Big Union of their class. They said, "We will make our union democratic. We will not exclude any workers; only employers will be barred from joining our union." They were all happy, freely associating with each other in a class wide union of their own.
And then, one day, one worker said to another worker, "Look. Joe Tito is getting on my nerves. I'm from Serbia and you're from Serbia. Dick over there, he's from Serbia too. Why don't we form a Serbian caucus in our union, so that we can discuss matters which concern our Serbian identity without the damn Croats listening. When the Croats are around, I don't feel comfortable, especially when tennis is on TV. Dick self-identifies as a Serbian and so do I. How about you, Mary?"
Mary replied, "I self-identify as a woman and of course, as a Serbian. I've been asked whether I want to be part of the women's caucus too. I may not join though. I'm also a heterosexual and as I've been excluded from the lesbian caucus, I've decided to set up a het-caucus. It's rumoured that the lesbian caucus controls the women's caucus."
"What's that got to do with it," Boro asked? "We could have our own meetings in Serbian. We're always having meetings in English. And, we could go to tennis matches together when our players are on the court and show the Croats a thing or two."
And so, the One Big Union devolved into a towering babble of competing identities. All thought of workers having common class interests to abolish wage labour was abandoned, as was any talk of social ownership of the collective product of labour. Instead, caucus co-ops sprang up. Each co-op had a particular niche which they and only they could fill in the marketplace of ideas and commodities. They all competed with capitalist corporations for consumers, using their own particular brand of moral suasion as the selling point. Admittedly, some were more successful than others.
Anyway, the workers consciously dividing themselves will always be defeated.
The share of income going to the top one per cent in Australia has doubled since 1979.
Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/03/25/130325fa_fact_finnegan#ixzz2NxHL07tS