The Great British Class Calculator

The BBC have recently released a ‘huge survey’ explaining there are now seven different classes, and have published a quiz so you can find out which class you belong to.

We would never suggest that the BBC doesn’t have clue about class analysis, that they focus far too much on social stereotypes instead of economic realities, or that this is part of a mainstream narrative going back decades that is damaging true class consciousness. We also wouldn’t want to suggest that these ideas mostly serve (deliberately or not) the interests of those like the Tories, who rely on us being divided and would prefer we see the working class as a demonized Shameless stereotype rather than something we proudly belong to.

However, despite not wanting to suggest any of that we do think we can come up with a better class calculator than they can. So here we present to you…

The Great Bristol AFed Class Calculator

Traditional social divisions of capitalist and working class seem out of date in the 21st Century, having never reflected a society that can truly be fair and equal or meet the needs of most people.

Anti Capitalists throughout the world have teamed up with other workers to fight against the class system. To find out where you fit in use this calculator below, by clicking on the relevent answer.

Question One
Which most accurately describes how you make a living?

A) I use my wealth, status, privileged background or ownership of the ‘means of production’  (eg a company, its factories and machines) to profit from the labour of others

B) I sell my time & labour for a wage, and/or recieve welfare during periods of unemployment

We hope you like our quiz, leave any suggestions or reviews in the comments. If you want to read more about class we suggest you start with Work, Community, Politics, War (click the image for the next page) from prole.info.

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23 comments

  1. Timothy Scriven

    What about the petit bourgeoise? Wouldn’t a literal reading of this imply that cops and upper management are proles? Is there no acknowledgement of the complex class position of lawyers, doctors and others?

    Like

    • Bristol Anarchist Federation

      We deliberately wanted to make the simplest quiz possible. While the real world is obviously far more complex than a traditional Marxist analysis of class, that analysis is one we still think is the most useful for understanding society.
      Any attempt to group people into distinct groups will run into many problems, this is because life isn’t a binary experience. Everyone will face different amounts of oppression at the hands of the capitalist system and receive different amounts of privileges from it. Those somewhere in the middle ground of these two spectrums will face a more difficult choice about whether they feel being free from their oppression is worth giving up their privilege nd have histroically often sided with the capitalists. We genuinely think all but the most self centred of people will have something to gain from over throwing capitalism, and capitalist society contributes to making people more selfcentred.

      As for cops, they are proles doing the bidding of the capitalist class and fighting against other proles, hence the term class traitors. Whilst they still wear their uniforms (literally or figuratively) they are clearly the enemies of the working class. ‘the cops are not the children of the workers, they are the dogs of the bosses’.

      Like

      • Timothy Scriven

        Fair call. Adding more options certainly would have made it less funny.

        Disagree with you about cops though. They make no productive contribution but only maintain the present state of things. I would argue they occupy their own unique class position.

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      • nothingiseverlost

        Timothy – there are a lot of workers who make no productive contribution. From people who paste adverts up to people working in arms factories, there’s a lot of jobs that’re totally fucking useless, but it doesn’t stop the people who do them being workers. The more interesting question is at what point your job becomes so totally harmful that you cross over into cop territory – we can all agree that cops, prison guards, and UKBA staff who carry out raids can fuck off, but how repressiv does a job have to be to enter that category?

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  3. Andy Strip

    I deploy my own means of production on a freelance basis as part of a co-op. I own my tools and charge a fee that makes me comfortable. What class am I?

    Like

    • Bristol Anarchist Federation

      In our personal experience people who are self employeed or work in small co-ops tend to find the market becomes their boss. Whilst it may not be the case for everyone, us and our friends that are in co-ops (or self employeed) have found that the market forces within capitalism compel us to give up more of our leisure time and work harder & longer than we would like, and to raise prices to customers, compromise on our morals, or pay less to suppliers to keep profit margins high enough for the business to be sustatinable.
      One of us has been accused of being ‘petit bourgeois’ for being self employeed. The same goes an afed members dad who is a manual labourer/builder and even a friend who was working in the sex trade. However all three of us consider ourselves part of the working class in both an economic and social sense. We aren’t exploiting the labour of others in any direct or meaningful way (although as @AardvarkMonster pointed out to us it is nearly impossible to work or live in a capatalist society without indirectly exploiting the labour of others), and if we stopped working ourselves we would quickly fall into poverty.
      We understand like any dicohtomy worker/capatalist can’t possibly fully explain the complexities of the real world, but since their are infinate possibilites creating a slightly higher number of classes doesn’t do much to help this, and is infact counter productive as it clouds the real issues around class that affect our day to day lives.

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  4. Tweed

    I think we all agree that these class calculators are a joke. A nice Utopia chaps!
    Before I start writing I would like to say I was born with no money but I come from an aristocratic background. I did not go to a big public school drive big cars have many holidays! By now you might even hate me like the revolutionaries hated the french aristocracy.

    For me, as I can only speak for me, to give up my social privileges will not happen. In this day an age being from a privileged background (I talk socially not financially) is like being part of a club, like a sports club, a book club, a religious group etc… We get together act very unPC, speak about topic lower classes would define as snobbish and out of date do not relate to, because we know where we are from and have the same upbringing! Like the guy who sings about being from his street or his hood…

    Would you give up your holiday to give money to the less fortunate?
    Would you sell your house and give all the money it to charity?
    Would you give up your club memberships?
    Would you give up a way of life that you are happy with?
    Would you give up your job today for a someone you don’t know because he would be better at it?
    Do you ever have the the though of wanting to collect save up to have something to pass on to your children when you die?
    Do you want to be able to get the best for your children?
    If your uncle owns a company would you take the job he offers you even though better candidates will be shunned?

    All humans are born equal then they make there life as well as they can! Networks are one of the most important things out there because they help you and define you!

    Like

    • Bristol Anarchist Federation

      ‘ think we all agree that these class calculators are a joke. ‘
      Yup, ours is a bit more self ware about this than the BBCs.

      ‘By now you might even hate’
      We don’t hate people based on their backgrounds. One of our favourite political theorists was born a prince before renouncing the title (Kropotkin) .

      ‘For me, as I can only speak for me, to give up my social privileges…’
      > we’re not asking you to give up your friends. We’re asking you to participate in an egalitarian society. We live in a country of plenty, we should all be able to live lives free of poverty, under the current system that isn’t possible.

      ‘Would you give up your holiday to give money to the less fortunate?’
      >in a personal capacity, in the past i’ve given up all my remaining holiday from work and most of my disposable income to help migrants in Calais.

      ‘Would you sell your house and give all the money it to charity?’
      >I don’t own my house. I would sell it if i thought it would help bring about freedom from capitalism & the state.

      ‘Would you give up your club memberships?’
      >why would i have to? clubs don’t have to negatively affect anyone else. I should be free to associate and help anyone i like.

      ‘Would you give up a way of life that you are happy with?’
      > I’d give up my current way of life for one that would be better for not only myself but everyone else.

      ‘Would you give up your job today for a someone you don’t know because he would be better at it? If your uncle owns a company would you take the job he offers you even though better candidates will be shunned?’
      >I’d fight for a world where such a choice would seem illogical. Why dont we both chip in? can he not share his skills? maybe i should do something i’m better suited to do with my time? if there is unemployment surely this means we are getting everything done but some people are working too much! I’ll give him an extra couple of days a week off and take some of the work load off.

      ‘Do you ever have the the though of wanting to collect save up to have something to pass on to your children when you die?’
      >I want to give my children a better world than the one we have now.

      ‘Do you want to be able to get the best for your children?’
      >Thats one of the reasons i fight capitalism. I want the best for my hypothetical children, and everyone elses.

      ‘All humans are born equal then they make there life as well as they can! Networks are one of the most important things out there because they help you and define you!’
      >We should be born equal but we are not. Some are born into lives of privilege others lives of subserviance. Some will be oppressed due to their gender or race or place of birth.

      Like

  5. Lemonade30

    Hi, I changed my mind about my comment (Lemonade30, just posted a moment ago). Could it be deleted instead of posted please? It’s not really a helpful contribution. Thanks.

    Like

    • Bristol Anarchist Federation

      done, its important to recognise the complexities of real life though. For the record we don’t hate anyone based on their background (however privileged) and a couple of Bristol AFed members have degrees. We make up our minds about people based on how they choose to live their lives, what they do rather than who they are, and most importantly how they react to the knowledge (should they obtain it) that their actions have consequences for others who may not share their privileges.

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  6. Pingback: What we talk about when we talk about class. | Cautiously pessimistic
  7. Zoe

    What about students? Surely we are gaining a product (education) from the work of others, therefore would be classed bourgeoisie?

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    • Bristol Anarchist Federation

      You are gaining education from the work of others, but everyone gains something from the work of others its how any society functions. Education, entertainment, food etc. As a student you don’t create ‘profit’ from the work of others that you live off of, most of what you live off as a student in the uk is your own future debt. In many cases students will find their interests alligned with that of the working class, rather than the capitalist class. Not in all cases though, especially those who are already intergrated into the capitalist class due to their back ground and may see studying as a step requried before they join the ranks of the capitalist class.

      In some ways being a student can lead to you being slightly disconnected from the class system – for a few years you may feel like neither capitalist nor worker (unless of course you need to work weekends/evenings/holidays to make ends meet). However students have often been part of the core of working class insurrectoins and revolutions throughout history.

      “the place of students within the class system” is certianly an interesting topic, might suggest it as a public discussion sometime.

      Like

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