Job descriptions for internships read like the descriptions for real jobs; the only differences are the employees (students) and the pay (shit). Anyone taking these positions would be subject to the same demands placed on employees (producing original content, editorial work, etc), and their work would generate income in some form, yet often their only hope for advancement comes in the form of a rec letter or a resume bullet.
Now, now, I know that most of y’all thought that the revolutionary class was some outmoded classification like labor, or people of color, or some other oppressed bunch, but follow me here.
Barbara Epstein in Political Protest and Cultural Revolution summarizes Andre Gotz:
Immiseration could no longer be seen as the basis of working class revolutionary consciousness, that more emphasis should be placed on the alienation brought about by a system that channeled worker into white collar areas of work that raised hopes for creativity and then disappointed them.
She describes the theoretical grounding put forth by some in SDS (old) that the student was to be a new revolutionary class:
No longer dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, the universities had become bureaucracies for producing intellectually skilled workers who would serve the interests of the corporations and maintain the system. Student Radicalism, accordingly could be understood as a response to a new process of proletarianization and alienation. (emphasis mine)
It is this last sentence that I want to move on. If students en masse have become accustomed to their new role serving capital, (“I’m going to school so I can get a degree and get a job”) Then what is there to be done?
If it is possible to change Gotz’s formulation while remaining true to its heart, I would like to put it forward. If creativity is being asked for, if skills and ideas and familiarity with new modes of communication are what is being mined in internships, during college and post college, and those doing the production aren’t getting compensated in any livable way, getting by on aid from parents or loans, then we see the proletarianization of not just the student, but the student as worker.
How can we tap the energy of this new revolutionary class? More internships!
UPDATE: more evidence of burgeoning class consciousness. Thanks WordPress!