Why doesn't it organize and fight for the wholesale transformation of Canadian society in its own self-interest?
Why do so many members of the working class vote for political parties that seem not to have their best interests at heart?
Is it because they're all quite happy with the status-quo? (As was suggested by an anonymous conservative visitor here recently?)
Well, many of them are happy with the status-quo. The Canadian economy delivers to quite a few people. A lot of people feel that social mobility is a reality in Canada. They feel that access to education and opportunity is generally open and fair. They work, they get decent pay, they have decent communities to live in, and if their children invest in education, work hard, and have even a tiny bit of opportunities, they'll do well themselves.
For some people the system is working.
For these people, and others, there's also a degree of political manipulation and outright brainwashing. Many working-class people have been instructed to look beneath them for the sources of any problems that they're having. Taxes eating into your paycheque? Don't look at the corporations that are paying you less and less. Don't look at the Bank of Canada's expensive monetarist recessions. Don't look at the user-fees and reduced services. Don't look at the "free trade" deals that have devastated the manufacturing sector.
Look at single mothers on welfare. Look at immigrants. Look at crack-heads. Look at no-good teenagers. Look at protestors. Look at unions. Taken together, these awesomely powerful groups have somehow manipulated the system to see that hard-earned cash is hoovered out of ordinary working Canadians' wallets by the government (helpless before the might of immigrants and welfare recipients) and dropped into the ungrateful, shiftless hands of these groups.
These people would be happy with the system as they imagine it, were it not for the imaginary sins of these despised classes.
Other people simply aren't happy with the system. They're unhappy with longer hours, less pay, temporary work, EI premiums that give them nothing in return, etc., etc.
But it's a devilishly tricky thing to transform society. To bring-down the mighty and raise up the lowly. How does one bring down people who won't give up without a fight, without fighting (ie., violence) and losing one's soul? How does one pursue class warfare without declaring war on individuals, some of whom were only trying to play the game as they understood it?
The Left hasn't done a good job of presenting viable strategies for some time now. Why should people who work all day and are concerned with their daily lives be able to come up with a coherent plan for revolution?
But if we're going to talk about the working class, in this era of globalization that means everyone. From the displaced manufacturing workers of the North, to the underpaid miners of Russia, to the sweatshop workers of Asia, to the oppressed plantation workers of Central America, to the displaced peasants of Mexico, to the exploited miners of Africa.
Every instance where the capitalist system uses its wealth and power to keep commodity prices low, via death squads and corrupt governments and invasions of oil-producing nations, ... all this has to be factored into the "success story" that is globalization.