Frequently Asked Questions
Well, yes. If you choose to engage in an “actually what socialism actually is, actually” debate online, you’re going to end up in a war of words and definitions, so we’ll save you the hassle.
Socialism is the school of thought which believes that society under its current economic structure has drifted out of sync, giving astonishing privilege to a few while allowing the majority to go without. This perspective applies in almost every aspect of our society, and it must be addressed.
The socialist movement, across history, has been divided by interpretation of the central word. Indeed, finding lifelong Socialists who agree on the definition can be impossibly difficult.
At the centre of all definitions of socialism, though, is the notion of fairness. Is it fair that we have billionaires and homeless people in the same city? Is it fair that a group is targeted by a society because of its difference? Is it fair that someone has fewer opportunities because they were born in a certain place? Is it fair that business-leaders have greater access to our politicians than the workers within those businesses?
Regardless of the interpretation of the word “socialism”, and how central it is to other movements, the principle that applies across the board is that our society is often skewed in favour of those with wealth, at the cost of those without.
For clarification, here’s the kind of socialists we are (and even our politics do not always agree):
We think that more money needs to be invested in our schools, and that private education is unfair.
We have a responsibility to look out for our neighbours and our communities, and to help them when we can.
We want to include everyone, regardless of background, in a movement towards a fairer world. Economic background, gender, race, sexuality, disability must all be included in the shaping of our world.
We must each be allowed to voice our view.
Socialist movements depend on the successful connection of people with similar (though not necessarily identical) ideas, in different places. Solidarity is the expression of likeness which gives courage and hope to the underprivileged. In this case, we hope that our website will bring about solidarity between people who, for whatever reason, want greater access to classical studies in the state sector.
Fairness and solidarity: that’s our socialism.
Do you support a specific Political Party?
No. We support policy ideas which align with our aims. Where they come from is less relevant. In our voting lives we have put an X in the box of the Greens, Labour, the Lib Dems and the SNP.
It is unlikely - but not impossible - that we could support policies from the Conservative party as their approach to the economy (and thus the funding of education) is at odds with our own. The current Conservative attitude to immigration and community-building is incompatible with our own views.
We will never endorse any policy from the far right.
Do you think private schools should be abolished?
Well, within our lifetimes, hopefully, yes. However, in the short term, for Classicists, it makes no sense to do away with the institutions which are largely responsible for keeping the subject alive.
Our concern at Working Classicists is to help build the circumstances whereby the subject can stand on its own two feet in the state sector, before we get to the larger issue.
That said, there is a principle here: is it fair to offer a section of society an education which separates them from the majority? No, of course it isn’t. Any attempt to suggest it is is casuistry, an attempt to confuse the issue in order to avoid the central point. Every child in the country should be afforded the same opportunities; if that is radical to you, then we shake your hand, politely state our disagreement, and wish you well.
Do you hate people from private schools?
Socialism has long-since drawn support from the likes of Eton-educated Humphrey Lyttelton and George Orwell, Westminster-educated Tony Benn, Charterhouse-schooled William Beveridge. Of course, we don’t hate people from private schools.
Can someone from a private school background be a Working Classicist?
That’s very much for you to decide. It may be that you will consider yourself an ally rather than a working classicist yourself but we encourage participation from anyone who wants to help or be helped.
I disagree deeply with an element of the project - what can I do?
Disagreement is absolutely welcome. We do not expect to cultivate a collective of cookie-cutter Classicists.
We ask that you don’t disregard us based on the sentiments of one individual - we are a group.
If you take issue with something someone has said, or can’t make peace with it, please get in touch via the contact page, or indeed, feel free to write a rebuttal or counterpoint article.
Just don’t be a dick about it.
If I make a donation to Working Classicists, where does the money go?
We will post accounts online for full transparency when we reach that stage. (Currently: no donations because we have no donation function on the site.)
Miri and I are currently working full-time. I am a teacher in a state school, and Miri works at minimum wage. We have no money backing us in this project aside from what we can spare from our salaries. It’s not much!
As such, any injection of funding will go towards the costs of running the site and paying contributors for their work.
Later, we hope to put money into a range of specialised resources for schools that want to offer Classics but cannot find staff to do so. More details of this will be out later.
When are you formally launching the site?
Currently, we are aiming for Friday July 9th, but due to our main careers, this will likely just be a “soft” date until slightly before.
We have a daily presence on social media, so the latest news can be found there.
I want to contribute to the site - how do I do that?
Drop us an email with an idea of what you’d like to do and we can discuss it from there.
I'm still at school - can I contribute a piece of writing?
YES! It is very important to us that we have a true spectrum of voices here. It is great that there are sites dedicated to academic enquiry in the field, and the discourse that goes with that kind of university-level study, but we want to hear about the experiences and ideas of school pupils (who may not have even studied the subject), amateurs and enthusiasts, as well as teachers, undergraduates and so on.
If we achieve anything here, it will because people from many different walks of life have a place here where they can be seen.
So, please, send us 200 words about why you hate Artemis, or an open letter to your school asking for a Classical Studies course (giving reasons, of course)…
This is not a forum for George and Miri – it is for every single person who wants to take part.
I have an initiative to advertise - can I pass it to you to share?
Of course. If we think that it chimes with our project, then we’ll gladly share it.
If I sign-up as a member, what are the benefits?
You will get access to our discussion forums, we’ll send you discounts for merchandise (when we get there) and previews of articles.
It will help us to know how much engagement we’re generating, and give you a way of shaping the direction of the project.
This is very much a collective and we want people to belong to it. If that sounds like your cup of tea, please sign up!
I would like to make a donation to Working Classicists
- how can I do that?
Contact us via email, or else join in the fundraiser which is coming soon...