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Encyclopedia > Class struggle
The South African Police Crush Another Demonstration by the Shack dwellers' Movement Abahlali baseMjondolo, 28 September, 2007

Class struggle is the active expression of class conflict looked at from any kind of socialist perspective. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, leading ideologists of communism, wrote "The [written][1] history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle"[2]. Image File history File links Unbalanced_scales. ... Shortcut: WP:NPOVD Articles that have been linked to this page are the subject of an NPOV dispute (NPOV stands for Neutral Point Of View; see below). ... Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... Class conflict is both the friction that accompanies social relationships between members or groups of different social classes and the underlying tensions or antagonisms which exist in society. ... Socialism refers to a broad array of doctrines or political movements that envisage a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subjfuck grapesect to control by the community[1] for the purposes of increasing social and economic equality and cooperation. ... Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5, 1818 – March 14, 1883) was a 19th century philosopher, political economist, and revolutionary. ... Friedrich Engels (November 28, 1820 – August 5, 1895) was a German social scientist and philosopher, who developed communist theory alongside his better-known collaborator, Karl Marx, co-authoring The Communist Manifesto (1848). ... Communism is an ideology that seeks to establish a classless, stateless social organization based on common ownership of the means of production. ...


Marx's notion of class has nothing to do with hereditary caste, nor is it exactly social class in the sociological sense of upper, middle and lower classes (which are often defined in terms of quantitative income or wealth). Instead, in an age of capitalism, Marx describes an economic class. Membership of a class is defined by one's relationship to the means of production, i.e., one's position in the social structure that characterizes capitalism. Marx talks mainly about two classes that include the vast majority of the population, the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. Other classes such as the petty bourgeoisie share characteristics of both of these main classes (see below). Caste systems are traditional, hereditary systems of social restriction and social stratification, enforced by law or common practice, based on endogamy, occupation, economic status, race, ethnicity, // 1555, a race of men, from L. casto chaste, from castus pure, cut off, separated, pp. ... Social class refers to the hierarchical distinctions between individuals or groups in societies or cultures. ... Sociology is the study of the social lives of humans, groups and societies. ... For other uses, see Capitalism (disambiguation). ... Petit-bourgeois or Anglicised petty bourgeois is a French term that reffered to the members of the lower middle social-classes. ...

Contents

Main class struggle

  • Labour (the proletariat or workers) includes anyone who earns their livelihood by selling their labor power and being paid a wage or salary for their labor time. They have little choice but to work for capital, since they typically have no independent way to survive.
  • Capital (the bourgeoisie or capitalists) includes anyone who gets their income not from labor as much as from the surplus value they appropriate from the workers who create wealth. The income of the capitalists, therefore, is based on their exploitation of the workers (proletariat).

What Marx points out is that members of each of the two main classes have interests in common. These class or collective interests are in conflict with those of the other class as a whole. This in turn leads to conflict between individual members of different classes. The proletariat (from Latin proles, offspring) is a term used to identify a lower social class; a member of such a class is proletarian. ... Labor power (in German: Arbeitskraft, or labor force) is a crucial concept used by Karl Marx in his critique of political economy. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Surplus value, according to Marxism, is unpaid labour that is extracted from the worker by the capitalist, and serves as the basis for capitalist accumulation. ... The term exploitation may carry two distinct meanings: The act of utilizing something for any purpose. ...


An example of this would be a factory producing a commodity, such as the manufacture of widgets (a standard imaginary commodity in economics books). Some of the money received from selling widgets will be spent on things like raw materials and machinery (constant capital) in order to build more widgets. Similarly, some money – variable capital – is spent on labor power. The capitalist would not be in business if not for the surplus value, i.e., the money received from selling the widgets beyond that spent on constant and variable capital. The amount of this surplus value – profits, interest, and rent – depends on how much labor workers do for the wages or salaries they are paid. Constant capital (c), is a concept created by Karl Marx and used in Marxian political economy. ... Constant capital, or c, in Marxian political economy is one of the two forms that capital adopts in the workplace, in contrast to variable capital (v). ... Labor power (in German: Arbeitskraft, or labor force) is a crucial concept used by Karl Marx in his critique of political economy. ... Surplus value, according to Marxism, is unpaid labour that is extracted from the worker by the capitalist, and serves as the basis for capitalist accumulation. ...


This surplus value is higher to the extent that workers spend time at work beyond what they're paid for and to the extent that they exert effort beyond the cost of their labor-time. Thus the capitalist would like as much "free time" (unpaid labor during official lunch breaks, after official closing time, etc.) and as much worker effort as possible. On the other hand, the workers would like to be paid for every minute they work under the capitalist's authority and would like to avoid unnecessary and unpaid effort. They would also prefer higher wages and benefits (such as health insurance, defined-benefit pensions, etc.) and less of a dictatorial or paternalistic attitude from employers. Working conditions must be safe and healthy, rather than dangerous. Forms of government Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      A dictatorship is an autocratic form of government in which the government is ruled by a dictator. ... Image of traditional cultural paternalism: Father Junipero Serra in a modern portrayal at Mission San Juan Capistrano, California Paternalism refers usually to an attitude or a policy stemming from the hierarchic pattern of a family based on patriarchy, that is, there is a figurehead (the father, pater in Latin) that...


Not all class struggle is violent or necessarily radical (as with strikes and lockouts). Class antagonism may instead be expressed as low worker morale, minor sabotage and pilferage, and individual workers' abuse of petty authority and hoarding of information. It may also be expressed on a larger scale by support for socialist or populist parties. On the employers' side, the use of union-busting legal firms and the lobbying for anti-union laws are forms of class struggle. A lockout is a work stoppage in which an employer prevents employees from working. ... Petty authority is authority exercised by a leader, frequently unchosen by the led, in a relatively limited or intimate environment, such as that exercised by a teacher over students in a classroom. ... Socialism refers to a broad array of doctrines or political movements that envisage a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subjfuck grapesect to control by the community[1] for the purposes of increasing social and economic equality and cooperation. ... Look up Populism in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Not all class struggle is a threat to capitalism, or even to the authority of an individual capitalist. A narrow struggle for higher wages by a small sector of the working-class (what is often called "economism") hardly threatens the status quo. In fact, by applying "craft union" tactics of excluding other workers from skilled trades, an economistic struggle may even weaken the working class as a whole by dividing it. Class struggle becomes more important in the historical process as it becomes more general, as industries are organized rather than crafts, as workers' class consciousness rises, and as they are organized as political parties. Marx referred to this as the progress of the proletariat from being a class "in itself" (a position in the social structure) to being one "for itself" (an active and conscious force that could change the world). Craft unionism, or sometimes trade unionism, is a labor union organizing method by which labor unions are divided along the lines of workers specific trades, regardless of what industry they work in. ... A political party is a political organization subscribing to a certain ideology or formed around very special issues. ...


Marx thought that this conflict was central to the social structure of capitalism and could not be abolished without replacing the system itself. Further, he argued that the objective conditions under capitalism would likely develop in a way that encouraged a proletariat organized collectively for its own goals to develop: the accumulation of surplus value as more means of production by the capitalists would allow them to become more and more powerful, encouraging overt class conflict. If this is not counteracted by increasing political and economic organization by workers, it would inevitably cause an extreme polarization of the classes, encouraging the revolution that would destroy capitalism itself. For other uses, see Revolution (disambiguation). ...


The revolution would lead to a socialist society in which the proletariat controlled the state, that is, "the dictatorship of the proletariat". The original meaning of this term was a workers' democracy, not a dictatorship in the modern sense of the word. For Marx, democracy under capitalism is a bourgeois dictatorship. Socialism refers to a broad array of doctrines or political movements that envisage a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subjfuck grapesect to control by the community[1] for the purposes of increasing social and economic equality and cooperation. ... The dictatorship of the proletariat is a term employed by Karl Marx in his 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program that refers to a transition period between capitalist and communist society in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat. The term refers to a... Forms of government Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      A dictatorship is an autocratic form of government in which the government is ruled by a dictator. ...


Even after a revolution, the two classes would struggle, but eventually the struggle would recede and the classes dissolve. As class boundaries broke down, the state apparatus would wither away. According to Marx, the main task of any state apparatus is to uphold the power of the ruling class; but without any classes there would be no need for a state. That would lead to the classless, stateless communist society. This page is a candidate to be moved to Wiktionary. ... For other uses, see State (disambiguation). ... Communism is an ideology that seeks to establish a classless, stateless social organization based on common ownership of the means of production. ...


"Minor" classes

Marx noted that other classes existed, but said that as time (and capitalism) moved forward, these other classes would disappear, and things would become stratified until only two classes remained, which would become more and more polarized as time went on. Other classes are:

  • the self-employed (petit bourgeoisie) — these are people who own their own means of production, thus work for themselves. Marx saw these people swept away by the march of capitalism, such as family farms being replaced by agribusiness, or many small stores run by their owners being replaced by a supermarket, and so forth.
  • managers, supervisors, white-collar staff, and security officers – these are intermediaries between capitalists and the proletariat. Since they are paid a wage, technically they are workers, but they represent a privileged stratum of the proletariat, typically serving the capitalists' interest.
  • the lumpenproletariat – the chronically unemployed. These people have at most a tenuous connection to production. Since Marx, many states have tried to compensate for the difficulties experienced by workers due to cyclical unemployment. Unfortunately there is also a growing structural unemployment in which people are permanently dependent on welfare programs or employed relatives. These people form the lumpenproletariat, along with thieves and con artists of various kinds who depend on crime for their income. Marx saw the problem of unemployment growing more acute as capitalism went on, so this class would exist prior to the foreseen revolution. Marx deemed the lumpenproletariat as unimportant, and not playing a major role in the labor/capital class struggle. Since they would benefit in his view from a revolution, they would be on the side of the proletariat. But he saw them as unreliable, since they were likely to be mercenary in their attitudes. This view was revised by some followers of Marx such as Mao Zedong, who saw a greater role for the lumpenproletariat in class struggle.
  • domestic servants, who often had a better standard of living than the proletariat, but who were considered by society as by nature dependent upon their literal masters, and so male servants were not considered worthy of receiving the vote.
  • peasants, who still represented a large part of the population well into the twentieth century. Capital for such workers — for example, a tractor or reaping machine — was in most countries for a long time unthinkable, so they were not considered some sort of rural proletarians. Trotsky's analysis of the peasant demonstrated this class to be divided in loyalty between the capitalist class and the proletariat, in that the wealthier land-owning peasants (Kulak) had an interest in maintaining a capitalist system, while the poor landless peasants had interests more aligned with those of the proletariat; thus is why the peasant class could not lead a revolution. Trotsky's theory of Permanent Revolution called for an alliance of the proletariat and peasant classes, with the proletariat leading the peasants. The peasants were to produce more in order to support the proletariat, and in return the proletariat would supply the peasants with farming machinery and equipment. The point was to mechanize farming in order to be able to sustain a higher proletarian population, while destroying the peasant class by turning them into proletariat. The people in charge of growing food were to become farm workers. This was accomplished in the Soviet Union, although brutally, by the Stalinist bureaucratic caste, which contradicted the slower peaceful manner in which collectivization was supposed to occur under the plans of Lenin and Trotsky.

The lumpenproletariat (German Lumpenproletariat, rabble-proletariat; raggedy proletariat) is a term originally defined by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in The German Ideology (1845), their famous second joint work, and later expounded upon in future works by Marx. ... The Great Depression, shown here in Dorothea Langes Migrant Mother, caused a massive surge of cyclical unemployment Economists distinguish between five major kinds of unemployment, i. ... The Great Depression, shown here in Dorothea Langes Migrant Mother, caused a massive surge of cyclical unemployment Economists distinguish between five major kinds of unemployment, i. ... “Mao” redirects here. ... The collectivisation campaign in the USSR, 1930s. ... Permanent Revolution is a term within Marxist theory, which was first used by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels between 1845 and 1850, but has since become most closely associated with Leon Trotsky. ... Collective farming regards a system of agricultural organization in which farm laborers are not compensated via wages. ... Vladimir Ilyich Lenin ( Russian: Влади́мир Ильи́ч Ле́нин  listen?), original surname Ulyanov (Улья́нов) ( April 22 (April 10 ( O.S.)), 1870 – January 21, 1924), was a... 1915 passport photo of Trotsky Leon Davidovich Trotsky (Russian: Лев Давидович Троцкий; also transliterated Trotskii, Trotski, Trotzky) (October 26 (O.S.) = November 7 (N.S.), 1879 - August 21, 1940), born Lev Davidovich Bronstein (&#1051...

Class and race struggle

According to Michel Foucault, in the 19th century the essentialist notion of the "race" was incorporated by racists, biologists, and eugenicists, who gave it the modern sense of "biological race" which was then integrated to "state racism". On the other hand, Marxists transformed the notions of the "race" and the "race struggle" into the concept of "class struggle". In a letter to Friedrich Engels in 1882 Karl Marx wrote: You know very well where we found our idea of class struggle; we found it in the work of the French historians who talked about the race struggle.[3] For Foucault, the theme of social war provides overriding principle that connects class and race struggle.[4] Moses Hess, an important theoretician of the early socialist movement, in his "Epilogue" to "Rome and Jerusalem" argued that "the race struggle is primary, the class struggle secondary... With the cessation of race antagonism, the class struggle will also come to a standstill. The equalization of all classes of society will necessarily follow the emancipation of all the races, for it will ultimately become a scientific question of social economics."[5] Michel Foucault (IPA pronunciation: ) (October 15, 1926 – June 25, 1984) was a French philosopher and historian. ... This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... For other uses, see Race (disambiguation). ... Racism is the prejudice that members of one race are intrinsically superior or inferior to members of other races. ... A biologist is a scientist devoted to and producing results in biology through the study of organisms. ... Eugenics is the self-direction of human evolution: Logo from the Second International Congress of Eugenics, 1921, depicting it as a tree which unites a variety of different fields. ... State racism is a concept used by French philosopher Michel Foucault to designate the reappropriation of the historical and political discourse of race struggle, In the late seventeenth century. ... Marxism is the political practice and social theory based on the works of Karl Marx, a 19th century philosopher, economist, journalist, and revolutionary, along with Friedrich Engels. ... Moses Hess Moses Hess (June 21, 1812– April 6, 1875), adopted the name Moritz. but later reverted to his original name Moses, thus re-claiming his Jewish identity. ... Rome and Jerusalem. ... Look up Antagonism in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses, see Emancipation (disambiguation). ...


Non-Marxist perspectives

Social commentators and socialist theorists had noted the reality of class struggle for some tme before Marx, as well as the connection between class struggle, property, and law. The Physiocrats, David Ricardo, and after Marx, Henry George noted the inelastic supply of land and argued that this created certain privileges (economic rent) for landowners. The Physiocrats were a group of thinkers who believed in an economic theory which considered that the wealth of nations was derived solely from agriculture. ... David Ricardo (18th April, 1772–11th September, 1823), a political economist, is often credited with systematizing economics, and was one of the most influential of the classical economists, along with Thomas Malthus and Adam Smith. ... Henry George Henry George (September 2, 1839 – October 29, 1897) was an American political economist and the most influential proponent of the Single Tax on land. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


Proudhon, in What is Property? (1840) states that "certain classes do not relish investigation into the pretended titles to property, and its fabulous and perhaps scandalous history."[6] What is Property? Or, an Inquiry into the Principle of Right and of Government (French: Quest-ce que la propriété?) is the title of a book (written in French) by the 19th century French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. ... 1840 is a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ...


Notes and references

  1. ^ The bracketed word reflects the footnote that Engels added later, noting that pre-class societies existed.
  2. ^ Communist Manifesto, 1848
  3. ^ Quoted in Society Must be Defended by Michel Foucault (trans. David Macey), London: Allen Lane, Penguin Press (1976, 2003), p. 79
  4. ^ Ann Laura Stoler, Race and the Education of Desire: Foucault's "History of Sexuality" and the Colonial Order of Things , Duke University Press (1995), p.71-72
  5. ^ quoted in Prophecy and Politics: Socialism, Nationalism, and the Russian Jews by Jonathan Frankel, Cambridge University Press (1981), p. 22.
  6. ^ Pierre Proudhon, What is Property?, chapter 2, remark 2.

Malayalam editon of the Manifesto The Communist Manifesto, also known as The Manifesto of the Communist Party, first published on February 21, 1848 by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, is one of the worlds most historically influential political tracts. ... Year 1848 (MDCCCXLVIII) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian Calendar (or a leap year starting on Monday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ...

See also

Louis Pierre Althusser (Pronunciation: altuˡseʁ) (October 16, 1918 – October 23, 1990) was a Marxist philosopher. ... Grange poster depicting the independent, industrious farmer as the keystone figure in society. ... In classical philosophy, dialectic (Greek: διαλεκτική) is an exchange of propositions (theses) and counter-propositions (antitheses) resulting in a synthesis of the opposing assertions, or at least a qualitative transformation in the direction of the dialogue. ... A cultural critic is a critic of a given culture, usually as a whole and typically on a radical basis; a social critic of a given society, but the overlap is large. ...

External links

Women and class struggle

  • Committee for Asian women

Pro-Marxist

Anti-Marxist

Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises (September 29, 1881 – October 10, 1973) (IPA: ) was a notable economist and a major influence on the modern libertarian movement. ... Hans-Hermann Hoppe (born September 2, 1949) is an Austrian school economist, an anarcho-capitalist (libertarian) philosopher, and a professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. ...

Literature

  • Louis Adamic, Dynamite: The story of class violence in America, Revised Edition (1934)
  • Leo Zeilig (Editor), Class Struggle and Resistance in Africa, (New Clarion Press, 2002), (ISBN 1-8737-9734-6)
  • Li Yi, The Structure and Evolution of Chinese Social Stratification, (University Press of America, 2005), (ISBN 0-7618-3331-5)

  Results from FactBites:
 
Class struggle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1623 words)
Marx's notion of class has nothing to do with hereditary caste, nor is it exactly social class in the sociological sense of upper, middle and lower classes (which are often defined in terms of quantitative income or wealth).
Not all class struggle is fucking bullshit (as with strikes and lockouts).
Class struggle becomes more important in the historical process as it becomes more general, as industries are organized rather than crafts, as workers' class consciousness rises, and as they are organized as political parties.
Class struggle - definition of Class struggle in Encyclopedia (800 words)
Class struggle is class conflict looked at from a communist (that is, Marxist or anarchist) perspective.
In Marxist theory, "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle" (Karl Marx, the Communist Manifesto, 1848).
The revolution would lead to a Socialist society in which the proletariat controlled the state, that is, "the dictatorship of the proletariat" (the original meaning of the term was a workers' democracy, not a dictatorship in the modern sense of the word).
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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