Marxian class theory - Wikipedia
We re-circulate this text for debate on our September meeting in Liverpool. If you have comments or are interested in participating, drop. Social classes, Marx and Engels explained, were determined by a common relation to the way wealth is produced and exploited in a society. Many of his writings concern the class structures of capitalism, the relationship among classes the dynamics of class struggle, political power.
What we then have to propose to the living working class today is dead weight of past times. Capitalism contains class conflict through developmental leaps.
The increased use of machinery and its increased share in total production costs is an expression of how capital intends to contain class struggle. Capital brings together individual workers within an industrial production process which cannot be put into motion unless labour is combined. What seems like cunning tactics of divide-and-rule creates thousands of little hick-ups in the production process, thousands of problems and mis-coordinations.
If the daily grind of global supply chains start to stumble, because workers in one link interrupt the flow of production, this gives us a moment to create direct relationships. The question of whether workers face boom or crisis, partly expressed through the conditions on the labour market, obviously impacts on the question of how they can struggle, of how their struggles can generalise and pose the question of a social alternative. The period between and is an example, we most likely face a similar situation on a more global scale today.
With the current global crisis it becomes more and more difficult for capital to portray itself as a pre-condition and coordinator of production: Under condition of crisis the cooperation rips, small links in the chain go bust, millions thrown into unemployment, millions are made to work till total exhaustion.
Their only answer to the crisis — bail out followed by austerity — aggravates the conditions.
The managers of capital try to enforce austerity against the overt potential for abundance. This separation appears in its various shades of development and underdevelopment, of high-tech and labour intensity, of regional deprivation and boom centres, of respectable workmen and lumpen, of hire and fire.
This separation will appear in all imaginable ethnic colours. In the attempt to segment and re-combinate capital becomes a burden to social cooperation.
It gets in its own way. But capitalists do not control the most important source of power. Production does not happen without the labor of workers. Workers keep the system running, but can also shut it down. Workers use their power by joining together in unions and withholding labor to win demands from the bosses. Corporations are companies owned by multiple capitalists. They are among the largest in the world. Whoever owns the majority of a corporation controls it. Ruling class families often own a majority of a corporation.
The Walton family owns the majority of Wal-Mart. That is more wealth than the 4 million people of Singapore produced in The intertangling of economic and political power has developed over a long time and has created longstanding networks of power inside the capitalist establishment.
People who run the corporations are called Chief Executive Officers. CEOs receive numerous perks like discounts on corporate stock and free use of company jets. Wealth and power is inherited by new capitalist generations from the old. The Rockefeller oil and Morgan banking families are two examples. Capitalists do not have wealth and power because they work harder than millions of people or because they are smarter.
Through private ownership, the capitalist system allows them to keep the wealth produced by workers.
Politicians, military, small owners and managers Are elected officials part of the ruling class? George Bush used to be an executive of a small oil company. But whether they are rich or not, elected officials in the U. As Marx explained, elected officials act as an organizing committee for the ruling class.
Marxian class theory
They manage the affairs of state for the capitalists. The ruling class uses the military to protect their private property and oppress workers. But what class is the military? There are different classes in the military. Generals often come from the ruling class.
What is the capitalist class? | Liberation School
The majority of soldiers come from the working class, so their loyalty to the ruling class is never a sure bet. Many workers have no way to survive other than taking a job with the military. This is reflected in the military. The ruling class uses racism to keep the workers divided.
They use laws and prisons, schools and the corporate media to spread racism. Fighting racism is integral to fighting capitalism. Owners of neighborhood markets and landlords are examples of small capitalists.
If owners employ other people, they are capitalists-even if the people they employ are family members. The business is taken over by a larger one. Is a manager in the work place a capitalist? They receive higher pay and better benefits than workers.