MIM and the proletariat

Chegitz Guevara mluziett at shrike.depaul.edu
Wed Oct 11 23:06:24 MDT 1995

On Wed, 11 Oct 1995, Maoist Internationalist Movement wrote:

> On Wed, 11 Oct 1995, Chegitz Guevara wrote:

> > "What is the proletariat?"
> >  
> > "The proletariat is that class in society which lives entirely from the
> > sale of its labor and does not draw profit from any kind of capital; 
> > whose weal and woe, whose life and death, whose sole existence depends on
> > the demand for labor -- hence, on the changing state of business, on the
> > vagaries of unbridled competition.  The proletariat, or the class of
> > proletarians, is, in a word, the working class of the 19th century."
> > 
> > Marc, "the Chegitz," Luzietti
> Pat for MIM replies: Nice quote, for it again demonstrates that
> working class is not synonymous with "proletariat" except in certain
> contexts. To find "the working class of the 19th century" of Europe
> and its brutal Industrial Revolution conditions, look no further
> than the Third World today.
> Some will mistake the above quote as referring to today's imperialist
> working classes, but a little examination of how the statistics
> have changed since that time will clear up that problem. If
> Marc disagrees he should handle what I just said about Bottomore's
> definition of productive labor and his evaluation of what it was in 
> Marx's day.
> Thank you for not cutting off that phrase at the end of the quote.

Why should I cut off Fred? He's a great guy. We should remember that when 
Fred was writting that, the 19th Century was not even half over. For him, 
the proletariat was the working class of the future. The rest of the 
"Principles of Communism," go on to describe how the proletariat is a 
developing class. M&E didn't take a snapshot of the then developing 
proletariat and say, "This class is only revolutionary now, in the 
underdevloped nations."  In fact, they said exactly the opposite, that 
the proletariat *couldn't* become revolutionary until the industrial 
nations had developed, and the working class had become a mature class.

Now, we could supose that because Marx hadn't seen fully developed 
capitalist imperialism, that he might have changed his mind, and 
condemned the Western proletariat as lost to revolution. But, Engels 
*DID* live to see it, and didn't give up on the English working class.

The fact that the Western proletariat carrot and sticked away from 
revolutionary politics should not be taken to be a historical law. In 
fact, we see that it was more of an aberation. Today, revolutionary orgs 
are recruiting in a way they haven't seen in almost 20 years, if they are 
to be believed.

The fact that the capitalist class was able to throw the western
proletariat some larger crumbs, because it was stealing even more pie from
the 3rd world, doesn't not necessarily imply that the western proletariat
is therefore living off the 3rd world. If a thief only robs me half as
often because he's robbing someone else, I'm still being robbed.  Just
because western workers are *temporarily* being exploited less because 
of imperialism, it does not necessarily follow that they are not being 
exploited at all.

You have still failed to prove that because, while you do actully resort
research and data, it seems to be somewhat incomplete.  Your data on
income and wealth accumulation doesn't (or didn't here) show data for
corporate holdings, but only individual households.  You might also want
to consider that a substantial portion of profit gets wasted.  Sweezey did
a study in the 60's which showed that nearly half of all capitalist profit
gets squandered on unpoductive activity, such as armaments and

Anyway, I'm going home now.

with comradely regards,

Marc, "the Chegitz," Luzietti

	"Behold, they are as one people, and they all have one language;    
and this is only the begining of what they will do; and nothing that they 
propose to do will now be impossible for them." -- GOD, on solidarity

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