Class essentialism?

Matt D. afn02065 at
Fri Sep 1 11:24:41 MDT 1995

Valerie wrote:

>Matt, forgive me if this question has already been posed to you, but I would
>be very interested in hearing exactly what you mean when you say the "class"
>DETERMINES consciousness.  Are you suggesting that "class" is a sui generis
>entity?  Just wondering??

Forgive _me_ if I'm misunderstanding, but does "sui generis" mean
thing-in-itself?  If so, let me give two answers, uh, I mean, let me
structure a binary theorization of the problematization you've interpolated
into our discursive horizon about the way embodied subjects (i.e. the people
of history) experience the positionality of class.

(1) Am I saying that classes would exist if there were no people?  No.

(2) Am I saying that classes have a reality independent of people's thoughts
about them?  Yes.

As for class "DETERMINING" (all caps -- yowch!) consciousness, I was
referring back to the preceding discussion on the militias, to what extent
they might have a working class membership, and whether a worker who was in
one of these nascently fascisistic organizations had passed beyond the reach
of revolutionary organizing.  You are invited to revisit that discussion if
you like.  Broadly, what I am saying is that there is an objective basis for
the marxist identification of the proletariat as the revolutionary class (in
fact, I may have used those exact words), even when the proletariat does not
have revolutionary ideas.

-- Matt D.

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