Unproductive labor: imperialist countries

Maoist Internationalist Movement mim3 at nyxfer.blythe.org
Mon Sep 11 19:21:23 MDT 1995

Again on the subject of imperialist country "labor,"
here we can raise a quote from the COMINTERN when Lenin
still attended meetings and Trotsky was still a member.
(I can hardly wait to see the Trots worm out of this.)

"Our Attitude to the Semi-Proletarian Strata"
"In Western Europe there is no class other than the proletariat
which is capable of playing the significant role in the
world revolution that, as a consequence of the war and the land
hnuger, the peasants did in Russia. But, even so, a section
of the Western-European peasantry and a considerable part of the
urban petty bourgeoisie and broad layers of the so-called
middle class, of office workers etc., are facing deteriorating
standards of living and, under the pressure of rising prices,
the housing problems and insecurity, are being shaken out of their
political apapthy and drawn into the struggle between revolution and
counterrevolution. . . It is also important to win the
sympathy of technicians, white-collar workers, the middle-
and lower-ranking civil servants and the intelligentsia,
who can assist the proletarian dictatorship in the period of
transition from capitalism to Communism by helping with the problems
of state and economic administration. If such layers
identify with the revolution, the enemy will be demoralized
and the popular view of the proletariat as
an isolated group will be discredited."

COMINTERN, 1921 "On Tactics"
Alan Adler, ed., ITAL Theses, Resolutions and Manifestos of
the First Four Congresses of the Third International END
(London: Ink Links, 1980), pp. 293-4.

We don't like to argue from authority by quoting the great texts.
However, there are two things here. One is that there is
a call to purge MIM from the list. We would ask readers to
consider MIM's "credentials" by examining these last two
quotes of the Lenin era.

Secondly, the text is an interesting
historical point, in considering that "office workers" were
NOT considered proletarian when Marxism-Leninism first
considered the question. It raises the question, at what
point did imperialist country Marxists start to take it for
granted that white-collar workers were proletarian? It also
points toward the social-patriotic deviation of simplistic
faith in "our" workers.

Furthermore, (and I would advise re-reading the quote above),
without counting office-workers as part of the proletariat,
we cannot arrive at the "majority" of white workers being
proletarian within U.S. borders--as is so important to the
conscious social-democrats and others enamored of
bourgeois democracy's siren call.

Pat for the Maoist Internationalist Movement

P.S. Does anyone think I'm making headway toward
getting back to the original issue I wanted to handle
here on this list?

P.P.S. I hope the person who called us "peasantist"
will either act with great determination to separate
the office-workers from the proletariat or alternatively,
reject the COMINTERN tradition. In the quote above,
it is clear that office-workers are seen as lower
on the Marxist-Leninist totem-pole than peasants are.

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