Bourgeoisified workers

Rubyg580 at aol.com Rubyg580 at aol.com
Sat Aug 3 21:14:29 MDT 1996


In a message dated 96-08-02 02:09:54 EDT, you write:

<< Gina drew a careful distinction a few days ago between
 the labour aristocracy and a stratum of bourgeoisified workers.

 I have missed this distinction up to now, and I would be
 grateful if she could clarify, preferably with references to
 chapters and paragraphs in "Imperialism, The Highest Stage
of  Capitalism"

 Chris Burford
 London.  >>

I can't find a reference to "labor aristocracy" in "Imperialism...",
but in the section titled "VIII. Parasitism and Decay of Capitalism"
(toward the end of that section; p. 247 of "LENIN, Selected Works
in One Volume, International Publishers, NY, 1974), he says this:
       ..."For example, on October 7, 1858, Engels wrote to Marx:
   "The English proletariat is actually becoming more and more
   bourgeois, so that this most borugeois of all nations is
   apparently aiming ultimately at the posession of a bourgeois
   aristocracy and a bourgeois proletariat ALONGSIDE the
   bourgeoisie." (emphasis in original)
        ..."in a letter dated August 11, 1881, Engels speaks of
   the 'worst English trade unions which allow themselves to be
   led by men sold to, or at least paid by, the middle class."

It is this latter strata, the leaders of the trade unions who sell
themselves to the bourgeois forces, that I generally call the
"labor aristocracy", and that is the strata that I have most heard
the term applied to.  I think the distinction is important, because
the labor aristocracy (sell-out trade union leaders) plays a different
role in society and has a different potential in terms of revolutionary
politics than the bourgeoisified workers.

MIM obviously equates the two, and therefore writes off the whole
working class in the imperialist countries, or at least that section
of it from the dominant nationality.  They not only see the
bourgeoisified workers of the dominant nationality as being a
distinct SECTION of a single class, but they see this section
of people as being a separate CLASS from the non-bourgeoisified
workers.  (And maybe a separate class from the bourgeoisified
workers of oppressed nationalities -- their analysis is so
convoluted and unscientific, I can't really follow it.)

There also was a booklet from Foreign Languages Press in China
called "Imperialism and the Split in Socialism" that deals with this
phenomenon, but I don't have it anymore, and I don't know what
specific writings are included in it.  In other words, I don't know
if it's one specific essay by Lenin with that title (so you could
look it up in a Collected Works), or if it's a collection of writings,
presumably including the relevant section from "Imperialism,..."

Gina/ Detroit


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