m-14970 at mailbox.swipnet.se
Sun Aug 4 07:26:27 MDT 1996
>"Bourgeoisified workers" cannot possibly be given any
>precise content which leads to any useful analysis. It is the kind
>of phrase which is best characterized as "coffee-break chat"--enter-
>taining, sometimes even moderately useful, as long as it is not
>taken with pompous seriousness as Chris does here.
However, I have found 21 references (direct and indirect) to bourgeoisified
workers and their consciousness in the *selected* (not complete)
correspondence of Marx and Engels.
Here are a few related to what we've been discussing.
October 7, 1858, Engels to Marx in London, emphasis in original.
For the rest, it seems to me that Jones's new move, taken in
with the former more or less successful attempts at such an
really bound up with the fact that the English proletariat is actually
becoming more and more bourgeois, so that this most bourgeois of all
nations is apparently aiming ultimately at the possession of a
aristocracy and a bourgeois proletariat *alongside* the
a nation which exploits the whole world this is of course to a certain
extent justifiable. The only thing that would help here would be a few
thoroughly bad years, but since the gold discoveries these no longer
seem so easy to come by.
June 17, 1879, Engels to Bernstein in Zurich.
For a number of years past the English working-class movement has
hopelessly describing a narrow circle of strikes for higher wages and
shorter hours, not, however, as an expedient or means of propaganda
organization but as the ultimate aim. [Written two decades before
Is To Be Done?] The Trades Unions even bar all political action on
principle and in their charters, and thereby also ban participation
any general activity of the working class as a class. The workers are
divided politically into Conservatives and Liberal Radicals, into
supporters of the Disraeli (Beaconsfield) ministry and supporters
Gladstone ministry. One can speak here of a labour movement only in
far as strikes take place here which, whether they are won or not, do
not get the movement one step further. [...] No attempt should be
to conceal the fact that at present no real labour movement in the
Continental sense exists here, and I therefore believe you will not
much if for the time being you do not receive any reports on the
of the Trades Unions here.
August 30, 1883, Engels to Bebel in Leipzig.
[...] recently a lot of young people stemming from the bourgeoisie
appeared on the scene who, to the disgrace of the English workers it
must be said, understand things better and take them up more
enthusiastically than the workers themselves.. For even in the
Democratic Federation the workers for the most part accept the new
programme only unwillingly and as a matter of form. The leader of the
Democratic Federation, Hyndman, is an arch-conservative and an
chauvinistic but not stupid careerist, who behaved pretty shabbily to
Marx [...] and for this reason was dropped by us personally. Do not
any account let yourself be bamboozled into thinking there is a real
proletarian movement going on here. [...] And -- apart from the
unexpected -- a really general workers' movement will come into
existence here only when the workers feel that England's world
is broken. Participation in the domination of the world market was
is the economic basis of the political nullity of the English
The tail of the bourgeoisie in the economic exploitation of this
monopoly but nevertheless sharing in its advantages, they are, of
course, politically the tail of the 'Great Liberal Party' [...]
October 24, 1891, Engels to Sorge in Hoboken, emphasis in original.
... I can readily believe that the movement in the USA is again at
ebb. Everything over there is liable to big ups and downs. [...] The
living standard of the native American [NB *not* Native American!!
worker is moreover considerably higher than even that of the English
worker, and this alone is sufficient to relegate him to a back seat
some time. Besides there is the competition of the emigrants and a
other reasons. *When* the time is ripe, things will move there with
enormous speed and energy, but it may take a little while till that
point is reached. Miracles don't happen anywhere. Add to this
the unfortunate business with the supercilious Germans who want
simultaneously to play the part of schoolmaster and commander thus
making it difficult for the natives to learn from them even the good
Perhaps we'd better reinforce all this Engels with a few extracts from
Marx, just to preempt any 'misunderstandings' aimed at driving a wedge
between the two of them.
April 9, 1863, Marx to Engels in Manchester.
How soon the English workers will free themselves from their apparent
bourgeois infection one must wait and see. For the rest, as far as
main points in your book [The Condition of the Working Class in
1844] are concerned, they have been confirmed down to the smallest
detail by developments since 1844. You see, I have myself compared
book again with my notes on the later period. Only the small German
petty-bourgeois, who measure world history by the yard and the latest
'interesting news in the papers', would imagine that in
such magnitude twenty years are more than a day -- though later on
may come again in which twenty years are embodied.
The Collected Works has a different translation, no earth-shaking
divergences but quite different phrasing, eg 'what seems to be a bourgeois
contagion', 'Only your small-minded German philistine' and 'these may again
be succeeded by days into which 20 years are compressed'.
April 9, 1870, Marx to Meyer and Vogt (not Bonaparte's police spy!),
emphasis in original.
And most important of all! Every industrial and commercial centre in
England now possesses a working class *divided* into two *hostile*
camps, English proletarians and Irish proletarians. The ordinary
worker hates the Irish worker as a competitor who lowers his
life. In relation to the Irish worker he feels himself a member of
*ruling* nation and so turns himself into a tool of the aristocrats
capitalists of his country *against Ireland*, thus strengthening
domination *over himself*. He cherishes religious, social, and
prejudices against the Irish worker. His attitude towards him is much
the same as that of the 'poor whites' to the 'niggers' in the former
slave states of the USA. The Irishman pays him back with interest
own money. He sees in the English worker at once the accomplice and
stupid tool of the *English rule in Ireland*.
This antagonism is artificially kept alive and intensified by
the press, the pulpit, the comic papers, in short by all the means at
the disposal of the ruling classes. This *antagonism* is the
the impotence of the English working class*, despite its
It is the secret by which the capitalist class maintains its power.
that class is fully aware of it.
February 11, 1878, Marx to W Liebknecht in Leipzig, emphasis in original.
The English working class had been gradually becoming more and more
deeply demoralized by the period of corruption since 1848 and had at
last got to the point when it was nothing more than the tail of the
Great Liberal Party, i.e., of its *oppressors*, the capitalists. Its
direction had passed completely into the hands of the venal trade
leaders and professional agitators. These fellows shouted and howled
behind the Gladstones, Brights, Mundellas, Morleys and the whole
factory owners, etc., +in majorem gloriam+ [to the greater glory]
Tsar as the emancipator of nations, while they never raised a
their own brothers in South Wales, condemned by the mine-owners to
of starvation. Wretches!
PS Too bad Carrol dumps my stuff straight into his killfile!
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