World Party of Socialist Revolution
cdbrady at attglobal.net
Sat Jul 13 18:27:31 MDT 2002
Nancy Brumback has a good point. Many intelligent people from various
socioeconomic levels see the injustice and dangers of capitalism.
However, definitions of class also need to be standardized in our
discussion. On a different thread Louis introduced an interview with
Michael Zweig, a professor of economics at the State University of New
York at Stony Brook. His recent book:
"The Working Class Majority: America's Best Kept Secret"
(Cornell University Press, 2000) defines class in ways that make us
realize that the working class is the majority. The majority of people
must decide to change the system and do it. Then there is the
mechanical reality that the workers actually have their hands on the
means of production. This adds the dynamism necessary to the concept
that the working class is the engine of history. All who act in its
interests act in the interests of humanity (and vice versa). You are
right: we must use all means to appeal to all.
Defining class by income or lifestyle makes almost all Americans "middle
class," which renders the term meaningless. Zweig takes a different
approach, basing class definitions on power rather than money. Zweig's
capitalist class owns big things and makes big decisions; it represents
about two percent of the workforce. Middle-class Americans own small
businesses, serve as middle managers in larger firms, or are
professionals with a fair degree of freedom of action at work; they
constitute about 36 percent of the labor force. Those who take (rather
than give) orders at work are the working class; at 62 percent of the
labor force, they are a majority distracted and diverted from its best
interests for several generations. Zweig suggests the implications of
this analysis for a number of key political issues, including the
"underclass," "family values," globalization, and what workers get (and
should get) from government. Putting class back on the table produces
thoughtful, provocative analysis of where the nation is going and what
working people could do about it.
Mary Carroll Copyright © American Library Association.
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