marxism at

Chris Brady cdbrady at
Sun Jul 14 01:19:03 MDT 2002

Nancy, those are excellent questions and should be top of the list for
explanation in what I hope would be a questioning of class in these
times. My approach to class definitions is of a general order because I
think that makes the most sense to the most people.  That may be way
Michael Zweig rounds off his percentages to create a sum of 100% of

A definition of class that has political utility encompasses social,
economic and historical notions of classes and class relations.  One of
the most potent indications of class is that concerned with exploitation
in the capitalist system.  The working class is exploited by capitalism
the same way as is the earth—as a resource for the creation of profit.
Maybe the recognition of that exploitation could be a means for many in
the middle class (so-called) to see that their long term interests
coincide with those of the working class.

Perhaps the best way to identify classes is to recognize the social
relationships of the capitalist economy.  I think we can agree that
capitalism creates a class of capitalists that exploits the labor of a
class of workers who are not capitalists.  That working class would
include both employed and unemployed workers.  In fact, Marxist
definitions of class point out that the “reserve army of the unemployed”
is a necessary factor in keeping employed workers’ wages low.  As
Michael Zweig indicates, that working class now includes more than just
iron foundry workers.  And we should know that the working class is not
well-represented by industrial unions these days, either, and includes
waiters as well as construction workers, nurses as well as teachers, and
cashiers as well as janitors, and American farm workers as well as
Mexican farm workers, etc.  As capitalism struggles to globalize,
workers of the world should unite to counter the exploitation and
spoliation of humanity and its environment.  Capitalism will stop at
nothing.  It can’t.  We must put a stop to its madness by coming to our
senses.  Whether you are working class or not, we should see that our
humanity—as represented by the working class and its allies—is our best
bet to overturning the insane killer capitalist order.

PLEASE clip all extraneous text before replying to a message.

More information about the Marxism mailing list