labour aristocracy

michael pearn neprimerimye at
Mon Feb 3 09:06:30 MST 2003

I'm sorry ben but I don't understand your point here
at all. You point out that profits made in the former
colonial states flow to the imperialist metropoles or
as you put it from the Third to the First World. Fair
enough that's true.

But then you assert that these profits or
super-progits if you like allow the boss class to
bribe the workers in the more advanced states. You
state that workers can more easily win wage increases
as a result of super exploitation in the former
colonial world.

But how does this happen Ben that you do not explain.
Why would the boss clas concede to pressure from
workers in the advanced states due to greater profits
from the third world. After all the super profits
accrued from the imperialised nations is a minor part
of the profits they make from the more exploited
workers in the advanced countries.

In other words there is more capital invested in the
imperialist countries and a greater rate of
exploitation and profit follows from that fact.
capital investment, underinvestment in fact, is the
prevailing social reality in much of the former
colonial world and a low rate of profit is the result.

Given that the labour aristocracy thesis as expressed
by Lenin is not a stand alone doctrine but relates to
his conception that imperialism exported massive
amounts of capital to the colonial world we might ask
how the labour aristocracy thesis relates to the
theory of imperialism today in more general terms. We
might also note that Lenin's thesis that capital was
exported to the colonies by a bourgeoisie in search of
super profits is falisified by the simple fact that
the imperialist states show a flow of capital between
themselves as it is in these markets that the greatest
sources of surplus value are to be found. That is to
say the workers in the advanced countires and for this
reason, if no other, it is the proletariat in the
advanced countroies which remian central to the
Marxisn project.

Date: Tue, 04 Feb 2003 01:06:51 +1100
From: Ben Courtice <benj at>
Subject: Re: labour aristocracy--answer #1 to Tom

  Tom's first question:

> *what is the mechanism by which surplus value from
super-exploiting > the 3d> world working class, or
women in the west, or American blacks, ends 
up in the bank accounts of the labour aristocracy?


First, I'm not arguing that women's oppression or that
of African-Americans is the cause of the labour
aristocracy. Both of these have existed for a long
time, longer than imperialism in fact, and the 
labour aristocracy is a feature of imperialist
nationsI won't address these issues here; someone else
can examine them if they wish (I think Kim Bullimore
already made some interesting comments regarding
women's oppression).

What exactly constitutes the "bribe" that the labour
aristocracy is given? It may indeed be that they can
easier win wage rises, since their employers are
making such huge profits from abroad, and can
ill-afford their highly productive home workforce
taking industrial action. But as the above passage
points out, their situation makes life easier. And the
development and high-productivity prosperity of the
First World would not exist without it's obverse in
the Third World.

So all first world workers do, in fact, benefit from
being in the first world. They do not all benefit
equally or constantly. The benefit is relative because
they are still, when it comes down to it, exploited 
and oppressed. They do not benefit by crudely stealing
money from the bank accounts of Third World workers
(who mostly don't have bank accounts, of course) and
transferring it to their own. It does not make them
incurable counter-revolutionary parasites. It just
gives imperialism a little more *material basis* to
convince first-world workers of all sorts of
pportunist politics. 

For Communism 

Mike Pearn

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