Labor and other Aristocracies

LouPaulsen LouPaulsen at
Mon Feb 10 07:18:13 MST 2003

----- Original Message -----
From: "Louis Proyect" <lnp3 at>

"Leonard, except for some exotic hothouse flowers like the Maoist
International Movement or RYM II in the 1970s, no Marxist ever argued
that imperialism benefits the working class. The argument instead is
that imperialism tends to create a kind of false consciousness in which
workers identify their own class interests with that of the boss. [..]

"When working class people cheer for the war
against Iraq or Yugoslavia (fill in the blanks), they are acting against
their own long-term class interests. Whatever they gain through cheap
gasoline, they sacrifice through the death of their sons and daughters
or the despoliation of the environment. "

As you say, no Marxist doubts that.  I think that all the debate is about
whether (a) imperialism, racism, etc. are in the short term beneficial to
the 'privileged' / less oppressed group, while being against their long-term
class interests, or (b) whether they are against the interests of the
'priviliged'/less oppressed group in the short term  AND in the long term.

Some people then think that they have to prove (b) in order to prove that it
is in the 'material interest' of the less oppressed workers to join in the
revolution.  I don't think we do in fact have to prove (b), so I'm less
concerned about whether it is true or not.

For example, Al Szymanski once published a study in a sociological journal
which purported to demonstrate (b) with respect to racism in the US.  He
claimed to demonstrate that wage rates for whites were lower in states where
there was 'more racism' against African-Americans.  It wasn't a very good
study, unfortunately, from the methodological point of view.


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