[Marxism] Clarifying the term "petty bourgeoisie"?

Scotlive at aol.com Scotlive at aol.com
Fri Aug 13 11:46:05 MDT 2004

In a message dated 8/13/2004 6:50:40 AM Pacific Daylight Time, 
marvgandall at rogers.com writes:
The (convenient) suggestion here is that intellectuals whose parents were
successful professionals and businessmen, who went to college and secured
higher-paying jobs, who live in better neighborhoods and can afford to
educate their children, pay for healthcare, travel abroad, and surf the
Internet are "working class" by virtue of their more advanced Marxist - and
perhaps even Green - consciousness. Less educated and lower paid janitors,
nurses aides, assembly line workers, truck drivers, retail clerks and others
earning at or below the average industrial wage - many of them blacks,
Hispanics, and immigrants - living in poorer neighbourhoods and denied the
same access to education, health care, leisure, and modern technology are
"petits bourgeois" because they either support the Democratic party or lack
any political consciousness at all.


Your point is well taken. However, as I wrote in my previous post, material 
condtions are more fluid now than they were back in Marx's time. For example, 
that retail clerk you mention may be going to school at night on his or her way 
to becoming a lawyer. Those assembly line workers may succeed in winning 
healthcare benefits, or may lose them. Working class conscious workers at a 
Wal-Mart store may attempt to unionize only to be fired and replaced.

Also, let's be clear, thus far most of our great socialist thinkers and 
leaders have risen from the petty bourgeoise, according to your analysis. Marx, 
Engels, Lenin, Trotsky, Castro, Ho Chi Minh. Do we consider them petty bourgeois 
or do we consider them revolutionary?


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