Tuesday, March 10, 2009
A definition of Class — Solidarity (1961-92)
A short snippet from 'The Bolsheviks And Workers' Control' by Maurice Brinton. Solidarity's definition of class — though active between 1961-1992 — is still relevant today, and clearly demolishes the myth proposed by some that class no longer exists.
We hold that the 'relations of production' - the relations which individuals or groups enter into with one another in the process of producing wealth - are the essential foundations of any society. A certain pattern of relations of production is the common denominator of all class societies. This pattern is one in which the producer does not dominate the means of production but on the contrary both is 'separated from them' and from the products of his own labour. In all class societies the producer is in a position of subordination to those who manage the productive process. Workers' management of production - implying as it does the total domination of the producer over the productive process - is not for us a marginal matter. It is the core of our politics. It is the only means whereby authoritarian (order-giving, order-taking) relations in production can be transcended and a free, communist or anarchist, society introduced.
We also hold that the means of production may change hands (passing for instance from private hands into those of a bureaucracy, collectively owning them) with out this revolutionising the relations of production. Under such circumstances - and whatever the formal status of property - the society is still a class society for production is still managed by an agency other than the producers themselves. Property relations, in other words, do not necessarily reflect the relations of production. They may serve to mask them - and in fact they often have...