Thursday, June 11, 2009

Quote of the Week


"The first thing we have to understand in order to understand capitalism is class. Class is not an economic category, as we are often led to believe. Class is determined by much more than how much money one makes.

In order to understand class, we have to first understand how we relate to the capitalist system through the work that we do. Does the work you do produce profit for someone? Do you receive only the equivalent of a small portion (if anything) of what you produce or enable to be produced? If you are a blue or white collar waged-worker, a student, an unemployed person, a homemaker, an artist, or a farmer the answer is most likely a resounding "YES!"

The second thing we have to understand in order to understand class is our power-relation to capitalism. Do you have the power to hire & fire people? Do you have the power to create and/or enforce laws, start wars, etc.? Do you have the power to impose wage-slavery? Do you own and control the means of production / reproduction? Do you have any real power over the people who do any of the above? If you are a blue or white collar waged-worker, a student, an unemployed person, a homemaker, an artist, or a farmer the answer is most likely a resounding "NO!".

Answering "yes" to the first question and "no" the second set of questions means that you are working class, a member of what is sometimes called the proletariat. It means that the majority of the fruits of your labor (whether that labor is producing and distributing commodities or reproducing the labor necessary for the production and distribution of commodities) are taken from you in exchange for a fraction (if anything) of what you deserve. It means that you have very little, if any, real social power over the capitalist system...

...Capitalism is the struggle that rages between two classes. The notion of middle class is invoked by the ruling class to obscure this struggle, but the middle class is a myth. There has been no middle class for a long time."


— from '(the) Mechanics for Disrepair: Globalization, Capitalism and Some Ideas on What to Do About It'.

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