[OPE-L:2549] Re: class demarcation

From: Gerald Levy (glevy@PRATT.EDU)
Date: Sat Mar 18 2000 - 11:52:57 EST

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A short and belated response to Ernesto's [OPE-L:2507]:

> Let me focus on the problem of class demarcation. The question is not
> wether workers' savings enable them to achieve some social mobility. The
> theoretical problem is: if you define the capitalist class as made up of
> the owners of capital, then a worker who saves and owns some wealth (and
> earns a proportion od surplus value in the form of interest payment) is not
> different from the capitalist. It might be a quantitative difference (small
> or big wealth) but not a qualitative one.
> This is why I hold that the class demarcation critirion is not ownership,
> but control of the labour process.

I don't think that the issue is whether class is defined in terms of
ownership *or* control (since no one has suggested that class can be
defined _only_ in terms of ownership of the means of production) but
whether it is to be defined in terms of ownership *and* control (or not).

> Then a worker who owns some wealth and even some shares of "his" company,
> remains an exploited worker so long as he has to obey the employer in the
> factory.

Even when workers (through some kind of profit-sharing system, for
example) have some "ownership" in a corporation, the level of ownership is
generally marginal and they don't have ownership *and* control.

[An interesting topic for discussion, though, might be the "Meidner Plan"
that was previously put forward in Sweden. That is a contemporary issue
related to the topics of syndicalism, social democracy, "evolutionary
socialism" and the state].

In solidarity, Jerry

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