Dictionary of Revolutionary Marxism

—   Cl - Cn   —

CLASS (Social)

“Classes are large groups of people differing from each other by the place they occupy in a historically determined system of social production, by their relation (in most cases fixed and formulated in law) to the means of production, by their role in the social organization of labor, and, consequently, by the dimensions of the share of social wealth of which they dispose and the mode of acquiring it. Classes are groups of people one of which can appropriate the labor of another owing to the different places they occupy in a definite system of social economy.” —Lenin, LCW 29:421

The determination (or attempted determination) of the actual social classes in a given society, together with their sizes, their maturity, their relative potential and importance in the political and revolutionary processes, their sub-sections (strata) and so forth. A reasonably correct class analysis is an absolutely necessary prerequisite for any rational revolutionary strategy.

Siding with the ruling bourgeoisie against the interests of one’s own working class, or coming to an agreement with them for this purpose, etc. Class collaboration can be either an individual act or an action by a group or party led by those selling out to the enemy. Either way it is a betrayal of the proletariat.
        See also:

[Intro to be added... ]

“Class political consciousness can be brought to the workers only from without, that is, only from outside the economic struggle, from outside the sphere of relations between workers and employers. The sphere from which alone it is possible to obtain this knowledge is the sphere of relationships of all classes and strata to the state and the government, the sphere of the interrelations between all classes.” —Lenin, “What Is To Be Done?” (1902), LCW 5:422.

The collective
interests of the members of a particular social class; the interests which they hold in common; the things which benefit them as a group. These differ greatly from one class to another. Thus the capitalist class has an essential interest in exploiting workers in order to generate surplus value and therefore profits. The working class, on the other hand, has a strong objective interest in ending this system of capitalist exploitation, whether or not individual workers are aware of this class interest of theirs at a particular time.

“[A]n essential condition for such an alliance [between socialists (communists!) and bourgeois democrats in the struggle for democracy] must be the full opportunity for the socialists to reveal to the working class that its interests are diametrically opposed to the interests of the bourgeoisie.” —Lenin, “What Is To Be Done?” (1902), LCW 5:362.

The Marxist-Leninist-Maoist theory of ethics which explains how different class moralities are based on the collective interests of the members of different social classes. [More to be added later.]
        [The beginning portion of my book in progress on this topic is available from the

The social
class which a person was born into and raised as part of. Class origin is an important consideration in the class struggle, though not the only consideration. People can change their class outlook and allegiance, as indeed most of the great founders of our revolutionary science have done—including Marx, Engels and Lenin. Moreover, some notorious revisionists, such as Khrushchev, came from peasant/proletarian backgrounds. Nevertheless, if a revolutionary party or its leadership is composed mostly of people of non-proletarian class origins it is extremely doubtful if that party will be able to continue along the path of revolution on a permanent basis. One of the serious problems with the “new communist movement” which arose in the U.S. in the late 1960s was the fact that it was mostly composed of, and led by, students from a relatively privileged upper strata of the working class (the so-called “middle class”), or else even from the petty bourgeoisie. This explains, to a considerable degree, its rampant individualism and ultimate failure.

“Close attention must be paid to class struggle. The four clean-ups in the rural areas is a class struggle; the five anti’s in the cities is likewise a class struggle.... Class identifications must also be drawn in the cities. As to how they should be drawn, certain criteria should be formulated when we come to do this work in the future. We should not take account of the class origin alone. Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin, none of them had their origin from the working class.” —Mao, “Interjection at a Briefing by Four Vice-Premiers” (May 1964), SW 9:86.

The struggle between social
classes with antagonistic (irreconcilable) interests.

“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle.” —Marx & Engels, first sentence of chapter I of the Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848), MECW 6:482. In a footnote added to the 1888 edition, Engels notes that of course the sentence is only referring to written history, and that by then it was well known that there were no social classes in pre-history (before the advent of the Neolithic Age).

“Classes struggle, some classes triumph, others are eliminated. Such is history, such is the history of civilization for thousands of years. To interpret history from this viewpoint is historical materialism; standing in opposition to this viewpoint is historical idealism.” —Mao, “Cast Away Illusions, Prepare for Struggle” (Aug. 14, 1949), SW4:428; also in Quotations of Chairman Mao Tsetung, Chapter 2.

CLASS STRUGGLE — In Bourgeois Society
[Intro material to be added... ]

“The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society has not done away with class antagonisms. It has but established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones.
         “Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however, this distinctive feature: it has simplified the class antagonisms. Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes, directly facing each other: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat.” —Marx & Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848), MECW 6:485.

CLASS STRUGGLE — In Socialist Society

“The dictatorship of the proletariat does not signify a cessation of the class struggle, but its continuation in a new form and with new weapons. This dictatorship is essential as long as classes exist, as long as the bourgeoisie, overthrown in one country, intensifies tenfold its attack on socialism on an international scale. In the transition period, the small farmer class is bound to experience certain vacillations. The difficulties of transition, and the influence of the bourgeoisie, inevitably cause the mood of this mass to change from time to time. Upon the proletariat, enfeebled and to a certain extent declassed by the destruction of the large-scale machine industry, which is its vital foundation, devolves the very difficult but paramount historic task of holding out in spite of these vacillations, and of carrying to victory its cause of emancipating labor from the yoke of capital.” —Lenin, “Theses for a Report on the Tactics of the Russian Communist Party” (prepared for the Third Congress of the Communist International, June 13, 1921), LCW 32:460.

A viewpoint which reflects the
interests, needs or desires of some particular social class. It is the Marxist position that every social theory or idea, and—indeed, even a great many ideas and opinions which may not be obviously connected to society and social relationships—actually are the viewpoint of one or another class.

“In class society everyone lives as a member of a particular class, and every kind of thinking, without exception, is stamped with the brand of a class.” —Mao, “On Practice” (July 1937), SW1:296; also in Quotations of Chairman Mao Tsetung, Chapter 2.

CLASS WARFARE — Bourgeois Condemnations Of

“They don’t call it class warfare until we fight back.” —A poster raised by protesters at an Occupy Wall Street demonstration.

Global warming and other factors (such as pollution and acidification of the oceans) are leading to very rapid climate change. The graphic at the right shows the changes in average temperatures in 2014 compared to the average temperatures in the years 1951-1980. As the graphic notes, 2014 was overall the hottest year on record, and 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000.
        Climate change is one of the many severe and ever worsening consequences of the indifference of the capitalist ruling classes to the welfare of the people of the world and to the state of the world itself. Tremendous disruptions to the production of food are occurring, whole regions are suffering as deserts spread, and a worldwide major extinction episode is occurring for large numbers of animals and plants.

An abbreviation used in India for “Chief Minister”, the prime minister heading a state in India, who performs a function similar to that of the governor of an American state.



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