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March 15, 2019



"Instead, it is an objective fact about your relationship to the means of production. If you lack ownership or control of these, then you are working class – in a position of exploitation or domination. If you do have ownership or control then you are capitalist, or bourgeois."

Which is b*llocks because it means the self employed plumber who owns his own van and tools is a capitalist exploiter, and the local authority CEO on 250k is working class. This Marxist nonsense just does not fit how people live today, or how society is arranged, which isn't surprising, its pushing 200 years old.


Out there, people talks about "working class" and the "middle class". As if having a university degree yielded income as a rental property. Salaried people which must work for a living are "working class". No matter how low or high the income is, if the person can only survive a few days/months from savings and when they're gone the person has to return to work.....well, this individual is part of the working class.

Tasker Dunham

Could it be simply that some ABs vote Labour and like Corbyn because what we have at present is just plain bloody unfair? Maybe I'm naive but that's my motivation (as an escaped-from-the-working-class, retired, financially independent person).


On the other hand the modish petit bourgeois attempts to cultivate a revolutionary classt cleansed of ghastly oiks - The reliably awful (and apparently innumerate) Paul Mason's recent attempt to cultivate one from minorities, doctors and sole traders in opposition to "ethnonationalists" in the equally horrible New Statesman seems fairly typical - suggests they're perfectly incapable of surmounting their social biases.

Until they can overcome the inbred disgust for the other that seemingly animates both the British middle class and liberalism at large they're doomed (hopefully, it seems to me they're animated by fundamentally the same impulses that led to the bourgeois "left's" enthusiasm for eugenics back in the day) to erect grisly Hazel Motes-like proletariats without proles.


"This Marxist nonsense just does not fit how people live today, or how society is arranged, which isn't surprising, its pushing 200 years old"

Oh, I don't know. I suspect they're running out of rope when it comes to financially maintaining the cat's cradle of striative treats and anathemas they've relied on since the birth of mass democracy.

Even the "protected classes" (have they ever before been/needed to be so barefaced about quite what they're up to?) will eventually discover that they can't all be shoehorned into comfy and lucrative sinecures.


@ Jim. It's not bollocks. The self-employed plumber (assuming him to be genuinely self-emploted rather than a subcontractor who's often an employee in effect) is in a different position to an employee: he has the freedom to refuse unpleasant jobs. This is why many choose self-employment. Sure, he might not be well-off, but not every problem you have is due to your class.
And the CEO is usually a capitalist; some of his base salary is due to exploitation, and he's in a positiob to dominate others.


"he has the freedom to refuse unpleasant jobs."

I see you've never been self employed and needed to make ends meet then. Employed workers have far more power over their working conditions than the self employed do, they have massive amounts of legislation that protects them. Our CEO may be on sick leave on full pay for 6 months and no-one can touch him (or her). If our self employed plumber doesn't work he doesn't get paid, so may have to take any sh*tty job that comes along, regardless of the pay. Yet he's the 'exploiter'. Get real, for f*cks sake.

luis enrique

how is a plumber's ability to refuse "unpleasant jobs" any different to an Uber drivers? (those bourgeois pigs)


Dwayne Johnson earned $124 million last year. But since he doesn’t own the movies he stars in, Marx would define him as a member of the proletariat. And Marx would expect him to feel a fully aligned class solidarity with the exploited Foxconn workers of Shenzhen. Which I’m sure he does. But the owner of the local coffee shop near Johnson’s $3.4 million Florida mansion employs three baristas. Marx would therefore define him as a capitalist class enemy to be extirpated come the revolution, even though his income is a tiny fraction of Johnson’s. That’s why Johnson should feel profound class animus towards him. Which I’m sure he does.


And of course the reason some of Johnson’s movies make millions while others flop is all down to the socially necessary labour time Johnson puts in on set.

That Karl Marx was a genius. He really understood how the world works.


"class makes for a less divisive type of politics"

Tell that to the Kulaks.

Dave Timoney


The difference is the nature of the market in which the plumber and the Uber driver participate.

The driver can be barred from the market if he refuses too many jobs or his satisfaction rating is too low. That's pretty clear evidence of domination by Uber, akin to the old "lump" system used in construction and the docks. In contrast, the plumber does not have to rely on a mediated market as she can bid for work directly with the paying customer.

Lidl Janus

"I’ve never been into Greggs"

(gasp) Traitor!

"although I often go into Wetherspoons"



«wayne Johnson earned $124 million last year. But since he doesn’t own the movies he stars in»

He owns though the copyright to his image. The studios primarily buy his image to help sell their movies, if it was just his acting they were paying for, they would hire some cheaper less known actor of similar skill.

«Marx would define him as a member of the proletariat.»

You can make up deranged fantasies about what Marx would say, and you may even believe them, but what's the point? Only an idiot would believe your arguments...

Your bearded friend would call "capitalists" not the owners of wealth, but specifically the owners of productive capital who hire workers to labour with that productive capital. People who own vast wealth, or even productive capital, who don't hire workers are not "capitalists" as he defines them. As he wrote "capitalism" is a relationship between owners of productive capital and the workers they hire.

I guess that Marx would argue that W Johnson primary source of income is the copyright to his image that he sells to movie makers, and as to acting since he does not hire someone else to use that image he is self-employed as a worker, and therefore neither a capitalist nor a proletarian. Movies are not means of production.

But once he has earned that $124 millions he becomes a capitalist, unless he spends them all: because then those $124 million are certainly invested in businesses that use his capital and hire workers.

«But the owner of the local coffee shop near Johnson’s $3.4 million Florida mansion employs three baristas.»

Certainly that owner is a small capitalist: he owns all the potential fruits of his capital, while his employees are just disposable accessories to that capital. Nothing personal. "Capitalism" as defined by your bearded friend is a *functional* relationship, that does not necessarily relate to level of income or wealth.

«Marx would therefore define him as a capitalist class enemy to be extirpated come the revolution»

Actually your bearded friend argued that he would be extirpated by other bigger and more predatory capitalists, until even the biggest and most predatory would become unable to maintain the levels of profit they needed, and then "capitalism" would become obsolete as a failure at scale.


«contradictory class locations – ... Nor is all wealth the product of capitalist exploitation: we wouldn’t really call, say, J. K. Rowling a capitalist.»

As an author she does not hire people to write her wealth; some authors though are "capitalists" in that they own their name which is a "brand", that is means of production, and hire ghost-writers to work that "brand".

But JK Rowling is *also* indirectly a capitalist, in at least two ways:

* One can weakly argue that once she has written a novel, that has become means of production, and she hires people to work it, by PR-ing it, marketing it, organizing book tours for her. Her literary agent probably though is not an employee but a co-capitalist whose capital is the network of contacts they have.

* More strongly, once she has earned and not spent vast amounts with her novels, she certainly become a capitalist by investing it as productive capital (unless she spends it all or puts it all in property).


1. “Movies are not means of production.”

No, they’re products. They’re what the means of movie production produces, when combined with the labour of screenwriters, actors, camera operators etc. The means of movie production are the cameras, microphones, stage sets, lighting rigs, costumes etc.

2. “he owns all the potential fruits of his capital, while his employees are just disposable accessories to that capital”

The element common to both Universal Pictures and the local coffee shop owner is RISK. If the next Fast & Furious movie flops at the box office, the actors, camera operators, sound recordists etc will all still be paid their agreed fees and wages, but Universal Pictures will take a loss. If the coffee shop doesn’t attract enough customers the baristas will all still be paid their agreed wages, but the coffee shop owner will take a loss.

It’s probably impossible to make large movies on a fully co-operative basis, because that would require the camera operator, key grip, editor etc all agreeing to forfeit all income if the film is a flop. Most people can’t afford to take such a risk, and even some who can will prefer fixed fees and wages to the riskier, more speculative use of their labour time that goes with effectively being a co-owner of the movie. Ultimately the value of the movie depends on the audience’s subjective reaction to it, not the the amount of socially necessary labour time required to make it.

3. If Marx predicted that small traders will inevitably be eaten by larger conglomerates, we know that’s not happening with coffee shops. The coffee shop market is growing, even as Starbucks share of it is declining.

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