Negation of the bourgeois proletariat: the roots of misunderstanding

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Negation of the bourgeois proletariat: the roots of misunderstanding
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I have often spoken of the bourgeois proletariat, and I regret that it aroused only a feeble interest in the Communist Left.

It is simple, almost, it is only me who speaks about it.

Yet I have shown that it was an important, if not fundamental, concept in Marx, Engels and Lenin to explain the economic root of opportunism.

How to explain that an organization of proletarian origin degenerates, and associates itself with bourgeois politics?

Two interpretations oppose:

"The organization was the victim of the ideological influence of the bourgeoisie, through its means of propaganda"

"With economic development, a section of the proletariat is detached from the mass of the proletariat by its national, trade union, university privileges ... Its salary is higher, its situation is more stable and more secure thanks to social insurance and diplomas; for this section of the proletariat, the communist revolution is a degradation of its social and economic position, so it is opposed. It fights with the mass of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie if it can improve its own situation by this means; it fights with the bourgeoisie against the mass of the proletariat if it can retain its privileges by this means. Its intermediate economic situation between the mass of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie explains its permeability to bourgeois ideology and its opportunism. "

There have always been intermediate classes in class society, but it would be a mistake to classify them uniformly as "petty bourgeoisie" without rigorously defining them from an economic and social point of view. The degeneration of organizations from the proletariat is usually not petty-bourgeois, but bourgeois-proletarian.

The concept of bourgeois proletariat, of this social stratum, which has an immediate economic interest in the permanence of bourgeois society, although it is not bourgeois, explains all the ideological deviations by their economic roots:

If there is an economic privilege linked to nationality in a territory, then this favors the corresponding ideology: nationalism. A section of the proletariat privileged because of its nationality, will be more likely to associate with the bourgeoisie because of its nationalist policy.

If there is an economic privilege related to the professional bodies, then that favors the corresponding ideology: corporatism. A section of the proletariat privileged because of its professional body (diplomas, union, large companies, civil service, university, grandes écoles...), will be more likely to associate with the bourgeoisie because of its corporatist policy.


The concept of bourgeois proletariat explains the degeneration of the USSR.

What are the Stakhanovists? What are party members, senior officials, state enterprise and state leaders? Different strata of the bourgeois proletariat: from the poorly privileged proletarians to the ruling caste which has a social and economic situation almost identical to the private bourgeoisie.

The degeneration of the USSR can be explained by the detachment of a section of the proletariat which is gentrified, not only by a higher level of consumption, but also and above all by its position in the relations of production and exchange.


Why does the Communist Left completely ignore this concept of the bourgeois proletariat?

Because, like any organization resulting from the proletariat, it also welcomes within it elements of the bourgeois proletariat.

Although elements of the bourgeois proletariat may, by reason of their personal history, be good Communists, they exert, as a subclass, a pressure towards conciliation and opportunism, which derive from their economic privilege in the sphere of consumption and in the relations of production.


This is why I have proposed that the individual consumption of communists does not exceed the average of the world's individual consumption, in purchasing power parity. The excess must be collectivized within the party. The average of world individual consumption, in purchasing power parity, constitutes a simple economic limit which enables us to define the bourgeois proletariat.

This is why I also propose that the professional career of a communist be put to good use by the party, since it exceeds a "medium" situation, which remains to be defined. However, it roughly corresponds, in capitalist society, to a real income above the world average, in purchasing power parity, easy to determine.

Finally, I propose that the individual savings that can constitute a communist, whatever its form (money, real estate...), does not exceed the average of the global individual savings, in parity of purchasing power. The surplus in turn must be collectivized.


By intervening on the economic substratum of the party, to limit the development of bourgeois proletarian interests, we will observe a reorientation of the interest of the party towards the mass of the world proletariat, and a relative disinterest for the privileged layers of the national-corporative proletariat.

In the end, in the party as elsewhere, it is not the ideological struggles that decide the political orientation. It is the economic substratum.

Maybe what you have in mind

Maybe what you have in mind can also be called 'PMC':

I don't directly have a disagreement with the principle in itself of capping the income of party members to a certain limit (there are questions in the details). If the party is serious about revolution, it ulitmately means members' (and non-party member workers') life are in some way in the hands of the party in the crucial moment, so in comparison to this the sacrifice of some income seems a small price. For me one question of detail is, what the money will be used for? Like, I can agree with the beautiful principle of capping income (in order to prevent an opportunist layer to grow and corrupt the ideology), but the practical fact is it is a method of raising money. And then we're justified to ask, what it will be spend on.

the party

But there is, at this juncture in history, no proletarian party, only small proletarian groups. That is the first thing to understand. 

And secondly, how does a proletarian party, or even a small proletarian group, arise from a bourgeois proletariat?

The money raised can be used

The money raised can be used to:

  • to found a daily newspaper, like,
  • to found a school of Marxism, which could be formed within, or in association,
  • finance operations, that is to say, send an agent to the place of a labor movement as a correspondent or as an agitator.

Nevertheless, there is no illusion: many "communists" will actually leave the party as soon as their income exceeds a certain limit, so as not to pay the dues.

The party will also find itself directly in competition with the family's institution: all the money spent in the family can not be spent in the party.

Some orders of magnitude. On average, in the world:

  • Average individual consumption is around 50% GDP per capita.
  • Average individual income is around 100% GDP per capita.
  • Average individual savings are around 150% of GDP per capita.

In 2018, respectively, in purchasing power parity: $ 9,000, $ 18,000 and $ 27,000.

As long as you individually consume less than $ 9,000 PPP per year, as long as your savings are less than $ 27,000 PPP, the party will charge you an insignificant contribution. But it takes everything above.

Thanks for the answer, but I

Thanks for the answer, but I'm don't know if for you the problem really is about shortage of money to launch various initiatives. If that were your real concern, then there are other ways to raise money besides dues from members (eg simply ask for donations from the public). There is also the counter-example of the SPGB, of a party that has more than enough money in its treasure, but has no good projects/ideas to spend it on. In any case, if the only limit osbtructing a party's expansion of activity was its money shortage, then that would be almost the simplest of its problems.

The goal is not to raise more

The goal is not to raise more money for the party. The goal is to ensure the proletarian orientation of the party, because in the final analysis, the oportunist deviation comes from the bourgeois proletariat.

@Alf I said the opposite. I said that elements of the bourgeois proletariat can enter the proletarian party, or that proletarian members of the party can enter the bourgeois proletariat because of the evolution of their professional career.

There must therefore be economic mechanisms to prevent party members from economically detaching themselves from the mass of the proletariat.

And an easy-to-use mechanism is the use of maximum:

_ maximum individual consumption,
_ maximum individual income,
_ maximum individual savings.

All that is above is collectivized.

By fixing this maximum at the level of the world averages, we make sure that the militants have no economic interests in the preservation of the bourgeois order, because the bourgeoisie ensures the stability of the social order by corrupting a small section of the proletariat, the bourgeois proletariat, by privileges.


What is counterintuitive is that it is not the ideological struggle that really determines the political orientation of the party, but the economic situation of its members.

For example, I know that people with higher than average global consumption / income / savings will tend to oppose these proposals.

It's inevitable, whatever the arguments.

The old socialist principle

The old socialist principle for politicial representatives was that their pay level should be that of the average worker, and in case it is above it must go to the party. It's perhaps not exactly the same situation for income earned from non-political/ordinary workers; but I could see the case for it. Perhaps it makes more sense even for the "privileged" to just pay the cash, instead of just tiresome verbal guilty performance pretending to be mindful of those "more oppressed". On the other hand, when such a high-income person is willing to actually put their money where their mouth is, they could now feel a better moral person (than those "more oppressed"), since they actually fund the party from their own pocket, and since they no longer have a privilege in wealth, they can't be suspected of corrupt bourgeois ideological influence more than anyone else in the party.

If I understand your English,

If I understand your English, (and maybe I do not understand correctly) you say that a person paying high contributions because of his high income, so that his standard of living is limited to the world average, should be suspected of opportunism?

On the contrary, I think that if the contributions are under the control of the party, and not, by an indirect means, under the control of the person who pays the contributions, we must not suspect him of anything.

We must be careful not to put activists in a double bind situation:

  • on the one hand, they are asked to pay high contributions in order not to be suspected of being opportunistic,
  • on the other hand, they are suspected of opportunism, because they have paid high contributions. 
No, if the person pays a high

No, if the person pays a high contribution, he ideally shouldn't be suspected of opportunism anymore, at least not to a greater degree than anyone else now. I say that this could be a reason to motivate someone to do this. In other words, the high-income person doesn't want to risk (being accused) of opportunism, therefore he pays the demanded contribution, and now he is "safe" from such suspicion/guilt (of being "privileged/opportunist").

Moreover, not only is this person "in the clear" now, but has even demonstrated a moral act, which the below-average income persons aren't able to show. So the person has now even become "better" than the rest in a moral sense (and even practical sense: since they are the biggest funders of the party).

Perhaps this could create moral friction/resentment, because now the poorer(/more oppressed) person can no longer so easily accuse the richer person of being bourgeois opportunist/priviliged.

Perhaps some will say that the rich person's monetary contribution can never "do justice" to the poorer person, that is, to really ever make them truly equal in each other's eyes. Can mere vulgar money ever really "pay off" the fundamental difference in "oppression-levels"?

Here is a recent piece

Here is a recent piece suggesting that one of the major political features today is not so much a "bourgeois proletariat" as it is a "decomposing professional-managerial class."



It's not a moral issue. In any case, the reason for this "moral" resentment also has material causes. It could be that high-paying members might have an organisational influence on the party, precisely because of these high contributions.

But from a methodological point of view, after having noticed something in the sphere of ideology (opportunism, moral resentment...), we must look for its roots in the material sphere.

We can help ourselves with history. In the USSR, there have been attempts to set up a maximum income, and the bourgeois proletariat has constantly questioned and circumvented this maximum until its abolition, and the enrichment of this caste knows no bounds.

This is how the principle is confirmed that:

"Any distribution whatever of the means of consumption is only a consequence of the distribution of the conditions of production."

Karl Marx, Critic of the Gotha Program, Ch. 1.

But consumption is part of production, both simply meaning "transformation": either by looking at what is lost in the process, or by looking at what is created. "Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed", as Lavoisier says.

Thus human consumption is the material, cultural and social production of social classes, whereas material production is the consumption of "the soil and the labourer" (Karl Marx, The Capital, Ch. 15).

This is why we must not neglect the sector of human consumption, which is the sector of production of social classes.

@jk1921 This article is

@jk1921 This article is interesting, but the concept does not date from the 1970s. The concept followed the material development of this caste, and had several names: workers aristocracy, unionized workers, stakanovists, bureaucracy, class of engineers ...

The advantage of the Marxist denomination of "bourgeois proletariat" is that it brings together in the same category persons who are wage-earners, but who, because of their position in the global relations of production and consumption, move away from the mass of the international proletariat, and tend gradually towards the national bourgeoisie.

The history of the USSR proves that this caste can replace the bourgeoisie in the relations of capitalist production, and eventually become bourgeois in the traditional sense of the term.

Of course, the movements of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders both belong to the bourgeois proletariat, but this is not the same layer of bourgeois proletariat.

The hostility of Bernie Sanders to the opening of the borders and to the imigration blatantly demonstrates that he defends the interests of a section of the proletariat which has detached itself from the mass of the proletariat, a national section of the proletariat which has detached itself from the international proletariat.

The bourgeois proletariat separates itself from the mass of the proletariat by two main ways: national privilege and corporatist privilege.

We must not forget the national privilege, that is why the bourgeois proletariat must be defined on the basis of world averages, in parity of purchasing power, and not of national averages.

You say it's not a moral

You say it's not a moral issue, but I only gave this as a psychological reason that a high-income person would ever overcome their own material self-interest, in order to follow your proposal. The person himself would consider this act a show of his willingnes/dedication to a higher cause, and so it can be called a display of moral character. That is, the person overcome the material temptation. Whereas the poorer person would not even be in the position to show such a "moral" act, since they were never even in danger of temptation (of material comforts). But okay, we will not sing moral praises for the high-income person's dedication. The only issue is negative: to prevent bourgeois deviations stemming from a materially privileged job position. Now, you noticed that, if your proposal were to be followed, the party becomes greatly dependent on the contributions of its high-income members, and perhaps this translates into greater organizational influence of these members. Well, yes, this would mean that your proposal doesn't yet eliminate (but perhaps even increases) the influence of possibe bourgeois ideological deviations in the party.

So *ideally* these high-income contributors shouldn't be suspected any longer of being a greater peddler of bourgeois deviations, but in practice, they will continue to be so suspected by the rest of the poorer party-members. And so even though the high-income members did the "moral" act of putting their money where their mouth is, they will still be "morally" suspected of being more easily corrupted by bourgeois deviations (due to their continued position in a high-income job). The issue (whether moral or not) is not resolved by money contributions.

My prediction is that the

My prediction is that the "law of the maximum" within the party will deter most of the bourgeois proletariat from joining the party.

The bourgeois proletariat will therefore be a minority within the party. If the party is organized according to the principles of democratic centralism, the surplus money will remain under party control.

Moreover, the law of the maximum offers the militants a standard of living and financial security sufficient to participate in the finances of the party.

If, in 2018, your individual consumption was $ 9,000, your super-gross income $ 18,000 and your savings $ 27,000, you should not have a hard time paying 180$ a year, more than enough to make the party work.

$180 a year amounts to 1% of

$180 a year amounts to 1% of what you gave as the world average income (and 2% of what you gave as average consumption: $9000, eg as is the case in Turkey). If your prediction is true that anyone above this income will not join, then it means, in your best case scenario that all other members are exactly at the average income, as a rule each member will pay $180 a year. I tend to guess that would be enough for the party work. If the party has 100 members= $18,000 party funds, or $1500 a month.

I think the CPGB's publication Weekly Worker has a monthly fund target of £2000 (for printing, shipping costs, etc.), from donations (not specifically dues). But if you were just to focus on a news website, (as is the general trend perhaps, less-and-less paper print), then perhaps it requires less money.

Would it better help prevent bourgeois deviations, I don't know.

The maximums also make it

The maximums also make it possible to define a clear political line for the entire international proletariat.

No communist will have a standard of living higher than the world average.

Let me tell you that if a party puts this in its statutes, it will have a non-negligible effect on the confidence of the proletariat in that party.

The party will finally reject corporatist or nationalist movements favoring privileged sections of the proletariat.

It will defend the right to work for all: it will reject the pretensions of the bourgeois proletariat to prohibit the recruitment of non-national or non-graduated proletarians.

It will defend any measure of homogenization of the proletariat, in particular freedom of migration, and the freedom to recruit non-graduated proletarians.

Recruiting non-national and non-graduate proletarians increases the wages of the mass of the international proletariat as a whole, to the detriment of the national bourgeois proletariat. On this point the interests of the masses of the proletariat and the bourgeois proletariat are irreconcilable.


In 2019, there are 2.7 billion smartphones in the world.

Continuing to sell paper is nonsense.

Who pays?

Are we talking about "professional revolutionaries" here, paid by the party for their basic needs? 

There are a lot of "details"

There are a lot of "details" to discuss further (such as PPP calculations), but just to take perhaps the easiest example, of the US, ( what would a maximum limit in income of $18,000 (as a defintion of who is in the "bourgeois proletariat") mean concretely? Wiki says the minimum wage (7,25/h) amounts to an income of $15,080 a year. The percentage of workers who earn less than 17,499 a year is 31,44%. But let's be more generous, and take all those earning below $19,999, then we get nearly 35% of the workers, which seems to be about 78 million people. That means conversely, that about 65% of the work force must be written off as 'bourgeoisfied'.

I don't know how it is in other Western countries, but if it's a similar picture, that means the majority of workers in the West are 'bourgeoisfied'.




I did a new research on

The entire discussion of the bourgeois proletariat is formulated under the term "labor aristocracy".

ICC categorically rejects this notion as "non-Marxist".

However, Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky, all agree that a section of the national proletariat sees its interests threatened by the competition of the international proletariat and for this reason adopts pro-bourgeois positions.


“But the English bourgeoisie has also much more important interests in the present economy of Ireland. Owing to the constantly increasing concentration of leaseholds, Ireland constantly sends her own surplus to the English labour market, and thus forces down wages and lowers the material and moral position of the English working class.

And most important of all! Every industrial and commercial centre in England now possesses a working class divided into two hostile camps, English proletarians and Irish proletarians. The ordinary English worker hates the Irish worker as a competitor who lowers his standard of life. In relation to the Irish worker he regards himself as a member of the ruling nation and consequently he becomes a tool of the English aristocrats and capitalists against Ireland, thus strengthening their domination over himself. He cherishes religious, social, and national prejudices against the Irish worker. His attitude towards him is much the same as that of the “poor whites” to the Negroes in the former slave states of the U.S.A.. The Irishman pays him back with interest in his own money. He sees in the English worker both the accomplice and the stupid tool of the English rulers in Ireland.

This antagonism is artificially kept alive and intensified by the press, the pulpit, the comic papers, in short, by all the means at the disposal of the ruling classes. This antagonism is the secret of the impotence of the English working class, despite its organisation. It is the secret by which the capitalist class maintains its power. And the latter is quite aware of this.”

Marx to Sigfrid Meyer and August Vogt, 1870.

Moreover, where does the Stalinist bureaucracy come from to restore capitalism in the USSR? From bourgeoisie? From proletariat?

If you study their social and economic origin, they are employees.

In other words, members of the proletariat. A special section of the proletariat, which turns into a bourgeoisie...

At least speaking for myself,

At least speaking for myself, I wouldn't categorically reject the general term of a labor aristrocracy, though my impression is that this was limited to a minority/elite, and not to the majority of workers. The details that I would dispute in your definition is for example the average PPP (which seems a rather "bourgeois" ideological concept). If eg the labour hour's intensity is different in third-world country (say, by half) than in the West, than just to fairly compare wages between them, one should double the wage figure in the third-world country, since the hour paid is really only equal to half an hour of Western labour intensity. Then, if you take into account skill differences, quality of labour, etc.

But leaving that all aside, there's another mere detail that I find quite arbitrary in your proposal: if a member's income is $18,000 a year they pay $180, but if they earn, say $19,000 a year, they should pay $1,180 in party dues. if these two people are in the same country, then this seems rather unfair. It would be more reasonable to have a progressive rate of dues, ie rising percentage; so 1% for 18,000, then perhaps 2% for those earning 19,000, ie $380 (but not sudden jump to $1,1180 as in your proposal). This seems more reasonable and probably the principle is already applied.




if a member's income is $18,000 a year they pay $180, but if they earn, say $19,000 a year, they should pay $1,180 in party dues.

As long as he has not reached $ 27,000 in savings, he continues to save on his own account, or in another form. This saving allows him to leave the party freely.

Nevertheless, this principle of functioning is that precisely no Communist has a standard of living above the average, whatever his work.

If he earns super-net $ 30,000 (net of taxes, net of social contributions, etc.), has a saving of $ 50,000, and has no dependents, he pays $ 21,000 a year, and 23,000 $ of his savings belong to the party.

Indeed, if a Communist has a specialist job with a high salary, he does not benefit. His standard of living remains that of an average worker in the world.

Earlier you said that if

Earlier you said that if (ideally) each member contributed $180 a year, that already would consitute sufficient funding for party activity. In the (in your view, unlikely) case persons do join the party who earn above the world average of $18,000, that means all their money contributions will far exceed $180 a year (easily by several thousands $). By your own opinion, all that money would not be needed for a proper party function. (In your view the party will not even run a paper publication.) So if the money would not be needed for the party activity, then those high-income party members will be prevented from using it for their own consumption for the sole reason that it will make them less tied to bourgeois ideology, and as they're members of the party, so will the party be less open to bourgeois ideology (so goes your reasoning).

But if the party is strong enough to demand such monetary contributions from them (or pro-actively exclude from joining by the mere propsect of having to pay such high dues), then why isn't it able to exclude people on the basis of their explicit signs of bourgeois ideology? Suppose there are members who earn less than $18,000 and who nevertheless defend bourgeois ideological positions in the party, then should not the party exclude them on this basis (of ideological position) alone? And if the party can exclude people on the basis alone of their ideological position, then there is no need to de facto exclude them on the basis of income (so long as they don't defend a bourgeois ideological position, then it is irrelevant to the party's ideological "purity" what the income of some of its members may be).



why isn't [the party] able to exclude people on the basis of their explicit signs of bourgeois ideology?

Because signs of bourgeois ideology is not at all explicit.

From when do you decide a person has a bourgeois ideology? When does he disagree with you? An exclusion is something serious. Only the congress can decide that, and for serious reasons.

When it comes to money, things are much simpler. At maximum, all activists are equal, have the same standard of living, the same security savings, whatever their job elsewhere.

If an activist claims a higher standard of living than others, we would be forced to ask him: why?

  • Because the bourgeoisie has given me a superior nationality, a nationality which has more rights than others, for example American nationality.
  • Because the bourgeoisie has integrated me into a higher professional body, a profession which has more rights than the others, for example the body of engineers.

Once an activist claims higher rights today, he will claim higher rights tomorrow. He will eventually organize himself collectively to demand higher rights for his caste, ie the bourgeois proletariat, and it is the beginning of the degeneration, it is the development of the nomenclatura, the bureaucracy, the renascent bourgeoisie.

If as you say, the ideology

If as you say, the ideology is not explicit, then today nobody would already explicitly answer such a question by claiming for themselves a higher standard of living and higher rights than others (in general, or within the party). The person will piously answer that his own privileged situation (compared to others less fortunate) has no justification.

Acting consistent to your proposal of "good example", they should quit their job as an engineer, or renounce their American citizenship, because whatever they may ideologically say or even do (such as pay the money to the party) so long as they are within a privileged layer of the existing system, they remain suspect in your view of "eventually" defending the development of their own "nomenclatura" or nation.

You basically admit this, and so you de facto exclude them from the party, for the sake of keeping the party's orientation strictly communist. It isn't meant to change anything about the reality of wage differences, nationality differences, etc. It's a case of purely "virtue-signaling" by the party, without adding any greater theoretical or programmatic clarity.




It is regrettable that you

It is regrettable that you take it like that. In a communist society, the standard of living tends towards the average; those seeking to maintain an above-average standard of living for them are simply building up themself in class through their role in production relations.

The transition from the dictatorship of the proletariat to communism consists precisely in suppressing this special place in production relations, and in suppressing the associated privileges.

If from now on, "communists" claim special privileges, even before the dictatorship of the proletariat, we can be certain that these "communists" will do the same during it, and that they will be just as "communist" as the Stalinist nomenclature can be.

Blocking the standard of living of communists to the world average is not a moral fantasy, it is an extremely powerful political and economic instrument to prevent degeneration, separate classes, and prevent the reformation of the bourgeoisie from misguided elements from the state or plan.

It's not I who say your

It's not I who say your proposal is a fantasy. But it's not a "powerful instrument" to prevent stratifications within the proletariat reasserting themselves. The reality is that you will remain suspicious of these high-income earners, regardless of what they do (pay the party contributions or not), since the fact is they remain within a higher layer of society. The only personal escape for them is to quit their job, because they will otherwise always remain a (legitimate) suspect of becoming a defender of their privileged section.

You mentioned also nationality, besides income. I suppose you mean for example an American citizen has a privilege compared to an "illegal" (or non-American) person. This American will, in your view, tend to defend the American nation. This will be the case even if their income is the same as the world average. If we are consistent with your "good example"-approach, then the American should renounce their citizenship:

If he does not renounce it, then Tagore2 will be forced to ask the question: why do you claim to have a higher right, as an American, than your non-American fellow man? Even though you can't personally abolish the border/police/etc., at least as a communist you should individually set the good example, which you can easily do by renouncing your American citzenship. If you refuse to do this, then it means you do in reality (despite what you may claim to the contrary) believe Americans have more rights than non-Americans. And you will eventually (in case of revolution) end up just reasserting the (in this case, national) stratifcations within the proletariat.

Well, if that is the condition for entry into the world party, then I can imagine some dedicated people may renounce their citizenship. But even then, will they be truly free from the privilege of having been an American citizen? Will they not remain suspect still, of defending American particular interests maybe at a later point in the future?

The annoying thing is that

The annoying thing is that you are reducing a political and economic issue to a moral issue. You speak of "virtue-signaling", "good example", "suspect". Can we stay on the facts, not in the feelings?

I never said that a communist had to leave his job as a specialist. In fact, the party could preventing a communist from leaving his job, because it represents a significant source of income for the party. The party would ask him to work at least part-time. Unless the party finds that person more useful to another position, which outperforms the financial resources he can bring to the party.

In any case, there is no question of preventing a communist from being a specialist, especially for sentimental reasons that are frankly wrong.

Administrative nationality is recognized by a bourgeois state. If it is in our interest to make a US communist stateless, for example to allow him to change his nationality, there is no reason not to do so. But as a rule, the party has no interest in that.

It is not a question of destroying the advantages of the bourgeois proletariat because the party forbids them to profit them by itself. It is a matter of collectivising them for the benefit of the party and the revolution.

Quote: It is not a question

It is not a question of destroying the advantages of the bourgeois proletariat because the party forbids them to profit them by itself. It is a matter of collectivising them for the benefit of the party and the revolution.

Then you're saying the purpose of your proposal is positive: obtaining enough money for the benefit of the party's activities. That sounds better, but in this case, I already have talked that this runs the risk that high-income contributors will be important source of the party's income, that these contributors might thus acquire greater influence (if they indeed provide the majority of the party's funding). You replied to this in a contradictory way:

1) the party's orientation can remain independent from the high-income contributors, because once it collects their money it will not allow any influence of individual contributors on the party's general ideological program, or in the decision process on how or on what the collected money will be spend.

This supposes that the high-income members always remain only a minority, because should they become a majority within the party (which is a quite possible scenario in Western country, and I understand, this a danger you want to prevent) then it's difficult to see how they would control themselves.

2) the party anyway does not need high-income contributors, since it can operate on relatively modest income, eg it would collect more than an enough money already if each member could pay $180 a year. (other sources of income, such as donations, are not even considered)

My impression from your posts is that the high contributions are not needed for the positive purpose of funding the party; that they are not expected to arrive (since in any case rich people will refuse to join), and finally, that if these high-income contributors do arrive they will cause no problem of excessive/corrupt influence on the party (since the party's control, despite the influx of high-contributors, is adequate to neutralize such danger).

It seems to be a moral proposal, because I see no practical purpose to it. I don't condemn it because it is moral. In so far as it is moral, it seems quite consistent.

The objective is precisely to

The objective is precisely to limit the entry of the party to the bourgeois proletariat by imposing on them the average world standard of living, by means of unlimited contributions.

This is the practical utility.

This is the interest, because the bourgeois proletariat will tend to be opportunistic. This is the economic determinism.

And it does not matter if we have some bourgeois proletarians in the organization, because people who are ready to give 25%, 50% or even 90% of their income and savings to the party are probably very reliable. They will never be the majority, because such a level of engagement in the bourgeois proletariat is extremely rare.

This is not an absolute guarantee, it is a trend guarantee, because economic determinism is very powerful. If you have the same standard of living as other communists, you go to the same milieu, you have the same hobbies, and so on.

There will be a certain number of bourgeois proletarians who will leave us because they will not bear to be in the average. There is no reason to blame them; it is also economic determinism.

Note that they are not prohibited from contributing to the party from outside, but they will have no power of political decision.

Quote: There will be a

There will be a certain number of bourgeois proletarians who will leave us because they will not bear to be in the average. There is no reason to blame them. Note that they are not prohibited from contributing to the party from outside, but they will have no power of political decision.

By "contributing to the party" I suppose you mean like in personally capacity (not financially) helping organize. If they are willing to do this organizational supporting work, then it means they somehow are ideologically mature enough to understand and agree with the party's line. Yet these people (who, to be clear, you expect to be a majority of workers in the West) are part of the labour aristrocacy, who are unwilling to pay the required high monetary contributions. And this last fact is evidence that they are not real communists in your eyes. So it must mean these outside-supporters are mere brainless tools (willing to do supporting activity, but not being mature for real communist party decision making). Or if you say these outside-supporters (majority workers in the West) are not just brainless activists, but are fully able to understand and discuss about the party's tasks and helpfully assist in carrying them out, then why cannot they be trusted to become party-members?




why can not they be trusted to become party-members?

I already answered this question. Because they want to have a upper standard of living, and therefore we can not trust them enough to integrate them into the party.

Nevertheless, there is no reason to despise supporters outside the party. I think this method of contribution would be appropriate for many people.

It would not bother me at all that in rich countries there is 20% of true partisans and 80% of supporters. So bourgeois proletariat is outside the party and proletariat are the majority, including in rich countries. Supporters can enter the party if they accept the maximum law.

But I think I did not convince you ... If that's the case, this is not a problem: at least I was able to explain my position properly. :)

You can't trust them enough

You can't trust them enough to integrate them into the party, but you can trust them enough to engage in non-financial method of support from the outside. Or do you think if few people are willing to spent money, also few are willing to give their time and personal effort? In that case the party will have not only no "bourgeois aristocrats" inside the party, but also no "bourgeois aristocratic" outside-supporters. And these are the majority of workers in the West. Ok, let's accept the party will never even have majority of active "supporters" among Western proletariat, maybe this should not be the goal in your view of a party, if you want to clarify further. But if we believe that the majority of "above-world-average-income-earners" are still able to become convinced active participants in communist revolution, then there is no reason to accept only their time/effort, but not also their full membership.


I did not define what the

I did not define what the sympathizers outside the party would do. I do not know. The bottom line is that they do not have membership status, that's all.

Finally, party doors are not closed to them. In addition to the political criteria, it is enough for them to accept not having a standard of living above the others, and to collectivize the surplus.

If the purpose is to shield

If the purpose is to shield the party from the danger of bourgeois ideological deviation that comes from high-income earners, then let us assess where this danger is greatest. Those who earn the highest should be a greater danger (of being unconscious defenders of bourgeois deviation) than those who earn only slightly above the world average. Let's take as example a person earning $36,000 and one earning $19,000 a year. Both are above the world average (which is $18,000), but will they both be equally dangerous, as potential defenders of bourgeois deviation, to the party? If that is the question (and not a moral question of members sticking to the average income), then those who pose the greatest danger must be put before a higher hurdle to joining the party. Here my proposal of a progressive increase in dues tied to income level would be suitable. If say, each additional $500 a year income means an increase in 1% of due payments, then someone earning $36,000 will have to pay 36%, or $12,960, and someone earning $19,000 will pay 2% or $380. Whereas in your proposal they would pay $18,000 and 1000 respectively. The difference for the high-income earner in both scenarios is not even that great (ie the party will still be richly funded by the rich person, except only $5,040 less). I say that your measure will even act as a hurdle for those earning slightly above average. In my proposal the hurdle will act the most on those who earn far above the average, and they are really the greatest danger, so my proposal is as effective in achieving your alleged goal, but without repulsing those who earn only slightly above average.

You say the party doors are not closed. However, you propose the measure precisely in the expectation that it will prevent people earning above-average income (which again, would seem to be the majority of workers in the West) from joining. You say from those earning above-average only very few will join the party (that is, they will never become a majority in the party, or have any negative influence within it).

Your measure has no practical positive utility, namely of funding the party, since the party can function without the high-income contributors. There is no specific negative utility either, since the party can already prevent the highest danger which comes from a real top-tier income-earners by imposing a progressive rate increase of dues. The real specificity of your proposal would be to discourage the majority of workers in the West from joining.

For those who would still join, I said that their personal motivation would be a moral one. They can already support the party from the outside through their time/effort, and in this way they are of positive help to the party. Whereas if they join the party, they hand up "excess" money that is not even needed by the party to operate: they could just throw the money in the sea or to a charity that does need it (because it is only a test that they're willing to be equal/unprivileged). Maybe they should throw the money in the sea, money is after all the root of all evil.

About the majority in the West, who will be pushed to stay outside the party, you say very little. They don't have membership status. But my question to you was this:

- if those excluded are still capable (despite wanting to keep their monetary income) of acting as helpful outside-sympathizers, that is give up their own personal time and effort for a higher cause, then why aren't they also capable of party membership? You imply that practically their work will be the same in either case, the difference is just the formal voting right.

- if party membership is not just a voting right, but also means a distinct activity/consciousness of its members that those outside are incapable of doing/reaching, then in what way can these outside-sympathizers still be helpful for meaningful communist organizing, except as brainless tools?

- if the excluded majority (ie those in the West de facto prevented from joining) is not capable to act even in a helpful supporting role, then does this mean they are also already forever lost in general as active/convinced communists in the revolution? And by implication (surely not just a detail) the party should not even try to reach/influence them, that is a majority of workers in the West.


The calculation must be based

The calculation must be based on the level of individual consumption, not income, because of the family, a person with a relatively high income can still have a lower than average level of individual consumption, because he has children or dependent parents. We must take this into account.

I do not mind making a compromise from the moment the main objective is reached.

The party has different level of operating. With $ 10,000, it can do this, with $ 100,000, it can do that. Money can unlock various projects, such as the translation funding of in foreign languages ​​that are widely spoken but poorly provided in books, or send an agent to remote labor movements (which is very expensive).

Outside supporters can donate money, material things, services or work. The difference with the partisans is that they can give whatever they want, are not subject to party discipline, and do not participate in the political orientation of the party.

The party must actually find a policy relative to the bourgeois proletariat.

My opinion is that in order to prevent them from passing on to the bourgeoisie during the dictatorship of proletariat, we can tolerate that specialists have a standard of living up to twice the world average. The Bolsheviks were forced to make a similar compromise.

However, to the extent that they rise above the proletariat in the relations of production and in the relations of consumption, the party must be aware that the bourgeois proletariat can begin to constitute itself in the bourgeois class, as it has been the case in the USSR.

This is why the party must implement safeguards against them:

_ they can not join the party if they do not give economic guarantees in addition to their political commitment, ie to reduce their standard of living,

_ outside the party, they can not have any political responsibility,

_ in their specialist work, they must be accompanied by a political commissioner from the proletariat, who is trained professionally by them and who makes the political decisions when they have to be taken.

In order to prevent the bourgeois proletariat from becoming a bourgeoisie, it is necessary to massively increase the number of specialists, so as to increase competition between them and prevent them from forming in class, lowering their income towards the average and raise low wages to the average.

We must also begin to reduce the importance of wages and money as a means of life, by introducing consumption planning, with a minimum and maximum standard of living. But even without money, individual consumption must be scrupulously controlled in units of account.

Thus the bourgeois proletariat could be absorbed into the mass of the proletariat, and the proletariat itself could disappear with the other classes.

As to the point about the

As to the point about the rise of a managerial layer in the USSR, my impression is that this layer first began to predominate only after the counter-revolutionary (let's take broadly, after the purges in the 1930s). It was not the existing engineers/etc. who took over and corrupted the party, but the party who first created a new layer of engineers/etc.

And even if in particular the party CC's composition eventually came to be composed of above-average-educated people, the CC's level was still below that of the actual professional-managerial layer.

(according to the abstract of this article: The Education of Members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, (Jun., 1969), pp. 187-195)

In other words, it seems this layer would not be able or even have to directly control the party, since it was already a sufficient force outside the party. I think the prospect of a job of party member in the USSR was not so attractive for an already well-paid engineer. Even if the party should have taken additional measures to prevent this layer from joining the party(-leadership), as you propose, in general, as you recognise, the problem of this division in society with a managerial layer would have remained. So a policy is required towards them, as you suggest, to deal with the outside reality, beyond mere party purification.

I have to interrupt this

I have to interrupt this conversation for urgent professional reasons. I will be busy an indefinite time. Thank you for your interest in this topic.

professional revolutionaries

In this discussion I think I overlooked the issue of professional revolutionaries, that is, the issue of full-time party-members who don't even have any income (/employment) at all, but instead get paid (to be able to live) from the party's fund. The word "professional" revolutionary always attracts a lot of hate (as a supposed sign of elitist, parasitic, authoritarian bureaucracy, etc.), not just from anarchists (against the evil Leninists), but also more in general from today's "populists" against (liberal) NGOs sponsored activists. In reality, everyone does recognise that political organising is a lot of work and effort; this is recognised both by the activists themselves (see eg the libcom thread which featured anarchists complaining about the hard work of editing a journal, or being active at a demo), as well as by the harshest critics of activism (conceding how fanatically activists pour their whole life, personality and free time into their campaigns). And it requires skills (even if it is just digital/online computer skills). So practical organising work requires money not just to pay expenses for certain events or not just as a token compensation for organisers, but money as actual pay to sustain the livelihood of organisers. The issue was recently touched on by eg Benjamin Studebaker, who quipped that serious organisers (for an independent working class politics) need to come from rich families, as only they have the privilege to dedicate their time to organising, and independent wealth to avoid falling under the influence of bourgeois campaign funders (as happens with NGO networks). But this problem has been known long ago in history, and the "Kautskyist/Leninist" response to it is valid.