The bourgeoisie tells the working class that it doesn’t exist

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The bourgeoisie tells the working class that it doesn’t exist
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The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: The bourgeoisie tells the working class that it doesn’t exist. The discussion was initiated by Hawkeye.
Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!

Identifying with the working class

Pawel's eighth paragraph refers to the dilemmas of workers feeling without a class (struggle) with which to belong, or words approximate to that.

Readers might find the following article entitled  'A class analysis of British society at the start of the 21st century - Part 1'  relevant.  It can be seen on the website of  Lalkar  and in the March 2014 edition of the journal of the same name.  In case some readers have not come across those already, the word 'Lalkar' is from some languages of India, which means 'Challenge'.  The website and journal are based in the UK.  The article printed out to 10 sides of A4.  Only the first page refers to Mao.  I recommend the article, as obviously it refers to Britain, not to issues of Stalin and Stalinism, of which ICC views are clear.

How intelligent is the bourgeoisie?

It appears on the Bob Crow thread and keeps cropping up here and there: how intelligent is the bourgeoisie, how much does it know about its rule and more importantly, how much does it know about the class struggle and its role within it? When sectors of the right attack sectors of the left does it, in certain circumstances, know that it's just a "wind-up" aimed at the working class, aimed at demobilising the working class? This article is very good on this question globally and historically and gives a tidy framework for examining the machinations of the bourgeoisie, its "conspiratorial" nature against the working class. It's true that in weaker capitalist entities the right wing factions of the ruling class will wipe out its left wing partners, the "socialist" parties and the unions and take many workers with them. The same is true of the left against the right in some circumstances and, again, many workers are sacrificed in this  process. But in the main centres of capitalism, and this the article makes clear, the bourgeosie (in general, not every individual bourgeois has to be involved) know exactly what they are doing, prepare it in advance and act clinically and ruthlessly. At the levels of the state that matter, the bourgeosie know exactly that the trade unions are theirs and, again as the article shows, use this within its cunning to pre-empt or in any case limit, struggle starting up or its extension. The ICT, in a sort of populist move, has long-since criticised the ICC for its ideas of the bourgeoisie's machiavellianism and also of the decomposition of capitalism (the anarchists and libertarians sing from the same song sheet). I think that events have well-validated both these political conceptions and the ICT has been, from its anti-ICC stance, severely underestimating both.

Thanks for the above baboon.

Thanks for the above baboon.  As to the machiavellianism of the bourgeoisie...well it isn't just them is it?  Haven't all ruling classes used lies and deceptions to keep power, and  to confuse their opponents by disguising their own intentions, while conniving and pursuing secretive scheming  just to keep it?

Being topical, I thought of Pontius Pilate and his Machiavellian behaviour at Christ's fake trial, asking disingenuous question with an innocent air.  And his Jew-baiting:  "The King  of the Jews" placard stuck  at the top of the cross. Then there's all the incredible Machiavellian plotting and counter-plotting in Shakespeare's history plays. The recent film of Richard 2, shown on the BBC a number of times,  seemed to emphasize the cunning schemes afoot,  with tight lipped courtiers unsure which side to commit to.  And of course Queen Elizabeth 1 would hardly have survived without her wit, her sonnets and clever Machiavellian advisors ready even to take on Spain never mind the Queen of Scots. But Elizabeth like Shakespeare had possibly read The Prince which would only have acted  to confirm her practice. 


So why anybody including the ICT should find the ICC's awareness of the massive duplicity and machiavellianism of the bourgeoisie today difficult to stomach as a concept I don't understand.  Could it be they think it "too clever", too fancy and thus not compatible with working class thought processes? How about the machiavellianism of the Unions: working secretly  for one side of the class struggle, the bourgeoisie,  while betraying the other, the working class, whom it pretends to support. Is it considered an affectation to label this Machiavellian?  

About "decomposition" which is clearly and horribly everywhere, I don't want to speak. 

I posted this on libcom

I posted this on libcom yesterday and I think it's worth a post here. The working class is certainly expressing it existence and struggle in China.

A big walkout at the seven Yeu Yeun shoe factories who produce for Nike, Adidas, Timberland, etc.. The strikes, which started last Monday at Dongguan in southern China now involves 40,000 workers (South China Morning Post) and the strike was continuing yesterday. The stike is over the gross underfunding by the company of social benefits: pensions, injury compensation, sickness pay, unemployment pay and so on. The strike seemed to have started when one woman retired and realised that her pension payments were not what they should be. A couple of hundred workers walked out of one of the Yue Yuen factories to be followed by tens of thousands more. There have been mass meetings, demonstrations and fights with the police, the latter beating and arresting workers.

This strike occurs amid several other significant strikes in China which this year are up by a third on the last (China Labour Bulletin). The underfunding of benefits is a common practice of the bosses in China and, with many class conscious workers coming up for retirement, this issue will become more widespread.



A bit more

Just a bit more news on this strike which is not only going on but has spread to Jianxi province where another two thousand workers from the same Taiwanese company walked out today. There appears to be some sort of trade union in the Dongguan factories who have issued some statements about the strike, but in one report an official for an NGO in Hong Kong said that this was too big an issue for the union to handle. Certainly the union seemed to be against the protest march of a thousand workers several days ago - it could have been going to other factories and the union called for "calm". The march was stopped by police who charged the workers and arrested the leaders of the march.

As the parent company is Taiwanese there's been one report of anti-Taiwan sentiment but the overwhelming concern of the workers is with their wages and the social wage. Another issue for the workers, in addition to those in the post above, is that many of them, who have worked here for years, are still being classified as "tempory" which means that they have difficulty in accessing benefits such as children's education, health and so on. These issues, along with those of cutting benefits, are not peculiar to Taiwan or Japanese owned businesses but are common to the practices - along with endemic corruption - of the Chinese bourgeoisie.

Thanks for the excellent and

Thanks for the excellent and exciting good news above baboon.  Most news these days is the awful and repetitive news of the miserable doings of the bourgeoisie in their various theaters of war  and repression.  To hear news of OUR OWN CLASS FIGHTING BACK  is cheering indeed.  And it doesn't just sound like "pockets" of struggle, at least not in China,  but great lorry loads full of it. Let's hope it spreads in China and beyond. Workers of the world unite! 

Cheers Fred. I'll be

Cheers Fred. I'll be following this up with a hopefully more informative piece in a few days time.


quelle surpise


the state of the liberal left media is shocking - ok most of its readership is middle class, but for the guardian that left wing bastion to suggest that the worst thing about poverty is ennui; well it shocked me anyway. we ARE the majority, and we WILL speak :-)

as to machiavelli - i don't

as to machiavelli - i don't think capital is so, i do think that its organs - parliament, unions, press, are so. perhaps some rich individuals too, but yeah.

Machiavellianism and China strike

Baboon - thanks for posting on the strike in China but if you put up more on that perhaps it would be better to start a new thread?

On "Machiavellianism" more generally, I encourage comrades to read one or more of the more in-depth articles on the subject.

Good distinctions

Thanks LL for directions to the articles: just one of the good distinctions made is between real (wirkliche ;@_) historical examples of efficient, deliberate, top down ordered, 'false-flag' operations: there's the list: that's what happened.

Very believable other machinations that the Ruling Class precisely and pro-actively decide and act upon to secure their temporary aim are equally 'natural' within the more general framework: one mentioned to me in 1980/81 was that Russian Troops rolled into the 7 million strong class struggle in Poland dressed in Polish uniforms just to 'make sure' -as it were - that even if resistance against state, church, trade unionism, 'world opinion' etc held out the overt 'unpatriotic nature' of fighting 'your own kind' would seal the deal.

Most importantly though the 2012 article states :

'The laws of capitalism function independently of the will of capitalists, regardless of how desperately they try to control them (usually through the medium of the state). For example, the current crisis is not the result of the machination of some global elite - on the contrary, the tendency towards crisis more and more escapes their control in spite of their machinations. While it is certainly true that this or that faction of the bourgeoisie will attempt to engineer war or crisis[4] to further their ends, it is important to remember that these aims were usually focused against another faction of the bourgeoisie.'


I am reminded of a passage in Capital Vol. I 

The exchange of commodities cannot, as we saw, take place without fulfilling contradictory conditions which exclude one another. Its development does not make these contradictions disappear, ​rather it creates a trajectory in which they can move. This is above all the method by which these contradictions can keep going.

He is discussing one of the primary contradictions of the capitalist mode here - exchange value and use value.

{If I may be allowed a linguistic moment : 'its development does not make these contradictions disappear' Yes it's that supposedly hi-falutin word 'auf-heben' again : its development 'hebt' dieser Widerspruche nicht 'auf' : it does this against speak not away with. If words of one syllable are 'unreadable' or obscure then gawd 'elp us.}

He then takes the example of an ellipse:

It is, for example, a contradiction that a body constantly falls towards whilst constantly flying away from another. The ellipse is one of the forms of movement in which this contradiction just as much makes itself real as it allows it to keep going.

I remember in the past sometimes wondering whether President X or Prime Minister Y woke up in the morning thinking 'how can we oppress people some more today'

As the article points out it isn't like that - although such a thing is by no means contrary to continued domination.

And the ellipse simile helps me: as the accumulation of these unresolvable contradictions reaches unprecedented proportions, so does a kind of chaotic conspiring to find some new blintz shaped ellipse/way out: but they have no solution. As Marx wrote, every elliptical movement as much reveals the reality that Capitalism doesn't work as it provides a get out for now.

'Bourgeois Solidarity' is de facto a contradiction in terms. I don't personally find the word conspiracy in any way innaccurate to describe the massive world wide secret surveillance of everyone and everything: States lying to themselves and each other and doing arms deals with some other party .etc.etc.




slight derail, but i remember

slight derail, but i remember readiing a few years ago that [the icc think] capitalism could still act for national interets.

perhaps this has since been reverted, and so for capital the international proletariat has vanished!


i am writing some artsy stuff about how this is the ruin of the bourgeoisie - the endgame so to speak.

I disagree strongly

With myself in this case: and on a desperately important issue.

Re-reading the comprehensive and precise article with the proper care it deserves my comment about Bourgeois Solidarity was ill-chosen and gives a dangerously wrong impression.

As the article points out clearly there are limitations to the Unity and Solidarity of the Bourgeoisie in action because the Capitalist Mode they domineer is by nature full of greed-competition and multiple innate collisions of interest.

These limits however are small beer compared to an ever more exposed need for and ever more revealed Bourgeois Solidarity. Especially when it comes to the crescendo of lies, distractions, mystifications that constantly feed the ideologies which, with deliberate destructive intent, deny the existence of the International Proletariat, deny the real flesh and blood history of the International Proletariat they are solidly united in collaborating, conspiring intensifying the pumping out of these denials and untruths.

The Great Lie that Communism = Stalinism: atomisation: multiplication of scape-goats to blame Capitalism's own failure on: all these are excellently and resolutely expressed in the article. 

The accompanying lie that what wasn't Communism is dead: yes , what a huge oppressive weight is all this on the working class. How vast an obstacle to remove before one can even begin to get across Marx's fundamentals. The very counterposing of Capitalism and Communism ('dead' or 'alive') as different 'ways of life' is itself a false representation another destructive confusion in the armoury of mystification facing the Proletariat.

Marx clearly sated that Communism was the real, indispensable, immediate form of movement that abolishes the present state of affairs but it was not the goal (der Ziel) of human existence - as if 'it' were some final form of human society.

I am not duped by 'anti-globalisation' or some 'alternative worldism': I experienced 1968 first hand and yet see how powerful the dispiriting, destructiveness that Bourgeois Solidarity of Ideology can be: that I should unwittingly express such a wrong emphasis.

This probably falls under the 'plausible conspiring' category but an architect friend pointed out many years ago that the Bourgeoisie's 'important' buildings are all designed with at least one if not two floors that take business or government 80 feet up off the street, a sort of 'buffer' against street access.

*The proletariat has nothing to gain from fighting for bourgeois democracy or a ‘more human capitalism’ because that means fighting to maintain a system of exploitation which can only be barbaric;

*It has everything to lose from allowing itself to be dragged behind the confrontation between cliques and gangs of the bourgeoisie;

*It has no local, regional, national, communitarian, ethnic or religious interests to defend;

*Its struggle is for the abolition of exploitation, of classes and frontiers on a world scale;

*Its strength lies through the development of its consciousness and its morality, its self-organisation and international solidarity.

Absolutely right.

And any idea that The Bourgeoisie is not intently, devoutedly, comprehensively prepared to twist and turn every which way but lose power is absolutely wrong.



Protest in Belgium

I don't know where to put this and if it develops a new thread may be needed, but

Last Thursday saw massive protests by workers in Brussels against increases in pension age, public sector cuts, including unemployment pay and a break with the indexation of wages. The police estimated one hundred thousand protesters involved and the figure, which included dock workers, teachers, local authority workers, students, etc., looks to be significantly higher than that. The media (BBC) says that this was the biggest demonstration since WWII, but it was certainly the biggest since the strike wave of 60/61. The protest ended in violence when the police attacked protesters using water cannon, etc.

The protests underline the shaky political line-up of the Belgian bourgeoisie, just as affected, just as unstable as other European governments through their fundamental inability to deal with the economic crisis except attack the working class again and again. The Socialist Party is out of the power line-up for the first time in over 20 years and it has, in some ways, supported the protests. So too did the unions which organised them along with a series of rolling strikes to go on until next month. But with the scope and intensity of the protests expressed on Thursday, the unions seem terrified by what has happened, with the SCS, FTGB and FGSLB unions entering into secret talks with the government on the same day in order to try to see how better these "necessary" cuts could be implemented.

A lot of the  news reports talk of the problems of division between Flemish and French speaking parts but here the workers came together from both sides and it doesn't appear to have been an issue at all (it is for the bourgeoisie though).

There's an ICC section in

There's an ICC section in Belgium, so I can't imagine an official statement being far off. Are these street "protests" only or are there actual strikes taking place?

Yes jk, I look forward to the

Yes jk, I look forward to the ICC's position on this which it will give some care to. There were some public transport strikes in Brussels on Thursday but nationally the trains were running which enabled some 80,000 workers to travel to Brussels to demonstrate. The unions have a plan for rolling, regional strikes ending in a "general strike" on December 15. An indication of why the unions moved may be seen in the well-supported wildcat by workers and warehouse staff at the Delhaize chain of stores which took place in the middle of last month.