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Class Theory or Class Analysis? A Reexamination of Marx's Unfinished Chapter on Class
Alvin Y. So and Suwarsono Crit Sociol 1990 17: 35 DOI: 10.1177/089692059001700202 The online version of this article can be found at: http://crs.sagepub.com/content/17/2/35
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Class Theory or Class Analysis? A Reexamination of Marx’s Unfinished Chapter on Class
Alvin Y. So and Suwarsono
the "cut and paste" method, this to examine Marx’s use of the term "class" in two key writings, The Communist Manifesto and The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. After comparing these two works under the following headings — the number of classes, the linkages between economic interests and political struggles, the relationship between class and state, the impact of class on nonclass relations, and the direction of class struggle — this paper argues that in the Manifesto Marx presents a structural "class theory," consisting of a coherent set of testable propositions and predictions. However, this paper also contends that in The Eighteenth Brumaire, Marx develops a different historical "class analysis" that is an interpretive scheme to make sense of changing political events. In the conclusion, this paper discusses how Marx’s class theory is related to his class analysis.
ABSTRACT: Instead of
Karl Marx frequently uses the term &dquo;class&dquo; in his writings, but he does have a systematic treatment on this subject. It is well known that in the last chapter of the last volume of Capital, when Marx finally tries to tackle the issue of &dquo;What constitutes a class,&dquo; he has only jotted down a little bit more than a page. And according to Engels, the editor of Capital : &dquo;Here the manuscript breaks off’ (Marx, 1975:886).
to thank Val
Department of Sociology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96822. We want Burris, Richard Chabot, Deana Chang, Farideh Farhi, Ben Kerkvliet, Hagen
Koo, Peter Manicas, Ravi Palat, Yow-suen Sen, Bob Stauffer, Pat Steinhoff, and the gradu-
macro-sociology seminar for their valuable comments and criticisms. Martin Orr and the two anonymous reviewers were also very helpful in revising the paper. Alvin Y. So gratefully acknowledges the support of the Social Science Research Institute at the University of Hawaii in preparing this paper. An earlier version of this paper was presented to the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association at San Francisco, August 1989.
ate students in the
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Thus &dquo. Max Weber who examines not just the economic but also the political and social dimensions of class.one-dimensional&dquo.&dquo.one-dimensional&dquo. it is not clear whether Marx would identify with the structuralists or with the historians. 1975) and the historians (Thompson.&dquo.sagepub. 1988. Samuel. classes are defined principally by their place in the production processes. usually begins by saying that Marx is a great social thinker and his class analysis has immense impact on the study of stratification.e. 1978. the chapter will immediately add that Marx’s class analysis is outdated: the significant transformations in industrial societies in the twentieth century have rendered Marx’s simplistic class analysis obsolete. Schaefer and Lamm. class is not a &dquo.Social Stratification&dquo.&dquo. 2013 .static category&dquo.cut and paste&dquo. or a &dquo. In the Marxist literature.? Is his class analysis irrelevant to understand the modern capitalist societies? The mainstream sociology literature has misinterpreted Marx because it tends to rely on a &dquo.com by guest on February 10.cut and paste&dquo. there is a debate between the structuralists (Althusser and Balibar. 1963). to Marx’s writings. From Marx’s voluminous writings. 1987. but a historical process over time. (Thompson. for this has prompted a heated debate in the Marxist literature and led to an one-sided presentation of Marx in the mainstream sociology literature. as a result of common experiences (inherited or shared). 1981) on &dquo.class happens when some men. method to recover his unfinished chapter on class.class&dquo. i. To show the inadequacy of the &dquo. for the historian Thompson. 1968. Downloaded from crs. The unfinished chapter on class has also led to a one-sided presentation of Marx in the mainstream sociology literature. However. However. method to interpret Marx.by the relations of production. 1986).the structural determination of class. pasted these scattered passages together under the headings of Property and Economic Power. feel and articulate the identity of their interests as between themselves. However.multi-dimensional&dquo. to the existence within class practices of determination by the structure . Since Marx’s chapter on class remained unwritten. Marx. is Marx’s class analysis &dquo. and by the places of political and ideological domination/subordination. For Poulantzas. The Cut and Paste Method Dahrendorf (1959) well-known work typifies the &dquo. Poulantzas (1975:14) points to &dquo. in introductory sociology textbooks (Brinkerhoff and White. Poulantzas.class. What is interesting in this structuralist-historian debate is that both proponents have claimed Marx as their mentor and traced their usage of &dquo.structure.36 It is unfortunate that Marx has not finished the chapter on class. Robertson. the chapter will hastily turn to the &dquo.. Dahrendorf has cut out numerous passages on class by Marx. and as against other men whose interests are different from (and usually opposed to) theirs&dquo. The chapter entitled &dquo.
The section starts by saying that property question. so long as open to misinterpretation. Rattansi.Property and Economic Power. For the and property as such is indifferent. this cut and paste method has become a standardized way of presenting Marx’s concept of class. not one. bourgeois The essential condition of the existence and domination of the class is the accumulation of wealth in the hands of private persons. Marx’s early writings are frequently quoted side by side with his mature writings. The attempt to define property as an independent relation. Only if we understand property in the particular context of bourgeois society.class&dquo. This cut and paste method is Downloaded from crs. the condition of capital is wage labor (Marx. Class Situation. After Dahrendorf. Class Interests. and is widely practiced by social scientists (Bendix and Lipset. Marx actually has.. statement is However. and relation to its inner structure. 1953b:89). Pasted under the section entitled &dquo.sagepub. an empty concept.class. relative to the different stages of development of industry.37 Relations of Production. and the Classless Society. as private ownership of the means of production. 1947:169). Furbank. i. can be nothing but an illusion of metaphysics or jurisprudence (Marx.1953a:138). 1985.e.&dquo. 1920:459). 2013 . but two different usages of the term &dquo. Mackenzie. consistently throughout his writings. i. First.&dquo. this method is derived from the invalid assumptions that Marx has one single concept of class and that he uses the term &dquo.com by guest on February 10. do we in fact grasp the core of the antagonism existing in production and creating class conflict. In every historical epoch property has developed differently and under different conditions. not without problems. 1966. Class Struggle. As will be argued below. Class Organization. Second. The power of society thus becomes the private power of a private person (Marx. for example. this opposition of propertyless not expressed in an active contradiction. 1985). Dahrendorf (1959:11-12) has cut passages out of five different sources of Marx’s writings. while Marx’s philosophical writings are put together 1976.e. 1950:176). as the control of a minority over the wealth of a whole nation.. the formation and augmentation of capital. has always been the life question of any given the class (Marx. a special category. this cut and paste method often takes Marx’s passages out of context. an abstract and eternal idea. Even in this specification property is still an abstraction. and then claimed to have reproduced Marx’s class theory on a fairly faithful basis. To define bourgeois property means no less than to describe all the social conditions of bourgeois production. as a it is not comprehended as the opposition between labor and capital (Marx.
38 with his economic analyses. Marx has presented a coherent class theory to explain the long-term trend of capitalism. and &dquo. the literature simply assumes that all Marx’s work reveals the same usage of the term &dquo. writings on class. Following this in-depth approach.the power of society thus becomes the private power of a private person&dquo. nor studied in more detail the complicated issues raised. in the above presentation of Marx’s class theory by Dahrendorf. Marx’s class theory in the CM will be compared with his class analysis in the EB. Marx is said to have emphasized the personification of the unity of property ownership and political control. this paper will first concentrate on Marx and Engels’ Manifesto of the Communist Party (hereafter referred to as CM. read into the lines. Dahrendorf keeps on citing Marx: &dquo. Our comparison will focus on the aim of the Downloaded from crs. as a research tool.Class&dquo. This is because in Marx’s time the owners of property were also the managers running the corporations. and as Marx  because it seems unnecessary to make any significant discrimination between the views of Marx and Engels). but scattered. the emergence of a propertyless managerial class.com by guest on February 10. Dahrendorf can later denounce Marx’s class theory as outdated because of the new developments of the stock market and the authorityless stockholders. (our emphasis).class&dquo.sagepub. Marx’s passages on class are often selectively reproduced with a special purpose.the existence and domination of the bourgeois class is the accumulation of wealth in the hands of private persons&dquo. As such. and the separation of ownership and control in the twentieth century. &dquo. we need to adopt an in-depth approach to study Marx’s writings: concentrate on one or two of Marx’s key writings. has presented different class analysis to interpret the changing political events in France in the mid-nineteenth century. research. the better it sheds light on society and history. this paper will show that Marx has two different concepts of class. Toward an In-Depth Approach If the literature’s cut and paste method is inappropriate. Instead. the utility of the concept of class lies in its application. to see the process by which Marx applies &dquo. and analyze the writings in detail. 2013 .1 In what follows. This in-depth approach should be superior to the cut and paste method because it avoids diverting our attention from an intensive examination of Marx’s key writings to a superficial treatment of Marx’s numerous. what then can be considered to be the best method to present Marx’s concept of class? For Marx. For example.&dquo. The literature has neither examined the different historical contexts that gave rise to Marx’s writings. Third. It will be argued that Marx in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte a (hereafter referred to as EB). However. is such an indispensable tool for theoretical explanation. and practice that the more this tool is used. As a result. In the CM.class.
sagepub. guild-master and journeyman. oppressor and The oppressed. now open fight. rather less clearly. class is taken to be a universal Downloaded from crs. As Taylor (1967:36) points out... how the proletariat could bring this overthrow about. what is so fatally seductive about the CM &dquo. as a prelude to action during the revolutions of 1848. its unmodified sense of historical inevitability. the impact of class on non-class relationships. either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large. or in the common ruin of the contending classes. Aiming to promote the proletarian revolution. 2013 . the number of classes. now hidden. It provided both a system of historical development and a programme for political action. the relationship between class and state. classes are central to Marx’s analybecause class struggle has provided the motive force to propel history forward. In late 1847.. at a high level of abstraction. The Level of Generality.. carried on an uninterrupted. During the high tide of the working class revolution. As Hall (1977:20) remarks. practical purpose.class&dquo.com by guest on February 10. Hence.. stood in constant opposition to one another. In the CM. coupled with the optimistic sureness of its grasp on the unrolling. Marx writes like a committed revolutionary rather than a dispassionate scientist. the CM is clearly a political work that catered to a political audience. a fight that each time ended. the CM does not hesitate to make sweeping generalizations and bold predictions on the role of class struggle in history. In the CM. patrician and plebeian. In the CM. in a word.39 writing. The above quotation also reveals that Marx has used the term &dquo. As Marx (1967:79) explained: ses history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.. Freeman and slave.is its simplifying revolutionary sweep: its elan. Cottrell (1984:84) remarks that the CM was a mobilizing pamphlet designed to crystallize and communicate the revolutionary ideology of the Communist League at a time of great political optimism. the CM was written for an immediate. It demonstrated that capitalism would inevitably be overthrown by socialism and laid down. above all. and the direction of class struggle. lord and serf. Marx and Engels were highly optimistic about the downfall of capitalism. the level of generality. Marx and Engels were commissioned to develop a theoretical and practical party program for the Communist League. unstoppable tide of revolutionary struggle and proletarian victory. the linkages between economic interests and political struggles.&dquo. Marx’s Class Theory in the CM The Aim of the Writing.
the gap between ’class’ as economically defined entity and ’class’ as social force is progressively eliminated. But why has Marx focused only on two classes? How about other classes such as the small tradespeople.40 concept: class exists in every society. Marx has presented a two-class model. Marx was optimistically predicting that the workers would quickly rise up as a class. embedded with specific national or cultural traits. focusing on the exploitative relationship between the oppressor and the oppressed.in constant opposition to one another&dquo. for instance.with the development of industry the proletariat not only increases in number. there was the rise of large-scale factory production.sink gradually into the proletariat&dquo. the rentiers. If classes are so central to Marx’s analyses.partly because their diminutive capital does not suffice for the scale on which Modern Industry is carried on. As Cottrell (1984:37) observes. of the share of the labor product. and become actors in making history. the CM &dquo. and class struggle transforms history. so that it becomes legitimate to use the one term to encompass both.&dquo. how many are there in a given historical era? In the CM. Consequently. In other words. and thus will not play a key role in politics as a non-proletarian class. and finally of the state. with regard to the control of the means and the process of production. partly because their specialized skill is rendered worthless by new methods of production. the two-class model is sufficient to account for the development of modern capitalism because the intermediate classes will &dquo. these two classes always stand &dquo. &dquo. leading to an increase in the size and density of the working class.com by guest on February 10. struggle in the political arena. class antagonism will be simplified. In Marx’s (1967:89) words. into two great classes directly facing each other: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat.sagepub. Economic Interests and Political Struggles. the shopkeepers.. as capitalism advances. In the CM. The Number of Classes. the handicraftsmen. In the CM. First. The proletarianization of the intermediate classes is inevitable &dquo. 2013 .society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps. and is swamped in the competition with the large capitalists..&dquo. Marx (1967:80) predicted that &dquo. it Downloaded from crs. For Marx.presents a scenario in which . while the oppressed are the laborers who own nothing except their labor power and hence must sell themselves to the bourgeoisie for survival. economic conflict in the production sphere can easily be intensified into political conflict in the state. and the peasants? For Marx (1967:88). In capitalism. Marx’s optimism was based on the following new conditions which promoted working class formation under capitalism.&dquo. the oppressors are the bourgeoisie who own the means of production and employ wage laborers. class is seldom discussed at a concrete level.
and the theoretical vision (aided by bourgeois defectors) to mount a full-scale assault on bourgeois power. the industrial working class. with the bourgeoisie of foreign countries. the political education (from participation in bourgeois struggle). had better communication among its members.sagepub. The unceasing improvement of machinery. make the wages of the workers ever more fluctuating. Fifth. would cut itself adrift. ever more rapidly developing. in other words. Downloaded from crs. and join the revolutionary class. and thus. At first with the aristocracy. In all these battles it sees itself compelled to appeal to the proletariat. Fourth. to drag it into the political arena.the growing competition among the bourgeoisie. makes their livelihood more and more precarious. In the CM.&dquo. Second. compared to the peasantry. at all times.a portion of the bourgeois ideologists. they club together in order to keep up the rate of wages. to ask for its help.. 1967:89-90). Third. &dquo.&dquo. therefore. later on.bourgeois ideologists&dquo. the struggles within the ruling class also promoted working class formation. This union is helped on by the improved means of communication that are created by modern industry and that place the workers of different localities in contact with one another. when the class revolution nears the decisive hour.&dquo. its strength grows. Marx (1967:91) argued that &dquo. it furnishes the proletariat with weapons for fighting the bourgeoisie. from the ruling class. As Cottrell (1984:42-43) summarizes. the endemic economic crises in capitalism constantly threatened the livelihood of workers. there would be the defection of a small section of &dquo. all of the same character. who have raised themselves to the level of comprehending theoretically the historical movement as a whole. 2013 .. supplies the proletariat with its own elements of political and general education. the above structural conditions facilitated working class formation. Marx (1967:90-91) commented: The bourgeoisie finds itself involved in a constant battle. into one national struggle between classes (Marx. and it feels that strength more. It was just this contact that was needed to centralize the numerous local struggles.. Thereupon the workers begin to form combinations (Trade Unions) against the bourgeois. the motivation (due to economic crisis and hardship). the proletariat therefore possessed the organization (both of large-scale factory production and improved means of communication). whose interests have become antagonistic to the progress of industry. The bourgeoisie itself. Thus. Marx (1967:89) explained.com by guest on February 10. with those portions of the bourgeoisie itself. and the resulting commercial crises.41 becomes concentrated in greater masses.
of philistine sentimentalism. 1967:92). since the establishment of Modern Industry and of the world market.42 Marx did not foresee any the political arena. Thus Marx (1967:88) contended that &dquo.the bourgeoisie has at last. The Direction of Class Struggle.. idyllic relations . the same in England as in France.&dquo. family. and has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation. National relations.slave of the bourgeois class&dquo. the CM predicted the inevitability of class revolution in capitalism. Class and Non-Class Relations.the executive of modern State is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value. modern subjection to capital. and the slave &dquo. exclusive political sway.&dquo. As a result. Marx (1967:88) argued that the proletariat is turned into both the &dquo. age. has stripped him of every trace of national character&dquo. and nation in modern capitalism. sex. the state is simply regarded as an instrument of the capitalist class . in America as in Germany.&dquo.sagepub. 2013 . All are instruments of labour. Downloaded from crs. after the bourgeoisie has become the ruling class. according to their age and sex. patriarchal. no other nexus between man and man than naked than callous ’cash payment. Marx (1967:82) further observed that advances by the bourgeoisie in the economy are followed by similar advances in the polity: &dquo.. more or less expensive to use.com by guest on February 10. Marx also contended that class relations are away. Marx (1967:82) stated that the the most revolutionary role in history because it has left bourgeoisie has played put an end to all feudal. while other social relations will gradually fade a tics.. in the icy water of egotistical calculation. major difficulty in mobilizing the workers into Class and State Since the CM has stressed the unity of economic interests and political struggle. class relations will become more prominent.modern industrial labour. On this point. From the prominence of class rela- tions. conquered for itself. . and has self-interest. (Marx. As capitalism advances.&dquo. of chivalrous enthusiasm. remaining The prominence of class relations had also eradicated age and sex differences in capitalism. Thus Marx (1967:82) said that &dquo. Aside from the primacy of class poli- universal solvent that will dissolve other social relations such as religion..differences of age and sex have no longer any distinctive social validity for the working class. in the modern representative State. too.as an instrument of coercion and administration used by the capitalists to enhance their class interests.of the bourgeois State. were diminishing in importance because &dquo.’ It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervor.
after the abolition of private property.&dquo. the conflict between the two fundamental classes. What the bourgeoisie. the proletariat would transform the society to its class interests.&dquo. Thus Marx (1967:94) optimistically foresaw that &dquo. by degrees. 2013 . In place of the old bourgeois society. This class theory further predicts that class struggle will be intensified under capitalism. Nevertheless. in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.com by guest on February 10. Since the roots of class domination and exploitation lay in bourgeois ownership. all capital from the bourgeoisie. of the proletariat organized as the ruling class.. we shall have an association.43 The structural conditions that promoted the formation of the working class would propel workers to carry out the historical mission of the proletariat revolution. therefore. Marx (1967:105) explained that when the proletariat has taken away the old conditions of class produc- tion.. cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. After the proletarian revolution.the development of Modern Industry. i. produces.. Marx (1967:104-105) further proposed policies such as the abolition of private property. with its classes and class antagonisms. and because it can be tested against the historical development in the twentieth century.. have swept away the conditions for the existence of class antagonisms and of classes generally. This is a coherent class theory because it contains testable propositions and predictions. to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the State. Marx has developed a class theory to explain why proletarian revolution is forthcoming in the near future. above all. then it will. Marx (1967:104) pointed out that &dquo. the abolition of all rights of inheritance. In the new communist society. and will thereby have abolished its own supremacy as a class. is its own grave-diggers. the equal obligation of all to work and to free education in order to enhance the class rule of the proletariat. This class theory views social class as a universal category and focuses on the Summary. however.the proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest. In the CM. class relations will gradually fade away. leading to a proletarian revolution. along with these conditions. it Downloaded from crs. In constructing the new society.sagepub. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable. While it is true that this class theory is still relatively undeveloped in the CM. This class theory also postulates that the structural contradictions of capitalist economy have simplified class antagonism and promoted the formation of the working class.e. therefore. Marx argued that class relations will gradually disappear in the new communist society.
1973. 2013 . We disagree with the critics because their interpretation of Marx’s of class tends.the class struggle in France created circumstances and conditions which allowed a mediocre and grotesque individual to play the hero’s role&dquo.&dquo. Marx made bold generalizations and sweeping statements. the literature (Bottomore. In the mainstream sociological literature. In the EB.class&dquo. 1973:144). and politics. But the working class was defeated in June. Class and class struggle are taken to be the dynamic forces to transform society and move history forward. With this defeat the proletariat passed into the background of the revolutionary stage. the EB was aimed at understanding why the 1848 revolution had failed and what led to the coup d’etat of Louis Bonaparte in December. community. In the CM. The Level of Generality. at a high level of abstraction.which we call class analysis . As Marx (1973:154) recalled.were ruthlessly hunted down. however. Marx’s Class Analysis in the EB The Aim of the iWriting. to &dquo. in Rattansi’s (1985:643) words. In the CM.44 has laid down the general principles that Marx would further elaborate and prove in his three volumes of Capital. . and a further 15.000 insurgents were butchered after the victory. &dquo. Written during the high tide of revolution in January 1848. 1959) has criticized Marx for presenting a simplified two-class model that neglects other classes and other important social relationships such as mobility.com by guest on February 10. As a result. In what follows we argue that Marx has developed another usage of &dquo. Giddens. this CM version is usually taken as the only usage that Marx has on class. there were detailed observations of the political events to illustrate the complexity of the case.focus on the concept most simplistic of Marx’s texts&dquo. 1851. The EB attempted to show how &dquo.over 3.class&dquo. Marx used the term &dquo.000 were transported without having been convicted. 1848. 1966. the CM was optimistic in predicting the arrival of the working class revolution. Initially prepared for a magazine audience. however. Working class revolutionaries were arrested and imprisoned. (Marx. Marx discarded the political optimism expressed in the CM. In the EB.&dquo.for the interpretation of the changing political events in France in The Eighteen Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (EB). Writing during the ebb of revolution in 1852. and neglect the more complex analyses in the post-CM writings. The EB brings out the historical specificity of classes . Marx treated class as a concrete historical product rooted in a given nation (France) during a specific historical period (between 1848 and 1852).sagepub.their Downloaded from crs. Dahrendorf. and the proletarian movements &dquo.
and their constant changing forms of struggles and alliances.landed property and capital - Downloaded from crs. the peasantry) played an important role in shaping the direction of French history. The EB. This class was historically unique in the sense that instead of struggling to protect its economic interests in the name of capital. In the EB. emphathe struggle between the oppressor and the oppressed that is rooted in the structure of exploitation. 1848 was a reaction of the peasants.. the election in December. on the contrary. Marx (1973:174) noted that the members of the royalist coalition intrigued against each other outside the parliament: in the press. making equal claims. it was the widespread support from many classes that elected Louis Bonaparte to the Presidency. Behind the scenes they dressed up again in their old Orleanist and Legitimist liveries and went back to their old tournaments. 2013 . against the other classes of the nation. Commenting on the bourgeois class fractions. It found great favour with the army. The other. other classes (such as the petty-bourgeoisie. the great landowners. Each side wanted secure the restoration of its own royal house against the other. As Marx (1973:164) explained. this had no other meaning than that each of the two great interests into which the bourgeoisie is divided . the aristocracy of finance and the big industrialists.174) observed that this bourgeois mass was however royalist. with the big bourgeoisie.. Take the French bourgeoisie in the EB for example. developed a multi-class analysis. and with the proletarians and petty bourgeois. who saw Bonaparte as a bridge to the monarchy. at Ems. Instead of focusing on the two fundamental classes. In the EB.. their experiences of struggle. the lumpen proletariat. for which the republicans of the National had provided no glory and no extra pay. Orleanists and Legitimists found themselves side side in the republic. had ruled during the Restoration and was therefore Legitimist. by to sizing The Number of Classes.. their culture. One section of it.com by guest on February 10. a reaction of the country against the town. and at Claremont.. there is very little discussion on the structure of exploitation in the sphere of production. it struggled to restore the dying monarchy in the name of the royalists. The CM presented a two-class model.sagepub. For instance.. had ruled under the July monarchy and was therefore Orleanist. Thus Marx (1973:165. who had had to pay the costs of the February revolution.45 birthmarks. even a class fraction can have impact because intraclass struggle can be very acute. who hailed him as a scourge for Cavaignac.
For example. Marx (1973:239) explained that small peasant proprietors were therefore incapable of name.sagepub. they must be represented. is r&oelig. Cottrell (1984:45) points out that after their defeat in June 1849 submitting we find them [the proletariat] political ’representation’ by the Montagne. once Louis Bonaparte was elected by the peasants. On this point. the representative will have autonomy and can adopt policies contrary to the class interests of its supporters. As Calvert (1982:77) comments. other classes and sends them rain and Downloaded from crs.Bonaaddition. they are by no means a sufficient condition. presented complicated pattern of struggles and alliances among differInstead of ent classes and class fractions.lized.&dquo. Although economic contradictions are still a necessary condition for working class unity and militancy. Marx (1973:238) asserted that &dquo. the EB has to denote the In parte represents a class. and even by individuals who are not members of it. a own supremacy and the formulating a simplified two-class model. They cannot represent themselves. in the political arena means more than the articulation of class interests. Marx reformulated the relationship between economy and politics. even a very small group. the EB. For instance.representation&dquo. 2013 . as an authority over them. indeed he represents the most numerous class of French society. therefore. But &dquo.’ developed a new concept of &dquo. the small peasant proprietors.&dquo. In the boom year of 1850 we find the workers ’for ettin the revolu- to tionary interests of their class for momentary ease and comfort. whether through asserting their class interest in their own parliament or through a convcntion.representation&dquo. once &dquo. Economic Interests and Political Struggles. The CM postulated that economic contradictions would promote working class formation and the proletarian revolution. in the EB &dquo. he could make policies that were against the interests of the French peasantry. In the EB. whose programme breaks the ’revolutionary point’ off the ’social demands’ of the proletariat.representation&dquo. entraining them behind the petty bourgeoisie. In the EB. however.46 was endeavoring to restore its subordination of the other interest. Their representative must appear simultaneously as their master.com by guest on February 10. problematic linkages between economic interests and political struggles. an unrestricted government power that a protects them from the sunshine from above.a class can be represented politically by a group.
and the dictatorship of Bonaparte. the downfall of its own rule.com by guest on February 10. Marx pointed to the weakening of class power after the civil For Marx.&dquo. Marx (1973:235) explained: &dquo. The state machine has established itself so firmly vis-. it &dquo. June 1849.Bonaparte had robbed the Paris proletariat of its leaders . from its most general modes of existence down to the private life of individuals. 2013 . Marx (1973:221) commented: The party of Order within the parliament had also fallen out with the party of Order outside parliament. The proletariat was an army without officers.why did the Paris proletariat not rise in revolt after 2 December?&dquo. as Marx (1973:238) pointed out that the French &dquo. However.&dquo. and ensured a second June defeat for the workers.. supervises and regiments civil society from the most all-embracing expressions of its life down to its most insignificant motions.sagepub. The spokesmen and writers of the bourgeoisie. had become alienated from the bourgeoisie itself. The CM treated the state as a means of enforcing the interests of the capitalist class. it had also developed programs that were contrary to bourgeois interests. Representatives and represented faced each other in mutual incomprehension.Any serious proletarian rising would at once have revived the bourgeoisie. with servile cries of bravo&dquo. Bonapartism was the only form of government possible at time when bourgeois power was undermined by working class insurgency and proletarian strength was weakened by bourgeois repression. and May 1850.I-vis civil society. a Second.state seems to have attained a completely autonomous position. to put it briefly the ideologists of the bourgeoisie. the EB has developed the concept of an autonomous state.47 Similarly. Therefore. z ’ war. the destruction of Assembly. Marx (1973:236) observed that &dquo. its platform and its press. after posing the question &dquo.thus applauded the coup detat on 2 December. Marx (1973:186) stresses the bureaucratic power of Bonaparte’s state: In France the executive has its disposal an army of more than half a million individual officials and it therefore constantly maintains an immense mass of interests and livelihoods in a state of the most unconditional dependence: the state enmeshes.&dquo. Moreover. regulates.. Because the bourgeois class later hated its representative (the party of Order). reconciled it with the army. although the party of Order consisted of the representatives bourgeoisie.2 of the Class and State. and it was in any case unwilling to fight under the banner of the Montagnards because of the memories of June 1848. Downloaded from crs. controls. (Marx. What explains the rise of the autonomous state in France? First. 1973:232).
Under these circumstances. precisely in such epoches of revolutionary crisis they timidly conjure up the spirits of the past to help them. the resurrection of the dead served to exalt the new struggles.. Marx (1973:148) remarked that &dquo. and the identity of their interests fails to produce a feeling of community. slogans and costumes so as to stage the new world-historical scene in this venerable disguise and borrowed - language. In these revolutions. community.com by guest on February 10. then. however.. the members of which live in the same situation but do not enter into manifold relationships with each other.in so far as these small peasant proprietors are merely connected on a local basis.. Both fractions kept on fighting the ideological battles on who should be the next president of France. Downloaded from crs.that - may affect the development of class consciousness. culture. costumes. Their mode of operation isolates them instead of bringing them into mutual intercourse. while the financial fraction declared itself the Orleanist. this ideological division between the two bourgeois fractions finally led to the rise of Louis Bonaparte. political organization. Marx (1973:239) concluded that &dquo. recognized the role of nonclass relations in historical development. national links. other social relations would fade into the background. For example. In so doing. The EB.. Marx also looked into the social factors such as the mode of life. 2013 . In the EB. The landed fraction wanted to restore the Bourbons and called itself the Legitimist. and illusions of the Old Testament. they do not form a class. Marx discussed the factor of ideology. The land and finance fractions of the bourgeoisie articulated their interests through outdated ideologies. they borrow their names. As previously explained. national links .sagepub. Marx (1973:238) revealed a set of negative conditions under which the French peasants had failed to form a class: The small peasant proprietors form an immense mass. poverty. Marx (1973:146) opened the EB by saying that the tradition of the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the minds of the living .&dquo. and languages. This isolation is strengthened by the wretched state of France’s means of communication and by the poverty of the peasants. Following the same line of thought. or a political organization.the English people had borrowed for their bourgeois revolution the language. In addition.. The CM argued that after class relations become prominent in capitalism.&dquo. Marx was especially interested in examining how other social factors might have shaped the contour of class struggle in France. Marx brought in the factors of tradition.48 Class and Non-Class Relations. passions.
Then there was the working class against the rest. mobility. Marx (1973:155) commented that &dquo. The EB. Then the petty bourgeoisie was defeated. Marx (1973:191) put it well: &dquo. 2013 . The CM predicted that economic conflict would lead to class formation. and be driven into the background. recognized the historical contingency of class struggle. The Direction of Class Struggle. Marx (1973:236) remarked that &dquo. Reviewing the history of class struggles in France. but rather continually alter and mutually exchange their component parts. and may later come back to start the class struggle again. and a classless society. followed by the rivalry between the Parliamentary and the Executive and by the struggle for power between the party of Order and the President. ideology. . The EB.as for example in the United States of America. they seem to throw their opponent to the ground only to see him draw new strength from the earth and rise again before them.com by guest on February 10. but will also play a role in shaping the contour of class struggle in historical - development. the EB gives no hint of the direction of class struggle. therefore. There. such as those of the nineteenth century. They return to what has apparently already been accomplished in order to begin the task again.. A class may win some battles. and leadership .&dquo. On mobility. proletarian revolution. they have not yet become fixed. more colossal than ever. can suffer defeat. As such. Marx touched upon other factors such as social mobility and charismatic leadership.not only will not be eradicated by the growing prominence of class relations in capitalism. In the EB. Marx observed the unending process of the making and remaking of classes as well as the constant shifting of alliances among different classes Downloaded from crs. In sum..&dquo.sagepub. and in repeated interProletarian ruptions of their own course. On this aspect. although classes already exist. The rivalry between the landed and the financial fractions of the bourgeoisie commenced. Marx (1973: 150) remarked: revolutions.it seemed to have disappeared from the battlefield at the moment of danger only in order to return at more favorable opportunity with fighting forces of a more mass character and a bolder battle-cry.49 Furthermore. Marx (1973:169) pointed out that the 1848 revolution started with the coalition of all classes against the aristocracy.France therefore seems to have escaped the despotism of a class only to fall back beneath the despotism of an individual. however. may be defeated. Finally the President won them all and turned himself into an emperor in December. constantly engage in self-criticism. Marx in the EB argued that non-class relations such as tradition. On leadership. Workers may not win class struggles.&dquo. 1851. however. presented an ebb and flow model of class struggle.
the EB has presented a class analysis because &dquo. Consequently. He presents a multi-class model and pays attention to the intricate alliances and struggles among different classes and class fractions. different patterns of class struggle and alliance Downloaded from crs.the structural determination of class. the EB has presented a picture that no class is predetermined to win all the battles and the future of working class revolution is contingent upon the existing historical conditions. this paper has shown that Marx actually uses the term class in two different ways: as class theory and as class analysis. where there is no more class exploitation. tradition) have shaped the contour of class struggle. In this new society. In this respect. Focusing on two of Marx’s key writings. is used as a tool to interpret the political events surrounding the coup d’etnt of Louis Napoleon between 1848 and 1852. This CM version seems to lay the foundation in which the neo-Marxist structuralists have developed such concepts as &dquo. The EB is content with interpreting the changing political events in the 1840s. class analysis is not a theory. This paper argues that the CM has presented a coherent class theory because Marx has specified the structural conditions under which the proletarian revolution would occur.class&dquo. This class theory postulates that the antagonism between capital and labor in production is basic to the understanding of the historical development of capitalism. making no prediction of the coming of the proletarian revolution.sagepub. Attracted to the changing political events in France. class is used at a highly abstract level to examine the longterm historical trend. In itself. the proletariat has become class conscious and engaged in a political struggle against the bourgeoisie. 2013 . Marx presents an ebb and flow model of class struggle and has made no prediction of the inevitability of the proletarian revolution. Trying to tackle the problematic linkages between economic interests and political struggles. Marx formulates the concepts of representation and the autonomous state. and pays attention to how other social relations (language. Here. After eradicating other social relations. Most sociologists think that Marx has only one usage of class because Marx’s writings are quoted out of context and because Marx’s passages on class are selectively reproduced with a special purpose. Conclusion: Class Theory or Class Analysis? This paper reexamines Marx’s unfinished chapter on class. Marx treats class as a historical product rooted in the specific conditions of France in the late 1840s. There are no well-developed are not propositions. In the CM. classes and class relations will gradually fade out.&dquo. This paper argues further that the EB has developed another usage of class called class analysis. It argues that the cut and paste method in the literature is problematic.50 and class fractions.com by guest on February 10. leading to a proletarian revolution and a new communist society. Because of the structural contradictions in capitalism. class struggle will be intensified.
theoretical ideas in dialogue with the evidence to interpret particular historical processes&dquo. the power of class analysis lies in the amount of light it can shed on the intricate interactions among human agency. the development. so as to interpret short-term political struggles in a concrete social formation. political events.theoretical ideas&dquo. Like a lens. This paper. 1984:227). But instead of imposing class theory onto historical reality. 1977. what is the significance of this distinction between class theory and class analysis? This paper. Marx’s class analysis should not be taken as a means to refute his class theory. Giddens. and the transformation of capitalism. 1971. Wright. 1982. He just lets the two usages coexist without informing his readers which version is his favorite. 1984. 1985) have noted. However. Calvert.class theory&dquo. what is the relationship between Marx’s structural class theory and his historical class analysis? And what are the contributions of distinguishing class analysis from class theory? First of all. well in the background. Giddens. If this is so. of course. class analysis is just a tool. Poulantzas.com by guest on February 10. Cottrell. he writes as a historian with &dquo. is not the first one to point out that Marx has more than one conception of class. 1968. 1986. that Marx’s political writings have a different usage of Downloaded from crs. The differences between Marx’s class theory and his class analysis are summarized in Table 1. Marx himself has not explicitly spelled out the interconnection between his two usages of class. and experience in class analysis.51 specified. Consequently. it carries no predictions and thus cannot be falsified by historical reality. 1973. In this respect. Marx in class analysis merely uses &dquo. Rattansi. and structural contradictions. culture. In fact. to make sense of what has happened in society and history. class analysis is developed as a historical method to practice &dquo. As such. when Marx applies class analysis. Instead. Neale. Draper. (Trimberger. 1983. Other studies (such as Bodemann and Spohn. or an interpretive scheme. in passing.sagepub. therefore. and a class analysis that is a historical method to examine the political struggles in a concrete historical situation. Hall. He still shares certain assumptions of class theory. It seems the EB version is the source through which the neo-Marxist historians drew their inspiration in stressing the role of historical relationship. such as the structural contradictions in capitalism generating the conflict of interests among classes. points out that Marx actually has two different usages of the term class: a class theory that hypothesizes the long-term structural trend of capitalist development. Ollman. 1977. 2013 . 1985. What Marx does in the EB is to further develop the schematic class theory presented in the CM. agency. one possible interpretation is that Marx has never forsaken the class theory of the CM. 1975. Thus both neo-Marxist structuralists and historians can easily find ample evidence from Marx to claim that they have faithfully followed his conception of class. while class theory is formulated to specify the long-term structural trend of the emergence.
2013 . in a different way from his concrete investigations. Summary of Marx on &dquo.52 &dquo.&dquo. and Marx Table 1. from his historical writings. Downloaded from crs.class&dquo. Marx has recognized the role of other classes in historical development. Marx’s abstract analyses have used &dquo.sagepub.com by guest on February 10.Class.class&dquo.
What this paper contributes.class&dquo. it should not make too much difference in selecting either the CM or Capital &mdash. But the CM has an edge over Capital as our choice for close reading because the former is more concise and eloquently written than the latter.3 Nevertheless. 1985) have found Marx’s class theory extremely powerful in explaining the structural transformation in monopoly capitalism. why is the CM selected over other texts like Capital? The CM is important because it has laid down "the general principles" which Marx would further elaborate in his mature writings. this clear-sighted appreciation of events at the moment of happening." In this respect. the general principles laid down in this Manifesto are. they have not highlighted the superiority of the in-depth approach to the &dquo. the relationship between economic interests and politics. is indeed without parallel. and the direction of class struggle. Wright. 2013 . Notes 1.. which criticizes his writings on class as simplistic and outdated. along the dimensions of the level of generality. the number of classes..com by guest on February 10. 1991. and since they have further developed Marx’s historical class analysis to interpret the political struggles in advanced capitalist societies. they have not formulated the concepts of &dquo.. attracting them to develop a "statist" perspective which focuses on state autonomy at the expense of the underlying class dynamics.class. political parties.. Since many researchers (Kaye. they have not systematically compared the different usages of &dquo. This eminent understanding of the living history of the day.cut and paste&dquo. Also. For example. it is hoped that Marx’s writings on class will receive much more attention in the mainstream sociological literature in the near future.sagepub. 1989. is to reemphasize the simple fact that Marx’s writings on class have provided both a structural class theory and a historical class analysis. In fact Engels (1967:63) in 1888 still claimed that "however much the state of things may have altered during the last twenty-five years. And. an uncritical use of the concept of representation may lead researchers to a retreat from class. Then why is the EB selected over other texts like The Class Struggles in France and The Civil War in France? These three texts share very similar approaches with respect to Marx’s usage of "class" to observe the unfolding of French history. if Louis Bonaparte had made policies that were against the interests of the French peasantry. both texts will reveal Marx’s theory of class.&dquo. It may be necessary to explain why we selected the CM and the EB for close reading.class. as correct today as ever. 1983. to capture the crucial differences in Marx’s usage of the term &dquo. they have not pinpointed the one-sided presentation of Marx in the sociology literature. We want to note that although the concept of "representation" serves to open up new research agendas to examine the intricate relationship among classes. carelessly throughout his writings. So and Hikam. therefore. First. this concept is not without problems. But the EB somehow seems to be more popular than the other two works. and &dquo.class analysis&dquo. In addition.class&dquo. on the whole.&dquo. class and state. method in recovering Marx’s unfinished chapter on class. As Engels (1963:13) remarked. McNall et al. Downloaded from crs. Miliband. the EB "was in truth a work of genius. although the above studies have noted Marx’s multi-usage of the term &dquo. class and non-class relationship. 1989." 2. and the state.class theory&dquo. how could Marx still claim that Bonaparte "represented" the peasantry? In addition. Roy. 1984. finally.53 has used the term &dquo.
New York: Oxford University Press. Class. London: Hutchinson. and Rick Fantasia (ed. Louis and Etienne Balibar. Ralf. New York: Pelican. 1975. Rattansi. London: Lawrence and Wishart. Philip. Karl and Friedrich Engels. New York: International Publishers. Glencoe. ________. III. "The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. Historical Sociology. St. London: Hutchinson. 13-14 in Karl Marx.com by guest on February 10. Reading Capital. Social Classes in Marxist Theory. Ralph. ________.). Capitalism and Modem Social Theory. Miliband." Marxism Today (March):95-100. "Preface to the English Edition of 1888. 1953a. Class Struggle in Contemporary Capitalism. 1977. ________.). 1976. Dahrendorf. Hal.54 3. The Communist Manifesto. Bendix and S. Suffice to say that many of them have shared the argument of this paper that Marx has more than one usage of "class. Das Elend der Philosophie. Divided Societies. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Class and Class Conflict in Industrial Society. Marx. Cottrell. "Preface to the Third German Edition. History and Class. "Karl Marx’s Theory of Social Classes. 1560 in Alan Hunt (ed." Pp. London: New Left Books. Marx. Hall. .sagepub. 1975. 1963.). ________. 1973." American Journal of Sociology 73:573-580. London: Verso. 1982. Y. P. 1983. Cologne and Berlin. Berlin. and Lyn K. 1985. Nicos. "End of an Orthodoxy? The Critique of Sociology’s View of Marx on Class. Scott. Aus dem literarischen Nachlass von Karl Marx und Friedrich Engels. Furbank. 1967. 3rd edition. 59-64 in Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. 1971. 1977. "Class and Class Consciousness: Marx Re-examined. Reinhard and Seymour M. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Mackenzie. Allen. Classes in Modem Society." Pp. "The Organicity of Classes and the Naked Proletarian. "The ’Political’ and the ’Economic’ in Marx’s Theory of Classes. Capital. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. David B." Pp." Pp. 1966. It would not do justice to many books and articles which have been written on this subject." Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology 20:167-192. Gavin. 1959. Stuart. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. 1973. Manifest der kommunistischen Partei. N. "History and Social Theory: Notes on the Contributions of British Marxist Historiography to our Understanding of Class. Karl. Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution. 6-11 in R.1947. Althusser. New York: Cornell University Press. Stuttgart. 2013 . McNall. 1968. Upset (eds. 1984. Classes in Contemporary Capitalism. IL: Free Press. Kaye. Bendix. Neale. Baltimore: Penguin. 143-249 in Karl Marx. T. The Communist Manifesto. B. Unholy Pleasure of the Idea of Social Class. ___. Status. Bringing Class Back In. Michal and Willfried Spohn. Class and Class Structure. Rhonda Levine. Paul: West Publishing. . Baltimore: Penguin. S. 1985. 1989. Lipset." Sociological Review 33:641-669. New York: Monthly Review Press. Berlin. Nationalokonomie und Philosophie. 1991. I. Bertell. 1983. R. 1950. 1982. Bottomore. 1966. 1988. The Concept of Class. Das Kapital. Vol. Boulder Westview Press." Insurgent Sociologist 13:10-9." Pp." in Franz Mehring (ed. and Power." References Abrams. Brinkerhoff. 1986. Berlin.). "Marx’s Use of Class. Friedrich. Downloaded from crs. Sociolog. Vol. Giddens. This is certainly not the place to even briefly review how the Marxists and the Weberians portray Marx’s concept of class. Ali. 1967. 1968. Calvert. Draper. White. "Die moralisierende Kritik und die kritische Moral. M. 1953b. New York: Vintage. Harvey J. The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. Bodemann. New York: International Publishers. Ollman. Peter. ________. The Class Structure of the Advanced Societies. Surveys From Exile. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Anthony. 1920. Poulantzas. Engels.
55 Robertson. ’Class’ in the Writings of Wallerstein and Thompson. "Introduction. Baltimore: Penguin. New York: Vintage. Sociology. Sociology. Thompson. Thompson: Understanding the Process of History. 1984. Raphael (ed. J. 1987. Wright.sagepub." Pp." Pp. Schaeffer. 1978. and Muhammad Hikam. Ellen K. 2013 . People’s History and Socialist Theory.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. So. 1967." Sociological Perspectives 32:453-468. The Poverty of Theory and Other Essays.com by guest on February 10. P. Taylor. ________. Richard T. 1981.). P." Annual Review of Sociology 10:483-506. "E. Roy. E. 1984. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Erik O. 1986. Lamm. "Class Conflict and Social Change in Historical Perspective. A. Samuel. The Conununist Manifesto. Ian. " Downloaded from crs. Trimberger. Alvin Y. 244-275 in Theda Skocpol (ed. Vision and Method in Historical Sociology. 1989. New York: McGraw-Hill. 747 in Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Classes. The Making of the English Working Class. William.1963. London: Verso. and Robert P. P. New York: Worth. 1985. London: Merlin.
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