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archive: The Universal Class as a revolutionary class

April 22nd, 2017 · No Comments

Red Forty-eight Group: the Universal Class as a revolutionary class
October 3rd, 2016 ·


This is a curiously compelling discussion but the format is still in the now date marxist-jargon mode. We have suggested here breaking out of that mold while remaining faithful to the principles of communism.

Let us consider what seems the most heretical reformation: moving from the ‘working class’ focus to a new approach: the revolutionary Universal Class. The working class analysis is so much a part of the legacy that to question it would seem a hopeless. But actually the take on the Universal Class is a better version of the ‘working class’ emphasis. The ‘working class’ formulation belongs to the earliest phase of the industrial revolution with its massive proletarian formations. What we see now is a far more diversified set of classes and class fragments. The idea of the Universal Class is really a synonym for the ‘working class’ but embraces the whole set of those who are inside a wage economy, outside of the economy, everyone, in fact, even the capitalists who, like Engels, just might enter the stream of postcapitalism.
The idea of the working class created an expectation in leftists, but the result always disappointed them, witness the most recent case of the Trump fans. The working class is not an agent of history, it is an abstraction. And the concept still divides one class against others. The Universal Class is a way to free leftists from trying to manipulate the working class so that they can as a class, and as individuals, act from their own autonomous initiative. The OWS was an example, compromised by other difficulties. The range of figures involved in that movement was actually caviled by some for not being a working class formation! In any case, a movement of any and all persons in all sorts of formations need a category they can enter as they are to work toward a revolutionary postcapitalism. First, it is important to be wary of excessive sectarian divisions in thought. The idea of the Universal Class can serve that purpose and change gears in a flash to the basic orientation of working class activism.
In general, changing terminology is often in itself a useful tactic. It forces a recompute in thought that generates creative energy. The whole left needs a postmarxist re-write that can appeal to the chronic semi-anarchist rejection of classical bolshevism/marxism. There is no other way. But the left is very attached to marxist jargon. Not surprising. This new approach can make use of the classic versions, but points to a core neo-communism as a practical project, etc…


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