Yet another case for class

Once again I want to consider the question of the centrality of the class struggle to left-wing projects, as compared with other forms of oppression. I’ve previously argued that class struggle is an excellent lever for changing the world, thus making it a locus of struggle. Now I want to look at a related but different argument. Putting aside for a moment questions of primacy, of what antagonism causes the rest (if any), class occupies a central position if only in virtue of how other struggles are, and must be, conducted.

Consider struggles over almost any form of oppression you like. You’ll find that these struggles are, at least a good half of the time, economic struggles: struggles over work rights, struggles over poverty, struggles demanding the provision of social goods by the government or society.

This is because oppression is fundamentally the deprivation of power, and in a non-communist society, differences in power will both be caused by and will cause differences in wealth. Even questions of representation and voice ultimately reflect patterns of ownership and consumption-power. Currency and power are interlinked; indeed the correlation is so strong that you could very nearly use money as a counter for power.

Abolish private property and you abolish half of the ways in which other oppressions manifest.

The struggle against capitalism thus forms a common project for all those who oppose oppression, more universal in its scope than any other because material wealth and the power it affords is absolutely central to any fight against oppression. The class struggle is in turn the terrain for other struggles.

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About timothyscriven

I study philosophy at Sydney University. In the grand scheme, I'm not very important.
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