By Prof. James Petras,globalresearch.ca – The Motor Force for Historical Regression or Advance
One of the most important and yet most neglected determinants of the outcomes of the economic crisis and resultant deepening of social inequalities and immiseration is the ‘class struggle’. In one of his most pithy metaphors, Karl Marx referred to class struggle as ‘the motor force of history’. In this essay we will analyze the central role of class struggle, its impact and reflection in economic decisions and, most especially, the different methods and forms , according to the particular classes engaged in class struggle.
Having clarified the types and methods of class struggle, we will turn to the specific results of class struggles in different regions and countries: the different policies adopted as a result of class struggle reflect the balance of class power at both the national and regional level.
In the last section, we will compare and analyze a series of case studies of class struggles, highlighting the particular class configurations of power, the changing nature of class struggle (CS) and the concrete contingencies, which need to be taken into account in order for the ‘class struggle from below’ to effectively counter-act the class offensive from above.
The Two Faces of the Class Struggle: ‘From Above and Outside’ and ‘From Below’
Too often writers conceive of class struggle as actions taken by workers for working class interest, overlooking the equally significant (and in our epoch even more important) class struggle organized and directed by the ruling classes via the state.
The entire panoply of neo-liberal policies, from so-called ‘austerity measures’ to mass firings of public and private employees, to massive transfers of wealth to creditors are designed to enhance the power, wealth and primacy of diverse sectors of capitol at the expense of labor. To paraphrase Marx: class struggle from above is the motor force to reverse history – to seize and destroy the advances secured by workers from previous class struggles from below. Continue reading The Economic and Social Crisis: Contemporary Capitalism and Class Struggle