Who is a Worker?

Necessity to defend the identity of the working class

The following is the fourth and concluding part of a series of articles on this question.

Necessity to defend the identity of the working class

The following is the fourth and concluding part of a series of articles on this question.

The ideologues of the capitalist-imperialist system have been carrying on an incessant campaign to attack the very identity of the modern proletariat. They deny that the proletariat has been growing in relative and absolute numbers throughout the world, including India. They spread the notion that present day society is made up of a minority of poor, a minority of rich, and a huge “middle class” consisting of everyone in between.

‘Rich’ and ‘poor’ are not scientific economic categories. They hide, rather than reveal the real class divisions in society. The scientific concept of an economic class is based on the relationship of that class to the means of social production. Capitalists are those who own the means of social production and earn profit, interest or rent income from the exploitation of other people’s labour. The proletariat, or the working class, consists of those who own no means of production, but depend for their survival on selling their labour power to earn wage income.

The result of over six decades of capitalist development after the end of colonial rule is that the Indian capitalist class has become enormously wealthy and one of the emerging imperialist powers on the global scene; and at the other pole, the Indian working class has grown enormously in size and extremely diversified in its composition.

Applying the scientific definition and estimating on the basis of available data from different sources, our Party has concluded that the working class, including wage-workers in agriculture, industry and services, is the most numerous class in our society today. It makes up roughly half the entire population, and is growing both in absolute and relative terms.

The bourgeoisie, on the other hand, constitutes a small minority of the population. In between the bourgeoisie and proletariat is a large section, the middle strata, which includes peasants and artisans working on their own means of production. This middle strata, which constituted the majority of the population at the time of independence, has been steadily disintegrating. Large numbers of peasants and artisans join the ranks of the proletariat year after year, while a few from among them manage to rise into the ranks of the capitalist class.

The analysis of Indian society confirms that it is more and more getting divided into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other —bourgeoisie and proletariat.

The proletariat is the gravedigger of the old capitalist society. Among all the classes and strata of society whose interests are clashing with the ruling authority today, the working class is the only consistently revolutionary class. With nothing to sell except its labour power, with the strength of collective labour and the experience of organised resistance to its exploitation, it is the only class capable of and interested in leading and carrying the struggle against capitalism through to the end.

The bourgeoisie is as terrified by the spectre of communism today as it was at the time the Communist Manifesto was written 165 years ago. It is terrified that the proletariat, the material force that will dig the grave of the capitalist-imperialist system and build a socialist system in its place, is awakening and fighting for its rights all over the world. The bourgeoisie spends billions of dollars to destroy or corrupt the vanguard parties of the working class, which are committed to make the workers conscious of their class aim and adequately organised to achieve it.

Creating doubts about the fundamental teachings and conclusions of Marxism-Leninism in the minds of communists, and spreading pessimism on that basis is part of the counter-revolutionary ideological offensive of capital.

Our Party has recognised the grave danger to the unity of the working class and its mission, coming from the bourgeois ideological pressure to declare large sections of workers as “middle class”. Succumbing to this pressure, several parties of the working class even declare various unions of workers as “middle class unions”, including unions in the financial sector, in airlines, hospitals and educational institutions! When these sections of workers wage militant struggle in defence of their rights, the bourgeois media launches the most vicious attacks on them, by falsely painting them as “middle class” and “high wage earners”.

Only the working class can lead the people in averting the terrible dangers that are threatening our society today, including fascism and reactionary war. Our Party is committed to restore the unity of Indian communists in one vanguard party at the head of a united working class, to lead the struggle against the bourgeoisie to victory. By adhering to the fundamental principles and conclusions of Marxism Leninism, and by defending and developing the program of revolution that has emerged from the anti-colonial struggle in Hindustan, the communist movement will be able to unite the working class and the broad masses of people around the practical tasks of the epoch. These are: an immediate end to the bourgeoisie’s anti-worker, anti-people and anti-national program of globalisation through privatisation and liberalisation; democratic renewal and the lifting of society out of the crisis; the overthrow of capitalism as the condition for the completion of the democratic, anti-colonial, anti-feudal and anti-imperialist struggle; and the building of socialism by revolution.

The question “who is a worker?” has become an extremely important topic for discussion in the communist movement because it is the key to combat and overcome the bourgeois ideological offensive directed at the very identity of the working class. It will enable communists to play the vanguard role in uniting the working class and enable it to realise its potential of being the gravedigger of capitalism and the harbinger of socialism.

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