Daily Lessons on Class

Teresa L. Ebert
Mas'ud Zavarzadeh

Sunday:  Class is a relation of owning. 

Monday:  However it is not any owning but owning what produces more owning—it is owning labor (living and past) because labor is "a commodity that has the peculiar property that its use is the source of new value."

Tuesday:  Under capitalism one is what one owns. People of the world are therefore divided into only two classes: those who own the labor of others and make profits from it and the others who own only their own labor and sell it for wages, which they pay back to the owners of labor to buy the food, medicine, houses, cars… they need to go back to work for the owners of labor.

Wednesday:  There is no middle class. The middle class is an ideological illusion used to obscure class binaries and conceal the fact that under capitalism society is breaking up more rigidly into two classes whose opposition cannot be dissolved in the hybrid of a playful in-between-ness.

Thursday:  Class is not income, power, occupation, consumption or lifestyle. These are effects of class. Production is the cause.

Friday:  Friends of capital resignify class as inequality. Inequality is not class. Inequality is a statistical index describing differences without conflicts. Class is a structural relation marking the antagonisms of labor and capital. The Left (the metaphysics of capitalism) obscures class in inequality and represents society as differences without antagonism ("meanings," "values," "desires"). It thus claims there is no need for revolution because, under capitalism, reform can make the unequal equal through opportunities.

Saturday:  Class is the other of human freedom because freedom is not freedom from oppression (inequality) but from necessity (class). Freedom is realized only through revolution making a new society not bound by wage labor. "Beyond this is that development of human energy which is an end in itself." 

THE RED CRITIQUE 12 (Winter/Spring 2007)