Class conflict is both the friction that accompanies social relationships between members or groups of different social classes and the underlying tensions or antagonisms which exist in society due to conflicting interests that arise from different social positions.
- There’s class warfare, all right. But it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.
- When questions of “class” interests are eliminated from public controversy a victory is thereby gained for the possessing, conservative class, whose only hope of security lies in such elimination.
- James Connolly, Labour in Irish History (1919), p. 15
- The law itself is the instrument of the ruling class; hence it is a logical impossibility for another class to assume power legally.
- Oliver Cox, Caste, Class, and Race: A Study in Social Dynamics (1948), p. 164
- Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind then that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it; and while there is a criminal element, I am of it; and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.
- Just as class inequality leads to class struggle within societies, such international inequality leads to struggle between them. If the content of class struggles is the distribution of surplus, income and control over social production, that of international struggle is the international division of labour and the position of various nations in its hierarchy. The more advanced capitalist nations seek to maintain and extend the uneven distribution of productivity and productive power, and the resulting control over the sources of surplus profit, that privilege them and permit them to impose the costs of their capitalism's contradictions on other societies.
- Radhika Desai, Capitalism, Coronavirus and War: A Geopolitical Economy. Routledge. 2022. p. 62 ISBN 9781032059501
- We need to remind people that they work for the employer, not the other way around. There’s been a systematic change where employees feel the employer is extremely lucky to have them as opposed to the other way around. So it's a dynamic that has to change. We've got to kill that attitude and that has to come through hurting the economy. We need to see unemployment rise, unemployment has to jump 40, 50 per cent.
- Tim Gurner, quoted in AOC takes aim at multimillionaire Australian property developer who wants unemployment to jump. The Guardian. (13 September 2023)
- Class struggle defines most of human history. Marx got this right. The sooner we realize that we are locked in deadly warfare with our ruling, corporate elite, the sooner we will realize that these elites must be overthrown. The corporate oligarchs have now seized all institutional systems of power in the United States. Electoral politics, internal security, the judiciary, our universities, the arts and finance, along with nearly all forms of communication, are in corporate hands. Our democracy, with faux debates between two corporate parties, is meaningless political theater. There is no way within the system to defy the demands of Wall Street, the fossil fuel industry or war profiteers. The only route left to us, as Aristotle knew, is revolt.
- The class warfare is global. Not until workers in sweatshops in China, Mexico, Cambodia, Vietnam, India and Bangladesh are lifted out of poverty will the American working class be lifted out of poverty. This class war is the real fight, which corporate-owned media platforms and bankrupt liberals refuse to discuss.
- Chris Hedges, Papering Over the Rot. Scheerpost, February 1, 2021
- Unions break down political divides, bringing workers of all political persuasions together to fight a common oligarchic and corporate foe. Once workers begin to exert power and extract demands from the ruling class, the struggle educates communities about the real configurations of power and mitigates the feelings of powerlessness that have driven many into the arms of the neofascists.
- Chris Hedges, America’s New Class War Scheerpost, January 18, 2022
- All the openings in our democracy were the result of prolonged popular struggle. Hundreds of workers were murdered, thousands were wounded, tens of thousands were blacklisted in our labor wars, the bloodiest of any industrialized country. Abolitionists, suffragists, unionists, crusading journalists and those in the anti-war and civil rights movements opened our democratic space. These radical movements were repressed and ruthlessly dismantled in the early 20th century in the name of anti-communism. They were again targeted by the corporate elites following the rise of new mass movements in the 1930s. These popular movements, which rose again in the 1960s, moved us, inch by bloody inch, towards equality and social justice. Most of these gains made in the 1960s have been rolled back under the onslaught of neoliberalism, deregulation, and a corrupt campaign finance system, legalized by court rulings such as Citizens United, which allow the rich and corporations to bankroll elections to select political leaders and impose legislation. The modern incarnation of 19th-century robber barons, including Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, each worth some $200 billion, summon us to our radical roots.
- Chris Hedges, America’s New Class War Scheerpost, January 18, 2022
- We cannot dismiss and demonize rural white Americans. The class war waged by corporations and the ruling oligarchs has devastated their lives and communities. They have been betrayed. They have every right to be angry. That anger can sometimes be expressed in inappropriate ways, but they are not the enemy. They too are victims. In my case, they are family. I come from here. Our fight for economic justice must include them. We will wrest back control of our nation together or not at all.
- Chris Hedges, The Forgotten Victims of America’s Class War Scheerpost, July 30, 2023
- Class struggle is inextricably bound to the struggle to end racism.
- The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life. Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the Earth.
- Preamble to the Constitution of the Industrial Workers of the World
- Prestige stands between the masses and a revolt against their class enemy. The aura of magic, glamour, luster and splendid permanence covers the fascists like a protective layer of fat. The slimy scales of majesty shield and conceal the dilapidation of the old bourgeois reign of terror.
- Prestige bars any serious attack on power. Do people attack a thing they consider with awe?
- Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor.
- Empire has manufactured a discontinuity in popular struggle, while maintaining continuity in its own growth and consolidation. One of the empire’s principal tools and weapons has been its prisons.
- Kevin Rashid Johnson, Defying the Tomb: Selected Prison Writings and Art of Kevin Rashid Johnson (2010)
- Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.
- Epistle of James, 5:1-5 (NIV)
- To paraphrase Chuck Palahniuk, the first rule of American class warfare is this: It is always waged upward, never downward. That's because it's an all-purpose rhetorical cudgel favored among conservatives any time public debate threatens to oscillate outside the approved range of questions such as "Tax Cuts: Super Awesome, or Merely Awesome?"
- Chris Lehmann, Rich People Things: Real-Life Secrets of the Predator Class (2011), p. 53
- The proletariat should not ignore peaceful methods of struggle — they serve its ordinary, day-to-day interests, they are necessary in periods of preparation for revolution — but it must never forget that in certain conditions the class struggle assumes the form of armed conflict and civil war; there are times when the interests of the proletariat call for ruthless extermination of its enemies in open armed clashes.
- Vladimir Lenin, “Lessons of the Commune”, in Zagranichnaya Gazeta, No. 2 (23 March 1908), as translated by Bernard Isaacs, Collected Works, Vol. 13, p. 478.
- Environmentalism without class struggle is just gardening.
- Chico Mendes, quoted in Full Circle Power, Hope and the Return of Nature.
- This combat between proletariat and plutocracy is, after all, itself a civil war. Two inferiorities struggle for the privilege of polluting the world.
- H. L. Mencken, Introduction to The Antichrist
- The revolution of the proletariat - the war of the poor against the rich, is the only way from oppression to deliverance.
- Anything that can tear up the side of a mountain should definitely be effective against a high society party attended by royalty or capitalist exploiters (monopolists).
- War is a class conflict, too. The rich and powerful who open war escape the consequences of their decisions. It’s not their children sent into the jaws of violence. It is often the vulnerable, the poor, & working people -who had little to no say in conflict - who pay the price.
- Seizing upon anything but class, U.S. leftists today have developed an array of identity groups centering around ethnic, gender, cultural, and life-style issues. These groups treat their respective grievances as something apart from class struggle, and have almost nothing to say about the increasingly harsh politico-economic class injustices perpetrated against us all.
- Michael Parenti, Blackshirts and Reds: Rational Fascism and the Overthrow of Communism (1997), p. 151
- It is real-life class struggle, informed no doubt by ideas, that ultimately determines which way the world will move.
- Once class struggle, for changing the system in its present form, acquires momentum, its outcome would depend on praxis and may not necessarily remain bounded within the system itself.
- Every highly privileged group develops the myth of its natural, especially its blood, superiority. Under conditions of stable distribution of power and, consequently, of status order, that myth is accepted by the negatively privileged strata. Such a situation exists as long as the masses continue in that natural state of theirs in which thought about the order of domination remains but little developed, which means, as long as no urgent needs render the state of affairs “problematical.” But in times in which the class situation has become unambiguously and openly visible to everyone as the factor determining every man’s individual fate, that very myth of the highly privileged about everyone having deserved his particular lot has often become one of the most passionately hated objects of attack.
- Listening to lectures on the class struggle (after I discovered that such a struggle had been going on for ages), I found that I had a great deal in common with the everyday workers. In other years I had felt that as a newspaper artist I was a member of a profession which enjoyed important privileges and in which a man might possibly rise to fame and fortune. But I saw now that everyone who did productive work of any kind was at the mercy of those who employed him. They could make or break him whenever they so willed...I was living in a world morally and spiritually diseased, and I was learning some of the reasons why.
- Art Young: His Life and Times (1939)
- The state's fear of its citizenry is rooted in a deeper knowledge of systemic fissures in our country; fissures produced by the disgraceful treatment of an underclass — including women, children, dissenters, religious minorities, labour, prisoners, and more — often by state institutions themselves.
- Most, Johann (1978). Science of Revolutionary Warfare. Desert Publications. p. 40. ISBN 0879472111.