What is “class?”

The People’s Tribune often talks about “class.” What is it? Why is it so important for the revolution for a new America?

Class is a division in society based on the method by which the society produces the things people need to survive. Since class society began, there have been owning and working classes—or exploiting and exploited.

Under capitalism, a handful of people own the means of producing our necessaries of life while the rest, in order to live, have to sell our ability to work to those who own the factories, mines, and other means of production.

However, with the introduction of vast labor-replacing computerized technologies into production, this relationship is broken. Robots and computers now do many of the jobs once done by human workers, and this process is moving fast. As workers of all colors are forced to compete against robots, which do not require a wage or to eat, workers are increasingly pushed into low-wage, part-time, contingency work, and out of work forever. At the same time, the robots and computers are creating a world of plenty. There is plenty of food, homes, healthcare, water, energy and other necessaries to go around.

These marginalized workers are revolutionary because their demands for the necessaries of life—for the abundance that the new technology is creating—cannot and will not be provided for under capitalism without money to pay for it. The only way this growing section of workers, and many more soon to join them, will get what they need to survive and thrive is under a cooperative economic system, one based on distribution of the things we need to surviveaccording to need instead of with money. In such a society, the means of producing our necessities would be publicly, not privately owned.

If workers are united around their struggle for these necessaries, coupled with a vision of a new cooperative society, they can become a powerful force. They can lead the fight for the power to create a new society. This is why the People’s Tribune places so much emphasis on“class”, and why we help the workers see that their struggle is a class struggle.

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