A controversy over animal rights and tradition has been sparked over the recent public slaughter of a pig by two local butchers in Switzerland. The act was met with swift and dramatic outcry from animal rights activists who opposed the slaughter, decrying such acts of public cruelty.. More absurdly, some had taken to comparing the […]

One of the problematic aspects of 20th century “actually-existing socialism” was its record on environmental degradation and species destruction.[1] Without going into a laundry list of history, it is safe to assume this problem (though hardly invalidating the last century of revolutionary struggles) should be studied and understood in hopes of surmounting it in the […]

Less than a week ago it was reported that several gold miners in Brazil are now under investigation by federal prosecutors for the massacre of 10 people from an uncontacted indigenous community deep in the Amazon rainforest. The men reportedly bragged about having murdered them and cut up their bodies before disposing them in a […]

According to a new report, compiled by “greenpeace” from various studies on air pollutants and resultant diseases, air pollution in India is responsible for more than 1.2 million premature deaths annually. India ranks with China as having the worst air quality in the world, choked with pollutants in many regions by the heavy industry that […]

This ‘Revolutionary Ecology Platform’ was originally published at Revolutionary Ecology as part of a larger critique of the Deep Ecology Platform. 1: The well-being and flourishing of human and non-human life are intimately related. The flourishing of non-human life is generally of direct and indirect utility to humans, and vice versa. 2: Richness and diversity of non-human […]

This past week, a milestone was reached in human impact on the environment. Carbon levels in the atmosphere exceeded the 400 parts per million level. According to a report from National Geographic: “The last time the concentration of Earth’s main greenhouse gas reached this mark, horses and camels lived in the high Arctic. Seas were […]

Eco-socialism is not merely a catch-phrase. Rather, it is the notion that any modern socialism must alter the structural productive relations both between classes of people and between people and the natural environment. In part, eco-socialism is a critical appraisal of 20th century socialism and its revisioning for modern times. Most importantly, the prospect of […]

Socialism, as mentioned elsewhere, is a transition period between capitalism and communism. Capitalism has many features and its hands in many pots. Thus socialism must entail a series of class struggles to remake society at all levels. At their most fundamental level capitalism and communism are distinct production relations. Capitalism assigns value according to labor-content […]

Wages and class struggle

Karl Marx’s opening line in the first chapter of Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 states that, “wages are determined by antagonistic struggle between capitalist and worker.” (p. 19)

This opening line is often cited by nominal leftists as explanation for exorbitantly high wages of many workers in the United States and throughout the First World. The explanation they reach is that First World workers receive such high wages because they have secured them as historic concessions over the course of past class struggle. But this view is narrow and has quite specific limitations.

In terms of scope, this explanatory view negates the workings of capitalism internationally. Wages of all workers have hardly risen, just those within certain spatial and social limitations (i.e., those within the First World and often part of oppressor nations). The notable idea ignored by the First Worldist viewpoint is that while class struggle certainly may have played a role in elevating the status and material fulfillment of First World workers, this class struggle may not have occurred on their part alone. Instead, the raising of wages for a limited number of worker, i.e. those mainly in the First World, was a measure to counteract not merely their own class struggle but that of the international proletariat. During the 20th century, the international proletariat advanced in their struggle in many regards. They were able to establish nominally socialist states which for a time acted as economic and political bulwarks against capitalist-imperialism. As well, the proletariat of the Third World waged several wars of liberation against direct imperialist occupation and neo-colonial puppets. It was no doubt such heightened class struggle which played a large role in determining the wages of First World countries, so as the secure their passivity and tacit support of the system at the moment it was facing its greatest challenges from the international proletariat movement. Continue reading

Tigers may become extinct in the wild in a decade, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Today, less than 3,200 tigers remain in the wild, down from 100,000 a century ago. These populations are divided into regional sub-species, such as Russia’s Siberian Tiger, of which around a mere 500 remain outside of captivity. Unless drastic […]