Why the Working Class?

ABCs of Socialism: “Why do socialists talk so much about workers?” (p. 120-127)

Vivek Chibber, “Why We Still Talk About the Working Class”

Ellen Meiksins Wood, “Why Class Struggle is Central”

Video: Capitalism and Class Struggle

“Capitalism and Class Struggle” by Vivek Chibber

Hal Draper, “Why the Working Class?”

Jeremy Gong / Eric Blanc, “How Class Should Be Central”

Kim Moody, “The New Terrain of Class Conflict in the United States”


Discussion Questions:

  • What do you believe the socialist theory of change is? 
    • Why is the working class important for the socialist theory of change? 
    • What do you think a liberal theory of change looks like? How is the socialist theory of change different from a liberal theory of change? 
  • Why do socialists care about the working class? What power does the working class have that other groups don’t?
    • What moral and strategic factors contribute to the socialists’ focus on the working class?
    • “After all, there are lots of groups who suffer indignities and injustices— racial minorities, women, the disabled. Why single out workers? Why not just say that every marginal and oppressed group ought to be at the heart of socialist strategy.” What is Chibber saying? Do you agree or disagree?
  • What is the distinction between labor and the working class? 
    • How should socialists orient ourselves toward labor and toward the working class?
  • Bernie called for the formation of a multiracial working-class movement in order to take on long-standing injustices. Why didn’t he call for just a multiracial movement, or just a working-class movement? 
    • What has been the role of working-class movements in historical struggles for justice?
    • What does a struggle for justice look like without a focus on labor?