How much of America can even be even considered proletarian in the traditional sense in the current year? Only 20% of the American labor force is involved in industry, with 37.3% in managerial, professional, and technical positions, 24% in sales and office work and 24.2% in industry and services work. What is the effect on revolutionary potential in economies increasingly centered on unproductive labor such as services, office work and similar positions? The American ruling class continues to outsource traditional industrial work for exploitation in the third-world for superprofits, leaving America a land of lumpen-proletariat, unproductive laborers and petty-bourgeois.
I'm not trying to hold a third-worldist position here, but I was just wondering what you anons thought and what groups in America should do when faced with such facts.
It's pretty difficult to draw a distinct line in a largely service and light industry based economy. Personally I would designate bottom-level labourers and service industry workers as solid proletariat, and managers and small business owners as solid petite-bourgeoisie. Professional and technical workers fall somewhat in the middle, with their overall behaviour and social attitude determining whether they fall in the prole camp or petite-bourgeois camp. Professionals and technical workers that generally side with employers against workers and emulate the behaviours of the bourgeoisie are petit-bourgeois, while the ones that side with the workers against employers and do not emulate bourgeoisie culture and attitudes are proletariat.
The thing is it isn't always totally black and white. Many managers in the service industry (like my own for example) actually do work alongside their subordinates, doing the same manual work, but are tasked with wielding the authoritative powers of the bourgeoisie and can not then be considered proletariat in that case, they are petite-bourgeoisie.
Being petite bourgeois isn't a matter of having authority. It's a matter of whether you get paid out of surplus value or not. If they're not getting paid to manage out of the surplus and just paid a wage like anyone else (still being exploited) then they're class traitors.
All non owner managers are proles by definition but even if we use sense and exclude like CEOs from that definition, low level managers are usually just as exploited as their workers, they generally work shit hours and have to worry about work outside of work, and come in at short notice to solve problems, at least the minimum wagies can chill on their time off.
There's still the difference between productive labor and unproductive labor
If it increases production it's productive labor, even if it does it indirectly. And there's no reason a service isn't productive. If you perform a service for sale, it's a commodity. If office work is a necessary part of the production process (e.g. coordinating input/output) it's productive. Same as the person who maintains machines that make things instead of operating them.
That's unproductive labor. They're selling their labor power but they do not perform surplus labor. Unproductive labor is every expenditure of human brain, nerves and muscles which is not directly involved in capitalism's fundamental class process. If the labor power isn't purchased by a productive capitalist, it's automatically unproductive
What difference does it make? There will still be 'unproductive labour' in socialism/communism.
Frankly I don't have any sympathy for someone who takes an authoritative position for a higher wage regardless of how much extra work they have to put in, your primary role as a manager (even a low-level one) is to take power away from the low-level workers. If the workers are working too slow, you whip them to go faster, if they are not productive enough, you whip them until they are, if they are discussing unionization, you report them to upper management, it is an inherently oppressive occupation, they are literally representatives of the bourgeoisie on the factory floor. At the very least they are lumpen, and the worst they are outright class traitors.
Capitalist commodity production involves productive capitalists purchasing both productive and unproductive labor labor. The productive labor power is what produces the surplus. Unproductive labor could be anything from supervisors to fixing the machines. The capitalist isn't combining the laborer's labor power with equipment and raw materials to produce commodities
If they're an independent contractor that might be true, but if they work for a company that contracts, they're being exploited.
Just because you're not the one pulling the lever to make the widget doesn't mean you're not part of the production process. You are effectively arguing that janitors are not exploited because the capitalist isn't selling a clean working environment.
A janitor isn't a part of the fundamental class-process and produces no surplus for a capitalist, he's not a productive laborer. Don't attach a value judgement to the word "unproductive", that doesn't mean they're useless.
I think there is a misunderstanding here, unproductive-labourer is no a pejorative term, they are literally necessary for the function of any society.
This defines productive labor as labor which is exploited, not labor which produces physical stuff you illiterate.
Yes, and janitors and supervisors at work do not create capital. They're not exploited in the Marxist sense of the term where a person who performs surplus labor has it appropriated by another. Capitalism involves PRODUCTIVE laborers being exploited by PRODUCTIVE capitalists.
Supervisors may not be but janitors are paid less than the value their work adds to the means of production by keeping the workplace maintained. You're getting hung up on layman definitions of these words instead of reading what Marx actually says here. Anybody who's paid less than the value of their labor is contributing to capital because porky uses that surplus to reinvest in capital. It's the same whether you add value by assembling parts, moving parts, cleaning waste, etc.
If the difference is entirely academic then what's the point talking about it?
Marx doesn't talk about janitors, retard. He's talking about commodity production. No value is added here.
We've already literally unionionized burgers, so join the IWW, its largely anti idpol