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.
- 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 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)
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.