The specialized literature on politics, sociology and economics has addressed the issue of class struggle from the different perspectives associated with their visions. In addition, history has made reference to it from the thought and concepts of Nicolás Machiavelli in the 16th century.
This concept has been defined on the basis of various theories. Which argue and explain the permanent confrontation between the social classes established in a politically organized society.
A society with a political organization is one where the way in which power is structured is defined, both from the State and from which other groups are part. These include the economic, the ecclesiastical, the military, the judicial, the media, social and political.
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Faced with these power structures, some thinkers have debated the emergence of the class struggle. His theory defined that, having an established class, there will always be a division in which one group prevails or dominates over the other. Caused due to the antagonism and discrepancies that exist between the two.
This antagonism, historically irreconcilable between the established social classes, has been attributed precisely to the interests of the different sectors that make up society and the way to satisfy them.
Emergence of the class struggle
Some authors and historians attribute this concept to the philosophical doctrine of Karl Marx (1818-1883). This German philosopher was also a journalist, economist, sociologist and communist militant. However, the antecedents of the concept appear from the 16th century with Niccolò Machiavelli, as we said before. Machiavelli was an Italian philosopher who divided the social and political camps into “the ruled people” and “the rulers.”
Later, with the arrival of the modern era and the evolution in Western thought with other intellectuals, economists and sociologists, concepts associated with characteristics of the bourgeoisie appear. Among them are private property and liberalism, production systems, wealth, owners, as well as workers and all the tensions between the groups.
Some outstanding intellectuals are François Quesnay, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Edmund Burke and Adam Smith, considered the father of capitalism. All of them studied the concept of the class struggle and generated discussion in all their writings.
In the case of Karl Marx, his philosophical and sociological studies of social class profiled him as the intellectual who gave the most popular explanation of this issue.
Marx proposed that this was a conflict that did not produce harmony or freedom, but rather involved a turn in the social direction towards progress. Understood this as the existence of the improvement of the human condition.
Other approaches and conceptions
There are different approaches from the conservative conception and the anarchist conception.
The conservative conception offers a more pragmatic explanation and defines it as the beginning of social movements promoted by the lower classes that seek a social advancement in that political organization.
While the anarchist conception he associates it with the determination of the political forms of a society.
In any case, a class struggle supposes a remodeling of the established, which comes to mean in political and sociological terms, the appearance of a revolution in which the people (oppressed class) fight against oppression. Either originated by the State in general, or by the bourgeoisie in particular. Understood as the class to which the owners of the means of production that generate capital and wealth belong.
A war between unequals
The class struggle has always been understood as the war produced by material inequality (fortunes, riches). Generated in the towns, the modes of production (exploitation through work) and the desire for power or domination of the masses.
Historically there has been the social division of peoples between classes: owners and workers; warriors and nobles; masters and slaves; rich and poor; as well as merchants, industrialists and social actors who seek to conquer power to exercise their domination over the rest.
As a concept, it has been very popular and is generally used by leftist activists, where those who defend social equality are grouped. As well as for communism: proposal of a political system and of social and economic organization where there is common ownership of the means of production, the elimination of private property and the suppression of social classes within a state.
Both social systems (left and communism), closely related, seek to encourage a social uprising of the “oppressed classes”. Since they seek to overcome capitalism and build communism as a form of equality and evolution.
How is it present today?
Undoubtedly, this term is still valid, especially in a world in which other concepts and motivations of struggle have adapted their forms. These can be: globalization, neoliberalism, gender equality, unionism, marginalization, empowerment and many others related to the ways that man has sought to climb socially and economically.
In a world in which there is still exploitation at work, the concentration of power and wealth and war movements for purely economic purposes, the concept of class struggle is not at all anachronistic. On the contrary, it allows us to keep it in mind in trends and behaviors that still remain, such as racism, homophobia, gender discrimination, religion, politics or social status.
Those would be other forms of class struggle that must be faced today, when poverty and economic and social inequality prevail.
The forms of production that have evolved since the industrial revolution make it clear that there are other forms of exploitation that are typical of a globalized and interconnected world. And it is becoming more evident today with the development of technologies and communications.
However, there are situations that once again highlight the marked desire to take advantage of the weakness of the other.
Migratory movements, to cite a specific case, have resulted in a form of exploitation that cannot be hidden: countries receiving waves of displaced people take advantage of this condition to have cheap labor in a context in which the ambition to generate wealth is maintains.
A multidimensional struggle
The old ideals that sowed the class struggle of the proletariat against capital are still valid. Even when the approach has changed, forms of oppression prevail that keep the struggle active. Despite the fact that today it has become multidimensional and has become more dynamic as the world has expanded in its technological and scientific advances.
Other points of view of this struggle today could arise from individuality, to assume a collective commitment, through the search for forms of social organization that seek the common good.
It is not a question, then, of obtaining a personal benefit, but of finding ways to generate alliances. On the one hand, they link the needs expressed in social projects. And, on the other hand, to organizations (foundations, companies, volunteers) with an interest in cooperating in solving problems inherent to socially and economically limited communities.
Therefore, it is no longer a question of conceiving this struggle within the limits of exploitation through work. It is more like a set of social movements that seek the satisfaction of needs: basic or primary, secondary, collective, training, economic, affiliation, security and recognition, as well as well-being and comfort. This added to an ascent in the economic and social scale proper, determined by training, knowledge and experience.