Dominique Meeùs
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Social Classes — Necessary and Superfluous

The Labour Standard, no 14, 6 août 1881 (

Mots-clefs : ❦ producteur, une classe de — est indispensable ❦ classe, fin des —

There was undoubtedly a time when a territorial aristocracy was an unavoidable and necessary element of society. That, however, is very, very long ago. Then there was a time when a capitalist middle class, a bourgeoisie as the French call it, arose with equally unavoidable necessity, struggled against the territorial aristocracy, broke its political power, and in its turn became economically and politically predominant. But, since classes arose, there never was a time when society could do without a working class. The name, the social status of that class has changed ; the serf took the place of the slave, to be in his turn relieved by the free working man — free from servitude but also free from any earthly possessions save his own labour force. But it is plain : whatever changes took place in the upper, non-producing ranks of society, society could not live without a class of producers. This class, then, is necessary under all circumstances — though the time must come, when it will no longer be a class, when it will comprise all society.

Dominique Meeùs . Date: 1999-2017