Class Struggle – 1932 – Part 1 of 4

The difference between the classes and their antagonism, which have objective reasons, is an ineluctable fact, inherent in human nature. Besides that, it is the consequence of social conditions and the structure of society. In the epoch of “organic” society, the difference of classes was hidden behind the tensions that were never eased between the different estates. Rich and poor, noble and humble, powerful and weak, high and low, free or dependent, lord and servant, employee and boss, but also aristocrat and bourgeois – were in no case complementary polarities on the inside of a harmonious ensemble. These opposites designate explosive forces that the social structure must master, against which it must never cease to defend itself.

When the feeling of social difference reaches the point where we want to overcome it, difference between the classes transforms into class struggle. Opposition between social classes is a fact outside of human will. Class struggle is a conscious exacerbation of this opposition that only human will can provoke. Difference between the classes is a given, class struggle must be organized. Difference is a state, struggle is an activity. Difference between classes is a destiny, class struggle is a revolt against destiny.

Social structure is vertical, it goes from top to bottom. At the base, we plant the charges. The weight of the ensemble rests on the “base.” The higher up, more is “loose.” The freedom of movement increases, and, higher up, it is much easier to straighten one’s shoulders, and raise one’s head. The view going from the low to the high is very different. Down there, there is nothing that that one up top can covet. He has no reason to “envy” the other who is lower. He enjoys his highness, his “superiority,” as soon as he looks below. But seen from the bottom, this “highness” appears as a privileged destiny, as a happier fate. They are excluded, when they find themselves down below, where they suffer and envy these happiness.

Thus, we understand that the will to engage in class struggle is always inflamed from the bottom. He who is high up thinks to maintain the order to which the world is linked so that he can guard his good position. A privileged man always thinks he has a just title. In the framework of class struggle, he finds himself on the sunny side. What reason does he have to conquer the positions in the shadow? The class struggle aims for the privilege of “being up high.” He is highly in danger of being thrown into an inferior situation, as soon as the class struggle commences. Thus, all those who are higher up have good reason to definitively and ignominiously condemn the class struggle. Up high, they are good. For those who can feel secure there, it is necessary that those “on the bottom” feel equally good there. The class struggle is a cataclysm; the terrain on which they are placed begins to tremble. Class struggle is considered as the greatest curse to strike the world. Those up high unanimously condemn it. If, down there, they express the same accord, the class struggle will be suppressed. Those who are up high will no longer fear that they will “fall down.” But down below, they do not maintain this opinion. Showing envy. Those who have nothing to lose, outside of their chains, will always try to win it all. Thus, the din of class struggle will never cease.

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