The Petty Bourgeoisie

The petty bourgeoisie is an intermediate class between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, composed of a myriad of different sectors which vary from poverty-stricken to wealthy. It is divided into two main sections: 1) the small proprietors who still own the means of their own livelihood and “work for themselves”; and 2) the petty bourgeois employees, made up of the professional and managerial strata of wage earners.

The Small Proprietors

This is the classical section of the petty bourgeoisie. Because they own the means of their own livelihood they are, in one sense, “small capitalists.” Unlike the capitalists, however, the petty bourgeoisie work for a living and, in this sense, they are similar to the proletariat. The small proprietor often does the same type of work as the wage laborer – i.e. both independent truckdrivers and hired truckdrivers drive trucks, the difference being that the first sells the product of his labor, while the second sells his labor power itself. Because they own or rent their own means of production, small proprietors are often called “independents,” but they are independent in name only. In reality, they are totally dependent on the capitalist class, and this dependence increases with the development of capitalism. Through debt, rent and capitalist control of the market, their labor is indirectly exploited by the bourgeoisie.

“The ascendancy of capitalist production relations”, wrote Lenin, “extends its area more and more with the steady improvement of technology, which, by enhancing the economic importance of the large enterprises, tends to eliminate the small independent producers, converting some of them into proletarians and narrowing the role of others in the social and economic sphere, and in some places making them more or less completely, more or less obviously, more or less painfully dependent on capital”

As we have already shown the ranks of the small proprietors have been decimated and this decimation is continuing at a relentless pace today, ruining more and more of the small owners and driving them into the ranks of wage labor.

The epoch of the small proprietor has long since past and today they are relegated to the economic sidelines of a social system that has become the domain of large-scale capitalist production and its main social classes – bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The marginal economic role of the small proprietor can be seen in the fact that as of 1979, businesses with less then $200,000 in annual receipts accounted for only 6.75% of total U.S. business receipts. But while the economic role of small owners is only marginal, there are still approximately 10,500,000 people in this group, comprising nearly 10% of the labor force.

Major sections among the “independent” petty bourgeoisie include: farmers (1,416,000); retail merchants (1,543,000); professionals, including doctors, dentists, lawyers, architects, accountants, entertainers, etc. (1,177,000); craft workers, including carpenters, plumbers, painters, brickmasons, roofers, carpet installers, auto mechanics, auto body shop workers, radio and TV repairers, jewelers, cabinet makers, upholsterers, dressmakers and tailors, shoe repairers, etc. (1,310,000); service workers, including childcare workers, janitors, laundry workers, hairdressers and barbers, bootblacks, etc. (765,000); wholesale distributors (273,000); transportation workers, including truck drivers, movers and haulers, cab drivers, etc. (255,000); and landlords, restaurant and bar owners, motel owners, contractors, insurance and real estate agents, door-to-door salesmen and other peddlers, newspaper vendors and carriers, woodcutters and lumber workers, fishers, hunters and trappers, gardeners, etc.

There is great diversity among the small owners in terms of the type of work they do and in terms of wealth. The class interests of a poor farmer or newspaper vendor are clearly different from those of a wealthy rancher or well-to-do doctor. The petty proprietors are divided into four basic social and economic strata:

1. The semi-proletariat own some means of making an “independent” living, but not enough to survive solely by those means: they must also hire out their labor power. This semi-proletarian status is usually a midway point on the journey towards complete expropriation and proletarianization. Typical of the semi-proletarian is the small farmer who is compelled to seek work in a factory in order to make ends meet.

2. The small petty proprietors own the means of their own livelihood and are not compelled to work for others, but their property is so small that it is barely sufficient to provide for their subsistence. They do not hire labor and rely entirely on their own and their family’s labor.

3. The medium petty proprietors own sufficient property not only to provide subsistence for their families but also, in good times, to produce a surplus. They still depend primarily on their own labor but they frequently hire wage labor as well. Examples are the middle-size farmer who hires seasonal help and the gas station owner with one employee.

4. The large petty proprietors own sufficient property to make regular use of several hired workers. They are distinguished from the capitalist only by the fact that they take part directly in the work of their enterprise. For instance, a doctor who hires several nurses, receptionists, technicians, etc., but who also examines patients, or a master plumber who lives mainly off the labor of his hired workers but who still installs pipe himself.

The semi-proletariat and the small petty proprietors make up the great majority of the small proprietors. The Internal Revenue Service informs us that in 1980 out of 12,701,597 business income tax returns filed by “sole proprietors,” 9,002,162 (71 %) had no payroll, i.e., no employees. Some 9,095,111 (72%) had annual business receipts totaling less than $25,000. The median annual income in 1980 for “self-employed” men from all sources was $10,816, the equivalent of $208 a week, a low proletarian wage. The “self-employed” woman had a median annual income of $2,144, or $41 a week. The median annual income of an “unpaid family worker,” most of whom were women who worked primarily in their husband’s businesses without direct compensation, was $1,183, presumably mainly from outside part-time work. Clearly, the majority of the small proprietors are just making ends meet – if they can even do that. And this is not surprising.

“Because of lower labour productivity in small establishments and the defenseless position of their owners in the market (especially in the case of agriculturists),” writes Lenin, “it is possible that the earnings of an independent handicraftsman may be lower than those of a wage worker – and the facts show that this very often is the case.”

Of course, there are a large number of middle and upper petty bourgeois entrepreneurs as well. In 1981 there were 1,318,000 people who earned between $15,000 and $25,000 in “self-employment” income, another 913,000 who earned between $25,000 and $50,000, and another 340,000 who earned over $50,000. Among the middle and upper petty bourgeoisie must also be counted at least one million who have incorporated their businesses (and therefore are not counted among the “self-employed”). Most of these small corporations hire labor.

Unfortunately, government statistics do not provide a breakdown of the entire small proprietor class, either in terms of income or the hiring .of wage labor. They do, however, provide more information about specific groups, including two of the largest: retail merchants and farmers.

Retail merchants. Table C-l shows the distribution of total annual income (business income, wage earnings, government payments, etc.) among “self-employed” retail merchants in 1981.

Table C-l

Distribution of Income Among
“Self-Employed Retail Merchants” (1980)

Income ClassNumber of MerchantsPercent of Merchants
Loss or under $5,000335,00038.5
$5,000-9,999127,00014.6
$10,000-14,999113,00013.0
$15,000-19,99996,00011.0
$20,000-24,99990,00010.3
$25,000-29,99952,0006.0
$30,000-39,99925,0002.9
$40,000-49,99927,0003.1
$50,000-59,9992,000.2
$60,000-74,9992,000.2
$75,000 and over2,000.2
Total *870,000100.0
* Independent rounding may result in totals varying from the sum of the individual units

Fully 66% of “self-employed” retail merchants earned less than $15,000 in 1981, which was only a proletarian income. The large number (38.5%) who lost money or earned less than $5,000 reflects the continuing centralization of retail trade in the hands of the capitalist retail chains, driving tens of thousands of independent merchants into bankruptcy every year.

Farmers. For years, agriculture remained the last stronghold of the small producers in the realm of material production. And, indeed, the myth still exists today that food in the U.S. is produced by millions of “family farms”. The epoch of the “family farm” has long since given way to the centralization of agricultural production in the hands of large-scale capitalist farms that depend exclusively on hired labor. In 1935 there were over 6,800,000 farms in the U.S. By 1981 there were only 2,436,000. Between 1975 and 1981 alone, a net of 331,000 farms were eliminated. The concentration of agricultural production is shown in Table C-2.

Table C-2

Concentration of Farm Sales (1981)

Sales Class (Annual Sales)Number of FarmsPercent of FarmsPercent of SalesPercent of Net Income
Under $20,0001,464,00060.16.5-8.2
$20,000-39,999278,00011.46.1-1.2
$40,000-99,999396,00016.319.07.7
$100,000-199,999186,0007.619.115.1
$200,000 and over112,0004.649.386.6
Total*2,436,000100.0100.0100.0
* Independent rounding may result in totals varying from the sum of the individual units

Large-scale capitalist farms (those with over $200,000 in sales), which made up only 4.6% of all farms, accounted for nearly half of farm sales. On the other hand, small farms (those with under $40,000 in sales), which made up 71.8% of all farms, accounted for only 12.6% of farms sales. Even more lopsided was distribution of net income. Small farms, on the whole, lost money while large-scale capitalist farms collected 86.6% of all farm net income.

A government report published in 1979 described the large scale at which capitalist farming takes place today:

  • Over 50% of all cattle are fed in 422 feed lots
  • 15 to 20 hog farms each market 50,000 to 200,000 head of pigs a year
  • 5,000 egg producers, each with over 20,000 birds, produce 70% of all eggs
  • two farms, Sun Harvest and Bud Antle, both owned by industrial conglomerates, produce 20% of lettuce

At the top of the farm pyramid are 28,000 corporate farms which had average annual sales of over $500,000 in 1974. Corporate farms, and large-scale capitalist farming in general, are especially prevalent in California, Florida and Texas. The largest of these corporate farms are owned by monopoly bourgeois conglomerates such as Del Monte, Campbell Soup, Coca-Cola, Great Western Sugar, Heinz, Libby, Ralston Purina, United Brands, Tenneco, Safeway, Dow Chemical, Getty Oil, Standard Oil of California, Southern Pacific Railroad and Prudential Insurance. The extent of the operations of these monopoly enterprises is tremendous:

Del Monte Corporation employed 39,000 seasonal workers at its peak in 1969 many of them being housed in Del Monte’s own labor camps…. It owns 32,000 acres of farmland in various states, leases 78,000 acres more, operates processing plants in 10 countries, owns 114 can manufacturing plants, a label printing concern, 5 trucking organizations, a tuna freezing company, 24 public restaurants, and dozens of other agribusinesses.

Tenneco… in addition to pipelines, petroleum, chemicals, farm machinery, shipbuilding, containers, and… its various other businesses farms 35,000 acres. It employs 1,100 farm workers full time and 3,000 more at harvest peak. Tenneco is the country’s leading shipper of fresh fruits and vegetables, marketing both its own crops and crops purchased from about 3,000 independent growers.

This is the farming of the future. Smaller farms simply cannot compete against monopoly farming.

Although small farms have been facing ruin for decades, it is only now that the middle-sized farms (annual sales between $40,000 and $100,000) are going under in large numbers. By the year 2000 the USDA predicts that the number of farms will be reduced by another third and that the only class of farm that will increase in number is the large-scale capitalist farm with sales over $200,000. The largest 50,000 farms will produce 63% of all farm products (up from 36% in 1977). The largest 1% of all farms will produce 50% of all food, while the smallest 50% will produce only 1%.

After increasing up to the present, the number of medium-sized farms is projected to decline through the end of the century. Such a downturn will highlight the sharp distinction evolving between small and large farms, with little middle ground. Medium-sized farms, rather than representing a transition between the small farm and the large, seem to be too large for part-time farming and too small for efficient full time farming.

Thus, agricultural production is being rapidly polarized into two types of farms – “efficient full-time farms” (meaning large-scale farms depending mainly or exclusively on hired labor), and “part-time farms” (meaning semi-proletarian farms which produce only a meager amount of products for the market and which are not sufficient to sustain the farm family). The 1,742,000 small farms (annual sales of less than $40,000) have nearly all been converted into semi-proletarian farms. Burdened by mounting debts to the capitalists, higher taxes on higher priced land and profiteering by the agricultural marketing firms (controlled by the capitalist farmers and merchants), these farms, as a whole, are losing money on farm operations. Tens of thousands are going under every year and those that survive are doing so only by depending on wage income. According to a 1981 report, of 2,924,000 working farm residents only 1,430,000 were working primarily on their own farms, the other 1,494,000 (51%) were working primarily for wages off of the farm. The great majority of these semi-proletarian farmers worked in low-paying proletarian jobs that are typical in rural areas. Table C-3 shows the distribution of income among farm residents.

Table C-3

Distribution of Income among Farm Residents (1981)

Income ClassNumber of ResidentsPercent of Residents
Loss or under $2,0001,015,00025.9
$2,000-4,999797,00020.3
$5,000-9,999747,00019.0
$10,000-14,999552,00014.1
$15,000-19,999316,0008.1
$20,000-24,999181,0004.6
$25,000-29,999142,0003.2
$30,000-34,99957,0001.4
$35,000-49,99973,0001.8
$50,000-74,99931,000.8
$75,000 and over9,000.2
Total*3,920,000100.0
* Independent rounding may result in totals varying from the sum of the individual units

Over 79% of all farm residents make less than $15,000 a year in income from all sources. Nearly half make less than $5,000 a year – testimony to the desperate economic situation of the farmer and the low wages paid to wage laborers in rural areas, and especially to rural women.

The difficult situation faced by small farmers and retail merchants faces every sector of the small owners to one extent or another. The future is bleak for this class as a whole. During the 1950’s and 1960’s many farmers who had sold their land bought tractor-trailers hoping to remain “their own bosses” in the expanding field of trucking. This was a vain hope. Over the last decade, the large capitalist trucking firms have driven more and more independent truckers out of business. Thus, the small farmer, turned independent trucker, has now been expropriated twice and has few options left but to join the ranks of wage labor.

The ruined farmer, like the other small owners who are crushed by capital, no longer can find proletarian jobs as easily as during the years of relative prosperity in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Today, the economic crisis has closed the doors to the cities, causing the number of unemployed and impoverished people to grow in the countryside. The rural poor are denied the ability to make a living on the land, and at the same time are denied regular wage work. They eke out a living, working seasonally or whenever they can find work, producing what they can on the land they may have, attempting to make a living in various other enterprises (pulpwood cutting, fishing, hunting, hauling, carpentry, etc.) and getting whatever food stamps or welfare may be available.

The situation is particularly acute in the Afro-American nation in the Black Belt South, the Chicano nation in the Southwest, the areas of Chicano concentration in Texas, the reservations of the Native peoples and in Appalachia and other regions of the South. Among the Native peoples the official rate of unemployment is 75% and in many counties in the Black Belt South it hovers around 30%. Moreover, a great many more people in these rural areas are not even counted in the labor force or are counted as “employed” because they have a small farm or a meager pulpwood cutting business that, in reality, cannot even provide subsistence for their families.

The Struggle of the Small Proprietors Against the Capitalists. A basic tenet of the revolutionary strategy of Marxist-Leninists is the alliance between the proletariat and the lower section of the small proprietors. This alliance is the decisive factor in the revolutionary struggles in backward countries where the peasantry and other small producers make up the majority of the population. In highly developed capitalist countries such as the United States, the small proprietors are a much smaller class (relative to the proletariat), but their class character does not change, and the great majority of them can become allies of the proletariat in carrying out the socialist revolution.

“The Social-Democrats,*” wrote Lenin, “defend and champion the interests of all toilers, not only the urban workers, who are more class conscious and more united than the others, but of the agricultural workers as well, and of the small artisans and of the peasants, in so far as they do not employ labor, do not try to imitate the rich and do not take the side of the bourgeoisie.”


* Until the split in the Second International during World War I, the Russian Communists called themselves Social-Democrats.


Marxist-Leninists adopt different stands towards the various strata of the petty owners: first, they work to build a close alliance with the semi-proletarians and small, non-exploiting proprietors; second, they work to render the middle small proprietors neutral in the struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie; and, third, they work to destroy the influence of the upper strata of the small proprietors who .live mainly by the exploitation of labor. These class distinctions within the petty bourgeoisie must always be borne in mind when we work to build an alliance between the proletariat and the small owners.

The crushing of the small proprietors by the capitalists has been met by sharp resistance, especially during the economic crisis of the last decade. Small and middle-sized farmers organized militant demonstrations and tractorcades, and disrupted government auctions of bankrupt farms. Independent truckers organized several countrywide truck strikes which were marked by sharp confrontations with the police. These struggles by the small proprietors against the capitalists and the capitalist state must be supported by the proletariat in order to build an alliance with these forces against the bourgeoisie.

The proletariat comes to the defense of the poor and exploited sectors of the small owners not to protect their independent position, but because it defends the standard of living and political rights of all exploited working people against the capitalists. The proletariat, as the champion of the cause of all the poor and oppressed, promises to wage a joint struggle to relieve the burdens of poverty and unemployment that the capitalists are placing on the backs of both wage earners and small proprietors. The proletariat can make no promises to the small owners to help save them from impending proletarianization. Rather, it must show them that their interests and their future hope lie with the proletariat.

“The small peasantry,” wrote Lenin, “can free itself from the yoke of capital only by associating itself with the working class movement, by helping the workers in their struggle for the socialist system, for transforming the land, as well as the other means of production (factories, works, machines, etc.), into social property. Trying to save the peasantry by protecting small-scale farming and small holdings from the onslaught of capitalism would be a useless retarding of social development; it would mean deceiving the peasantry with illusions of the possibility of prosperity even under capitalism, it would mean disuniting the labouring classes and creating a privileged position for the minority at the expense of the majority.”

The proletariat can never support the petty bourgeois slogans of “breaking up the trusts” and going back to the old way of small-scale property. These slogans are based on reactionary dreams of turning back history. However, the proletariat can, and must, support the immediate demands of the small proprietors to relieve the hardships imposed on them by the capitalists. In supporting these demands special care must be taken to avoid even the slightest possibility of promoting reactionary programs favoring small-scale petty bourgeois property over large-scale capitalist property as a system.

In order to relieve the economic hardship faced by the small proprietors, the proletariat must support:

  • the abolition of rent and mortgage debt owed by the small proprietors to the capitalists
  • the reduction of taxes extracted from the small proprietors (and the increase of taxes for the rich proprietors)
  • reforms to stop the fleecing of small proprietors by capitalist merchants who control both the sale of goods to the small producers and the sale of the small producers’ goods
  • improved social security, medical benefits, education and other government services for the small proprietors, especially in the rural areas
  • certain types of government price subsidies which benefit the small producers, either by holding down the cost of their raw materials or increasing the revenue for goods sold, provided that these do not result in increasing prices for the proletariat and the rest of the working people
  • the return of certain lands and mineral, timber, water and fishing rights stolen by the capitalists from the small producers.

This last demand is particularly important in regard to the Afro-American farmers in the Black Belt South, the Chicano farmers in the Southwest, the Native peoples, the colonized peoples in Puerto Rico, the Pacific Islands, and so on, because of the national character of these struggles. These demands, however, are not necessarily limited to the small producers of the oppressed nations.

In supporting these latter demands, in particular, special efforts must be made to oppose petty bourgeois programs for the breaking up of capitalist property in general. While we would, for instance, support the struggles of small Appalachian farmers to stop the strip-mining of their land, or the struggles of small Western farmers to regain water rights expropriated by the large capitalist farmers, we would oppose any call for the break-up of the mining monopolies or the capitalist agribusinesses in favor of small-scale property.

The proletariat champions these demands in order to widen the class struggle against the bourgeoisie and bring more allies into this struggle. The demands of the petty bourgeoisie must be considered from this viewpoint: we cannot support every demand, but only those which strengthen the class struggle and unite the oppressed people – not those which weaken or divide this struggle.

The proletariat cannot support demands which harm the proletariat (such as government price supports that are nothing more than handouts to the capitalists at the expense of the poor and working people, and restrictions on the import of goods from foreign countries). It especially will not support demands which divide and harm the class struggle, such as restrictions on the rights of immigrant and national minority small proprietors, the lowering of the minimum wage and restrictions on workers’ rights to organize. Campaigns to promote these reactionary policies are, of course, inspired first and foremost by the bourgeoisie, but they enlist the support of many small owners.

The demands that we raise on behalf of the small proprietors, like all partial demands, can only be realized to a very limited extent under the rule of the capitalists. Any of these reforms can be, and undoubtedly will be, distorted by the bourgeois state for the benefit of the bourgeoisie. Therefore, while we support these demands, we must convince the small proprietors that they will only be realized to any meaningful extent under the dictatorship of the proletariat.

The Social Democrats,” wrote Lenin, “fight for all improvements in the conditions of the workers and peasants which can be introduced immediately, even before we have destroyed the bourgeoisie, and which will help them fight against the bourgeoisie. But the Social Democrats do not want to mislead the peasant, they tell him the whole truth, they warn him straightforwardly that as long as the bourgeoisie is in power no improvements will rid the people of want and misery.”

The small and middle petty proprietors stand to gain immensely from the dictatorship of the proletariat. The proletarian government will expropriate the capitalists, turning the means of production in their hands into the property of the proletarian state. The proletarian government, however, will never seize the land and small enterprises owned or operated by the small proprietors who do not exploit labor. Their rent and mortgage payments will be cancelled and, in certain cases, part of the land confiscated from the capitalists will be redistributed among the land-starved small farmers. “The Social Democrats,” wrote Lenin, “want to deprive only the big proprietors, only those who live by the labour of others, of their property. The Social Democrats will never take away the property of the small and middle farmers who do not employ labourers.”

Of course, the proletariat supports the eventual socialization of all the means of production, not only those of the capitalists, but also of the small owners. As long as private property remains, the possibility exists for it to be accumulated into the hands of a new class of rich exploiters, and it will be impossible to build a classless society.

Moreover, modern production techniques make small-scale production increasingly inefficient compared to large-scale production, and the expansion of large-scale social production at the expense of small-scale production is an irreversible historical process that will continue to advance despite the will of any class. This process takes place in both capitalist and socialist society, but the manner in which it takes place is completely different. The bourgeoisie violently expropriates the small owners, seizing their property through bankruptcy court and sheriffs’ auction. All this property is concentrated in the hands of the few wealthy monopoly capitalist exploiters, while the expropriated small owners are driven into wage slavery, poverty and unemployment.

The dictatorship of the proletariat, on the contrary, does not seize the property of the non-exploiting small proprietors. Instead, it encourages them to form cooperatives, so as to combine small, inefficient means of production into larger, more efficient ones through an organized process that benefits all. The process of collectivization is carried out on a voluntary basis, expressing the free will of the small proprietors. Socialist planned production eliminates unemployment, the idling of productive forces, wild price fluctuations and inflation that are characteristic of the anarchic system of capitalist production relations. Thus, it will improve the material well-being of all working people.

While the proletarian state will never expropriate the non-exploiting proprietors it will just as certainly never allow the development of new capitalists. Historically, the upper level small proprietors who exploit labor have played a reactionary role, constantly striving to become capitalists and opposing socialism and collectivization to the end. Initially, restrictions will be placed on these exploiting small proprietors so that they cannot enlarge their holdings. Those who accept collectivization will be encouraged and allowed to join the process along with the non-exploiting proprietors, although the non-exploiters must always be in the forefront of this process. Whether through collectivization or expropriation, however, the individual ownership of property by the small exploiters will be done away with in time, because exploitation is contrary to the entire basis of socialism.

The proletarian movement must support the formation of organizations of small proprietors such as the small farmers’ organizations, independent truckers’ unions, pulpwood cutters’ unions, etc. We must realize that within these movements there are inevitably a wide variety of social and political forces, ranging from revolutionary to fascist. Currently, the liberal reformists are in command. The fascists are clearly attempting to make inroads and rally behind them some of the small proprietors that are being ruined. Examples of this have been the fascist Senator Jesse Helms’ demagogic support of the independent truckers’ demands to stop Reagan’s gas tax, the efforts of the Posse Comitatus, a fascist para-military organization, to establish a base among the farmers in the Midwest and the western plains, and the Ku Klux Klan’s organization of shrimp fishermen in Texas to attack Vietnamese fishermen.

The agitation of the revolutionary proletariat must be directed towards exposing the capitalists as the enemy of the small producers and exposing the upper petty bourgeoisie and the fascists as the agents of the capitalists, despite their populist demagogy. Within these movements, the revolutionary proletariat must develop its alliance with the poor working people, encouraging them to break with the capitalists and the upper petty bourgeoisie and bringing them into a united struggle with the proletariat against the capitalists. Communists must work within the existing mass organizations of the small proprietors and, simultaneously, build revolutionary organizations to represent the small proprietors and link their struggles with the struggle of the proletariat.

The Petty Bourgeois Employees

As the small proprietors have been steadily eliminated, another intermediate stratum has been created and has grown alongside the proletariat – the petty bourgeois employees. The wage-earning petty bourgeoisie is comprised of management and supervisory personnel, sales representatives, professional and upper-level technical workers and military and police officers. These strata make up an intermediate group between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, sharing characteristics with both.

They share with the bourgeoisie a separation from manual labor, which has been delegated almost exclusively to the proletariat. Their work, in general, falls in the categories of mental labor that in the past, before the colossal concentration of production that characterizes developed capitalism, were the realm of the wealthy classes that owned property. Today the ownership of productive property has been limited to a tiny and ever-decreasing part of the population. Therefore, the commercial, managerial, governmental, intellectual and professional functions that were once carried out by a large number of property owners have now been delegated to an upper stratum of employees. Hence, as the number of owners is continually diminished, the number of management employees increases; as the number of “independent” doctors, lawyers, architects and engineers diminishes, the number of employees in these professions increases.

This upper stratum of employees still shares similar tasks and a similar class outlook, to a certain extent, with its independent predecessors and its contemporary employers.* On the other hand, this upper stratum of employees shares with the proletariat the characteristic of being a dispossessed class that owns no means of production and is compelled to sell its labor power to the capitalists in order to live.


* The exploiting classes have always maintained a special cadre of military officers, government administrators, intellectuals, clerics, etc. who were drawn not only from the exploiting classes but from other classes as well, and who carried out functions similar to the modern-day petty bourgeois employees. The point is that these strata have been enlarged as capitalism has developed and, in terms of personnel, have become increasingly distinct from the shrinking number of property owners (while at the same time their work is ever more subordinated to the interests of the ruling class).


Economically, the petty bourgeois employees are also in an intermediate position between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, with the income of the divergent strata overlapping that of both classes. Upper level petty bourgeois employees, such as a well-paid management official or engineer in a large corporation, may often earn more than the capitalist owner of a small company. At the same time the lower level petty bourgeois employees may earn little more than common proletarians and less than the labor aristocracy.

The wage-earning petty bourgeoisie, as a whole, numbers nearly 28,000,000, making up 29% of wage and salary workers and 26% of the total labor force (see Table C-4).

Table C-4

Occupations of the Petty Bourgeois Employees (1981)

Government ClassificationMain OccupationsEmployed Full-timeEmployed Part-timeUnemployedTotal
Professional and Technical WorkersDoctors, Lawyers, Engineers, Architects, Computer Programmers, Scientists, Teachers, Social Workers, Nurses, Health Technicians, Engineering and Science Technicians, Clergy, Writers, Artists, Entertainers12,378,0001,948,000510,00014,836,000
Managers and AdministratorsBank Officers, Buyers, Building and Office Managers, Public Administrators, Health Administrators, School Administrators, Union Officials, Restaurant and Bar Managers, Sales Managers, Other Managers6,814,000370,000340,0007,524,000
SupervisorsClerical, “Blue Collar,” Service and Agricultural Supervisors2,220,000 142,0002,362,000
Sales RepresentativesManufacturing, Wholesale Trade, Stocks and Bonds, Real Estate, Insurance, Advertising2,008,000 124.0002,132,000
Military and Police OfficersPolice, Detectives, Sheriffs, Bailiffs, Military Officers and Cadets, Firefighters1,046,000  1,046,000
Total24,466,0002,318,0001,116,00027,900,000
Explanation of Table C-4Table C-4 is based on statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on the number of workers in the occupational classifications used by the government that are mainly composed of petty bourgeois employees. As in the case of Table B-1, which covered proletarian occupations, we had to separate the petty bourgeois strata from the proletarian strata in a number of the government’s occupational classifications of wage and salary workers. The classification of supervisors in this table is composed of supervisory workers separated from several proletarian occupational classifications. Sales representatives have been separated from retail sales clerks, who have been included in Table B-1. Police, detectives, firefighters, sheriffs and bailiffs were removed from the government classification of service workers and included in this Table, among the petty bourgeois employees. To this group we have added 300,000 commissioned officers and cadets in the armed forces who were not included in the BLS statistics (which only covered civilian employees).It should be noted that among the 28,000,000 employees included in this table is a section of the capitalist class, namely the top corporate officers who nominally appear .as “wage and salary” workers. Because of the limitations of government statistics it is impossible to separate these capitalists from their petty bourgeois employees: Their number, however, is quite small, hardly enough to greatly inflate the number of petty bourgeois employees. We were able to remove from these classifications some 1,680,000 proprietors who were readily identifiable as such because they identified themselves as “self-employed” (see notes 3 & 26, this section).

Managers, Administrators, Supervisors and Sales Representatives. Karl Marx described the function of the hired manager under the capitalist mode of production as follows:

“The work of directing, superintending and adjusting becomes one of the functions of capital, from the moment that labour under the control of capital, becomes cooperative. Once a function of capital, it acquires special characteristics. The directing motive, the end aim of capitalist production, is to extract the greatest possible amount of surplus value, and consequently to exploit labour-power to the greatest possible extent. As the number of cooperating labourers increases so too does their resistance to the domination of capital, and with it, the necessity for capital to overcome this resistance by counter-pressure. The control exercized by the capitalist is not only a special function, due to the nature of the social labour-process, and peculiar to that process, but it is, at the same time, the function of the exploitation of a social labour-process, and is consequently rooted in the unavoidable antagonism between the exploiter and the living and labouring raw material he exploits….

Just as at first the capitalist is relieved from actual labour so soon as his capital has reached that minimum amount with which capitalist production, as such, begins, so now, he hands over the work of direct and constant supervision of individual workmen, and groups of workmen, to a special kind of wage-labourer. An industrial army of workmen, under the command of a capitalist, requires, like a real army, officers (managers), and sergeants (foremen, overlookers) , who, while the work is being done, command in the name of the capitalist. The work of supervision becomes their established and exclusive function.”

In a large capitalist corporation the number of these bourgeois deputies multiplies, and in the largest monopoly corporations they number in the thousands. At the top of the managerial hierarchy are the capitalists themselves, surrounded by their closest lieutenants, who also must be considered part of the capitalist class. These top managers are backed up by an army of subordinates, petty bourgeois managers and administrators who are very well paid. More than 2,862,000 managers and administrators made over $500 a week in 1981 and more than half of all managers and administrators made over $400 a week.

At the lowest level, many managers, foremen and supervisors make little more than the workers they supervise, and frequently less than workers in other industries. For instance, the median weekly salary of restaurant, cafeteria and bar managers in 1981 was $275. Low wages, however, do not change the fundamental class character of the supervisor as the agent of the capitalist, whose function is to extract the greatest amount of surplus value possible from the workers, a position which is completely alien and hostile to that of the proletariat.

Those directly charged with supervising workers are mainly drawn from the working class – from among the most politically backward workers who identify most closely with the capitalist and who will gladly step on their class brothers and sisters to get ahead.

Government administrators share the basic characteristics of the administrators of private industry, the difference being that, ideally, they do not command in the name of an individual capitalist, but rather in the name of the capitalist class as a whole, or the ruling sector of it.

Sales representatives also carry out the capitalists’ responsibility (marketing) and identify with the capitalist. The upper section of the sales representatives are well compensated – 1,206,000 make over $400 a week. However, even the lowest-paid corporate salesmen, real estate agents or insurance brokers are imbued with the capitalist philosophy and the hope of “making it big.”

Agents of State Repression. The U.S. bourgeoisie has built up a huge repressive apparatus to defend its rule. This apparatus includes, first of all, the military – the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines and the various divisions of the National Guard, as well as the civilian component of the Defense Department. It includes the state, county and city police forces, and the entire judicial and prison systems at all levels. It includes the special secret and political police – the FBI, the CIA and numerous other federal, state and local agencies. It also includes the extra-legal forces of repression – the fascist para-military organizations. This repressive apparatus employs several million people.

The largest part of the repressive apparatus is the military, which numbers some 2,127,000 people. The majority of the people in the military, however, the common soldiers, must be considered separately from the rest of the repressive apparatus. These soldiers are virtually all children of the working class and the poorer sections of the petty bourgeoisie. They are pressed into military service by conscription or economic necessity, and only participate in it temporarily, returning to the working masses after their tours are over. They are oppressed, humiliated, denied all democratic rights and thrown into battle against the oppressed peoples around the world to shed their blood for the profits of the imperialists.

The soldiers in the capitalists’ armed forces are a powerful tool of bourgeois repression. Organized by the proletarian party, however, the masses of soldiers can be split away from the bourgeois armed forces and become an essential and decisive force in the armed insurrection of the proletariat.

“The masses of soldiers,” wrote Enver Hoxha, “made up of the sons of workers and peasants have interests diametrically opposed to the character of the army and the mission the bourgeoisie charges it with. Like the workers and other working people, the masses of soldiers are interested in overthrowing the exploiting order, and that is why the bourgeoisie shuts it up in the barracks and isolates it from the people, turning the army, as Lenin pointed out, into a ‘prison’ for millions of soldiers.”

The military officers, on the other hand, are professional soldiers in the service of the bourgeoisie. Here we are talking, first and foremost, of the commissioned officers who are drawn from the middle and upper petty bourgeoisie. Some of the top-ranking officers are even members of bourgeois families. There are some 293,000 commissioned officers, making up about 14% of military personnel.

The non-commissioned officers are drawn primarily from the ranks of the working class and the lower petty bourgeoisie. These lower-ranking officers are also inculcated with the idea of defending imperialism and reaction but their position is distinct from that of the commissioned officers. “Work with the lower ranking officers,” wrote Enver Hoxha, “in order to separate them from the caste of senior officers and to convince them not to raise their hand against the people, must not be excluded….” In the conditions of revolutionary crisis and popular insurrection, a number of these lower-ranking officers can be won to the side of the revolution, as happened during the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.

The armed enforcers of bourgeois rule on a day-to-day basis are some 578,000 police, detectives, sheriffs and bailiffs. Among this force we must also include 218,000 firefighters because of their close personal, social and political association with the police. Many sheriffs and police chiefs are chosen from among the upper petty bourgeoisie, the large landowners and small capitalists. The rank-and-file police officers, however, are drawn from among the working people. They are recruited from among the most dishonest, brutal and vicious elements in society. Their salaries are only somewhat higher than most proletarian wages (an average of $363 a week in 1981) but they can supplement their salaries with criminal activities: extorting petty bribes from working class victims, collecting kickbacks and protection money from criminal syndicates, etc. Many times the police themselves head up these criminal organizations.

The extra-legal organs of repression – the Ku Klux Klan, the Nazis and other fascist para-military and mercenary organizations, are organized primarily through the military (especially the “Special Forces”), the police, the FBI, the CIA, the sheriffs departments, the fire departments, etc. A great number of these thugs are paid directly by the government.

Professional and Technical Workers (The Intelligentsia). This is the largest sector of the petty bourgeois employees, numbering nearly 15,000,000. Lenin outlined the position of this sector as follows:

“In all spheres of the people’s labour, capitalism increases the number of office and professional workers with particular rapidity and makes a growing demand for intellectuals. The latter occupy a special position among the other classes, attaching themselves to the bourgeoisie by their connections, their outlooks, etc. and partly to the wage workers as capitalism increasingly deprives the intellectual of his independent position, converts him into a hired worker and threatens to lower his living standard. The transitory, unstable, contradictory position of this stratum of society now under discussion is reflected in the particularly widespread diffusion in its midst of hybrid eclectic views, a farrago of contrasting principles and ideas, an urge to rise verbally to the higher spheres and to conceal the conflicts between the historical groups of the population with phrases….”

With the development of capitalism the number of the intelligentsia has grown greatly and they have become highly stratified. The main occupations within this sector, the number of people in these occupations and their median weekly wages are listed in Table C-5.

Table C-5

Professional and Technical Employees (1981)

OccupationNumber of Full Time EmployeesMedian Weekly Wage
(Upper)
Lawyers & Judges299,000550
Engineers1,459,000540
Architects60,000428
Physicians, Dentists, Pharmacists, etc.314,000468
Life & Physical Scientists277,000474
Social Scientists238,000461
College Teachers438,000441
Computer Specialists (Programmers & Systems Analysts)583,000454
Operations & Systems Analysts212,000485
Personnel & Labor Relations Workers419,000402
Accountants960,000379
Airplane Pilots53,000530
(Lower)
Nurses (Registered), Dieticians & Therapists1,168,000327
Teachers (non-college)2,624,000333
Vocational and Educational Counselors156,000388
Social Workers357,000309
Recreation Workers97,000226
Engineering & Science Technicians (Electronic, Chemical, Drafters, Surveyors, etc.)1,056,000348
Health Technicians (Clinical Lab, X-ray, etc.)511,000287
Radio Operators56,000233
Other Technicians63,000
Research Workers (not specified)157,000362
Religious Workers (Clergy, etc.)268,000284
Writers, Artists & Entertainers791,000350
Librarians, etc.146,000323
Foresters & Conservationists60,000331

The intelligentsia can be divided roughly into upper and lower level professions based on income and social position, with approximately 40% belonging to the upper professions and 60% belonging to the lower professions (of course, division by profession alone is not sufficient because many individual professions are divided into distinct upper and lower sections).

The bourgeoisie relies on the support of an array of intellectuals who serve as highly placed scientists, engineers, political advisers, military experts, economists, lawyers, propagandists, etc. This intellectual elite is extremely highly paid and is completely integrated into the top levels of the bourgeois power structure in both industry and the state. Their political stand is identical with that of the monopoly bourgeoisie.

In addition there is a much larger sector of highly paid professionals who staff the capitalist technical apparatus and are a strong base of support for the bourgeoisie. This upper sector of professionals includes most lawyers, doctors, engineers, scientists, college professors, computer specialists, etc. Some 3,345,000 professionals made over $500 a week in 1981. Their high salaries, along with their privileged conditions of work and their elite status, separate them from the masses of people and identify them with the bourgeoisie… Many of the upper-level professionals supervise the work of subordinate technical workers and actually do very little work themselves (i.e. doctors supervise nurses, engineers supervise technicians and drafters, college professors supervise teaching and research assistants, etc.), which contributes further to their world outlook as masters rather than workers.

A number of these higher-level professions are directly concerned with the management of capitalist enterprises (operations and systems analysts, personnel and labor relations experts and accountants) and have all of the reactionary characteristics that this entails. Lawyers are the agents of the bourgeois legal system and most of them serve, either directly or indirectly, the repressive state apparatus or the capitalist corporations.

The upper-level professionals are a closed and self-perpetuating stratum, composed predominantly of Anglo-American men who are themselves children of upper-level professionals. Systematic discrimination and carefully constructed educational and professional barriers maintain this elite status.

The majority of professional and technical workers, however, do not belong to this upper stratum. Nurses, school teachers, social workers, technical workers, etc. do not enjoy the high salaries or the social status accorded the top professions. This group, for the most part, stands above the proletariat, enjoying somewhat better wages and conditions of work. These petty privileges are, once again, maintained through a system of educational barriers, but these barriers are not so extensive as those connected with the upper-level professions, and a large number of these workers are drawn from the ranks of the proletariat. Those allowed into the lower-level professional and technical positions are predominantly, but not exclusively, Anglo-Americans. Among the lower-level professions are those that have been traditionally set aside for women (nurses, school teachers, librarians, social workers, etc.). Women are still largely barred from scientific and engineering work.

The economic position of the lower-level intelligentsia is not tremendously better than that of the proletariat, and many of them live no better than the common worker. Half of all full-time professional and technical workers (6,436,000) made less than $377 a week in 1981 – this half comprising most of the members of the lower-level professions and technical occupations. Of these workers, 3,834,000 made less than $300 a week and nearly a million made less than $200 a week, which is a poor wage regardless of whether one has a professional title or not.41 The 1,948,000 part-time professional and technical workers were paid less still – a median weekly wage of $123 for an average of 19.1 hours’ work, which works out to $6.44 an hour.

The extent to which the capitalist has placed the lower categories of the intelligentsia into a position similar to the proletariat is demonstrated by the increasing number that are paid by the hour (rather than salaries), which is the typical method of purchasing proletarian labor power. In 1979 over 4,000,000 professional and technical workers were paid hourly wages. The typical hourly wage for men in this group was $6.87, while women made $5.08.

As we have discussed earlier, within technical work a lower-level stratum is being created which is distinctly proletarian. Today most technical work is still carried out by employees who, to one degree or another, still enjoy petty bourgeois status, but this reality is changing.

Allies and Enemies of the Proletariat among the Petty Bourgeois Employees

The fact that petty bourgeois employees share characteristics with both the bourgeoisie and the proletariat and the great divergence of their incomes leads to a divergence of class interests and political alignments. Some strata which have more in common with the bourgeoisie will take the side of their masters, while other strata which have more in common with the working class will take the side of the proletariat.

A large sector of the petty bourgeois employees are, because of the nature of their special role in society, enemies of the proletarian revolution. This sector includes managers, supervisors, sales representatives, police and military officers and other employees of the repressive state apparatus (judges, wardens, lawyers, etc.). Regardless of their level of income this sector is invariably reactionary because their position gives them the outlook of the overseer, the masters’ agent, the henchmen and the petty oppressor.

Unions and professional associations among these occupations (police, firefighters’ and prison guards’ unions, for instance) are inherently reactionary, in fact fascist, organizations and should not be allowed to parade as “workers’ unions,” or join proletarian trade union associations.

The intelligentsia, in distinction from the above mentioned groups, cannot be seen as one unified group and characterized, as a whole, as either reactionary or progressive. The various strata within the professional and technical workers have different characteristics, and among these strata the proletariat has both enemies and allies.

“On the basis of a concrete analysis,” wrote Bajram Abdiu of the Party of Labor of Albania, “the working class and its Marxist-Leninist party define their stand toward the various categories and strata of the intelligentsia, towards the upper stratum which is closest to the bourgeoisie and takes part jointly with it in the exploitation of the proletariat, towards the middle and lower strata which are connected with and closer to the proletariat than the bourgeoisie. On these strata the working class and its party must exert their influence and leading role, they must strive for their education and re-education, they must lead and plunge them into the revolutionary class struggle so that they may be tempered, may master the Marxist-Leninist world outlook and consciously pass to and remain on the positions of the working class and socialist revolution.”

The upper-level intelligentsia stand with the bourgeoisie and reaction. The proletariat cannot set itself the goal of winning any major sectors of these people to its side before it seizes power. It must, however, work to neutralize those sectors which are not directly connected with the capitalists, so that they do not play an active role in the counterrevolution. After the revolution, when the proletariat is in power, it will have the ability to win the majority of these people to its side, while crushing the counterrevolutionary activity of those that maintain their alliance with the capitalists.

The social position and the class interests of the lower-level intelligentsia, on the other hand, are much closer to the proletariat than to the bourgeoisie. A large number of these people share the economic position of the proletariat. Many of them, however, maintain a degree of “professional prejudice” which leads them to keep their distance from the working class, and attempt to copy the lifestyle and ideals of the upper petty bourgeoisie and the capitalists. The impact of professional status and somewhat higher wages is illustrated by the wrecking activity undertaken by many registered nurses in the efforts to establish industrial unions in hospitals.

On the other hand, an increasing number of professional and technical workers are moving to organize unions, recognizing that their employment relations are becoming increasingly similar to those of the proletariat. Teachers, who have suffered sharp wage cuts and massive layoffs in recent years, have waged militant strikes every school year. To the extent that the unions of professional and technical workers act as narrow “professional associations,” however, they can be reactionary and divisive in the same way that craft unions are. The struggles of the intelligentsia can be progressive only to the extent that the intelligentsia ally themselves with the proletariat in a common struggle against the bourgeoisie, and do not seek to improve their position at the expense of the workers.

The proletarian party must actively organize these workers, seeking to bring them under the leadership of the proletariat and drive a wedge between them and the upper petty bourgeoisie. It must work to combat the bourgeois ideas and “professional prejudices” that have been imbued in them, and show them that their only hope lies in an alliance with the proletariat under its leadership.

Notes

1. V.I. Lenin, Collected Works, V.29, p. 100.

2. Statistics of Income: Sole Proprietor Returns, 1979-1980; Statistics of Income: Partnership Returns, 1979-1980; and Statistics of Income: Corporate Returns, 1979, Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

3. It is impossible to identify the precise number of small proprietors because large sectors of the class are difficult to distinguish from the proletariat and the small capitalists, given the limitations of the statistics available. On the one hand, the semi-proletariat has much in common with the proletariat and the small capitalists. On the other hand, the upper petty proprietors have much in common with the small capitalists. Our estimate of 10,500,000 is based on the following information provided by government statistics:

The BLS divides the civilian labor force into three major “employment classes”: “self-employed workers”, “unpaid family workers”, and “wage and salary workers”. In 1982, there were 8,853,000 self-employed workers, 535,000 unpaid family workers and 89,482,000 wage and salary workers (Employment and Earnings, Jan. 1983, BLS). The “self-employed” category consists of the owners of all unincorporated businesses who make most of their income from these businesses (from babysitters to real estate agents). Among this group there are certainly some capitalists (i.e., owners who live exclusively by the labor of others), but their number is not considerable because most capitalists find it beneficial to incorporate their businesses. Even most of the “self-employed” in the upper-income brackets are most likely well-to-do professionals who still depend on their own labor. Because it is impossible to separate the capitalists in this category, and because their number is relatively insignificant, we have included all 8,853,000 “self-employed” among the petty bourgeoisie. We have also included all 535,000 unpaid family workers in the ranks of the small proprietors. These are mainly women who work in their husband’s businesses and children (over 15 years old) who work in their parents businesses without direct compensation. The classification of “wage and salary” workers is the most deceiving and muddled. It includes the hired workers of unincorporated businesses including the owners (who, by virtue of the norms of incorporated businesses, pay themselves wages). There is no way, using government statistics, to divide the employers and the employed within these groups. The BLS gave us one indication when it reported in 1979 that of nearly 90,000,000 “wage and salary workers” some 2,100,000 identified themselves as “self-employed”, indicating that they owned the corporations that they worked for. (See Monthly Labor Review, Nov. 1980, p. 7.) There were, undoubtedly, many other owners that were content to identify themselves as “wage and salary” workers (including, we imagine, most of the larger capitalists; Henry Ford III would hardly identify himself as “self-employed”). Therefore, this figure of 2,100,000 does not include all of the owners of incorporated businesses but it is the only figure that we have to work with, and it is conceivable that most incorporated petty bourgeois proprietors would still identify themselves as “self-employed”. We are still faced with the task of separating the petty bourgeoisie from the capitalists in this group of incorporated owners. Lacking a more scientific method, we ‘included among the petty bourgeoisie those 1,050,000 incorporated owners who identified their occupation as “salesman”, “craftsman”, “professional”, etc. rather than “manager”. The total of 8,853,000 “self-employed”, 535,000 “unpaid family workers” and 1,050,000 incorporated owners (who were not managers) is 10,438,000, which we have rounded to 10,500,000 so that it would not appear any more precise than it actually is. (The 2,100,000 “wage and salary” workers who identified themselves as “self-employed” have been removed from the classifications of proletarian and petty bourgeois employees for the purpose of our analysis).

The attempt to fix the number of small proprietors is also complicated by the extreme instability of petty bourgeois businesses. Millions of these businesses are established every year and millions more go out of business. This means millions of people transfer between wage labor and self-employment every year. This transfer goes both ways but the balance is almost always in favor of wage labor. This constant fluctuation can be illustrated by comparing IRS and BLS statistics for 1979. That year the IRS reported that 18,039,128 proprietors of unincorporated businesses filed business income tax returns (this figure includes both sole proprietors and partners). (Statistics of Income: Sole Proprietor Returns, 1979-1980, and Statistics of Income: Partnership Returns, 1979, IRS). In December of that year, however, the BLS reported that there were only 8,266,000 “self-employed” workers, a category identical to the proprietors who were counted by the IRS, except that it does not include those who made most of their income through outside wage labor (Employment and Earnings, Jan. 1980). The number of these workers (who mainly worked for wages but who also had their own business on the side) was reported by the BLS to be 1,500,000 in 1979 (Monthly Labor Review, Nov. 1980, p. 4). If we add the “full-time” proprietors, to the “part-time” proprietors in the BLS figures the total still falls more than 8,000,000 short of the IRS figure. This, then, is the approximate number of people who abandoned their attempts to “strike out on their own” sometime during the year and left the labor force or joined the ranks of wage labor.

4. Monthly Labor Review, Nov. 1980, Bureau of Labor Statistics, p. 3. Also see Monthly Labor Review, Jan. 1975, and Jan. 1963.

5. These same basic strata were identified by Lenin in analyzing the class differentiation among the peasantry in capitalist countries. These peasant strata also describe class differentiation among the petty proprietors as an entire class. The peasantry, according to Lenin, consisted of:

“[The] semi-proletarians or peasants who till tiny plots of land, i.e.: those who obtain their livelihood partly as wage labourers at agricultural and industrial capitalist enterprises and partly by working their own or rented plots of land, which provide their families only with part of their means of subsistence.

[The] small peasantry, i.e., the small-scale tillers, who either as owners or tenants, hold small plots of land which enable them to satisfy the needs of their families and their farms, and do not hire outside labour.

[The] ‘middle peasants’, those small farmers who, (1) either as owners or tenants, hold plots of land that are also small but, under capitalism, are sufficient not only to provide, as a general rule, a meagre subsistence for the family and the bare minimum needed to maintain the farm, but also produce a certain surplus which may, in good years at least, be converted into capital; (2) quite frequently (for example, one farm out of two or three) resort to the employment of hired labour.

The big peasants are capitalist entrepreneurs in agriculture, who as a rule employ several hired labourers and are connected with the “peasantry” only in their low cultural level, habits of life, and the manual labour they themselves perform on their farms”. (Lenin, Collected Works, V. 31, pp. 153-7).

6. Statistics of Income: Sole Proprietor Returns, 1979/1980, Internal Revenue ‘Service.

7. Money Income of Households, Families and Persons in the United States: 1980, Census Bureau, 1982.

8. V.I. Lenin, Collected Works, V. 2, p. 413.

9. Money Income of Households, Families and Persons in the United States: 1980, Census Bureau, 1982.

10. See note 3, this section.

11. Money Income of Households, Families and Persons in the United States: 1980, Census Bureau, 1982, pp. 192-197. This document listed “self-employed retail trade managers,” which is apparently a narrower category than the BLS category of “self-employed workers in the retail trade industry.”

12. 1982 Handbook of Agricultural Charts, USDA, 1982, p. 15.

13. Statistical Abstracts of the United States, 1981, Census Bureau, 1982, p. 673 and 1982 Handbook of Agricultural Charts, USDA, 1982, p. 4.

14. 1982 Handbook of Agricultural Charts, USDA, 1982, p. 4.

15. L. Schertz, ed., Another Revolution in U.S. Farming, USDA, pp. 4-10.

16. Ibid., pp. 20-26.

17. Stephen Sesnick, Hired Hands: Seasonal Farm Workers in the United States.

18. T. McDonald and G. Coffman, Fewer, Larger U.S. Farms by the Year 2000 and Some Consequences, USDA, 1980.

19. Ibid.

20. Farm Population in the U.S.: 1981, Census Bureau, 1982, p. 15.

21. Money Income and Poverty Status of Families and Persons in the United States: 1981, Census Bureau, 1982, p. 15.

22. V.I. Lenin, quoted in Anna Rochester, Lenin on the Agrarian Question, International Publishers, 1942, p. 43.

23. V.I. Lenin, Collected Works, V. 4, pp. 422-23.

24. V.I. Lenin, quoted in Rochester, op. cit., p. 43.

25. Ibid.

26. See notes and explanation for Table B-1 for basic sources and explanation of this table. Additional notes: The occupational classifications listed in this table include not only petty bourgeois employees but capitalists as well because the BLS makes no attempt to separate owners from workers among corporate “employees” (see note 3, this section). For instance, the classification “bank officers” includes the assistant manager of a local branch bank, along with Walter Wriston, Chairman of the Board of Citibank, and everyone in between. It is impossible for us to completely separate the capitalists from the petty bourgeoisie in these classifications and therefore the figures presented on this table represent the total number of petty bourgeois employees with a certain number of capitalists. Since the number of capitalists is small, the figures should not be greatly inflated.

While we could not completely separate the capitalists from the petty bourgeois employees, we were able to isolate a number of the capitalists. Within the BLS category of “white collar wage and salary workers” in 1979, 1,680,000 people identified themselves as “self-employed,” indicating that they owned the corporation that they worked for (see note 2, this section). They, of course, should be classified among the petty bourgeois and capitalist proprietors and not among the wage earners, and we have therefore removed them from the classification of the wage-earning petty bourgeoisie. Of these “self-employed” owners, 1,050,000 were classified as “managers and administrators,” and we have therefore subtracted this number from that occupational classification. The occupations of the remaining 630,000 “white collar” owners were not specified. Assuming they were not clerical workers or sales clerks, we removed these owners from the “professional and technical workers” and “sales representatives” classifications in proportion to the size of these classifications (492,000 from the professional and technical classification and 138,000 from the sales representatives classification).

The BLS data from which this chart was drawn included only civilian employees and did not include military officers and cadets. The number of officers and cadets was reported in Defense ’83, American Forces Information Service, Sept., 1983.

27. Marx, Capital, V. 1, pp. 331-332 (International Publishers)

28. Analyzing 1981 Earnings Data From the Current Population Survey, BLS, 1982, p. A-10.

29. “Occupational Earnings of Men and Women,” Monthly Labor Review, April, 1982., p. 27.

30. Ibid.

31. Defense ’83, American Forces Information Service, Sept., 1983, p. 24.

32. Enver Hoxha, Eurocommunism is Anti-Communism, Tirana, “8” Nentori Publishing House, 1980, p. 275.

33. Defense ’83, p. 24.

34. Enver Hoxha, Eurocommunism is Anti-Communism, Tirana, 1980, p. 2.77.

35. “Occupational Earnings of Men and Women,” Monthly Labor Review, April, 1982, p. 29.

36. Ibid.

37. Libby Wilson and Tamara Johnson, Rise Up Against the Klan!, Trade Union Action League, Birmingham, Alabama, 1980, pp. 15-25. See also: David L. Aasen, “Coming Distractions,” The Nation, Feb. 28, 1981, pp. 246-248; Ben Cutts, “Who Is Mitchell Livingston WerBell IV?,” (four-part series), Atlanta Constitution, July 27-30, 1980; Charles Goldman, “World Anti-Communist League,” Public Eye, 1978; Paul Valentine, “The Fascist Specter Behind the World Anti-Red League,” Washington Post, May 28, 1978.

38. V.I. Lenin, Collected Works, V. 4, p. 202. In this passage, Lenin was paraphrasing the words of Karl Kautsky, in reviewing a polemic by Kautsky against Bernstein revisionism. The polemic was written during Kautsky’s Marxist period and received Lenin’s support.

39. “Occupational Earnings of Men and Women,” Monthly Labor Review, April, 1982, p. 26.

40. Analyzing 1981 Earnings Data From the Current Population Survey, BLS, p. A-10.

41. Ibid.

42. Ibid.

43. Wage and Salary Data From Income Development Program, 1979, Census Bureau, 1982.

44. Albania Today, No. 3, 1972, p. 33.

Leave a Comment