Class conflict  

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"Proletarian violence, carried on as a pure and simple manifestation of the sentiment of class struggle, appears thus as a very fine and heroic thing; it is at the service of the immemorial interests of civilization; it is not perhaps the most appropriate method of obtaining immediate material advantages, but it may save the world from barbarism." --Reflections on Violence, Georges Sorel, p.85


Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills (1989) by Paul Bartel

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Class conflict (also class warfare and class struggle) is the political tension and economic antagonism that exists in society consequent to socio-economic competition among the social classes.

The forms of class conflict include direct violence, such as wars for resources and cheap labor and assassinatons; indirect violence, such as deaths from poverty and starvation, illness and unsafe working conditions. Economic coercion, such as the threat of unemployment or the withdrawal of investment capital; or ideologically, by way of political literature. Additionally, political forms of class warfare are: legal and illegal lobbying, and bribery of legislators.

The social-class conflict can be direct, as in a dispute between labour and management, such as an employer's industrial lockout of his employees in effort to weaken the bargaining power of the corresponding trade union; or indirect, such as a workers' slowdown of production in protest of unfair labor practices, such as low wages and poor workplace conditions.

In the political and economic philosophies of Karl Marx and Mikhail Bakunin, class struggle is a central tenet and a practical means for effecting radical social and political changes for the social majority.

Contents

Chronology

Riots with a basically nationalist background are not included.

Classical antiquity

Middle Ages

Modern era

In pre-capitalist societies

Where societies are socially divided based on status, wealth, or control of social production and distribution, class structures arise and are thus coeval with civilization itself. It is well documented since at least European Classical Antiquity (Conflict of the Orders, Spartacus, etc.) and the various popular uprisings in late medieval Europe and elsewhere. One of the earliest analysis of these conflicts is Friedrich Engels' The Peasant War in Germany. One of the earliest analyses of the development of class as the development of conflicts between emergent classes is available in Peter Kropotkin's Mutual Aid. In this work, Kropotkin analyzes the disposal of goods after death in pre-class or hunter-gatherer societies, and how inheritance produces early class divisions and conflict.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Class conflict" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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