Issue 8 – Class Debates

Editor: Mustafa Bayram Mısır

Marx and Class

Tülin Ongen

This article intends to propose a theoretical insight into the marxist class analysis. Therefore, it mainly attempts to indicate the distinctiveness of Marxist class theory, through an examination of most contraversial themes attributed to the Marx’s own writings. The investigation then proceeds on the basis of a combined assessment of the status of class and the notion of class distinguished by Marx in his works. Such an assessment covers two facets: The first is the examination of the chief motives which dominate over Marx’s approach to the class, while the second is the clarification of criterions which are applied by him to recognize the class as a specific category. With respect to the first point it might be concluded that the class in every moment is concieved by Marx not only as a philosophical subject but also as a sociological and political subject. Indeed he attributed to the proletariat a very special historical mission to emancipate the human species from ali kinds of oppression through abolishing the private ownership and alienation. But with respect to the second point, it appears to be more complicated to remark such an opinion since it is commonly thought that the theory still remains uncompleted particularly concerning the question of praxis. For instance it is claimed that Marx doesn’t give any satisfactory answer how working class can realize this transformative role however he recognizes it as a revolutionary agent… Due to these considerations it- is presently argued that Marxist class theory needs further elaborations. But this article suggests that the question of praxis should be rather respected as a matter of social process which is firmly formed by the conscious and organized activities of the classes and their pioneers, than a matter of theory.

Keywords: Karl Marx, Class, Status of Class, Notion of Class, Revolutionary Agent.

Fundemental Problematics of Class Analysis
Metin Özuğurlu

This paper aims to redefine the main components of the historical materialist class analysis by rejecting its post-modern critiques which accuse historical materialism of being reductionist, determinist and essentialist. By attributing analytical priority to class struggle, the paper focuses mainly on four problems concerning class analysis. The first problem is about the relations between the objective and subjective dimensions of class; the second one concerns the relations between class and ‘non-class’ based social contradictions; the third one is related to the relations between class struggle and social change through which the revolutionary capacity of working class is put into question, and the final one is about the internal diversification of the working classes.

Keywords: Class Analysis, Post-Modern Critiques, Determinism, Essentialism, Relations.

Intellectuals and Classes: Three Theoretical Models
Mehmet Yetiş

This paper focuses on three theoretical models concerning the relationship between intellectuals and social classes. The first model is represented by Alvin W. Gouldner, George Konrâd, and Ivan Szelenyi, who contend that intellectuals form a distinct social class. I argue that this “new class” approach, which is based on the concept of “cultural Capital”, can be classified within the neo-Weberian paradigm. The second model is represented by Kari Mannheim, who sees intellectuals as a classless aggregation or an interstitial stratum located between the two great classes of labor and Capital. I emphasize that his “freefloating intelligentsia” is an ultra-epistemological subject, capable of making a grandiose synthesis of the conflicting ideological standpoints such as conservatism, fascism, communism, etc. The third model can be derived from the prison writings of Antonio Gramsci, whose analysis on the organic and traditional intellectuals provides a possibility for a dialectical approach to the complexity of social relations. Here, I argue that he treats the concept of intellectual in a novel way, and that he tries to uncover the hegemonic position of the dominant class with an in-depth inquiry into the relations between intellectual groups and the Principal social classes in a capitalist milieu.

Keywords: Intellectuals, Class, Neo-Weberianism, Antonio Gramsci, Hegemony.

Global Capitalism and Transnational Capitalist Hegemony: Theoretical Notes and Empirical Evidence
William I. Robinson

Globalization and hegemony are concepts that occupy an increasingly important place in social Science research and are clearly Central to our understanding of 21st century world society. Yet they are as well the subject of progressively pitched debates among scholars from the diverse disciplines like sociology, political economy and international relations. Much of this debate has
centered on the purported decline of U.S. hegemony and what new hegemon may take its place as the world slips into turmoil or “systemic chaos”. Opposed to the state-centric approaches which take their basic units of analysis as the nationstate and the inter-state system, this paper focuses on the rise of a transnational class hegemony within the context of global capitalism as a whole, trying to support its basic arguments with empirical data.

Keywords: Global Capitalism, International Capitalist Hegemony, U.S. Hegemony, Systemic Chaos, Inter-State System.

Where to Look for Socialist Labour Process?
Burçak Özoğlu

This article makes a critical assessment of the way in vvhich the theoreticians of labour processes analyzed the labour processes pertaining to the socialist experiences. İt argues that the emphasis made on the concept of “control”, by scholars like Braverman and Burawoy is not adequate and a more appropriate theory on the socialist labour process in socialism can only be elaborated on the basis of the notion of the appropriation of surplus value. The ‘kibbutz’ and some experiences in Iran, which are told to be socialist ‘islands’ by some of the  theoreticians in question, are also evaluated within the scope of the paper.

Keywords: Socialist Labour Process, Braverman, Burawoy, Iran, kibbutz.

From Subotniks to Stahanovists : Labour Process in the Soviet Union
Yüksel Akkaya

The paper tries to locate the taylorist forms of work geared to increase the labour productivity in the Soviet Union, in the theoretical framework elaborated by Lenin and Stalin, on the basis of the Critique of Gotha Program. The focus of the analysis is the stahanovist movement which is such an attempt to increase labour productivity ana the pace of industrialization. The movement is discussed from a historical standpoint, through a critical evaluation of its positive and negative aspects.

Keywords: Labour Process, Soviet Union, Subotniks, Stahanovists, Gotha Program.

Looking at the Turkish Working Class
Mahmut Üstün

This article tries to reveal the formation of the turkish working class movement with a specific emphasis on its “peculiar aspects”. It sheds light on the history and social sources of the vulnerabilities emerged during the working class formation. But despite these vulnerabilities, and more prominently it is argued that turkish working class has realized, in a considerably short period, some accelerated progress in terms of collective action and organization, which can not be underestimated.

Keywords: Turkish Working Class, Class Formation, Collective Action, Organization.

Private/Public, Local/Universal: Towards a Feminism Overcoming Dualities
Gülnur Acar-Savran

The justification of writing a paper focusing on the private sphere/public sphere duality is the critical importance of this conceptual duality in making feminist politics in Turkey today. İn my opinion, a patient look on the private sphere/public sphere duality might be useful both for grasping and analyzing the social developments, and for the evaluation of the political perspectives before feminism.

Keywords: Private-Public, Local-Universal, Feminism, Duality, Social Developments.