Dissertation > Political, legal > China's political > Class structure and social structure > Classes and strata > The working class

Study on the Class Theory and the Contemporary Workers’Collective Action of China

Author LiuXingYun
Tutor ChenTan
School Central South University
Course The basic principles of Marxism
Keywords Karl Marx class theory workers’collective action collective action schema controlled by organizationsand elites
CLC D663.1
Type PhD thesis
Year 2012
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This dissertation, based on Karl Marx’s class theory and the western social movement theory, mainly studies on the contemporary workers’ collective action of China under the post-revolutionary context.As is well known, the private ownership is the basis of class theory of Marxism. The continuous movement of social contradictions will eventually achieve full and free development of human being. Not until the Communist society will the classes, as the movement vector of social contradictions, burn itself out. Needless to say, the theory is an irrefutable great truth discovered by Karl Marx. As it is seen from Marx’s class theory, it is almost inevitable that the judgment is clearly outdated that classes have died or workers to management rights are non-class actions. From theory to practice, the orthodox class theory has made outstanding contributions to class action. It seems almost certain that these theories of class formation, class consciousness, class struggle, class mode which established by Karl Marx have some epoch-making significance, for it uncovers the secret of the historical development of human society. However, Mancur Olson believed that there exists a clearly fatal weakness in the group theory including Marx’s theory of class, for it is unable to solve the "free-rider" problem in collective actions, with the result that the proletarian revolutions were not to become a reality predicted by Karl Marx. However, in the wake of the class struggle or social revolution, the Orthodoxy of Marxist not only regarded Karl Marx’s class theory as their guide, but also constantly developed it. Lenin adopted coercion means to organize a revolutionary and Mao Ze-dong made use of the collective action dialectics, which have successfully resolved the "free-rider" problem in the class collective action and ultimately achieved the victory of the revolution. There can be no doubt that their practice have effectively responded to the interrogation of Mancur Olson.However, in the wake of the conversion of the theme of world and the development of scientific and technological, there followed a quiet trend which intend to fuzzy the boundary between classes. The traditional working class is facing a series of difficulties, including the locked comfortable class, the collapse class consciousness, the loss class discourse and the marginalization of the class subject. At present, the labor movement in western society spring up one after another, which shows that class conflict can not be digested in real life if we fuzzy the "being" of the objective class only in theory. Studies have shown that the escalating social conflict in our country associated with the reform "plateau". In my opinion, while our reform entered a plateau phase, the differentiation of our interests should further expand, and the accumulation of social resentment and sense of relative deprivation farther enhance. With the accumulation of energy, it would trigger the class conflicts for substances in comfortable class stage. In contrast to the class struggle under the revolutionary context, both the value appeal and the action strategies of the present workers collective action have changed. The whole cost is bound to be taken into consideration when the rational workers take action to safeguard their legal rights. Generally speaking, workers are more likely to adopt some informal strategies. There are two typical strategies such as legalization strategies and stress strategies. The legalization of action is not only the first principle to ensure that of the workers’interests, but also the bottom line to obtain the state and the government to support. Therefore, in the collective action, workers tend to follow the principle of "safety first", that is "step on the line" but not "cross the line", and make full use of "the weapon of weak", Game by the other power to perform a "non-violence resistance","soft violent attack" and "polite no section" collective actions. In fact, the workers know that the pressure strategy is the most effective way in action outside the system. Therefore, they are always trying to make noise (minor trouble) and create social pressure that are political pressure or the pressure of public opinion to force the concession of a strong group.To further explain the logic of theory of both the workers’collective action mechanism and transformation in the revolutionary context and Post revolutionary context, the dissertation abides by Marx’s class theory logic and constructs a "collective action schema controlled by organizations and elites". This schema regards Marx’s making and struggle of class as a model, and based on the practical experience of the socialist revolution leading by Lenin or Mao Zedong. What’s more, it also critically draws on Western resource mobilization theory, rational choice theory, structure change theory and management control principle of learning organizations. The schema shows that there are some indispensable parts in a successful class action or social movement such as the interests changing, organizations and elite, discourse system, class mobilization and action Control. Especially, the organizations and elite is the most important factor in the five decisive factors and aspects. It is easy to see that contemporary Chinese strikes is a comfortable stage of the materiality of social conflict which contains workers three types of narrative logic, that is "stable","equality" and "survival".

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