50 Years Ago: Class struggle industrial and political

The labour-power commodity is like all other commodities in that it is bought and sold upon the market, its value being determined by the cost of production, around which the higgling of the market allows its price to fluctuate.

It is unlike all other commodities in that it is the commodity of a subject class sold to a dominant class, and further in that the standard of living, an historical element, enters into the question of its cost of production.

It is these two fundamental distinctions that make the matter a class conflict as apart from the ordinary matter of the competitive buying and selling of commodities.

The modern class struggle presents two aspects. On the one side the struggle to sell labour-power under the best conditions — the industrial struggle for wages and hours of labour; on the other side the struggle for the overthrow of the wages system — the political struggle for Socialism. The un-class conscious worker takes part in the former, but only the class conscious takes part in the latter.

The class struggle is. therefore, both industrial and political — the latter being its ultimate, its revolutionary form.

[From an article “Commodity Struggle or Class Struggle” by G. McClatchie, Socialist Standard November 1920].