George Walford: Working-Class Poverty

Several chiefs of newly privatised industries have awarded themselves generous rises at a time when increasing numbers have to tighten their belts. The newspapers have mentioned amounts in the hundreds of thousands annually and even the Tory government has expressed disapproval.

No report suggests that any of these managers have other sources of income; all accounts show them dependent on their salaries for their living. By Marxist definition that makes them members of the working class, and the (A-)SPGB confirm this. Under the heading “Pin-Stripe Penury” the Socialist Standard for July scorns any suggestion that managers might be anything other than workers.

It looks as though prospects for the workers under capitalism may be less hopelessly gloomy than the revolutionaries would have us think. Radically though we often disagree with old Karl, he did get some things right, especially when saying (as the (A-)SPGB’s pamphlet on Trade Unions assures us he did) that under capitalism there is no upper limit to wages.

 from Ideological Commentary 53, Autumn 1991.