Proletariat

   This is the term used by Karl Marx to refer to the working class, and it is defined as the class within capitalism that does not own the means of production, the class that owns nothing other than its labor power. The proletariat is locked in struggle with the bourgeoisie which owns and controls the means of production, and by extension controls the state. Gradually developing in size, organization, and class consciousness the proletariat, Marx believes, will bring about revolutionary change, overthrowing capitalism and instituting communism after a transitional phase of the dictatorship of the proletariat. With the advent of communism and the abolition of private property the proletariat along with all other classes will disappear. There are a number of significant problems with Marx’s notion of the proletariat. First, Marx nowhere develops a theory of class and fails to offer more than a terse definition of the proletariat. This means that it is very difficult to determine exactly who falls into the category of proletarian. For example, managers, professionals, intellectuals and housewives/husbands are all propertyless, but it is not clear if they should be included in the proletariat since they do not create value and in the case of managers and professionals in particular they may earn vastly more than and see themselves very differently from a more typical member of the proletariat such as a factory worker. Also, there is the problem of the lack of a revolutionary consciousness emerging in the proletariat, which has led to some Marxists, such as Vladimir Ilich Lenin, arguing for a vanguard party to import revolutionary consciousness into the proletariat, and others, for example the members of the Frankfurt School, taking a more pessimistic view of the possibility of the proletariat being an agent of revolution at all.

Historical dictionary of Marxism. . 2014.

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  • prolétariat — [ prɔletarja ] n. m. • 1832; de prolétaire 1 ♦ Vieilli Condition du prolétaire. « La dégradation de l homme par le prolétariat » (Hugo). 2 ♦ Mod. Classe sociale des prolétaires. ⇒ peuple. Le prolétariat moderne s est développé avec la grande… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Proletariat — Prolétariat Le Wagon de troisième classe, peinture de Honoré Daumier. Le prolétariat est, selon Karl Marx, la classe sociale opposée à la classe capitaliste. Elle est formée par les prolétaires. Le prolétaire ne posséde pas de capital (ou de… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • proletariat — PROLETARIÁT s.n. 1. Masele sărace ale cetăţenilor liberi din Roma antică. 2. Totalitatea proletarilor (3). ♢ (În teoria marxistă) Proletariat agricol = totalitatea muncitorilor agricoli (din agricultura capitalistă) lipsiţi de mijloace de… …   Dicționar Român

  • proletariat — {{/stl 13}}{{stl 8}}rz. mnż I, D. u, Mc. proletariatacie, blm {{/stl 8}}{{stl 20}} {{/stl 20}}{{stl 12}}1. {{/stl 12}}{{stl 7}} w filozofii i ideologii marksistowskiej: klasa społeczna obejmująca robotników najemnych, nieposiadających własnych… …   Langenscheidt Polski wyjaśnień

  • proletariat — (n.) also proletariate, 1853, from Fr. prolétariat, from L. proletarius (see PROLETARIAN (Cf. proletarian)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • proletariat — [prō΄lə ter′ē ət] n. [Fr prolétariat < L proletarius: see PROLETARY] 1. the class of lowest status in ancient Roman society 2. Rare the class of lowest status in any society 3. the working class; esp., the industrial working class …   English World dictionary

  • Proletariat — Prol e*ta ri*at, n. [F.] The indigent class in the State; the body of proletarians. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • proletariat — index populace Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • proletariat — [n] working class blue collar workers, bourgeoisie, commoners, common people, hoi polloi, lower class, peasant, plebians, proletarian, rank and file, working stiff; concepts 413,423 …   New thesaurus

  • proletariat — proletariat, proletariate /prdwbteriyat/°taer/. The class or body of proletarians. The class of unskilled laborers, without property or capital, engaged in the lower grades of work. The class of proletarii (see proletarius); the lowest stratum of …   Black's law dictionary

  • proletariat — ► NOUN (treated as sing. or pl. ) 1) workers or working class people. 2) the lowest class of citizens in ancient Rome …   English terms dictionary

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