This is an archive of the former website of the Maoist Internationalist Movement, which was run by the now defunct Maoist Internationalist Party - Amerika. The MIM now consists of many independent cells, many of which have their own indendendent organs both online and off. MIM(Prisons) serves these documents as a service to and reference for the anti-imperialist movement worldwide.
This is an archive of the former website of the Maoist Internationalist Movement, which was run by the now defunct Maoist Internationalist Party - Amerika. The MIM now consists of many independent cells, many of which have their own indendendent organs both online and off. MIM(Prisons) serves these documents as a service to and reference for the anti-imperialist movement worldwide.
Maoist Internationalist Movement

White proletarian myths

A collection of useful facts and arguments refuting common myths about an alleged white proletariat in the majority-exploiter countries such as the U$A

This page [a work in progress] will not serve as a substitute for reading MIM Notes and MIM Theory, but some wrong arguments come up so often, we wanted to have a briefing page for use in debate.

Myths from the man/womyn on the street

  • They're stealing our jobs.
  • Our wages are down.
  • Their wages are lower because their cost of living is lower.
  • Their wages are lower because they don't work as hard.
  • It's politically unwise to offend the Amerikan workers by calling them exploiters.
  • You should support the economic demands of the majority

    Persistent but less-often heard arguments from the representatives of the small exploiters

  • The majority of the united $tates lives at subsistence level.
  • Amerikan consumer debt is piling up.
  • Most Amerikans don't own the means of production.
  • Your argument is too nationalist or race-oriented.
  • What can we do if we are surrounded by exploiters? I'd rather re-label exploiters exploited
  • You are the first to call this a Marxist argument.
  • Why would the capitalists buy off the labor aristocracy instead of making more profit?
  • Isn't white worker utopianism benign?

    Ptolemy revisited: what the left-wing of the white nationalist movement cannot explain

  • Why did strikes hit an all-time low in 2001 in the united $tates if workers are "increasingly exploited"?
  • When in history has a population with a majority of people in what Marx called the "unproductive sector" made a revolution?
  • Why did the Germans fail to revolt when the Allies smashed Hitler's army?
  • Why did the French rebels pass up a chance on revolution when the government physically abdicated in 1968?
  • Why do the communist parties of the Third World tell us the petty-bourgeoisie of the Third World is worse off than the people you are calling "proletarian" in the imperialist countries?

    They're stealing our jobs.

    Quite, the contrary, you are stealing the jobs of Indians, Chinese, Mexicans, Brazilians etc. in financial services, law, real estate etc. It's no secret that under capitalism it takes capital to hire people and your country robs indigenous people of land, robbed Blacks of labor, robs Arabs of oil, robs Chileans of copper and robs the whole Third World today by paying low wages. Not surprisingly the countries ruined by imperialism have fewer good jobs because your country robbed them.

    Your competitive urge on this question is what leads you to racism, national chauvinism and war--and then you wonder why there is "terrorism." Under socialism everyone is guaranteed a job anyway.

    Our wages are down.

    This is a half-truth about male Amerikan workers of the last 30 years. It excludes benefits which have exploded thanks to the increased U.$. sponging off the rest of the world. See MIM Theory #1 for a treatment of this question.

    Ditto the question of declining family pay. It neglects that per persyn pay has increased in the united $tates in real terms while average family size has declined. In other words, it's an arithmetic trick.

    Their wages are lower, because their cost of living is lower.

  • See our article on international living standard comparisons in 2005

    This myth is how the big and small exploiters make themselves comfortable with the knowledge that Third World workers average 50 cents an hour in pay. It is a statement that bears no relationship to the facts. In all countries, some goods are cheaper than in other countries. Overall, to live the same living standard there is not much difference among the world's countries--certainly nothing that would justify that kind of gap in wages.

    Price data shows that the cost of living in Seoul--the largest city of southern Korea with 10 million people --is 24 percent higher than that in New York City. The difference is not affected by the dollar's exchange rate, because the Korean currency is more or less fixed by the government in proportion to the U.S. dollar. Other cities that are more expensive than New York to live in but with lower wages include Brazzaville, Congo; Taipei,China; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Singapore; Douala, Cameroon; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Nairobi, Kenya; Dakar, Senegal; Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania; Amman, Jordan; Jakarta, Indonesia; Cairo, Egypt and Montevideo, Uruguay. Tied with New York in cost of living are Bangkok, Thailand and Lima, Peru. Only 12 cities out of 125 surveyed have costs of living less than 80 percent of that in New York. Bombay and New Delhi, India are the most important of these, ranking in at 76 percent of New York City costs. Another three cities in that category are from Canada, which is an indication that the difference in costs of living internationally is not radical.

    MIM Notes citing Source: USA Today International Edition 9June1995, p. 2a.

    They earn less, because they don't work as hard or aren't as smart.

    There is no factual proof of this. Bourgeois studies of international labor productivity do not back this assumption of the racists and national chauvinists.

    MIM handles the productivity comparison globally in this book as well.

    It's politically unwise to offend the Amerikan workers by calling them exploiters.

    Imagine what they would have said before the U.S. Civil War, because fewer than 10% of whites wanted to give Blacks the right to vote and otherwise treat them equally at that time: "Of course we cannot give Blacks the right to vote" they would have said, because it would be politically unwise.

    These supposedly tactically shrewd people have given up the goal of fighting exploitation and for humyn harmony. We should let bourgeois politicians say things like that. We need a movement to get things done.

    See also, Why don't you tone it down?

    You should support the economic demands of the majority.

    This argument is very similar to the one above. In 1860, their program in the South would have been to support the Southern battle against tariffs and to side with the small slave-owners against the big ones. We can just see the Ralph Nader of that day running around campaigning with the slaveowners of 10 or fewer slaves, the same way he is campaigning for small and medium-sized corporations today. Simultaneously he would be assuring non-slaveowner consumers of slave-produced commodities that he would either not change the system or find other slaves to keep the prices down. It begs the question: where would you stand if the minority happened to be slaves.

    There was no progressive way to stand up for the economic demands of small slaveowners or consumers of slave-produced commodities in the 1800s and there is no progressive way to stand up for the demands of small exploiters today. Before getting stuck on this question, people should ask themselves what they wish they would have done had they lived in 1860.

    MIM does stand for the economic demands of the majority, the 90% of the world. We have to understand what a small fraction of the world the Amerikan, Japanese and EU petty-bourgeoisie is.

    See our response to a letter advising alliance with the petty-bourgeoisie in Amerika

    Most Amerikans live at subsistence level.

    Contrary to the myth that most Amerikans are getting poorer, in fact, most are living in ever greater luxury obtained from pillaging the Third World.

    Let's quote some facts about U.$. conditions and those in official poverty: "For example, the average persyn in 1970 had 478 square feet of house space. In the mid-1990s the figure was 814. Color TV went from 34% ownership to 97.9% ownership.(p. 7) Going to college went from 25.4% of high school graduates in 1970 to 60% in 1996.(p. 56)

    "In 1971, 31.8% of all households had air- conditioners. In 1994, 49.6% of households below the poverty-line had air-conditioners.(pp. 14-5) The poor also do better than 1971 U.S. households in clothes dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, stoves, microwaves, VCRs and Personal Computers. That is not comparing the poor of now with the poor of the past. We are comparing the poor of now with all households of 1971 and the poor of now are better off." capital/cox.html

    Amerikan consumer debt is piling up.

    Under capitalism, debt is actually a sign of the ability to pay as recognized by banks. Wealthier people have more debts. What is important is the net worth and physical standard of living. Even if credit card companies do make more money than ever, it does not prove anything unless the physical living standard, consumption of actual commodities declines and there is no proof of that.

    Anxieties concerning debt are real, but most such concerns are bourgeois anxieties, the same ones Donald Trump has to have. Third World debts are smaller relatively speaking, but have a real effect on real proletarians.

    Most Amerikan workers do not own the means of production.

    The fact is that Amerikan workers own monopoly capitalist companies in airlines, groceries, car rental and many other industries--outright.

    That is not including via pension funds.

    Nor is that counting what happens in bankruptcy court where we find out who owned the company all along--again, often the "workers."

    Finally, we have to learn to recognize that net worth is means of production, in which home equity and pension funds have to be counted. Many capitalist investors also do not own literal means of production. They have millions in cash or certificates of deposit. It means they have access to the means of production and this is something small exploiters also have. Many have sufficient access to the means of production to be able to hire hundreds of Indian workers on their credit cards.

    Others such as the contractors in Iraq gain access to the means of production strictly through their political alliance with the imperialists and this is what allows them to appropriate Third World labor and natural resources time and time again. It's about time Marxists accounted for it. In the end the real proof of the ownership of the means of production in a political world with various forms of business partnership and an expanding repertoire of investment forms is the ability to appropriate labor and the small exploiters that constitute the U.$., British, French, Swiss, Belgian, Dutch, German, Italian and Japanese majority do have that ability.

    The big exploiters are much bigger than the small exploiters, but the big exploiters do not rake in enough profits in a year for there to be any exploitation of the people MIM is calling small exploiters. For example, $500 billion a year in profits is too small compared with salaries and exploitation of the Third World to be stemming from exploitation of U.$. "workers."

  • Pilots own 25% of imperialist United Airlines
  • List of employee-owned companies
  • Getting a realistic grip on the assets of the richest people in Amerika

    Your argument is too nationalist or race-oriented.

    There are two parts to this argument: 1) We are benefitting the oppressed nation bourgeoisie. 2) We fail to see the humynist aspects of Marxism that allow even imperialist country whites to play a role.

    We would point out that the white nationalist parties calling themselves Marxist-Leninist are usually good at sniffing out the Third World bourgeoisie, but not so good at sniffing out the imperialist country labor aristocracy bourgeoisie, the more numerous petty-bourgeoisie. The ultimate reason for this is an economically warped view of the world that does not account for the fact that the English minimum wage worker is in the top 10% of the world by income. (See our discussion of this of how the imperialist country workers are the global elite, the petty-bourgeoisie.)

    What is more, the Third World bourgeoisie may have a progressive role to play in some agrarian contexts. The labor aristocracy has no historically progressive role to play, for the same reason that small slaveowners did not have a progressive economic role in the Civil War.

    Bourgeois humynism has always given the exploiters breathing room. It's no different in the case of the imperialist country exploiters known as labor aristocracy.

    You are the first to say this line is Marxist: you're actually an anti-white hate group.

    In MIM's experience, much of the resistance to its line is white hysteria--an emotion based in no real reading or listening. White hysteria also infects some people of color seeking to conform to Amerikan culture.

    Before MIM, there was the Black Panther Party, again targetted as some novel anti-white group instead of the 1960s Marxist-Leninist-Maoists. Going back and reading BPP critics or watching television news interviews from the 1960s, white hysteria is plain.

    Before the BPP, contrary to almost all of MIM's critics, Lenin ordered that the line be there is a Black nation in the united $tates. Then Stalin specifically ordered that we oppose the white nation, white chauvinism and white imperialism. It is NOT MIM introducing any of that for the first time. People saying so reveal that they practice white worker identity politics.

    Not only Stalin ordered the specific usage of the terms "white chauvinism" and "white oppressor nation" in connection to super-profits and the labor aristocracy. Others in the Comintern did the same thing. One named Pepper proposed the MIM line in its entirety long before World War II! Pepper ended up writing important official papers on the Black nation. Here is one from the Comintern-backed Communist Party of the United $tates in 1928 using ALL the language MIM subsequently used.

    In actuality, the MIM line is resuscitated language and line that existed in the 1920s and 1930s applied to today's conditions. The only difference is that whereas Pepper tried to pass a line and failed, MIM has adopted the line on the labor aristocracy all the way, with confidence thanks to the change in conditions since then. Because white exploiters dominate even Marxist language today in the united $tates few people know this. Those that insist MIM made up all the talk of white chauvinism and the white oppressor nation are hysterical chauvinists. If you are talking to such a persyn, you have a pretty good indication that you are wasting your time: chances are good that customary oppressor usage of Marxist terms is all that the people stuck in white hysteria can understand, because it conforms to a fantasy of a white proletariat that has not existed for decades.

    Why would the capitalists buy off the labor aristocracy instead of making more profit?

    What portion of the world is some kind of bourgeoisie, petty or capitalist is not up to the individual exploiter. People who think in these terms don't understand that classes are society-wide. In a sense, competitive capitalists all wish there were no other exploiters, but they never get their way. MIM did not make that up and the concept of labor aristocracy did not either. Before there was any discussion of super-profits and labor aristocracy, each individual bourgeois had to work with other members of their class and form business partnerships. Not even Bill Gates can get around that. So this is really the same thing as asking why there is more than one capitalist in the world. It's an attempt to vulgarize the question to the individual level when obviously the answer is not at that level.

    Why are strikes and violently repressed strikes declining in imperialist countries?

  • See our article on the all-time low for strikes in the united $tates
  • See our article on strikes in England

    Where in history has there ever been a revolution by a population of a majority unproductive sector workers?

    Why did German so-called workers fail to revolt when Hitler's army was smashed?

    See our article on Germany in World War II and its aftermath

    Why did all the French rebels pass on seizing power when there was a physical chance for revolution when the government abdicated in 1968?

    See our article on Paris, 1968

    Study materials:

  • J. Sakai, Settlers: The Mythology of the White Proletariat
  • See a book that historically preceded the MIM line by H.W. Edwards titled Labor Aristocracy: Mass Base of Social-Democracy
  • See Imperialism and Its Class Structure in 1997