The Ideal of The Middle Class and the Intermediate-Intermediary Classes

This paper examines the concept of the “middle class” from the perspective of the antagonism of capital and labor. The “middle class” is not a category of relational class analysis. Although the concept of class is included in it, it is not suitable for relational class analysis, because it just obscures the relationship between capital and labor. Thus, this paper intends to solve the problem of the “middle class” through the concept of intermediate and intermediary classes in the capital-labor relation.
The category of the “middle class” also contains normative elements and ideological presuppositions: it appears as the social base of stable democracy and the market economy. The “middle class” is a mobilizing ideal for the catching-up efforts of the (semi-)peripheral region of Central and Eastern Europe, an ideological tool of political projects aiming catching up with the West (or with Western Europe). It expresses the ideal of dissolving class conflicts by living in prosperity and freedom, affluency and existential security, because workers and entrepreneurs, employees and employers, civil servants and business owners alike can share material and consumer welfare.
The affluence associated with the “middle class”, a secure existence, stable life conditions, material well-being, independence, autonomy, and even “civic” virtues – public-political activity, civic courage, open-mindedness, and common sense – are far from identical with the living conditions and the situation occupied by the intermediate and intermediary classes of the capital–labor relations of semi-peripheral societies. However, the ideal of the “middle class” is an ideology mobilizing the catching-up ambitions of these intermediate-mediating classes and thus to serve as an ideological glue for political projects.

Released: Replika 125, 35–53.
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