The AFL-CIO's official Twitter account retweeted this clip from "Means TV," the world's first post-capitalist streaming platform, calling for the workers of the world to unite and "seize the means of production." In the video, Marxist roofer Dan Whelan explains why the "middle class" is a myth.
DAN WHELAN: When people today think of class in the United States they typically envision a division based on income levels. Lower class, middle class, and upper class. However, this analysis is largely incorrect.
Class is actually determined by a person's relationship to or ownership of the means of production. The means of production being a factory, a plantation, a skyscraper. Something that generates money and requires workers. Most of us, 90%, are working class and do not own the means of production. Damn. Instead, the vast majority of us have to find a buyer for the only commodity we have: our ability to perform labor.
This is the working class. The job they perform is irrelevant. The unifying factor is that they sell their time and skills to members of the ownership class in exchange for what they need to live. Viewing class in its proper context allows us to present the argument that the "middle class" frequently alluded to in conventional media and politics is a fiction that deliberately obscures the relationship and conflict between workers and the ownership class of society.
All members of the working class under capitalism are subject to the same conditions to constantly produce more for as little wage compensation as possible. It is these shared employment conditions across industries that provide a unifying experience for all workers that make them all working class and not lower or middle class.
Take it from a roofer, you're working class and we're in this fight together. The idea that a large percentage of people live as some sort of "middle class" removed from the inherent conflict between workers and owners is a fiction. For generations, it has been used by the rich and the media as a wedge to keep large sections of the working class from identifying as workers. The fiction of the middle class has outlived its usefulness in political discourse as workers around the country begin to realize the collective power they can wield as a unified working class.