Classless society refers to a society in which no one is born into a social class. Such distinctions of wealth, income, education, culture, or social network might arise and would only be determined by individual experience and achievement in such a society.
Codere defines social class as a segment of the community, the members of which show a common social position in a hierarchical ranking. Codere suggest that a true class-organized society is one in which the hierarchy of prestige and status is divisible into groups each with its own social, economic, attitudinal and cultural characteristics and each having differential degrees of power in community decision. However, class organised societies rarely follow this structure, suggesting that a classless society might be better.
Since determination of life outcome by birth class has proved historically difficult to avoid, advocates of a classless society such as anarchists, communists and libertarian socialists propose various means to achieve and maintain it and attach varying degrees of importance to it as an end in their overall programs/philosophy.
The term classlessness has been used to describe different social phenomena.
In societies where classes have been abolished, it is usually the result of a voluntary decision by the membership to form such a society to abolish a pre-existing class structure in an existing society or to form a new one without any. This would include communes of the modern period such as various American utopian communities or the kibbutzim as well as revolutionary and political acts at the nation-state level such as the Paris Commune or the Russian Revolution. The abolition of social classes and the establishment of a classless society is the primary goal of anarchism, communism and libertarian socialism.
Classlessness also refers to the state of mind required in order to operate effectively as a social anthropologist. Anthropological training includes making assessments of and therefore becoming aware of one's own class assumptions so that these can be set aside from conclusions reached about other societies. This may be compared to ethnocentric biases or the "neutral axiology" required by Max Weber. Otherwise conclusions reached about studied societies will likely be coloured by the anthropologist's own class values.
Classlessness can also refer to a society that has acquired pervasive and substantial social justice where the economic upper class wields no special political power and poverty as experienced historically is virtually nonexistent as it cannot be achieved.
According to Ulrich Beck, classlessness is achieved with class struggle: "It is the collective success with class struggle which institutionalizes individualization and dissolves the culture of classes, even under conditions of radicalizing inequalities". Essentially, classlessness will exist when the inequalities and injustice out ranks societies idea of the need for social ranking and hierarchy.
The state of social classes in society today is disputed. If the actual development is taken by the discussion, then Western society has moved past classes to a classless society. This is reinforced by the statement from Becker and Andreas Hadjar: "The weakening of class identities is also postulated by Savage (2000, p.37), who assumes that although individuals may still refer to social class, class position no longer generates a deep sense of identity and belonging". Some say that society today has not completely abolished classes, but that distinctions can be only attributed to experience and success (meritocracy). Others maintain that the class system remains in place, e.g. by showing that children's success in education correlates with their parent's wealth, and wealth being inherited.
In Marxist theory, tribal hunter-gatherer society, primitive communism, was classless. Everyone was equal in a basic sense as a member of the tribe and the different functional assignments of the primitive mode of production, howsoever rigid and stratified they might be, did not and could not simply because of the numbers produce a class society as such. With the transition to agriculture, the possibility to make a surplus product, i.e. to produce more than what is necessary to satisfy one's immediate needs, developed in the course of development of the productive forces. According to Marxism, this also made it possible for a class society to develop because the surplus product could be used to nourish a ruling class which did not participate in production.
Libertarian socialism, also called left-libertarianism, social anarchism, social libertarianism and socialist libertarianism, is a group of anti-authoritarian socialist political philosophies that rejects socialism as the centralised state ownership and control of the economy, which they regard as state capitalism. Political philosophy is the study of fundamental questions about the government, state, justice, politics, liberty and the enforcement of a legal code by an authoritative body. According to Charles Larmore, the second approach sees political philosophy as the freedom to discipline one-self from the basic features of the human condition that make up the reality of political life.
Libertarianism is a collection of political philosophies and movements that uphold liberty as a core principle. Libertarians seek to maximize political freedom and autonomy, emphasizing freedom of choice, voluntary association and individual judgment. Libertarians share a skepticism of authority and state power, but they diverge on the scope of their opposition to existing political and economic systems. Various schools of libertarian thought offer a range of views regarding the legitimate functions of state and private power, often calling for the restriction or dissolution of coercive social institutions.
Past and present political philosophies and movements commonly described as libertarian socialist include anarchism (especially anarcho-communism, anarcho-syndicalism, collectivist anarchism and mutualism) as well as autonomism, communalism, participism, guild socialism, revolutionary syndicalism and libertarian Marxist philosophies such as council communism and Luxemburgism as well as some versions of utopian socialism and individualist anarchism.
...libertarianism, political philosophy that takes individual liberty to be the primary political value.
for the very nature of the libertarian attitude—its rejection of dogma, its deliberate avoidance of rigidly systematic theory, and, above all, its stress on extreme freedom of choice and on the primacy of the individual judgment
Agriculturalism, also known as the School of Agrarianism, the School of Agronomists, the School of Tillers, and in Chinese as the Nongjia (農家/农家), was an early agrarian Chinese philosophy that advocated peasant utopian communalism and egalitarianism, and was arguably the world's first Communist and Socialist movement that believed in a Classless society. The Agriculturalists believed that Chinese society should be modeled around that of the early sage king Shennong, a folk hero who was portrayed in Chinese literature as "working in the fields, along with everyone else, and consulting with everyone else when any decision had to be reached." They encouraged farming and agriculture and taught farming and cultivation techniques, as they believed that agricultural development was the key to a stable and prosperous society.
Agriculturalism was suppressed during the Qin Dynasty and most original texts are now lost.
However, concepts originally associated with Agriculturalism have influenced Confucianism, Legalism, and Chinese philosophy as a whole. Agriculturalism has significantly influenced Chinese thought, and has been viewed as an essence of the Chinese identity.Anarchism in Iceland
Anarchism is a small minority political movement in Iceland, defined by its relationship with other progressive social movements, and its involvement in primarily ideological work.Anarchist law
Anarchist law is a hypothetical body of norms regarding behavior and decision-making that might be operative in an anarchist community. The term is used in a series of ongoing debates within the various branches of anarchist theory regarding if and how norms of individual and/or collective behavior, decision-making and actions should be created and enforced.Anti-statism
Anti-statism is opposition to state intervention into personal, social and economic affairs. Anti-statism means opposition to the state and any artificial form of government and it differs from traditional anarchism which means the opposition not only to the state, but to any form of rulership.Collective leadership
Collective leadership is a distribution of power within an organisational structure. It is considered an ideal form of ruling a communist party, both within and outside a socialist state.Cost the limit of price
Cost the limit of price was a maxim coined by Josiah Warren, indicating a (prescriptive) version of the labor theory of value. Warren maintained that the just compensation for labor (or for its product) could only be an equivalent amount of labor (or a product embodying an equivalent amount). Thus, profit, rent, and interest were considered unjust economic arrangements. As Samuel Edward Konkin III put it, "the labor theory of value recognizes no distinction between profit and plunder."In keeping with the tradition of Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations, the "cost" of labor is considered to be the subjective cost; i.e., the amount of suffering involved in it.Council communism
Council communism (also councilism) is a current of socialist thought that emerged in the 1920s. Inspired by the November Revolution, councilism was characterized by its opposition to state capitalism/state socialism and its advocacy of workers' councils and soviet democracy as the basis for dismantling the class state. Strong in Germany and the Netherlands during the 1920s, council communism continues to exist today within the greater socialist and communist movements.
Chief among the tenets of council communism is its opposition to the party vanguardism and democratic centralism of Leninist ideologies and its contention that democratic workers' councils arising in the factories and municipalities are the natural form of working class organization and authority. Council Communism also stands in contrast to social democracy through its formal rejection of both reformism and "parliamentarism" (i.e. the compromises and quids pro quo, such as logrolling, normally found in legislative politics).Decentralized planning (economics)
A decentralized-planned economy or decentrally-planned economy (occasionally called horizontally-planned economy due to its horizontalism) is a type of planned economy in which the investment and allocation of consumer and capital goods is explicate accordingly to an economy-wide plan built and operatively coordinated through a distributed network of disparate economic agents or even production units itself. Decentralized planning is usually held in contrast to centralized planning, in particular the Soviet Union's command economy, where economic information is aggregated and used to formulate a plan for production, investment and resource allocation by a single central authority. Decentralised planning can take shape both in the context of a mixed economy as well as in a post-capitalist economic system.
This form of economic planning implies some process of democratic and participatory decision-making within the economy and within firms itself in the form of industrial democracy. Computer-based forms of democratic economic planning and coordination between economic enterprises have also been proposed by various computer scientists and radical economists. Proponents present decentralized and participatory economic planning as an alternative to market socialism for a post-capitalist society.Decentralized-planning has been proposed as a basis for socialism and has been variously advocated by democratic socialists, council communists and anarchists who advocate a non-market form of socialism, in total rejection of Soviet-type central economic planning. Some writers such as Robin Cox have argued that decentralised planning allows for a spontaneously self-regulating system of stock control (relying solely on calculation in kind) to come about and that in turn decisively overcomes the objections raised by the economic calculation argument that any large scale economy must necessarily resort to a system of market prices.Free association (Marxism and anarchism)
Free association, also known as free association of producers, is a relationship among individuals where there is no state, social class, authority, or private ownership of means of production. Once private property is abolished, individuals are no longer deprived of access to means of production, thus enabling them to freely associate without social constraint to produce and reproduce their own conditions of existence and fulfill their individual and creative needs and desires. The term is used by anarchists and Marxists and is often considered a defining feature of a fully developed communist society.
The concept of free association becomes more clear around the concept of the proletariat. The proletarian is someone who has no property nor any means of production and therefore to survive sells the only thing that they have, namely their abilities (the labour power) to those owning the means of production. The existence of individuals deprived of property and livelihood allows owners (or capitalists) to find in the market an object of consumption that thinks and acts (human abilities), which they use in order to accumulate increasing capital in exchange for the wage that maintains the survival of the proletarians. The relationship between proletarians and owners of the means of production is thereby a forced association in which the proletarian is only free to sell his labor power in order to survive. By selling his productive capacity in exchange for the wage which ensures survival, the proletarian puts his practical activity under the will of the buyer (the owner), becoming alienated from his/her own actions and products, in a relationship of domination and exploitation. Free association would be the form of society created if private property was abolished in order to allow individuals to freely dispose of the means of production, which would bring about an end to class society, i.e. there would be no more owners neither proletarians, nor state, but only freely associated individuals. For instance, Karl Marx often called it a "community of freely associated individuals".
The abolition of private property by a free association of producers is the original goal of the communists and anarchists and it is identified with anarchy and communism itself. However, the evolution of various trends have led some to virtually abandon the goal or to put it in the background in face of other tasks while others believe free association should guide all challenges to the status quo. Advocates of anarchism and council communism promote free association as the practical basis for the fundamental transformation of society at all levels, from the everyday level (such as the search of a libertarian interpersonal relationship, critique of the family, consumerism, criticism of conformist and obedient behavior) to the level of world society as a whole (such as the fight against the state and against the ruling class in all countries, the destruction of national borders, support for self-organized struggle of the oppressed, attacks on property, support to wildcat strikes and to workers and unemployed autonomous struggles).Jacques Roux
Jacques Roux (21 August 1752 – 10 February 1794) was a radical Roman Catholic priest who took an active role in politics during the French Revolution. He skillfully expounded the ideals of popular democracy and classless society to crowds of Parisian sans-culottes, working class wage earners and shopkeepers, radicalizing them into a dangerous revolutionary force. He became a leader of a popular far-left.Lothar Gall
Lothar Gall (born 3 December 1936 in Lötzen, East Prussia, present day Poland) is a German historian, "one of German liberalism's primary historians". He was professor of history at Goethe University Frankfurt from 1975 until his retirement in 2005.
Gall's doctoral thesis examined the political thought of Benjamin Constant, and its influence in Vormärz Germany. His next book was a regional study of liberalism in Baden between 1848 and 1871. This informed an influential 1975 article about the effects of the 1848 revolution upon German liberalism: Gall argued that the revolution transformed liberalism from a constitutional movement committed to a classless society of burghers to an economically bourgeois ideology committed to free-market capitalism. His biography of Otto von Bismarck has been translated into English.People's capitalism
Not to be confused with James S. Albus's economic concept known as "Peoples' Capitalism"."People's capitalism" was an American propaganda meme popularized in the mid-1950s as a name for the American economic system by the Ad Council's Theodore Repplier. It was endorsed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower for worldwide use by the United States Information Agency, which employed the term to trumpet the successful aspects of the American economy worldwide during the Cold War. The propagandists depicted the United States as a classless society of prospering workers versus societies of "slaves" in the Soviet Union and China. Repplier had come to believe that capitalism had been marked by "an unpleasant odor" and felt that an international campaign hailing the American capitalist system was called for.However, Repplier was not the actual inventor of the meme that the United States had reached the ideal of classless existence. "Our houses are all on one level, like our class structure", proclaimed a 1953 issue of the Hearst magazine House Beautiful.
The propaganda campaign was first tested at an exhibition hailing the progress driven by the "people's capitalism" in Washington, D.C. in 1956, contravening a purely formal ban on propaganda aimed at Americans passed through the 1948 Smith–Mundt Act. The regime then arranged for "people's capitalism" exhibits at international fairs worldwide. The meme was concurrently picked up domestically by supportive voices in the leading organs of the American press, who praised the American system of "people's capitalism" in Life and The New York Times. The propaganda was not ignored in the Soviet Union as a 1956 Pravda editorial by Dmitry Shepilov noted: In the United States the 'new capitalism' myth has been elevated to an official state doctrine, and the propagation of this 'people's capitalism' has been assigned to a special government information agency. [...] The information agency has even organized a special 'People's Capitalism' exhibition that will be put on display at fairs all over the world. Yet 'people's capitalism' is as absurd an idea as fried ice!Pink Decade
The Pink Decade in Malayalam Poetry is the term used by some literary critics to describe the period in Malayalam literature (roughly the late 1940s and early 1950s) in which a brigade of young poets inspired by the ideals of scientific socialism and Marxist world view were active in creating ‘revolutionary’ poetry.
The term Pink Decade is to be taken as a figurative epithet rather than in its literal sense because these poets or their works cannot be confined within the span of a single decade.
Some poets belonging to this period are P. Bhaskaran, Vayalar Ramavarma. Thirunalloor Karunakaran, O N V Kurup, Punaloor Balan and Puthussery Ramachandran.
Though these writers initially shared some characteristics in common like a romantic vision of a classless society, a simple style directly addressing the masses and themes picked from the daily life of the common man, they later developed distinct poetic identities of their own.Primitive communism
Primitive communism is a concept originating from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels who argued that hunter-gatherer societies were traditionally based on egalitarian social relations and common ownership. A primary inspiration for both Marx and Engels were Lewis Henry Morgan's descriptions of "communism in living" as practised by the Iroquois Nation of North America. In Marx's model of socioeconomic structures, societies with primitive communism had no hierarchical social class structures or capital accumulation.Engels offered the first detailed theorization of primitive communism in 1884, with publication of The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State. Marx and Engels used the term more broadly than Marxists did later, and applied it not only to hunter-gatherers but also to some subsistence agriculture communities. There is also no agreement among later scholars, including Marxists, on the historical extent, or longevity, of primitive communism.
Marx and Engels also noted how capitalist accumulation latched itself onto social organizations of primitive communism. For instance, in private correspondence the same year that The Origin of the Family was published, Engels attacked European colonialism, describing the Dutch regime in Java directly organizing agricultural production and profiting from it, "on the basis of the old communistic village communities". He added that cases like the Dutch East Indies, British India and the Russian Empire showed "how today primitive communism furnishes ... the finest and broadest basis of exploitation".Red Party (Norway)
The Red Party (Bokmål: Rødt, Nynorsk: Raudt, Northern Sami: Ruoksat) is a Norwegian far-left political party and the leading party to the left of the Socialist Left Party in Norway. The party was founded in March 2007 by a merger of the Workers' Communist Party and the Red Electoral Alliance. Bjørnar Moxnes is the Red Party's current leader.
Red states that a classless society is its ultimate goal in its own official political program. They further specify that "this is what Karl Marx called communism". The label is a result of many of the party's leading members promoting communist values, either currently or previously; notable examples are Erling Folkvord and former party leader Torstein Dahle. The party's main principles are based on replacing capitalism with a socialist society, including a strong public sector and nationalization of large businesses, while its core ideology espouses the revolutionary socialist aims for "the workers" to "take the power", and the creation of new legislatures. However, the party makes clear that it does not support violent "armed revolution" formerly espoused by its predecessors.Red has 10 county council representatives nationwide and 80 municipal representatives. In the 2013 parliamentary election, it was the largest party which failed to win a seat. The party entered parliament in the 2017 election, winning 2.4% of the votes and its first seat ever in the Storting. The last time a far-left party had representation in the Storting was when its predecessor party, the Red Electoral Alliance, won a seat in the 1993 election.Religious communism
Religious communism is a form of communism that incorporates religious principles. Scholars have used the term to describe a variety of social or religious movements throughout history that have favored the communal ownership of property.Social class
A social class is a set of subjectively defined concepts in the social sciences and political theory centered on models of social stratification in which people are grouped into a set of hierarchical social categories, the most common being the upper, middle and lower classes.
"Class" is a subject of analysis for sociologists, political scientists, anthropologists and social historians. However, there is not a consensus on a definition of "class" and the term has a wide range of sometimes conflicting meanings. In common parlance, the term "social class" is usually synonymous with "socio-economic class", defined as "people having the same social, economic, cultural, political or educational status", e.g., "the working class"; "an emerging professional class". However, academics distinguish social class and socioeconomic status, with the former referring to one's relatively stable sociocultural background and the latter referring to one's current social and economic situation and consequently being more changeable over time.The precise measurements of what determines social class in society has varied over time. Karl Marx thought "class" was defined by one's relationship to the means of production (their relations of production). His simple understanding of classes in modern capitalist society are the proletariat, those who work but do not own the means of production; and the bourgeoisie, those who invest and live off the surplus generated by the proletariat's operation of the means of production. This contrasts with the view of the sociologist Max Weber, who argued "class" is determined by economic position, in contrast to "social status" or "Stand" which is determined by social prestige rather than simply just relations of production. The term "class" is etymologically derived from the Latin classis, which was used by census takers to categorize citizens by wealth in order to determine military service obligations.In the late 18th century, the term "class" began to replace classifications such as estates, rank and orders as the primary means of organizing society into hierarchical divisions. This corresponded to a general decrease in significance ascribed to hereditary characteristics and increase in the significance of wealth and income as indicators of position in the social hierarchy.Social class in New Zealand
Social class in New Zealand is a product of both Māori and Western social structures. New Zealand, a first world country, was traditionally supposed to be a 'classless society' but this claim is problematic in a number of ways, and has been clearly untrue since at least the 1980s as it has become easier to distinguish between the wealthy and the underclass.Stateless society
A stateless society is a society that is not governed by a state, or, especially in common American English, has no government. In stateless societies, there is little concentration of authority; most positions of authority that do exist are very limited in power and are generally not permanently held positions; and social bodies that resolve disputes through predefined rules tend to be small. Stateless societies are highly variable in economic organization and cultural practices.While stateless societies were the norm in human prehistory, few stateless societies exist today; almost the entire global population resides within the jurisdiction of a sovereign state. In some regions nominal state authorities may be very weak and wield little or no actual power. Over the course of history most stateless peoples have been integrated into the state-based societies around them.Some political philosophies, particularly anarchism, consider the state an unwelcome institution and stateless societies the ideal.
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Schools of thought