A senior Obama administration official defended the efficacy of “class warfare” on his personal blog Monday by quoting the political philosopher and communist theorist Karl Marx.
Rick Bookstaber, who currently serves on the Financial Stability Oversight Council, the federal body established under the Dodd-Frank Act to “ensure the stability of our nation’s financial system,” took issue with conservative commentator Tucker Carlson’s accusations that liberals were engaging in “class warfare” by seeking to blame the nation’s fiscal problems on a small number of wealthy individuals.
“There is little that matches the artfulness of the rich in waving off criticism of the widening income gap as ‘class warfare,’” Bookstaber wrote. “And there is little that matches the gullibility of the rest in following along.”
“I am not picking sides in this war,” he added, “but I believe such a war is justifiable, and indeed ultimately inevitable.”
Bookstaber explained further, citing Marx:
During the industrial revolution class warfare centered on the length of the working day. A tightly defined working day only appeared with the advent of the industrial revolution. Before then laborers worked when they needed money, and then quit for a time once they fulfilled their needs. But regimentation and a dependable workforce became necessary once there was machinery to run and capital invested, and so with industrialization came the an enforced workday. So it is not surprising that Marx stated the central battle of class warfare at the time in terms of the working day:
The capitalist maintains his rights as a purchaser when he tries to make the working-day as long as possible, and to make, whenever possible, two working-days out of one. On the other hand, the peculiar nature of the commodity sold implies a limit to its consumption by the purchaser, and the laborer maintains his right as seller when he wishes to reduce the working-day to one of definite normal duration. There is here, therefore, an antinomy, right against right, both equally bearing the seal of the law of exchanges. Between equal rights force decides. Hence is it that in the history of capitalist production, the determination of what is a working-day, presents itself as the result of a struggle, a struggle between collective capital, i.e., the class of capitalists, and collective labour, i.e., the working-class. – Marx, Das Kapital
Marx’s work was widely appropriated throughout the 20th century by countries such as China and the former Soviet Union. Tens of millions of people were slaughtered under those regimes.