States, Ideologies, and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of Iran, Nicaragua, and the Philippines

By Misagh Parsa | Go to book overview

6
Workers: rebels with dual targets

Urban workers also participated in the insurgencies against the state in Iran, Nicaragua, and the Philippines. Any analysis of workers in revolutionary Conflicts must take into account Karl Marx's theory of revolution. Marx's analysis focused primarily on class con Xict and class struggle. He argued that workers' economic exploitation under advanced, industrial capitalism generated a common interest among the proletariat to oppose the capitalist system. Industrial workers, who were concentrated in large factories, Marx argued, would develop class consciousness and adopt radical political ideology. He maintained that with increased solidarity and organization, workers would, in time, rise up against capitalism, seize state power, and establish socialism. Although none of the three cases in this study can be considered advanced capitalist countries, the Conflicts and struggles of workers were critical in the insurgencies and political developments of these countries. But Marx's class analysis could not accurately predict the outcome of the Conflicts in the three cases studied here. As will be seen, workers' ideological transformation and radicalism may threaten privileged social classes and prevent coalition formation, which is significant to revolutions in the absence of military defeat or breakdown.

Located near the bottom rung of the stratification system in all three countries, workers saw their interests adversely affected by both the state and employers. As a result, workers had the potential to target both the state and the capitalist class. Workers' political demands were directed against the state because they were excluded from the polity and repressed by the government, which pursued policies geared toward rapid capital accumulation. At the same time, workers' economic conXicts induced them to target employers and demand higher wages, benefits, or other work-related improvements. Furthermore, workers' target of attack was affected by the level of state intervention. Workers attacked the government where state intervention was high and the government was the principal employer. On the other hand, workers attacked the capitalists where state intervention was lower and private

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