The Boundary Question
The identification of class boundaries in class analysis often takes a static and somewhat arbitrary form. Classes are sometimes identified by drawing an imaginary line between two strata, with the line forming the boundaries between the classes. Such arbitrary approaches ignore the political objective of class analysis, which is to understand the origins and nature of classes and class conflict ( Meiksins, 1986). The "boundary question" has its significance in the ability of class analysis to identify the potential for unity within highly segmented and diversified classes.
The identification of class boundaries is not a purely academic exercise. Class boundaries are determined through theoretical, empirical, and political analysis. The decision to view so-called middle-class people as part of one class or another is important for political reasons because such decisions have implications for class-based political strategies. If we fail to understand the class location of a particular stratum, we risk making two errors that I label the errors of "false comrades" and "false enemies."
The first error is the problem of false comrades. We commit this error when we include people in a class to which they really do not belong. The falsely included person or group is considered a class member and supporter when in fact they are at best a class ally. The error of false comrades leads to the political error of building