Two documents on the question of the “labour aristocracy”


Green Left discussion list, March 16, 2004

A.J. Polan’s book, Lenin and and the End of Politicscontains a lucid and explanatory discussion of Lenin’s theory of imperialism and the associated question of the role of an “aristocracy of labour” in the development of reformism in the labour movement in Europe and the US.

This extract is of value for its overview of the issues and because the notes provide a useful coverage of the literature on this question.

This short extract from The Struggle for Socialism in the Imperialist Epoch, a 1984 resolution of the Australian Socialist Workers Party (later the DSP) is of interest because its view of the “aristocracy of labour” question differs somewhat from the present view of the DSP leadership.

These observations on the labour aristocracy question are obviously influenced by the Australian SWP’s rather negative experiences during what was called “the turn to industry”, which lasted from about 1978 to 1983 in Australia.


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