The working class is the segment of society that produces wealth through labor. In Marxist theory, the working class is often called the proletariat
Class consciousness and joint political activity
Family formationDue to the decrease in industrial jobs due to globalization wages of male workers have fallen slightly over the period from 1980 to 2012 while due to increased equality wages of female workers have increased slightly over the same period. This, and changing social mores, have resulted in a sharply reduced rate of family formation, with over 50% of the children born to women under 30 in 2009 born out of wedlock.
“Women used to rely on men, but we don’t need to anymore,” “We support ourselves. We support our kids.”
For the most part the working class in the United States is not organized; only 12% of American workers are in unions of any type. The number of industrial workers in the United States is decreasing mainly due to increased productivity resulting from deployment of labor-saving equipment although outsourcing plays some role.
Capitalist political parties
The vast majority of the white working class in the United States vote for the candidates put forth by the two capitalist political parties which dominate the two-party system. This large demographic with generally traditional moral values have functioned as swing voters during the last half of the 20th century. Their support was vital to the election of Ronald Reagan with respect to which they are sometimes referred to as "Reagan Democrats". This group was impacted by the civil rights movement and by globalization which resulted in expansion of the global labor pool to include low-wage workers in other countries. Their pivotal role results in generous promises by both parties, particularly with respect to "jobs", but neither party is prepared to abandon their corporate donors whose profits depend on the low-wage labor of illegal immigrants and off-shoring of production to low-wage markets. Both parties appeal to values, reactionary "family values" in the case of the Republicans and progressive social values in the case of Democrats, while vigorously pursuing imperialism and globalization when in office.
- Page 18, "Class in Marx’s Conception of History, Ancient and Modern" essay by Geoffrey de Ste. Croix originally published in New Left Review, First series, volume 146, July-August 1984 reprinted in Karl Marx's Social and Political Thought: Critical Assessments of Leading Political Philosophers Second Series, Volume Vi, edited by Bob Jessop and Russell Wheatley, Routledge, Taylor and Francis Ltd (1999), hardcover, 2928 pages, ISBN-10: 0415193265 ISBN-13: 9780415193269
- "For Women Under 30, Most Births Occur Outside Marriage" article by Jason DeParle and Sabrina Tavernise in The New York Times February 17, 2012
- "Making It in America" article by Adam Davidson in The Atlantic January-February, 2012, accessed January 24, 2012
- "The Death and Life of the US Labor Movement" article by Chris Maisano in Democratic Left, the publication of the Democratic Socialists of America, Fall 2011
- For purposes of analysis by capitalist parties of the prospects for working class support the definition, "white working-class voters are defined as those of all ages with incomes of $30,000 to $75,000 with no college education" "Tough Fight Ahead for White Blue-Collar Votes" political analysis by Richard W. Stevenson in The New York Times January 13, 2012
- "Tough Fight Ahead for White Blue-Collar Votes" political analysis by Richard W. Stevenson in The New York Times January 13, 2012
- The impact of the civil rights movement was more on their consciousness than on their actual job or educational prospects.