What is Proletarian Theory?



by Proletarian Alternative

(September 1, 2014)


Proletarian theory [dialectical and historical materialism] is the most advanced theory of the working class. It is in constant development, never a done deal or set of formulas that could be fit onto objective reality. Even Marx and Engels went through a set of rectifications and deepening of proletarian theory, especially after the Paris Commune. They transitioned from being social democrats [non-proletarian revolutionaries] to being proletarian revolutionaries.


Thus we encounter some level of eclecticism in Marx; for example he spoke of profit both as an added sum, and as a societal form of organization in which the center pole is surplus value. Surplus value is the source and origin of all types of capital and of capital accumulation [except early mercantile capitalism to a certain extent].


At this time we identify Marxism as proletarian theory. Marxism-Leninism was a necessary political demarcation from other theories claiming to be the theory of the working class. We do believe this demarcation has reached a point of maturity. It is time for the working class to reclaim our theory.

What is not proletarian theory?

  • It is not the capacity to quote relentlessly from Marx and others (which entails turning their contributions into a Bible).
  • It is not the capacity to study Marx and others in a study group or in school.
  • It is not a title in a nametag. It is not simply declaring [or even believing] oneself a communist or socialist or Marxist or any other label.
  • It is not wearing a red star in your lapel, or waving a red flag.
  • It is not the attempt to try to fit theories onto objective reality.
  • It is not writing a political program or economic plan.


Then what is it?

  • Proletarian theory is the capacity to analyze any social formation from the interest of the working class, in order to transform it.
  • It is the capacity to learn from the specific contributions of others [Marx and other proletarian revolutionaries] in order to use them as guidelines for practice, to transform reality, with the unconditional participation of the working class.
  • It is the capacity to construct a theory of one’s own social formation, and simultaneously construct a political line in order to detach the popular masses [especially the proletariat] from under the stronghold of the dominant classes. Mao detached the masses from Confucianism [a feudalistic ideology] to construct a line to defeat imperialist domination/occupation and the dominant classes in China.
  • The constant collective production of proletarian theory is to face the constant development of objective reality, in the interest of the working class and inside the working class movement.
  • It is the constant practice of consolidation and rectification of theory, in the constant battle between idealism and materialism, for the triumph of materialism.
  • The center of the production of proletarian theory is the revolutionary proletarian organization, the most advanced political detachment of the working class.
  • Proletarian theory will guide the proletariat and the masses to overthrow the dictatorship of the capitalist class, for the establishment of proletarian dictatorship (socialism), and for the constant breakdown of the proletarian state in the process of advancing toward communism (collective, classless society).
  • It is a proletarian line that will guide the proletariat and the masses, under the leadership of the proletariat, to socialism and communism.
  • Proletarian theory is class struggle of the proletariat against capital. Capital is class struggle of the capitalist class against the masses, especially the proletariat, since surplus value [the source of all capital] is an extraction from the labor power of the working class, internal to the process of production.
  • Proletarian theory is the theory of the international working class. It is the collective property of the international working class. The working class now needs to reclaim our theory, strip it away from the radical petite bourgeoisie, and appropriate it as our collective property in order to unify the masses for the long term objective of defeating capitalism and transforming society in our interests. No more personality cults! Collectivize theory!