The definition of Working Class
What is the "working class"?
If you read any source other Marx or Lenin you are likely to wind up confused and misinformed.
Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin made it extremely simple to understand.
"Classes are large groups of people differing from each other by the place they occupy in a historically determined system of social production, by their relation (in most cases fixed and formulated by law) to the means of production, by their role in the social organisation of labour, and, consequently, by the dimensions of the share of social wealth of which they dispose and their mode of acquiring it". (Vladimir I. Lenin: 'A Great Beginning: Heroism of the Workers in the Rear: 'Communist Subbotniks' in: 'Collected Works', Volume 29; Moscow; 1965; p. 421).
To Marxist-Leninists, therefore, the class to which a person belongs is determined by objective reality, not by someone's opinion.
On the basis of the above definition, Marxist-Leninists distinguish three basic classes in 19th century Britain:
"There are three great social groups, whose members... live on wages, profit and ground rent respectively". (Karl Marx: 'Capital: A Critique of Political Economy', Volume 3; Moscow; 1971; p. 886).
These three basic classes are 1) the proletariat or working class, 2) the bourgeoisie or capitalist class and 3) the landlord class, respectively.
A person's social class is determined not by the amount of his wealth, but by the source of his income.
Thus Kevin Durant may get paid $30 million, but he still calls someone far wealthier "boss" who can fire him for any/no reason. So he's working class.
Someone who owns six houses and lives on the rent may only make $80K a year, but he/she isn't working class. The landlord has different and conflicting economic interests than the worker.
Side note, the landlord/rentier class of Marx's day now includes large owners or debt, like Treasuries.
Marx's definitions are simple, logical, and measurable.
...and then there is every other source for the definition of working class.
Take this example.
Who is the working class?
As with any attempt to group Americans by class, there is no easy or commonly accepted definition. A recent report (an example of the flurry of activity and concern centered on this group) published by Opportunity America, the American Enterprise Institute (where I work) and the Brookings Institution offers a reasonable answer.
It defines the working class as consisting of adults between the ages of 25 and 64, who have graduated from high school but who have not completed a four-year college degree, and whose annual household income is greater than that of the bottom 20 percent of the population, but less than the median. For a household with two adults and one child, this amounts to annual income between roughly $30,000 and $69,000.
This is a "reasonable answer"?!? On what planet?
The measurements are arbitrary and based on nothing but someone's opinion.
Actually there is a "easy or commonly accepted definition", but capitalists cannot self-examine.
The point is that by taking this random and bizarre definition of "working class" you can come up with conclusions like these:
Given the data, the outsized influence the working class is currently exerting on the policy debate is all the more odd...
By definition, its members are not poor, and by important metrics they are faring better than the poor. They are not helpless victims of economic change, and should not be treated or discussed as such.
The whole point of ignoring the logical definition of working class is to confuse.
The most common and accepted way to do this is the capitalist creation of a fictional class - the middle class.
The terms “middle class” and “working class” are often used interchangeably, but the latter has increasingly become understood as a political identity. The concrete difference between the two often comes down to education. Working class individuals are generally non-college educated, while those in the middle class are more likely to be college graduates.
So the difference is education then?
So what does it mean if you select the wrong major in college and wind up working at Starbucks? Are you still middle class?
Once again this is nothing but a biased opinion because no one wants to approach the subject honestly.
Oftentimes the only common ground between middle- and working-class people is that they both labor at the behest of their bosses and others further up the class hierarchy.
You say that like it isn't obviously the most important thing!
People like to pretend this isn't important...until a financial crash hits. Then the reality of your employment situation becomes crystal clear.
Finally there are the liberals who's primary purpose to exist is to divide the working class against itself.
Take McCaskill’s quote from an interview this week with the New York Times. McCaskill told the Time’s Daily podcast about an encounter with a “good ‘ol boy” after the 2016 election who claimed to be an ex-Democrat who refused to vote for Hillary Clinton. According to McCaskill, the man said “I knew she (Clinton) cared about women, Mexicans, and homosexuals. But I sure knew she didn’t give a s**t about me.”
The quote oozes self-pity, but it fits perfectly with what separate studies from the University of Pennsylvania, UCLA, Princeton, the University of California, the University of Washington, and at least a half-dozen others have concluded: Trump’s support was driven by whites, especially the white working class, and their fear of losing status in an America steadily becoming more diverse in almost every way.
Or maybe when you spend all of your time talking about various identity groups, while intentionally not talking about whites, you are sending a clear message. Put another way, the guy was 100% correct.
OTOH, when a candidate like Bernie talks about Medicare For All, it is by definition For All, and thus polls well with both working class whites and working class minorities.