Foxconn’s largest factory is in China and employs several hundred thousand workers (estimates range from 230,000 to 450,000 in this one factory); the western left needs to understand that the centre of gravity of the global working class has moved

by Susil Gupta

Every week over 100,000 people join the ranks of the proletariat.

When Engels wrote The Condition of the English Working Class in 1844, Manchester had a total population of 177,760, or 300,000 if you count all the surrounding borough and towns.  The first figure is estimated on the basis of the 1801 (90,000) and 1861 (338,900) census.

In 1861, the 4 largest English towns had populations of:

London – 2,804,000
Liverpool – 443,900
Manchester – 338,900
Birmingham – 296,000

Today there are:

500 metropolitan areas globally with a population of one million people or more.

Mainland China has 105 such areas. By 2030, China is projected to have 148 million-people cities.

The EU has 34 urban areas with populations of one million or more.

India has 58.

The United States has 45 million-people metro areas.

Latin America has 67 million-plus cities.

Future of Marxism

Conglomeration and urbanization do not automatically mean organization and politicization of the working class. But, if the insights of Marxism are only half true, they do in the long run.

Marxists in the West are living in a reactionary, self-serving, bubble. Because this mass urbanization and proletarization, a phenomena mainly of the last 25 years, has not yet found a political expression, it is totally ignored when forming their ‘world view’. But sooner or later the inevitable is going to happen when very large numbers of young workers are massed together.

A third-worldist argument?  Masses of these workers now work in factories far more advanced than anything in the West because western conglomerates install the latest plant. I was just about to write ‘Western leftists should wake up’ but, of course, this will never happen. What will happen sooner of later is the rebellion of the working class in emergent countries. The dead hand of 150 years of western labour history will become irrelevant and revolutionary Marxism will enter a new era.

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