Classes do not exist
initially "in themselves" (as themselves, defined by production or by the economy)
and subsequently "in struggle" (involved in politics). They only exist as opposed
and antagonistic organic forces. They therefore define themselves in practice
by their movement of opposition and struggle inherent in the relations of "production"
and in the antagonistic interests which they imply. Not "production" in the
immediate sense of referring exclusively to the production of things, but in
the global sense, as the reproduction of the species, reproduction of exploitation,
reproduction of two irreconcilable camps: exploited and exploiters, the reproduction
of private property and an ever-growing mass of beings deprived by the property
of others, deprived of all necessary means of ensuring their conditions of life...
and, finally, the ever more intense reproduction of the antagonism between property
owners (defenders of the world of private property) and those whose very existence
opposes itself to them in the totality of their practical life in this world.
Therefore proletariat and bourgeoisie are defined
by their mutual antagonism: the bourgeoisie as the personification of the
capitalist relations of production, as the party of conservation, as a reactionary
force; the proletariat as the negation of the whole of present society, as
the party of destruction, bearer of communism.