The bearers of middle-class philosophy, who took up their stand as critics of capitalism in the working-class movement at the time when that movement was still in the stage merely of a critical attitude towards capitalism, and who brought in with them a peculiarly lower middle-class outlook, feel disillusioned when the era of decisive battle arrives. Their supremacy in the realm of ideas can continue no longer; while it is beyond their powers to free themselves from the lower middle-class-world-concept.
This is what Marx says in his “Eighteenth Brumaire,” in which he gives a masterly analysis of this lower middle-class outlook, on the subject of these “representatives” of the Labour movement — or, to speak more correctly, of these leeches which have attached themselves to it:
“By their upbringing and individual position, the former can be as far apart from the latter as heaven and earth. What makes them the spokesmen of the lower middle class is the fact that their thoughts do not leave the path in which the latter’s whole life moves, and that therefore they come, by a theoretical road, to the same problems and solutions as the lower middle class reaches in actual life. Such, in general, is the relation between the political and literary representatives of a class and the class itself.”
Marx was merciless in dealing with this kind of poisoners of proletarian class-consciousness. The whole Labour movement ought to be the same. With the weapons of ridicule and hatred he fought against the “heroes” of the French social democracy of the time — the political movement which represented an unlawful union between the lower middle class and the proletariat.
He wished to separate the Labour movement from all lower middle class elements, because the lower middle class attitude — attachment to the idea of private property, more or less open striving to uphold credit, terror of every fundamental social disturbance — is in practice the greatest internal enemy of the proletariat and the proletarian revolution.
– Bela Kun, “Marx and the Middle Classes”