For Marxists class relations are nothing other than relations of exploitation. Class exists when one group of people appropriate the hard work of another group of people.
By focusing on class Marxists are not saying that the issues of black people, women, people of colour, and so on are less important. That is an absurd distortion of Marxism.
On the contrary, Marxists are saying that to destroy patriarchy one has to destroy the exploitation of women. As long as the exploitation of women continues, all other changes will remain cosmetic.
They are saying that to destroy racism it is important to destroy the system of exploitation of black people. All other changes are mere tokenism.
To destroy imperialism the brutal neoliberal exploitation of the third world must come to an end.

To destroy national oppression the system of robbing other nations of their wealth has to come to an end.
Marxists are accused of “class reductionism”. By this is meant that we “ignore” other problems such as race, gender, national oppression, and so on.
But any informed reader just has to see the enormous quantity and quality of Marxist literature produced on these questions to conclude that this is utter nonsense.
What Marxism teaches is to first and foremost examine the relationship of exploitation in each domain of social conflict. And secondly, in the realm of politics, it exhorts us to push forward the question of exploitation to the front of the agenda in each struggle.
It teaches us that those who benefit from these exploitative relationships are ready and willing to concede all cultural and political changes to oppositional movement so long as the relationship of exploitation remains intact.
The one change they are not willing to concede is to alter the relationship that gives them real power over others. The relationship that makes them rich. The relationship that allows them to enjoy the fruits of other people's hard work.
All cultural, legal, and political changes will fail to solve the problems of oppression as long as the relationship of exploitation remains intact. As long as these changes do not bring exploitation to an end they will always fail to resolve the problem.
That’s not reductionism. That is the lesson that the rich and powerful don’t want you to learn.
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