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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Proletarian \Prol`e*ta"ri*an\, a. [L. proletarius. See Proletary.] Of or pertaining to the proletaries; belonging to the commonalty; hence, mean; vile; vulgar. ``Every citizen, if he were not a proletarian animal kept at the public cost.''
--De Quincey. -- n. A proletary.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1650s (n.) "member of the lowest class;" 1660s (adj.) "of the lowest class of people;" with -ian + Latin proletarius "citizen of the lowest class" (as an adjective, "relating to offspring"), in ancient Rome, propertyless people, exempted from taxes and military service, who served the state only by having children; from proles "offspring, progeny" (see prolific).


a. Of or relating to the proletariat. n. A member of the proletariat

  1. adj. the lowest class of citizens of ancient Rome who had no property [syn: propertyless] [ant: patrician, plebeian]

  2. belonging to or characteristic of the proletariat

  3. n. a member of the working class (not necessarily employed); "workers of the world--unite!" [syn: prole, worker]

Proletarian (magazine)

Proletarian is a British bi-monthly political, communist magazine. It is published by the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist–Leninist).

Proletarian (journal)

Proletarian was a journal produced by a small far-left organisation active in the United Kingdom in the 1980s, which is generally also referred to as Proletarian. The organisation was known for its extreme pro- Soviet stance.

The Proletarian group emerged from a split in the New Communist Party (NCP). The NCP had been founded in 1977 by members of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) who disagreed with the direction that party was taking, perceiving that it had abandoned Marxism-Leninism in favour of social democracy. This was heavily linked to the NCP's support for the Soviet Union and the CPGB's more critical stance on that entity.

Proletarian consisted of a small group around Keith Nelson. There were members in London, Dorset, Brighton and Bristol. According to one source, it had about twenty members. Initially, they were not a separate organisation but rather a faction within the NCP. The faction emerged in 1981. They argued that the NCP’s newspaper, The New Worker, should be aimed at raising the level of politically advanced workers. Specifically they looked towards CPGB which they believed was corrupt but had to be saved as it was the largest party for the politically conscious members of the working-class. The leadership of the NCP, however, was adamant that the paper should be aimed towards ordinary workers.

The group was ultimately expelled from the NCP in 1982. It went on to produce a journal, Proletarian, centred on the aims that the group was originally formed for; that is appealing to the CPGB's membership base. Two issues were published, the first in 1983 and the second in 1984. Selected articles and correspondence was published in 1987. The specific political stance taken by the journal was a strongly pro-Soviet one.

The group dissolved in 1988. One reason appears to have been disagreements between Keith Nilsen, founder and leading member, and a number of members who accused him of not abiding by political committee decisions.

Usage examples of "proletarian".

Ernest Bcvin, that other unvarnished proletarian who rose to lead a labor movement, Meany despised the Communists.

I am one of the dispossessed, a sansculotte, a proletarian, or, in simpler phraseology addressed to your understanding, a tramp.

As proletarians, we have unwaveringly supported the Bolshevist regime in all our propaganda.

It is our task now to sum up the practical revolutionary experience of the working class, to cleanse the movement of its admixtures of opportunism and social patriotism, and to gather together the forces of all the true revolutionary proletarian parties in order to further and hasten the complete victory of the Communist revolution.

This set off actors underlay the great economic crisis of 1929-a crisis of both capitalist overinvestment and proletarian underconsumption in the dominant capitalist countries.

Quite proletarian in appearance, they were being watched with vague, discreet apprehension by the auctioneers, smooth men in business suits who looked as if they might just have flown in from New York.

Brave words and muddled thinking cannot disguise the fact that Mr Orwell, like all the other supporters of the war, shipping magnates, coal owners, proletarians, university professors, Sunday journalists, trade-union leaders, Church dignitaries, scoundrels and honest men, is being swept along by history, not directing it.

The colours spoke to her of custard, of blancmange a leaden meat tea served on pastel plates, the desiccation of a proletarian wake for some tyrant grandad, or some pub parrot of a granny, mad these thirty years.

I believe we are passing into a classless period, and what we call proletarian literature is one of the signs of the change.

La Societé colombophile lilloise—the Lille Society of Pigeon-fanciers—is large and active, with hundreds, it could even be thousands, of members, and with several meeting halls in the proletarian districts of the city.

At this stage, therefore, the proletarians do not fight their enemies, but the enemies of their enemies, the remnants of absolute monarchy, the landowners, the non-industrial bourgeois, the petty bourgeois.

At this stage, therefore, the proletarians do not fight their enemies, but the enemies of their enemies, the remnants of absolute monarchy, the landowners, the non-industrial bourgeois, the petty bourgeoisie.

When we are born we do not choose whether we are to be born capitalists or proletarians, but if the latter we are among the elect, and if the former we are not Without any choice on our own parts, by the working of economic determinism, we are fated to be on the right side in the one case, and on the wrong side in the other.

But at Pilade’s the reporter also felt like an exploited proletarian, a producer of surplus value chained to an ideological assembly line, and the students forgave him.

It was a proletarian crowd, women in cheap cotton shirtwaists, men in shirts without collars and wearing flat cloth caps on their heads, not bourgeois homburgs and fedoras or capitalist stovepipes.