The two classes are the proletariat (the working class), who make up the majority of the population within society and must work to survive; and the bourgeoisie (the capitalist class), a small minority who derives profit from employing the working class through private ownership of the means of production. According to this analysis, revolution would put the working class in power and in turn establish social ownership of the means of production which is the primary element in the transformation of society towards communism.
As a leading intellectual in the New Culture Movement, Li was recruited by Cai Yuanpei to head the library at Peking University. In this position he influenced a number of students in the May Fourth Movement, including Mao Zedong, who worked in the library's reading room. Li was among the first of the Chinese intellectuals to look to China's villages as a basis for a political movement and was among the earliest to explore the Bolshevik government in the Soviet Union as a possible model for China's reform. Even as late as 1921, however, he still maintained warm relations with other New Culture figures such as Hu Shi.
By many accounts, Li was a nationalist and believed that the peasantry in China were to play an important role in China's revolution. As with many intellectuals of his time, the roots of Li's revolutionary thinking were actually mostly in Kropotkin's communist anarchism, but after the events of the May Fourth Movement and the failures of the anarchistic experiments of many intellectuals, like his compatriots, he turned more towards Marxism. Of course, the success of the Bolshevik Revolution was a major factor in the changing of his views. In later years, Li combined both his original nationalist and newly acquired Marxist views in order to contribute a strong political view to China.
However, underneath the conservative popular base is I the substratum of the outcasts and outsiders, the exploited and persecuted of other races and other colors, the unemployed and the unemployable. They exist outside the democratic process; their life is the most immediate and the most real need for ending intolerable conditions and institutions. Thus their opposition is revolutionary even if their consciousness is not. Their opposition hits the system from without and is therefore not deflected by the system; it is an elementary force which violates the rules of the game and, in doing so, reveals it as a rigged game. When they get together and go out into the streets, without arms, without protection, in order to ask for the most primitive civil rights, they know that they face dogs, stones, and bombs, jail, concentration camps, even death. Their force is behind every political demonstration for the victims of law and order. The fact that they start refusing to play the game may be the fact which marks the beginning of the end of a period.