I would claim that the question of whether we should be describing capitalist society with two classes or with three classes is a crucial one for modern communists. It is naturally one that has debated back-and-forth in various contentious forms for a while.
The simplest, though not necessarily the most illuminating, form of this is “are teachers part of the working class”. We can begin by observing;
1) To say that teachers are absolutely not part of the working class has a problematic “slippery slope” quality to it. The modern world is filled with low-level bureaucrats, “service workers”, and similar wage-laborers who’s job is at least partly centered around control, management and conditioning (or people whose skills might be considered a form of “intellectual capital”). This approach can involve a variety of arbitrary judgements or “reducio ad absurdo” arguments – for MIM Notes, only those third world workers paid the “global minimum wage” qualify as proletarian whereas for the “Nihilist Communists” a different small group qualifies as the “essential proletariat”.
2) To say that teacher absolutely are without worries part of the proletariat also results in some very problematic positions. There is no doubt that in many and ambiguous ways, a “middle class” exists today, meaning that a more educated sector of wage labors today imagines a return to a “sane” civil society where their bureaucratic role still has meaning. “It will be a great day when The Department of Defense has to hold a bake sale and teachers get to sit on $2000 toilets in between talking to corrupt subcontractors”. One notable weakness of the recent Occupy movements was the variety of unemployed professional who wanted to use the event to practice their skills of media-production, political organizing or labor-organizing.
So, clearly I think the truth is somewhere in between. One might argue that in a situation like that of the Bangladesh garment workers, class relations are unamibuous and that such factories unambiguously drain the life of their workers, putting them in the “nothing to lose but their chains” position right now. However, I would claim the question of a teachers’ movement has to look at whether and what point those with some small authority within capital’s bureaucratic machine are willing to “bite the hand that feeds them”. It is not impossible but it is not given.
This relates to the, uh, multitude of graduate students and even college professor who currently can be found in the “communization milleau”. That will be for another exciting episode.