Maybe I’m just writing in a confused way. First I said something like, well can’t we often think about what corporations generally do, and how people inside them act in the light of the institutional relations they have to the corporation, rather than start from class. You say, well as soon as you take that line of thought anywhere useful you *are* talking about class, because those relations separate people into classes and that has everything to do with how the corporations act. That’s class analysis. So the choice I was posing doesn’t make any sense.
That looks right; I was being unclear. I vaguely had in mind on the one hand (a) “things that corporations do” as a result of the relations that define them, which admittedly has a great deal to do with class, and (b) “things that a capitalists do” other than the things they do directly through corporations i.e. anything they do that can’t be reduced to (a). Even this division isn’t even very clear cut I guess. It seems to me like the latter was a bit like “friction for the pendulum.” E.g. for your example of downward pressure on welfare we can talk about the capitalists doing it, but it seems like they are almost always acting through the corporations (and subsidiary bodies like business roundtables etc.) to do so, so this is (a). For a clear example of (b) I pointed to angry rich students who may not have any direct relation to a corporation at all (you’re right, this kind of thing can be much more important than I painted it).
Most of the important dynamics seems to be (a) to me. At this point though I think I was just confused, because I can no longer see why this distinction is that crucally important…