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A proletariat (often shortened, "prole" in slang) is a term commonly used by Communists, to describe the class of workers in an urban area, who work in the service industry or the manufacturing industry. These urban workers are different from the peasants, who are workers who do farming jobs in rural areas.
The "proletariat" is a name for a segment of society as it is perceived, in the era of Capitalism. It is the laboring bulk of society that does most of the useful, necessary work, and, pays most of the taxes. It is also perceived by Capitalists as being necessary for precisely those reasons: labor and taxes, plus being available to exploit to produce profits!