Chris Cutrone thinks the idea of socialism has been “disenchanted” and this disenchantment is linked to a jarring lack of class consciousness among the working class and the class struggle between capitalist and workers:
“The difference between Marx’s time and ours is not in the essential problem of society, its self-contradictory form of value between wages and capital, but rather in the social and political conflicts, which no longer take the form primarily, as in Marx’s time, of the “class struggle” between workers and capitalists. “Class” has become a passive, objective category, rather than an active, subjective one, as it had been in Marx’s day and in the time of historical Marxism. What Marxists once meant by “class consciousness” is no more.”
In place of the class struggle of the workers against the capitalists, conflicts of culture, ethnicity and religion replace the struggle over capitalism. Socialism has been replaced with competing notions of social justice that borrow from ancient values; and cultural affinities seem to matter more than socioeconomic interests. Capitalism still determines social relations, but it is no longer recognized. What matter is not one’s class position in society, but “whether one lives in a ‘red or blue state,’ or what one’s ‘race, gender, and sexuality’ are”.
Cutrone’s essay is extremely pessimistic, but is it wrong?