I was reading Chris Cutrone’s “Class consciousness (from a Marxist perspective) today”, when some thoughts occurred to me that I feel necessary to outline. Although this might appear to be polemical that is not my intent. I want to outline my understanding of the subject of class consciousness based on the text, The German Ideology, in hopes of getting some feedback.
In the piece, Cutrone states:
“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, argues Cutrone, is no longer the active expression of the contradictions in bourgeois society that it was in Marx’s day. “Class consciousness” as Marxists define it, “is no more.”
I found this to be a very peculiar argument, since, so far as historical materialism is concerned there is not and never was such a thing as a working class consciousness. Engels and Marx do reference a consciousness in the German Ideology, where they first outline the materialist conception of history, but this consciousness is most decidedly not a class consciousness.
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