Back out of the maze
Unfortunately when we speak about them, those that can't be with us, we tend to define who we are, to speak about us, and this justifies our eventual separation from them. In the traditional class analysis (that as defined by Capital by Marx) the class is defined purely on economic terms, by the activity of exploiting and being exploited. There is no doubt that just as Marx described this is just as true today as it was in the 1880s This alone doesn't mean that this is enough and we should be satisfied with 19th century analysis based on 19th century scientific knowledge and data. For one, people increasingly today, although they still must sell labor to survive (and especially those that directly do sell it) don’t see it as much as exploitation, and more importantly don’t see the exploiter or the persons they work for as exploiters. What has changed? We need to exploit the possibilities of things having changed just so they can affect perception.
Another thing that may need “our” attention is that class may be further than the simplified definition that stems from marxist analysis. Marxists have avoided like the plague, or as a sin to their theology, to speak of authority as part of class, or as a contributor to class. Although people today can’t hardly see their exploiter (economy) they are more likely to see those that oppress them (hierarchy) inside but also outside the workplace. It is not like free people enter this dictatorial organization called “the workplace”, sell their labor, and exit being free and equal for the rest of the time. Indisputably economics relate to class but authority, the means of oppressing someone, must also be a contributor to class. If it wasn’t this would have meant that the lives of people who do the same work, get paid just as much, are exactly equal. Some are parents, some are children, some are teachers, some are students, some are men the other half or more are women, some are heterosexual monogamous and some are not, some are spouses to a home-owner, some are spouses and are home-owners. Some are cops and soldiers, and some are unarmed pathetic recipients of a system that tends to maintain endless inequalities in all levels and aspects of social life. Not just economic that is.
This aspect of class may not be theorized adequately but nearly everyone can feel it and talk about it. Unfortunately again, it is done on a individual basis, just as the boss (owner of the means of production) was criticized on an individual basis in pre-Marxist times. There was a good boss and a bad boss. The good boss was rare, the bad boss was more of the norm at the time, and exploitation was clearly and easily felt by everyone.
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