How to Become Class Conscious

The only war worth fighting is the class war
According to Wikipedia, class consciousness is consciousness of one's social class or economic rank in society. Social class isn't a widely-recognised idea, but by reading this article you should become better aware of the realities of the situation.

Steps

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    Understand the various definitions of class.
    • One is your relationship to the means of production.
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    Identify the interests you have in common with others. Do you have to work for a living? Is it a choice between working or suffer living in abject poverty? How much education did you receive?
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    Study history from a class perspective. Get "People's Histories" wherever possible. Recognize the class struggle. Classes have struggled against one another throughout history. The French Revolution is an excellent example of the class struggle between the aristocracy, the bourgeois and the sans-cullottes.
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    Consume class conscious media. Consider newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations. Be sure to consider different perspectives, reading from people of different classes, and rebuttals to various arguments. Where do people disagree, and why? How do you personally feel about it?
    • Consider a variety of media, from academic studies to personal essays.
    • Find media written for the working class, the middle class, and the upper class. Keep in mind power dynamics—lower-class perspectives are less likely to be well-known, and part of having privilege is not needing to understand that privilege.
    • Get a basic understanding of economics. If you intend to discuss class issues, you'll want to look like you understand how the economy works!
    • Read about feminism. Feminist theory covers power dynamics, and its logic can be applied to class issues. Feminism is also highly intersectional, so some writers cover issues of socioeconomic class.
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    Act based on your viewpoint. Vote in elections, encourage better education, call for workplace safety, and unionize in the workplace etc. Work for the advancement of the economy, in particular for the people who need it most.
    • Don't hate other classes for the sake of it. Don't assume class conflict involves violence.
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    Consider people who experience hardships outside their control. Single parents, abuse victims, and disabled people may have very difficult lives in your country. It may be difficult for them to support themselves. Read about their situations, and what could be done to support people in these groups.
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    Recognize the importance of intersectionality. Race, disability, gender, religion, size, and other factors are related to class, and are all important (even if they aren't your personal focus). If you intend to understand or help people who lack class privilege, you'll want to consider all of them, not only the white cishet non-disabled male etc. people.
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    Remember that you'll be constantly learning. Being class conscious involves consistent critical thought, so you will continuously challenge yourself. Listen to others and evaluate the things you hear. Expect to change your ideas and occasionally learn that you were wrong.

Article Info

Categories: Social Activism