Class consciousness is, according to Marxism, an element with which individuals are aware of belonging to a certain social class and can act accordingly socially in defense of their interests.
Class consciousness is a postulate of the Marxist study of the economy and society that gives the individual, which gives the proletarian individual the tool to organize themselves in a proletarian working class and combat the exploitation suffered by the capitalist bourgeois class.
According to this communist and Marxist assumption, class consciousness prevents the alienation of the individual. Since he is able to understand his situation as an oppressed worker and can act accordingly by revealing himself.
In this way, thanks to this class consciousness, any person has the possibility of recognizing themselves as part of a certain socioeconomic hierarchy. According to Marxism, this happens in two ways:
- You are a member of the bourgeois and capitalist class that owns the state means of production
- Either you are part of the working class or the proletariat.
Possibilities opened by class consciousness
Understanding that there is an antagonistic and opposite relationship between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat is the primary idea to give rise to class consciousness. On the contrary, and as indicated before, there would be alienation from society if it were not possible to establish this differentiation between the bourgeois and proletarian classes on a day-to-day basis.
In this way the working class has, according to the grounds of Karl Marx, the obligation to recognize itself as such and tend towards the class struggle and, as a final result, the dictatorship of the proletariat.
In this sense, it can be defined that class consciousness is the basis of the subsequent workers’ revolution on the part of the proletariat. This is so because the first step to do so is to avoid alienation and obtain self-recognition or self-assertion as a class oppressed by the capitalist system.