>>103992>This is interesting, and I've always kind of wondered if I should even bother supporting socialism. I guess in this I'd be in the PMC, and from just browsing this board I always got the impression I'd be an outsider or champagne socialist or something because my wage is better than average.
Socialism really isn't (or should not be anyways) about moralizing about one's class position or individualizing it in this way. It's more an understanding that socialism -- as a general rule -- is more like an active process embedded in the real movement of history, and its laboratory is the real-life class struggle which we see emerge on large / mass scales. Karl Marx also didn't come up with dialectical materialism because he was "more worker" than everyone else, for instance, or because he was the smartest guy ever -- although he was pretty smart. No, it's because capitalism had just developed to the point that it could be studied and deconstructed in such a way. If he hadn't come up with it, someone else would've.
Now whether there's a direct relationship between one's subjective class consciousness and one's objective / structural class position is a more complex question. But I don't think it's as straightforward as the old-school orthodox Marxist stuff made it sound, which is why we're in the situation we're in, and it's not necessarily the case that "the workers" (oh yeah!) will buy into a socialist program.
The French Marxist philosopher and wife-strangler Louis Althusser tried to figure out why this is, and he came up with this concept called "interpellation." It basically means that people are not organized by hopes and dreams (or thoughts and prayers!) but by various institutions that engage in a conversation between themselves and various participants, which creates a certain shared subjective experience (i.e. ideology) for all involved -- and clustered around specific class interests. So people who belong to the managerial / professional class in conservative parts of Middle America will belong to Evangelical churches, the NRA, suburban PTAs, homeowners associations, maybe a small Chamber of Commerce. Other institutions may be less formal -- parent groups online or social media networks. Some are basically one-sided: watching Fox News.
Some institutions are merely repressive. Police for instance. When a police officer shouts "hey, you!" to a black man in America, that creates a certain and distinct subjective experience. Even if you are not normally thinking of yourself as "a black man," this repressive institution just reminded you that you are. So individual subjects are mainly produced by larger social forces, rather than acting as powerful independent agents with self-produced identities.
However, people can -- and often do -- belong to institutions that have dissonant messages and that speak to them with conflicting assumptions about their identities (and this is where you come in), but over time folks will tend to gravitate towards those that avoid provoking such discomfort. These institutions also allow debate and dissent, but within boundaries that actually reinforce the basic identity.
Again, this happens because institutions that conflict with people’s role in producing and reproducing our social order will either make those people feel bad or make them act against their immediate material interests. Either the social order will be undermined by these institutions or the social order will force these institutions into falling into line with specific class interests. As you can imagine, the larger social order is far more powerful than any single institution within it, so individual institutions tend to flow towards specific class fractions, overlapping with other institutions popular among those same populations to create those constituencies as organized elements of society.