The rise of Trump has taught us that the formation of class understanding is a complicated process. It takes place not only at the “point of production, but well beyond it. It’s a political and cultural as well as an economic phenomenon. Years ago, actually decades ago, the writings of the British Marxist historians, and E.P. Thompson especially, helped me to rethink how I understand class formation and consciousness. Lenin’s writings, albeit in my second reading of them in the early 1990s — “What is to be Done” in particular — did too, while nudging me, at the same time, to take a fresh and critical look at Marxism-Leninism.
I should add to complete the picture that the failure of real life to conform with my understanding of class formation and much else was perhaps the biggest incentive to reappraise my worldview. To sit still seemed illogical as well as a retreat from the spirit of marxism.