Marx emphasizes several constructs that characterize the oppressive nature of the capitalist system. False consciousness is when people willfully participate in their oppression and engage in actions contrary to their best interests. People are falsely conscious about the rightness of their actions and choices that indeed serve the interests of the dominant elite. Contemporary society can reflect the false consciousness in modern society with the aforementioned social disintegration and polarization in American society.
People willfully vote for far-right politicians, spread fake news, and attack the other group; they feel it is their individual and conscious choice. However, it is against their interests to live in a deeply divided and distrustful society. To overcome false consciousness, Marx proposes class consciousness, one’s awareness of their social rank. If the individual is politically conscious about their class, they will be aware of the oppressions, too, thus, prompting them to improve their situation.
Worker alienation is when individuals are alienated from their labor, other human beings, and themselves. Worker alienation is still relevant to a large part of the labor force. Specifically, separation is particularly significantly exacerbated with the advent of social media. In the pursuit of social approval and popularity, people are alienated from themself and the environment and more engaged in the digital, virtual world. Meanwhile, commodity fetishism is another concept by Marx, which means that production is seen not as a social endeavor but simply as a means of exchange of money and commodities. The idea is still relevant as consumerism, advertisements, and items play a significant role in the daily life of contemporary society.