We have to understand this idea of class struggle. If we don't understand it, we won't understand why we are so anxious or depressed in spite of our comparative luxury within the affluent societies. Mental health problems seem to be a much bigger problem here than among people who accept struggle as a part of their everyday lives. I think this is because on a psychological level it's much more difficult to ignore a conflict, even under "ideal" circumstances, than it is to face a conflict under great hardship.
Consumerism tells us we're free, but the reality is that we are only "free" within relations of abject dependency. We can quote from Family Guy or The Simpsons, but we can't take time off from work or plan our retirement. If we want our water to be safe to drink, not filled with whatever waste local companies gain a competitive edge by dumping in our rivers, we just have to hope someone in a position of responsibility is taking care of that. We don't feel like we're in a position to do anything about these things, so the outcome is that we spend a lot of time quoting Family Guy.
All this gets reflected in the culture, where it's "normal" to relate to one another in our assigned role as consumers, but almost inappropriate to raise some serious issue, because it's not "our job" to think about them. Deep stuff is handled by people who get paid to handle it, people who go to school for it -- and unless you have a degree in that sort of thing, it's kind of presumptuous to even bring it up. The law of exchange tells us that we don't exert effort on anything unless we're getting paid for it, because that's work. These are all expressions of class struggle as it is presently being waged.
Class struggle doesn't necessarily mean that those of us who may be exposed to toxins through our water supply are actively working to undermine the incentives that companies have for putting them there. It just means that we are necessarily in a relationship with those companies, and we are reacting in particular ways to their behavior -- in this case, potential behavior that we haven't confirmed. Because we don't feel like we're in a position to do anything, our reaction is to feel anxiety for ourselves and our families.
Now, when we extrapolate this sense of powerlessness to almost every other realm of modern life, what we get is a lot of anxiety, which people are dealing with one way or another. I'm sure you can look around in your own life and see how this plays out from one individual to the next. The narrow concerns of accumulated power are trying to shape our lives around what they want -- by increasing our obligations to them without reciprocating toward us -- and we are reacting. This is class struggle.
We see now what Marx means when he writes that the history of all societies has been the history of class struggle: that groups with competing interests are bound together in a way where an action by one produces a reaction by the other, and vice versa. This remains true whether we want to face the reality or not. If we don't face the reality, then we are just responding to it -- increasingly by attributing a chemical imbalance in our brains as the cause, rather than life as we are experiencing it.
The revolutionary role is to call attention to this reality of class struggle, so that anyone who is responding to it can formulate a more constructive response for themselves than becoming addicted to painkillers or walking into their workplace with a rifle. Such responses will vary, but we are always in a better place to react to something when we first gain an impression of what it really is.