Working class vs. middle class
I consider the middle class to be the enemy of the working class because of their general smug indifference and total noncomprehension, as I have experienced it, of working-class problems and issues. I get crap from them like, "Well gee, there are plumbers making $50 an hour." Yes, and plumbers are not working-class, for the simple reason that they make too much money.
Middle-class people, even "progressives," are most often not our allies, because they focus on everything but economic justice. It seems to be a huge blind spot. At its core, politics has always been about the distribution of income in society. If you refuse to make that your main issue, then your politics is impoverished and unreal. "Progressives" and "liberals" have this little bag of issues: environmentalism, abortion, campaign finance reform, minority rights, civil liberties, capital punishment, public education, gun control. I agree with them on all those issues, and have sometimes worked on them, but when I find my life threatened by lack of medical care I get very sick and tired of middle-class progressives and liberals who seem to think that money is somehow irrelevant.
I don't want to hear a lot of liberal middle-class bullshit about gosh, why are you mad at me, I'm such a nice person. It reminds me of white Democrat middle class liberal bewilderment in the late 60s when they were politically attacked by the antiwar movement and the black power crowd. I remember a line from a satirical song that went, "Love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal."
I'm also tired of socialists, anarchists or whatever who can't seem to come down out of their theoretical trees and deal with the simple fact that A LOT OF US DON'T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY. Hello! I don't want to hear what Marx said. The reality is right in front of me. No theory required.
As to whoever protested that their household goes back and forth across the line, depending on whether both adults are working, I don't think this is typical. I think most working-class people, like me, are stuck in that class for life. But you decide which class you want to identify with, and whether economic justice issues are important enough to your well-being and basic survival that you want to work on them. If not, you're middle class and you're part of the problem.
$30,000 a year for a family sounds about right to me, as the dividing line between working and middle class, between struggle and reasonable comfort, but I didn't choose that figure, just read it somewhere. We could argue about where exactly to draw the line, but the important thing to understand is that there IS a line. And it's not about whether you get to eat in restaurants, it's about whether you can pay your bills.
And understand that most of the people above the line are not your friends. Howard Zinn, in "A People's History of the United States," has written that middle-class people are the "guards": cops, judges, supervisors, social workers, teachers, legislators, etc. They're the people who control the working class. They tell us what to do, judge us, keep us in line for the purposes of their rich overseers.
Middle-class people have their own culture, which involves being orderly and "nice," not making a fuss, never getting angry, always looking for a compromise. Selling out.
During the late 60s black people started kicking all the white liberals out of their organizations. They decided it was time to run their own show. I think we need economic justice organizations run by working-class people. We can have coalitions with the middle-class groups, when it suits our purposes, but we should go our own way.
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