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economic justice

Working class vs. middle class

Also see:
Working class -- a definition
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2003/08/270802.shtml
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.

homepage: homepage: http://www.portlandwriters.com


Remember the Know Nothings? 29.Aug.2003 07:14

Susan

"No theory required". huh. Remember the Know Nothings, George? A political party in this country in the nineteenth century. Oh, probably not. You see, for you theory is not important. History is not important. Just your superficial impressionism that leads to missives like the one above. I guess if you dismiss the accumulated knowledge of the workers movement as unnecessary, it leads pretty quickly to your anti-worker position. Yes, George. thats what it is. By equating your "working class" with only the poorest sections, by failing to understand an economic global process that is constantly "proletarianizing" people formerly of the middle class you divide the workers movement. Oh, sorry. Was "proletarianizing" one of those theoretical words from history that we can't use?

OK, then what? 29.Aug.2003 07:54

Mother

George, your rave is well written and hopefully a therapeutic release. But what, exactly, is your point? Not having enough money is terrible. So what do you want to do about that? Get more money? Then what? you will be instantly transported into the camp of the enemy. Or stay poor so you can keep up your righteous attitude?

This is not meant to be a smart ass reply to your missive, but a challenge to come up with a rational solution. There have been a lot of very smart people who have tried to fix this problem. It has not happened yet.

This world, this country, is swirling down the toilet faster and faster. I truly hope someone (you?) can come up with some answers fast.

George, you hit the nail on the head 29.Aug.2003 09:03

opaque

George is absolutely right--the fundamental, underlying issue that all of politics revolves around is distribution of wealth. It's also no accident that this issue is never actually addressed; to do so, the members of society that currently enjoy the luxury of wealth would have to admit to themselves that they are essentially claiming more than they deserve. They unconsciously know that this amounts to giving up some of their wealth and leading a simpler life. Even the "middle class" is really wealthier than they should be--and this is the key to a stable capitalistic society. This class stablizes the presence of the elite super-rich class, and all of this is done at the expense of the lowest class in society--George's "working class." I feel for you George, and for all others who find themselves mired in the prison of the "working class." So, what is the way out of this mess? There is none. The system is subtle and kept in place with a few primary tools: fear and an elaborate and perfected propoganda machine in the form of mass media. The only way out is violent revolution, which obviously is extreme and nobody really wants. The majority of people are in fact in the middle class and doing rather well. They do not feel the moral obligation to care for the people like George in the world. As George pointed out, they bury themselves in other political issues in order to avoid the fundamental one. This is simply another psychological attempt to reclaim a sense of morality in the face of what they know is a great injustice. I would also point out that this country fails to realize that a good deal of our wealth depends on our exploitation of people in third world countries, and our own environment. Until we truly wake up to the truth of these issues, we will continue to spiral downward.

Heal don't divide 29.Aug.2003 09:10

Dan

This is a point in time when grass roots political elements are coalessing. We have a chance to effect change long term. The eletist would like nothing more than for us too divide, and will most likely plant subversives in various movements. look to the leaders that build union!

middle and working class share many issues 29.Aug.2003 09:52

struggling

my husband makes 37,000/year (before taxes take almost 10,000) teaching art, and we are struggling in every possible way. I had to have surgery and no one would see me because I didn't have health insurance (it was during a routine exam at a not-for-profit health clinic that my doctor found cancer). Finally, I got the surgery I needed, and now I am being sent to collections for the cost. I have a tooth that's rotting and no dentist. We can barely pay rent. Many weeks, we don't have money for groceries. And no, we do not have luxuries that are keeping us from affording health care and other things. We do not own a car. We don't even have a bed or a couch. So I don't think your definition of "middle class" is either accurate or well-conceived. Most people would consider us "middle class." Also, as a child, my father made about 28,000/year for a family of four. We did not have health care, we often went hungry, our house fell apart, and I had to struggle to afford college. Often, the middle class has nowhere to turn for help. We make "too much" to get healh care assistance, rent reductions, or other aid, but we don't make enough to actually live well - especially after taxes. Most of my friends are so-called middle class or working class, and they seem to have a deep understanding of each other's issues. Definining a fellow struggling human being as the enemy is unproductive, and ultimately, self-defeating It's the reason people like George Bush maintain their power - divide and conquer.

George's archaic language means little 29.Aug.2003 10:18

George tries to appear smarter than he really is

George, why don't you find a different phrase than "working class" because you lack of analysis just confuses people. Try "poor people" for example. I've taken the liberty of replacing "working class" for "poor people" in your first paragraph, and it makes more sense.

-----------
I consider the middle class to be the enemy of the poor people because of their general smug indifference and total noncomprehension, as I have experienced it, of poor people problems and issues. I get crap from them like, "Well gee, there are plumbers making $50 an hour." Yes, and plumbers are not poor people, for the simple reason that they make too much money.
-----------

Talk about what you know and stop whining. You deserve to suffer because you're mentally lazy and generally disagreeable. Please die soon and stop wasting other's time. BTW, I earned $14,000 last year and still think you're shit.

access 29.Aug.2003 11:40

vt

class issues are not just about income, or the resources that you receive
it is about ACCESS to resources
if you are dirt poor, but you have a big family with lots of money, it makes things easier if you can turn to them for help in emergency situations
a lot of people end up homeless simply b/c they don't know many people willing to help them out- give them a place to stay, food, talk to them, help them emotionally, etc.

What you say Yup? I wasn't paying attention 29.Aug.2003 11:57

Dreg

Separation of the classes is an old concept first propagated by the conservatives many years ago. Rich people would love to put all the poor people somewhere - oh wait that's called a ghetto-
I've been so-called poor all my life, following my dream of musicianship has been paid for by working for the "chosen".
I've been frustrated also by the trust-fund-hipsters, who upon reaching their 30's become bored with the "scene" and end up just some krispy kreme eating consumers, or the Anarchists who join mostly because the circle A logo looks really cool.

Not having health insurance or working at a really shitty job can surely drain a person's spirit if you let it. I find being angry with the middle/rich class to generally be a waste of time. And it's probably germinates some dreaded disease that shows up when a person ages. At the very least it creates really bad flatulence.

If Richy Rich or Mary Middleclass wants to work with me to make a better world, fine.
At the end of the day/year/life it just doesn't matter at all.

There are a lot of poor people who let others control their lives for many and varied reasons. There are also many poor people who run their own lives and could give a shit what Suburban Stew thinks.

Find your heart, my brother.

Why is this ridiculous and divisive rant on the Center Page? 29.Aug.2003 12:15

poor pitiful me

This crap doesn't rate. If you want to marginilze go ahead, but would the powers at Indy media please move this article to the right-hand column.

By the way, 99% American Citizens don't even have a clue as to what real poverty is.

Ithica is calling 29.Aug.2003 12:30

James

 http://www.ithacahours.com/

Perhaps you'd find Ithica a more understanding community. You'll find many businesses which pay their employees in Hours, and many businesses which accept Hours as payment. An hour's work gets you 1 Hour. (And you can then go out and buy a burger for 1/8th Hour).

Questions for George 29.Aug.2003 13:08

Enquiring minds want to know

George, I'm just curious.....what class do you think you are, and why? What do you base your self-definition on? What kind of work do you do? How much money are you making? How much would you like to be making, and why? What's your educational background, and do you have a college degree? What did your parents, grandparents, and relatives do for a living? What other factors make up your class background?

And BTW 29.Aug.2003 13:16

ranger

There is less and less a "Middle Class" in this country, like the city of Portland, we are a tale of two cities, the very wealthy, and the rest of us. In fact, Portland, like a number of cities across the country DO have many people who fully understand what it's truly like to be poor. But the point is, the wealthy elite would love for you to divide and conquer, so they can be in control. Stop the crap and start educating everyone. It's the only way to change things. I try and educate young yuppies, liberal soccer moms, baby boomer liberals and all the other supposed "middle class" on how their lifestyle aids the destruction of the planet and why NPR is not the progressive radio they perceive it to be, amongst other things. On the other end, I try to educate the working class conservatives why they are being screwed by the very people they support.

Oh and another question 29.Aug.2003 13:33

Enquiring

Oh, and also, your age?

George's rant is fairly clueless 29.Aug.2003 13:34

CaptainPlanet

Many white-collar people are having their jobs exported to India, etc., so for them economic justice is their FIRST priority, out of self-interest. Who in hell have you been talking to, George? And why all this label-mongering? Sheesh. I agree this shouldn't be on the front page.

Yes George 29.Aug.2003 16:01

ranger

this classism is counter-productive. Educate the masses. The elite, wealthy power brokers are the ones you need to focus your energy upon, not well intentioned yuppies, soccer moms, NPR liberals, right wing working class. Teach these people that those in power, including those who run the institutions/products in which these people support, will try to remain in power. They would love George because he is dividing and conquering us. The middle class is NOT the enemy. There is not much of a middle class remaining. It's a tale of two cities, and there most definitely are truly poor people, not only in Portland, but throughout this country. No, we're not quite India or Haiti, but there are some that are living pretty close to that. Change will not happen by alienating everyone except for who you may think s politically okay. That's BS as I can find many holes to this line of thinking.

working hard 29.Aug.2003 16:48

just doing what I can...

Thank you George Bender, for fannning the flames of class war.

Correction: Corporate greed, war, racism, injustice, eroding civil liberties are the real enemies.
No matter what "class" you are in, if you support any of these - YOU are the enemy. Labels are bad, materialism sucks, and capitalism is the problem. The government is based on money, which leads to corporate greed, which leads to injustice, war, and the erosion of civil liberties.
Do you see the cycle?


To Mother - my thoughts exactly. Thank you.

Hilarious 29.Aug.2003 17:08

fuck you all

Judging by the comments made by many of the posters here, it seems that George Bender has a raw nerve among the (White) Middle Class "progressives" here. What's the matter, did George bring up the sensitive issue of your own class privilege and background of you White Middle Class elites?

I just love the defensive reaction among White Middle Class Liberals. You get the very same defensiveness from them when you raise the issue of White Supremacy.

Good.

working hard 29.Aug.2003 18:10

re: Hilarious

Fuck you all?
Thats so incredibly intelligent.
And not to mention "defensive" - nice argument.

Just another cog in the great machine.

I forgot to mention ... 29.Aug.2003 18:14

CaptainPlanet

Most consumption feeds globalism. The biggest thing anyone can do is stop buying from corporations. If you get your food from a food co-op, clothing from a local who uses local or regional organic cotton, buy used furniture or make your own, etc., you won't be empowering "them".

And to "fuck you all", I think what people are upset about is the divisiveness and labelling. I know I personally get tired of working towards a goal with a group of people and then having some of them storm off in different directions because everyone doesn't see things exactly as they do. George is just not helping or being constructive. Don't project your guilt onto me. I'm a white guy, but I don't have to feel guilt about the native Americans, blacks, or any of that even though white people have committed terrible atrocities against those groups because I would not commit those kinds of oppression. For that matter, I don't think the performance of any sports team representing my city should reflect on me, because it is not me on the court / field. You're into that same grouping and labelling that George is, maybe the two of you should hang out.

Honestly confused about this whole thing 29.Aug.2003 20:14

Joshua Drake

I am honestly confused about this whole line of thought. When I started in the working world, I made minimum wage. I now make 62k a year and run my own company. I am not rich, as that would imply that I don't "have" to work. I have to work for every dime I make. I also have 6 families that rely on me to make sure they get a paycheck, health insurance and the occasional 4 day weekend so they don't go insane.

Yet by this gentlemen's argument I am not the working class? I have put in 60 hours this week.

Also, being someone who has managed to live without debt with a wife and son in a decent neighborhood on 10.00 per hour, I don't understand how a family of 2-3 can't survive on 37k a year. Yes it is hard but it is doable.

If you don't have health insurance, then I suggest you find a job that will provide one. Yes they do exist. You may not be able to be an art teacher. You may have to be a file clerk but you can get health insurance.

Please don't misunderstand, I feel for the people that are struggling. Especially in this economy but life is what you make it. You either make it good, or let it be. If you let it be, then you may end up happy, sad, poor, rich or dead but your are not taking control of your destiny.


Class Struggle ? 29.Aug.2003 21:09

John

George, this working class vs. middle class argument has had me baffled, too.

After reading Marx and Engels, I learned that in a capitalist society, the two main classes are the capitalist class and the working class. The capitalist own the means of production, the working class sells its labor power to the capitalist. The middle class is just that, in the middle of the the capitalists and the workers. The middle class consist of small business owners and the self employed. Some in the middle class identify with the working class, some with the capitalist class, and some bounce between the two.

Now, just this week, I discovered Max Weber. From the little I picked up off the web, Max Weber seems to have modified Marx with a theory of stratification that introduces an additional structural category of "status group." Weber classifies people into groups based on their consumption patterns rather than their place in the market or in the process of production-as did Marx. I got this info from  http://www2.pfeiffer.edu/~Iridener/DSS/Weber/WEBERW7.HTML

I think this Max Weber is someone we need to check out. Since the USA is a consumer society, the more income (money) you have, the more you can consume.

You have no idea what poor is! 29.Aug.2003 22:11

Cat

To George or anyone else expousing a similar line of self-pitty for the working class in the Western world, here's a reminder...
The very fact that you have a job, access to the internet (whether from home or a library), the ability to read and write, bills to pay (meaning you probably have electricity, clean running water, food to eat, a toilet, an insulated place to live in, etc., etc.), most likely a bank account to pay those bills with, and the potential to have health insurance at all (or medicaid if you really are that bad off), means that you are amongst the very richest and most elite of the world's population. (I realize this is easy to forget inside the bubble of the western world.)
You may be bitter because you have slightly fewer goodies than a "middle class" individual, but I guarantee there are a few billion people in the world who would give anything to have the life you do. And if you think wealth distribution is about making people like you better off, then wake up! True wealth distribution would mean taking food from your refrigerator and giving it to a drought-ridden farmer in a third world country who's struggling to put enough rice on the table to feed a son who sews the clothes you wear and a daughter dying of AIDS with not even a tylenol to ease her pain. That is what poor is!

Does that help put things in perspective? Unless you are primarily concerned with the plight of people who are far poorer than you, you are no better than the middle class people you berate for being more concerned about issues affecting them than the plight of people such as yourself. So please, either wake-up and aknowledge how priviledged you are or stop wasting indymedia space on your own self-centered hypocrisy!

White Middle Class Denial 29.Aug.2003 23:48

fuck you all

"I know I personally get tired of working towards a goal with a group of people and then having some of them storm off in different directions because everyone doesn't see things exactly as they do. George is just not helping or being constructive."

Yeah, raising the issue of class privilege and power certainly is not "constructive"--better to be quiet and accept the leadership of one's Middle Class superiors. What George is saying is simple: working class people need to develop their own organizations by, about, and for working class people. You White Middle Class Elites got a problem with that? Of course, if you want to control and dictate everything with your superior knowledge and education I guess that might be a problem.

"Don't project your guilt onto me. I'm a white guy, but I don't have to feel guilt about the native Americans, blacks, or any of that even though white people have committed terrible atrocities against those groups because I would not commit those kinds of oppression."

Yeah, you have no responsibility as a White person cuz you would never personally do any of those evil things that White people continue to do to the world. Never mind that White people as a class benefit from, identify with, and tacitly support the American Nation state that perpetrates these crimes past and present. Don't believe me, just look at all the fascist Flag-waving that White Americans have engaged in supporting their murderous wars from Afghanistan to Iraq.

That said, the comment by "Cat" is correct, all classes--including the Working class--are relatively speaking privileged in the Western (and First) World. This is what being part of the First World is all about after all.

Who are you? 30.Aug.2003 04:39

dark knight

Dear Fuck,

I can see you feel a lot of anger and resentment toward white people. It is certainly true that the U.S. has a long legacy of racist and even genocidal atrocities. Many of our institutions are racist to the core, as are many white, black, brown, red, and yellow people. That being said:

What makes you so sure that all the people who disagree with George are white? or middle class? or ELITES? The elites in this country are not middle class, they are multi-bazillionaires who have more money than they could ever figure out what to do with. And they laugh when divisive garbage like George's post is published on IMC. Do you really think it's hilarious? I think so many people have posted comments disagreeing with George because he is just dead wrong.

In these trying times, it is so important for people to stand together and for groups to form coalitions against the real enemies. Driving wedges between black & white, "middle class" & "working class", or any other groups who have some superficial differences only serves the purposes of the MAN. Is that what you are about? Are you really a right-wing provocateur?

P.S.: I'd like to make the rather obvious point that "white people as a class" are not all out there waving flags.

Correction 30.Aug.2003 06:49

John

I made a typo on that Max Weber site in my Class Struggle ? comment.

It should be  http://www2.pfeiffer.edu/~lridener/DSS/Weber/WEBERW7.HTML

I typed a capital i instead of lower case L, in lridener. Of course, anyone interested in Max Weber can do a search, etc.

nice assumptions, Joshua Drake - why make them? 30.Aug.2003 07:09

struggling

"Also, being someone who has managed to live without debt with a wife and son in a decent neighborhood on 10.00 per hour, I don't understand how a family of 2-3 can't survive on 37k a year. Yes it is hard but it is doable.

If you don't have health insurance, then I suggest you find a job that will provide one. Yes they do exist. You may not be able to be an art teacher. You may have to be a file clerk but you can get health insurance. "

In response to your assumptions about my life and my husband's work:

Why do you assume I haven't been looking for a job? I have applied for 2-5 jobs a day, every day, for the past THREE YEARS, and almost all of those were "file clerk" or "office" jobs (which I have a lot of experience doing, actually). Why do you assume my husband's art teacher job doesn't have insurance? It does. It just happens to cost $600/month to add me on. It's free for him. (Ironically, he has no health problems, and I do).

Also, why do you assume I should be a file clerk? Because I'm a woman? How interesting? For your information, I have an MFA and two BA's. I haven't been able to secure placement in a teaching position, and I prefer office work, anyway, but still, your assumption is very interesting. You seem to think that because I mentioned "my husband's job" that I am unemployed, or uneducated, or a housewife, or mostly suited to "filing jobs."

Why do you assume my family is 2-3 in size?

Why do you assume I don't have other expenses? I have a disability that makes it very hard to find work or obtain insurance. This disability is also very expensive. I have other health problems, too, all of them quite expensive to care for (insurance or not - they require special diets, etc.) These health problems also makes full-time work very difficult.

Your assumptions are very interesting. So is your self-righteous attitude about your ability to get by. Is it safe to assume you've never had a disability, then, so you so obviously think everyone is in perfect health and can live in "good neighborhoods" or get any job he/she wants? Is it safe to assume you've never experienced discrimination? In either work or insurance? Had a serious health problem that landed you deep in debt - like, say, $50,000?

I have also gotten by on $10/hour, with no insurance. I have gotten by on two full-time jobs for minimum wage with no insurance. But I don't use that as a gauge by which to judge others. In fact, on those wages, I was often eating whatever free condiments I could find, instead of real meals . . . I don't know what planet you're living on, but it's not the same as mine.

And again - no luxuries here. No bed, no couch, no going out to eat all the time, no fancy clothes. It's just us, trying to pay all the bills, hospital bills included . . .

In short, I am tired of people's assumptions. Because my disability is "invisible," I live with people like you every day, who can't understand why I'm struggling or have trouble.

The final point is this: it's not wages that define your class. It's your consciousness.


Everything but the kitchen sink 30.Aug.2003 12:05

Teddy Ruxpin

The arttcle is dean-on. I have the same problem (selling out, bland, compromising) with Middle America. They are the problem, because they refuse to take ac active part in the system, and thus become servants of the system keeping the poor, angry masses from doing too much harm.

But about the plumbers, sure they make 50 bucks an hour, but how many hours a week do they work? They do not get paid driving from one house to the next, and some days they do not have any work at all. That 50 bucks an hour comes out to a working-class wage at the end of the year, when you factor in down time, slow months and the like.

How many of you assholes are white, working class or middle class pricks, 30.Aug.2003 16:39

who gives a shit?

reading your rant, i thought to myself, you really make some good points, the middle class definetly do the biddings of those in power, as in judges, cops, state workers, etc etc. but saying that their part of the problem sounds like your a little disenfranchised with the fact that your obviously not happy with what you are doing and complain that not everybody wants to think or act as you do, you sound like a whiney bitch, im not going try to match wits with you, but your a little prick.

Uh huh... 30.Aug.2003 16:48

\-][-/

Isn't anyone curious about anything interesting? ...It seems all everyone does is bicker. BORING. Fucking go outside, you've obviously been in front of the computer for too long.

Solidarity is the Answer, folks 30.Aug.2003 18:27

get a clue and stop fighting amonst yourselves

Hardly worth reading any of this crap. All I will add is that the only people to benefit from the supposed rift between the 'middle' and 'working' class is the ruling class, and they're laughing all the way to the bank. Until every wage earner -- and I don't care if you're making $5.00 or $50.00 an hour -- realizes that you're all together in the same boat -- being exploited by the super-wealthy -- and responds in solidarity to this humongous rip-off of your time and your talents, you all are and will remain slave laborers...

In Total agreement with last poster 30.Aug.2003 19:33

ranger

No one is fucking better or more righteous than anyone else. I know people who make $100,000 who have done as much to make positive changes as anyone else. There's only to classes, the elite, ultra-wealthy illuminati in power and everyone else. They love when we fight, it just makes them have even less opposition.

Crying, sniveling, whining zeros . . . . 31.Aug.2003 10:03

.

That just about sums this place up . . . . .

you dont care what marx said? 31.Aug.2003 18:58

boonplod

why dont you care what he said?... maybe you should realize that millions of people have read marx... maybe you should see that because millions have seem some common thread of cohereance in his theory that even YOU could find what he has to say useful... and i dont think you even know the difference between an anrchist and a communist... or the subdivisions between those groups...

so what do you propose to do? once you start getting into what you can do, then you get into THEORY, so quite obviously, your simply at the first step, and all of those anarchists and socialists (that you dont even take the time to understand) are just a little ahead of you, becasue they at least have a coherent idea of what they want to do to help their situaution....

tom knowles

TOWARDS A CLASS-FREE WORLD 31.Aug.2003 19:39

JAI

Why shouldn't every human being in the U.S. and the First World have enough income and access to social services to satisfy the basic necessities of life?

Well if somebody is a convicted felon, that might be grounds for not having the above. Otherwise, there isn't any good reason.

Everyone needs to have enough. "Enough" really isn't all that much. "Enough" means the basics like security, food, shelter, clothing, clean water, and clean air.

Problems arise as soon as a few people begin to accumulate way more than this.

People are willing and able to work in America. That isn't a problem. Our industrial capacity can also easily provide everyone here with enough. There's enough to go around here.

Everyone should have enough to satisfy basic needs. That means, everyone knows that if they get sick or disabled, there's a safety net there that will keep them afloat. That takes away some, surely not all, motivation to accumulate excessive amounts of wealth and assets.

Basically, once someone wants to accumulate more then the basics, they have to earn it. The catch is that our working definitions of what it means to earn a living need to become much more rigorous. As it stands now, business owners, movie stars, NBA stars, and corporate executives are examples of those individuals who are receiving compensation way in excess of what they are actually earning thru their own efforts.

Closing the gap between the too wealthy and the too poor has to happen. Closing the industrial cycle and making it sustainable also has to happen.

Once these things happen, we can put that much more effort into helping the rest of the world's poor lift themselves out of poverty as they so choose.

Hey, boonplod! 31.Aug.2003 20:54

V.I. Lenin

What the hell are you smoking?

Yeah I definitely struck a nerve -- good 31.Aug.2003 23:37

George Bender

This is not a difficult concept.

The tipping point in the American economy is widely considered to have been around 1973. Working class incomes began to decline and have been declining, when inflation is considered, ever since. Meanwhile the middle class has held steady, income wise, while the rich have become much richer.

The bottom line here is that working class people are being exploited by the middle and upper classes. We are not making a living wage. You can choose to get it or not get it, but that is the reality.

According to the definition I read, by an economist, working class in the United States means a household income below $30,000 a year. By that definition, I read, about 40 percent of the households in the United States are working class. We are not just talking about the "poor," who are a subset of the working class. We're talking about a very substantial minority of our citizens who do not make a living wage -- an income on which you can support a family.

Something needs to be done about this. We are not going to shut up about it so you clowns can feel more comfortable.

As I've previously written, I recommend that working class people form their own political organizations, pressure groups, to vote as a block and force the middle and upper classes to give us a living wage. We should also work on job security and supporting the safety net, which working class people need in order to survive. I think we should focus on state politics, because that is where we could swing the most weight.

I could go on and suggest more specific changes we could push, but there is no point in doing that unless enough people can see past the fog coming out of the mouths of some of the people on this, supposedly "progressive" website. If "progressive" politics isn't about the fair distribution of income, then it isn't about anything.

these leftist polemics are about half a century outdated 01.Sep.2003 18:35

political graffiti jonathan@politicalgraffiti.net

George:

Poverty has been modernized since World War I. It is time your conception of it follows.

Poverty is no longer something you can measure in strictly material terms. There is, in other words, no material or technical justification for the kind of poverty you speak of. It exists, simply, because it has to: as a way to remind those who don't suffer from it that they could be worse off and so struggling against economic injustice makes you an ingrate. (That is, at least, as long as you only go the half assed route and think having fewer commodities than the rest is not just, which presupposes that the remedy to the situation is simply give people more commodities and then Capitalism magically becomes just. Half assed.)

Yes, these comfortable people are primarily 'the middle class', and as far as I can tell always have been the middle class. House slaves, for example, or white slave overseers, or even middle management in the corporation. It is standard divide and conquer.

Repeat it.

Divide, and conquer.

Elevate a group above the rest and they'll fight against the rest to maintain their position. It is an age old technique, and until you quit being a victim of it , you perpetuate it and it remains triumphant.

We are all -- middle class and poor -- the proletariat. None of us have control of our lives in the current system if the extent of that control -- after the material conditions for survival have been met -- is choosing between different brands, spectator activities, whether we want to be a worker or a bureaucrat, a technician or middle manager. Hardly any of us are self-sufficient, even if we make enough wages to live comfortably. If we do, usually, that just means we're less free.

This is the poverty of the condition we find ourselves in. No?


The Four-Hour Day is within Easy Reach! 02.Sep.2003 19:03

marc mbatko@lycos.com

"The Four-Hour Day" by Gabe Sinclair, a 240 page book, can be downloaded for free at  http://www.fourhourday.org
Another world is possible, a world where books and enlightenment are given away free, a world where people are en-couraged and money and power don't determine life and survival, one world where many worlds fit and where everyone has a place (cf.  http://www.ezln.org)!

http://www.mbtranslations.com
http://www.commondreams.org

plumbers are working class 29.Oct.2003 17:12

me

plumbers are not working class - this shows you are a complete and total idiot!