Category Archives: Class and Movement Building

Bridging the Class Divide

By Linda Stout

When I first became involved in social justice movements in the 70’s, classism was a major barrier to people like me.  As a low-income, rural woman, I found that when I joined the social justice movements of my time… the peace, women’s, and environmental movements, I lost my voice.  People just assumed if you were part of these movements, you had a college education, spoke with “accepted” grammar, and looked like their idea of a “leader.”  Without any of that, I was often ignored and overlooked.  People would make reference to those stupid southerners, white trash, and trailer trash, meaning people like myself.

It was only from the women who were in the civil rights movement, often critical of the classism and sexism within that movement, that I found a home, a place of acceptance.

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Reviving Democracy: Prospects for a National Cross-Class Politics

By Frederic Rose

The fault lines of class, race, geography and party played out dramatically in the 2016 election,  demonstrating how polarized and dysfunctional our politics has become.  Our political system seems unable to address the long litany of crises facing us from climate change to extreme inequality to perpetual wars to gun violence.  Politics is being fought as a zero sum game in which we are forced to choose between competing goods like growing the economy vs. fighting climate change, or immigrant rights versus the rule of law.  These seemingly unresolvable policy fights reflect a deeper failure of our political system to realize the promise of democracy, where people from different points of view and persuasions are forced to recognize and negotiate their differences through public dialogue and debate. While segmented media bubbles and segregated social circles feed this kind of polarization and paralysis, organizing and coalition building especially across diverse social and class lines can reinvigorate our democratic process and develop more sophisticated policy agendas that integrate social and economic goods.  This is the promise of cross-class and multi-sector coalition building that has been successful at the local level and that needs to be brought into our national politics.

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