Why does it matter whether a social justice group is missing class cultures?

Movement building is the Goal

We need to organize a mass movement against all forms of injustice in this country. And not only does that movement need to be multicultural, with people of color in leadership; not only does that movement need to be multi-gender, with LGBT people and women in leadership; but we also need to make a movement that’s cross-class, with working-class and poor people in leadership.

Only by building all those bridges will we make a movement strong enough to transform this society fundamentally.

Building such a movement depends on activists doing many things effectively : framing issues in compelling ways; raising public awareness; identifying target decision-makers and planning tactics that put pressure on the targets; forming coalitions among groups and constituencies. But if we don't understand and bridge class culture differences, we won't succeed at those other components of movement-building. 

If we’re missing class, we may overlook some members’ class culture strengths; we may not do diversity work in the most working-class-inclusive way; we may talk past each other due to class speech differences; more privileged people may make unaware classist assumptions; it hampers our groups' ability to reach their mission of social change; and we're less likely to build cross-class alliances.

Fortunately, not all social justice organizations are missing class. All across the US there are groups putting into action the principles that Class Action promotes.

Cross-class bridge builders

During the Missing Class book tour, in many cities Betsy presented a Cross-Class Bridge Builder award. Local activists nominated and voted for local organizations that:

•      actively pursue participation by people of diverse classes and races;

•      raise the voices and support the leadership of working class and poor people;

•      have an organizational culture that draws on the strengths of all class cultures.

To hear more about how class cultures are connected to building movements for social justice, watch this video: