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.