Why Does Class Matter?

The gap between the rich and everybody else has grown wider than ever before.

The differences between the lives of 20% of the population with comfortable jobs in large institutions and the 80% of the population with lower incomes and less stable jobs is becoming stark and painful to behold.

Quality education, the closest thing to a ticket to class mobility, is available to the wealthiest Americans while moving out of sight for others. Funding for public higher education has decreased, squeezed out by massive increases to corrections funding. The U.S. incarceration level is the highest in the world, with over 3.2% of the population behind bars, or on probation or parole – wasting away, often for reasons connected to poverty.

Class divisions, along with those of race and gender, are keeping the United States from being the fully actualized country it could be.

The human resources available are staggering. The creativity, the energy, the sense of community that could be developed and tapped is awesome. Too many poor people are working themselves to death in multiple jobs while many wealthy people, consumed with material goods, are isolated and feel overwhelmed with the responsibility of so much wealth.

Our democracy is suffering from the undue influence of those with big bucks. People who are marginalized are not heard. Their ideas go unheeded in a time when we need new approaches to our societal challenges. Class divisions and classism, the institutional and internalized rulebooks of class, diminish our capacity as a nation to live into our legacy of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Racism and sexism have been discussed and explored since the 1960’s and before. A movement for social change has grown out of these discussions that has actively changed conditions and consciousness that affect women and people of color. Discussions about class and classism however have remained dormant in the public domain. Class and classism remain a taboo topic.

We believe that each of us derive strengths as well as limitations from whatever our class position. Because of the intense class segregation in the U.S. we don’t benefit from each others’ strengths and grow past our limitations.

Class Action’s goal is to bring class issues into the realm of public conversation and exploration with the assumption that as consciousness is raised and language found to describe their experiences, people across the class spectrum will move to change a system that is at odds with basic democratic values of equity, justice and liberty for all.

Time and time again social change movements have been born from people gathering and sharing their thoughts, feelings, and experiences in small groups, only to emerge with strategic, creative plans for actions that create the world we want to live in. We are compelled by the belief that this country and world will be stronger and more compassionate when class barriers come down, when we can deeply understand each others’ challenges and gifts and together live into a better world.