Why have we seen so few cross-class movements in the US?
Class culture differences are one answer.
Many activists worry about the same few problems in their groups: low turnout, inactive members, conflicting views on racism, over-talking, and offensive violations of group norms. But in searching for solutions to these predictable and intractable troubles, progressive social movement groups overlook class culture differences. Missing Class looks through a class lens and discovers that members with different class life experiences tend to approach these problems differently. Using this class lens enables readers to envision new solutions, solutions that draw on the strengths of all class cultures to form the basis of stronger cross-class and multiracial movements.
In Missing Class, the first comprehensive empirical study of US activist class cultures, Betsy Leondar-Wright looks at class dynamics in twenty-five groups that span the gamut of social movement organizing, and groups working on global causes in the anarchist and progressive traditions. Missing Class contrasts the cultures of four class trajectories: lifelong working-class and poor; lifelong professional middle class; voluntarily downwardly mobile; and upwardly mobile.
Compellingly written for both activists and social scientists Missing Class describes class differences in paths to activism, attitudes toward leadership, methods of conflict resolution, ways of using language, diversity practices, use of humor, methods of recruiting, and group process preferences. Too often, we miss class. Missing Class makes a persuasive case that seeing class culture differences could enable activists to strengthen their own groups and build more durable cross-class alliances for social change.