14

Living without Class Hierarchy

Most American citizens do not acknowledge the reality of class difference, of class exploitation, and they continue to believe that this is a classless society. What they mean by this is not that citizens do not occupy different class positions, but that these class positions are not fixed. Despite grave injustice and all the barriers that make it practically impossible to change your class position, if you are born on the bottom of this society’s economic totem pole, it is still true that a teeny fraction of that population squeezes and militantly forces their way from the bottom up. And we consider ourselves fortunate, lucky, blessed. Yet from the onset of this book and throughout its pages I have endeavored to frankly share the human costs of class mobility, to identify both the pleasure and the pain of those who come from the bottom closer to the top can feel.

While the amount of money I have made in the last ten years identifies me as upper class, I do not identify with this class positionality even though I often enjoy the class power it affords me. I identify with democratic socialism, with a vision of participatory economics within capitalism that aims to challenge and change class hierarchy. I

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Where We Stand: Class Matters
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