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

-156-

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Where We Stand: Class Matters
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Contents vi
  • Where We Stand vii
  • Class Matters 1
  • 1 - Making the Personal Political: Class in the Family 10
  • 2 - Coming to Class Consciousness 24
  • 3 - Class and the Politics of Living Simply 38
  • 4 - Money Hungry 50
  • 5 - The Politics of Greed 63
  • 6 - Being Rich 70
  • 7 - The Me-Me Class: the Young and the Ruthless 80
  • 8 - Class and Race: the New Black Elite 89
  • 9 - Feminism and Class Power 101
  • 10 - White Poverty: the Politics of Invisibility 111
  • 11 - Solidarity with the Poor 121
  • 12 - Class Claims: Real Estate Racism 131
  • 13 - Crossing Class Boundaries 142
  • 14 - Living Without Class Hierarchy 156
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