Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Quakers and class II


I just set up a google group for folks to talk about quakers and class. Jeanne has a new blog, and has apparently set up a group for working-class quakers.

This Google group is more broad. I had been thinking about an "allies" group, sort of restricted to folks who don't fit in Jeanne's group, but I'm thinking now more of a general discussion group, which working class folks are free to participate in, if they can stand the cluelessness (or potential cluelessness) of the rest of us :P

1 comment:

James Riemermann said...


I like the fact that the word allies is in the title of this new group, but perhaps for a slightly different reason than what you intended.

I think American working people--especially those of us in the middle class--are deeply deluded about class. If we have nice houses, nice cars, can occasionally go on a nice vacation, we think that somehow makes us not working class. That's wrong. It does make us not poor, but that's not the same thing.

For me the central question is this: How many paychecks are there between you and destitution? If you were unemployed for a year or more, would it leave you a) economically devastated; or b) pretty much unaffected?

That is the fundamental difference between working class and owning class. Not our education, not our grammar, not our magazine subscriptions, not our business attire, not our nice houses or nice cars. All those things do is fool us into thinking there's no difference between us and the wealthy. And make us forget who our real, genuine, natural allies are.

There is also, of course, a very real distinction between affluence and poverty, but the line between those two states is not impermeable. There are a number of Friends in our meeting who are close to crossing that line, or who have crossed it.

So, yes, let's be working class allies. Let's work for a world where people who work for a living don't need to fear, and where everyone is cared for. And let's deliver the bill to those who can afford it.

(I'll post this on the new Google Groups list, too--maybe the post here will draw some folks in and stir some discussion.)