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Wage Workers and RC

Harvey Jackins, at an RC workshop in 1973

Harvey: The powerful force for changing society is the wageworkers. Their role of being exploited is the clearest. The conditions of work tend to educate them, unite them, and organize them. They are the section of the population that has enormous power to bring about change. Their role in the economy is such that the production of value and wealth is completely dependent on their cooperation. Anytime they don’t cooperate, the whole thing totters. No one got in or out of New York (USA) when the twelve bridge tenders struck.

Question: How will you get wageworkers involved? Is it difficult?

Harvey: No, it will happen. The RC Communities need to know the importance of wageworkers. We had to start with the people who were available. We’re lousy with1 middle-class intellectuals. We have deans and full professors and department heads hanging from the rafters,2 and doctors and lawyers all over the place, and we’re glad to have them. These people have the leisure and the finances to investigate new ideas and have the habit of looking for something new. A large number of them pick up RC and get hooked,3 and good things happen. They’re used to4 thinking about and trying new, difficult ideas. We have some sharp thinkers coming into RC just out of sheer intellectual appreciation for the logical consistency of our theory.

We have to start with these people; we’re glad to have them. We just can’t stop with them, because as a group the middle class is thoroughly conditioned to be vacillating, indecisive, timid. The working class has other conditioned patterns on it, and when we get them in our Communities, we will have difficulties. We’ll feel that they are rude and stupid and gauche,5 and they’ll offend our delicate sensibilities sometimes. But they’ve got guts.6 As a group, our timidity is laughable to them.

Once a significant group of wage workers take RC theory for their own, and practice it, you’ll see things happen fast. They have not been flitting from blossom to blossom on an intellectual potpourri7 all their lives. They’re starved for ideas that have meaning. They’ve been denied access to anything but a stupid television program and a glass of beer. The idea that they can think, grasp ideas, and stand up and take charge of things is going to excite them.

If you think RC spread quickly in the middle-class communities, that’s nothing compared to what it will do among the workers. And black people. We have difficulty overcoming our racism enough to make real friends among black people. We need to get out of our rut, out of our timidity, and make friends with them. We have a similar block with workers, and we simply have to surmount it. It has to be a one-to-one, individual thing. There’s no notion of putting out an RC pamphlet addressed to wage workers.


1 “We’re lousy with” means we have a great number of.
2 “Hanging from the rafters” means everywhere.
3 “Get hooked” means become very interested.
4 “Used to” means accustomed to.
5 “Gauche” means crude, lacking in social graces.
6 “Guts” means courage.
7 A “potpourri” is a mixture of flowers, herbs, and spices.


Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00