Working on the “New Initiative on Ending Classism”

Hello leaders of the working class,

I am wondering what your experience has been with working on the “New Initiative on Ending Classism” published in the July 2014 Present Time. I am wondering if it has been useful and how and what it has moved forward for you and others. I am wondering where it has taken you in Co-Counseling sessions and what kind of re-evaluations and changes in your thoughts and actions it has led to, if any. If you think it is on the wrong track or is confusing or not useful, I would like to hear about that.

Since you are working-class leaders in RC, I will remind you that we who are working class are the people most likely to move this initiative forward. I know that our internalized oppression often makes us wish that someone else would be the person to do it, or think that someone else would be a better person to do it. Many of us rarely think that we are good enough. I know that you know that those pieces of internalized oppression have really hurt the working class. I also know that it is not your intention to cooperate with those patterns.

I would like you to have a minimum of five sessions on this initiative. It would be great if some of them followed something that you did—inside or outside of RC—inspired by the initiative. This could be making new friends, putting more attention toward your relationships with people “engaged in the direct production of goods or services,” leading something on the initiative in your RC Community, or getting agreement with your regular Co-Counselor that you will both put some attention to this initiative and what it would mean for you. Anything.

I can say that it has had unexpected results for me personally. I have been noticing classism in my life everywhere, including in places where I never noticed it before. I have realized that I was shutting it out from my awareness, that I had made an unaware decision to move forward without noticing the classism. My unaware excuse was that if I did notice it, it would bother me too much and I wouldn’t get anything done.

Well, I have been getting things done since noticing. Noticing the classism and feeling the feelings I have about this initiative have been uncomfortable, but my relationships with people in the factory have improved, for one thing. I have become more vocal (have been speaking up more) and more visible.

I have a lot more to say, but I will stop here because I want to hear what you have to say. We need to learn from each other.

Dan Nickerson
International Liberation Reference
Person for Working-Class People
Freeport, Maine, USA

 

Thanks, Dan, for putting this initiative on ending classism out in the Communities so boldly and for thinking about it so clearly. It has been useful to me.

During past years I sometimes felt that people in my Community were not ready to make ending classism a priority, or that the situation was not yet right for it to be embraced in the wide world. I kept working on it despite the discouragement. The new initiative has been a good contradiction to these feelings.

At Tim’s1 Southern California (USA) Teachers’ and Leaders’ Workshop last October, I led a topic group of six people on the new initiative. I shared a few of my own experiences from several decades of working in the direct production of goods and services, connecting with my coworkers, and trying to support all of us to be leaders. Most of the people in our topic group were younger and newer to RC. I was impressed with their interest in these stories and how ready they were to move in the direction proposed in the initiative.

In November I had an opportunity to hear Tim speak about related issues and to think with other committed folks about them. It was another good contradiction to discouragement.

At Tim’s West Coast North America Reference Persons’ Workshop in January, I led another topic group on the initiative that had eleven people in attendance. It was a mixed-class group. Instead of focusing on our different class backgrounds, we looked at our connections with people currently working in direct production and at backing2 their leadership. We talked about how that has been going for each of us and what difficulties get in the way. It seemed to push people in useful, challenging ways, and many seemed pleased.

In my workplace, which is one of the larger employers in the area, there is currently a campaign to form a union. For years I have built connections with people at work and communicated important ideas, and now people are asking me for my thinking about the union. I have had to think about what I want to say—and not say yet—about what we need to do. It brings up feelings for me about things moving faster and fears about whether I will be ready, and whether we will be ready. I think of a direction Julian Weissglasshas given me in sessions: “I will not let fear stop me from doing anything I want to do.”

For several years now I have been leading one-day Area4 workshops on ending classism, for people of the global majority. Part of the effect of the new initiative is that I have decided to lead an open weekend workshop for my Region5 that will include ending classism as a major theme. I have had good sessions on my feelings about it and have noticed, with some surprise, that I am feeling less dread about leadership and more enjoyment of it.

Food Service Worker
Los Angeles, California, USA
Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion
list for leaders of working-class people


Tim Jackins’
“Backing” means supporting.
Julian Weissglass is the International Commonality Reference Person for Wide World Change.
An Area is a local RC Community.
5 A Region is a subdivision of the International RC Community, usually consisting of several Areas.


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