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Videos of SAL/UER Climate Week events

Racism and the Collapsing Society, Barbara Love and Tim Jackins, June 7, 2020

RC Webinars listing through July 2021

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Middle-Class Workshops in Australia

Seán Ruth, the International Liberation Reference Person for Middle-Class People, led two great workshops in Australia. The first, in Adelaide (South Australia), was for anyone who had been affected by middle-class oppression. That might mean being raised middle class. Or it might mean being raised poor or working class and later being in schools, workplaces, and so on, that were run by middle-class people (or by middle-class patterns). The second workshop, in Perth (Western Australia), was for people raised middle class and their allies.

Because both workshops included people from different class backgrounds, we had the opportunity to show more of ourselves across class “barriers.” I was raised middle class, and working on class with people from other class backgrounds brings up lots of fear for me of being attacked for the way I speak and behave. I also feel guilt, despair, and embarrassment about my privileged life and my place in the class system—oppressor material.1 And I feel like I have to look after2 everyone else and not restimulate them! I have plenty to discharge.

It is exciting to work together, rather than in separate groups, toward the goal of leadership by working-class people. The restimulation is immediately there for discharge. If we are to end class oppression, we must be united, and middle-class people will have to come out of emotional hiding and play our part. We have strengths to offer.

Since the workshops I have been thinking about the work on class as another sort of “identity” work. I’m using the direction “claim the identity, clean it up, throw it out.” We Australians like to think that we live in a classless society (clearly untrue) and are tempted to throw out the class identity without discharging first. I think we’ve done well in RC in claiming our class identities but still have a way to go with “cleaning them up.” 

The lack of trust can feel overwhelming when Co-Counselling across class “barriers.” I find it a useful direction to name how my counsellor and I are different but also the same. The similarities can be small things. At the very least we are both human!

Mag Merrilees

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

(Present Time 183, April 2016)


1 “Material” means distress.
2 “Look after” means take care of.


Last modified: 2020-07-02 14:27:35+00