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Our Goal Must Be a Non-exploitative Society

Many of us Jews in the United States live, or aspire to live, a middle-class life. We often work at middle-class middle-agent jobs.

A significant number of Trump supporters are white poor working-class men, who often feel alienated economically, socially, and politically from U.S. middle-class/owning-class society. We Jews have been conditioned to be separate from and pitted against the working class and to target working-class people with our class patterns.

Non-Jewish oppressed groups (in particular, the working class) have been conditioned to rehearse anti-Jewish oppression at Jews who play the visible middle-agent role. During hard economic times and when society is collapsing, these conditioned working-class people blame Jews—along with immigrants, People of the Global Majority, and other groups—for the economic difficulties.

Donald Trump’s campaign targeted Muslims, People of the Global Majority, women, Gay people, disabled people, and Jews. We Jews can feel terrified any time we are no longer protected by those at the top (the ruling class). This is one of those times. Globally, the nationalistic right wing is gaining ascendancy and power.

We need to acknowledge what is happening but also what it reminds us of. We are entering a hard time, but we can easily confuse the present with the past and be afraid to reach out to allies.

We have big distresses to work on—hurts from our families’ histories in Europe, and fears of fascism and neofascism. We need the security of our relationships. We need to fight isolation every step of the way. For example, what steps can we take to welcome Gentile allies—in particular, working-class Gentile allies?

How do we best embrace the challenges ahead? Our long-term goal must be a non-exploitative society that benefits everyone.

Diane Balser

Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, USA

Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list for leaders of Jews

(Present Time 186, January 2017)


Last modified: 2020-07-17 20:50:52+00