Middle-Class People and Ending Classism

Below are some comments on the workshop Ending Classism for Middle-Class People led by Seán Ruth, the International Liberation Reference Person for Middle-Class People, near Seattle, Washington, USA, in June 2017.

One of my highlights from the workshop was hearing Seán’s perspective on being allies. He encouraged us to “just be with people and not get weird.” How I heard this was to be ourselves, to bring who we are to people, and not use our chronic distress to build relationships. I’m learning that it’s enough to just be with people—instead of letting urgency or desperation take charge of my connection with people.

I also appreciated Seán’s awareness of how middle-class oppression comes in differently for people from different class backgrounds. For people raised middle class, it comes in “drip by drip”; and for those raised poor or working class, it comes in “all at once.” People raised middle class don’t get to be “shocked” by the effects of the oppression the way that people from other class backgrounds do.

Lori Joubert

Shoreline, Washington, USA


I was fortunate to have a three-way mini-session with Seán in which I ended up ranting about everything I do in my working-class job to end classism and how it’s still not enough. Seán said that it was enough. That has made such a difference in my connection with everyone and in being pleased with myself.

Lois Yoshishige

Eugene, Oregon, USA


I was able to connect with other middle-class people who were raised poor or working class. Since the workshop, I’ve been able to notice how middle-class oppression has impacted both people raised middle class and those raised in other classes. At work I can see what managers have to go through with little support and how frontline workers are pitted against each other and managers.

I especially loved how Seán explained that class is not about how we feel; it is about our role in society.

Karen Wosilait

Seattle, Washington, USA


Throughout the weekend we met in many different kinds of constituency groups. That made it easier to see our part in keeping class oppression in place. We entered the work of ending classism from the safety of understanding how it had affected each of us in different ways.

Deborah Bell

Seattle, Washington, USA


Seán challenged us to organize our lives around liberation rather than comfort and security. He said that we don’t need to figure out in advance what this will look like; we can just decide and discharge and see where it leads.

Emily Galpern

Berkeley, California, USA


I got a deeper understanding of the roles that middle-class people play in the current society and how these roles help keep classism in place. Also, middle-class liberation gets much bigger for me when I include in it all people who currently have middle-class jobs.

Seán talked about putting aside our feelings about being middle class so that we can do the work of understanding how we perpetuate the class system. Middle-class liberation involves more than looking at our internalized oppression and how we want to be allies to the working class. We need to discharge on ending the class system, and what we think that means.

Sarah Christensen

Seattle, Washington, USA

(Present Time 193, October 2018)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00