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The importance of the liberation work of the middle class

Excerpts from a speech by Sean Ruth at the conference of the European leaders of the middle class in the Netherlands, December 2006

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In the past, some people have been guiding "middle class" support groups because they knew deeply in the heart that it is important, though they had little theory at their disposal why it is so. They did this, although it was hard, but they could not see if what they were doing would make a difference at all. Many did this mid-class liberation work out of the feeling of commitment to the working class to feel out of feeling bad about being part of the middle class. But it is becoming clearer to us that we are good people and do this work for our own liberation. Over the years I have reminded people time and time again that we are good just as we are and that the only rational attitude towards ourselves is to be satisfied with us.

The clearer we are in these points, the more we can think about the liberation of the middle class in a larger and more global framework. It is very easy to use words without thinking about their meaning. When we talk about certain things, such as the "collapse of capitalism," I am not sure if we can think clearly about it. If we leave this language aside and only look at what happens in the world, we see that many things become increasingly dangerous and unstable. The more global capitalism spreads, the more difficult it will be to control it. Many extensive financial crises in the past century have been governed by national governments. If such a crisis were to take place at the present time, national governments might not be able to ensure this control. At the moment there are many ways for people to make money, and they are taking ever more risks. Capitalism causes great damage to the environment and governments have very limited opportunities to tackle it. More and more warlike acts, such as we can see in the "war on terror", or the focus on Islamic fundamentalists as "the enemy." The system in which we live has become extremely unstable.

In these circumstances, it is important that there are groups that are able to think about the events and to offer leadership. In a certain way it is little what we have achieved as a middle class NCer so far. We are a small group that speaks things that few have heard so far. But when we look at the world, it is definitely important that we think about and mediate about middle-class people. Without this part it is not feasible to change society as a whole. It quickly feels meaningless when we offer a support group and there are three people coming. But what we do is very important. This conference brings people in touch with each other, who work in isolation. This makes it clear to us that we are part of a larger movement. Each of us has an influence on others, so what each of us does has meaning. We must find a balance between the


Feeling to be more important than we are and at the same time to realize that no one else (in the world) does this work. What is currently happening in the world shows how important it is that this kind of work is done (liberation work of the middle class).

Why is the liberation work of the middle class so important to the world? If we try to think about classes, we do not get an entire picture without this part. It is not meaningful to omit any group, and just middle-class people are important by their position that they occupy within society. The US historian Howard Zinn called us "Guardian of the system." What would happen if we were to say "No!" To our guards and use our skills in a different way?

As middle-class people, many of us have the ability and the ability to influence others. Or in other words, because of our positions, we can cause a lot of damage. While the economic system is becoming increasingly destabilized, the role we play can make a huge difference. Our work of liberation can lead us to assume an important role in dealing with the collapse of capitalism. Depending on how we approach other middle-class people, they can also encourage positive action. Our challenge is to prepare us to offer leadership. Medium-class people will not be the mainstay of this change, but we have the important task of supporting the working class. We can make social change easier or - if we do not make this work of liberation - harder.

The importance of the liberation work of the middle class is not that we feel better about ourselves but rather that it will be possible for us to live a great life - a meaningful life. Some middle-class people who think about ending the oppression of the middle class have to give up their privileges. But that is not what it really is, it is about living a great life. If we begin to think in this way, losses of privileges will not harm us. This weekend is part of this great life, parting us from passing our lives towards comfort and safety. Instead, we can begin to think about how we can contribute to changes in the world through our lives. With the help of real contacts with other middle-class people (and members of the workers and owners) and close connections, we can achieve everything. When we feel united, we will reject our ability to oppress them, but will use them for our own liberation and those of others.

Question: This is all so theoretical, what does it all have to do with my life?

This is an important question. To be able to do this work, she must come from our hearts, not just from theory. When we think about it, it is helpful to begin to perceive our influence and the difference we already make. The way the pain patterns of the middle class work is that we tend to think that there is something we should know something we need to understand but can not yet grasp. We tend to think that the things that we are doing are not important. So we ignore what we already know and try to lead in areas that we have not yet understood. When we talk, we often use words that neither we nor those who listen to us understand.

I think that we are partly convinced that oppression by classics is something else, but not us. As we pay little heed to our own experiences, we try to understand what has become the working class. But we too have experienced oppression through classicism. We have been left unclear, but under all the confusion we know from our own experience all that is there to know about it.

We are trying to understand how we can organize members of the middle class, how we can build a movement of the middle class in the world as well as within NC. We must learn from our hearts, and not from the theory of somebody to speak. Even if it looks like the steps we take are small - they are part of a much bigger movement. It is important to remember that we are not on our own.

Rational Island Publishers (eds.): Our True Selves . No. 2, 2007, Seattle. (NC Journal on the topic "middle class")

Translated by Carsten Filor and Uta Allers, May 2008

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