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Confused About Class? Just Ask!

Today's news headlines show an easy way to resolve any problems that activists might have about which class is forming people's opinions. We already know that the two main opposing classes are the working class and the capitalists, with some confused folks in between. We know that their opinions are formed from their economic circumstances, but activists waste way too much time splitting hairs about just who belongs in which class.

We want to know which class dominates which people so that we can better understand what they are telling us. But it's no big problem to tell, just ask them!

The Texas legislature is considering a school finance bill that barely rewards teachers for their work and sacrifices. What few rewards are in the proposed bill would come as "merit pay" based on students' scores, not on the work the teachers do. Which class is for it? Which class opposes?

The Texas legislature is also considering some pay raises for state workers, but not for thousands of non-academic staff in higher education. They are considering Representative Burnam's bill to raise the state minimum wage. Which class is for pay raises? Which class is against?

The stock market just responded to rising unemployment figures with a 100-point uplift. Which class, which side?

At the national level, Senator Kennedy just proposed a pretty good lift in the federal minimum wage. Some of the Republicans responded with another pay-raise bill, which Kennedy called "a sham." Kennedy said that Congressmen have voted themselves an extra $28,000 in the last 5 years, while leaving the minimum wage at $5.15/hour, which leaves workers $5,000 below the official poverty line. Another news source said that Congress has rewarded itself with pay raises 8 times since they improved the minimum wage.

The Senate had no problem discriminating between Kennedy's proposal and the weaker one. They shot them both down. The minimum wage remains a disgraceful $5.15/hour.

Which class was on which side?

Just ask people if they support increasing wages and benefits for workers. If they say, "yes," put them in the working class column. If they say, "no," put them in the capitalist column. If they give you a long confusing answer, don't worry about it, because either their thinking is muddled middle class or they are lying to you.

--Jim Lane

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