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Class Warfare In The USA And Rebuilding A Militant Working Class

Author's note: I am a fan of the works of Andy Anderson and a lot of the stuff published by the UK group Openly Classist. One of the most common criticisms I have heard of those ideas is that this is not England, this is the United States. I agree with that 100%. This is not England, the same way that it's not Spain in 1936, it's not some place like Greece with the thousand person black bloc marches, and it's not Paris in 1968 either. This is the United States where class is much more covered up and hidden than in those other places. Class has become a nonexistent issue to most people here. Those of us who have lived the experience know that class differences and class privileges exist here as much as anywhere else. However, the specifics are different and the United States is its own unique country with its own unique problems around class. I wrote this essay based on my own experiences with class here in the United States and encourage other working class, poor, and broke people to do the same. We exist.

Part 1- Life's story and Life's Criticisms

The town of Glastonbury, CT was named after the place in England made famous by the legend of King Arthur. When I was growing up it was a regular town with a lower income section, a rural section, a lot of middle class cookie cutter houses, and a part for old money WASPs whose families had lived there since the pilgrims first came. Now it's a dreadful yuppie suburban hole. It always had yuppies, but there were quite a few working folk who lived there. As a matter of fact, we couldn't be ignored like we usually are. The annual beer bash fundraiser for the fire department was famous among all the local rednecks. All the drunks and yahoos would come from surrounding cow towns just to go to this big keg party. It was notorious for having big brawls every year, until finally they had to ban it sometime in the eighties. My dad told me about it when I asked him about this beer mug we used to have. There was also this part of town called "Welles Village," which was this area that was old factory houses built around World War 2. When I was growing up, it was mostly section 8 housing, and was run by this asshole of a landlord. Everyone knew it was the "poor" side of town, but it really wasn't as bad as people made it out to be. People would always act like it was the most crime ridden area in the world, but those people just didn't seem to get it and usually had too much money in the first place. In the area around the village you had apartments, multifamily homes, and just your basic working class housing. Most of the working class people in the area worked at Pratt & Whitney, making airplane parts. My dad was a mechanic, and my mom made dental crowns if she didn't have to wait tables. They bought a small plot of land, up a long dirt road, on a place called Rattlesnake Mountain, where they lived in a cabin that they later added onto. My parents always used to say to me "We're not rich, we're not poor, we're middle class." I knew kids at school who lived in expensive houses, had vacation condos in Maine, always had the newest video game systems with tons of games, and they said the same thing."We're not rich, we're middle class." So what they meant by "middle class" was obviously different from what I meant when I said middle class. I saw them living lifestyles like all the families on TV - the Huxtables from the Cosby Show, the Seavers from Growing Pains, all the while feeling like we were more like the Bundy's from Married with Children. Dad was angry all the time, there was never any food in the house; things were getting shut off because we were always behind on our bills, and people thought we were trash. We just didn't meet middle class standards. I had heard the term "working class" from middle class skinheads who said it meant that you were proud to have a job and work. So, it really didn't mean anything to me up until later when I moved to Philadelphia. Philly was a place with a small activist scene that I was a part of for about 2 years. Despite my bitter attitude towards the place now, it first seemed like it was this great anarchist community where people shared everything and helped each other out. I have to admit I was impressed at first. This scene was also right on the edge of a Black and Asian working class ghetto in West Philly. All these activist kids would move there from outside areas and most of the activist kids knew they were out of place, but they would just ignore it and spend as much time as possible hanging out with other activists and not getting to know the people who lived there. One thing I picked up was that the activist kids would assume that everyone else in that area that was white was middle class just like them. I was punk, I was a white activist who moved there from out of town, and people just assumed that I chose this punk rock ghetto lifestyle and came from this cushy background. Class just wasn't acknowledged and when it was, it was the most asinine shit ever. Plenty of the so-called "working class" activists I've met were fakers who could convince themselves that they were working class because they had a boss or were poor cuz they chose not to work. Every leftist wants to call themselves a worker because they think it's romantic. Let them go to work one day removing lead paint or laying brick and we'll see how romantic they think it is after that. That whole excuse just reminds me of white people who act like they've solved the racism problem by listening to rap music and declaring that we all came from Africa.

The thing is, male activists could acknowledge sexism because women were visible, white activists could acknowledge racism cuz there was like 10 visible people who were either black, Asian, or Latino among about 150 white kids. But people just wouldn't look at class and when they did, they would either turn their heads or be talking about some IWW shit from 90 years ago. There was also this feeling of white guilt would prevent them from saying anything bad about black, Latino or Asian working class people, I knew it was white guilt because the activists had no problems with making judgments on poor whites. They always talked about white working class neighborhoods in Northeast and South Philly like everyone there was the biggest racist, sexist, homophobe who loved cops and hated activists because they were so reactionary. You know the kids would feel uncomfortable around working class blacks, but they wouldn't say it cuz they didn't want to sound racist. Working class people in neighborhoods like Northeast Philly couldn't take activists seriously because the activists were completely irrelevant to most of them, and their ideas are so out of touch. Even people who lived in that West Philly neighborhood had a hard time taking activists seriously. Working class people everywhere have a hard time taking activists seriously. This stuff isn't just unique to Philly; it's every activist social scene I've ever been around. You had people claiming to be a "revolutionary movement" or whatever, but they mostly just worked on self serving projects that only affected themselves and nobody else. You had people setting up housing collectives that were just for activists, or people setting up news media just for activists, or people would perform stupid puppet shows and expect that kind of stuff to spread the word and create new converts like the Jehovah's witnesses do. All you ended up with was just another self serving scene with its own artsy fartsy appeal. One day I was walking down the street, talking to 2 kids I knew, and there was this random black guy that I didn't know who was looking at me. He mumbled something about "poor white trash" that I didn't notice at first because I was right in the middle of a conversation with 2 people. Later, I started to think about the guy and it kinda pissed me off. I thought about an article that I recently read that explained where that term came from, and how it originally referred to Appalachian mountain whites who weren't good enough to be considered "white." I thought about the guy and wondered what he thought of the yuppies in Rittenhouse square or the University of Pennsylvania students, and if it would be better if I was one of those guys who wouldn't even look at the guy if he asked for the time. Then I realized it. The guy was absolutely right. I was poor white trash. I am poor white trash. I was living in a squat, my clothes were filthy cuz I had no washer, I made less than $100 a week, and I didn't make a conscious choice to be that way. That's when it became clear as day. I was working class. I had always been working class, not good enough to meet middle class standards - and the people who surrounded me, who ignored the people that were economically disadvantaged, and acted like they had the right to set standard for everyone else were overwhelmingly middle class. Just like in Glastonbury. What I thought was a radical community that was coming together for revolution or whatever, was actually just another yuppie suburb that separated itself from the problems of real people. I wasn't middle class and I never would be. I'd never meet their warped standards of what it meant to be an activist. That random dude on the street told me something that I had been in denial about for the longest time, and he told me right to my face. I wish I could meet that guy again. I'd shake his fucking hand. Our Problem So to a lot of people today, the term "working class" is never really at the surface. In the USA, it seems like class issues have mostly been buried. People will call themselves "middle class" or "poor" but when "working class" is presented as something different most people who actually are, will identify with that. People know the difference when you talk about "a working class neighborhood" and a "middle class neighborhood". You see "middle class" everywhere. It's such a generic term, it starts to fool you. Middle class is what "mainstream America" is - it's mostly about money, but there's plenty of other things about it, like slang, culture, the kind of work you do or don't do- and the people who are held up as "mainstream America" are really only about 20-25% of the population. People like the Huxtables and the Seavers, that's middle class. People who politicians kiss ass to, people who the media speak to, people who expect to get their way by leaving skimpy tips and complaining to managers, people who are the managers, people who get to blame us working class people when something goes wrong. They are people who basically run and ruin the lives of the working class. Most people aren't, but lots of people want to be middle class, and like to consider themselves that. People like to think that they're normal and average, part of the majority - even though the majority of people really can't live up to middle class standards. When you look at who the middle class really are, like the people I knew in Glastonbury, and most of the activists I know, you see that they're nothing like working class people. The middle class are just parasites of the working class. They keep us down, suck our life, and control us. Doctors, lawyers, real estate agents, politicians, landlords, social workers, middle management types who are toadies for the big boss, "mainstream America," "middle America," the "American Dream" in other words. I don't see one middle class job that doesn't maintain itself off of the misery of someone of a lesser status. Ever meet a doctor that doesn't extort you for your poor health? A landlord that doesn't extort you for the fact that you don't own property? An honest insurance salesman or politician? Even skilled white collar wage workers like architects and computer programmers laugh at the people who have to get their hands dirty and take for granted the fact that someone else has to clean up after them. Although a lot of working class people (like me when I was younger) absently call themselves middle class, the differences make themselves obvious when you hold them up to the light.

"He'd ask for his check. Maybe he's going to sign it. He'd take a very long time and maybe he'd make me stand there, "Let's see now, what do you think I ought to give you?" He would not let go of that moment. And you knew it. You knew he meant to demean you. He's holding the change in his hand, or if he'd sign, he'd flourish the pen and wait. These are the times I really get angry. I'm not reticent. Something would come out. Then I didn't care. "Goddamn, keep your money!" -Dolores Dante Waitress (1)

Cutting to the Chase

There's still a bunch of people who consider themselves working class. So we need to promote that, and organize around our identity. We have an identity and a consciousness; it's just buried underneath a bunch of middle class shit all the time. You've got a lot of people who know who their class is and what the problem is, but when we try to make things better for ourselves through class struggle, we always get derailed by the middle class who comes in and takes over. Just look at the way the Unions are run by all these suits that get to decide what kind of contracts are good for us. When you get some rank and file democracy in unions, you get wildcat strikes, slowdowns, sitdowns, general strikes, factory occupations, a fighting labor movement, and a conscious working class. Now you have union sellouts that ruin everything by agreeing not to strike in exchange for government contracts.

The middle class don't know shit about class politics. It's useless trying to teach them because they got nothing to relate to. One middle class activist told me about how they were at a conference on environmentalism in Europe. This person was talking about how people from Asia and Latin America were buying cell phones and lap tops from big corporations when they were there. Then this particular middle class activist remarked how they didn't have the privilege to worry about anti-consumerist politics where they were from. Personally, I can't stand the anti-consumerist thing, but if someone is going shopping for lap tops and cell phones on a trip to another continent, it sounds like they're privileged enough to me. The people here who can't afford a laptop in the first place must have slipped this person's mind. This is just the kind of shit you can expect from middle class people. One university activist tried to tell me that I had class privilege cuz I had a car. Yea, a class privilege alright, one that leaves me stranded on the highway and empties my pocket to keep running. Most middle class people are in denial. They don't like to look at the state of poverty as it is here and now. If they do, then they try with the most pathetic attempts to act like they are as equally affected by it. Like the kid who tried to tell me that supervisors are still "alienated" from their labor; and by that I think he meant giving lesser employees a hard time and firing them. They want to keep class differences at arms length away, so they can ignore their guilty conscience and their role in a system that produces more poor people than it does rich.


"When I hear a college kid say "I'm oppressed" I don't believe him. You know what I'd like to do for one year? Live like a college kid. Wow! Wow! Sports car! Marijuana! Wild, sexy broads. I'd love that, hell yes I would." -Mike LeFevre, Steelworker (1)

Now you always got people in politics trying to concern us with the problems of the middle class. Everyone from Republicans and Democrats to so-called radicals in groups like Crimethinc and the Revolutionary Communist Party (among many others) are doing this. Even so-called "working class" groups like NEFAC (2) and the IWW (3) want to include the middle class as part of the working class. Now, it's easy to see why the Republican and Democratic Parties do this because they're just losers to begin with. But the radicals with their ideas of utopia and dominant middle class members think that everyone, regardless of some of the most basic class interests should be included in their political ideology. Whatever they want to do - if they want revolutionary social war, if they want a more progressive leftist government, if they want to abolish the government, even if they just want a series of huge reforms that would make everyone's life a whole lot better; one of the big sales pitches is to make their ideas easy to swallow for the middle class. Anarchism is no longer a working class movement. Communism and socialism are no longer working class movements. Instead they've become hobbies for University intellectuals and wealthy subculture youths that will live comfortably regardless of their political actions. The rhetoric has succeeded in this respect. Do we really need to concern ourselves with the middle class and whatever problems they might have? No. Of course not. "Radical" politics today is full of people who look out for the interests of the middle class. As if Democrats and Republicans don't do it well enough to begin with. When activist kids work on campaigns against gentrification, they always rush to the aid of small business owners as if they were the most important thing in that neighborhood. Do I really care if a local coffee shop has to sell its business to Starbucks, because Xando put them out of business? Ever think that it might be different to deal with if gentrification meant more buildings for you to clean? Or more delivery trucks to drive? Nobody ever thinks of the people who have to choose between their homes and their jobs.

Other times, you got middle class people always acting like they're suffering alongside working people. They go about promoting the idea that the middle class has more in common with the average working stiff than with people like George Bush. Yea, right! Like what? Like how they write our paychecks and fire us? If that's the case then why do the dumps and incinerators always have to be put in our neighborhoods? There's just always going to be a class struggle as long as one class is separate and better off than another. Sure, middle class people might occasionally fall out of the middle class, but it usually doesn't last too long because most of them have things like University degrees, connections to the business world, and money to fall back on. The working class is the ones going without food and living in homes infested with vermin. Why should we go around worrying about the middle class and whatever petty issues they want to cry about?

Just about any group of activists these days that claims to be a "working class organization" is full of shit. I see nothing in them but middle class politicos who pay us lip service, and the token working class member or two who sit there and make excuses for their buddies and back them up when the pressure is on. The biggest joke is the "Workers World Party" with all its bourgey middle class intellectuals and its million dollar celebrity spokespeople. As someone else said "People who apologize for the middle class in politics are bad news". No more excuses. No more phoney lip service. Middle class people should just take a back seat in class organizing and if they can't do that it would be better if they just dropped out of class organizing altogether. Maybe they could print flyers or something. Self determination for the working class right? Then the people to organize for this have to be working class.

Ideas of "inclusiveness" and "tolerance" are taken to the extreme. Whether it's a bunch of white collar pinko reds who produce papers like "Workers World", or some anarcho-syndicalists who defend "anyone who isn't a boss," there is a fine line between what is working class and what isn't. If the idea of class warfare is friendly to middle class people, then that should be one thing that says something is wrong with it. Rebellion and revolutionary movements have been taken over by the middle class to the point where they've become irrelevant to the working class. If we have to isolate ourselves from the middle class to become relevant to the working class, then so be it. A working class revolution was never meant to include the affluent people in the first place.

What we can expect from the middle class

Even the people who admit the middle class gets a cushy deal from snuggling up to the rich claim the middle class, or a large part of it could still be "won over" to the side of the working class. That they had could benefit as well from a revolution. And they're partially right. The middle class can benefit from a revolution, they have in the past, and they still do benefit from past revolutions. The American revolution, the French revolution, the Mexican revolution, the Russian revolution, China's long history of peasant uprisings, and many more all lead to a new class of intellectuals and executives in fancy duds taking over from the old ones. The fact is, that whenever the middle class, or a new breed of "experts", leaders, and intellectuals are "won to our side" they end up manipulating the working class for their own purposes. Look at the Russian revolution. Most of the people who overthrew the czar, weren't communists or intellectuals, but the commie intellectuals were the ones who ended up taking over. On the other hand, an active working class wants something different. Control over the workplace, direct democracy, and basically, autonomy over their own lives. They do this by setting up councils in their workshops, popular militias, and neighborhood assemblies. They strike, they mutiny, they battle with the cops, and they take what's rightfully theirs. We can look at all the examples you want - the Russian revolution before the commie takeover, the Spanish civil war, the rebellion in Hungary 1956 against the commies, the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, etc. This is never something that the middle class is down with. This is something that directly threatens the middle class because it brings working people closer to freedom. When we control our own lives, we don't need them for shit. The middle class know this and will try to stop it at all costs.

Right now, it's worth looking at the uprising that happened in December 2001 in Argentina. When the country went bankrupt, the president stepped down, at the demand of millions of people. Middle class and working class people participated in the uprising. As the Argentine government toppled, politicians took their money and ran, with millionaires and industrialists doing the same. Local governments were replaced by democratic community assemblies, and workplaces replaced the old worker-management-boss structure with worker councils and company collectivizations. A weak Argentine government has since been restored, and some businesses were returned to their previous owners. But in many places, the worker councils and neighborhood assemblies are still around.

Despite the fact that people came from many walks of life to fight together in a time of crisis, there is a split in this Argentine movement. There is much resentment between the middle class and working class in Argentina. There is mistrust for the union leadership by rank and file union members and hostility between workers, nonworking poor, and small business owners and generally well off people who lost some money when the country went bankrupt. The Argentine working class favors revolutionary changes - property redistribution, permanency of neighborhood councils and assemblies, community run hospitals and schools, etc. On the other hand, the main objective of the middle class was to just get their money back and get the economy going again. The government and many middle class Argentines have supported the workers co-operatives in Argentina at places like Ghelco SA5, but that's basically because most plants went bankrupt before the workers took it over. They're approving of workers co-operatives because it's a better alternative to bankruptcy, not necessarily because it's the beginning of an alternative to the class system. If Ghelco is still producing income by manu-facturing chocolates and pastries to be delivered and sold, then they will condone some acts of working class self-management.

In the past, when situations arose where workers have asserted themselves to take over factories that are theirs by right, they were violently crushed by middle class movements such as Mussolini's fascists, and the Stalinist backed Popular Front government in Spain during the 1930's.

Now the situation in Argentina has calmed down a little since it was all over the news, and the assemblies have begun to dwindle. The government is restoring itself, and the entire country has started to settle down, and follow the complacent middle class who are now beginning to regain their financial stability. This doesn't mean that much for the Argentine working class though, many of whom are still wandering around city streets recycling garbage for chump change. Although Argentina has been recovering since the shock of December '01, the country still faces major financial problems and will most likely have more problems in the future. Since the Argentine working class has tasted freedom, the uprising of 12/01 might just be the first in a series of attacks. Hopefully, the Argentine middle class will not behave an impact on workers in the future. (4)

The working class has nothing in common with the middle class, especially not as far as changing the system goes. What's happening in Argentina is nothing new. At just about any time in the past 100 years or so, in any place, where people overthrew the government, you always have middle class people who want small reforms that would make life better for them but not necessarily for working and poor people. Maybe they want lower taxes, maybe they want more financial support, and maybe they want more representation in a parliamentary government. The shopkeepers, the small time landlords, the stockbrokers, the accountants, "community leaders", etc. This still does not make a difference for the problems that the working class is facing.

All in all, if the working class ever expects to free itself, it can't be dependant on the middle class. Middle class activists have to be like accessories to a working class movement. With or without them we'll take back what's ours. All sorts of activist credibility always goes to the over-privileged middle class kids who fly around the world and act smart because they know about activist movements in places like Europe, Chiapas, Argentina, Palestine, or whatever. If anybody is going to teach us how to overthrow a class system, it's those of us who've never had to go anywhere to see poverty and misery. It's those of us who know what it's like to be hungry, to work long hours for not enough money, to grow up in filth, who've gotten the shitty end of the stick. Nobody can tell us about the problems in this system better than those of us who've always known the American dream for what it is - a dream, some place far, far away from reality.

"Intellectuals are so stupid. They can't understand anything unless you write a thesis about it." -Yvonne, painter

Now I'm sure what I have to say is nothing new to most working class people. Any working class activist knows what it's like to be pushed out of the activist country club, and any working class person can tell you what it's like to grow up in suck-ass living conditions. It leaves you bitter, jaded, and angry. So middle class people often tell you that you're too full of hatred or that you have too much anger because they just can't understand when life isn't all hunky dory. So it should be no wonder why they just can't figure out anything when it comes to class politics. Sure, plenty of spoiled college brats are dropping out of universities and joining the traveling protest circus, but that doesn't say much for working class people. Middle class people don't understand our struggle and it's basically useless for us to try and teach them even if we wanted to. The point is, if we're going to be active, we have to focus on problems that working class people like ourselves face under the system, and direct ways on how to change them while getting other working class people involved in doing it.

Middle class people are clueless to this. The fact that politics is so dominated by the middle class is your reason why politics don't concern too many working class people here. There are all sorts of people who want to complain about capitalism because it's alienating. But it's the most petty, stupid aspects of capitalism that they focus on as being alienating. Things like consumerism for example, they talk about how alienating it is to buy stuff just check out Adbusters magazine. There are all sorts of books and zines written about how cars and television alienate you also. Now I'm a pretty social person, and I've been doing things like driving my car and watching TV for a long time and I don't feel alienated. In all truth, I drive a car because I'm much more worried about being alienated from my job -i.e. my paycheck - than from a fun bike ride.

You get all sorts of people who want to focus on fun and games and abstract theory for brainiacs rather than changing the shitty things in life. Earlier on in this essay, I also talked about how activists focus too much on self-serving projects that don't go any further than their little in-crowds. If politics is ever going to mean anything to us than it has to help us in a concrete way. People need food, they need livable homes, medical care, child care, clothes, they need to live in unpolluted areas where you can drink the water. To have these things people need to put up with bosses, union officials, landlords and agencies; and the fact of the matter is you could be doing everything right and legal and still not be able to keep up on the rent. You could have a job and be up on your rent, but still not be able to pay for health insurance. You could have a job and health insurance, but still be borrowing money from your brother or sister to buy the kids some new clothes. If the working class is ever going to make gains for themselves they have to organize to fight for the things that we all need to live. If activists are ever going to be useful, then they are going to have to support the working class in its battles.

One thing that has impressed me over the last year was how Boston NEFAC groups aided a janitor strike in the mainstream Service Employees International Union (SEIU). During this strike, the NEFAC Boston groups supported the strike in many ways, and encouraged initiative to be taken by rank and file janitors. In the end the strike was settled by a series of disruptive marches and civil disobedience that the anarchists aided in. However, the politicians who call the shots for the SEIU locals settled for a crummy contract and a lot of the janitors were displeased because the new contract locked them into a "five year period of stagnant wages. In a week-long ratification process, fewer than 800 janitors out of the eligible 12,000 voted (5). After the strike was over, the anarchists who had been organizing with the janitors all along distributed a pamphlet letting the janitors know that they could carry on the strike or direct actions with or without being recognized by the SEIU officials. There has been some interest, but not too much has come out of the flyers. Regardless, it was an important follow-up step to make in radicalizing the rank and file of the labor movement.

NEFAC was not initiating some new form of agitation, but instead were supporting the workers in their ongoing struggle with their union's bureaucracy. The workers obviously were the strength behind the strike. Although the bureaucracy called the shots, the janitors knew what they were getting into and were on the front lines the whole time, fighting for better working conditions as well as their basic rights. In short, the Boston activists who worked on this campaign were supporting the janitors of SEIU, not the bureaucrats.

Also I think it's worth mentioning the revival of the IWW and their organizing drives in Portland, Oregon. Their method of organizing labor unions has always been one that is based on rank and file democracy. Recently, they've had some success organizing cafes, restaurants, and bike messengers. This union is based on the rank and file democracy of its locals, and there really isn't a huge bureacracy like in most mainstream unions today. The larger IWW organization basically exists as support for its local unions. It does this by collecting funds, helping the workers organize pickets, making contacts with other job shops and so on. Although NEFAC and IWW are actually cross class organizations, and not working class organizations, I think the actions that they do, outweigh all the boring middle class academics eggheads that put faces on these organizations.

The point here isn't to promote the idea of labor organizing to death. The working class is probably the largest grouping in society - of around 80% of the world's population. So, of course, there are many other forms of activism that are important to the working class and you don't have to become a syndicalist or anarcho-communist to be relevant (as I touched on before, I've actually noticed a lot of irrelevant syndicalists). I've also seen a lot of environmentalist type activists (green anarchists, earth firsters, etc) showing support for indigenous resistance groups, and this is great. But working class eco-activists should consider working with people from their own communities as well, instead of just going to indigenous communities. Maybe setting up trailer park tenant unions or community farms that do food distribution. There's a project called Victory Gardens in Athens, Maine run by working class people with environmentalist backgrounds in their activism. Their organization runs like a food distro that aids political prisoners and teaches self-sufficiency. What impressed me the most was how well they were tied in with the local working class community. People in the Athens area respect the Victory Gardeners as their neighbors, and not the wacky hippies who live on the other side of town.

The possibilities are limitless. We need to support our class in its attempts to organize itself if we want to tip the scales against the people with the money. Tenant organizations, copwatch groups, support groups for victims of abuse - just ask yourself "what are the problems in working class communities and what are the ways that I can help fix them?" Groups like the Black Panthers, the Patriot Party, and the American Indian Movement all organized extremely well with working class people even though they rarely ever worked on labor issues.

Class rebellion, will only come from the working class or poor, so if anything is ever going to get any better for the lowered classes in this country, then activists are going to have to turn away from their irrelevant subculture scenes and look toward organizing in working class/poor communities. The activists, who are best suited for this are of course working class activists, who come from these communities and know about the issues first hand. No matter how many books someone reads, middle class activists will never be able to know what it's like to be working class. The only people that do, have lived through it. As far as middle class activists go, it really doesn't matter what they do because most of them don't got a clue about it anyways. Trying to bring them into our issues is useless and unnecessary. If they're making phone calls and copying flyers, it's not a big problem, but we can't be letting them lead our movement.

When I first came into the world of activism, I was attracted to this new world and thought it was so much more advanced than the one I had grown up in. I came into the anarchist movement expecting to find a better way. I was looking for an alternative to the life I had been living. When I came out bitter and jaded, I realized that I had been looking in the wrong places all along. It wasn't any sort of anarchists or activists who were going to create that better way of living, it was people like the ones I had grown up around. Mechanics and Drywallers. Waitresses and gas station clerks. Bus drivers, custodians, and the unemployed. The poor, the angry, the tired. The working stiffs. The majority.

People, Overworked and Still Broke is a newly formed publishing group in Philadelphia whose aim is to produce and distribute working class literature. We publish works by and for working class folks about the class experience and how to get rid of the other classes. The middle can't swallow what we have to say, that is why they've always tried to silence us or speak for us. In a world where wealthy academics and intellectuals like bell hooks and Bill O'Reilly claim to speak for the working class, the real lives and experiences of working people are buried. Here at Overworked and Still Broke, we intend to provide a source for information from the direct experience of America's lower classes. We welcome any contributions, questions or comments and are interested in making contacts with other groups and individuals. Get in contact with us if your interested. We're pleased to present a free copy of our first publication, "Class Warfare in the USA and the Proper Way to Mutiny." If you have a publication please feel free to review or quote us. if you would like to distribute Overworked and Still Broke material let us know.


Overworked and Still Broke
c/o the defenestrator
po box 30922
Philly, PA 19104


1. Working by Studs Terkel,1974 The New Press
2. Northeastern Federation of Anarcho-Communists.
3. Industrial Workers of the World.
4. For Argentines a Sweet Resolve article by Jon Jeter, Washington Post Foreign Service
5. Article and flyer called "anarchist agitation among janitors"