Class Matters Workshops

Download this brochure for more information on Class Matters workshops.

If you're interested in hosting a workshop, please click here for a brochure, or contact me about booking an event.

Order Class Matters

Class Matters book cover

Order Class Matters: Cross-Class Alliance Building for Middle-Class Activists by Betsy Leondar-Wright (New Society Publishers, 2005).

Press Coverage of CM

Classist Comments

What's the most classist thing you ever heard someone say?

(I'm not talking about someone like Bill O'Reilly or your right-wing uncle. More specifically, what's the most classist thing you ever heard a liberal or progressive person say?)

Read five interviewees' answers — and my own.

Class and Other Identities

How do you experience class differently because of your race, ethnic group, religion, gender, age, or other identity? What class dynamics do you notice within your identity groups?

Here's how a few visitors answered those questions:

And answers from the Class Matters book:


Fact Sheet:
Is the middle class going downhill?

On one hand, yes. On the other hand, no.
Economic insecurity has steadily crept up the class ladder, reaching everyone except the very wealthy: It’s still a much tougher economy for working-class families than for the middle class:
Compared with 1979, a slightly lower share of middle-aged and older college graduates now have good jobs, defined as paying over $32,000 a year with retirement and health benefits, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Young college grads are now more likely to have good jobs than in 1979. And far fewer high school graduates now have good jobs. The percent of high-school drop-outs with good jobs has dropped almost to zero.
Middle-class families making between $65,000 and $100,000 saw their median income fall one percent from 1999 to 2004, according to the US Census. Low-income families with incomes below $25,000 saw their median income fall by seven percent from 1999 to 2004.
The wage premium for a college degree has shrunk a little since 2000, after rising steadily in the 1980s and 1990s. The 2005 unemployment rate for people without college degrees was double the rate for college grads.
Only the super-rich are zooming ahead in this economy. The share of national income going to wages and salaries just hit an all-time low. Part-time and contract workers are far less likely to get retirement benefits than are full-time employees.
The Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans is now entirely made up of billionaires, and they have as much wealth as the entire bottom half of US households, points out columnist Holly Sklar. CEOs now make 411 times as much as the average worker. If the minimum wage were increased to $7.25, 15 million Americans would get a raise. The poverty rate has risen each year since 2000; 37 million people in the US are now poor.
Among African Americans and Latinos, even high-income professionals tend to have low net worth, according to The Color of Wealth. Most black and Latino workers are in working-class occupations. Their median income is around $35,000, compared with $57,000 for whites.
Even white-collar professional jobs such as computer programming and accounting are being outsourced to other countries. The sector hit hardest by outsourcing has been manufacturing. Laid-off factory workers are the most likely to be long-term unemployed or to get low-paying jobs.
With the rise of self-employment from 5.7% in 1995 to 6.5% in 2005, more college grads are faced with paying for their own health insurance. Most of the 47 million uninsured Americans are employed in working-class jobs — which are the majority of all jobs, according to author Michael Zweig.
While prices of imported goods have fallen, more essential expenses like health care, housing, energy and college tuitions have risen, squeezing family budgets. If you’ not already a homeowner, it’s really tough to buy a first home, even with the softening market. Tax deductions help owners, not renters, with housing costs.

Source: The Economic Policy Institute’s The State of Working America by Bernstein, Mishel and Boushey, unless otherwise noted.

Another comprehensive source is Thom Hartmann’s new book Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class and What We Can Do about It.