The near-religious focus of Electeds on the “middle class” generally isn’t challenged by those in that “class.” Actually, more often than not, it’s cheered. The people who fall below, millions of whom fall way below, even the “lower middle class” level generally get little attention, and when they do, it’s fairly often of the “blame” kind. We have this national fantasy – or perhaps core belief – that if the those at the top are doing well, the goodness will “trickle down.” Of course it has a very long way to go, to get through all the layers above it, so those who are least likely to see any benefits are the millions at the bottom. But if the Electeds and Elites can keep everyone from “lower middle class” and above mostly satisfied – or at least convinced that “if you work hard and play by the rules,” you, too, will certainly climb the income brackets; or that the most current “need to tighten our belts” will pass and then the financial gains will be there for them, too – if Electeds and Elites can keep “the middle class” basically quiescent and/or distracted, then the Electeds and Elites win yet again.
In the world of reality, which includes people working (full or part time, the latter often because there are no other options) who aren’t even close to “middle class” incomes, organizing is one of the few ways available to inch toward a “living wage.” Of course, such organizing is strongly discouraged by the Elites and Electeds, and by significant portions of those who actually are “middle class” income earners.
If we as a nation insist on using the “middle class” as a standard, then we should at least be realistic about what it actually means. That includes recognizing, and if one is so inclined, opposing the organized efforts by the Electeds and the Elites for whom they work, to continue eliminating “organized labor.”
I thought about all of this when I read, at Z Communications, a quote from the “Manual for US slaveowners”: (emphasis added)
The interests of master and his slaves are the same. ‘The master should make it his business to show his slaves, that the advancement of his individual interest, is at the same time an advancement of theirs. Once they feel this, it will require little compulsion to make them act as becomes them.’
(Southern Agriculturalist IX, 1836, a manual for slaveowners in the US) cited by Yasha Levine at http://www.alternet.org/media/129656?page=entire.
Of course there are stark differences from actual slavery and the acceptance of the definitions, solutions, outcomes, etc., as dictated by current day Electeds and Elites. But the tactic described is very familiar. Thankfully, and courageously, there are those who are fighting the top-down pronouncements.
At Nation of Change, Robert Reich: (emphasis added)
Organizing McDonalds and Walmart, and Why Austerity Economics Hurts Low-Wage Workers the Most
What does the drama in Washington over the ‘fiscal cliff’ have to do with strikes and work stoppages among America’s lowest-paid workers at Walmart, McDonald’s, Burger King, and Domino’s Pizza?
Jobs are slowly returning to America, but most of them pay lousy wages and low if non-existent benefits. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that seven out of 10 growth occupations over the next decade will be low-wage — like serving customers at big-box retailers and fast-food chains. That’s why the median wage keeps dropping, especially for the 80 percent of the workforce that’s paid by the hour.
It’s also part of the reason why the percent of Americans living below the poverty line has been increasing even as the economy has started to recover — from 12.3 percent in 2006 to 15 percent in 2011. More than 46 million Americans now live below the poverty line.
And at the National Domestic Alliance
Founded in 2007, the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) is the nation’s leading voice for the millions of domestic workers in the United States, most of whom are women. NDWA is powered by 35 local, membership-based affiliate organizations of over 10,000 nannies, housekeepers and caregivers for the elderly located in 19 cities and 11 states around the country. NDWA is supported by domestic workers, employers and our family – supporters and allies like you.
The Executive summary of a recent study, The Invisible and Unregulated World of Domestic Workers, begins (emphasis added)
Domestic workers play an increasingly significant role in the U.S. economy.
Yet the labor of domestic workers is invisible and unregulated. …
Despite their central role in the economy, domestic workers are often employed in substandard jobs. Working behind closed doors, beyond the reach of personnel policies, and often without employment contracts, they are subject to the whims of their employers. …
Domestic workers’ vulnerability to exploitation and abuse is deeply rooted in historical, social, and economic trends. Domestic work is largely women’s work. It carries the long legacy of the devaluation of women’s labor in the household. Domestic work in the US also carries the legacy of slavery with its divisions of labor along lines of both race and gender. The women who perform domestic work today are, in substantial measure, immigrant workers, many of whom are undocumented, and women of racial and ethnic minorities. These workers enter the labor force bearing multiple disadvantages.
For changes to occur, organizing is crucial. So is the support of allies, including those in the “middle class,” however defined.
(National Domestic Workers Alliance Logo via NDWA)