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UIUC LER 100 - Segment 1

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Middle class : professionals, supervisors, and small business owners (people who are below theupper class and above the working class, who are delegated by the capitalists)Working class: people who do somewhat menial jobs, below middle and upper classWhy americans define themselves as middle class more : people think that ‘middle class’ isrepresentative of the majority, I think this is a bad thing, because misinformation is spread andthings are reflected more positively than it is, leading to lies. If on income, problems can besolved just by giving more money, but that’s not necessarily what people wantZweig’s definition: based on power, not on income. I agree, because of the reason Zweigmentioned: people can resonate more, if on income, paints a different picture in regard to thelabor movement in the past. Mantsios: wealth is concentrated at the top. race, sex, mattersLichtenstein: agree, because people who were involved in labor movements are mostly workingclass people, the term ‘middle class’ doesn’t really refer to what’s being referred to.Class warfare: in American political debate, instigation of class warfare is to an end of politics.Both the republicans and democrats use it to strengthen their standings with either ends of thespectrum, this phrase is used to describe the reason of tax cuts. Video: term class warfare is todeflect the bad things they’ve done to working class people. (Moyers, 2008) “it's happenedbecause corporate and political powers connived to keep wages down while shredding their workers' safetynets”Interviews: working in working-class jobs taxes you socially, mentally, physically. 64Middle class people are people who are in the middle of the social standings, between the capitalists and theworking-class. As Zweig (2004) said, some examples of the middle class professions are doctors, lawyers,accountants, and university professors. Meanwhile, the working class are people who are at the bottom of the socialstanding, below the rich and middle class. "They work to produce and distribute goods, or in service industries orgovernment agencies"(Zweig, 2004, p.4), referring to working class jobs. Zweig's (2004) definition of classdistinctions is : "[Understanding] class instead [of income] as mainly a question of economic and politicalpower."(p.4). I agree with his choice to differentiate class not with income because, as he himself implied, basing onincome means that humans are living in a bubble, separated from each other. But, when class is separated frompower, the class differences show the connection and the relationship in class bridges. Lichtenstein (2012) said, “Stop Using “Middle Class” to Depict the Labor Movement” (p.10). The reason he saidthis is because the term itself doesn’t define anything meaningful, as in it has “no sense of agency, purpose, orpolitics.”(p.11). Furthermore, the term middle class has changed over the years, it used to mean prospectors, thenwhite-collar workers, now, it’s based on wealth (Lichtenstein, 2012). Using the term middle class now on the labormovement isn’t representative of who was there, of who was actually suffering from the enormous bridge of power.Mantsios (2006) emphasizes the myths and its paired actual realities of the class hierarchy and class privilege inAmerica. He notes that one third of America’s wealth is held by the top 1%. Also, one in eight people are belowpoverty. These facts signify the huge difference of income between the rich and the poor, meaning, the notion thatAmerica is ‘fighting together’ as a nation is not entirely true and serves to deface the actual nature of things. It isalso said that class standing is significant in determining one’s expected life quality, from life style and education(Mantsios, 2006).Fomenting class warfare is a term used by politicians, Republicans and Democrats alike, ininstigating a fight between each other. For example, “Democrats have been forcefully andrepeatedly arguing that the GOP wants to cut taxes for wealthy individuals and corporations atthe expense of everyone else. Republicans, annoyed with the attacks, have pushed back, sayingtheir focus is on the middle class.” (Jaguda, 2017, para.2) This is an illustration that class warfareis simply a device to gain favors with either ends of the spectrum. The interviews of the people in Working gives out the idea that these people, working-classpeople, is taxed socially, mentally, and physically throughout their daily lives. For example,Sharon Atkins, a receptionist, said: “When I told them [about my being a receptionist], theyturned around to find other people with name tags.”(as cited in Working, n.d., p.57). RoySchmidt, a truck loader, said, ” I’m six three, I was six four when I went in the army, but I thinkI’ve come down a bit.” (as cited in Working, n.d., p. 150). I was not even surprised when I heardthat people who are in a lower class are treated differently and has even had to endure physicaldeformation, albeit indirectly. I see working class as people who do menial jobs, who have tosacrifice anything other than their brain power. I see construction worker, delivery men, factorymen, people who saves up money just to buy clothes, food, electricity. I think the popular imageof working class is people who live their daily lives in search just for the basics, who have bigdreams but failing in the process. This is not necessarily a bad thing, per se, just a little false. Asthe video shows, the media shows the working class as people who know they are beingexploited, as the lowest class. This is not necessarily bad, albeit a little bit sad, but it is the way

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