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Class 1A

Kim Wood, Bexhill-on-Sea

Thank you for the article ‘Facing up to classism can help build stronger groups and stronger movements’ (PN 2586-2587). I found the interview with Betsy Leondar-Wright really interesting. It shows how group process without awareness of classism can keep people away, how we self-segregate within groups and how difficulties can arise.

I have been in groups where the poor and working class people were more dominant, and they were wary or dismissive of the middle and upper class people, and vice versa. I want to increase my understanding of classism so that I can avoid alienating and offending people by being unaware. I think Betsy gives a good example of owning up to mistakes and always being open to learning more about others’ class stories. The part about humour really resonated with me - I definitely like to hang out with people who laugh at the same things as me!

There were really interesting points made in the article around the importance of having mixed training teams. I think that having speak-outs could be really useful and also discussions around cost-sharing. I appreciate discussion of the difference between being poor or working class, and being voluntarily-downwardly-mobile.

Betsy says she wants a better world and says that looking at class can have a transformative effect. I have taken part in the exercise of getting into class background caucuses, where we sat down in groups of people whose parents had about the same amount of education as them, the same kind of occupation. In our group we discussed the strengths and challenges that we got from our working-class background and I found it surprisingly comforting and empowering!

I look forward to the cross-class dialogue that Mil will be facilitating in Hastings.