More Than Money
Issue #17

Cross-Class Relationships

Table of Contents

“Potluck Suppers on the Class Divide: One Way Forward”

Since August 1996, eight of us have been meeting monthly in Western Massachusetts to explore the meaning of our class differences. Four of us grew up poor or working class; and four grew up wealthy and now have a million dollars or more. As long-time activists, we had often talked in the abstract about wealth and inequality, but this intensive, cross-class discussion group was new territory for almost all of us. We felt this was a challenge each of us needed to push our work in the world forward.

We have met every month for six hours, with a potluck dinner in the middle. We have shared stories about the joy, shame, and pain of our childhoods; imagined what it would be like to find ourselves suddenly in the other class's shoes; expressed our fears of judgment; told each other exactly what assets we each have, and revealed exactly how much, and on what, we each spend. We have also discussed the difference between class prejudice, which runs in both directions, and class oppression, which runs in a single direction. It has not always easy being honest, but we've hung in with each other and kept talking. The result has been deepened intimacy, greater solidarity, and a renewed commitment to working for social change.

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