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Proposal: The Confluence Run for the Working Class

Update: Please note that this is my proposal and does not necessarily reflect the ideas of other writers at The Confluence.  No other writer at The Confluence was consulted in the preparation of this post.  I am speaking for me only.

Endorphins can do funny things to your thought processes.  I began running last year and I am still not very good at it.  Just to give you an idea of my running condition, my present limit is about 2.7 miles on a treadmill.  It takes me about 35 minutes with warm up and cool down.  Running is *hard* for me like other exercise routines are not.  But one thing that I have noticed is that when I’m in the midst of a run, with my power songs blaring in my ears, I start to get visions of things that might be.  Sort of like Galadriel’s mirror but with a lot more sweat and heavy breathing.

Usually, the vision is prompted by the question, “How do we motivate the working class to fight for itself?”  I’d like to quote from Hell’s Kitchen from yesterday’s survey results thread because she summarized all that is wrong with America:

I am a 70 year old female. My parents were the swing generation from working class to middle class. I have a masters degree in computer science and am retired. I am married to a Keynesian economist, but one who is not on to POTUS and thinks I am uncharitable. My sister and I are supposedly middle class but in 1991, I consciously abandoned the middle class for my working class roots.

Why?

The corporation I worked for dumped an entire department of 75 people. However, it was not the loss of the job itself that turned me back, it was the gratuitous cruelty involved in the matter. I thought if it’s simply an economic matter for the firm, why not make it as easy as possible for every one involved?

Instead, we were told repeatedly how awful we were and how glad they would be to get rid of us, but they couldn’t fire us until we finished our projects. And that’s just the general atmosphere. That doesn’t include the individual acts of cruelty by corporate leaders against vulnerable employees.

I decided at that point that the middle class – especially the white collar middle class – was an illusion. I don’t care how professional your job is, what kind of degree you have – if you depend on a paycheck for your living and someone else has the say-so about whether you get that paycheck or not, you are not middle class, you are working class. The sooner people wake up to that reality, the quicker we’ll find political solutions to our problems.

Having been asleep during Nixon, Reagan, and Bush I, and then the 2000 election, I woke up. With the shock of the 2000 election, I thought surely the Democratic Party would wake up. In 2004, I began to realize that there were problems with my party.

Do you hear that, Chris Bowers, “Creative Class” wannabe extraordinaire?  There is no Creative Class.  If you rely on someone to pay you for your work, and not on your investments for a living, you are working class.  Your fate is no different than a auto worker or teacher or chemist or retail sales manager.  You can be replaced by the Japanese, Chinese or a call center operator in Hyderabad. We are all in this together.  Jettisoning the ‘old coalition’ from the Democratic party was quite possibly the stupidest thing that A-listers bought into last year.  They reduced their ability to fight the erosion of their way of life.  They just don’t know it yet, but they’re about to find out.

The problem remains though, how do you motivate people to fight for themselves?  How do you get people together and bring critical mass to their voices?  How do you effectively reconstitute the voices that were squelched in the past several decades?  The media is not our friend.  We know that none of the cable news channels are going to report on any serious challengers to the status quo.  And in this modern media age, there is further atomization of possible collective action.  Each person has the option to get their own sources of information, follow their own interests, find their own entertainment.  While that can be an enriching experience, it can also be isolating from common principles.  How do we herd millions of cats?

It was on one of my runs that I thought about how we can get around the media filter and increase our visibility while at the same time spread a message.  I propose The Confluence Run for the Working Class on July 4, 2010.  The run can be a 5K run or walk, nationwide.  There are online tools at Nikerunning that can help groups organize such events and challenges.  The participants can organize the runs locally and in the lead up to the run,  do practice runs together through the streets of their towns, parks, neighborhoods.  We can wear T-Shirts that say The Confluence Run for the Working Class.  The goal is to attract attention and to get as many people as possible to run on July 4, 2010.  Maybe there can be a rally at the end of the run in a prominent public place.  We have to plan and organize what message we want to deliver at those rallies.  For practice runs, we can put together iMixes for iPods with motivating music.

Now, for the message, we need to get serious about organizing.  Jangles has suggested that we form a PAC and register as a non-profit.  I know we tried this before but it’s time guys.  Before we start brainstorming on this, please hold your creative energies on the your personal beliefs.  I guarantee you that a comment thread is not the best place for such a thing.  Those statements of beliefs get way too flowery, idealistic and out of touch with average everyday people.  We need to focus our attentions up front on organizational discipline.

So, I want to open the floor to consideration of the proposal for The Confluence Run for the Working Class.  Please don’t whine about how you can’t run or haven’t exercised in forever.  See your doctor before you start any exercise program.  If you can’t run it (yet), walk it.  Or, if you’re disabled, wheel it.  Besides, if you want to change the country, you have to look like you have the energy to do it.

Please take the poll below to indicate your support of an investigation into the feasibility of the inkling of having a run of the type described in the post above, recognizing that no other writer of The Confluence was consulted before this PROPOSAL was posted.

Have at it.

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194 Responses

  1. We have six months to pull this off. It can be done.

    • GREAT of course there is enough time till July to fine tune the whole idea. I have to take issue with the last question in the survey though. What is foolish or stupid with working for such a great cause.

    • If we do not try to bring attention to the working class, who will?
      The working class in this country has been ridiculed, or ignored for years. Why? They helped make the country great and many paid the dues so that their children would have the opportunity for higher education and better lives.
      We should be proud to give something back to those who carried us. We should be LOUD AND PROUD while running or if unable to run contribute in other ways to make this possible.

      WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

      PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  2. I’d just like to say that Nike doesn’t produce a single one of its shoes here in the U.S. and is one of the worst places to work in the world. I’ve heard the CEO is a sadist. They also subcontract out a lot of work that winds up in sweatshops and places where they use child slave labor.

    I have never bought a Nike product nor do I intend to NOR would I have anything to do with anything having to do with NIKE. If this has anything to do with worker’s rights, then it should have nothing to do with NIKE.

    http://www.globalexchange.org/campaigns/sweatshops/nike/

    Nike is one of the largest, most popular, and most profitable shoe and clothing companies in the world. But the reality for many workers overseas making Nike shoes and clothing is far less rosy. Workers are paid wages insufficient to meet their basic needs, are not allowed to organize independent unions, and often face health and safety hazards.

    We hope that by putting pressure on Nike, the industry leader, other shoe companies will follow suit and make much-needed improvements. In just a few years, public pressure has reaped a measure of success by forcing Nike and other shoe corporations to promise to make changes. Still, a great many improvements are needed and the anti-sweatshop movement still must strive to give workers a voice.

    On, Phil Knight NIKE’s CEO: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Knight

    Labor issues

    Knight was named a “Corporate Crook” in Michael Moore’s 1996 book Downsize This!. The book cited the harsh conditions in Indonesian sweatshops, where pregnant women and girls as young as fourteen years old sewed shoes for factories that the company contracted to make its products. Moore went to Knight in the hopes of convincing him to fix this problem. The interview can be seen in Moore’s film The Big One – of the nearly 20 CEOs that Moore wished to interview for his movie, only Knight agreed to speak with Moore.

    Knight informed Moore that Nike does not own any of the factories that make its products. Knight told Moore if he was willing to invest in and build a factory in the U.S. that could match the price of footwear made overseas, Nike would consider buying shoes from him.

    In 1998, Knight pledged to impose more stringent standards for the factories that Nike engages to manufacture its goods, including minimum age standards, factory monitoring, and greater external access to Nike’s practices.

    Here’s more on Knight’s horrible management style: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/24/business/24nike.html?_r=2&oref=slogin

    • Before you go off on a tangent about Nike, I’d just like to say that I am not promoting the company. I am saying, “here is an organizational tool. You can plan runs with it.” If you can find a better online tool without a Nike label on it, by all means, share it with us and we can consider it.

      I am quite aware of Nike’s reputation. However, for me personally, I run only in Nike shoes. There is a good reason for this. I have tried other shoes from other companies and have suffered for it. On one occasion, my knees got so inflamed that I could barely walk for about a month. That was about 10 years ago and one of the reasons I didn’t think I could run. I tried many different types and brands and have several pairs of nearly new shoes in my closet. Yes, I know asics are supposed to be next to perfect. Unfortunately, they didn’t work for me. Nothing has ever matched the comfort and support of my Nikes.

      If YOU do not want to buy Nikes, then don’t buy them. But please don’t shame me into giving up the only pair of shoes that don’t give me shin splints and excruciating pain in my knees.

      • Nike are the only shoes that I could run in too. Although having broken my foot last Fall I’ve been on the diabled list with significant restrictions from my Doc – But I can do lots of other things – you need administrative kinds of things done too! 🙂

      • Have you tried Vibram’s 5 Fingers? I thought I couldn’t run until I bought a pair. They have a Web site and the book “Born to Run” has made them very popular, although I do get “looks.” Seems my pronation is being corrected by running naturally.

        The “barefoot running” squad blames the high incidence on running injuries on Nike. The immobile support added to shoes in the 70s forces every foot and leg into an unnatural (from the way humans run) position.

        Off to the gym to run with my “gloved” 5 Fingers on a treadmill.

        Seems one of the main problems is that people in the U.S. think that the socio-economic group below them is “working class” and that they are something more elite, maybe higher-debtor class?

    • Here’s one from asics: YourRunningPartner

      No matter which one we pick, we have to all pick the same one. Otherwise, the organizational aspect goes out the window.

    • And here’s another one from New Balance.

      • yea im a new balance guy myself

      • I believe New Balance is one of the few who manufacture their shoes here in the States.

        • Yep, those are the ones that gave me four weeks of agony and anti-inflammatories.
          Whatever frosts your crockies. They didn’t work for me.

          • RD — I have to agree with you about Nikes. I think it’s the way they cradle my ankles and fit the arch just right. I had one pair of NB’s that fit perfectly but that was years ago, and haven’t found another pair that cushioned the same way. Most shoes have too much correction in them, I find. The best pair of shoes I ever had were the Nike Air Pegasus II. [Yes, I know I”m really dating myself here.]

        • I love New Balance sneaks. I used to suffer with other shoes until I tried these.

    • And adidas.

      • The Nike and Asics sites look like the better possibilities although the Asics loads pretty slowly. I didn’t see any groups on New Balance or Adidas, although
        Adidas had “events”.

    • I don’t mean to prolong this tangent, but…..as an IT contractor who worked at Nike, I can tell you they are the worst re: the cruel corporate environment HK’s post described. Permanent staff belittle contractors in all sorts of subtle and blatant ways, making every day a mindf*ck if you’re not in the “in” crowd of the uber-cool staff. And, middle management gets a big kick out of out; it’s entertainment to them.

  3. I try to buy SAS shoes. One of the few still made here but not available in many locations.

    http://www.sasshoes.com/main/about_our_history.php

    • I wear Rockports because I hike and walk. I like to Volkswalks because they usually happen in places that are fun to walk like parks, etc. Rockports used to be manufactured and made in MA but most of them are made in South America now.

  4. If you see me running something is chasing me.

    • I pay people to run for me now. It’s called effective delegation.

      • I saw Wes Clark at YK1. He made a point about the blogging and doing. If you want to get something done and change your government, you have to get away from the keyboard and actually go out and meet other people. You have to spread your message person to person.
        Either you’re serious about it or this is all a big joke to you. In other words, we have to shit or get off the fucking pot.
        Just like you, I am a working person and I have a kid who lives at home. I don’t have time for a lot of blogging actually and I truly do appreciate all the work that has gone into The Confluence in the past year. Especially from you, Dak. But we need to get out there and do something that calls attention to us because the rest of the country isn’t tethered to the internet as much as we are.

        • Hear, hear! Putting true, valid ideas into action and spreading them is pretty difficult. Plenty of people are disconnected because they have no idea what they could do about the state of things in the first place. Few people are thinkers, even fewer are leaders.

    • hmmm what if the shoe you chose were pumas

      • I’ve tried a variety of shoes including pumas. Believe me, I didn’t want to buy Nikes for all of the reasons that Dakinikat pointed out. But I was driven to them by necessity. They are the best engineered shoes out there. I found a pair that worked for my mild pronation problem that didn’t feel like vicegrips around my feet and also have the right amount of cushioning for my knees.
        Every brand has a certain “feel” to them. Nikes just feel right to me and my knee and leg problems have disappeared. If Asics or Pumas or something else work for others, great! I’m not going to stop running in them and go back to the debilitating pain.

        • I hope we remember this is not about shoes or for that matter about running. This is big actually the biggest attempt so far. So however you want to do this is cool, of course that if you want to do it to begin with.

        • hmm, which model?

  5. RD, this was a great piece — you nailed it, and the piece you quoted. Most Americans do work for a paycheck. Or did. The person you have quoted is top end (older) Baby Boom?

    I’m with Dakini above, but your idea is great. Because, this is how O did it with his brand? Just like this. You could use Cafe Press to make a T shirt that says Conf. Run or whatever you want. (In the web) — easy and FREE. Think about what you want to say as slogans? We have the puma cat? Still? Puma SF has a cool one as icon.

    See, in my opinion — we are whatever that creative class was but the whole thing hangs on a thin thread for everyone. Ask anyone who worked for a newspaper and we can tell you? Umm, hmm.

    I was never laid off, myself. Yet.

    But, my whole lifestyle changed when we no longer had those two big jobs together. One good thing? As I drafted a resume for this thing I want, it was really interesting to see how much I know. I have been working like many of us have since we were in high school? Not counting the years of education.

    I’m in career #4 right now. Seriously.

    Once I got over all the losses, and losses to what I thought formed my identity I was very free in a way. But, that has taken a long time.
    A very long time, indeed.

    I think what RD is talking about, that so many of us feel, is that we worked very hard for years and didn’t even obtain sofas like our parents had? Serious. Whatever has happened in the last 25 years or so has wiped out bazillions of people. Go see that movie “Up in the Air” — it tells the whole story.

    What the politicians have to realise is how many Americans are in this boat right now? Millions? Bazillions?

    It’s like dominoes because it affects everything.

    If I (and millions like me) who used to shop at stores like Nordstrom don’t anymore? Well, big chains like that are dropping like flies.
    I no longer shop at the markets I used to go to, either? Nor would I ever buy a coffee from a non-indy place? Because of what Dak is saying above about that corporation — but?

    The whole economic foundations of our country have been ripped right out from under our feet? Really.

    I guess we could move to a different state. I saw mansions for 200,000 in the East?

    The politicians are not in touch with what is going on at all.

    At all.

    That is the sad part. I’m starting in on a novel called “Wipeout” — it will be about newspaper layoffs and what happens.

    It will document the cruelty a corporation can have?

    I saw it too. Especially the co-worker who was called on a conference call while she was recovering from heart surgery?
    She was told she no longer had a job after 30 years with that paper.
    I’ll never forget, RD and Co. Never.

    hugs from me…

    See, a person can survive things they didn’t think they could — it takes time to recoup. Our identity is wrapped up in our work to great extents when we went to school for the things we have?

    It is.

    Right now, I’m writing? I could take any job I wanted, really. Even a small one. I just miss being around people — I always was. I was the one who made the best cookies, too, at Christmas. I miss the oohs and ahs.

    xxoo!

  6. Working class person that I am, I’m happy to see I don’t have to work 7/4 this year-Yeah! So I’d be available to set up and participate in a Confluence Run/Walk for the Working Class.

    Do you have to organize through Nike or Asics? Are those sites that would draw in interested runners? Is it easier to go through them?
    I was thinking of posting the info on the local craigslist/news site/ newspaper calendar/actual posters. Only because I would never go to the Nike or Asics site in the first place.

    • We have to choose a site. There seems to be a myriad of them. Let’s look at them all and see which one is the easiest for people to use. Then, I’ll start posting run mixes and direct people to one of the sites for interested runners to meet up with other Conflucians. We also need to think about T-Shirts. Ideally, we should be running in the same shirt.

      • RD What about a site that sells runners stuff and typically supports and helps organize running events. I am thinking of someone like Runners World. I am most familiar with them but I am sure there are others of that genre.

  7. I have several friends who love to run. I am thinking about this proposal. It’s a lot of work and thinking of the pay off. The goal is to attract attention. What else do we want people to walk away with? Is there action we want to to take? Or just to create awareness and jolt them from the kool-aid?
    This is a huge under taking – gotta reach out to my East Bay Warriors and see what they say. Permits, organizing, publicity, etc.etc.
    Great article —

    • Yep. Lots of work. Daunting actually. But I think the powers that be are counting on us to give up before we start. There’s a huge energy cost in organizing.

      • We could look at 2 facets: the walk/run event OR if your community has a big 4th of july parade—as mine does—enter as a floating display—The Confluence Walk for the Working Class. In that way you are interacting with the community, you do not have to get permits etc, you can have the same public presence—just not walk/run very far. At our parade most participating groups end the parade and go to the local park for beer/picnic/cookout.

        It would be a great way to salute all kinds of different Working Class folks in our communities and for places where there is a traditional 4th celebration/parade, you don’t have to compete. I know in my place we could not get many participants because there is a mountain run in the early am and then the parade. But if we interfaced with the parade, we would be fine.

  8. You young folks can run. I’ll root for you from my stationary bike.

    Seriously though, in the Boston area July 4th is probably not the best day to get any visibility. The city virtually shuts down for a couple of days for the concert on the Common and fireworks, and there are similar events in most MA cities and towns.

    • Are you kidding me?! A run to the commons is just the thing we need. And you don’t have to run. You can walk it.

    • I agree the date is problematic. Many people out camping, vacationing, the streets are full of parades and the temperatures are to hot. Early June.

      I couldn’t find any tools for organizing on any of those sites, just a list of coming events. Closest I came was on the Nike site for creating challenges, but wasn’t willing to register on the site. It is important to find a good list of must-do’s since every location needs insurance, permits, sponsors/underwriters, etc. I’ll see what I can find.

      • Any date after Memorial day is going to meet with the same arguments about visibility. And there’s a symbolic importance to July 4th that shouldn’t be overlooked.
        As for sponsors, who needs them?

        • The Tea Party crowd didn’t have a problem with July 4. You get who you get.

          • How about a liberal tea party? A big rally against the war, privatized HC, Obama breaking promises…

        • I have done many charitable fundraising events locally. The costs to put something on are more than most would realize. Sponsors underwrite those costs so the participants don’t have to. It feels like my experience is unwelcome, so I’ll go ahead and stay off this thread.

        • Actually. memorial day weekend may be the best. We can honor the members of The Bonus Army March, a group of working class vets from WWI that demanded a promised bonus earlier than they were supposed to get it. They needed the bonus to survive the Great Depression. Dug-out Doug and his lackeys Eisenhower and Patton turned the tanks and tear gas on them and burned their Hoovervilles down. It would be a perfect theme and quite unassailable, except for the true Obama salad tossers, they’ll paint is as racist.

          Jackson

      • New Orleans has the Essence Festival and block parties that weekend. The city wouldn’t issue a permit for it and it actually would be a date when the chances are physical activity would come under the heading of dangerous. The heat down here is extreme that time of year, even for walking.

        • Um, I’ve been to NOLA in August for conferences and walked all over the city. It’s like a steam bath to be sure but walking it won’t kill you.

          • Lots of Ice-cream socials up this way on the 4th of July! Would be great exposure to jus the people we want to reach out to

  9. I’m in. But I can only run (or walk) in Saucony. I like the T-shirt idea. I may be the only one out here in the San Fran area, but that’s nothing new to me. I like July 4. We really must do something.

  10. This is how you work up a logo. Think of a symbol that represents the Confluence. Is there more than one? If so — “The Confluence” (words) is the Brand. Is it a circle shape? or something else. Does the big cat still figure in? Are the T-shirts Orange? Or will white do? I think Cafe Press does only white? So, Cafe Press has a central place for people to buy “gear” that sports the brand. You want it to be catchy so people notice it? But simple, too.

    http://www.cafepress.com/

    check these out — the stronger ones use boldface fonts? You can see them from a distance? The Confluence would be bold like that?
    What picture might you put? That represents “working class America?” —

    Here is one for Liberals
    http://shop.cafepress.com/liberal

    good example of boldface type:
    http://www.cafepress.com/+womens_light_tshirt,165484120

    (can be seen from a distance)

    You would want The Confluence in the place of feminist?

    Are you fed up?
    Consider yourself an independent voter?
    The Confluence

    It really helps to have a symbol that can be identified with so think about what that is?

    Ask Brook? To come up with a symbol?

    Do it yourself logo design site:

    http://www.logoyes.com/

    Look at what the different fonts “tell” about who each company is?
    So, what does the Conf. “look and feel like” when you choose the fonts.

    • when I think of the Confluence I see a river of people flowing across the front of the t-shirt with a motto of sorts that tells the story in 2-4 words

  11. Fell into moderation– links are about logo design and how to…

  12. Most runs for a cause also include a walk, for those of us who prefer walking to running.

    You could have both.

    Carolyn Kay
    MakeThemAccountable.com

  13. Lady de Rothschild

    Why not get sponsors or high-profile people involved?

  14. Happy to support, participate, and help organize for this if we decide to go ahead. We are quite geographically dispersed, so that is a challenge. Another thought is that some of the biggest strengths of TC regulars seem to be thinking and writing, and wouldn’t it make sense to come together behind those strengths, however manifest. Physical protests have their limitations these days. Though I wish I could have been outside this event with a bullhorn and permit.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126299172238122167.html?mod=WSJ_hps_LEADNewsCollection

    • hmm… you know when I read your comment I couldn’t help but think that maybe one way to get the message out beyond the internet is to produce a physical newsletter of some sort that we could pass along to our friends and family offline. I don’t know if that’s something the frontpagers would be interested in, though, or if it’s even that cost-effective of an idea, but just thought I’d put that out there since it crossed my mind.

  15. I think you may have a problem with messaging. Most “charity” runs have a very distinct purpose, such as raising money to combat an illness. Assuming that you could raise money from the run, I just don’t think a PAC is enough of a draw. Now, if the purpose of the money raised were to highlight some aspect of working class individuals/families, that might be something different. Or–what if instead of raising money, the purpose was to raise signatures on a petition, such as a petition to Congress to have corporations prevented legally from being declared persons under the law? I’m not even sure of the legal issues here, but I think most people, regardless of party, are tired of seeing corporations have all the say-so in Congress.

  16. Oh, alright. I haven’t run in a long, long time, and even then it wasn’t for very far. But it’s a good idea and for a good cause.

    On the bright side I have read that studies show that runners are better decision makers.

    I’ll get some shoes and use a jump rope until the weather improves.

    Sigh.

  17. Hmm…. I just heard that a shoe company (don’t know if it’s nike or converse) hire people in the south of Mexico to manually paint the shoes the same way they paint their idols, and these shoes become a sort of “limited edition”. When I heard this I thought that was great (I’m from Mexico), but now, I really don’t know under what conditions that community works.

  18. Imo the fastest most impactful way to get the attention of the national media and creative/political class is to set up a Hillary for Potus 2012 initiative. It would not be endorsed by Hillary, it does not have to be a realistic expectation. But even a very small online/offline visual campaign built around nothing more than the characters Hillary 2012 would get the immediate attention of the national media and BOs people. If asked what our goal is, we say simply it is to persuade the SoS to run for 2012 and to persuade independents to write-in vote her name in 2012. Small effort, big payoff in attention. Keep it up and by this time next year after the midterms, it could build into a real movement.

    • You could be right but that could have some big down side—especially putting HRC in a position she does not want to be in for her own good reasons.

      • She has said publically that she would not run. She does not have to recognize us, she can reject us. It does not matter. Doubt seriously this would hurt Hillary in any way, if anything it might give her some more elbow room. She still has not dissolved her core campaign staff.

        The ambient chatter and interest, which does not exist now, could become a thing leading into the midterms. It would get the attention of media because it’s a ratings story, and that would scare the DNC and Axelrove. Because if Hill were to run, whether she wins or not (in primary challenge, or as independent), it’s over for BO, that’s guaranteed. She does not have to pull the trigger, we just have to display the gun.

        It allows us to bring light to issues that matter to us (women’s rights, gay rights, minority rights, healthcare, hunger, housing, jobs, bailouts over the working class), applies pressure where they feel it, and that’s what counts.

        • She told us to “keep going”. I think she meant, don’t become apathetic and to believe that anyone can make a difference if they look for opportunities and don’t give up. We don’t live in tyrrany yet. There is still a window of opportunity to turn things around. She would want us to not allow ourselves to become invisible.
          But don’t do it for her. Do it for everyone.

          • Not to argue, but zero about this needs to be about helping her. It’s about utilizing her enormous leverage, and I’m not so sure she would mind, on issues she cares about.

          • Yes, the t-shrit could say – “She told us to keep going” or “Re-elect Hillary in 2012 (and on the back) …and let her keep the votes this time”

    • Then we’d have a platform and a big national audience for our main street liberal working class message. And also a chance to bring some accounting to all those accusing us of racism from within our own (former) Democratic Party.

    • But, the message that would get out is Hillary 2012– my concern would be that the media would drown out any other aspects of any movement that were to arise out of that–once again they would try to pull the stunt of saying it’s about personalities and Hillary. Also, I think it limits the potential of reaching as many people as possible. I would support Hillary in a heartbeat if she were to run again in the future, but I don’t want to to go around saying Hillary-two-thousand-anything (or twenty-whatever) unless and until Hillary says that she’s running for something. A Hillary 2012 banner would be alienating people who feel that way but otherwise share the same basic political space in terms of promoting the interests of the working class.

      • I understand and don’t disagree, but it feels (to me) like a lot of people out there either need or are looking for a wake up call. The tea party cannot represent the liberal working class, and it looks like Sarah may become their most visible leader. They are having an impact on the GOP organization maybe, but they are having no impact on the admin imo. BO and his team might actually be happy with a Republican majority in Congress, it might help him in 2012. The admin may be putting on a bit of a show, but in truth BO and team might be cruising along stress free right now. All according to plan.

        Point is there is no real resistance to the admin right now, just a whole lot of unhappy Americans who aren’t able to influence Congress or the WH or shape the dialogue on the MSM that might influence the WH. And isn’t that ultimately what we want, to have some say in all these huge policy decisions that the admin is making or directing. Even the remotest possibility of being primaried (by Hillary) may be the thing that gets their attention. This is not about helping Hillary, it’s about leveraging her presence and reputation to help people since the DC Wall Street oligarchy don’t seem to give a damn.

        • I see what you’re going after.. a shakeup in DC.

          Unfortunately I doubt the call for Hillary 2012 will worry DC one bit. I suspect they’d be happy to have our energies diverted there, knowing Hillary won’t run.

        • I think what I take to be your overall point–looking for ways that even small efforts can have big impacts–is really important, though.

  19. Well, a run isn’t possible for me. I’m having knee replacement surgery next month. But I can do support work. Let me know.

    P.S. A WOW right back at ya, riverdaughter. I don’t post often and usually what I have to say comes out wrong. Serendipity, I guess.

  20. Change your mental model folks.
    We do not have to compete against established 4th of July events. We need to look at how we can leverage them. Community parades offer real possibility—we could enter our community event, dress to salute different jobs in our community (even recruit such people to join us). We could wear our t-shirts and carry the tools of a trade.

    No parade—then do the walk/run and create one.

    • There are a ton of July 4 events already in my home area. There is also a parade and it is a big draw. A float or group to march in the parade and then hold a beer/bbq thing after might get us more attention.

      Your mileage may vary around the country though.

    • We might get more leverage if we made it funny in some way. Like the anti-Rose Bowl parade, with its lawn mower precision drill team, etc.
      http://www.pasadenadoodahparade.info/

      Carolyn Kay
      MakeThemAccountable.com

  21. It seems to me that Labor Day would be the most obvious symbolic date to have a Working Class event.

    • I thought about that too and then thought that Labor Day would be our big follow-up event. That is typically the final kick-off to the elections. But I think RD is right—we need to get something going before that. Look at the tea partiers—they have a big lead on organization and visibility but they don’t have it locked down yet and it is time for competition from the left.

      • They have some fairly deep pockets fronting them so I don’t they’re probably a good model for us to go off of.

        That being said, I’d say the 4th is as good a time as any.

        Who is doing Tshirts?

        • I hear you CW—Whatever TP resources and backing, the facts are that they have media attention; they have the ability to turn out crowds and attract people who are politically not all that active ordinarily. They did not start out as big or as organized as they are now. I may not like their drift but I get that they are doing, not just talking. I know that I am itching to give them some competition.

          Maybe we can build a better t-shirt!

    • You realize that you are setting back any perceivable impact you might have on the 2010 elections by waiting til Labor day, don’t you?

  22. The Confluence 4th of July
    Run/Walk, Parade, Block Party, Picnic, Gig (you plan it, you name it)
    For the American Working Class

    A Declaration of Independence for America’s Working Class

    A Declaration of Economic Rights

    I think it would be great to sponsor a contest for such a new declaration modeled on the language of Tom’s famous paper and the principles of FDR

    • Yes! But can we not make a pamphlet a group effort? Assign three or four people from this blog or others to write one. Delegate it to as few people as possible in order to get the clearest, most cohesive and simplest document.

      • Yes! Small groups are much easier to write with. BTW I have many years of writing experience in marketing and healthcare related areas (long story & career changes) and would love being a part of whatever would help.

        I could organize something in the Seattle area if we had regional runs/walks/events.

  23. The most logical place would be the Confluence of the three rivers in Pittsburgh. Big union city…or at least was. Steel, coal, aluminum, hospitals, education. Working class. Football team…Steelers. Based on the American Logo for American Steel

    • Bingo. We could have runners from the Mon side and the Allegheny side meet in Point Park.

      • Hey, I would sign up and even go through a body scanner to get there. (Is it hot and muggy there and do you have mosquitoes?)

        • skeeters are everywhere. It sometimes gets hot and muggy. Not as bad as NOLA but it can be uncomfortable at times during the summer.

    • All along this thread I kept thinking, naw, this isn’t for me. I hate exercise that isn’t productive. Walking for exercise is ‘stoopid’, but walking to post office to mail a letter…productive ( good).

      But I would go back home to Pgh and walk for this.
      I worked central Penn for hillary. Saw her in Johnstown! The center of John Murtha’s clinging bitter folks.
      Yes, the Point is perfect.
      I’d cash in some frequent flyer miles for a TC walk in Pgh.

  24. Pittsburgh and Western PA were big…and I mean BIG time Hillary people.

  25. If we were going to launch a new party, this could be a way to do the first promo—we could be THE Third Party. Or we could start as THE Third Party PAC—because we do not want, what they have to offer.

    • I agree everyone is a buzz over if there will be a third party for tea partiers or conservatives etc. Wouldn’t it be funny for these journalists to ask where this liberal third party came from? It could attract a lot of press. I would suggest to file a PAC/third party first then do the marathon and then you can move on to other things like conventions etc.

  26. If we were looking for sponsorship why not look into unions for help on that front? I mean if the point of the run is to bring awareness to working class issues then it would seem that the purpose intersects with theirs. Furthermore, it appears they are continually getting punked and might benefit from having more than the party of bad and worse to choose from.

    Particularly, since the Democrats appear to have punked them AGAIN.

  27. I get my exercise from running off at the mouth, jumping to conclusions, flying off the handle, throwing fits and tossing back cold ones..

  28. What is the % of workers who belong to a union today?
    Somehow my first reaction is that I would like to connect with other workers and members of the working class but I have reservations about connecting with “the unions”. And I used to be a union negotiator. It’s very strange for me to admit that I have that reservation.

  29. Every time I refresh my page and it flashes on that runners picture, I am very impressed with that array of quads.

  30. I would think we want to broaden the appeal of this event beyond what is traditionally thought of as “working class” (i.e., union, blue/pink collar, non-professional workers, etc.).

    We need a slogan–how about “If you work for a living, you’re working class.” I am picturing this on the back of the T-shirt.

    • I LOVE it!

    • how about, “If you get a paycheck, you’re working class”?

      • That may keep small business owners from identifying with the cause. I think Neil’s version is more inclusive, and the repetition makes it more memorable.

        • Yes, but it may look crowded on a T-shirt.
          Brainstorming mode, Sandra.

          • I like all three versions (Nell’s, rd’s, and alphabeach’s)…if it were up to me, I’d do a few different versions of the t-shirt “if you _______, you’re working class”… putting the name of the movement next to it… or on the back of the t-shirt or something. just thinking out loud here… 😉

          • If we wanted to be snide about the unemployment rate, we could spoof “Got Milk?” with “Got Work?”

          • Not necessarily for a t-shirt…

            Got work?
            Got healthcare?
            Wish you had FDR in the WH instead of Hoover?

            Join the movement for (F)ederal (D)emocratic (R)eform.

          • Ooh, those are good.

      • How about first person: I work for a living. I’m working class.

        graphically – I can see ways to potentially fit multiple “verbs” –

        I get a paycheck. I’m working class.
        -need
        -want
        -got

        or

        I work for a living. I’m working class.
        -worked
        (some type of “strike-out/editing” styling)

    • What about the unemployed?

      “If you *need* a paycheck, you’re working class”

  31. BTW, If we do decide to try something like an official run, it would need its own website.

    • If you work for a living (on the front) and You’re working Class! or You’ve got Class (on the back)

  32. Okay, I absolutely agree that we need to get out of our blogging chairs and into the streets. But I think there are a number of issues that need to be examined. I’m not saying it’s not a good option, I’m just saying we have to confront these obstacles.

    1) We need to have geographic density data. How many of us live where, and in each area how many are interested in being involved? How much are we anticipating having people who aren’t current TCers get involved? Having a really sparse turn-out is worse for the cause than having no event at all, because it makes us look like a handful of activists, like a movement with nothing behind it.

    2) I agree that July 4th is a tricky time of year for it. Especially if the event is major physical activity. Heatstroke and injury are not how we want to be seen. It has symbolic importance and allows us to leverage existing events IF we can get permits for those dates. It’ll be harder to get permits for July 4th than for June 17th.

    3) This will be VERY expensive and VERY time consuming. Not to say that it can’t be done or that we shouldn’t do it, but keep in mind that not everyone is going to be able to contribute monetarily or volunteer their time. In terms of cost/benefit analysis, we need to get a HUGE amount of public attention out of this event to make it pay off. There are easier ways to do this.

    4) We say “for the working class”. What does that mean? Are we raising generic “awareness”? Are we raising funds for a cause? What is that cause? How do we get the working class behind us? How do we get them to come out when many of them will have to work? If we raise money for a PAC that looks self-serving, bad PR. If we’re raising generic awareness, that has messaging problems, too. We might want to be more specific, or to specifically raise money for some charitable org that works with the working class (as traditionally defined) and then use the attention we generate to provoke thought about how narrow and inappropriate that definition is.

    All in all, I can see how it could work, and I definitely get the importance. But I think there might be easier and more effective ways to get public attention. And we don’t even WANT public attention until we figure out what it is that we’re trying to say. Who are we as a movement? What’s our goal? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

    • That’s why I have suggested small meetup/group runs in lead up to a massive run in different locations on July 4. I am not convinced that this has to be expensive. There have already been ideas about messaging. See jangles’ comments.
      One last thing: we are in brainstorming mode here, not project planning mode. As to ways of getting public attention, I can’t think of a better way of getting visibility than to have a bunch of people in the same T-shirts running around throughout the spring and early summer. It doesn’t rely on the media, it costs nothing and there’s always the possibility that we could add to our numbers as time goes on.

    • I like the idea of generating the concept, gaining momentum. Settle on themes, design, etc. The run is a great idea – (not my thing personally). But I don’t think the actual event(s) is(are) so important, just that we have a presence first.

      Also love potential of aligning with unions. I made a faint effort to organize a union for IT workers in Portland but hit deadends and got discouraged.

      Our professional, white collar workers, as HK elegantly described, are treated like disposable widgets for the sake of shareholder’s profits.

  33. It sounds like what you art interested in is a series of events that would kick off with a “fun run.” Is the focus of all the events going to be the “working class?”

  34. Anyone else been reffered to as a ‘Clinton die hard’ ? I know I have. The media, obots etc. use the term quite often in describing us. Although this is no longer about Hillary the group name could be ‘The D.I.E. hards’ as in democrats in exile.

  35. It’s a great idea but I am confused about the message.

    How do we motivate the working class to fight for itself?

    Something about the way the question is phrased bothers me. We know the problem is not in the working (or middle class)– it’s in the corrupt collusion of money and politics.

    • I get the message I’m just confused as to whether this is going to be a singular event focusing on a singular issue or a series of events focused on creating awareness on this singular issue.

  36. I would prefer a Strawberry Shortcake Festival for the Working Class. 🙂
    Food is a bigger draw than running, especially in the heat and humidity.

    • After the cool down stretch, then the food.

    • A Strawberry Shortcake Festival or an Ice Cream Social also gives people a chance to meet and talk in a way that a Run doesn’t. It also has a folksy, down-to-earth inclusiveness to it. Not everyone runs or walks. Everyone eats.

      • I love strawberry shortcake but it’s too much work – a scoop of ice cream is fast and easy.

        • I think you’re right, Joanelle. Maybe we could have some frozen yogurt and tofu ice cream for people with different dietary needs.

  37. The more this unfolds, the more I like it. We are identifying wrinkles and identifying ways to iron them out. I say at all costs, to keep costs down, keep interest and participation up, keep it simple, concentrate #s where possible. Here’s what is emerging as workable for me:

    1. We have a lead up t-shirt that we wear on runs, hikes, cycling, grocery shopping, group thingies we organize and share about in our communities. Perhaps we could start that part on Memorial Day with a t-shirt message something like:
    THE CONFLUENCE
    Coming Together Across America
    (the confluence picture and this title on the back)
    (on the front—a message like these 2 lines with some worker graphics that communicate the range of the working class—pictures worth 1000s of words)
    Remember And Celebrate
    The Working Class
    July 4, 2010

    We find out if anyone notices us, comments, expresses interest

    2. People plan and act locally—selling t-shirts to others; organizing small events; getting the word out; taking the environmental temperature.
    3. We plan July 4 events we think will work; I like the idea of something at THE Confluence in PA where we could meet each other in person and do a walk/run followed by get together in a public park in a historic center of American history.
    I also like the idea of July 4 local events but I think that has to be what the local leader thinks will work—it might be a run; it might be walking together under a confluence banner in a local parade—or riding on a float (most parade fees are going to be modest . I am not thinking Rose Bowl Parade here or Macy’s Xmas Parade). It could be a backyard barb-q where people wear a Confluence: Working Class and Proud Of It July 4, 2010 t-shirt.
    4. Purpose at this point: not to raise money but to raise visibility. Develop contact lists.
    5. Issue a Declaration Of Independence for America’s Forgotten Working Class July 4, 2010. Have a contest to write such; have our writers here pick the gems.
    6. We may not agree with t-party types but what little I actually saw in action was not big money stuff—there were home made signs, people came to rallies that were not really all that big.
    7. We evaluate efforts such as this and what we learn to see if it makes sense to form a PAC or a Party; we raise money only if we have something of value to spend it on.

    We keep it as simple as possible.
    Set up some boundaries so crazies don’t parade in our name.

    • I liek the “Celebrate the working class”

    • Wow! You are on fire!

    • and here’s a proposed theme song from Working Girl:

    • Instead of a run (or in addition to), I’d love to get involved with some Puget Sound/PNW folks doing some volunteering in public in our T-Shirts. That way we’re not just announcing our presence, but doing it in a way that allows people to see us as a positive force in our community.

      • Yes! Similar to the Dem local district groups do things like volunteer cleanups, coordinate with Senior Services to help do yardwork days for older individuals, etc. Lots of ideas out there. Plenty of good causes need elbow grease and donor hours.

        We also need ways to connect with each other on the Confluence other than posting our emails out obviously for spammers.

  38. I like Strawberry Shortcake! Is PA hot and muggy on July 4? Do you have mosquitoes? flies?

    • Pgh can be hot and muggy, and then it may not be. It does not have flies and mosquitoes, to speak of. I can go all summer with only one bite or none. Flies and knats are rare. It is one of the things I like about this area, not buggy. I live near Johnstown but I am in PGH often. The cold weather keeps the bugs down, for the most part. there are times, not often, but on occasion, that a buggy night might occur.

  39. How about:

    Job #1
    America’s Working Class
    July 1, 2010

    ?

    • I meant==July 4, 2010

    • Not sure this captures the essence of the effort (as I understand it) …..while those of us who appreciate TC and find it an oasis during political/party exile can see the value of the Working Class distinction – I wonder if that label will be grasped / accepted / etc by the larger community as inclusive of *all* folks who need a paycheck, regardless of their professional status.

      • We won’t know until we try it. My sense is that people want choices and all they ever hear from is voices on the right, like the Tea Party crowd. Let’s put it thus way: it it turns out that there’s a lot of interest, it could scare the living daylights out of the Democrats. We could provide the missing left flank.

        • It isn’t because voices from the left aren’t making noise though. The single payer folks have been making noise.

        • I agree there’s a huge mass of people currently unrepresented by either party, who want choices, and are not Tea Partiers. Getting them involved and engaged, excited – great. Voting bloc and viable 3rd party candidate, even better. I just have reservations about the Working Class moniker. Unless it’s expanded with a strategic messaging campaign to get our point across. (perhaps I’m missing the point).

          Here’s a worst case scenario – event picks up media attention. Pundits bash and discredit TC because in their view, it’s hypocritical for our demographic (per recent survey – look at salary levels) to call ourselves Working Class.

          Just sayin’.

          • alpha: I think you missed the point of Hells Kitchen’s comment. We ARE the working class. I design drugs for a living. But I’m working class. So is anyone who gets a paycheck to make a living. It doesn’t matter that we don’t think of our selves that way. It is the ultimate epiphany.
            TC can’t be discredited because that is who we are.
            Any day that our way of life can be destroyed by the withdrawal of a paycheck is further proof of what we are.
            Don’t shy away from the term. Embrace it because that is what we all have in common. It makes us stronger because there are so many of us.

          • Hi RD – I do embrace it! I think there’s a misunderstanding here.

            Hell’s K’s post was a revelation for me, a new way to see what’s going on with our economy and corporate culture.

            I was proposing that careful thought be given to promoting the concept and just playing devil’s advocate re: possible reactions, by a broader audience.

  40. I am all for working class rather than the contrived “middle class”. That being said, I don’t run. Not even after the bus anymore. Even my dog learned to accept that.

    • I didn’t run until last year. There should definitely be a walking component.

      • I lettered in three sports in college and was a street runner for years – I killed my knees – running is something I loved doing but at my age – it just isn’t something I can do anymore.

        I still like “Celebrate – or celebrating the working class”

  41. Just a thought on the theme — “working class” is something that seems more tied to the Labor Day holiday.

    July 4th was about people, average people, who wanted the opportunities for which this great nation held promise. Independence from Britain was just a necessary component of achieving that promise, but July 4th is about the American Dream — equality of access, opportunity, and promise for all — but most of all, Democracy. Yes, we are a republic, but we hold the principles of Democracy close to our souls as Americans.

    • When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

      We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

      Try standing humbly before that document in the National Archives without getting choked up. I can’t.

      • SOD I think your own words make the case for why July 4 works:

        July 4th was about people, average people, who wanted the opportunities for which this great nation held promise. Independence from Britain was just a necessary component of achieving that promise, but July 4th is about the American Dream — equality of access, opportunity, and promise for all — but most of all, Democracy.

        Tell me that does not describe all of us who depend on a paycheck or have our own business and depend on customers. Plus I see this as a kick-off and a prelude to a Labor Day event and the fires of election day Nov. 2010.

        • I didn’t say July 4th didn’t work, I was speaking to themes or at least overarching themes. Focusing on “working class” is ok, but the underlying message, if tied to July 4th, should be about something other than “work” or “jobs.” JMHO.

          I see July 4th’s relevance as more about the “people” having a say in their gov’t. It’s why I posted the first words of the Constitution. Those words are beautiful, moving, and motivating to me.

    • I think if there’s an event to be had on July 4th that distinguishes itself from all the other events happening on July 4th maybe it would be one tied to raising awareness on the affronts to political franchise that happened on Nov. 7, 2000 and May 31, 2008.

    • So are we “Re-declaring our independence!”

      • and the American ideals of equality of opportunity & access and the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

  42. Those of us not choosing to run could put on a play. I have amused myself with this title after mentioning Cassandras some threads back:

    “Cassandras and Banquo”

    Or “MacBama” with some changes of course.

    Or a modern spoof.

    It’s fun to think about the possibilities.

  43. Seems like we’re winding down. I’ll throw in my brainstorming.

    Put Americans to work!
    It’s classy
    Working class

    Jobs for Americans!
    It’s classy
    Working class

    American for workers!
    It’s classy
    Working class

    How about a health insurance plan with that job?

    How about a living wage for working Americans?

    Work it out
    Who cares about the working class?

    A confluence of Americans for
    health care, a living wage, job creation
    It’s classy
    Working class

  44. How about a bike ride? There are great rails to trails in and around Pittsburgh.

  45. Years ago there were lighted signs in cities
    WHAT TRENTON MAKES THE WORLD TAKES

    WHAT CHESTER MAKES , MAKES CHESTER.

    They showed pride in working for the country and their families.
    I know must manufacturing jobs are gone and many service jobs are leaving but we still have people with brains and pride in what they do and they should be recognized.

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  46. Does anyone here think that the comment by Hells Kitchen could set off a movement like PUMA? Sometimes a word can change the world. I do not see this as democratic or republican because the working class in this country come from all parties. It is an idea whose time has come. Let us make the most of it and wake up the country.
    Please do not let this wonderful idea get hijacked by some who would not use it a good way.

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS, EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  47. Catching up late tonight, but these ideas are exciting! I’ll walk, eat etc. 🙂

  48. I am a runner and I LOVE this idea!

  49. I don’t entirely understand why, but intuitively I’m having an aversive reaction.

    Some kind of event would be good. And I want to be positive about this, but… I think I should say what I’m feeling, since it might have some validity.

    First, it does seem silly to me. There’s an issue with messaging. There’s no direct connection between “running” and working class.

    I’m also annoyed at appropriation of the term “working class”. I grew up in a very poor, working class, blue collar family. And I’ve been poor my entire life (48 years). I’m now in academia, working on a doctorate – and I find most of the people around me to be very different from working class. And there’s a ton of (mostly unconscious) discrimination by middle class/upper middle class people against folks from the working class – a lot of it comes down to differences in language use, behavior, dress (I can “pass”, but many of my friends cannot). Honestly, I was a bit shocked when I saw how affluent the readership of The Confluence is (based on the survey).

    People here (at The Confluence) do seem more real and grounded than the typical “creative class” types (and I recognize an openness here to working class/bubbas/non-Whole Foods Nation).

    But running for the working class? Someone who’s actually poor and working class is not going to expend a lot of (what they would perceive as) useless energy running. The frequency of running (as an activity) rises with income. Working class people would generally perceive it as a leisure activity (and associated with affluence).

    This is an aside – but a working class undergrad at the academic institution where I’m at (UW-Madison) felt so alienated that she was considering dropping out – but instead, helped organize the “Working Class Student Union” here ( http://uwwcsu.org/ ).

    • I agree with G. If we really want to attract a wide range of “working class” people, I don’t think a run is the way to do it. Running is more of a “leisure class” activity, IMHO. Most people I know are too busy working ( often more than one job ) and trying to pay for rent, utilities, food, etc. to have time to run – except to the store! That’s why I favor some sort of outdoor social event – with food, like ice cream or ??? – where people can meet, relax, and talk.

      • Agree with G & Beata.
        Remember that story Dak posted a while back about vaccines for kids & free lentils in a 3rd world country?
        There’s a huge opportunity cost in a “run” for people with limited free time — there should be some positive impetus if the goal is to attract the actual working (& out of work) class.

      • I live in a neighborhood that is about as working class as it comes. The only folks that run here are the marines from the base down the street. The rest of us are too busy trying to pay for increases in property taxes, electrical bills, and the graft of the political class.

        Frankly, most of my neighbors–like me–have seriously dipped into their beer and jack daniels budget to make ends meet these days. I’m the product of a working class dad (my grandfather worked for the railroads as a fireman then in a hump yard) and an upper class mother (brother graduated first from harvard law school and her dad was the FED officer in charge of the war bond programs for both wars). This is distinctly nothing that sounds like anything with which my neighbors or my dad’s family could even relate. If you want to sponsor me to do a marathon event, try tequila shooters because that’s about what we’re all in the mood for down here.

        Sorry RD, I’m a wet blanket on this one.

      • I could be totally wrong, but I’m not sure the point of this is to actually get working class people running. It’s more of a visibility issue. Runs are easier to organize than certain other types events and they tend to draw large crowds, not to participate but to see what’s going on. I mean, I feel you on not having time, I’ll be working on July 4th, but then, I don’t have time to attend an eating event, either. But as I’m walking by, I’ll see people in shirts running around, maybe get curious, pick up some literature.

        • And also, as RD pointed out, the visibility factor is increased if you have practice runs leading up to the event. My experience is, it’s really hard to organize an event and have people show up. Even other Dem activists that you know personally, forget strangers feeling comfortable strolling in. But there’s something about seeing a bunch of people running around that makes everyone want to know what’s going on and maybe more open to it.

  50. Okay, here’s my situation. Unemployed west coaster who probably wouldn’t make the extra effort to go to Pittsburgh but would love to experience Nola – drive, not fly. I’m in the “will not fly” category. Anyway, seems like there’s a bit of resistance with the “run” idea. I agree a gathering might draw some attention, but I’d prefer a more regular venue, like a booth or something. A soapbox? I’m sure a lot of people would appreciate a platform and I’d like to hear what people are thinking. A free for all, discomfort included, but a place to speak out. That’s what’s missing in the current shut up and sit down environment, I think. So many people have just given up. I’m not a conformist and I’m certain a lot of other people aren’t either. Maybe a few bouncers would be necessary though. Anyway, performance art with a real Dem. flair. I like strawberries and ice cream. Food is always good. Spongey or biscuit-type shortcakes? I like several of the t-shirt ideas. I’ve always viewed any worker who is dependent on a paycheck as one of the working class. They could just shop at the “better” stores.

    All of the above offered in the brainstorming spirit.

  51. Given my critical comment, about what I felt was wrong with the idea, I think I should also say what I feel is right with it.

    The Democrats have become an increasingly corporatist party, catering largely to the (snotty, shiny) elites. There currently seems to be an unprecedented level of alienation/discontent among average working people. At this point, only the Right is attempting to speak to them (ala the Tea Party movement, etc.). Something needs to be done from the Left – and incipient recognition of this appears widespread (The Confluence, Cannonfire, Sam Smith, Taylor Marsh, Chris Hedges, etc., etc.).

  52. I am sorry to add this late … I was thinking about it last night, then I came back & read G’s comments and I agree with them.

    How about combining this with the idea Violet at al have been kicking around of starting a Justice Party. What if we make this a run/march for Justice?

    The bigwigs have sold us out — they bail out Wall Street, Health Insurance Industry, everyone on K Street, and they’re all living on Easy Street.

    Where’s the Justice?

  53. “The Confluence Run for the Working Class”
    More direct:
    “Run for Jobs and Justice”

    • “Jobs and Justice”

      Luv it.

      Unless you’re bonus class, we’re all working class now.

  54. Just LOVE this idea — THE WORKING PERSON’S INDEPENDENCE / UNITY DAY . We get fit and put forth a message PLUS walk/runs are trendy and fun. But I believe that it would have to be on a day separate from the 4th but still commemorate our independence.

  55. Just tell me where and when … I’m in!

  56. Yes indeed, herding cats can be very difficult but also very rewarding.

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