One of the ironies of contemporary politics is the identification of poor whites with the Republican party, even more opposed to working class interests than the Democrat party. Taken to the extreme by the Tea Party, this cooptation takes energy which might challenge the capitalist class structure and redirects it against other poor and working class people who have different skin color.
Dave Strano has worked for years against this counter-productive racism, in Kansas and Missouri as part of the John Brown Gun Club distributing anti-racist literature at gun shows, and more recently in Colorado as Redneck Revolt. In an excellent interview, Strano points out how the left, even the radical community, often practices classism subtle and overt, leaving a large segment of potential allies as easy recruits for racist elements of the conservative movement. He describes organizing within this culture to restore traditional values of opposition to exploitation:
Today, the term redneck has taken on a demeaning connotation, primarily among upper class urban liberals who have gone out of their way to dehumanize white working class and poor people. Terms like “white trash” have come to signify the view among these same upper class liberals of poor and rural whites.
To us, the term redneck is a term that signifies a pride in our class as well as a pride in resistance to bosses, politicians, and all those that protect domination and tyranny.
We’re very upfront about our position of being not only opposed to white supremacy, but to the shared culture of whiteness being one that has only been defined by being an oppressor race. What unites white skinned people currently is a shared history of being the footsoldiers of oppression. We want to ensure that as many whites as possible reject this commonly understood idea of whiteness and instead join in a common struggle with workers of all skin colors in a struggle for total and real liberation.
The whole interview is an important privilege check for middle- and upper-class liberals and radicals alike, as we work to build as broad-based a culture of resistance as possible. Read the whole article: Rednecks With Guns and Other Anti-Racist Stories and Strategies