Abortion Litmus Test

Max Sawicky sawicky at epinet.org
Tue Jun 2 07:16:45 PDT 1998

Katha Pollitt wrote:

> Gar lipow points out that I strongly criticized the organized women's
> movement -- NOW, for example -- for its wimpiness on welfare reform.
> This is true. HOWEVER, it does not follow that those with a "class"
> line did better. . . .

Quite right. But you're referring not to a class line but a laborite line. A class line, advanced by almost nobody, would understand welfare recipients as part of the working class and advance universalist, necessarily expensive, large-scale solutions. For an example, see the chapter by Bernstein and Garfinkel in EPI's "Reclaiming Prosperity" book.

Incidentlly, EPI was nowhere during the aforementioned debacle as well. I don't mean to claim superior political conduct. A least we put something on paper, which is our principal occupation.

> . . . also absent -- NAACP? NOI? forget it!
> the truth is, the people who cared most about welfare reform were
> precisely the middle-class intellectuals and social work professionals,
> feminists, left-liberal clergy and other liberal wimps that get abused
> on this list. Class was no better an organizing or theorizing tool to
> fight welfare reform than gender or race. Maybe worse!

Hostility to class and an insistence on seeing the poor in special, marginalized terms handicaps these folks politically. In some cases hostility to class is explicit and reflected in political practice, the harm to the poor notwithstanding. So there are liberals and liberals in this case.


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