chapter  5
Class Warfare American Style
Pages 28

Class warfare is an idea that frightens Americans, provoking images of bands of armed and angry workers rising up in a violent and bloody revolution to overthrow the existing social and economic order. It is an image that American conservatives invariably invoke when they fear too much attention and curiosity are being aroused about the real distribution of wealth and income. This tactic succeeds brilliantly most of the time, partly because the normal state of America is a denial of reality when it comes to class----almost everyone claims middle-class status irrespective of their real economic status. This tactic succeeded, too, because of the forty-plus years of the cold war, a time when America believed it stood nearly alone against the worldwide spread of the Marxist system that emerged in Russia after the over-

throw of the Kerensky government in 1917. However, with the fall of the "evil empire," the upward distribution of income and wealth in the past twenty-five years, and the shrinking of the middle class, the threat of class warfare in America will fall on fewer receptive ears.