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“Citizens in the middle who live comfortable lives, luxurious lives in relation to the rest of the world, often fear the challenging classism will be their downfall, that simply by expressing concerns for the poor they will end up like them, lacking the basic necessities of life” (Hooks 1)


Those who described themselves as “actively involved” in the Occupy movement were overwhelmingly white, highly educated and employed, according to a new report from the Joseph F. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies at the City University of New York.(source Huffington Post)

  • The report surveyed the participants at a joint Occupy-labor movement May Day rallyin New York City and found that two-thirds of those who described themselves as “actively involved” in Occupy Wall Street were white, while 80 percent had a bachelor’s degree or higher.

How many of you believe that you will

have a secure job after College?

  • Many of these activists claiming to represent the 99 percent were drawn to the Occupy movement after the financial crisis left them underemployed and burdened with student loan debt. The survey found that while 80 percent of respondents said they had a job, about one-third said their employment was “precarious,” 
  • Which means that they did not have a stable job and could possibly soon be unemployed.

“For so long everyone has wanted to hold on to the belief that the United States is a class-free society- that anyone who works hard enough can make it to the top.” (Hooks 5)


“Although their frag-ile hold on economic self-sufficient is slipping, they still cling to the dream of a class-free society where everyone can make it to the top. They are afraid to face the significance of dwindling resources, the high cost of education, housing, and health case. They are afraid to think too deeply about class.” (Hooks 6)


People who are entering the middle class or coming out of the middle class, and looking to college to put themselves forward, are actually graduating with excessive amounts debt


“When I was choosing a college to attend, the issue of money surfaced and had to be talked about.” (Hooks 25)

  • A lot of students become in debt their first year because they have to take out so many loans that they have to pay back
  • “Mama urged me to attend any college nearby that offer financial aid.” (Hooks 25)

“We live in a society where the poor have no public voice” (Hooks 5)

  • By and large poor people feel they have not been able to take advantage of new economic opportunities because of lack of connections and lack of information, skills and credit. Unemployment and lack of food and money appear as problems in many communities. The poor, who work primarily in the informal sector, report experiencing life as more insecure and unpredictable than a decade or so ago. This is linked to unpredictability of agriculture, jobs that are unreliable and with low returns, loss of traditional livelihoods, breakdown of the state, breakdown of traditional social solidarity, social isolation, increased crime and violence, lack of access to justice, extortion, and brutality from the police rather than protection. Illness is dreaded and lack of affordable health care pushes many families into indebtedness and destitution.

Do you believe that hard-working people deserve to make it to the top?

Zillah Eisenstein notes in Global Obscenities: “The extremes of wealth and poverty within the united states also mirror the extremes across the globe. The wealthiest 20 percent of u.s. citizens received 99 percent of the total gain in marketable wealth between 1983and 1989. More than 38 million people live in poverty in the united states, of whom more than 40 percent are under eighteen years of age.” The rich are getting richer and the poor poorer. (Books 64)

Radical young politicos from privileged backgrounds who

had sought to intervene on oppressive capitalism became adults

who were eager to find and keep their place in the existing

economic system. (Books 64)


Since the radicals and/or liberals who had once repudiated class privilege brought to their reclaiming of class power a more open view toward the masses than their ancestors, they were quite willing to let go of old notions, whether rooted in racism or sexism, to exploit the material desires of any group. More than any other group in the nation s history, this group was and is willing to forego allegiance to race or gender to promote their class interests. If they could make a fortune promoting and selling a product to any group, they were willing to play and prey upon any need or vulnerability that would aid in their accumulation of wealth” (Hooks 65)


They were motivated more by the desire for ever-increasing profit than by sustained allegiance to race or gender (Hooks 65)

  • By the early eighties the idea that sexism and racism had been eradicated, coupled with the assumption that the existing white supremacist capitalist patriarchy could work for everybody gained momentum and with it the notion that those groups for whom it did not work were at fault. (Hooks 66)

Opportunities for class mobility created by radical political movements for social justice, civil rights, and women’s liberation, especially in the workforce, meant that there were individuals who could serve as examples of the popular truism that “anyone can make it big in America.” Multi mass media has played the central role as the propagandistic voice promoting the notion that this culture remains a place of endless opportunity, where those on the bottom can reach the top


The economy has been unable to create jobs due to America’s massive trade deficit caused by failed economic policy. Since 1975, the U.S. has imported more goods than it has exported. In 2012 alone, the U.S. had a trade deficitof $784 billion. A large portion of this was oil imports, but consumer goods are another area in which the U.S. imports virtually everything.

Institute shows that for every $1 billion in goods imported, the economy loses 9,000 jobs.


More than any other media, television fundamentally altered the attitudes of poor and working-class people, as well as those of more privileged classes, toward the rich. Largely throughmarketing and advertising, television promoted the myth of the classless society, offering on one hand images of an American dream fulfilled wherein any and everyone can become rich and on the other suggesting that the lived experience of this lack of class hierarchy was expressed by our equal right to purchase anything we could afford. (Hooks 71)

questions to ask yourself
Questions to ask Yourself
  • How many of you believe that you may have a secure job after College?
  • Do you believe every student should have a fair privilege to pursue higher education?
  • Do you believe that hard-working people deserve to make it to the top?
  • Where do you think most American jobs went?
  • What all the bell hooks quotes were initially saying was, that no matter how we look at it there is social inequality, sexism, racism, and economical inequality in the U.S. In the U.S there is always going to be the 1% and the 99%, it won’t change because the one percent of privileged Americans, care more about growing wealth within themselves.
work cited
Work Cited

Kandasamy, Ambika.“Social Justice Groups Engage Occupy Movement”. New America Media News Report. 10 Nov. 2011 Web. 25 March 2014.

Thu. “Logo of We are the 99%” Creative Commons 3.0. 2011. Web. 25 March. 2014

Berman, Gillian. “Occupy Wall Street Actually Not All Representative of the 99%” Huffington Post. 29 January 2013. Web. 26 March 2014

“Anonymous The Corrupt Fear Us” Knowledge of Today Organization. May. 21 2012.

“Poverty: listen to Voices” WorldBank Organization. 2012. Web. 26 March 2014.

work cited continued
Work Cited Continued

John Olen. “Lack of Jobs is Due to Trade Deficit” Economic in Crisis Organization. 8 March 2014. Web 27 March 2014

Rasul Palmer. “The Reality of Unemployment in America” Ki Eco Center. 2013. 27 March. 2014

“The Occupy Movement Doesn’t Need Black Bloc Baffonery”. Paul's Voyage of Discovery. 2 November 2011. Web. March 28 2014.

Bansky. “Monopoly” My Modern Met. 25 October 2011. Web. 28 March 2014.