Who is this middle class that we so often worry about alienating? I'm afraid it is made up of people who are often not our natural allies, and who in fact are more invested in maintaining their privilege than other classes of people who potentially have a lot more to offer to social
change movements, but who we have a pattern of ignoring. Perhaps we imagine that by hooking our cause to socially acceptable norms, we will grow. If our message is palatable to the New York Times,
we will get better coverage, and so gain legitimacy. If our movement
resonates with the social-climber professionals, coordinators and
decisionmakers, then they will use their resources and talents to carry us forward. In the last couple of years, I have received email notices reminding me
to dress nicely for upcoming demonstrations. I have heard mostly white activists debate dropping a black rap group from an event line-up because their language might offend families. And I have heard people argue that a Dump Bush demand is worthwhile because it appeals to people who aren't ready for a more radical message that lays the blame
for war and injustice less on one evil-doer and more on the workings of society's underlying institutions. But when we contrive a wardrobe that will appeal to others, eliminate the edge from our cultural commentary, and demonize the figurehead of
our corporate controlled government, we lose credibility with the people who know better.