Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cake and Class Warfare

I was really impressed with the work you did around the chocolate cake today. Your discussion was as strong as any I have had with graduate students around these issues. Really stimulating issues!! Thanks for your hard work.

We were a little rushed today in class after our cake activity so I wanted to post some resources for you to check out...

1) Kozol would call the circumstances of the community in Mott Haven a form of "class warfare." We talked about how Kozol supports this with evidence abut how the system designs weapons that keep poor people in their place: the incinerator, the lack of newspaper delivery, the SSI bureaucracy, the conditions in the hospital, the lack of heat in the government subsidized housing... Kozol suggest that poverty is a cycle designed explicitly to keep poor people in their place; it offers few avenues for mobility and thus people get trapped by a system that claims to help them.

2) That term — "class warfare" — is getting lots of airtime in the news and public discourse right now. As we debate the current state of our economy, the unemployment rates, the deficit, the tax code, we hear each side of the political argument staking their claims.
  • President Obama, in a speech on Monday 9/19/11, explained, "It is not class warfare... it is math." Obama's Speech defined his agenda for creating policy that reflects his committment to equity and tax reform.
  • Warren Buffet suggest that we are in a state of "class warfare" but in a statement last spring he noted, "“There’s class warfare, all right,” Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.
  • Elizabeth Warren tries to redefine "class warfare" as well. "There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody..." See her full statement below.

3) So how does public policy create and reproduce the state of our lives? See the charts we looked at in class that reflect how our national "cake" gets divided among our society. Play with the graph and try to understand what it means for our economy and our lives.

Would love to hear your comments on any or all of this... remember that my job is to help you understand the arguments. Your job is to then form an opinion and a position about where YOU stand on this issues and how they will inform the kind of teacher you want to be!


  1. This chart is awesome! Now that the "Job Creators" have all that money we can soon expect our unemployment problems to be a thing of the past.

  2. This activity was great! Not just because we had cake, very well done!