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To other working Americans:

As the election season of 2016 has finally come to an end, the ramifications of this election are on everyone's minds. The coming year is going to bring tremendous change. Although we probably all agree on that statement, we probably have very different ideas about what those changes will be, and whether or not they will be positive. Hopefully, we can try to find some common ground.

We assume that most working class people are tired of living in poverty, living paycheck to paycheck, watching the products of their hard work evaporate before their eyes. Times are tough for many of us, and many of us have been wondering in private how we're going to survive. Politician after politician makes empty promises, but no matter which party is in power, there is no real relief for working Americans. Instinctively, we start to look around for who to blame, and the messages we're bombarded with make it seem easy enough... we blame Muslims, Black people, Brown people, "illegals". It all seems very simple. We're competing with these people for jobs and resources, so it seems like a logical enough conclusion.

Historically, white working class folks have nearly always been at odds with immigrants and folks of color. It's a lot easier to recognize ourselves and our loved ones in others who share the same traditions, culture, religious beliefs, etc. The majority of the faces we see on TV, in our community, and the folks we identify as leaders usually look a lot like us. We can often relate easiest to other white people, no matter how poor or rich. They look like people we'd see across the dinner table, and that makes it easier to hear each other out, even when we disagree. Most of us would scoff at anyone claiming that we intentionally seek out an allegiance to whiteness, or to being white, but without noticing that we're doing it, our natural enemies become non-white people.

The problem with this idea is that we've had it wrong for centuries. We've been kept blind to the true nature of what is really going on. Look around. Who lives in the houses or trailers in the same neighborhoods as us? Who works next to us in the factories, or cooks alongside us at the restaurants? Who is working in the fields with us, picking produce that we'll see at inflated prices later in the supermarket? It sure as hell isn't rich white people. It's Brown people, Black people, and other working class white people. They are the ones that are in similar situations to us, living paycheck to paycheck, stretching to feed their families like we do. So why then would we view them as so different from us that we literally view them as our enemies?

Allegiances, traditionally, are made among people who have common interests. Throughout American history, white working people have generally believed that our interests are based on looking out for each other, and we've seen our community as folks who have the same skin color as us. We've felt it was important to work for the betterment of other white folks, for our culture, for our shared identity. The truth, however, could never be further away. Whose interests have our actions really served? White workers? In the short term, the answer may be "yes". Working for the advancement of the white race at the cost of other folks does buy us relative privileges, occasional access to better jobs and neighborhoods, and even some luxuries. In the end, however, we're still poor, we're still breaking our backs to make other people money... and those people aren't working folks of color.

The true, long-term interests of white workers lie with the fate of all other workers, no matter what their race. All workers, of all races, are exploited. We are exploited because we put in the lion's share of the work, skill, and experience, and we bear the scars and lifelong pain from working class life, but we never actually get ahead enough to breathe free. We work multiple jobs to barely meet our needs, while bosses and the people in charge profit from that labor. We are born where we're at, and we die where we're at while rich politicians and white collar business owners live in the lap of luxury. Who are these rich people? Who are these politicians? The truth is that 95% of them are white. They are also mostly male. Almost all of them are English speaking. They are also mostly Christian (or at least pretend to be so). And yet, in spite of having so many superficial things in common with one another, our lives are completely separate. When we stay up late at the kitchen table with a stack of bills, trying to figure out how the budge is going to work, they're eating at restaurants where they'll never even look at the amount on their bill. Tonight, when we finally go to bed in our noisy apartments, our modest houses, or our crowded trailers, they will go to bed in luxury and comfort, with no worries at all. Tomorrow morning, they'll wake up hours after we do, and they won't have to rush through getting their kids to school, or pray that their car sta