"America's New Class Warfare" broadly encompasses many possible topics and perspectives. For instance, the Right has long rallied against the inappropriate scrutiny of the wealthy. Indeed, the wealthy and in particular, the people commanding the heights of corporate America, are under more scrutiny today than usual, thanks to the financial meltdown of 2008. But does this scrutiny constitute class warfare? Was the invisibility of the wealthy ever warranted, given the economic and social power they command, including the power to shape law? The poor too have been under extreme levels of scrutiny over the last several decades. Does their scrutiny also constitute class warfare?
What might be the relationships among the wealthy, the disappearing middle class, the working class, and the poor, particularly in the current moment when classes not only exist, but are also antagonistic, contrary to the tenets of our dominant ideology? Further, given that our economic system has always been racialized and gendered, such that young black men have been the hardest hit by the recession, and women continue to earn less money than men, how might the current burdens and potential policy solutions soften or reinforce these patterns? That is, how might an intersectional analysis of race, gender, class, sexuality, etc. as well as cross disciplinary approaches and heterodox economic theories aid in our understandings of the current moment?
And finally, what role is law playing in shaping the structures, power, interests, resource uses, individual and group identities and distributions of wealth and recovery? These are some of the questions we hope our panelists will explore.
Elaine M. Chiu
Chairperson, NEPOC Planning Committee
Associate Professor of Law
St. John's University School of Law