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America is a class divided society. It is the world's strongest economy, yet according to the CIA World Fact
Book 12.7% of Americans live below the poverty line. Another group of Americans tightly grips resources
that could alleviate their plight. In 1998 the top 1% of the US population owned 38% of the wealth and the
top 5% owned over 60 percent. (3) Since then the situation has become remarkably less equal. In such a
situation, I think it is fair to ask if the American economy is worth protecting.
It is not the case that the rest of us, those not in this ruling elite, have sat back and passively accepted this
situation. The history of America has been one of the struggles of ordinary people against the injustices of
the time. Today there are many active fights against the rule of the profiteers. Teachers and healthcare
workers have been protesting and striking for more resources for the social sector. There are many struggles
against the environmental racism of the energy industry, against the racist "criminal justice system", and
against US militarism. There have been huge demonstrations for immigrant rights, and there is the potential
for Civil Rights movement to emerge in post Katrina America - witness the march in Jena, Louisiana this
These are the questions that animate me. This is the world that we live in.
The proposal is to create a reciprocal pair of websites looking at class in the U.S. today.
They Rule is an existing website, showing the interlocking directories of the top 500 U.S. corporations.
Visitors to the site can arrange icons of the companies and their directors into maps which they can annotate
and share with others. Currently the data is static and now out of date. I want to make it so that a community
of visitors to the site can keep the information up to date through a wiki-style database.
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