Cost of Having a Ruling Class – Checklist

Adapted from Paul Kivel’s You Call This a Democracy? (2004)

The following checklist can also be used as a group exercise.

Do you know of anyone, including yourself…?

• who currently has, or who has died from cancer?
• who currently is HIV positive or who has died from AIDS?
• who was seriously injured on their job, or has an occupational disability?
• who was killed on the job?
• who died or was seriously injured fighting for the U.S. military?
• who did not receive prenatal health care when they were pregnant?
• who has health problems or who has died from smoking, alcohol, or drug related abuse?
• who died from lack of access to reproductive services?
• who was young and who was murdered in your community?
• who has been involved in gang related violence?
• who was not able to complete all the education they wanted?
• who does not have adequate health care coverage?
• who doesn’t have enough to eat?
• who has had to move because they could not afford rent?
• who is homeless?
• who is unemployed not by choice?
• who works for less than a living wage?
• who cannot retire at a decent age because they don’t have enough money?
• who has to postpone medical, dental, or eye treatment because they cannot afford to pay for it?
• who is female or transgender and has been battered or sexually assaulted and did not get the help they needed?
• who is a child and has been physically or sexually assaulted or abused and did not get the support they needed?
• who has been a victim of a hate crime?
• who has been locked up for a non-violent offense?
• who is a child left alone because their working parents cannot afford childcare or after-school care?
• who cannot apply for or is afraid to apply for medical treatment or other services because they are an immigrant?
• who has had to go into debt for medical expenses, education, clothes, or other basic necessities?
• who was locked up for their political opinions?
• who was denied food, shelter, or work because they are an immigrant?
• who was harassed or deported because they are an immigrant?
• who was seriously injured or killed, or who has to tolerate dangerous working conditions because they are an immigrant?
• who has committed suicide or attempted to kill themselves?
• who was locked up and executed by the state?
• who was locked up and did not receive the medical treatment they needed, the educational opportunities they desired, or the rehabilitation skills they needed?
• who died from severe weather because they could not afford shelter, fuel, or the clothes they needed?
• who has been robbed or beaten?
• who was killed in a car accident?
• who was a victim of police harassment, racial profiling, or police brutality?
• who died from using an unsafe product or vehicle?
• who has a disease or health problems because of toxics or pollutants in our air, water, or food?
• who drinks, uses other drugs, overeats, under-eats, or participates in unsafe or dangerous activities to cover their feelings or hide their pain?
• who has died unnecessarily because they are homeless, unemployed, hungry, sick, alone, preyed on by others, or attacked by family members?

If you cannot answer yes to at least some of these questions it may be because you live in a wealthy or segregated community and are protected from many of the costs, and information about the costs, that most people have to deal with.

All articles may be quoted, adapted, or reprinted only for noncommercial purposes and with an attribution to Paul Kivel, Creative Commons Attribution – Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit here.