Friday, October 28, 2011

Occupy movement learning what homeless have long known. . .

Received the article summary below recently. 

Barbara Ehrenreich likely knows more about poverty, the decline of the working class and the growth of the underclass in America as anyone alive today.  Her article is significant, and rooted in very literal reality. 

Homelessness and the Occupy Wall Street Movement

The logistics involved in maintaining the Occupy Wall Street protests turn out to be some of the very activities that homeless people have been banned from doing in most cities for years.

Barbara Ehrenreich argues that there is common cause between OWS and the homeless; that the financial elites that have destroyed the middle class have also criminalized homelessness, and that, as a result, most of what constitutes survival in public spaces has become illegal.

"What the Occupy Wall Streeters are beginning to discover, and homeless people have known all along, is that most ordinary, biologically necessary activities are illegal when performed in American streets — not just peeing, but sitting, lying down, and sleeping. It is illegal, in other words, to be homeless or live outdoors for any other reason. It should be noted, though, that there are no laws requiring cities to provide food, shelter or restrooms for their indigent citizens...What occupiers from all walks of life are discovering, at least every time they contemplate taking a leak, is that to be homeless in America is to live like a fugitive."

To read the entire Ehrenreich essay click here. Reactions welcomed!


Anonymous said...

Barb is a good little socialist.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't sound as if their brilliant discovery merits consideration as the brightest light-bulb. In fact this enlightenment discovered by the protestors is stupidity at its finest!

Anonymous said...

But there is an important difference between the regular homeless and the college educated OWS group: Unemployment rates for college graduates has held steady at about 4.2%, whether seasonally adjusted or not. See this Bureau of Labor Statistics Table.

Liberals and socialists are making hay over the fact that 1% of the population is getting very wealthy. So what? In statistical terms they are outliers. That means they have some pull on the data overall, but should not factor in very much when considering policy and daily decision making.

Daily decision making should focus on getting people educated. You will have homeless people under any circumstances. But for those who are competent to read, write, add, multiply, subtract, and divide at the level of a mid quality state university bachelors degree, the middle class awaits.

I went to the Daily Kos to find images of the OWS events, since I can't seem to find them in the mainstream press. Against the backdrop of over 300 million Americans, these are small crowds clearly not representative of the middle class.
See the OWS images here.

There is a war on the middle class, but it is not the bankers who are prosecuting this war. A wealthy banker can not continue to be a banker if his only customers are poor. The middle class is necessary as it borrows money for homes, min-vans, vacations, etc. The wealthy class needs the middle class much more than it does the lower class.

Who has caused an increase in gasoline prices by closing the gulf and refusing to work our own productive fields?

Who is raising taxes on those who are clearly NOT millionaires ($250K)?

Who is hampering our children with poor education?

Who is raising EPA standards to eliminate business opportunities?

Who is rescuing poorly managed businesses and giving control of these businesses to labor unions at the expense of shareholders?

Who is fighting states in courts and by noncompliance as states attempt to reduce costs spent on illegal aliens who are living off state budgets?

Who is eliminating private health insurance for the middle class?

Who has taken over the college loan programs from private lenders, thereby placing the entire risk of default on tax payers (who, by the way are the upper 47% of all wage earners - clearly the middle class)?

Who changed the rules for mortgage lending to ensure those who could not afford a home loan got one anyway and even now is rewriting loans to reward non payment?

Who printed nearly a trillion dollars and began circulating it in the US economy on two occasions to increase the money supply - to theoretically create jobs, but in actuality decreased consumer confidence and increased inflation?

Who created a program to destroy millions of used cars - that the lower class could afford - thereby decreasing the supply of available used cars and driving up their cost (which, by the way, kept many of the poor from buying a car)?

This is the work of liberals and socialists.

Anonymous said...

So, Larry, is blogging a "green job?"

Anonymous said...

Socialism /ˈsoʊʃəlɪzəm/ is an economic system in which the means of production are commonly owned and controlled cooperatively; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. [1] As a form of social organization, socialism is based on co-operative social relations and self-management; relatively equal power-relations and the reduction or elimination of hierarchy in the management of economic and political affairs.[2][3]

I do not hear anyone in positions of power in the United States advocating such a system. Throwing around such terms makes you sound either ignorant or like an indoctrinated automaton. It certainly does not lend credence to anything you say.

Anonymous said...

Who said this?

"If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement, and its litigation strategy in the court, I think where it succeeded was to vest formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples, so that I would now have the right to vote, I would now be able to sit at a lunch counter and order, and as long as I could pay for it, I’d be OK."

"But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society. And to that extent, as radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, as least as it’s been interpreted, and Warren Court interpreted in the same way that, generally, the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties, says what the states can’t do to you, says what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf. And that hasn’t shifted."

"One of the, I think, the tragedies of the civil rights movement, was because the civil rights movement became so court focused, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change, and in some ways, we still suffer from that."

A caller, "Karen," asked if it’s "too late for that kind of reparative work economically?” And she asked if that work should be done through the courts or through legislation.

"Maybe I’m showing my bias here as a legislator as well as a law professor. I’m not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts. The institution just isn’t structured that way."

Anonymous said...

For Obama, sound economic policy is not a primary driver. Rather, he is more interested in even distribution of resources: Charlie demonstrated a decrease in capital gains taxes led to INCREASED revenue and Obama replied that he didn't care.

Anonymous said...

Did you hear that? Obama says he believes in the principle that "you pay as you go." Ha! No Chinese credit cards for this administration. Er, maybe just one.