Friday, October 28, 2011
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!