Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The poor have no First Amendment rights

From an excellent piece by Barbara Ehrenreich on the criminalization of poverty:
The viciousness of the official animus toward the indigent can be breathtaking. A few years ago, a group called Food Not Bombs started handing out free vegan food to hungry people in public parks around the nation. A number of cities, led by Las Vegas, passed ordinances forbidding the sharing of food with the indigent in public places, leading to the arrests of several middle-aged white vegans.
The Supreme Court has ruled that corporations can donate to political candidates because money is free speech. If money can be free speech, why not food?
You keep asking the wrong questions. You cannot get the answers you need by asking these kinds of questions. The Foucauldian power/knowledge/capital grid is why. Then you have to go to Baudrillard to see the how to escape solution. Helping is not going to change anything. It is all part of the same system. It feeds into it. Even feeding them will only help for a few hours until they are hungry again. Giving a junkie junk at the drugstore won't help. Knocking off the big pins at the top won't help. William Burroughs said this in detail. The junkie must be cured of addiction. But what about the addictions of the rest of us? Why is everyone addicted to something? Now that is the real question. No answers here.
DeLillo is addressing all these problems in his Cosmopolis novel. Please read it.
"Middle-aged white vegan" sounds like some kind of mushroom.

Conservatism in the U.S. is essentially the belief that Merchants are the super-race.

Ditto with libertarianism. If you listen to these folks for a even a short time, you realize they are members of the business class--or else they identify with that class--and they believe that Merchants are simply better than other people. They should run the whole world, if they do say so themselves.

Who else but a Merchant with an outsized ego would declare that greed is good, that the free enterprise system is the perfect system, and that anything which eats into profits is evil?

This applies to the poor. To the mercantile mind, making money is the purpose of life, and peopel who are good at making money should justly run the world.

In this view of things, poor people are bad and worthless, because they are unable to, or not interested in, accumulating wealth, which is all that matters in the universe.

The poor have violated the canons of mercantilism by failing to make lots of money. That's why America is at war with them.

Isnt the purpose of the charity not to feed the hungry but to assert the givers humanity. Walking by the hungry reduces us as people. We need to seek common cause with other people. Their problems are our problems.

I think this is the dividing line. The battle is between those who seek common cause with their fellows, and those who seek to dominate and exploit others.

It doesn't matter if giving food to poor/homeless helped them in any way or not. Good Americans don't want to the the greasy black smoke rising from ... er poor folks in their parks.

Since we have the best government money can buy, all the poor/homeless have to do is get some and pay off the nearest city council member or congress person.

Or better yet, some "journalist" in the print or broadcast media to proselytize on their behalf. You know, say something like,"Poor folks give me a tingle down my leg." I hear the going rate for cable news is thirty pieces of silver.
Why don't the people who want to feed the indigent do it in a church meeting hall or other suitable facility instead of using the outdoor recreation areas for purposes that prevent non-indigent people from enjoying parks? This isn't a free speech issue. It is a conflict between the intended purpose of a park and the misuse of parks by people who are indigent and those who support them by giving them food. The analogy is why isn't peeing in the street considered free speech when speaking in the street is?
When I was a kid and read 1984 for the first time, the inner party's insidious practises of constant war/propaganda/surveillance/threats, etc. all made sense -- as historically effective techniques for controlling the masses.

But what I couldn't fathom at the time was why the society at large, despite huge increases in technological productivity and efficiency since the end of WWII, was still wracked with such widespread poverty and misery. "Wouldn't a well-fed/housed/clothed/employed population be even more docile and submissive to Big Brother?" I naively asked.

Eventually, however, I came to understand.

The elite in any society don't just lack compassion for the underclass. The elite overwhelmingly fear (and thus hate) the underclass -- because of their sheer numerical superiority, hard-to-hide resentment of elite privilege, and suspected inevitability of turning to violent rebellion, should the safety-shield of repression ever be weakened or removed.

And the formidable power of poverty (as long as it doesn't rise to the brink of mass starvation) keeps the masses distracted from hatching plans of revolt -- by the daily/nightly scramble to fill their hungry bellies.

Andy Tyme
Why am I not surprised even if I am shocked?

Cities have conducted a war on the homeless for decades. This is just same old same old except now it is illegal to feed the homeless. Kind of like the "Do not feed the Bears" campaign in the NW.

I guess if we turn a blind eye to other peoples misery then those problems will just go away. The callousness of this society is just amazing. And the truth of the matter is that most of the citizens of these dear cities are just a few paychecks away from being in the same position.
Didn't some natives help out the original settlers here when they were without food? Doesn't the whole nation remember this on a day in November each year?
The rot must have set in soon after that and spreads to this day.

John Steinbeck:

It has always seemed strange to me... the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.
"Why don't the people who want to feed the indigent do it in a church meeting hall or other suitable facility instead of using the outdoor recreation areas for purposes that prevent non-indigent people from enjoying parks? "

You total sh*t.

1) suitable facility? Who defines suitable facility. If you think Church is such a facilty, then perhaps you would like to consider the feeding of the 5000. Should Jesus have got a permit before he conducted the open air food kitchen?
2) Why should poor people hang in parks? Why shouldnt people meet them in parks and dispense charity? Your point appears to be that you dont like it when they do. So what? Who gives a monkeys that you dont like the park as much when it is filled with the poor.
3) Your rights as a non-indigent person are no more important or comprehensive han an indigent citizen. If you can go to the park then so can they. If you can have a picnic then so can they.

4) I am probably wrong to be so irate about this. But your comment just rubbed me up the wrong way. It isnt all about you. I know it would be nice if there were no people who smelled of piss in the subway. But they have nothing and all they want is a place to sleep. Why drive them out, just so you dont have to smell piss? If you dont like it pay some taxes to take them off the streets. If we wont do that dont blame the poor for messing up the place.

Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is 

powered by Blogger. 

Isn't yours?

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic