Lefty Resource Library

Posting articles as I go

Tag: class

‘Who is dependent on welfare?’

Ananya Roy testing apart ideas about welfare an an amazing video.

‘post welfare generation’ – grew up at a time when the welfare system was systematically dismantled. A time when ‘welfare, rather than poverty, had become the problem to be solved’

Reagan literally invented the concept of the welfare queen

The middle class ‘enjoy a host of hidden government subsidies that bolster opportunity and mobility, but they do not think such subsidies should be available to the poor

‘…the rich have state help, the poor have self help

‘…fretting the welfare dependency of the poor while failing to realise that they are dependent on welfare

‘I live in public housing, because the tax deduction I enjoy on my mortgage is a more substantial handout than any money spent by the US government on what has come to be stereotyped and vilified as public housing’

Corporations are the real welfare queens e.g. wal-mart pays its workers so little that the government has to give them welfare i.e. its business model hinges on leaching from the government.

Poverty is not only economic, but also a poverty of power. Part of this is to be defined as dependent.

Social policies, social discriminations, and environmental injustice

e.g. living near toxic sites like oil refineries in the US:

‘The Richmond Housing Authority, in 1941, was told by the federal government to provide low-cost housing to the shipyard workers who swelled Richmond to a city five times its earlier size. But by 1952, no African American had lived in any of Richmond’s permanent low-rent housing. There was nothing in rentals or sales available to blacks in the central city.

‘Nonwhites were pushed to unincorporated North Richmond and other neighborhoods dominated by the refinery, chemical companies, highways, rail yards and ports.

‘”It was the only land available to them when they wanted to purchase property. People don’t put themselves in harm’s way intentionally,” said Betty Reid Soskin, 93, who moved to the Bay Area with her family when she was eight. She lectures on the African American experience in World War II at the National Historical Park’s Rosie the Riveter project in Richmond. “Real estate developers could determine where you lived. The local banker could determine who could get mortgages.”’

http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2012/pollution-poverty-and-people-of-color-richmond-day-1

‘The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread’

Anatole France, The Red Lily, 1894

Obama and ‘personal responsibility’

‘How does a black writer approach The Man when The Man is not just us, but the Champion of our ambitions [Obama]? More, how do you approach the offices that have so often brutalized black people when those offices are occupied by the Champion? How do you acknowledge the president’s many gifts, his actual accomplishments, while still and all outlining the depressing limits of his own imagination?

‘The president is correct that there is a long history of black leaders addressing “personal responsibility.” But as a diagnosis for what has historically gone wrong in black communities, the tradition is erroneous. 

‘When W.E.B. Du Bois, in 1897, claimed that the “first and greatest” step toward addressing “the Negro Problem,” lay in correcting the “immorality, crime and laziness among the Negroes themselves” he was wrong. No amount of morality could have prevented the overthrow of Wilmington by white supremacists—the only coup in American history—a year later. When Booker T. Washington urged blacks to use “every iota of influence that we possess” to “get rid of the criminal and loafing element of our people,” he was wrong. When Marcus Garvey claimed that “the greatest stumbling block in the way of progress in the race has invariably come from within the race itself,” he was dead wrong. When Malcolm X claimed that “the white man is too intelligent to let someone else come and gain control of the economy of his community,” and asserted that black people “will let anybody come in and take control of the economy of your community,” he was wrong. He knew the game was rigged. He did not know how much.

‘I can’t think of a single credible historian of our 500-year tenure here who has concluded that our problem was a lack of “personal responsibility.” The analysis is as old as it is flawed, and that is because it isn’t analysis at all but something altogether different. No black people boo when the president talks about personal responsibility. On the contrary, it’s often the highlight of his speeches on race. If you’ve ever lived in a black community, you might understand why. I can assemble all kinds of stats, graphs, and histories to explain black America’s ills to you. But none of that can salve the wound of leaving for work at 7 a.m., seeing young men on the stoop blowing trees, and coming home and seeing the same niggers—because this is what we say to ourselves—sitting in the same place. It is frustrating to feel yourself at war with these white folks—because that too is what we say—and see people standing on your corner who you believe to have given up the fight.

‘When Barack Obama steps into a room and attacks people for presumably using poverty or bigotry as an excuse to not parent, he is channeling a feeling deep in the heart of all black people, a frustration, a rage at ourselves for letting this happen, for allowing our community to descend into the basement of America, and dwell there seemingly forever. 

‘My mother’s admonishings had their place. God forbid I ever embarrass her. God forbid I be like my grandfather, like the fathers of my friends and girlfriends and wife. God forbid I ever stand in front of these white folks and embarrass my ancestors, my people, my dead. And God forbid I ever confuse that creed, which I took from my mother, which I pass on to my son, with a wise and intelligent analysis of my community. My religion can never be science. This is the difference between navigating the world and explaining it [emphasis mine].’

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/01/the-champion-barack-obama/283458/