[Hpn] What do we owe these people?

Skald Hareksson hobopoets@yahoo.com
Tue, 1 Jul 2003 12:18:09 -0700 (PDT)


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HPN, 
 
RE: 
OK so we have these "catagories" of homeless folk.  The question then 
arises:"What do we, as individuals, and as a society, owe these people?"  I 
for one, see nothing wrong with attaching a requirement or two to the handouts 
that get given to people in need.

I disagree.  Because this ignores what is really happening... 
 
Why, indeed are people homeless, hungry, etc?  The above answer assumes that some sort of psychological/social/behavioral defect in the individual is the cause.  This is the pre-dominant belief in America.  People are "poor" or "homeless" because something is wrong with them. If you believe this, then of course you feel resentful towards these folks- and of course you feel that they must be bribed, motivated, and coerced into changing. 
 
But this is a very narrow belief that completely ignores the larger system & society in which we live.  Our economy is DESIGNED to have a large number of poor and unemployed people. Remember the panic a few years ago, when the unemployment rate was low?  Remember all the alarmist articles about the "labor shortage"... about rising wages that were cutting into profits?  Well, that "problem" has been rectified nicely, as it always is. 
 
The wider truth is that big corporations, big money, suburbanites, etc... NEED a large pool of desperate people.  They also perpetuate, through TV, articles, movies, etc.. the idea that "the poor and homeless" more or less deserve their fate.  The charitable foundations, the government, the suburbanite staff--- all buy into the lie that the individual homeless person is the source of the problem and therefore the solution is to coerce, train, educate, medicate, control, treat, modify, and rectify the individual "client".
 
They point to the isolated success stories... and pump up these stories in the media to strengthen the lie.  We hear about this individual or that one who went back to school, graduated, got the big job, and is living the suburban dream.  What they NEVER tell us is that for each success story, another one or two folks are "downsized" or traumatized and become homeless.  Individuals come and go from homelessness, but the overall problem grows deeper and more desperate every year.  
 
So no, I dont think we "as a society" should be coercing these folks to do anything. Where is the outrage about corporate welfare... these billion dollar entities pay very little taxes (many pay none at all) yet they receive billions in taxpayer welfare.  What about attaching a requirement or two to THOSE handouts?  Why not require them to stop polluting the air, food supply and water? Why not require them to honor unions? Why not require them to provide job security to their workers? Why not require them to pay a livable wage... and provide healthcare?  
 
We are taught to turn our judgement and anger on those who have the least power (and for those who are homeless... this often means turning the rage upon yourself)... while turning a blind eye to the bigger picture.  The belief that homeless people are to blame (while the billionaires and suburbanites are blameless) is the true disease.  Its a lie.  It's a brutal lie that is responsible for a tremendous amount of human suffering. It's a disease that infects almost every person in this country... even most hoboes and homeless folks themselves. 
 
I don't care a flip, honestly, about "categories" of homeless people.  I DO care about the self-image, self-organization, and self-mobilization of homeless people. My simplest point is that, as a first step, we must stop turning the rage and judgement against ourselves. If you are homeless, there is nothing wrong with you!!  
 
There is nothing wrong with you!
 
There is something dreadfully wrong with an economy and a society that discards people ("human resources"), traumatizes them, and then blames them for their condition.  Their is something wrong with donors and philanthropists who attach bribes and punishments to their "gifts" (while patting themselves on the back for being so generous).  
 
There is something deeply, terribly wrong... and it goes to the root of our most conditioned beliefs... things we have been taught and shown our entire lives.  That is why we must re-program our beliefs and that is why we must organize.  At the deepest level, the social-work structure is part of the problem, not a solution.  I certainly encourage folks to use these agencies to get anything they need... but that doesnt mean you have to buy into their lies.  
 
It is my hope that eventually we can do away with such entities...  That experiements like Barter Economies, Dignity Village, Mad Housers, Homeless Unions, Secret Societies, Homeless Alliances, etc.... will grow and flourish.  Its my hope that folks will, AT LEAST, retain their dignity and strength in the face of terrible challenges.  
 
--Skald
 
 
 
 
 
.  
 
 
 
 


Clan Hobopoet 


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<DIV>HPN, </DIV>
<DIV><EM></EM>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><EM>RE: </EM></DIV>
<DIV><EM>OK so we have these "catagories" of homeless folk.&nbsp; The question then <BR>arises:"What do we, as individuals, and as a society, owe these people?"&nbsp; I <BR>for one, see nothing wrong with attaching a requirement or two to the handouts <BR>that get given to people in need.</EM><BR></DIV>
<DIV>I disagree.&nbsp; Because this ignores&nbsp;what is really happening... </DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>Why, indeed are people homeless, hungry, etc?&nbsp; The above answer assumes that some sort of psychological/social/behavioral defect in the individual is the cause.&nbsp; This is the pre-dominant belief in America.&nbsp; People are "poor" or "homeless" because <STRONG>something is wrong with them</STRONG>. If you believe this, then of course you feel resentful towards these folks- and of course you feel that they must be bribed, motivated, and coerced into changing. </DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>But this is a very narrow belief that completely ignores the larger system &amp; society in which we live.&nbsp; Our economy is DESIGNED to have a large number of poor and unemployed people. Remember the panic a few years ago, when the unemployment rate was low?&nbsp; Remember all the alarmist articles about the "labor shortage"... about rising wages that were cutting into profits?&nbsp; Well, that "problem" has been rectified nicely, as it always is. </DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>The wider truth is that big corporations, big money, suburbanites, etc... NEED a large pool of desperate people.&nbsp; They also perpetuate, through TV, articles, movies, etc.. the idea that "the poor and homeless" more or less deserve their fate.&nbsp; The charitable foundations, the government, the suburbanite staff--- all buy into the lie that the individual homeless person is the source of the problem and therefore the solution is to coerce, train, educate, medicate, control, treat,&nbsp;modify, and rectify&nbsp;the individual "client".</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>They point to the isolated success stories... and pump up these stories in the media to strengthen the lie.&nbsp; We hear about this individual or that one who went back to school, graduated, got the big job, and is living the suburban dream.&nbsp; What they NEVER tell us is that for each success story, another one or two folks are "downsized" or traumatized and become homeless.&nbsp; <EM>Individuals</EM> come and go from homelessness, but the overall problem&nbsp;grows deeper and more desperate every year.&nbsp; </DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>So no, I dont think we "as a society" should be coercing these folks to do anything. Where is the outrage about corporate welfare... these billion dollar entities pay very little taxes (many pay none at all) yet they receive billions in taxpayer welfare.&nbsp; What about attaching a requirement or two to THOSE handouts?&nbsp; Why not require them to stop polluting the air, food supply and water? Why not require them to honor unions? Why not require them to provide job security to their workers? Why not require them to pay a livable wage... and provide healthcare?&nbsp; </DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>We are taught to turn our judgement and anger on those who have the least power (and for those who are homeless... this often means turning the rage upon yourself)... while turning a blind eye to the bigger picture.&nbsp; The belief that homeless people are to blame (while the billionaires and suburbanites are blameless) is the true disease.&nbsp; Its a lie.&nbsp; It's a brutal lie that is responsible for a tremendous amount of human suffering. It's a disease that infects almost every person in this country... even most hoboes and homeless folks themselves. </DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>I don't care a flip, honestly, about "categories" of homeless people.&nbsp; I DO care about the self-image, self-organization, and self-mobilization of homeless people. My simplest point is that, as a first step, we must stop turning the rage&nbsp;and judgement against ourselves. If you are homeless, there is nothing wrong with you!!&nbsp; </DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><STRONG>There is nothing wrong with you!</STRONG></DIV>
<DIV><STRONG></STRONG>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>There is something dreadfully wrong with an economy and a society that discards people ("human resources"), traumatizes them, and then blames them for their condition.&nbsp; Their is something wrong with donors&nbsp;and philanthropists who attach bribes and punishments to their "gifts" (while patting themselves on the back for being so generous). &nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>There is something deeply, terribly wrong... and it goes to the root of our most conditioned beliefs... things we have been taught and shown our entire lives.&nbsp; That is why we must re-program our beliefs and that is why we must organize.&nbsp; At the deepest level, the social-work structure is part of the problem, not a solution.&nbsp; I certainly encourage folks to use these agencies to get anything they need... but that doesnt mean you have to buy into their lies.&nbsp; </DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>It is my hope that eventually we can do away with such entities...&nbsp; That experiements like Barter Economies, Dignity Village, Mad Housers, Homeless Unions, Secret Societies, Homeless Alliances, etc.... will grow and flourish.&nbsp; Its my hope that folks will, AT LEAST, retain their dignity and strength in the face of terrible challenges.&nbsp; </DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>--Skald</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>.&nbsp; </DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV><BR><BR><DIV><A href="http://hobopoet.blogspot.com">Clan</A>&nbsp;<A href="http://www.hobopoet.blogspot.com">Hobopoet</A>&nbsp;</DIV><p><hr SIZE=1>
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