Re: LA charities give shopping carts ... Stone raises money

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Sat, 18 Jul 1998 14:04:19 -0700 (PDT)


Ellen "et in dc" wrote
>1.  Since the police don't like shopping carts because homeless people can
>hide in them (say WHAT????), and no doubt because the police would rather
>throw people's stuff away (tidier, dontcha know, and less troubling to the
>homing population), I think the shopping cart giveaway might be useful and
>politically appropriate.

Catholic Worker's gift of shopping carts to homeless persons in downtown LA
is, I think, a form of "preaching of the deed".  The message of such a deed
seems to say "it is just and necessary to visibly help the poorest of the
poor to survive", without commanding a change in their lifestyles.

In contrast, some law-and-orders advocates seem to have the opposite
message - that "the element (minority male, poor and homeless people) are
not welcome in Dodge City (business districts)" because we are maggots
whose main crime is to decrease business revenues.  To quote the title of
the Toronto Sun editorial about squeegee kids, which Graeme forwarded
today, "Beat It, Kid!".  Or:  "Get out of town by sundown! Get off the
street with your dammed shopping carts before morning, when the businesses
open."

This Zero Tolerance approach endangers any prospect for "equal protection
under the law" for poor and outcaste peoples. It attacks the symptom - poor
and homeless people - with no attempt to cure the disease - greed so
rampant that the rich-poor gap is so wide as to endanger the lives of the
poor, even in some of the world's richest countries.

Ellen also commented on a news article forwarded by Pat, titled "Stone
Raises Money for Homeless":
>2.  Sharon Stone's money promotion strikes me as just one more Hollywood
>stunt.  Of course, it's better to have movie stars doing SOMETHING for
>other people.  Now, I wonder how much of the $150,000 they raised will
>actually go to homeless people, and how much will be spent on "overhead"
>and "administration"?

I doubt if even a dime on the dollar of the money raised "for" the homeless
will actually go in homeless people's pockets.  How well it serves service
providers that now we have people arguing that it is immoral to give
homeless people money directly, because it allegedly encourages us to be
lazy and dissolute.  The Culture War has marked poor people, not for aid,
but for obedience or extinction.  "Conform to Market Reality Or Die" seems
to be the subtext.

For capitalists, Alms Giving becomes a Mortal Sin.  What an inversion of
the ethical principles on which Western (sic) Culture is supposedly founded!

Speak Truth To Power. -- Tom



HOMELESS PEOPLE'S NETWORK  <http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/>  Home Page
ARCHIVES  <http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/archives.html>  read posts to HPN
TO JOIN  <http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/join.html> or email Tom <wgcp@earthlink.net>