Re: Will Powerful Friends inside government help to end homelessness?

Graeme Bacque (
Sat, 29 May 1999 23:16:30 -0400

Tom Boland wrote:

> Can having "friends on the inside" -- powerful advovcates within the
> government or business communities -- help homeless people to get the means
> to survive and thrive in freedom?

I'm inclined to doubt it because the very form of power you are referring to
here is what created the current status quo. Some relatively minor and
temporary gains are certainly possible within this scenario but not the
fundamental shifts in public policy, social attitudes  and community structure
that  are required to truly end homelessness. In fact the  system as a whole
appears geared towards _preventing_ such fundamental changes. And any  gains
made within the existing system can be just as quickly destroyed if a hostile
government subsequently comes to power (as the Harris regime in Ontario has
demonstrated so dramatically over the past four years). To prevent this the
system itself has to be radically altered.

> That poor people need Patrons -- protectors among the wealthy and powerful
> -- is an ancient idea which still has currency.  Is it true?  What are the
> idea's consequences in history and in the present day?

What poor people need is access to the resources necessary to achieve their own
self-determined goals - not a paternalistic approach such as the 'patronage'
you are describing here. This is nothing but a superficially benevolent form of
social control.

Why pander to such twisted and false logic as this, that some people are
allegedly 'superior' to others? This is what 'patronage' basically amounts to.
This isn't helpful - it is malicious, classist horseshit of the worst kind. We
need to demand access to and direct control of the resources we need to live!!