Fw: Barriers to Employment

H. C. Covington -- I CAN America (icanamerica@email.msn.com)
Wed, 27 Oct 1999 01:24:35 -0400


Vincent,

I appreciated your post regarding employment and low wages.  I do, though,
want to be very clear about something. It seems to me you ar absolutely
right in that "political and social" issues must be looked at and decisively
challenged.  Or, to put it another way, the work on homelesness needs to
really look directly at capitalism, classism, racism, and a whole set of
instituionalized and systemic dynamics of dehumanization.

Now that is all fine and good...but for two utterly insignificant problems.
1) The majority of activists looking at homelessness are still using a
liberal perspective in terms of thinking legislation and small reforms are
adequate.  And 2) If we are going to take on oppression, class etc then we
need to be ready for the fight of our lives...and this is a fight that very
few social service workers or activists are ready or willing to engage in.

I agree that wages and working conditions need to be fundamentally
improved....but I just want to go on record that it is not as if we can just
go to DC and request that this society no longer be based on absolute greed
and then go home happy.  "Power concedes nothing without demand"..that quote
from Frederick Douglas is as true today as it was in his time.

And finally, I say this because I have spent the past two years trying to
bring some more direct and deep political dedication and analysis to several
Coalitions on Homelessness and have been utterly silenced and invalidated
each time.  I have some sincere doubts whether most people looking at
poverty in America are really dedicated to doing what will have to be done
to eradicate it.  Fanon was right, I believe, when he said that many
intelectuals who say they are for the freedom of the working class and the
poor would quickly become quite conservative once these masses really start
to be free and speak out.

ok...thats enough of my speach for now...I welcome any and all comments in
response...I am direct but I always want to be respectful.

sincerely,
Jesse Mentken


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