Especially in urban areas, the waiting list for affordable housing can be a year or more. During that time, poor families either have to make do with substandard or dangerous housing, depend on the hospitality of relatives, or go homeless. (Source: New York Times)
2. Try to make $133 worth of food last a whole month. That’s how much the average food stamp recipient gets each month. Imagine trying to eat well on $4.38 per day. It’s not easy, which is why many impoverished families resort to #3… (Source: Kaiser Family Foundation)
3. Subsist on poor quality food. Not because they want to, but because they can’t afford high-quality, nutritious food. They’re trapped in a food system that subsidizes processed foods, making them artificially cheaper than natural food sources. So the poor are forced to eat bad food — if they’re lucky, that is… (Sources: Washington Post; Journal of Nutrition, March 2008)
4. Skip a meal. One in six Americans are food insecure. Which means (among other things) that they’re sometimes forced to go without eating. (Sources: World Vision, US Department of Agriculture)
5. Work longer and harder than most of us. While it’s popular to think people are poor because they’re lazy (which seems to be the whole point of Ramsey’s post), the poor actually work longer and harder than the rest of us. More than 80 percent of impoverished children have at least one parent who works; 60 percent have at least one parent who works full-time. Overall, the poor work longer hours than the so-called “job creators.” (Source: Poverty and Learning, April 2008)
6. Go to bed 3 hours before their first job starts. Number 15 on Ramsey and Corley’s list was, “44% of [the] wealthy wake up three hours before work starts vs. 3% of [the] poor.” It may be true that most poor people don’t wake up three hours before work starts. But that could be because they’re more likely to work multiple jobs, in which case job #1 means they’re probably just getting to bed three hours before job #2 starts. (Source: Poverty and Learning, April 2008)
7. Try to avoid getting beat up by someone they love. According to some estimates, half of all homeless women in America ran away to escape domestic violence. (Source: National Coalition for the Homeless, 2009)
9. Pay more than their fair share of taxes. Some conservative pundits and politicians like to think the poor don’t pay their fair share, that they are merely “takers.” While it’s true the poor don’t pay as much in federal income tax — usually because they don’t earn enough to qualify — they do pay sales tax, payroll tax, etc. In fact, the bottom 20% of earners pay TWICE as much in taxes (as a share of their income) as do the top 1%. (Source: Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy, January 2013)
10. Fall further behind. Even when poverty is the result of poor decision-making, often it’s someone else’s choices that make the difference. If you experience poverty as a child, you are 3-4 times less likely to graduate high school. If you spend your entire childhood in poverty, you are 5 times less likely to graduate. Which means your future has been all but decided for you. (Sources: World Vision, Children’s Defense Fund, Annie E. Casey Foundation)
11. Raise kids who will be poor. A child’s future earnings are closely correlated to their parents’ earnings. In other words, economic mobility — the idea that you can claw your way out of poverty if you just try hard enough is, more often than not, a myth. (Sources: OECD, Economic Policy Institute)
12. Vote less. And who can blame them? I would be less inclined to vote if I didn’t have easy access to the polls and if I were subjected to draconian voter ID laws that are sold to the public as necessary to suppress nonexistent voter fraud. (Source: The Center for Voting and Democracy)
13. When they do vote… vote pretty much the same as the rest of us. Following their defeat in 2012, conservatives took solace by reasoning that they’d lost to a bunch of “takers,” including the poor, who voted for Democrats because they want free handouts from big government. The reality is a bit more complex. Only a third of low-income voters identify as Democrats, about the same for all Americans, including wealthy voters. (Sources: NPR, Pew Research Center)
15. Live shorter lives. There is a 10-14 year gap in life expectancy between the rich and the poor. In recent years, poor people’s life expectancy has actually declined — in America, the wealthiest nation on the planet. (Source: Health Affairs, 2012)
16. Use drugs and alcohol pretty much the same as (or less than) everyone else. Despite the common picture of inner city crack houses, drug use is pretty evenly spread across income groups. And rich people actually abuse alcohol more than the poor. (Source: Poverty and Learning, April 2008)
17. Receive less in subsidized benefits than corporations. The US government spends around $60 billion on public housing and rental subsidies for low-income families, compared to more than $90 billion on corporate subsidies. Oil companies alone get around $70 billion. And that’s not counting the nearly $60 billion a year in tax breaks corporations enjoy by sheltering profits offshore. Or the $700 billion bailout banks got in 2008. (Source: Think By Numbers)
18. Get themselves off welfare as soon as possible. Despite the odds, the vast majority of beneficiaries leave the welfare rolls within five years. Even in the absence of official welfare-to-work programming, most welfare recipients enroll in some form of vocational training. Why? Because they’re desperate to get off welfare. (Source: US Department of Health and Human Services)
19. Have about the same number of children as everyone else. No, poor people do not have loads of children just so they can stay on welfare. (Source: US Department of Health and Human Services)
20. Accomplish one single goal: stay alive. Poverty in America may not be as dire as poverty in other parts of the world, but many working poor families are nonetheless preoccupied with day-to-day survival. For them, life is not something to be enjoyed so much as endured.
“I came to the conclusion that as violence in this country was inevitable, it would be unrealistic to continue preaching peace and non-violence. This conclusion was not easily arrived at. It was only when all else had failed, when all channels of peaceful protest had been barred to us, that the decision was made to embark on violent forms of political struggle. I can only say that I felt morally obliged to do what I did.”—Nelson Mandela,"An ideal for which I am prepared to die". Mandela made this statement from the dock at the opening of his trial on charges of sabotage, Supreme court of South Africa, Pretoria, April 20 1964
Hempstead Independent School District (ISD) in Texas has confirmed that a middle school principal has been placed on leave after Hispanic students said that she forbid the entire school from speaking Spanish.
A group of students told KHOU that Hempstead Middle School Principal Amy Lacey announced over the intercom on Nov. 12 that they were no longer to use their native language in order to “prevent disruptions.”
It was over two weeks later before the superintendent sent a letter home insisting that “neither the district or any campus has any policy prohibiting the speaking of Spanish.”
But the students said that the effect of the ban had been chilling.
“People don’t want to speak it no more, and they don’t want to get caught speaking it because they’re going to get in trouble,” sixth-grade student Kiara Lozano explained to KHOU.
Some students felt that the principal gave teachers permission to discriminate against them.
“She was like no speaking Spanish,” eighth-grader Yedhany Gallegos recalled. “I was like that’s my first language. She said, well you can get out.”
I grew up in a border town in Texas where almost half of the kids in my class lived in Mexico, & I had multiple grade school teachers who also banned speaking Spanish in the classroom. This discrimination happens all too often in many schools & it just absolutely cripples the student’s ability to learn.
For the second night in a row, activists with a coalition including Rising Tide, 350, All Against the Haul, and members of the Umatilla and Warm Springs tribes attempted to stop the Omega Morgan megaload from leaving as planned.
The load left approximately 45 minutes prior to its permitted departure based on Oregon Department of Transportation.
As of writing, activists are regrouping and monitoring the slow progress of the megaload as it trundles along at a snail’s pace.
This comes after a successful hard blockade yesterday involving two activists locking down to the megaload for over an hour and a half. Yesterday’s blockade prevented the transport of the megaload for an entire day, and activists have pledged to continue sustained and escalating resistance in order to prevent the megaload’s destruction of infrastructure, critical ecosystems, and expansion of the tar sands.
For a play-by-play recap of the December 1st blockade and a good resource into why action is being taken against megaoads, especially tar sands equipment megaloads, click here
On December 4, 1969, Fred Hampton was murdered while he was sleeping in his bed. He was shot in the arm, shoulder, and twice through the head. He was just 21 years old. Mark Clark was also killed that morning. Right after the shootings, State’s Attorney Hanrahan called a press conference where he announced that the Black Panthers had organized a “vicious, unprovoked attack” on the police who had appeared at an apartment at 4:45 that morning to supposedly search for illegal weapons. Seven survivors of the targeted murder, including Hampton’s fiance Deborah Johnson who was 8 months pregnant, were arrested and charged with attempted murder. After 13 years of litigation, Flint Taylor, Jeffrey Haas, and other lawyers at the People’s Law Office were able to prove that the shootings were actually assassinations organized by the F.B.I. as part of its Cointelpro program.
The following excerpts, collected by Henry Hampton and Steve Fayer for the Eyes on the Prize documentary series, feature Deborah Johnson recounting the shootings that killed Fred Hampton.
“The first thing that I remember after Fred and I had went to sleep was being awakened by somebody shaking Fred while we were laying in bed. Saying, “Chairman, Chairman, wake up! The pigs are vamping. The pigs are vamping.” About the same time, I looked up and I saw what appeared to be flashes of light going across the entranceway to the back bedroom. It looked like a million flashes of light, because the apartment was pretty much dark. I rolled over to Fred — he sill hadn’t moved at this point, as I recall — and then slid down to Fred’s right side, so that put me closest to the wall in the bedroom […]
Someone else was in the room with me and kept yelling out, “Stop shooting, stop shooting, we have a pregnant sister in here.” Eventually the shooting stopped and they said we could come out. I remember crossing over Fred and telling myself over and over. Be real careful. Don’t stumble, they’ll try to shoot you. Just be real calm. Watch how you walk. Keep your hands up. Don’t reach for anything. Don’t even try to close your robe.
I’m walking out of the bedroom, there are two lines of policemen that I have to walk through on my right and my left. I remember focusing on their badge numbers and their faces. Saying them over and over in my head, so I wouldn’t forget. As I walked through these two lines of policemen, on of them grabbed my robe and opened it and said, “Well, what do you know, we have a broad here.” Another policeman grabbed me by the hair and pretty much just shoved me — I had more hair then — into the kitchen area. It was very cold that might. I guess that it snowed. The back door was open. Some people were on the floor in the kitchen.
I heard a voice come from the dining room area. Someone said, “He’s barely alive. He’ll barely make it.” The shooting, I heard some shooting start again.”
“While reading one of their emails, I’ve discovered that Strafor Vice-President Bartholomew Mongoven has some fairly strong feelings about me. In the leaked Wikileaks emails he describes me as “nuts. Like out there.”
Furthermore, he’s concerned that I’m inciting violence when calling for an escalation and nationalization of the anti-extraction movements. (Sorry Bart, as always, I call for a non-violent confrontation of the fossil fuel industry, unlike your bosses in those industries who actually do use violence against people and the planet.)
In another communication, Mongoven calls me “Nuts? Paranoid? Dramatic after reading a blog I’d written commenting on corporate surveillance of my employer. The irony of a private security firm calling me “paranoid” while spying on me at the same time is not lost on me.”—Rising Tide & Rainforest Action Network organizer Scott Parkin, "Reflections on the Corporate Security State"
A sheet of talking points for employees of the National Security Agency and Central Security Services, was sent out ahead of Thanksgiving to help guide conversations with family and friends during the holiday season.
Firedoglake obtained a copy of a two-page document that was sent out on November 22. It was clearly put together for rebutting statements about the NSA from news stories on documents disclosed by former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden, and it encouraged employees to “share the following points with family members and close friends.”
The “talking points” sheet suggests that employees make five key points: (1) NSA’s mission is of great value to the Nation”; (2) NSA performs its mission the right way—lawful, compliant and in a way that protects civil liberties and privacy; (3) NSA performs its mission exceptionally well. We strive to be the best that we can be, because that’s what America requires as part of its defense in a dangerous world; (4) The people who work for NSA are loyal Americans with expert skills who make sacrifices to help protect the freedoms we all cherish; (5) NSA is committed to increased transparency, public dialog and faithful implementation of any changes required by our overseers. (No emphasis added. Underlines appear in the document.)
Each key point includes sub-points that presumably an employee could additionally cite if a family member disputed their main point.
FUCK YOU if you think that street harassment is a “compliment” or “no big deal” or that it’s “irrational” of us to be afraid because “what’s actually gonna happen.” Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you some more.
SAN DIEGO - A local Native American family is upset over how their culture is portrayed during Thanksgiving festivities at their children’s school.
The parents claim their history is being mocked.
“They sent an email literally asking us to keep our children home for the week of the festivities,” said Jeanne Eagle Bull-Oxendine. “So they could continue the mockery of our culture.”
Eagle Bull-Oxendine’s children attend Maria Montessori School in San Diego. The two children qualified for a scholarship because of their Native American heritage.
When the family learned about the school’s Thanksgiving curriculum, they were not pleased.
“(It’s) making mockery of Native America culture,” explained Eagle Bull-Oxendine, a member of the Lakota Sioux tribe. “More so, of the Lakota culture of dressing ceremonially. It’s offensive to us by making the headband and erecting a tee-pee.”
The school says they have been teaching the same curriculum for years.
“We present Native American homes – not just one tribe, but all kinds of Native American homes,” said school director Dena Stoneman. “(We’re) teaching the preschoolers about Pilgrims and Native American tribes, but not at all mocking Native Americans, not at all.”
As soon as they realized the program offended the family they cancelled the lesson, Stoneman said. “After talking to her we realized that the feathers were sacred to her tribe.”
However, the Oxendines say their concerns were not properly addressed and their daughter’s scholarship was withdrawn.
“They told us. ‘If you if you speak out against this, your kid’s scholarship is in jeopardy of being lost,’” Eagle Bull-Oxendine said.
The family notified the school of their intent to pull their daughter from the school, but then changed their minds two days later.
“We’re not going to let them bully us into feeling that we are going to be defeated,” said Eagle Bull-Oxendine.
Addressing the lost scholarship, Stoneman said the money was already allocated to another family.
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Samsung service worker Choi Jong-beom committed suicide on October 31 in protest against poverty wages and harsh working conditions at the company’s operations in South Korea.
The 31-year-old was found dead in his car the following morning. He left behind a wife and a 10-month-old daughter.
Choi was a contract worker employed at a Samsung after-sale service centre that provided repair and maintenance services to customers. The service centre was owned and operated by an outsourced contractor.
Choi’s death occurred against the backdrop of management pressure against union workers at outsourced Samsung service centres across the county. In a November 1 statement, the Samsung service centre union said he was “being targeted for investigation and pressure from Samsung because of his union activities”.
Samsung runs a strict “no union” policy that has largely kept unions out of Samsung operations since it was founded in 1938. Despite this hostility, 1600 workers from 64 service centres formed a trade union in August. It is affiliated with the Korean Metal Workers Union and the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions.
This is the first time Samsung workers have managed to successfully unionise in significant numbers.
Pressure to dismantle the union came directly from Samsung company headquarters in Seoul. The parent company has been waging war against unionised service centres by cutting wages, increasing workloads and reallocating work to other outsource companies that hire scab labour.
“There’s a message being sent here that black transgender women’s lives have no value. That it’s OK for trans women of color in this country to be in particular danger. That we’ll just have more Lashai McLeans, Tonya Harrells, NaNa Boo Macks, Chloe Alexander Moores, CeCe McDonalds and Islan Nettles.
I’m stating the obvious here, but it needs to be said: This shit is wrong. And until we can get underneath the irrational fear that cis men (yeah, I said it: cis men) have of transgender women; until cis men quit using battery of trans women as an assertion of their own maleness; until they understand that battering, stabbing, shooting at and killing trans women of color will actually result in prison time, this violence isn’t going to stop.”—Akiba Solomon, on the murder of Islan Nettles & prosecutors dropping charges against Paris Wilson, the man who beat her to death in Harlem this past August.
you guys are everything i've been hoping for. there's a lot of good activism coming from tumblr. but it seems not to escape past the internet or social media. there needs to be ground-work done. it's necessary. i'm in new york city, and there's no physical places to go especially for young minds to discuss and do something. OWS was kicked from their place. i hope you guys are able to help construct things for the sake of solidarity. but keep spreading the knowledge.
Thanks so much for the kind words :)
Tumblr is a great way to share ideas/theories that can be put into action & to connect with others already doing amazing social justice organizing. I’m in NYC, too, & I can suggest a few places you might want to consider to meet other radical folks!
Free University: This mainly student organization is working against militarization campaigns within the CUNY system as well as fighting for the Morales/Shakur Center right now. Check out their March on the CUNY Machine rally/speak out on Nov. 25 at noon at 42nd & 3rd Ave. Find out what else they’re up to here.
The NYC Anti-Eviction Network: This organization is just starting up, but it’s going to be a direct-action focused group with a lot of OWS organizers involved. I’ll make sure to post any upcoming news/events with them on our FB.
Bluestockings: You need to visit you haven’t been already. Not only do they have a great selection of radical literature, zines, etc., they also host weekly bookclubs, speakers & a prison letter writing group!
The Brecht Forum: Here you can find teach-ins, lectures, book readings, etc. you might be interested in! Richard Wolff frequents the Brecht Forum with his lectures on the economy & workers self-directed enterprises.
DSGN AGNC: I’ve been to a few events recently centered around the commodification of space & how it feeds our current housing injustice crisis & DSGN AGNC has been a part of most of these discussions. It’s an interesting mix of activists & architects who explore politics through art & space.
596 Acres: This is an awesome interactive project that maps out various empty lots/private vacant spaces where people can organize to start neighborhood art venues, community gardens, etc. It’s a great way to see what people are currently working on & what the possibilities are for future projects.
These are just a few organizations/spaces I can think of in NYC where you may want to get involved or at least meet people who are organizing here!
People should also feel free to leave links/suggestions in the comments for other places to check out in the city.