Archive | March, 2011

People’s Power and the Struggle Against Poverty

“Don’t Tread On Me.” A timely message from homeless people. Carol Harvey photo

Not only can the clever use of moral authority bring issues to an ignorant public, it can expose to public conscience the hidden agenda of those wielding unjust power.

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Ending Family Homelessness: A Tale of Two Systems

CAPTION While the homeless poor live in terrible isolation from a society that ignores or banishes them, the rich isolate themselves in gated communities and often ignore any responsibility for the suffering of their fellow citizens. Robert L. Terrel photo

In the late 1970s, the richest 1 percent of Americans earned about 9 percent of the nation’s income. By the start of the Great Recession, the rich were getting more than 23 percent of total income. Yet real income for the rest of us has remained stagnant, and the number of Americans in poverty is rising.

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Oakland Landlord Found Guilty for Swindling Tenants

Just Cause Oakland launched it's anti-eviction campaign outside of one of Thomas building (Carol Harvey photo from a recent demonstration.)

“There has been a lot of work involved in going after Thomas for ripping off people’s security deposits, and going after him was very difficult.”
— Attorney Aram Antaramian

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Fund Human Needs by Cutting Bloated Military

Congress and President Obama should join forces to put America back to work, even if investments in education and infrastructure cause short-term deficits. Money in the wallets of low-income and working-class people is the best recipe for raising demand and producing economic growth.

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Pentagon’s Stealth Spending Spree

We’re reducing government spending by shrinking investment in our long-term well-being while ignoring the military budget. Even cutting nearly a trillion dollars out of the defense budget over the next 10 years would leave the government spending 14 percent more on defense than it did during the Cold War, according to an analysis by the Sustainable Defense Task Force.

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HUD’s Plan to Sell Out the Nation’s Public Housing

An elderly homeless man sleeps on a park bench outside Oakland City Hall. At a time when millions of Americans are unable to afford housing, and are forced to sleep outdoors, HUD’s plan to sell off the nation’s public housing stock is drawing widespread opposition. Tom Lowe photo

As a country, we must stop gambling with people’s homes. We must change our priorities and work for a fair housing policy that ensures everyone has a safe, decent place to live.

There are better alternatives than selling off public housing, but we will have to organize en masse to win them.

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Hunger and Food Insecurity on the Rise: East Bay /San Francisco

Lydia Gans and Buford Buntin share reflections on living hungry in the San Francisco Bay Area. The economic crisis is spreading the problem of hunger beyond families that are totally destitute. An estimated 42 percent of the households served by the Food Bank have at least one person who is employed, yet they still do not have enough money to buy all the food they need.

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Immigrant Workers Protest Mass Firings at Chipotle

Art by Christa Occhiogrosso

The logic of mass firings is brutal: Make it impossible for undocumented workers to earn a living, buy food, pay rent, or send money home to their children. by David Bacon ast month, 600 workers at the Chipotle fast food chain were fired in Minnesota. Their crime? Working. In the last two years, thousands of […]

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The Survival of Poetry in the Face of Repression; Poetry, March 2011

  Since I am the voice of a violet, crushed by soldiers’ boots, I write poems… Russian poets in gulags, Jewish poets in death camps, African-American poets, women poets, gay and lesbian poets, have all faced cultures determined to suppress their voices. by Mary Meriam  poem is a monument to selfhood. A poem uses the […]

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Society’s Failure to Care Is the Root of Homelessness

In one of the richest places in the world, people become so wrapped up in their own comfort and status that they don’t care about the human beings they are stepping over.

Visionary Art of Leon Kennedy

In Leon Kennedy’s painting, his living friends are portrayed next to long-gone elders and assassinated civil rights leaders. Even death does not shatter the bonds of love and community.

Welcome to Homelessness

The worst thing about homelessness, I sensed, would have nothing to do with bad weather, hunger or sleep deprivation. It would be the way I soon would be cast out like a leper, as though one would contract a deadly disease just from being in my presence.

Big Money Spends a Fortune to Fight Rent Control

Wealthy landlords, realtors and developers have teamed up and are spending a fortune to fight the efforts of renters to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act, the law that severely limits the rent control options of California cities. Tenants have also launched rent control campaigns in 10 California cities.

Vicious and Cruel Assault on the Poorest of the Poor

Elected leaders of the national tenants union denounced the housing bill proposed by HUD Secretary Ben Carson as a vicious and cruel assault on the poorest of the poor. “Millions will be displaced if these deeply cruel proposals see the light of day. Congress should reject them out of hand.”

The DBA’s Assault on Free Speech in Berkeley

The DBA launched a new poster destruction policy, despite being warned it was unconstitutional by the City Attorney. Tearing down fliers is a textbook example of a free speech violation. No one has the right to make content-based distinctions about what is allowed to be posted or said in legal, public places.