Archive | June, 2012

The Voices of the Occupy Movement

Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world, according to English poet Percy Shelley. Alameda poet Mary Rudge created profiles in poetry of the Occupy movement’s dedicated young organizers, pepper-sprayed university students, tent dwellers, longtime 1960s-era activists, jobless artists, inconvenienced bus riders, homeless squatters, and passive TV news watchers.

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Occupy Poetry

Oh they’ve foreclosed the home of the free/ They mortgaged and sold/ for a little Wall Street gold/ this land of equality/ Oh they’ve foreclosed the home of the free/ Now we are the brave/ Occupy and save the country/ that’s home to you and me/ the country that’s our democracy.

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Poets Ask: “Why War?”

Poetry reveals the seen and unseen, hidden casualties of U.S. wars at home and overseas. “America zips down prayers/ and buttons up wars/ with battalions of/ impoverished youngsters/ duped into dying for dreams./ America indoctrinates/ then shames us/ for believing her spin./ ‘Opportunity,’ she sings,/ hiding our dead from view.”

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Prayers and Poems from a Shelter

“today at social security i did see/ a man shaking so badly he couldn’t stand/ telling everyone he just got out of jail/ and needed a hand/ he had no teeth/ and looking in his eyes/ i could see he was in a place/ few on earth see”

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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.