Manufactured Poverty and Obscene Wealth

Defining Poverty

Poverty is often misunderstood simply as a lack of money and material possessions. It is given arbitrary measurements from institutions like the IMF and the World Bank setting the poverty line at less than $5.50 a day. We see this faulty line of logic with statements like “most Americans are in the global top 1% of income”, and that “no one in America is actually poor” that are used to quell any leftists’ attacks on the domestic top 1%. This defining of poverty solely as a number people make is completely inadequate, is anyone’s social class changed from an increase in pay from $5.00 to $5.50 that we can no longer label them poor? Does a person making $5.50 not face the same class defining problems as someone making $5.00? To answer any of these questions, one must know the nuance contexts the person of interest lives in and endures. We come to see poverty more as a question of quality instead of quantity. Institutions like the IMF and the World Bank could set better measurements of poverty trends through qualitative questions like access to clean water, food, education, living conditions etc. Statements like “most Americans are in the global top 1% of income” are completely useless as they compare two people that live in two different contexts. A minimum wage worker in Southeast DC is poor because their income struggles to keep up with their costs of living, a poor farmer in India is poor because their income struggles to keep up with their costs of living. Calling the Southeast DC worker rich because their income would suffice in the context the farmer lives in is illogical because they do not live in India, they live in DC.

The Problem of Poverty and the Choice Made

Understanding poverty through a qualitative lens helps to illuminate why it is such a problem. Poverty is a state of survival. The problems faced by the poor are imperative ones, things like shelter, food, water, healthcare, basic life sustaining things. To be poor is to be in a state of constant living insecurity, tension, and worry, a state of vying to live. The existence of poverty is a stain on human rights as poverty is both inhumane and unnatural. Poverty is not just a passive occurrence in our society that we try but fail to solve. Instead, poverty is fully enforced and perpetuated in the name of profit. An animal living in a healthy ecosystem cannot be properly defined as poor. In a healthy ecosystem with an abundance of food and resources, an animal will eat when hungry. An animal when tired will find shelter and sleep. When thirsty, this animal will drink. By no means is the animal’s life easy, but its continued existence is still dependent on its physical ability. An animal in a healthy ecosystem is never denied taking a step towards its continued existence. In this sense, the unnatural cruelty of poverty is shown. In the US 40% of food goes to waste yet there are people who go hungry because they were denied for not having money. There are around 1.5 million vacant homes across the US yet there are 550,000 homeless people denied shelter for not having money. These homeless people are perfectly capable of finding a vacant home and occupying it, the hungry are perfectly capable of eating with our abundance of food, it is our system that denies them this basic subsistence. Throughout our society, basic human rights are denied in the name of profit. With laws prohibiting the feeding of the homeless to defend property value, forceful police evictions even during the winter for the profits of a landlord, fast food chains throwing away pounds of unused food every night, we see the active enforcing of suffering for profit. This brutality is exemplified in its unnatural cruelty as people in poverty are forced to comply against their own self-preservation. It would be illegal for a homeless parent to occupy a vacant home for their family. It would be illegal and dangerous for a poor family to refuse eviction and deadly exposure from an armed cop. In the US there are 2,000,000 people without access to clean drinking water and sanitization. The US has the money and technology to give these people clean drinking water yet refuses to, and with the slashing of EPA protections water is actively polluted in the interests of cheap waste disposal for corporations. 45,000 Americans die from reasons linked to lack of health insurance each year, yet as seen around the globe universal healthcare is possible. A universal healthcare system is rejected for the profit of a few pharmaceutical and insurance companies and to the detriment of those who cannot afford care, and average people who pay more in copays and deductibles than they would in taxes under a single payer system. Poor people denied health insurance are once again forced to comply against their own self-preservation, like Mississippi mother Nancy Smith who now faces 27 years in prison for “illegally” getting her children healthcare. Greed has turned human rights like water, shelter, healthcare, and food into privileges to be sold back to those who can afford it. Poverty especially in developed countries like the US, comes from the active denial and refusal of human rights based on a person’s income level, enforced by the law for the few who stand to profit from its inhumane existence. In this commodification of human rights, our system only sees value in life in terms of profitability. In this system human life is de-valued to a point where healthcare becomes a commodity, and it becomes okay to let someone die based on their income. In a sense, life is no longer inherently valuable, but life must pay to prove its worth.

              Using this perverted logic, the suffering and struggles of the poor are justified. Our education system uses property taxes for the funding of schools. Instead of every child receiving the best education the richest country on earth can afford, poor children learn in underfunded and dilapidated school systems, while rich students attend high schools resembling universities. With this logic children of the poor deserve less than children of the rich because our system values them less. And with education being a tool of upward financial mobility, this disparity in education further perpetuates the poverty that created it. The children of the poor receive low quality education not because we cannot afford to give it to them, but because we choose to, we choose a system where humanity is paid for, and those who cannot pay are pushed into a social class of subhuman treatment. This subhuman treatment fuels obscene wealth as it lays the basis for a society that ignores the suffering while helping the already wealthy through tax avoidance legal/illegal, corporate bailouts, corporate subsidies, mass privatization, un-livable minimum wages, and legal precedence favoring management over labor etc.  It also creates profit opportunities that would not exist if people were inherently valuable. For instance, gentrification where property values are purposely risen to displace current residents for big players to buy up and develop (make profitable for them). We allow poverty to exist and perpetuate it for the interests of a few already comfortable people, while denying people actually suffering basic humanity. There is needless suffering for needless wealth. Through extreme tax loopholes allowing Amazon to pay 0 in federal income tax, receiving $129M in tax rebate, a $600M CIA deal, taxpayer subsidies, and terrible worker treatment our system creates a monopolistic company called Amazon with a CEO of $187B net worth. This same system turns around and behaves as if poverty is an unfortunate inevitability that it does not have the money to end. With the top 1% of Americans owning more than the bottom 90% of Americans, and figures like Jeff Bezos having a net worth towering that of whole nations, it becomes clear that we do not necessarily have a problem of poverty. We have a problem of morality, greed, and distribution. Poverty is manufactured scarcity to make room for obscene wealth.

Author: Sir Moodzy ig @raw_and_stoned

Work Cited

Cecere, David. “New Study Finds 45,000 Deaths Annually Linked to Lack of Health Coverage.” Harvard Gazette, Harvard Gazette, 7 Jan. 2019, news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2009/09/new-study-finds-45000-deaths-annually-linked-to-lack-of-health-coverage/.

“Food Waste FAQs.” USDA, http://www.usda.gov/foodwaste/faqs.

“Lack of Insurance to Blame for Almost 45,000 Deaths: Study.” PNHP, pnhp.org/news/lack-of-insurance-to-blame-for-almost-45000-deaths-study/.

“Nearly Half the World Lives on Less than $5.50 a Day.” World Bank, http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2018/10/17/nearly-half-the-world-lives-on-less-than-550-a-day.

“Single-Payer Systems Likely to Save Money in US, Analysis Finds.” Single-Payer Systems Likely to Save Money in US, Analysis Finds | UC San Francisco, 22 Dec. 2020, http://www.ucsf.edu/news/2020/01/416416/single-payer-systems-likely-save-money-us-analysis-finds.

Solutions, ATTOM Data. “Nearly 1.5 Million Vacant U.S. Homes In Q3 2018 Represent 1.52 Percent Of All Single Family Homes And Condos.” PR Newswire: News Distribution, Targeting and Monitoring, 30 Oct. 2018, http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/nearly-1-5-million-vacant-us-homes-in-q3-2018-represent-1-52-percent-of-all-single-family-homes-and-condos-300739953.html.

“The State of Homelessness in America.” National Alliance to End Homelessness, 27 June 2019, endhomelessness.org/homelessness-in-america/homelessness-statistics/state-of-homelessness-report-legacy/.

Mom lied about residence to get TennCare benefits for her 3 kids, officials say | WZTV (fox17.com)

22 studies agree: ‘Medicare for All’ saves money | TheHill

Medicare for All Would Save $450 Billion Annually While Preventing 68,000 Deaths, New Study Shows (newsweek.com)

uswateralliance.org/sites/uswateralliance.org/files/publications/Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States_DIGITAL.pdf

Yippie Nation

The shift from 2019 to 2020 was a strong and powerful moment that many did not see coming. With the spread of a deadly virus and increasing technological advances, our generation is truly going through some of the most unique and rough experiences in our lifetimes. Yet Amerika is still a society run by plastic politicians. Politicians who do not represent us. Nor do they stand up for what we believe in. They rather watch us behind bars or tear gassed in the streets. In 1970 the people said the revolution will not be televised! The revolution will be live! Yet we have companies profiting from injustice, plastering slogans they have never stood behind in order to sell more products. We are our own politicians. We write our own laws. A political system built from love, the true pursuit of happiness and unity amongst all peoples. We must restore Indigenous culture and aid them in taking back their land. We believe that there can not be progression until your vehicle is repaired and restored. The Youth International party strongly supports reparations being provided to Black and indigenous Amerikans. However when we say this we are not referring to currency payouts but rather investments in banks, distribution, education and rebuilding neglected neighborhoods. We seek solidarity with any Black Panther Party chapters and will support them in any way asked. Legalization of marijuana will be almost essential in creating a free love society. It is not a secret that a majority of Amerika’s youth smokes weed. Yet we still face prison time for smoking this flower. No longer will we let them tell us not to consume a God given herb. We smoke together and love one another, we meditate and sit in a peaceful bliss while stoned. There is no violence when you are high. Arguably the only detrimental outcome of smoking marijuana is worrying about being caught. About going to jail for being yourself. There will be a day we smoke freely and openly. And that day comes when we group together and point our fingers at corrupt authority. This is a new decade. We must take nothing less or they will give us what they want. They will force us to live a life we do not want. One we rather die than live. That is not living, we demand we be able to wake up everyday and be alive. Feel good when we step outside our houses knowing we care and love each other. That we accept whoever and what they want to be as long as they maintain peace. We will not contribute to colonialism and imperialism. In fact we will not contribute to any ism except for orgasims. The government does not do what it needs to so we must help each other. protect ourselves, our brothers and sisters. There will be no soul left behind in our new nation. The revolutionary did not die in the 1960s, The Yippies did not die in the 1960s… We are back and providing a community and direct action. Power to the people and end the war on us.

Our New Nation

WE ARE A PEOPLE

We are a new nation.

We believe in life.

And we want to live now.

We want to be alive 24 hours a day.

Nine-to-five Amerika doesn’t even live on weekends.

Amerika is a death machine. It is run

on and for money whose power

determines a society based on war,

racism, sexism, and the destruction

of the planet. Our life-energy is the

greatest threat to the machine.

So they’re out to stop us.

They have to make us like them.

They cut our hair, ban our music

festivals, put cops and narcs in the

schools, put 200,000 of us in jail

for smoking flowers, induct us,

housewive us, Easy-Rider murder us.

Amerika has declared war on our New Nation!

WE WILL BUILD AND DEFEND OUR NEW NATION

But we will continue to live and grow. We are young, we have beautiful

ideas about the way we should live. We want everyone to control their

own life and to care for one another. And we will defend our freedom

because we can’t live any other way.

We will continue to seize control of our minds and our bodies. We can’t

do it in their schools, so we’ll take them over or create our own. We

can’t do it in their Army, so we’ll keep them from taking our brothers.

We can’t make it in their jobs, so we’ll work only to survive. We can’t

relate to each other like they do – our nation is based on cooperation

not competition.

We will provide for all that we need to build and defend our nation. We

will teach each other the true history of Amerika so that we may learn

from the past to survive in the present. We will teach each other the

tactics of self-defense. We will provide free health services: birth

control and abortions, drug information, medical care, that this society

is not providing us with.

We will begin to take control of drug manufacture and distribution, and

stop the flow of bad shit. We will make sure that everyone has a decent

place to live: we will fight landlords, renovate buildings, live

communally, have places for sisters and brothers from out-of-town, and

for runaways and freed prisoners. We will set up national and

international transport and communication so we can be together with our

sisters and brothers from different parts of the country and the world.

We will fight the unnatural division between cities and country by

facilitating travel and communication

We will end the domination of women by men, and children by adults.

The well-being of our nation is the well-being of all peace-loving

people.

WE WILL HAVE PEACE

We cannot tolerate attitudes, institutions, and machines whose purpose

is the destruction of life and the accumulation of “profit.”

Schools and universities are training us for roles in Amerika’s empire

of endless war. We cannot allow them to use us for the

military-industrial profiteers.

Companies that produce waste, poisons, germs, and bombs have no place in

this world.

We are living in the capital of the world war being waged against life.

We are not good Germans. We who are living in this strategic center of

Babylon must make it our strategic center. We can and must stop the

death machine from butchering the planet.

We will shut the motherfucker down!

WE WILL MAKE OUR NEW NATION FIT FOR LIVING THINGS

We will seize Amerika’s technology and use it to build a nation based on

love and respect for all life.

Our new society is not about the power of a few men but the right of all

humans. animals and plants to play out their natural roles in harmony.

We will build our communities to reflect the beauty inside us.

People all over the world are fighting to keep Amerika from turning

their countries into parking lots!

WE WILL BE TOGETHER WITH ALL THE TOGETHER PEOPLES OF THE EARTH

Pig Empire is ravaging the globe, but the beautiful people everywhere

are fighting back. New Nation is one with the black, brown, red & yellow

nations.

Unfinished 2020 Election Analysis

“Alea acta est”, the famous words said by Caesar when he declared war on Rome itself, a conflict that resulted in the end of republican democracy in the famous country. For those who do not know, this translates from Latin to let the dice be rolled, as Caesar would have lost a title known as imperium (legal immunity) if he submitted to the senate, where he would have been undoubtedly tried and detained for corruption charges. A wise man once told me history may not repeat itself but it sure does rhyme. Donald Trump, the sitting US president, has used the American version of imperium to defend himself in multiple cases including allegations of rape, and financial fraud. When he steps down his immunity ceases, where he could be facing some serious legal repercussions. Although he would personally benefit in destroying the system to retain power, many of his assets remain in states and cities run by his opposition.  There is serious doubt he would risk Trump Tower New York in this game. Nevertheless within the last week he has rejected the US election results, and redefined the leadership in the pentagon (leadership of America’s military apparatus). The conditions are present for a pro Trump coup, as he is not only the commander in chief of an inordinately large military apparatus, but he also has millions of ardent supporters who would be willing to fight to keep him in power. Joe Biden, the winner of the election. has been internationally described as weak, especially in the mobilization of his constituents, and it is unclear if he would provide any formidable militant resistance to a Trump dictatorship.  The death of American democracy may be imminent. While the policy differences between Trump and Biden are minimal, any attempt at annihilating American democracy must be taken seriously, yet it seems that the leadership of the opposition party are not as they are carelessly demonizing the segment of it’s base that can mobilize the most and referring to these events as nothing more than a temper tantrum.

By Dustin

Armistice Day

Today is Armistice Day, commemorating the end of World War 1, a war fought over petty political grievances between empires whose leadership was indifferent to the human cost of war. The terms dictating that ceasefire brought the end of several empires, but allowed many to flourish, including the very empire to which we are unwilling subjects.

The warmongers in Congress are poised to yet again approve a discretionary budget of $696,000,000,000.00 for the military, to be spent on continued intervention and bombing of the so-called third world, despite widespread poverty among our own residents.

We, as Students for a Democratic Society, are committed to the dismantling of the Military-Industrial Complex and the end of US Imperialism, and we know that a Biden Presidency will not willingly allow this vision to be realized.

We call on all students to pledge to reject imperialist politics and war profiteering before it ushers in the destruction of all humanity and untold ecological devastation.

– SDS Member

Open letter to us…

With entry into this new decade, we must liberate our youth. Liberate them from mental barriers programmed to block independent consciousness. Liberate them from physical cages. That bullshit constitution argues for no cruel or unusual punishment. Getting gunned down in the street is fucked up, who gives a shit about what those slave owning imperialist had to say. A mother cries as her child’s once vibrant energy leaves his body, blood flowing down cold concrete. And even if the body survives a bullet. The soul will never survive American slavery, better known as privatized prisons. With 57.2% of all correctional officers across this country being white (2016), it is no surprise these oppressors fiend for a sense of supremacy over black inmates. Just like the all white juries summoned to advance their evil agenda. A justice system ran by klans members. And I mean that metaphorical however we all know there are several occasions of this being reality. Such as Hugo Black, Supreme Court – (1970s). Or this country’s so called founding fathers. Washing, Jefferson and many more are have been documented as slave owners. And we are excepted to worship these racist men? We are excepted to repeat these hate crimes? I say FUCK NO! The 1960s seen many successful revolutions and revolutionaries, yet it is time for complete rebirth of the spiritual mind. It is time to fix their mistakes. If they created these problems why the hell are they going to resolve them. They are not and will not. It is our legacy to rebuild this country with a foundation of love. Not slavery, not murder not genocide… solely love. and they will tell us… “That ain’t possible”, “You are living in a world of delusion”. How the fuck would they know if they never even tried? Proud to be a mother fucking Yippie!

– Jakob Giovanni