|More pain for the working poor|
Some 58% of low-income residents in Contra Costa County "could not afford enough to eat in 2009". What is referred to as "food security" was higher in Contra Costa County than any other California county. Contra Costa also has about 68,000 veterans and veterans are more often than not in need of social services and are a significant portion of the homeless. Patriotism and flag waving is for when the 1% is sending them to fight the corporations' wars, not when they return both physically and mentality damaged by the experience. Caring for people is money out---there's no profit in it.
According to Larry Sly, executive director of the Contra Costa County foodbank the number of people coming for food has slowed but the bank still serves132,000 people every month, 46% more today than it did in 2006 before the Great Recession. Contrary to reports in the media that things are looking up, there are still millions of people in the US facing hunger, housing and medical care shortages. This is after all the worst country in the industrialized world to be poor in. The study "...found that more than 40 percent of low-income California adults in 2009 – 3.8 million in all – could not afford enough food at least once in the previous year." writes Joanna Lin for California Watch
This present market driven crisis has affected millions of Americans who never dreamed they would be visiting a food bank or losing their homes. After capitalism was pulled from the edge of the abyss through the intervention of taxpayer and public finds the coupon clippers are continuing their parasitic behavior paving the way for further crisis. JP Morgan's losses are expected to climb above $7 billion, the waste and inefficiency of the market is staggering.
And as this continues, the politicians in the two capitalist parties are continuing their assault on workers and the poor. There are plans in the House to cut another $16 billion from the food stamp program which, as will all the austerity measures being introduced to make workers pay for their crisis, only make matters worse.
Not so long ago I received a call from a woman who wanted help with a housing issue. I was involved with a renter's and housing rights group at the time. She was living in a town in California's Central Valley in a motel room with her husband and disabled child. Not a mile or so down the road was her home that she had been forcibly removed from by the sheriffs on behalf of the bankers and other coupon clippers. She still had many of her possessions inside this home but couldn't go in there without being accompanied by a representative of the coupon clippers. We should make it clear when we speak of losing one's home that we don't lose them, they are still there, people are simply removed from their shelter is what it is. And now big investors are snapping them up. A home is for shelter, it should not be an investment.
Her husband was working, left the motel every morning, but I was unable to help her at the time. But I imagined what such a thing does to personal relations, to us as human beings. This is particularly the case here in the US where people fall prey to the massive propaganda machine of the 1% preaching that it's all out there if you work hard. By accepting this false ideology, we often tend to blame ourselves when the savagery of the market hits us in the face, when objective reality becomes obvious; we are humiliated. This self blame results in all sorts of self destructive developments, personal behavior, fracturing of personal relations and the family, and in many cases, substance abuse and violence.
We only have to consider the imbecile George W. Bush to see that this philosophy is bunk, or Romney, or any of them. They all had help. George W. Bush was a draft dodger and pretty much every business he had failed but for the intervention of billionaires, either Saudi or domestic.
The other positive aspect of this false philosophy about the individual being in total control of their own destiny for the capitalist class, is that when things go wrong and we blame ourselves it is an obstacle to collective struggle, to a generalized collective offensive against market forces and the 1% that perpetuate such an inefficient and wasteful system of production.
As the capitalist class continues to "put the boot in" as a friend puts it, the collective response will become more prominet, already there are numerous groupings throughout the country waging a fightback. Some local councils of elected officials who ran on platforms to defend education and public services but end up carrying out the dictates of big business are beginning due to pressure from below to resist. None of these bodies have workers' representatives on them. Even the most liberal of them, some workers themselves, have as their starting point an orientation to the business community not workers. They look to the owners of capital to save their communities. In order to attract capital you have to make it worthwhile, lower wages and elimination of Union rights, lower taxes and other impediments to profits and capital accumulation. The road to third world conditions.
At some point, independent workers' candidates rooted in our communities and direct-action grass root movements will arise to change this situation in the absence of any alternative coming from the Labor hierarchy that has the resources to make this happen. It is inevitable.
In the meantime, more Americans will be visiting the foodbanks.