Tuesday, March 5, 2013

War on Iran, War on Terror: No war on homelessness

By Richard Mellor

The Wall Street Journal reports today that for the first time, more than 50,000 people slept in New York City’s homeless shelters each night in January this year.  This is the size of a small town and it doesn’t include those that sleep on the streets; the sick, the disoriented and mentally damaged victims of capitalism and the free market.

The Huffington Post pointed out that there was19 million vacant homes in the US in 2011. This recent figure on NYC homelessness points out that it is families that are swelling the ranks.  Homelss families have risen 7.8% in Boston, 18% in Washington DC (the seat of government in the US) while the number of children sleeping in shelters in NYC has risen 22% in the last year. A staggering 21,000 children, a figure the Wall Street Journal calls “unprecedented” and equal to 1% of NYC’s young people slept in a shelter each night in January.  In this world city whose mayor, Michael Bloomberg has a net worth of $27 billion and is home to the United Nations, Wall Street, millionaire film stars and corporate law offices, homeless families have increased 73% since 2001 and  21,000 children have no permanent housing. This is nothing less than criminal.

This is occurring as Obama and Biden are assuring US corporations and the Israeli Lobby that war with Iran is not off the table and the absurd War on Terror shifts its focus to uranium and natural resource rich Mali and Saharan Africa. What is off the table is a war against speculators, coupon clippers and slumlords.  What is off the table is the war against poverty and homelessness, by-products of their precious market.

Trillions of dollars are spent on predatory wars fought by US workers on behalf of Wall Street and the corporations and 22 veterans a day commit suicide as a result of it. The bankers that wrecked the economy were bailed out by the taxpayer to the tune of trillions of dollars.  Rich individuals are known to have stashed more than $26 trillion, the equivalent of the combined GDP of the US and Japan in offshore accounts to avoid taxes and all this as public services are slashed, jobs eliminated and wages driven downward contributing to further homelessness; even the WSJ can’t ignore this reality but goes no further than that.

The voices of opposition are muted. The heads of organized Labor whose worldview mirrors the bankers, coupon clippers and other wasters whose actions decimate our social welfare and pollute the environment, plead with the bosses and their representatives in the Democratic Party to return to the good old days, “Please, please, just be a little nicer.”

At its peak, mighty US capitalism could not provide its own population with the basic necessities of life. In its decline it has become mired in debt, increases its plunder of the natural world and the former colonial countries and is forced to put its workers and middle classes on rations.  It is taking from the American workers all that we won through a century and half of struggle and is doing so with the help of the leaders of the Trade Union movement.  This will not continue unabated.

Nineteen million vacant homes amid mass homelessness. “As many as 3.5 million people experience homelessness in a given year,1% of the entire U.S. population or 10% of its poor), and about 842,000 people in any given week..) according to some data.  Yes, America the free.

Why can't they just go get a job?
The difference between the capitalist system and its predecessors is this: We starve amid plenty; we lack shelter as structures become dilapidated as they remain unoccupied; we are denied health care because we can’t pay for it. We become impoverished amid abundance.

US capitalism is more threatening in decline than in its ascendance.  It is armed to the teeth. It supplies more arms to humanity than the rest of the world combined. Its corporations dominate the world and own the rights to everything from corn seed to water. It is a truly dangerous animal in its demise.  As we used to say, even a match glows bright moments before it is extinguished and US capitalism will become more ruthless as its global influence wanes and its dominance threatened.

US workers are yet to see the worst, the likes of New York’s Mayor Bloomberg, Warren Buffet, Donald Trump, the gnomes of Wall Street and the owners of industry are not finished with us; they will defend their system and it will be done on our backs.

The US working class will not take this lightly forever, fill shelters, complain without action, withdraw form the struggle. This country will explode at some point and we will see what we have seen in Europe if not at a greater level; our history is a revolutionary one.

Workers will be forced to draw the conclusion that there is a far greater threat to our well being than al Qaeda, and its domestic. They will look forward for alternatives as they struggle to defend what we have. Capitalism will be challenged.

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