Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Far-left visionaries at "Homeless Power Forum" hope to transform America [into Bulgaria?]

Poster from "Hobo Art Show" at Western Regional Advocacy Project website.  Paul Boden, a keynote speaker at the Homeless Power Forum, is WRAP's Executive Director.
Yesterday, "Homeless Power Forum: Vision & Survival" was held at the Delany Center at Loaves & Fishes. Thinking it was about to end (I should read my literature, dummy!), I stayed for only the first hour-and-a-half of a 5 1/2 hour program. But that was enough to hear the "keynote speakers," Ethel Long-Scott and Paul Boden, and to sound alarm bells about the direction of the Safe Ground effort.

Today, I believe that the confusion that is implicit in the many meanings that have been given to safe ground, also spelled capitalized [Safe Ground], and as one word [SafeGround], is intentional: to lead people in the homeless community in Sacramento from the most positive and favorable meaning, a legal homeless campground, to a hopelessly-naive political far-far left Utopian vision of an easy-living paradise.

Lowercase-s-&-g safe ground [a vision of a legal homeless encampment] is connected with Safe Ground [illegal homeless campgrounds, protesting the the lack of legal homeless campgrounds] is connected to the Safe Ground Campaign [getting a legal homeless campground in Sacramento] which is connected with The Safe Ground Movement [revolution in America]. I submit that the vulnerable homeless at Loaves & Fishes [that is, those who yearn to see themselves as victims, instead of acknowledging, to themselves, the degree to which they are responsible for their circumstance] are being lured into a wacky political movement that is — insane as it sounds — clearly communist.

Yep. They're baaaaack. Only ten years into the 21st Century and the Central Lesson of the 20th Century, that communism DOESN'T WORK, is forgotten. It is forgotten that communism is a murderous debacle, tested twenty times with the same result. That as good as it may sound superficially, it is ruinous economically. Communism turns the incentives to do work on their head, making laziness pay and good effort and creativity meaningless. And, too, it ultimately results in maniacal totalitarianism and the deaths of untold numbers of fully innocent people.

With Cathleen "Cat" Williams hosting and writing notes for us on large sheets of white paper in the background, the two keynote speakers for the Power Forum spoke in the A.M. session.

Ethel Long-Scott, cited in the program as a "nationally recognized leader in the campaign for universal single-payer healthcare and Executive Director of Women's Economic Agenda Project [WEAP]" was the first speaker.

Ms. Long-Scott believes "It's time to build a new economic revolution" and in "new political movements aimed at the radical reorganization of society."  She called for the homeless to take on a "new identity," "the Class of the Dispossessed," so as to be better packaged to confront how "power is held" in this country.

She said there was a "connection between safe ground [the effort to create a small legal encampment]" and seeking to establish "income and security as a human right."  "As a freed slave," she said, "I have no worries about what happens to the rich man" in the advance of The Movement.

Ms. Long-Scott spent a lot of time on the scourge of corporations, seeing in them conspiracies to enrich themselves at the expense of the poor.  "We have corporations writing the new social contract [in this country]," she said.  "[We need] a technological and economic revolution."

In tune with what can be found in People's Tribune [see the article "Revolutionaries Must Rally the People to a Vision of a New World"], Ms. Long-Scott believes in stopping advancing technology because, in her view, it "replaces human beings," takes jobs and "causes whole industries to shut down."  She asked the audience at the Forum, rhetorically:  "Can you compete [for a job] with a computer that doesn't need health care, doesn't need a break!?"  "We the People should run the resources!" she exclaimed.  People of all races and backgrounds, indigents and undocumented immigrants, should band together, she said.  We mustn't allow the rich and corporations to continue to set us apart.

Cat Williams wrote on a clean, huge sheet of paper: "Nationwide Movement"

We must coalesce around "new values, new priorities, new tactics," said Ms. Long-Scott.  "This must be a united poor people's economic-rights campaign." Cat Williams wrote on her sheet: "economics 4 social justice."

Ms. Long-Scott told us, "We've got to link-up the causes: from safe ground to healthcare for everybody.  We must get private gain out of public need," and bring about a "quiet coup."

Paul Boden was up next.  In the program, he is described as "Executive Director of Western Regional Advocacy Project which fights [at] the street level … for unhoused people's civil rights."

"You have to go in with a sense of entitlement, [and not go in] asking the politicians for favors," Boden told us. "At issue is power."

He derided any idea of keeping poor people apart from "what they deserve."  The current political system "doesn't give poor people [their] money because they [ie., the politicians/the system] don't know what they [ie, the poor] are going to do with it.

Boden spoke, then, of a rally [ie, protest march] planned for January 20, 2010 — the first anniversary of the Obama Administration — that, it is hoped, will include homeless people from cities throughout California.

Much else of what Boden spoke about related to statistics his organization has amassed in a book titled "Without Housing: Decades of Federal Housing Cutbacks, Massive Homelessness and Policy Failures."
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Notes:
  • Use of Bulgaria in the title of this post is in reference to the country when it was behind the Iron Curtain. I was not meaning to disparage the country as it is today: a free, democratic republic and member of the European Union and NATO.
  • Ms. Long-Scott did indeed say of herself that she was "a freed slave." She is a black woman of about forty years of age with progenitors that can have been slaves, literally [instead of figuratively].
  • UPDATE. There was, indeed, a protest on 1/20/10, the first anniversary of the Obama Administration. At it, SafeGround, in the person of John Kraintz made a complete ass of himself. See the sacHO blogpost: "John Kraintz at San Francisco protest on the first anniversary of the Obama Administration."

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4 Comments:

Blogger judih said...

It's gotta be a bizarre situation when something potentially logical turns to the model of the proven failure.

Kibbutz system worked not because of communism, but because of intelligent use of socialism with a huge dose of individual idealism within a democracy (say that fast 3 times).
Now, even the kibbutz model is dying out, because of the modern gravitation to capitalism.

In short, no to communism - yes to keeping authentic thought and organizing.

i'm not you nor am i there, but i hope it's possible to mobilize the unhoused to create a place of safety. Need speaks mountains - and gov't needs to listen.

Many thanks for reporting the meeting, tom.

October 8, 2009 at 9:40 PM  
Blogger NellaLou said...

This is just bloody stupid.

"Ms. Long-Scott believes in stopping advancing technology because, in her view, it "replaces human beings," takes jobs and "causes whole industries to shut down." She asked the audience at the Forum, rhetorically: "Can you compete [for a job] with a computer that doesn't need health care, doesn't need a break!?" "We the People should run the resources!" she exclaimed."

She ought to come here to India and see what the bureaucracy is like without computers. Some people wait over a year to get a telephone installed by the government telephone utility. All paperwork is in duplicate and triplicate (carbon paper) with no filing system so you have to apply for things 2 or 3 times and pay bribes to get them through in a timely fashion. Sure there is a lot of work for people but there would be a lot more MEANINGFUL work if skills were taught and technology available.

I think I've criticized this woman before on this blog. I know a lot of communists, and a lot more former communists who, once they got their heads out of their idealistic asses and took a look at reality actually made some difference in the world.

The revolution ain't gonna happen in that big ego swelled up way the rhetoriticians want. There ain't gonna be any storming of the Bastille or proletariat solidarity movement. It's easy to recite political tracts but a lot different on the ground.

It'll happen when my cleaning lady learns to read (I am teaching her) and my American neighbor doesn't have to worry about paying for his heart medication and every country becomes a melting pot without any clear "majority". It'll happen one by one until the balance shifts.

So that's my idealism. Probably got my head into that gaseous stratosphere as much as any other "revolutionary".

October 10, 2009 at 6:35 AM  
Blogger Tom Armstrong said...

judih: Right. There's this great need for homeless people in Sacramento to have just, only "a place to be," but we're in the midst of insanity.

If Sister Libby and Joan Burke [of Loaves & Fishes] have their sway with things, it will give their nutty, blind political theories a foothold. A return to the agrarian Dark Ages.

The press here doesn't report on any of this, and I think that is because they don't believe it. Nuts communists who don't believe in computers organizing a homeless-people-led effort to take over America? Yeah, right.

October 10, 2009 at 9:43 AM  
Blogger Tom Armstrong said...

NellaLou, THANKS for your comment.

Blocking technological advancement would, as you show, turn all of life into drudgery. The very world of drudgery that America would become is on display at Loaves & Fishes, an impossibly constipated organization with lines of people in the way of other lines of people -- as the hours tick away on a thousand wasted lives.

Of course, as you say, a communist revolution in America isn't going to happen. Still, the fact that homeless people are in the clutches of these wackos says a lot about the help [that is, the REAL help] that homeless people need in Sacramento.

October 10, 2009 at 11:02 AM  

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