Poverty in America

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31okiL's picture
31okiL
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Oct 28 2010 23:33
Poverty in America

I'm a young anarchist living in America. I''m lower middle class and live in a conservative town. Many individuals here don't believe that poor people aren't that bad off in this "great" country. Can anyone give me some statistics to help prove otherwise?

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xj9578cd
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Nov 11 2010 03:58

I live in the USA in a strongly liberal town. I advise you move somewhere else in the USA. The key word in your statement is "individuals". The individualists want to imagine everyone is having some form of the American dream, and even Europeans also want Americans to have some "dream" that they believe in their naivety is such a natural desire. For me it is not that poverty is so bad in the USA, but the requirements for a "dream" which are so frustrating. Especially foreigners really believe in an "American Middle Class" and ignore all poor people. We are not so poor as to have totally bad lives. But the capitalist desire for people to own homes, cars, lack of public transportation, lack of apartment housing with affordable utilities, etc make poverty difficult in the USA, whereas in many poor nations in the developing world they have public transportation, some form of housing even barrio, and ability to obtain food somehow. In the USA even recently companies like Monsanto are attacking backyard gardens. People struggle to maintain the "American Way of Life". The poverty is in the mode of living. These individuals would not want the poor to have easier lives in the terms I have set. But we must remember, these days even gypsies in Eastern Europe have TVs and computers! Being an American is not so different from being anywhere.

Having a lot of stuff is not so great. You can make due with only a computer. I myself live quite well in a city, but have no fridge, no TV, no car, no electric appliances. I am not confused: I rely on the city for many things like shops that sell food and the public transportation, but my quality of life is quite good while spending only a small amount of money. So I have defeated the work struggle for car, fridge, TV, cable, etc. and so I am in a sense rich but without materialism. I have leisure and time to think, and this is what is repressed in the USA, and social climbers generally dominate. What are they trying to become? Middle Class world citizens?

Here is an article:

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/apr2010/find-a13.shtml

It talks about Detroit home fires and lack of utilities. Read through World Socialist Site. Plenty of stories of people who have old houses without good utilities and are isolated in weird poverty situations that end in fire and death. In many cases these people would live better OUTSIDE the USA. But most Americans consider this "freedom", the freedom that possibly some child may emerge out of the ghetto and be a doctor! But whatever, how many die or live in poverty so one person might emerge victorious from the ranks of poor? Keeping everyone in poverty so that perhaps a few with potential might rise up and have a dream? The rest are just walking dead.

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waslax
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Nov 12 2010 04:18
31okiL wrote:
I'm a young anarchist living in America. I''m lower middle class and live in a conservative town. Many individuals here don't believe that poor people aren't that bad off in this "great" country. Can anyone give me some statistics to help prove otherwise?

Unless what is concerned is a specific fact, statistics -- as many people know -- can be used to 'prove anything'. Therefore, they 'prove nothing', or at least, don't convince anyone who isn't already convinced. And the sort of stats you are looking for are exactly the kind that will 'prove nothing' ... because what you want to prove (i.e. that poor people in the US 'really are in bad conditions') is not a specific fact. The problem here is really in how the term "bad(ly) off" is interpreted. Obviously you and the conservative individuals in your town have different interpretations of that term, and throwing stats around by either you or them is not going to change the others' mind. So I would suggest you avoid that strategy. In fact, I would suggest you abandon the strategy of debating with these people. What is your goal in doing it? You will never on your own convince them to become an anarchist or anti-capitalist, so why waste time trying? Better to engage with people who are already disaffected with the current social order. If there aren't any such people in your town/city, and you don't see the ongoing economic crisis contributing to a significant number of such people becoming disaffected with this society fairly soon, then I would have to agree that you should move somewhere else where there already are such folks.

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waslax
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Nov 12 2010 06:01

Also, you wrote that you are "lower middle class". That term is really fuzzy, and basically meaningless. In fact, "middle class" is probably one of the most confusing terms around these days -- and is used deliberately to confuse by most politicians and corporate media. There are really only two classes in capitalist society, the working class (wage slaves, whether employed or not) and the ruling class. Other than that, there are just a bunch of sub-class social strata (i.e. layers) either between those two classes or below the working class (i.e. the extremely poor). So the only question to answer is: are you or are you not a member of the working class?

Mike Harman
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Nov 12 2010 05:21

Depending on how young they are, they may not have the option to just move somewhere with more liberals...

In terms of people thinking that overall things in their country aren't all that bad compared to elsewhere, that's not particularly unusual. Also opposition to capitalism isn't only based on poverty, but more about exploitation and alienation. Those who engage in strikes, occupations etc. are often workers on decent wages etc. - and part of the reason they have those decent wages etc. is their willingness to take action.

I'm sure plenty of people in that 'conservative' town hate their jobs, have massive debts etc. What sort of jobs do people do around there? Have there been redundancies, shops/companies closing down, mergers? What about the history of the town - was there more of a working class movement there in the past? Are you a student or do you have a job? If you have a job which sector? Does everyone at your workplace absolutely love going to work there and never has any issues with management?

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Nov 14 2010 20:30

I am an American and my parents were working class, but I dont make of deal about it, mainly from traveling overseas and living in squats in Germany and England, I realized that the idea of being a working class American was too complicated to explain abroad. If I said "I grew up working class", then it was usually like a joke or even some Europeans got hostile to me. Sure my parents were just housepainters/carpenters who worked on construction sites and I often went to work with them and played around piles of saw dust and became well acquainted with smell of house paint and construction workers blasting their little radios and smelling foul of sweat.

Nevertheless overseas this could never translate, because after all I was an "American" and "overseas" so I must be rich. And they thought that because I was living in a squat, that I was a rich American pretending to be poor because it was "cool". So if this fellow anarchist is working class or not, I would not encourage him to dwell on it or ever to consider it important, especially on an international forum with Europeans on it.

I was even homeless in Europe and Europeans still imagine I will grow up to be a "democrat" and vote for some some serial killer like Obama and Bill Clinton, who I still hate for bombing the Serbians with plutonium and giving their children leukemia. Unfortunately I will vote Socialist again. I voted for "The Party for Socialism and Liberation" instead of Obama. I like this PSL and believe they hold the key to peace with Latin America. Though I also like World Socialist Web Site for news and video reporting.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Party_for_Socialism_and_Liberation

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xj9578cd
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Nov 14 2010 20:56

This is good advice. I have tried arguing with even liberals and they apparently have no facts themselves. I suppose that is why they are liberal instead of more extreme left, lack of facts. Consider it: liberals voted for Obama believing he would end the war in the East. All history shows that every major war including Vietnam was begun by a Democrat. Sure later Republicans came in and made things worse with their illicit bombing campaigns, coups, and war extensions, but the fact remains: democrats do not end wars, they start them. Still the masses cannot find a 3rd party to vote for. They have neglected the facts, and as you say, they are impossible to argue with. It is indeed better to talk to like minded people instead.

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Rob Ray
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Nov 14 2010 21:01

Sorry to say xj9578cd but it sounds like you just got unlucky and hung around with a bunch of idiots, no-one on this site would be so dense as to immediately assume you're rich simply because you're from the US.

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xj9578cd
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Nov 15 2010 00:03

It is also my fault, as I was younger and somewhat shy. It could have been misinterpreted by them as being sheltered or rich, even though I was absolutey not sheltered as a child; neverthless I found my background became very important overseas, where I was from, etc. In any case, this was during the height of the Bush Junior administration in humorless Berlin, where Americans were persona non grata. I remember it like right when Bush came into office, these posters with his face started showing up on the walls inside and outside the squat. That was the end of carefree living in a foreign land.

Also for that person who wants some facts, this site I have found to be extremely informative:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=region&regionId=1

I am not affiliated with them. They are based in Montreal and seem quite radical. They will talk about Manuel Zelaya being a CIA coup, and that is the kind of stuff I want to know about Latin America. Statistics about the poor can be also about people overseas that the USA makes poor like Latin Americans, who are kept in poverty by puppet governments of the USA. They also have news videos:

http://tv.globalresearch.ca/2010/11/chris-hedges-death-liberal-class