Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The Actions of Other Human Beings

It's one of "those weeks" in America. You know the kind--one where people are mowed down in public places by racist shooters and even more are allowed to die because of lack of health care and income inequality. Typical week, really. If we're not watching our neighbor suffer, then what would we do for entertainment? CNN provides an answer:


Naomi Karavani in the above video covers some recent mainstream media stories that glorify the suffering of the poor. Why would any empathetic person think this is a good idea?  

The following further drives Naomi's point home:

Jon Sobrino, from Spirituality of Liberation: Toward Political Holiness--
The reality posed by the poor, then, is no rhetorical question. Precisely as sin, this reality tends to conceal itself, to be relativized, to pass itself off as something secondary and provisional in the larger picture of human achievements. It is a reality that calls men and women not only to recognize and acknowledge it, but to take a primary, basic position regarding it. Outwardly, this reality demands that it be stated for what it is, and denounced....But inwardly, this same reality is a question for human beings as themselves participants in the sin of humankind....the poor of the world are not the causal products of human history. No, poverty results from the actions of other human beings.

The Actions of Other Human Beings
by C.A. Matthews

From an early age we learn about the consequences of our actions. Or at least in theory we should.  You grab the squeaky toy from the toddler sitting next to you on the blanket, and she'll whack you hard and make you cry. You peek into your sister's diary--she's going to snitch on you to Mom.  You cheat on a math quiz, and you'll find yourself in the principal's office. 

For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction we hear in physics class. If this is true, what action other than a handful hoarding extreme amounts of wealth could explain the growing number of poor in the world?

The concept that the state of poverty was created to serve a purpose--to bolster the wealth of the elites--doesn't come naturally to most Americans. We want to believe that the poor deserve their lowly state. They're ignorant. They're lazy. They made bad decisions with their money and choice of profession. They're drunks and/or drug addicts. But to simply state the rich are "better" or "smarter" or more deserving of praise than the poor is to deny the reality of the Donald J. Trumps of the world and the harshness of life in 21st century America. 

Poverty is a weapon. It is wielded by those in power to control access to resources. The land, air and water of the masses aren't theirs as long as there are greedy men coveting these necessities of life. Your tiny house is on land they want to build a factory on? Eminent Domain is their tool. Their factory poisons your air and water? A well-placed lobbyist makes sure the laws are in their favor. 

By preventing universal health care for all Americans, poverty is inflicted by the one-percent through the means of life and death itself. It's no surprise that the majority of bankruptcies in the US are due to medical bills. It's what the system was designed to do. 
The gun lobby tells our elected officials that daily mass shootings are necessary to protect our Constitutional rights. What's another dead body when there are  gun sales to be made? A permanent underclass makes for many targets and much in profits.

The time has come to end the suffering of the poor and attack the selfishness of the elites. Choose your side. Choose wisely. Raising taxes on the wealthy never killed (or particularly inconvenienced) a rich person. Your neighbor living on Social Security, however, needs every single penny of it to keep the heat on in the winter.

The actions of other human beings are the source of all misery in this world. It's high time we took action against the misery bringers. It's time to build a new social order--one that doesn't allow the actions of the few to dictate the health, safety and happiness of the many.

Gustavo Gutierrez, from The Power of the Poor in History:

If I define my neighbor as the one I must go out to look for, on the highways and byways, in the factories and slums, on the farms and in the mines--then my world changes. This is what is happening with the "option for the poor," for in the gospel it is the poor person who is the neighbor par excellence....

But the poor person does not exist as an inescapable fact of destiny. His or her existence is not politically neutral, and it is not ethically innocent. The poor are a by-product of the system in which we live and for which we are responsible. They are marginalized by our social and cultural world. They are the oppressed, exploited proletariat, robbed of the fruit of their labor and despoiled of their humanity. Hence the poverty of the poor is not a call to generous relief action, but a demand that we go and build a different social order.
These quotes come from a book worth reading:
Pathologies of Power, Dr. Paul Farmer, University of California Press, 2005.

Enlist Today!
Poor People's Army

We are building a force of our own to battle the rich and powerful. They have their armies and police, we need our own troops.

(Our side needs just as much training, education, experience, and discipline to fight for justice for poor and working people, though with different, emancipatory tactics.)

We are part of an international movement challenging poverty and capitalism.

Learn More/contact: ppehrcorg@gmail.com
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Is Trying to Silence People Whose Communities Are Polluted. Stop This Now!


Sign Now

It's apparently time to rename the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the "Environmental Destruction Agency." Their new mission, under the deliriously corrupt Trump administration, seems to be to utterly wreck the planet as fast as they can.
The EPA currently issues "pollution permits" that entitles power plants and factories to emit specified levels of pollution into the nearby towns and natural environment. This means that the air or water that whole neighborhoods rely upon could end up contaminated.
For the past 25 years, though, members of the community have at least had some form of recourse. Individuals or advocates were able to appeal these pollution permits to a board of judges. Now they will not even have that small way of speaking out. Yet, of course, fossil fuel corporations still get a huge voice.
Everyday people are the ones who suffer directly from increased pollution. Meanwhile, these companies profit off of their suffering, with absolutely no interest in or regard for these individuals' imperiled health.
We cannot let the very agency meant to protect the environment actually work to completely destroy it. We have so little time to address climate change. We must be moving in the right direction — not hurting people while moving away from climate solutions. Sign the petition to ask the EPA not to silence the very people who will suffer from increased pollution!
Thank you for all that you do,

Miranda B.
The Care2 Petitions Team
P.S. The U.S. government wants to let corporations poison communities with more pollution, and then silence the very people who are affected. Sign the petition to tell the EPA not to pursue this terrifying policy!

Your voice is needed. For though the resistance at Standing Rock has been forcibly paused and oil now flows through the Dakota Access pipeline, the struggle to protect the health and safety of the tribe and people downstream isn’t over. Quickly and quietly, Energy Transfer Partners is planning to more than double the amount of oil DAPL carries, to more than a million barrels a day. And they’re doing this — once more — without the consent of the people.

Lakota Law Lakota leaders (clockwise from top left: Rosebud Sioux Tribe President Rodney M. Bordeaux, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier, Phyllis Young of LPLP and Standing Rock, and Oglala Sioux Tribe President Julian Bear Runner) have come together to call for a public hearing on a proposed expansion to the Dakota Access pipeline.

Big Oil assures us that increasing oil flow through pipelines isn’t dangerous, but U.S. regulators say their information doesn’t back that claim. And tar sands crude — the type of oil DAPL carries — is a special threat: corrosive to infrastructure, it caused a million-gallon spill into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan not long ago. The United States suffers hundreds of liquid pipeline incidents every year. Why should we trust Big Oil’s word?

Between now and the deadline for input on Aug. 9, we will do everything we can to ensure a public hearing — the first step in stopping DAPL from becoming twice as dangerous. The Black Snake’s presence must not be allowed to fester and grow without pushback from every corner of Turtle Island. Will you stand with us once again to ensure the safety of our people and our sacred land and water?

Wopila Tanka — Thank you for making a difference! Mni Wiconi.

Chase Iron Eyes
Lead Counsel
The Lakota People's Law Project


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