File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1997/marxism-international.9710, message 483

Date: 	Fri, 24 Oct 1997 10:41:24 -1000
Subject: M-I: welfare queens

On Thu, 23 Oct 1997, James Heartfield wrote:
> The reduction of the left to the status of welfare advocates is a
> throughly demoralising move. Not far beneath the surface of the
> professional welfare administrators' mock sympathy for the poor is a
> hatred for the great mass of people who work hard to get a living. In

Some of the stuff I'm reading on this list is perverse to put it mildly.
It's one thing to say that the left (all 5 of us) should not be in the
position of *merely* defending a welfare system. It's quite another to
associate poverty with lack of hard work.  For one, the majority of people
who are poor work, and for that matter the majority of people on welfare
also work (as the word is being very narrowly used by Lou Godena and James
Heartfield here).  Do Lou or James not recall Marx's appeal to organize
the employed and unemployed? Exactly how do we organize the unemployed if
we use the same stereotypes to characterize them as those employed by the

Let's see, so poverty is a result of laziness, lack of
initiative...Interesting, and those long lines for 2 or three openings at
a post office? Some 1/14 job applications are taken at a McDonalds...

>From Jonathan Kozol's *Amazing Grace*, p. 111:

( A year ago) a Wall Street money manager who had been extremely lucky, or
had made some very shrewd decisions, had had earnings of more than 1
billion dollars, which was about 5 times the total income of the 18,000
households of Mott Haven (The Bronx).  An extra 20 % tax on his earnings,
if redistributed in the South Bronx, would have lifted 48,000 human
beings-every child and every patient in every family of Mott Haven-out of
poverty, with enough left over to buy many safe new elevator doors and
hire several good physicians for the public schools that serve the
neighborhood.  Dozens of other investors in New York, according to the
financial publications, were making annual earnings of between 10 million
and 400 million dollars during 1992 & 1993...

Bizarre some of the things I've been reading on this list lately...


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