By Sarah Lazare for AlterNet – Rosemary Holmes has lived in Newark’s Terrell Holmes for the better part of six decades. She, like many others in the building, has raised children in its courtyards and hallways, and forged a tight-knit community of friends and neighbors. At the age of 68, she has been forced to band with other tenants to fight local efforts to shutter the facility. Now, as the Trump administration weighs plans to gut the Department of Housing and Urban Development, she has a new battle on her hands. “Any time they move a person to someplace they don’t want to live, it’s imprisonment,” she told AlterNet over the phone. “I am a human being, and I deserve to live where I want to live. Us, the ones who really want to be here…
By Sarah Jaffe for In These Times. It is hard, because all of us have lost people, I will say that. I have lost people that I love to this and I don’t know anyone who hasn’t. When we are talking about it, it is deeply personal for people because we are literally watching our communities die and that is really rough. To be in a moment where people are dying from using drugs and we are also shrinking whatever public safety net has been left, to me it is so ridiculous to live in a place where people don’t see that this is a public health crisis that has its roots in poverty. Also, I would say, in the white denial. People not wanting to believe that this could be such a big problem with white people. I would say that it is not just the Republican folks who have been pushing law enforcement over increasing access to care. Here in Portland, we have an all-Democratic City Council that chose to shut down one of the premier, in the country, clinics that had a needle exchange, that had an HIV positive program and did STD testing and counselling, that was serving folks on the street, really low income people, had incredible relationships to their providers.
By Joseph E. Stiglitz and Martin Guzman for Project Syndicate. SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico’s deep and prolonged recession has led to a severe debt crisis. And the combination of economic contraction and massive liabilities is having dire consequences for the island. Everywhere in the United States commonwealth, private-sector jobs are being lost. Total employment in Puerto Rico has fallen from 1.25 million in the last quarter of the 2007 fiscal year workers to less than a million almost a decade later. Without employment, large numbers of Puerto Ricans (who are US citizens) have emigrated. But, despite this flight, the unemployment rate is now 12.4%. Without job prospects, the labor participation rate has plummeted to 40%, two-thirds of the level on the US mainland. About 60% of Puerto Rico’s children live in poverty.
By Julian Brave NoiseCat for The Guardian. North Dakota – Just north of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, water protectors set their makeshift and traditional structures ablaze in a final act of prayer and defiance against Energy Transfer Partner’s Dakota Access Pipeline, sending columns of black smoke billowing into the winter sky above the Oceti Sakowin protest camp. The majority of the few hundred remaining protesters marched out, arm in arm ahead of the North Dakota authorities’ Wednesday eviction deadline. An estimated one hundred others refused the state’s order, choosing to remain in camp and face certain arrest in order to defend land and water promised to the Oceti Sakowin, or Great Sioux Nation, in the long-broken Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851.
By Marissa Higgins for The Establishment – Recognizing this potential, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced trial programs in seven states that will allow recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) programs to order their groceries from participating vendors online, including FreshDirect, Amazon, and smaller local vendors. The delivery program is being piloted in Maryland, Iowa, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Washington this summer. If implemented nationwide, it could benefit the one in seven Americans who receive SNAP, including those who are disabled, elderly, and living in food deserts where access to brick-and-mortar shops is limited.
By Chris Kanthan for Nation of Change. If we want to create a vibrant middle class, we have to abandon slogans and simplistic solutions and understand the bigger picture. There is no doubt that majority of Americans have gotten poorer over the last few decades even while the top 10% or so have done extremely well. In a world of slogans and minuscule attention span, the media and the pundits either completely deny this fact or justify it by focusing on advancements in technology or turn it into a partisan blame game. The reality is that multiple developments contributed to this decline of prosperity, much of it due to deliberate but gradual social and financial engineering. Without assigning ranking or weight, here is a look at twelve major reasons why Americans became poor.
By Paul Kirk Haeder for Dissident Voice. Constitutional checks and balances were put in place to prevent citizens from succumbing to undue and unfair prosecution, and the courts have upheld many times the right of individuals who have served their time in prison to move on, move ahead. However, times have changed, and there has been a huge push to privatize prisons, and to place filing fees, court costs and even the daily maintenance, upkeep and staffing of these halls of justice on the financial backs of the accused. It’s sometimes called a punishment society, and on top of that, when we start looking at African-Americans and Latinos in this snapshot of Mass Incarceration, we have the respective stats – black men are six times more likely to be incarcerated than white men, and Latinos 2.5 times more. The cost of their crimes also increases with the color of their skin.
By Whet Moser for Chicago Magazine – Inger Burnett-Zeigler, a psychologist and professor at Northwestern’s medical school, went to a community-based health clinic on the South Side as part of a study to bring mental-health treatments grounded in mindfulness to the patients there: simple meditation and yoga, body visualizations, and talking about stress and how it manifests in the body. “It’s really getting people to understand the connection between mind and body, empowering people with the tools that they need in order to, as I describe, respond versus react to stressful situations,” Burnett-Zeigler says. It’s something a lot of people are trying right now in communities with lots of stressors…
By Greg Kaufmann for Talk Poverty – About a month ago, I had the opportunity to spend a weekend at Harvard with a group of about 20 scholars and reporters. Many of them have worked for decades examining poverty-related issues—from hiring discrimination to segregation in housing and education, criminal justice reform to immigration, deep poverty to homelessness. I was nervous about the trip.
By Bob Hennelly for Salon – Just like their Republican counterparts in Cleveland, the delegates to the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia will be sequestered far away from the daily misery and despair that’s the experience of their host city’s extreme poor. This growing cohort of folks are overwhelmingly people of color and include tens of thousands of children who find themselves living in neighborhoods in the “City of Brotherly Love” pock marked with 40,000 vacant lots and zombie homes.
By Ann Garrison for Counterpunch. It was a struggle but we were adamant and told the ACLU over and over again for 48 hours that we would not change our permit request, and we have won the right to march on the south side of city hall at 3:00 o’clock, going all the way up Broad Street to the front door of the Democratic National Convention. And so we’re hoping that anybody that was afraid before will turn out in droves and join us. Our march has turned into a real symbol of the fight for political independence from the two corporate controlled parties. And I think we’re gonna look back and see this as an important historical marker. It’s really important that people understand that our march begins at 3:00 on the south side of city hall, because the Democratic Party is going to stop at absolutely nothing to make sure that the voices of poor and other front line communities are not heard in the Democratic National Convention.
By Ashish Kothari for Local Futures for Economics of Happiness – In India, economic development and modernity have transformed livelihoods into deadlihoods. They are wiping out millennia-old livelihoods that were ways of life with no sharp division between work and leisure, and replacing them with dreary assembly line jobs where we wait desperately for weekends and holidays. Economic progress, we are told, is about moving from primary sector jobs to manufacturing and services. And so the livelihoods that keep all of us alive – farming, forestry, pastoralism, fisheries, and related crafts – are considered backward.
By Sputnik News. Last week, Bill Gates, listed as the world’s richest person, with a net worth in excess of some $79.4 billion, turned heads when he proposed that those living on less than $2 per day should invest in chickens, fancying that he could heroically survive such an austere life of extreme poverty. In a piece titled, “Why I Would Raise Chickens,” the tech magnate, who earns more per year in interest alone than the poorest 45 countries in the world, lectured humanity’s most economically-depressed on surviving hardship. Wealthy American liberals heaped praise on the mega-billionaire for his humanitarian mission, without asking how people living in extreme poverty, in societies with endemic corruption and a constant threat of violence, would feed their flock.