Poverty backlash kills 'civil cities'

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Krystalline Kraus Krystalline Kraus's picture
Poverty backlash kills 'civil cities'


Krystalline Kraus Krystalline Kraus's picture

When we see stories of murder and violence in the daily news, our reaction to these events is instinctive, our demands universal. Sympathy for the victims. Outrage at the perps. But when stories of murder and violence are linked with poverty—specifically when the attackers are poor, not the victims—a whole new mythology comes about.
>by krystalline kraus
>in her own words

[url=http://www.rabble.ca/in_her_own_words.shtml?sh_itm=ecdc383a0ba8fbe1d52e0... backlash kills 'civil cities'[/url]


Good article; fear-mongering at the expense of the marginalized is the backbone of social conservative idealogy.

I like the juxtaposition between the frenzied reaction to the stabbing of Ross Hammond and the indifference to the murder of homeless man Paul Croutch at the hands of reservists.



K. Kraus said:
[b]The whisper of sanity can barely be heard over the hysteria. Never mind that it has been repeatedly proven time and again that it is actually the poor who are more likely to be the victims of crime than the perpetrators.[/b]

I mean, ya, what about the poor and homeless themselves who live in the shadows of what must look like a banquet going on all around them ?.

A documentary on abandoned cats in England showed them all congregating down at the seaside where they huddled into the nooks and crags of rocks and boulders at night. They'd learned to distrust and even fear people. The narrator said some percentage of them will have been newly abandoned and reverted back to the wild in a matter of a year or two. A few of them came out for fresh water placed on rocks by a concerned citizen, but they'd wait til even she was out of sight before coming for the water.

I think neo-Liberal capitalism is creating poverty, inequality, exclusion and loneliness among people at unprecedented levels right here in the most affluent western nations. But homelessness is just plainly a violation of one's basic human right to exist. It is a despicable and totally unecessary type of violence. There's no excuse for it, especially here in Canada.


Rosie Dimanno has been oddly silent about the murder of Paul Croutch. Where are the lengthy columns choked with purple prose making sweeping generalizations about Canadian Army reservists who gang up on and beat to death a harmless guy?

Krystalline Kraus Krystalline Kraus's picture

thanks for the compliment, sineed!

i felt exactly the same way as you did when i was researching for this piece and was 'googling' Paul Crouch's name for news articles.

little in the way of lamentations or outrage, except from anti-poverty groups themselves. the army reservists were almost 'forgiven' as 'boys will be drunken boys'...

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Rosie Dimanno is Exhibit A in the trial that proves the Toronto Star is just another corporate mouthpiece, another cog in the mainstream media machine manufacturing consent and mindless consensus.

The liberal media doesn't exist. Only the media of the corporatist LIberal Party does - and even it's an endangered species.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

I think it is very telling that in our society we don't think of evictions, homelessness, deprivation, hunger, humiliation, substance abuse, and street prostitution as violence.


Well, when it comes to substance abuse and prostitution, it all comes down to colour, as far as I can tell. If the scene is controlled or dominated by biker colours, it's violence. If it's controlled by the other gang in lab coat white colours, then it isn't violence. The shame of it is, even most people on the left see it that way.

It all comes down to class warfare. Economics colour the way we interpret the laws, the problems and the solutions.

The conservative reaction is easily predictable and justifiably condemnable. But are the solutions put forward by progressives over the years beyond critique? Are criticisms to be dismissed as anti poverty out of hand?

I see social housing projects that just promote poverty. We live in a time and society that provides-- not perfect, not all encompassing-- but undeniably better help to those with substance abuse and other problems than certainly any Canadian society before it, yet there seems to be no abatement of these social problems. In fact, they seem to be getting worse.

It would be specious to suggest that efforts to solve these problems end up causing them, as many conservatives gleefully point out.

I think we on the left spend too much time and energy fighting fires on the periphery of the blaze.

We need to start demanding democratization of our political system. We need to demand the dismantling of the class warfare machine that is our judicial and law enforcement system.

And we need to develop real consequences for when these demands are not met.

Conservative pundits and the people who are in control will never be moved by compassion or reason. All they know is self interest.

It's time to start negatively effecting their self interest.

[ 04 September 2007: Message edited by: Tommy_Paine ]

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Any ideas on how to start?


Maybe I am ignorant of the law, and wrong...and lazy for not looking it up... but I think criminal charges don't always have to be laid by the Crown. I believe, like arrests, prosecutions can be done by citizens. I wouldn't undertake such actions at the drop of a hat, or without developing serious expertise, but I think it could have great effect if done right. Or how about class action law suits against Crowns Attorney or law enforcement that do not investigate or lay charges in an equitable manner?

The media is the media. They are free, and damn well aught to be free, to opine, report, spin and slant things they way they see fit.

But we are free also. If we don't like it, we are free to make a point of causing whatever legal economic hardship we can with whatever business' full page add comes first in the publication you take issue with.

I cut my teeth as a union rep in an old fashioned tough as nails factory. As a rookie, I did my best to fashion my arguments with them in terms of right and wrong, in terms of compassion, and in terms of reason. But I quickly found out that the only way to effect change was to find an economic lever on them, and pull it.

And that, when you can do it, works like magic... if you can ignore their bleatings about compassion, right and wrong, and reason. [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img]

Krystalline Kraus Krystalline Kraus's picture


I see social housing projects that just promote poverty

sometimes i believe that the field of social work is really in the business of misery and poverty. a lot of money changes hands between gov't and corporate sponsors and the variety of shelter staff, welfare officers, community social workers, social agencies, welfare offices, child protection agencies...the contuniation of poverty keeps these industries alive

when truthfully, social workers should be working to put themselves out of business; working hard to eradicate social problems so there would be no more work for them to do.

Krystalline Kraus Krystalline Kraus's picture


[ 04 September 2007: Message edited by: statica ]


"sometimes i believe that the field of social work is really in the business of misery and poverty. a lot of money changes hands between gov't and corporate sponsors and the variety of shelter staff, welfare officers, community social workers, social agencies, welfare offices, child protection agencies...the contuniation of poverty keeps these industries alive"

True, but I think it is even more basic than that. No matter what walk of life we come from, for the overwhelming majority of people it's strikingly similar to the walk of life their parents came from.

The parents of your dentist are likely to be, if not dentists, then professionals. It's no surprise that my father worked in a factory.

By grouping impoverished people together into social housing units, we are telling their children that living on welfare is "normal", and an acceptable way to live. Should we be surprised that we have, what conservatives like to call, multi-generational welfare families?

And by grouping them together, we allow them to be targeted for underfunding of their neighborhoods, of their schools, of, well, everything.

In this smaller facet of the big picture, we should be fighting to have social housing spread out into all neighborhoods. So people on assistance can't be marginalized by the wealthy [i]or even themselves.

[ 04 September 2007: Message edited by: Tommy_Paine ]

Krystalline Kraus Krystalline Kraus's picture


Any ideas on how to start?

Take action:

Activists across Ontario have declared a day of action against poverty on September 26, with a variety of local actions converging on Queen’s Park, in Toronto. See this link: [url=http://www.ocap.ca]OCAP[/url]

Included are a mass panhandling at Metro Hall and a dis/ability action with demands for greater dignity, independence and accessibility as part of the day’s festivities. see link here: [url=http://ocap.ca/tap/disabilityaction]OCAP dis/ability action[/url]

Vancouver’s Anti-Poverty Committee Homes Not Games campaign [url=http://apc.resist.ca/]Vancouver Anti-Poverty Committee[/url] is currently committed to raising the issues of poverty and urban social cleansing in the shadow of the upcoming 2010 Olympics.

As municipal and provincial governments in BC becomes increasingly fixated on its polished global image, any dirt or stains of social inequity are being harshly bleached away.

Visible signs of poverty or homelessness are not a sign of a successful or civil city.

A Show You Care / Housing for All protest is planned for November 9th in Victoria, BC. see link here: [url=http://apc.resist.ca/events.html]BC rally[/url]

OCAP's “Raise the Rates” campaign calls for the provincial government to immediately raise welfare and disability rates by 40 per cent.
The aim is to end the panhandling crisis by ensuring all Canadians receive a fair (minimum) living wage or adequate social supports: Enough money to live on so no one has to beg.

Meanwhile, The Toronto Disaster Relief Committee (TDRC) launched the “1% Solution” campaign way back in 1998, calling on all levels of governments to commit an extra one per cent of their budget to build affordable housing (governments already spend one per cent annually). see link: [url=http://tdrc.net/index.php?page=1-solution]TDRC page[/url]

End homelessness by providing access to affordable housing (within a reasonable amount of time, wait lists should not go on for ever).


fantastic piece, Statica!

ill definitely pass it along