In the United States, a political dispute is raging over the right direction for the nation. The “change”-President and his Democrats propagate the necessity of checking and, if possible, reversing the progressive decay of the country, especially the process of de-industrialization and the impoverishment of entire sections of the population. The Republican opposition rejects all of the state’s corrective interventions into the course and results of capitalist competition as eating up funds and sabotaging America’s traditional path to success.
By John Clarke and Liisa Schofield - rabble.ca
On Dec. 1 [Ontario] social assistance rates will increase by an insulting one per cent. This increase is well below the rate of inflation which is estimated at three per cent this year. With inflation factored in, what [Ontario Premier Dalton] McGuinty calls a one per cent raise, is, in reality a two per cent cut. This cut is a loss of real income for the poor, which, when coupled with the major cut to the Special Diet Program, means a dramatic deepening of poverty in 2012 and beyond.
In Germany, rulers and ruled agree: “We” have built a solid economy, lowered wages for over a decade in exemplary fashion, and strengthened the competitiveness of “our” economy. We have solid growth and our debts are under control. Now “we” must rescue the lazy Greeks, Portuguese, Irish, and who knows who else with new loans, because they have been “living beyond their means.” Even if the self-righteous German view has recently triumphed in Brussels and gains approval from the rest of Europe – not a single word in it is true.
Sunday, November 27, 2011 - Common Dreams
While workers protest against austerity measures on the streets, cash-strapped Europeans are feeling the pain at home, struggling to pay for heating as winter approaches, reviving soup kitchens for the poorest and getting rid of costly pets...The debt crisis now ravaging the euro zone has seen governments cut spending, including to welfare programs, and raise taxes. Unemployment is rising and many Europeans are planning for a bleaker future.
By Annie Urban - November 23, 2011
The contrast is staggering. In the large cities of southern Ontario, Occupy Ottawa and Occupy Toronto protesters were evicted...from the tent cities they set up last month to protest economic disparities. One thousand kilometers further north...the residents of the Attawapiskat First Nation have been living in tents and sheds without water or electricity for years and no one is doing anything about it.
The Financial Crisis Continues as a Crisis of State Debt: The Imperialist Nations Fight for their Credit by Impoverishing their People
In the fifth year of the global financial crisis, the average person is still looking for a job or worried about losing one, and fears for what little savings he or she might have. The big investors flee into real assets, gold or Swiss francs, and increasingly shun government bonds – only a few years ago the safe harbor in the financial crisis, now rated as increasingly risky and falling in value.
By Anne-Marie O’Reilly and Warren Clark - November 21, 2011
In some areas, there is less than one job advertised for every 20 people seeking work, yet unemployment is being identified as a personal failing. Workfare is a manifestation of the government’s attempt to discipline and control the lives of the unemployed. A central theme emanating from both the Labour and Tory conferences was the condemnation of people getting ‘something for nothing.’
November 17, 2011 - Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
We must expect that sooner rather than later, cops will be mobilized to do on a larger scale what they do regularly to poor and homeless people trying to survive. They will be ready to use their power to clear out St James Park as their counterparts have done in a range of cities. Occupy Toronto has symbolized opposition to greed and injustice and has prompted people to take a stand.
By Robert Stevens - 15 November 2011
Last week, the bodies of Mark and Helen Mullins were discovered in their home in the small market town of Bedworth, Warwickshire. The married couple had made a suicide pact...When the couple died, they were living in a wretched and appalling state...For months, the couple had been unable to afford food or heating and did not have the means to buy basic household items.
Tuesday, 8 November 2011 - Libcom
[Mark and Helen Mullins], unable to get either employment or welfare, were forced to live in a single room of their house and to walk a 12 mile round trip to a Salvation Army food bank once a week...Far from the tabloid myth of welfare scroungers living it large on state handouts, what we have is an ex-soldier and his disabled wife having to live off donated food and eventually finding it so tough that they took their own lives.
By Kirsten Anderberg - November 12, 2011
The list of street characters I have met in my life as a woman street performer is long and memorable. While street performing, you become a part of the fabric of the streets and are privy to the front row drama that goes on there. You watch “bums” you know get hauled off to Detox, “bag ladies” who just tipped you shortly thereafter yell at walls and homeless teens being preyed on by the sex industry, all in a day’s work singing on a street corner. To those of us who lived much of our lives on streets, other street people became family.
By Michael Stewart - November 10, 2011
A common trope has emerged on radio talk shows, on-line media and the daily papers as Occupy Vancouver struggles against an increasingly hostile city hall, opportunistic electoral candidates and the justice system: the movement has alienated itself from the majority of Vancouverites even though that majority claims to support the stated goals of the global occupation. For anyone who has visited the art gallery lawns and is familiar with the struggles and demands voiced by the occupiers, this accusation should be infuriating.
By Frances Fox Piven - November 07, 2011
We’ve been at war for decades now -- not just in Afghanistan or Iraq, but right here at home. Domestically, it’s been a war against the poor, but if you hadn’t noticed, that’s not surprising. You wouldn’t often have found the casualty figures from this particular conflict in your local newspaper or on the nightly TV news. Devastating as it’s been, the war against the poor has gone largely unnoticed -- until now.
By Lana Bateman - Media Co-op
The Safe Streets Act has been largely criticized by groups such as the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty for its vagaries, specifically regarding the lack of a precise definition for “aggressive panhandling”...The act prescribes punitive measures against the poor, and has been denounced for ignoring the root causes of panhandling and homelessness: poverty. The Safe Streets Act exacerbates the poverty problem by giving out large fines to homeless people caught panhandling in the downtown area.
By Dennis Moore - 2 November 2011
Labour-controlled Manchester City Council (MCC) has voted through some of the severest cuts to services in the UK...These cuts to services will have a direct impact on thousands of the poorest and most disadvantaged. Manchester is the fourth most deprived local authority in the country, with the majority of its population living in the 10 percent most deprived wards in the UK. Life expectancy is the second lowest in the country.