Some thoughts on this MLK day

Joel DeVyldere

We don’t exist in a vacuum, as convenient as that might be. Because we’re alive and co-habitating on earth, any disconnection we can conjure tends to be of the artificially motivated and anti-humanitarian bent.

You might hear writers, thinkers and speakers articulating a particular human condition as an ‘inter-mingling of destinies.’

It’s true.

Schisms turn to rifts, and erupt into chasms. Gravity has a way of working with gale-force winds, and tree-clingers fall, limbs ripped from the icy branches in an awesome display of ‘just because.’

Houselessness and poverty are states of being which are becoming increasingly criminalized in the US. In cities like Boulder, CO, sleeping outside is a crime punishable by ticketing. In trendier cities like San Francisco and Berkeley, California, it is a punishable crime to sit on the sidewalk.

CNBC reported “18.4 million vacant homes in the U.S.” last year, while the Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress recently reported the documented the emergency shelter stays of 1.6 million houselesss human beings in the States.

There are least eleven open and available houses for every person freezing on these streets.

Houseless people are often considered a problem for which the government is constructing creative solutions - Yet survival fires, urban gardening and unlicensed makeshift shelters are almost universally illegal in the States. Houseless folks are not hitting bad luck in nature; It’s society that’s kicking them out and holding them back.

It’s true that in the States there are not enough jobs. Money is tight; and yet resources are far from scarce.

Even though there is enough food to feed them, enough clean water for them to drink and enough sewers to carry away their waste, the poor and houseless are subject to a cycle of supply and demand engineered to maximize profits for landowners.

Worse than any economic condition, the enforcement of property ownership has separated those who could not (literally or figuratively) inherit land and scattered many into hiding. A commonly voiced isolationist maxim advocates for living “off the grid,” but…

We cannot continue to trust and invest in a system that causes this kind of division. We cannot continue to endorse and proliferate capitalism:

War and poverty are not so different; both are inflicted by the rich and powerful on the poor and disenfranchised through forcefully insistent intermediaries.

What these two oppressions have in common may be the US Empire’s ultimate undoing: Because the rich insisted on agitating the poor, the class war has already begun.

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” - Martin Luther King Jr. (1967)