Friday, November 24, 2006


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Thriving in America

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to my blog site. I am the president and founder of Thrivers, a support and self advocacy group for people with low incomes in the Pacific Northwest. Right now I work for no pay. I am building an organization in my local community called Thrivers. We meet to find out what's going on in government that we need to weigh in on. We meet with our legislators. We participate with a state level non-profit of which I am the present Chair to implement policy changes that are based on statewide input from people with low incomes. Everyone gets an opportunity to learn about our economy and to learn about alternatives like our regional time dollar cashless trading system. My job involves research, staying on top of current events and legislative activities. I also develop teaching materials and deliver mini workshops at our monthly meetings. But wait, there's more! Because we are low income we have precious little time to devote to politics we are also encouraged not to be involved, so my job also involves breaking down barriers to participation. We have potlucks and eventually we will have a give away table with non food items people need. We network and help each other access needed services and navigate the social service system. I am also arranging to bring counselors and mental health providers to the meetings to provide us with one hour workshops that will give us tools for coping, help to boost our self esteem and courage. This holistic approach is necessary for success.

I am a very busy community organizer so my post will more likely be brief. The primary use for this site is to gain supporters for the work that I am doing and provide supporters with a journal type listing of my activities. I am also very solutions oriented. As I go along I will be offering suggestions as to what to do about all of this.

I do have a lot to say. I want to get my message out to as many people as I possibly can. I must offer a few disclaimers before I proceed. 1. I am not an academic 2. I am not professional writer. I reserve the right to add to the list as we go along! If you are looking to argue fine points or hoping to find out what the latest word from hot shots in political economy are then this is not it. What I can give you is a front line view of political economy from the perspective of people living in poverty in America. This page is a reality check for those who would like to make some kind of impact on creating a world that everybody can live in.

November 23, 2006
Today I would like to write about the tremendous gap that exist in funding low income political activism. In the past I guess this has just been the way of things. If you want to help the poor you must do it for free in your spare time. Today, the situation is far more urgent. We have always needed help with direct services but the Conservative agenda has had the effect of disenfranchising a huge segment of our population. Welfare reform has created a increase in the number of working poor. Yeah, that's right. A person can work 40 hours a week and still not be far enough above poverty level to be economical self sufficient.
Last spring I attended a precinct meeting for our local Democrats. We reviewed the new values statement for the party. Embedded in the document was the phrasing, today we accept that unions are no longer important. What is important today is that everybody has a job. OK, so now the entire working class has been shafted, in a bipartisan manner! Today the only right poor people have left is the right to work. Well, slaves had that same right!!

I cannot impress upon you enough how important it is for us all to realize that the "Third Worlding of America" is happening right now!! You can help to put a stop to this process now before it is so deeply entrenched that it will take generations to undo the tyranny. This is how reality works. We cannot wait until it is obvious with beggars in thr streets and masses of people being shipped off to who knows where to work for little or no wages. This is the reality behind the policy of everyone having a job. It may sound good on the outside but "inside are dead men's bones". You see, they have taken away our human rights as stipulated by international law. We call it budget cuts. The reality of these cuts are: without our permission our economic support network is being destroyed. We are being forced from our homes as rental subsidy rules have changed in favor of the moderately low income over the extremely low income. Now there is a segment of our population that cannot afford rental subsidy programs. We are also forced from our homes as HUD (Housing and Urban Development, the Feds) simply eliminate the number of available vouchers for housing subsidies. The free market does the rest of the damage with gentrification and with developers who received tax breaks for creating low income units. Once the time commitment runs out these developers simply eliminate the low income units. Our human right to health care have also been withdrawn.

With language like that found in the Democratic Party's Values statement you can see that our civil rights are also fading into the past. This is the explanation for why low income people tend not to vote. I can take a hint! We are desperately trying to keep our families fed. This is a Third World mentality! We are also encouraged by the media to believe that it is all our fault. That we just need to get a college degree, that low paying jobs are less valuable, that social services are an economic burden on others and so we shouldn't want them and God forbid you should become ill or old and not able to work. In today's economy, that just makes you garbage. If you do not have a major good insurance policy illness results in you being forced to "spend down" read: sell everything you do have in order to qualify for medical assistance. Disability takes years to get during which time you have no income. After you do get it you will have to find someplace to live on an income of about$800 per month. If you are lucky you may qualify for $20 per month in food stamps. You know, I bet you think I am exaggerating. I am always just as surprised that most people don't know the reality of "social services" as those who are surprised to find out the reality of social services. The media would have you think that people who receive income supports are living it up when in reality we are being put down. That is why there was not a powerful enough response against these "austerity measures" from low income people themselves.

Well, I am out to change all of that. I do the work that I do not just to help the poor. I want to bring America's working class into the circle of change alongside environmentalist and alternative economists. We have to do this. No cause will be successful until it is taken to the American people, explained to the American people and solutions offered that can be implemented NOW.
I repeat:
We have to do this. No cause will be successful until it is taken to the American people, explained to the American people and solutions offered that can be implemented NOW.
I repeat: We have to do this. No cause will be successful until it is taken to the American people, explained to the American people and solutions offered that can be implemented NOW.

We cannot continue to operate like we have in the past. I find that there is lots of support for helping the poor but not very much for eliminating poverty or to help people with low incomes gain political power. This is a strategic error that must be corrected. This blog site is devoted to giving all who read it an opportunity to make a targeted investment in an activity that will get us all to where we want to be. Please also consider that while philanthropy ponders how to incorporate leadership development into its funding plans the Right has all the money it needs to conduct campaigns of hate, bigotry and environmental destruction. This is a battle. It is not being fought with guns but with dollars. We simply have to invest in bringing thousands more Americans to the cause of peace and justice. Everyone I work with has never been exposed to the issues. They only know what they see on TV. This is crucial work people. Do you get what I mean? Have you ever wondered how we can have so many non profits working on so many important issues and still get our butts kicked? It's because we have yet to take our cause to the American people. It has to be done. I am doing it and there is no reason in the world why I should have to do it for free. As a matter of fact if I do not receive some targeted investments soon I don't know if I will succeed.

I hope this site will help folks to get a sense that strategy is very important. We cannot just hope for the best. We need to take power. That will cost money. Folks who are on the front lines, right now need your support, right now.