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No Road Back

By       Message David Glenn Cox       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   3 comments

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It is really not so hard to be poor, the inability to purchase things or
accumulate things is a relatively an easy adjustment. It is also an
easy matter to adapt from a personal vehicle to public transport. The
primary difference is without any income you really don't have anyplace
to go. You must marshal your resources for those things which are truly
necessary. Where for instance would it be more important to visit than
say to purchase tooth paste?

Life becomes a matter of rather simple choices, when this poverty first
fell upon me, I was in shock. Me? This can't happen to me, I've always
been able to find work. I've always been that good employee. I've danced
the Capitalist tune and said nothing as my benefits were cut. But hey,
it all going to be alright isn't it?

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross describes to us the five stages of grief, a
hypothesis explaining how the human mind deals with catastrophic loss.
So of course, my own shock and disorientation was quite predictable and
to be expected. This is the first stage, Denial.

Anger is the second step in the process, and perhaps, the most difficult
to explain. If I were suffering from terminal cancer, I could be as
angry as I liked but with poverty, ah, that is very different. You
better not be angry, no sir, you must smile and say yes, all is
wonderful. You mustn't upset the children or the spouse or potential
employers or the police. Your rage at being publicly pillaged must be
suppressed because as far as society is concerned, it isn't happening.

Ten million home foreclosures which really didn't happen either, twenty
million permanently unemployed and under employed who really don't
exist. I have crossed this country in a bizarre odyssey and everywhere I
go I see the homeless, the struggling and the unemployed. I see nerves
on edge and minds ragged from long nights of distress. Mother's trying
to feed children and mothers put out of their homes because they earned
too much for food stamps and not enough for mortgage assistance.

Citizen soldiers stripped of their civilian identities, men living under
bridges and men who live nowhere at all. Mother's explaining why there
will be no seconds or Christmas. Politicians who speak of economic
recovery as a foregone conclusion as they claim for a third year that
the housing market has finally bottomed out, Yet they speak of us the
American people, as no more than ghosts, as faceless numbers, as
arbitrary statistics. I have met these numbers, these men, women and
children; I have felt their pain and heard their tears. The innocents
debased and ignored, young people trying to make it in a fixed crap
game. Children told to study to get ahead when there are no jobs and
will be no jobs.

A minimum of forty million Americans pushed from their homes plus those
evicted from rental homes and apartments and this invisible army grows

Civilian Labor Force; May 2011, 153,700,000

Civilian Labor Force; May 2012, 155,007,000

Employed; May 2011, 139,808,000

Employed; May, 2012 142,287,000

Not in Labor Force; May 2011, 85,613,000

Not in Labor Force; May 2012, 87,958,000

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Persons who currently want a job; May 2011, 6,216,000

Persons who currently want a job; May 2012, 6,291,000

Could only find part-time work; May 2011, 2,475,000

Could only find part-time work; May 2012, 2,649,000

The next step is bargaining; when you begin to bargain you no longer
think of yourself as what you once were, you now think expediently. What
I can do today to earn a buck, you no longer think of yourself as a
manger, salesmen or biological engineer. You're no longer a grant writer
helping underprivileged children, you're a maid cleaning someone's
house for cash to put gas in your car or you're shoveling dirt or rocks
or building fences or lumping trucks to buy a pair of shoes, anything
for a buck and for the most part, you're working for the same people who
claim you don't exist in the first place.

Government workers; May 2011, 20,348,000

Government workers; May 2012, 20,059,000

You bargain for your wages and now, in a new twist many of the
Craigslist ads want you to bid on the job in a race to the bottom.

Marginally attached to the work force; May 2011, 2,206,000

Marginally attached to the work force; May 2012, 2,423,000

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Discouraged workers; May 2011, 822,000

Discouraged workers; May 2012, 830,000

After the bargaining stage comes depression, which is an easy step with
no need to deviate too far or too fast to begin to understand the simple
and obvious fact. Not one single occupation listed by the Bureau of
Labor Statistics website shows any wage growth above the rate of

Not a single political party offers any plans or prescriptions, let
alone respite or shelter from the storm. So we move along to acceptance,
now acceptance is a little tougher to swallow because it sticks like a
bone in your throat. You're asked to accept that you will never have
anything ever again. You will never control your own destiny but instead
just drift along on the winds of discontent and the storms of

"Remember, remember always that all of us, and you and I especially, are
descended from immigrants and revolutionists." -- Franklin Delano

There is a shattering reality which comes with acceptance that this
prolonged poverty daily saps your soul and your strength, it robs you of
who you really are. You have become something different from who you
once were, you begin to lose your identity and become a cold empty shell
unsure of how to act anymore.

"Necessitous men are not free men." People who are hungry and out of a
job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made. - Franklin Delano

I am no longer a free; I am no longer either a Democrat or a Republican.
I spit upon the foolish political side show of corporate fascism
designed to convince the rubes in the hustings that they are somehow
free when they are nothing of a sort. I am a revolutionist now with
utter contempt for my government, I am oppressed and impoverished by its
neo-liberal policies and my only salute this Fourth of July for the
government of the United States consists of only one finger.

From the CIA World Fact Book:

"In this market-oriented economy, private individuals and business firms
make most of the decisions, and the federal and state governments buy
needed goods and services predominantly in the private marketplace. US
business firms enjoy greater flexibility than their counterparts in
Western Europe and Japan in decisions to expand capital plant, to lay
off surplus workers, and to develop new products. At the same time, they
face higher barriers to enter their rivals' home markets than foreign
firms face entering US markets."

"The onrush of technology largely explains the gradual development of a
"two-tier labor market" in which those at the bottom lack the education
and the professional/technical skills of those at the top and, more and
more, fail to get comparable pay raises, health insurance coverage, and
other benefits. Since 1975, practically all the gains in household
income have gone to the top 20% of households. Since 1996, dividends and
capital gains have grown faster than wages or any other category of
after-tax income."

"In 2008, soaring oil prices threatened inflation and caused a
deterioration in the US merchandise trade deficit, which peaked at $840
billion. In 2009, with the global recession deepening, oil prices
dropped 40% and the US trade deficit shrank, as US domestic demand
declined, but in 2011 the trade deficit ramped back up to $803 billion,
as oil prices climbed once more. The global economic downturn, the
sub-prime mortgage crisis, investment bank failures, falling home
prices, and tight credit pushed the United States into a recession by
mid-2008. GDP contracted until the third quarter of 2009, making this
the deepest and longest downturn since the Great Depression."

If this is the longest downturn since the Great Depression why is it
called a recession? It is a rhetorical question of course, as Newsweek
magazine promotes a cover story on Annie Leibovitz on its domestic cover
and "Losing Afghanistan" as the headline on its international version.
No different than any other corporate state sponsored propaganda.

"Of course, Socialism is violently denounced by the capitalist press and
by all the brood of subsidized contributors to magazine literature, but
this only confirms the view that the advance of Socialism is very
properly recognized by the capitalist class as the one cloud upon the
horizon which portends an end to the system in which they have waxed
fat, insolent and despotic through the exploitation of their countless
wage-working slaves." -- Eugene Victor Debs

The modern proletarian class doesn't carry out its struggle according to
a plan set out in some book or theory; the modern workers' struggle is a
part of history, a part of social progress, and in the middle of
history, in the middle of progress, in the middle of the fight, we learn
how we must fight... That's exactly what is laudable about it, that's
exactly why this colossal piece of culture, within the modern workers'
movement, is epoch-defining: that the great masses of the working people
first forge from their own consciousness, from their own belief, and
even from their own understanding the weapons of their own liberation. --
Rosa Luxemburg

So there is one last step in the chain reaction, one more phase of
acceptance, it is understanding. The understanding that you did not
choose this path for yourself, it was chosen for you by your enemies. An
identity created in the crucible of understanding which explains to
you, you've nothing left and there's no road back


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I who am I? Born at the pinnacle of American prosperity to parents raised during the last great depression. I was the youngest child of the youngest children born almost between the generations and that in fact clouds and obscures who it is that I (more...)

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