Poverty Prison: Columbia SC Demands Homeless People Go Away or Go To Jail
In what critics say is the most comprehensive anti-homeless measure ever passed, Columbia SC’s City Council has unanimously approved an “Emergency Homeless Response” plan under which patrolling police will remove unsightly homeless people from downtown under the aegis of the city’s “quality of life” laws – complete with a hotline so business owners can report the presence of any aforementioned unsightly etc – and take them to a shelter on the outskirts of town where more patrolling police will ensure they don’t up and wander back downtown. If they refuse to be taken, they will be arrested and taken to jail. If they try to leave the shelter, they will be returned to pseudo-jail. To justify this grotesque criminalizing of homelessness, business leaders explained in lengthy impact statements that the presence of homeless people in the city center made it “virtually impossible to create a sustainable business model,” which you’d think would be enough to throw all those people into jail or at least pseudo-jail. Still, there are problems. The shelter only has 240 beds, and there are over 1,500 homeless people. The shelter would only operate in winter. Both homeless advocates and the ACLU are considering bringing lawsuits. Courts are increasingly ruling against similar measures against the homeless. And even Columbia’s acting police chief is balking by inexplicably and admirably noting that “homelessness is not a crime.”
When we read these news we must think we just landed here, we are observers of a world system of abuse and have nothing to do with what is going on, we have to believe that Poverty and it’s consequences, like homelessness, are some sort of infectious viral disease that people brought onto themselves by not complying to how the system works, it’s their fault if they are poor and homeless, this is why we push hard in our lives to make sure we make it and don’t fall down to the rock bottom of the system where poverty, misery and all that comes with it, are awaiting for all of those unfortunate enough to land there.
If we didn’t disassociate with the world to the level we manage to do daily, we would have to question why some are homeless, why are there poor people in a world that has proved to produce more than enough for all but is just given and kept for some, and we would question the legitimacy of hoarding in the face of those that have to go without basic human needs, such as a home, a safe place where one can rest, a shelter for oneself and one’s family.
Of the many societies in this world we like best those were poverty is ‘dignified’ (?), where the poor understand their place within our society as away from the public eyes, away from ‘my eyes’ so I won’t have to look and question WHY I have the right to a home and some don’t, why I have a right to food and sustenance and some don’t.
I have been in the position of wanting the poor away from my sight, it pains me to think about the kind of person I have been and felt entitled to be, but there is nothing I can do to change the past if not see that I accepted the brainwashing of Inequality as a Status Quo that is ‘normal’, it’s easy to accept the ‘normality’ of a system of injustice when the injustice is not hitting us up close and personal.
I have woken up, today when I see a poor person I see the injustice, the abuse, the theft that all of us who have more are perpetrating against those that have nothing, I see their shame and misery as well, I see that it is a lie that ‘poor people are happier than us’, it is what we say to justify why we are not required to let go of our privileges to guarantee that all have access to a dignified life and so we live dreaming to hit the jackpot, vowing that when we do we’ll help others less fortunate and we don’t see that it is our unwillingness to let go of the desire for the jackpots of this world that creates poverty and inhumane lives that we leave behind for others to live.
So far we only care to manage consequences, when the consequences of this system raise their ugly heads we try to shoo them away or jail them, we found out that we could make money on consequences as well, how clever is that, so we privatized the ‘correctional’ system, we privatized the justice system first to make it work in support of the ‘private sector’, the Sect with their hands on the Money, the Loot, and then we privatized the prison system, so we create the problem, we let it run its course and then we catch the end result of it and jail it – and make a hefty profit on it too, as the cherry on the cake.
Sadly we believe that this will go on forever, that we can walk the tightrope between survival and disaster by complying, by going to work, by finding new inventive ways to make money on the lives of others, by raising good slaves in our image and likeness, by Obeying the Law, when in fact the truth is that there will be a point in everyone’s life when we’ll be forced to face this world, sooner than we think the ‘buffer money’, the ‘fuck you money’ required to buffer our existences away from rock bottom, or to tell the system to go ‘fuck itself’ will be too much, we won’t be able to save the necessary amount of money to create safety nets strong enough to catch us on our free falls.
We can go that way, there is nothing to stop us so far, or we can see in common sense that there is another way, we can see that we can stop our FREE Falls before we hit the ground with a thud, to wake up to the injustice of a system where abuse has become the new normality and instead Stand for a Change that will include All, Stand for a world that will Support All, and in one move address both the problems of the world and our damning fears that we may have to live like those whose lives we didn’t deem important enough to realign to a livable, dignified standard.
A new world starts with becoming aware that unless Life is For-Giving, unless Life is For-Given to All, then ‘I’ will always have to battle for my own Life, for my own survival, because I can’t get what I am not willing to give to others unconditionally and as I withhold the right to Life for others I have no Right to It and the World isn’t right for anyone.
Stand for a Living Income Guaranteed, we can have a world that works for All, we just need to make the decision and walk it and don’t stop this time until it’s done. Join us.