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Rosemary William’s, whose house was foreclosed on,
has been a banner for a growing movement to stop
foreclosures in Minneapolis and elsewhere.

By Dave Smokler

We all know the expression about the elephant in the middle of the living room. The saying refers to a huge problem that has an important impact on our lives and that no one wants to talk about. That elephant is messing up the place but everyone makes believe it’s not there and carefully negotiates around it. The saying implies that the problem should be resolved but no one’s willing to deal with it.

We always seem to be on the defensive, just trying to keep hold of what we have.  In each one of these battles for survival it’s the same folks that are trying to rip us off, take away our rights, destroy the environment or start a war against a distant people who we know nothing about. These folks are the ones with more money than they know what to do with. They own and control the corporations and banks and who knows what else.

They are called capitalists because they’ve got all the capital. Their system is called capitalism. We work for them, make barely enough to survive and compete with each other for crumbs from their table. Society tells us that this is a “normal” situation and that anyone who questions it is either “out of the mainstream” or crazy. There is absolutely no public dialogue about kicking that elephant out of our living room and what would be possible if we actually had control of our own home and our own lives.

Harriet Tubman is often quoted as saying: “I freed a thousand slaves.  I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” Indeed, psychiatrists once diagnosed slaves who ran away as having a mental disorder called drapnomania.

Today, there’s nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. We can’t really flee the capitalists. They own virtually everything, control our institutions and are constantly seeking more and more ownership and control. In fact, like the chattel slaves of yesteryear people don’t even believe that they are part of the working class.  Somehow they think that if they work hard enough the master will provide what they need or maybe they could be a master too.
But what if we were to reverse the tables? What if we were to take public ownership of the assets of society? What if we were in control? What if we pushed that damn elephant out of our house and cleaned up the place? What if we then walked outside stood on our front porches and embraced our neighbors who had just done the same thing? How would we recreate the world in our own image?

One of the things we could do would be to rewrite our constitution to guarantee that our government would plan the development of our nation where all of our material and social needs were satisfied, so all of us could thrive as human beings. God knows, with the technology we now have there doesn’t seem like there’s any reason we couldn’t do that. We could guarantee basic human rights that we don’t enjoy. Just to name a few:

•  The  right to work.
•  The right to relaxation.
•  The right to a free education from preschool through university.
•  The right to free medical care.
•  The right to a comfortable place to live.
•  The right to be free from discrimi nation because of race, skin color, sex, sexual
    orientation, national origin, religious beliefs and any other form of discrimination.
•  The right to a clean and safe environment.

One thing is clear until we clean house, that elephant is going to continue to create chaos and make our lives miserable! Let’s begin to envision what life could be like without him. Let’s organize to get him out and create a world that we can live in.

Send your articles on Vision and the Fight for a New Society
to People’s Tribune, PO Box 3524, Chicago, Il 60654

By Lenette Evans

Here in Berrien County, Michigan we have a poverty level of 14.4 percent, above the national rate of 13.2 percent. The rate is even higher among children: 22.4 percent of children under the age of 5 are living under the poverty rate, or 19.4 percent for all children in Michigan.

Many blame the government for the reason our economy is in the mess that it’s in as well as Whirlpool, which is a multi-billion dollar corporation who gives absolutely Nothing to the locals in its own community,  and their headquarters are right here in Benton Harbor! They have stolen land, they have torn down properties to build homes, condos, and a golf course for the rich Whirlpool and Chicago people.

There are thousands of people out of jobs, companies have gone out of business, people’s homes are being foreclosed on and, with no place to go, they are forced to move out of Michigan and to leave their families, loved ones and pets behind.

At the “Soup Kitchen” in Benton Harbor, the number of homeless people, the poor and just many families including children in need have doubled because people cannot afford food, and many go hungry. The Soup Kitchen is a non-profit organization and is open once a day from 11a.m.-1p.m. but the one meal a day is not enough for most people. People in the community give money or bring by food. This is how the Soup Kitchen survives.  More people that are able to give need to give to our local Soup Kitchen. How nice it would be if the Soup Kitchen could be open twice a day — once for lunch and once for dinner. This alone would help so many in Benton Harbor.

There is something everyone can do to contribute — donating money, volunteering time, serving meals, making fresh baked bread, pies or other dishes that will help feed so many in need of a meal. Imagine if this was you in need of a meal at the soup kitchen.
Many people who are in need have turned to churches for donations of food and clothing. The Alliance Center is a donation center at Napier/Broadway in Benton Harbor. There have been other churches that have opened up their doors that have food pantries to help the needy as well.

In times like these it’s God’s way of telling people to get on the streets and to help his chosen people. Imagine if you were homeless or poor — how would you feel? Imagine if this were your son or daughter standing in line at a soup kitchen — would you help then?
God is trying to transform our hearts to his heart and to take the selfishness, bitterness and greed from those like Whirlpool and other giant corporations who think more of themselves than they do others.

Our citizens in our community young and old need to get involved and make a difference.  Imagine if everyone demanded that Whirlpool give up some of their profit as well as those who can afford to give, give what they can. There are many in this community who can afford to give up something to help the poor and those in need!

LenetteLenette Evans,
Saving Souls Ministries
Benton Harbor/St. Joseph, MI


This article originated in the People's Tribune
PO Box 3524, Chicago, IL 60654, 773-486-3551,
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