In regards to Rob Anderson’s article in the Spring Issue of Slingshot # 64 “The Left’s Betrayal of the Homeless,” many people are homeless because they want to be. For many runaway teens as well as other social outcasts, being homeless is the middle finger response to the system which caters to the rich and upper-class establishment of America. To many homeless, “we fight just by living, our existence is resistance.” Squatters Rights!
Food Not Bombs supports this way of life and so what? Who’s “status quo” are we challenging now? When homeless people take over abandoned houses and buildings, they challenge the status quo. These government funded shelters are just like anything else operated or funded by the American government: money making schemes pretending to “help the needy.”
Most of these shelters are revolving doors (I was in Innvision in Santa Clara County). These programs offer no type of rehabilitation or ways for these people to move forward in their life, but to stay in these government funded shelters. The shelters in return make more money. Often, the few programs that do help the homeless have such intense regulations that only a handful qualify, such as Housing, Social Security, Unemployment.. and other smaller programs, per “When Housing Disappears,” by Michael Radding, Spring issue #64.
Rob Anderson wrote, “The fact that these people find themselves living on the streets is evidence that their lives are out of control.” I think it is evidence that our government is out of control. Some people are homeless because they can’t find a decent paying job to survive on. Some people are homeless because they are addicted to drugs and alcohol, but not all homeless people are addicted to drugs and alcohol. Most of the homeless youth are runaways because they’ve had tough family lives and when the Child Welfare System (the counties legal kidnapping ring) intervenes, they take these children out of their homes, place them into institutions, like shelters and juvenile halls that fail to give the love these kids need and deserve. What do you think these kids do? They reflect and become a reflection and rebel. There are plenty of circumstances where our current system status quo needs to be challenged.
When San Francisco’s Mayor Willie Brown got a pie in his face, he got just what he deserved, if not more. Part of being a radical is direct action in any shape or form. The Biotic Baking Brigade’s pieing of Mayor Brown was a crafty, artistic political statement; like throwing a pie at a clown. Willie Brown is a joke; a bad joke and he just got what he deserves. The BBB should do their time proudly.
Of course, there are those situations as well, where there are the elderly, the sick, the mentally ill, drug abusers, people that want a change of life, but can’t find a place to fit their special needs. At least they can go get a warm meal at a Food Not Bombs serving.
If homelessness is such a problem for the working people, renters, homeowners, and small business owners, help them out! Offer a homeless person a job, organize within your community, take over abandoned buildings that could house these people. United we stand, divided we fall. What ever happened to the Presidio? Mr. Rob Anderson, you are complaining about people complaining about homelessness with no real action. What are your actions? Have you ever been homeless? Have you ever been involved with Food Not Bombs? While some of the homeless stay homeless and others join the struggle to rise from homelessness, at least FNB gives these people a warm meal. Would you rather see them starve or eat out of trash cans? We challenge the System’s status quo much more than your article in Slingshot does.
We also fight by living, our existence is resistance.