Hello, I saw a lot of war on the poor, in Bakersfield. It made me super sad. More than ever, I perceive how the world is set up for the convenience and ease of people who have homes, cars, jobs, and are abled and have money. At the expense of everyone else.
We were at a stop sign, and saw this sign under it.
No soliciting, no peddling, no begging, no panhandling, no loitering. They are criminalizing the ways that the poorest people survive. It made me cry because I see the pain behind the sign.
We have the pain of a very poor person who needs the basics of food, shelter, clean clothes, a shower, health care, support. They stand where the cars have to stop before they turn right.
Then we have the person in the car, waiting to turn, who sees a suffering person and feels discomfort. Rather than that car-driving person needing to feel the emotional pain / guilt / shame of being a “have” in front of this “have not,” rather than meeting the needs of everyone in the society, rather than eliminating poverty… Law makers and cops make it illegal for anyone to stand there.
The physical bodily well-being needs of a poor person are irrelevant. It’s important that a person who drives a car doesn’t have to face their own privilege-discomfort and face the failures of capitalism. By giving the cops a clear posted reason to arrest an innocent person whose only crime is asking for money, the justice system shows whose lives have worth.
It costs money to pay the cops, pay the cop’s gas and uniform and benefits. Pay the jails, pay the guards there and the electricity and the people who do the jail computers, pay to feed the poor person their bologna sandwich in jail.
That’s so much effort and expense. Just to protect the car driver from the emotions they might feel, seeing a suffering person and knowing deep down that their success means another person’s suffering.
The poor person can beg, try to sell something, do sex work. Getting money direct into their hand is much faster than going through an agency which is bogged down with red tape and rules, and might take months to see any benefit.
Does the poor person want job training, clunky case management, crap housing with a bunch of other impoverished people, which might require that they do something religious, get bedbugs, or relinquish their dog? Have you been there? Of course it’s better to have some dollars in your hand and put food in your tummy. Or alcohol, or whatever will get you through another night.
It makes me think of no camping laws in cities, that you can’t sleep in your car. You can only sleep in a house, apartment, hotel, or whatever paid situation. Why is that? Shouldn’t cops have something better to do, than harass homeless people? Like fight actual crime. Strange idea, isn’t it. Cops enforcing capitalism is such a blatant farce.
We saw this sign in a Bakersfield strip mall, and I photographed Ming with it because it’s Ming Plaza. Isn’t he beautiful? It’s more war on the poor.
No rummaging through trash is pretty brutal, right? Canning for cash is someone sorting the recycling for you. Is that too painful to witness also?
Capitalism is a scam, and all this effort to hide its failures is evidence of that. For me, the solution has never been to get a better job and a bigger paycheck. “Participate harder” is fueling the system, and I’m too disabled to succeed.
There is no good way to do capitalism. It’s not like you ever arrive at security and safety. Who has enough money? It’s not possible because the odds are you will get cancer, and cancer treatment costs a million bucks. They got you by the cojones. Or if you need a lawyer, you’re screwed.
Capitalism means no one is safe. Not the homeless–not the housed. Not even the millionaire, who could lose it all and have to figure out how to be poor, a great life skill.
Thank you for showing up for this anarchist moment. Let’s call off the war on the poor. What if they threw a capitalism and no one showed up?
We’re here to love one another. Imprisoning someone for begging is the opposite of love. Everyone deserves freedom.