Forum Post: POVERTY IS BIG BUSINESS but the people can beat big business. Here's a discussion of HOW WE WIN.
Posted 2 years ago on June 5, 2013, 1:39 p.m. EST by therising
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In a recent article in Salon, the author said this about poverty being ignored as a prime factor in determining academic performance: "The 'reform' movement (and its loyal media outlets) cast a discussion of poverty as taboo because poverty and inequality are byproducts of the same economic policies that serve that movement’s funders. . . Thus, those corporations, politicians and activists in the “reform” movement do whatever they can — bash teachers, scream strong-but-meaningless words like “accountability,” criticize public school structures, etc. — to shift the education conversation away from poverty and inequality." Full article here (it's excellent): http://www.salon.com/2013/06/03/instead_of_a_war_on_teachers_how_about_one_on_poverty/
When you look at what's going on with public education and privatization of schools in America, you realize that poverty is big business (as are prisons). As things stand, regular folks just don't have the weight they need influence policy. The forces dismantling safety net and profiting from it..... They have much more weight.
Maybe it's too simplistic but it seems like campaign finance reform / voters choice act might help change this. Not only would it give other voices a chance but it might also get more citizens to actually participate because they feel like they have a voice. We both know citizens COULD now have a voice if they participated. I just don't totally blame them for not participating (I wish they would but understand why they might feel it's useless.... Because they feel that the system is rigged and their interests aren't represented).
It seems like a vicious cycle that we need to spin ourselves out of if we're going to ever push back successfully against the monied interests for whom deregulation and privatization are the name of the game. In my view they, like the guys on Wall St., are just cashing in on America while undermining it.
Part of this, it seems to me is a community / spiritual crisis. If the powerful realized that they'd be happier and more successful in a strong community with good public infrastructure, they'd surely be defending it. Too many Gordon Gekkos out there that haven't yet discovered that half of life is living in community with others and fostering the strength of that community.
At some point, I think political leaders need to get up and actually say this stuff. In my view, it is then that citizens will feel the strength and possibility that is vital to them taking a grassroots stand. I think it starts with leaders saying it out loud and appropriating the "general dis-ease" people feel and giving it a name... Really laying out what is actually causing the general uneasiness and instability.
I just rewatched the excellent film "Inside Job". Worth viewing again if you haven't seen it in a whole. It lays this out so beautifully and shows the dysfunction and the possibilities. Imagine if Wall St. paid a sales tax like the rest of us. Our budget crises could very well be eliminated.
So many problems. Yet one underlying solution would fix most: if the ministers and teachers and political leaders who shape young minds and minds of all ages could convey the benefits of community, it seems that everything else would follow from that understanding. Maybe that's the real work. The rest is all just hard work and details.
At some point, current leaders will look back on their lives and what they've contributed to the common good. It would be great if we all started thinking more and more about this now. As a wise person has pointed out to me on numerous occasions, once the people really move on something and say it loud with one voice, institutions, governments and policies move to, no matter how heavy.
Too often, I think we try to take the shortcut of acting behind the scenes to change institutions or policies. If we don't take the longer route of engaging the people, the journey is often a waste. The weight, the force comes from rising public will. Look at what's happening in Turkey....