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Forum Post: Poverty is the new slavery

Posted 5 years ago on Oct. 24, 2012, 1:51 p.m. EST by Postman0917 (-46)
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CBS News) According to a new report out this past week, poverty in America has reached its highest level since 1965. That so many Americans remain poor is a source of concern for our contributor Tavis Smiley:

"Throughout American history there have been proud moments of revolution that forced the elite to remove their blinders of greed, tyranny and domination.

America has, of course, made great strides for freedom in regard to all of its citizens. But now America has regressed, and poverty is the new slavery.

The blinders are once again firmly affixed, and the necessary checks and balances have disappeared, making way for policies that coddle the wealthy, while the persistent poor, the working poor and the "new poor" are ignored and rendered invisible.

The fact that one percent of the nation's richest individuals control 42 percent of the nation's wealth is, to me, a stunning revelation in the wake of a recession.

The 400 richest people in America, according to Forbes, have more than one trillion dollars' of wealth. They each average $3.5 billion of net worth.

And, no, this is not the politics of envy, but rather a cautionary tale about what happens to a country that drifts so far away from any notion of fundamental fairness for its citizenry, that we end up a nation of the rich - and the rest of us.

Poverty threatens our democracy, a democracy with a deficit dilemma that the poor are not responsible for, yet they pay the price.

There are nearly 150 million poor and near-poor people in America who are not responsible for the damage done by the Great Recession.

Nearly one-third of the American middle class - mostly families with children - have now fallen into poverty.

The magnitude of the Great Recession confirms that poverty is no longer a personal calamity; it is, rather, a societal crisis.

The time is now to once again reawaken American democracy. It is time for righteous indignation against the fleecing of America's poor, given the indifference toward the poor that has infected our social, political and economic discourse. In short, it's time to make poverty a priority.

Where there is no hope for the future, there is no power in the present."




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[-] 3 points by WSmith (2698) from Cornelius, OR 5 years ago

To do anything about poverty with the debts and carnage Bush-Cheney left, and this Teabag Congress with no interest in governing, will be impossible. The War on Poverty was conducted with a thriving economy and a Dem Congress very much interested in governing for the good of the people. Our negligence in our democracy got us the negligent government we have now, and allows Big$ to hold the country's economy hostage with impunity. Get rid of all pols who just want to jam up our government, release the hostages, and then we can seriously attend to poverty and the many other things we've neglected. But it starts with US!!!

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (22871) 5 years ago

Very good post. And, think about the debates, barely a mention of the poor. We're in trouble.

[-] 3 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 5 years ago

This system is out of control. And while I do appreciate safety nets, I do think that the gov increasing them, as opposed to dealing with the structural problems at the top, is simply a move to quell the anger that would normally be developing right now.

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 5 years ago

If the slaves continue to rely upon the slave-masters, they will never be free.


The FreeDA Cooperative Employment Service is the 501(c)4 organization that would assess the skills of the unemployed individuals to patronize it and match them with a suggested cooperative business plan. Upon acceptance or rejection of the plan for an alternative plan, the FreeDA/CES would facilitate the crowdfunding of the new cooperative business. Of course, each municipality of cooperative communities should have their own branch of a nationwide Cooperative Credit Union to handle both cooperative and personal accounts. With the FreeDA Cooperative Employment Service and FreeDA Cooperative Credit Union established nationwide, the unemployed of each city would be consistently channeled into either newly or already established worker-owner cooperatives, modifying the economic well-being of society at a fundamental level.


[-] 2 points by Shayneh (-482) 5 years ago

That can't be true - Obama said he produced 4 million jobs during his term. I guess he didn't get the message that there were another 12 million unemployed along with 47% of Americans receivin some kind of government support.

But you can be sure that the unemployment rate on wall street and at the big banks and those who received government bailouts are at "0" and they are enjoying their mega-million incomes.

[-] 2 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 5 years ago

good post!

[-] 1 points by Postman0917 (-46) 5 years ago

Tavis Smiley & Cornel West on "The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto"

The latest census data shows nearly one in two Americans, or 150 million people, have fallen into poverty - or could be classified as low income. We're joined by Dr. Cornel West and Tavis Smiley, who continue their efforts to spark a national dialog on the poverty crisis with the new book, "The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto." Smiley, an award-winning TV and radio broadcaster, says President Obama has failed to properly tackle poverty. "There seems to be a bipartisan consensus in Washington that the poor just dont matter. President Obama is a part of that," Smiley says. "I take nothing away from his push on healthcare, but jobs for every American should have been primary issue, number one." West, a professor of religion and African-American studies at Princeton University, says that after the historic U.S. struggles against monarchy, slavery and institutionalized racism, "the issue today is oligarchy. Poverty is the new slavery. Oligarchs are the new kings. They're the new heads of this structure of domination." Click here to see part two of this interview. [includes rush transcript]


[-] 1 points by Postman0917 (-46) 5 years ago

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”

The ridiculous brainwashing-rhetoric that we all grew up on, that we were all conditioned since birth to believe in -that America is “the greatest nation on earth” because we are “the champions of democracy”, America is “The Land of the Free!” -this has always been so laughable to me, when our country, our entire way of life was founded upon slavery and exploitation and domination from the very beginning. And still today, most of us poor people work our entire lives away for minimum wage, at jobs we hate, just to barely get by. Us poor people spend most of our entire lives working hard every day for crumbs under a dictatorship in the workplace, while most of the profits of our labor goes straight into the pockets of our capitalist employer. This is freedom? Even slave-masters of the 1800’s fed their slaves enough to keep them alive and working. Us poor people don’t have time to “be free“, we’re too busy being slaves every day -in the land of “freedom” -in “the greatest nation in the world”.

"What is the best kind of slave to have? One who does not realize they are a slave! Obviously -- then they won't attempt to gain their freedom if they already think they are free. See how a slave system of this kind is created." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFlq4_NCwGM&feature=related

And as far as America being “a champion of democracy“?? -don’t even get me started...

"The American Revolution was the result of a series of social, political, and intellectual transformations in early American society and government, collectively referred to as the American Enlightenment. Americans rejected the oligarchies and aristocracies common in Europe at the time, championing instead the development of republicanism based on the Enlightenment understanding of liberalism. Among the significant results of the revolution was the creation of a democratically-elected representative government responsible to the will of the people. However, sharp political debates erupted over the appropriate level of democracy desirable in the new government, with a number of Founders fearing mob rule." -Wiki

Those political debates over the "appropriate" level of democracy "desirable" in the new government became a major turning point in the foundation of our country, it could have went either way. Those Founders who "feared mob rule" evidently didn't think it was "appropriate" to give WE THE PEOPLE too much power. They viewed WE THE PEOPLE as an irresponsible mob incapable of governing ourselves. A Real Democracy was never "desirable" to them in the first place and so We ended up with a shadow version of what We Fought a Revolutionary War over to get away from: A Nation of People Ruled and Oppressed By The Wealthy Elite.

[-] 1 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 5 years ago

Poverty is the new slavery

Iran is the new Iraq

Two bucks is the new ten cents

3 strikes is the new lynchin

Do nothing’s the new denial

Torture is the new torture

And freedom’s the new fantasy

There’s feds on your telephone

“Take care” is the new healthcare

Big business gets welfare

The Middle East is the new goldrush

We’ve made a new hell there

Revolution is the new fuck you

[-] 0 points by podman73 (-652) 5 years ago

Being dependant on gov crumbs to survive is slavery.

[-] 4 points by beautifulworld (22871) 5 years ago

Greed is the reason so many are in poverty. Greed. Less greed, less people dependent on government programs.

[-] 3 points by alterorabolish1 (569) 5 years ago

Greed just needed corruption so that it could flourish. Now it's not illegal to do many things most Americans would easily recognize as unfair. They're writing more laws as fast as they can to legalize their scams.

[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (22871) 5 years ago

Good point.

[-] -2 points by podman73 (-652) 5 years ago

There's a difference between wanting to improve your situation an make the most from your skills and greed. You left out another big reason other than greed you forgot stupidity. No one wants to take ownership of their stupidity as a factor in thier own demise.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (22871) 5 years ago

Good, you made me laugh. LOLOL!

[-] 3 points by MonsieurAvery (14) from Brooklyn, NY 5 years ago

Actually, there IS a point in that comment of his. Think in terms of the bankers who made off with the bailouts: none of them want to own up to their big mistakes. Instead, their defenders suggest it was the poor people who took loans they couldn't possibly pay back were at fault for the collapse.

Truth is, bankers aren't especially intelligent people.

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (22871) 5 years ago

I wish that was what he meant. I agree with you that it is in fact the wealthy in this country that are living off the rest of us.

[-] -1 points by yobstreet (-575) 5 years ago

That's well written; the question remains, are we to do this through charity or are we to do this through life purpose?