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Conditions and Consciousness

A Presentation on the Current Economic Crisis
by

Crystal Hall

on 21 March 2013

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Transcript of Conditions and Consciousness

“If they can be helped to take action together,
they will do so with a freedom and a power
that will be a new and unsettling force
in our complacent national life.” “means which have been called for,
and which are at hand,
to lift the load of poverty” The dispossessed of this nation
—the poor, both white and Negro—
live in a cruelly unjust society.
They must organize a revolution against that injustice,
not against the lives of the persons who are their fellow citizens,
but against the structures through which the society
is refusing to take means which have been called for,
and which are at hand, to lift the load of poverty.
The only real revolutionary, people say,
is a man who has nothing to lose.
There are millions of poor people
in this country who have very little,
or even nothing, to lose.
If they can be helped to take action together,
they will do so with a freedom and a power
that will be a new and unsettling force
in our complacent national life.

- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1967) “an edifice that produces
beggars [and billionaires]...” “the glaring contrast between
poverty and wealth” One of every 2 Americans
is poor or low-income. Every 18 seconds
a home undergoes foreclosure
in the United States. For every 3 people unemployed,
there is 1 job available. - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King
(December, 1963)  When you cut facilities, slash jobs,
abuse power, discriminate,
drive people into deeper poverty
and shoot people dead
while refusing to provide answers or justice,
the people will rise up
and express their anger and frustration
if you refuse to hear their cries.
A riot is the language of the unheard. Paraphrase of Picture the Homeless’
“Homeless People Count” report
The crisis does not exist
because the system
isn’t working.
It exists because that’s the way
the system works. How have Americans coped
with growing inequality
and stagnant wages? Inequality – the distance between rich and poor which can be calculated in terms of wealth
(i.e., assets and income) or income

Asset – ownership of profit-making investments

For example, factories, production technology, patents, stocks and bonds, etc.

Income – for most people primarily wages Wealth vs. Income True compassion
is more than flinging a coin to a beggar;
it is not haphazard and superficial.
It comes to see that an edifice
which produces beggars needs restructuring.
A true revolution of values
will look uneasily
on the glaring contrast
of poverty and wealth.
 
- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1967) Poverty The official poverty rate in 2011 was 15.0%,
or 46.2 million people were in poverty

An additional 33% of Americans
(97.3 million) are low-income

The federal poverty line for
a family of four was set at $22,350 in 2011

Low-income is below twice the federal line,
or $44,700 for a family of four One in every 7
Americans does not have
health insurance. There were 1 million
foreclosure filings in the
first half of 2012
Foreclosure rates have slowed
significantly
since the Q4 of 2010
Recent investigations
have revealed massive fraud
in foreclosure proceedings Foreclosures Foreclosure Activity and Home Price Index “a cruelly unjust society” The dispossessed of this nation
—the poor, both white and Negro—
live in a cruelly unjust society.
They must organize a revolution against that injustice,
not against the lives of the persons who are their fellow citizens,
but against the structures through which the society
is refusing to take means which have been called for,
and which are at hand, to lift the load of poverty.
The only real revolutionary, people say,
is a man who has nothing to lose.
There are millions of poor people
in this country who have very little,
or even nothing, to lose.
If they can be helped to take action together,
they will do so with a freedom and a power
that will be a new and unsettling force
in our complacent national life.

- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1967) Conditions vs. Consciousness Conditions and Consciousness:
The Current Economic Crisis To lift up the hidden genius of
leaders committed to the
unity of the poor and dispossessed,
while further developing
their leadership voices, organizing skills
and poverty scholarship toward
building a movement to end poverty Re-planting:
Responses to the Current Crisis Technological Innovation A Growing Polarity Between Wealth and Poverty Roots:
Economic Structure Health Care In 2011 15.7% of people in the U.S.
did not have health insurance,
or 48.6 million people

In 2011 9.4% of children
under age 18
(7.0 million)
were uninsured Leaves and Limbs:
Economic Indicators Re-planting Roots Leaves and Limbs Reduction of local, state, and national budgets through spending cuts

Elimination or privatization of social services as public goods

Examples: Fire fighters, police, street lights, food stamps, etc. Austerity Politics 7% 21% 29% 43% U.S. Wealth Distribution by Population 11.9 trillion 16.4 trillion 24.4 trillion 3.9 trillion Roots:
Economic Structure 21% 11.9 trillion 16.4 trillion 24.4 trillion 43% 29% 7% Response 1:
Austerity Politics Austerity Politics Response 2:
Living Politics and the
Movement to End Poverty
Full transcript