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Election 2000: Poverty is Issue Number One

by People's Tribune/Tribuno del Pueblo Thursday, Aug. 17, 2000 at 1:34 AM
pt@noc.org 773 486 3551 PO Box 3524, Chicago, Ill 60654

Isnt there something wrong with a society where people decked out in diamonds and fur coats are stepping over homeless people laying on the sidewalk? The obscene polarization of wealth and poverty is barely acknowled by the so-called "major" parties. Our wealth - the wealth of our labor created - and our technology have given us the power to end poverty. But to do this, we, the people, must first gain control of the wealth.


People's Tribune/Tribuno del Pueblo (Online Edition)

Vol. 27 No. 8/ August, 2000

P.O. Box 3524, Chicago, IL 60654




As the date for the 2000 election draws closer, a simple, powerful

question confronts every candidate, every party, and -- in one way

or another -- every person in this country: What are we going to

do about the growing poverty in America?

Let's brush aside the lies that are routinely published and look

at the facts. Behind the glitter of the "dot-com" millionaires and

the stock-market frenzy is the real America. In the real America,

some 30 million people go hungry at some time each month. Millions

are destitute and homeless, surviving from day to day by begging,

collecting scrap metal or working day-labor jobs. Millions more

are temps, part-timers or working full time at minimum-wage jobs

with no benefits.

Many homeless people are working full time yet still can't afford

housing. Many people are working two and three jobs just to feed

their families. Tens of millions have no health care or bad health

care. Even the "middle-class" worker is just a paycheck or two

away from being sucked down into the growing new class of poor.

At the top of our society, meanwhile, a tiny handful of

billionaires and multi-millionaires continues to grow fat and


Isn't there something wrong with a society where people decked out

in diamonds and fur coats are stepping over homeless people laying

on the sidewalk? Isn't there something wrong with a system that

prides itself on throwing women and children off welfare in the

midst of spreading poverty?

The obscene polarization of wealth and poverty in our country is

barely even acknowledged by the so-called "major" parties and

their candidates, and they certainly have not proposed a solution.

The days are gone when the ruling class, to protect its own

interests, handed out certain favors to the working class and

guaranteed a certain standard of living, at least for a large

section of workers. In those days, a thousand economic strings

tied the majority of workers to the ruling class, and that meant

the workers were tied politically to their rulers, as well.

Today, with technology replacing labor in the workplace and the

globalization of capitalism, the economic strings are being cut.

The workers are being told to sink or swim in a global economy. If

you can't make it, tough luck, and don't expect any help from the

government. And don't complain or fight back, or you'll be

answered with bullets and billy clubs.

As the economic strings are being cut, it's time for we, the

people, to cut the political strings that tie us to our enemies.

The identity politics of the past are no longer relevant. These

politics tie the people to the ruling class. The struggle that is

beginning to develop today is a class struggle -- a struggle

between social classes over who will control and organize society.

The question that is slowly coming to the fore is: Will we

continue to have a society where a wealthy handful of people own

and control the economy, and they decide who will prosper and who

will suffer? Or will we have a cooperative society, where the

people own and control the economy, and where everything necessary

to have a full, rich, cultured life is guaranteed to every person?

The politics we need today is class politics -- that is, a

politics based on the working class taking control of society and

reorganizing things in its interest. This is the only solution to

the spreading poverty that is destroying our country, and only the

people can impose this solution on the ruling class.

Imagine the society we could have. Our wealth -- the wealth our

labor created -- and our technology have given us the power to end

poverty, to provide health care and education for all, to give

every one of us the opportunity to reach our fullest potential.

But to do this, we, the people, must first gain control of the

wealth and the technology that we ourselves created. We have every

right to this. And we have the moral obligation to our children

and to history to do so.


The PEOPLE'S TRIBUNE/TRIBUNO DEL PUEBLO is available on the World

Wide Web at http://www.lrna.org

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