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A Few Good Men: Portraits of Homelessness

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  • The man held a sign on a piece of used cardboard, the word “Hungry” scrawled with a black magic marker.  I stopped, and offered him a banana out of my lunch bag.  He said he didn’t eat them.  I dug into the bag.  I had some walnuts and raisins, which I offered.  He ate walnuts, and his partner, well, she ate raisins.
  • Related: Special Report | The Franklin Hiawatha Encampment

Daniel Lichtenstein-Boris,  LA Progressive

 


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October 3, 2018 | A Salute from the Sidewalk

One morning I went to take the train to work.  A man sat across from the entrance of the Hollywood/Western Red line station.  Scrawny, in his early 30’s, he held a sign that read, “Homeless Hungry Disabled Vet.”  I had no food or cash.  All I did was tell him sheepishly, “Sorry, I don’t have anything.”  Most commuters pretended he did not exist; they looked down at their feet, walking briskly past.  “Thank you for your service,” I gave him a sheepish salute as I walked by.

Exiting the train station at my stop, walking to work on sidewalks where homeless sleep on cardboard boxes wrapped in soiled blankets covered by clear plastic that sticks to garmentslikeshrink wrapped cellophane, I saw a man wearing a Vietnam Veterans ball cap—a white man with a full head of snow-white hair puffing out from beneath his hat.  His beard extended a foot beneath his chin, unkempt full of scraggly salt and peppered gristles growing in different directions.  The six-foot-five vet stood upright with perfect posture.  He looked destitute, and in no rush, as he meandered across the sidewalk like he had nothing to do but loiter all day.

Daniel Lichtenstein-Boris has been engaged in struggles for social justice for 20 years, including over 10 as a professional union and community organizer, researcher, and campaigner.

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Related:

Special Report | The Franklin Hiawatha Encampment, Week Ending September 22, 2018, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest


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Story 1: Franklin/Hiawatha Encampment * Story 2: Frequently Asked Questions * Story 3: How To Help * Story 4: ‘Wall Of Forgotten Natives’ Lays Bare Mpls. Housing Crisis * Story 5: ‘A blessing,’ ‘a family,’ and ‘a shame on Minneapolis’: Voices from the Hiawatha Avenue homeless encampment * Story 6: Minneapolis officials pledge action to help residentsofhomeless encampment


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Help expand your impact by forwarding this story to any friends looking to get involved in 2018.

Section(s): 

Becoming Serfs

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https://www.truthdig.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Wealth-hedges-26aug2018-850x534.jpgA 2016 demonstration in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park, where the Occupy Wall Street movement started five years earlier. (Corinne Segal / pbs.org)

  • The global rich have demolished institutions that once protected the working class and dismantled our democracy to orchestrate the largest transfer of wealth upward in over a century.
  • Related: The Path Back to Equality Leads Through Unions

Chris Hedges, Truthdig

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August 26, 2018 | You know the statistics. Income inequality in the United States has not been this pronounced in over a century. The top 10 percent has 50 percent of the country’s income, and the upper 1 percent has 20 percent of the country’s income. A quarter of American workers struggle on wages of less than $10 an hour, putting them below the poverty line, while the income of the average CEO of a major corporation is more than 300 times the pay of his or her average worker, a massive increase given that in the 1950s the average CEO made 20 times what his or her worker made. This income inequality is global. The richest 1 percent of the world’s population controls 40 percent of the world’s wealth. And it is getting worse.

What will the consequences of this inequality be economically and politically? How much worse will it get with the imposition of austerity programs and a new tax code that slashes rates for corporations, allowing companies to hoard money or buy back their own stock rather than invest in the economy? How will we endure as health care insurance premiums steadily rise and social and public welfare programs such as Medicaid, Pell Grants and food stamps are cut? And under the tax code revision signed by President Trump in December, rates will increase over the long term for the working class. Over the next decade, the revision will cost the nation roughly $1.5 trillion. Where will this end?


http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Chris%20Hedges_0.jpg Chris Hedges, a weekly columnist for Truthdig, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has reported from more than 50 countries, specializing in American politics and society.

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Related:

The Path Back to Equality Leads Through Unions, Nathan Pippenger, Democracy

  • https://3yaxqw1hoybz1qcak31ysc9f-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/FemaleTradeUnion-704x481.jpgThe Nation summarizes an important new finding: Americans of the mid-twentieth century had unions to thank for their booming, egalitarian economy.
  • Related: New Study Confirms That American Workers Are Getting Ripped Off.
     

 

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The Path Back to Equality Leads Through Unions

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  • The Nation summarizes an important new finding: Americans of the mid-twentieth century had unions to thank for their booming, egalitarian economy.
  • Related: New Study Confirms That American Workers Are Getting Ripped Off.

Nathan Pippenger, Democracy


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June 1, 2018 | rom the end of World War II until about 1980, the United States was in the fortunate position of benefiting from two simultaneous trends: The economy prospered as wages became more equal (an era known as the “Great Compression”). There’s still some debate among economists about exactly why this happened, an argument with obvious relevance to our own era of deep inequality. But according to a new study highlighted by Mike Konczal in The Nation, the role of one factor is now undeniable: unions. Summarizing the new research, Konczal writes that “the growth of union membership—to a height of nearly 30 percent in 1955, before falling to its current low of 10.7 percent—explains the Great Compression every bit as much as theories about education or any other single factor.”

  http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Labor%20Getting%20Its%20Fair%20Share%20of%20the%20Pie_0.jpgKonczal knocks the economics profession for “casually dismissing the role of unions” and gently ribs the idea that anybody would be surprised by “the statement ‘unions help workers.’” But as he acknowledges, detailed data on union membership was unavailable until recently—and moreover, there’s at least the possibility that unions could actually increase overall inequality, by widening the wage gap between their members and non-unionized workers. As Timothy Noah noted in his book The Great Divergence, this was actually what most economists believed until the 1980s. Konczal doesn’t precisely comment on the older idea that unions might actually exacerbate inequality, but he does refer to the theory that “since unions merely transfer wealth among workers, they wouldn’t lower inequality overall and might even slow economic growth.” It turns out that idea is probably mistaken as well. In fact, the results seem to effectively counter all the familiar theories about the possible negative effects of unionization on either income equality or economic growth—all while demonstrating that unions were more diverse, in terms of both skill and racial composition, than is widely believed.

Nathan Pippenger is a contributing editor at Democracy.

Read more …

Related:

New Study Confirms That American Workers Are Getting Ripped Off. Eric Levitz, New York Magazine

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/McDonald%27s%20Employees%20Fight%20for%20Higher%20Wages.jpgWhy we fight. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

(Trump's) right to claim that Americans are getting the short end. But the primary cause of that fact isn’t bad trade agreements or “job killing” regulations — its the union-busting laws and court rulings that the president has done so much to abet.
 

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David Culver, Publisher and Editor, Evergreene Digest

Section(s): 

Special Report | The Franklin Hiawatha Encampment, Week Ending September 22, 2018

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Story 1: Franklin/Hiawatha Encampment * Story 2: Frequently Asked Questions * Story 3: How To Help * Story 4: ‘Wall Of Forgotten Natives’ Lays Bare Mpls. Housing Crisis * Story 5: ‘A blessing,’ ‘a family,’ and ‘a shame on Minneapolis’: Voices from the Hiawatha Avenue homeless encampment * Story 6: Minneapolis officials pledge action to help residents of homeless encampment

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

 

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Editor%20Comment%20icon_0.jpgEvergreene Digest Editor's Note: The situation described in these stories - the Franklin Hiawatha Encampment - is a very fluid one, changing day-to-day, almost moment by moment. These six stories will give you a grounding in the situation. For recent developments google https://www.franklinhiawathacamp.org/. Of course we'll do our best to keep you up-to-date as well.

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Week Ending September 22, 2018 |

Story 1 Franklin/Hiawatha Encampment, Metropolitan Urban Indian Directors
Sep
6,2018 | Metropolitan Urban Indian Directors (MUID) stands in solidarity with our community and partners and we are committed to dedicating our organization’s resources to support this effort. To read MUID's full statement on this issue, please click on MUID Statement above.
Full story …

Story 2: Frequently Asked Questions, Metropolitan Urban Indian Directors
Sep
6,2018 | Below are the answers to some of the frequently asked questions about the camp. Note that this is an ever-changing situation.
This page will be updated regularly.
Full story …

https://res.cloudinary.com/hrscywv4p/image/upload/c_limit,fl_lossy,h_1440,w_720,f_auto,q_auto/v1/803058/Logo_for_camp_cropped_square_xijlxj.jpgStory 3: How To Help, Metropolitan Urban Indian Directors
Sep
6,2018 | Here are some ways you can directly contribute financially and materially to the organizations that are working both on the ground at the camp or volunteer and otherwise participate on mid and long term solutions.
Full story …

Story 4: ‘Wall Of Forgotten Natives’ Lays Bare Mpls. Housing Crisis, Angela Davis, WCCO-TV (Minneapolis, MN)
September
12,2018 | A housing crisis has turned into a very visible problem for the city of Minneapolis.
Full story …

Story 5: ‘A blessing,’ ‘a family,’ and ‘a shame on Minneapolis’: Voices from the Hiawatha Avenue homeless encampment, Jim Walsh, MinnPost
09/12/2018 | The Monday afternoon sun beat down hard on the intersection of Hiawatha and Cedar Avenues, as the estimated 300 citizens of the largest homeless encampment in state history began another week of living in the shade of the Little Earth housing complex.
Full story …

Story 6: Minneapolis officials pledge action to help residents of homeless encampment, Nina Moini, Minnesota Public Radio (MPR)
Aug
23,2018 | Minneapolis officials said Thursday that the number of people at a homeless encampment on the city's south side has doubled in a week — and the city outlined steps it plans to take to help the camp's residents.
Earlier: Groups work together to help Minneapolis homeless encampment
Full story (Audio) …

 

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Select Articles | Labor, Week Ending September 15, 2018

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  • Part 1: Steelworkers Vote To Strike If They Don’t Get Piece Of Corporate Windfall
  • Workers seek pay raises and protection of health care and pension benefits.
  • Part 2: UPS Contract Vote Starts this Week.
  • Here's What You Need to Know.

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1: Steelworkers Vote To Strike If They Don’t Get Piece Of Corporate Windfall

Workers seek pay raises and protection of health care and pension benefits.

Mary Papenfuss, HuffPost

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Labor%20Getting%20Its%20Fair%20Share%20of%20the%20Pie_0.jpg09/10/2018 | Workers for U.S. Steel will head back to the bargaining table on Monday, armed with a nationwide strike authorization vote.

With corporations awash in tax cuts and protected from competition by Trump administration tariffs, United Steelworkers (USW) leaders say members want a contract deal that provides them with a portion of that windfall.

Mary Papenfuss <>, Trends Reporter, HuffPost <>

Read more …

Part 2: UPS Contract Vote Starts this Week. Here's What You Need to Know.

UPS Teamsters

https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/teamstersunited/mailings/1433/attachments/original/vote-no-blast.jpg?1536416179UPSers Are Getting Ready to Vote No

UPSers are getting ready to Vote No in big numbers to reject givebacks and send them back to the table to negotiate a better offer.

Members are Voting No to stop two-tier 22.4 drivers, take on harassment, subcontracting, and excessive overtime, and win $15 starting pay and catch-up raises for part-timers.

UPS Teamsters United is a grassroots campaign to prevent givebacks and win the contract we deserve.

Read More …

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