War is Peace - Freedom is Slavery - Ignorance is Strength

Monday, June 07, 2004

Street Literature

Idling around at my Mom's pad, perusing her bookshelf, I happened to notice a stack of roughly bound, paperback sized, little books. The one on top had a black & white photo of Bush on the cover, and was titled The Public Revival of Facism - And the Criminal History of the Bush Family, which grabbed my attention.

What I learned from reading these four short books is that they are published and sold by a man named Michael Carver, who was, at least when he wrote them, living homeless in Portland.

Two of the books, Michael Carver: What It's Like to be Me parts 1 & 2, were particularly good. In both, the author not only tells about his life, and the day-to-day realities on the street, but also ties these things in to the larger social and political realities that lie at the root of the widespread homelessness, and working poverty that exist in this country.

Below I have included some excerpts from What It's Like to be Me Part 1 - Landless Peasant in Corporate America, and I strongly recommend that anyone who has any interest in social justice at all, try and get a copy of these books to read for yourself. The author can be contacted at ysmike@yahoo.com (address listed in the book).
...crawl outside, push the stakes back in the mud as solidly as I can, climb back in, then get dressed, wet, crouched down, unable to stand. Gather up the days necessities, don't forget anything! Straighten up the tent, and out into the wind, and rain. It's going to be a tough day selling newspapers. The walk to the bus stop is over thirty minutes long. I camp a long way out of town, to get away from most of the drunken convicts. The trick is to get so far away from any access to alcohol that the criminals are unlikely to camp there. I've been attacked in my sleep twice, once by a guy with a hatchet. I try to avoid that stuff these days.
If the people of this country want a healthy economy, with plenty of jobs, and plenty of money for education, health care, and social services (including Social Security), the single most important thing to do would be to raise the minimum wage to something a person can live on. The benefits of this are exponential. Not only would the working class have money to spend, and not have to apply for social services, but they could cut back on their hours, freeing up hours for another worker, thereby creating jobs. The tax revenue generated by raising minimum wage would cover all the budget needs, and working less hours would allow parents to spend more time with their children.

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