Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The Dignity Project- Class Warfare

Some may wonder what the Dignity Project has to do with Class Warfare, but it is a document that articulates the fact Class Warfare exists and is doing very well in Canada, thank you so much. To re-iterate, the overall comments towards those who live in poverty is negative. It is usually their fault they are poor- either through bad choices, addiction and substance abuse or the catchall category, lazy.

To give the definition:
Class conflict refers to the concept of underlying tensions or antagonisms which exist in society due to conflicting interests that arise from different socioeconomic positions and dispositions. Class conflict is thought to play a pivotal role in history of class societies (such as capitalism and feudalism) by Marxists[1] who refer to its overt manifestations as class war, a struggle whose resolution in favor of the working class is viewed by them as inevitable under capitalism.

It's usually the term used by the underclasses and their political representatives to inspire them to overthrow the overlords. Things have changed, now we expect the underclasses to mind their position and take the abuse.

I was standing in line at the local social service office, I had to drop off some information to one of the executive, I was not applying. As I stood there, this young woman, I'm going to say probably early 20's came storming out of the back part of the office, cursing and swearing. No idea what her problem was but I`m going to think she didn`t receive the answer or help she was looking for or requesting. She continued her tirade and kicked a few doors as she left the place. I want to suggest here is another soldier or perhaps one of the `walking wounded` in the class war. For some reason she now has to be dependent on the welfare system, it may be for a few years or that through the auspices of Ontario Works, some sort of educational program could be implemented.

It seems the system, which is constructed to help people such as herself, is so overworked and over burdened that there are cracks and people are reacting in less then helpful ways. I am certain the local workers at Ontario Workers are not callous individuals who are indifferent to the concerns of their fellow humans, it just the system is such that humanity and humanism is stripped out and tossed out. This is class warfare.

So what can be done? The Dignity Project has made a manifesto:
I believe that:

* Everyone should have access to life’s basic necessities
* Poverty is a scourge on society that puts dignity out of reach
* People’s lives change when they are treated with dignity
* Everyone has a right to a sense of dignity
* The fight against poverty deserves my personal attention

By the way, as a bit of history, this is not the first manifesto from The Salvation Army, William Booth in his book: In Darkest England and the Way Out came up with the Cab Horse Manifesto or Charter:
It is the standard of the London Cab Horse. When in the streets of London a Cab Horse, weary or careless or stupid, trips and falls and lies stretched out in the midst of the traffic there is no question of debating how he came to stumble before we try to get him on his legs again. The Cab Horse is a very real illustration of poor broken-down humanity; he usually falls down because of overwork and underfeeding. If you put him on his feet without altering his conditions, it would only be to give him another dose of agony; but first of all you'll have to pick him up again. It may have been through overwork or underfeeding, or it may have been all his own fault that he has broken his knees and smashed the shafts, but that does not matter. If not for his own sake, then merely in order to prevent an obstruction of the traffic, all attention is concentrated upon the question of how we are to get him on his legs again. Tin load is taken off, the harness is unbuckled, or, if need be, cut, and everything is done to help him up. Then he is put in the shafts again and once more restored to his regular round of work. That is the first point. The second is that every Cab Horse in London has three things; a shelter for the night, food for its stomach, and work allotted to it by which it can earn its corn.

These are the two points of the Cab Horse's Charter. When he is down he is helped up, and while he lives he has food, shelter and work. That, although a humble standard, is at present absolutely unattainable by millions—literally by millions—of our fellow-men and women in this country. Can the Cab Horse Charter be gained for human beings? I answer, yes.

Today the class warfare that exists against the submerged tenth, to quote General Booth must end and end today. The attitudes that are so common and popular need to be replaced with a sense of compassion and care. Certainly there needs to be challenges to some people so that they stop the nonsense, but that can only happen when the hand up is offered and not the slap to the face.

Retired General John Gowans had it right when he declared the mission of The Salvation Army to be:
to save souls, grow saints and serve suffering humanity

I think I`ll end with that comment.

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