rc-am rcollins at
Wed Aug 18 16:15:32 PDT 1999

John Kawakami wrote:

> Scuse me?

you're excused.

> Many "leftists" are just people who hate the trappings of middle
> class boredom. They certainly glamourize the more glamourous aspects
> poverty (gang life, prison, living cheap, manual labor). Centrists
and right
> wingers do as well. They like to praise the worker, while withholding
> socialism.

perhaps you missed the point about fransiscans then? here it is elaborated, tedious, but you are being so polite: "these would be 'associated tendencies' would they not? the fransiscans were both a response otoh to the gluttony of the church and, otoh, to the rampaging mobs who killed fat priests and looted the churches. the fransiscans got to stay around, with the sponsorship of some king whose name eludes me, to preach the virtues of poverty to the masses whilst decrying the latter as a sin. ... but are there any socialist tendencies which operate the same? even socialism, to which i don't in any case s/bscribe to, argues for the (re)distribution of wealth, even if it doesn't include murdering paunchy bishops."

and, i would hardly say "the more glamorous aspects" of poverty are gang life, prison, living cheap and manual labour. where's the glamour in that?

> >and, is there really such an easy distinction between the working
> >and the homeless, especially in the US?
> Stability. Income is another, but mainly, it's stability. If there
> better safety nets, it wouldn't be that much of an issue that people's
> aren't that large.

for sure. but the days of a stable work life are well behind us, at least here in Australia: somewhere around half of those in work are casualised and temp workers. so, the original point, that there is no easy distinction between those who find themselves homeless and the working class still stands, does it not? either you are defining 'working class' as those in paid work, in which case, there are homeless who are also in paid work; or, you have to define it a lot broader than this, as carrol did in a recent post.

this interests me far more than any reasons people might define themselves as leftists, or even some green's bizarre elevation of consumption to a guiding principle of the economy and politics. if you think i see anything virtuous about poverty (or think it was implicit in anything i wrote), you should point to it directly. otherwise, your conversation is with someone else. my quarrel is with those who adopt a position of denouncing the 'venerators of poverty' as a way of, in turn, venerating a certain, limited definition of the working class (those hard working souls who pay taxes), otoh, and, otoh, who see in guiliani a representative of 'working class' aspirations -- ie., poser blue-collar conservatism.

Angela _________

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