I am relieved for them at Super InTent City, they exist so, City of Victoria ,might as well do it right. cool. Thank you Lisa Helps and Marianne Alto for always being there to listen, thank you council members who are not only just allowing it but, engaging as well, being informed, voicing concerns.   In the end, Martin Luther Kind worked closely with union folks as I want to and, helped build the Build Homes Now and Fight For a Livable 4 All Income.  We need economic change.  Read below the article for more form MLK jr.

We need water run off from showers to not go in where fish are swimming.

Thank You City of Victoria!

News / Canada

Running water, flushing toilet coming to Victoria tent city homeless camp

VICTORIA — Plumbing is being installed at a tent city set up on the lawn of Victoria’s court house.

The province is installing running water and a flushing toilet at the homeless camp, where about 100 people have been living since last spring.

Victoria Mayor Lisa helps says the plumbing comes in response from neighbourhood concerns, such as the smell associated with the camp’s port-a-potties.

Neighbours living near the site have called it an urban ghetto, saying they have picked up discarded needles, human waste and other garbage left in the area by campers.

Helps says the province is looking for other places to house the campers because no one wants the tent city to stay on the courthouse lawn permanently.

Last month the B.C. Supreme Court refused to grant the government an interim injunction to dismantle the camp, but the province is expected to go back to court later this year seeking a permanent injunction. (CFAX, The Canadian Press)

http://www.metronews.ca/news/canada/2016/05/14/running-water-flushing-toilet-coming-to-victoria-tent-city-homeless-camp.html

I, kym hothead, would like to intervene and allow MLK Jr. finish this off:

Martin Luther King’s last fightBy BRIAN JONES

“Where do we go from here?”

BY THE end of 1967, after a long and bitter struggle, African Americans had won federal legislation to guarantee civil rights, and to make any form of racial segregation illegal. Speaking to his organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. summed up these victories in a speech entitled, “Where Do We Go From Here?”:

In short, over the last ten years the Negro decided to straighten his back up, realizing that a man cannot ride your back unless it is bent. We made our government write new laws to alter some of the cruelest injustices that affected us. We made an indifferent and unconcerned nation rise from lethargy and subpoenaed its conscience to appear before the judgment seat of morality on the whole question of civil rights. We gained manhood in the nation that had always called us “boy.” ….But in spite of a decade of significant progress, the problem is far from solved. The deep rumbling of discontent in our cities is indicative of the fact that the plant of freedom has grown only a bud and not yet a flower.1

Black people had legal equality, King argued, and yet racism persisted. Furthermore, Black people still had not won economic equality. “The Negro,” he said, “still lives in the basement of the Great Society.”

He is still at the bottom, despite the few who have penetrated to slightly higher levels. Even where the door has been forced partially open, mobility for the Negro is still sharply restricted. There is often no bottom at which to start, and when there is, there’s almost no room at the top. In consequence, Negroes are still impoverished aliens in an affluent society. They are too poor even to rise with the society, too impoverished by the ages to be able to ascend by using their own resources. And the Negro did not do this himself; it was done to him. For more than half of his American history, he was enslaved. Yet, he built the spanning bridges and the grand mansions, the sturdy docks and stout factories of the South. His unpaid labor made cotton “King” and established America as a significant nation in international commerce. Even after his release from chattel slavery, the nation grew over him, submerging him. It became the richest, most powerful society in the history of man, but it left the Negro far behind.2

 

Addressing indirectly the rise of calls for a “Black power” movement, King agreed that Black people needed power, and defined it as “the strength required to bring about social, political, and economic change.” He went on to quote the president of the United Auto Workers:

“Walter Reuther defined power one day. He said, ‘Power is the ability of a labor union like UAW to make the most powerful corporation in the world, General Motors, say, “Yes” when it wants to say “No.”’ That’s power.”3

King argued that SCLC needed to focus on building a movement of sufficient power to win a guaranteed income for all Americans. “We must create full employment or we must create incomes.”

And I say to you today, that if our nation can spend thirty-five billion dollars a year to fight an unjust, evil war in Vietnam, and twenty billion dollars to put a man on the moon, it can spend billions of dollars to put God’s children on their own two feet right here on earth.4

King assessed the rise of black nationalism and the increasing use of the slogan ‘‘Black Power’’ in the movement. While he praised the slogan as ‘‘a call to black people to amass the political and economic strength to achieve their legitimate goals,’’ he also recognized that its implied rejection of interracial coalitions and call for retaliatory violence ‘‘prevent it from having the substance and program to become the basic strategy for the civil rights movement in the days ahead’’ (King, 36; 44). Condemning the advocacy of black separatism, King maintained that there would be no genuine progress for African Americans ‘‘unless the whole of American society takes a new turn toward greater economic justice’’ 

SCLC organizers had a hard time switching to poverty as a focus. The organizers “found poverty an abstraction,” writes historian Taylor Branch, “unlike skin color or the ballot,” and they complained that potential recruits did not want to think of themselves as poor.

“In a sense, you could say we’re involved in the class struggle.”
—King to New York Times reporter, 19686

 

King’s plan, the Poor People’s Campaign, as he called it, would bring thousands of multiracial poor people to Washington, D.C., in the spring of 1968. The idea was that they would engage in mass, nonviolent civil disobedience—blocking streets and government buildings—until their demands were met.

From ghettoes and Indian reservations and white Appalachia and rural plantations, some walking or riding mules “through the tough areas, that’s drama right there.” They could invite allies to join nonviolent witness in the capital— college students, President Johnson’s poverty experts, Newsweek readers, the peace movement. “Now they may not respond,” said King. “I can’t promise that, but I do think we’ve got to go for broke this time.”7

SCLC, however, was ill-prepared for this kind of campaign. Historian Michael Honey explains just how drastic this change in direction was:

They had spent their lives in the civil rights movement and the Black church. Now King called on them to organize a new multiracial constituency around class issues among Mexican Americans, Indians, and poor whites as well as African Americans. SCLC did not have the resources and organizing structure to make it happen. Almost alone, King had to convince not only the civil rights community and a broader public, but also his own reluctant staff members, that they could organize the poor.8

King eventually did convince his staff to begin organizing the Poor People’s Campaign, but they ran into innumerable difficulties from the start. Middle-class clergy—King’s target as a base of organizers—wanted to flex their newfound political muscle at the ballot box, not reach down to organize the poorest of the poor. A conference organized by SCLC failed to win commitments from the 150 ministers assembled, despite personal appeals from King. SCLC invited 120 ministers to a meeting in Virginia, and not one showed up. Six hundred people packed into a Baptist church in Chapel Hill to listen to King lay out his plan for the campaign, but when he called for volunteers, only two hands went up.9 King understood that this hesitation was, in part, a question of class.

“You know, we have too many Negroes who have somehow, through some education and a degree of economic security floated or…swam out of the back waters…[but now they have] forgotten the stench of the backwaters.”10

 

 

(Colonial divide and rule and the Upward mobility hit them already! Wanta be middle class Unlce Toms rather than free all.)

 

Should the staff look for degraded human exhibits or articulate witnesses? They found uprooted people nevertheless resistant to change—homeless but reluctant to leave hometowns, filled with unanswerable questions about what to expect.11

 

King fell into a depression at the failure of the campaign to generate any momentum. “There’s no masses,” he told his staff, “in this mass movement.”12

(kym adds:we still struggle to this day with class understanding and awareness of what it is to be an ally to all poor of many colours and from many nations, it is the final battleground which can bring us to unity, if we keep holding on to reins and so on and lead from the bottom up as The Untouchables did in India, leading the way for us all, poor everywhere to lead in changing the economic system from an abusive greed kapitalism base to a people base. We bring together our understanding of sex, race and class into the new day ahead of us.  That day will come when all of us all over rise up and get organized from where we are at, where we live and eat and shit and work and play. )

POCAM

Structural problems with the Poor People’s Campaign notwithstanding, the effort faced another obstacle: the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Poor People’s Campaign might not have seemed like much of a threat to American capitalism, but the FBI certainly believed that it was. They secretly carried out a surveillance program targeting SCLC, and King in particular, ever since the 1963 March on Washington. J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI considered King “the most dangerous Negro in America.”13 Now, Hoover’s famous COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program), which was tasked with disrupting “Black Nationalist/Hate Groups,” created a special subunit to disrupt the Poor People’s Campaign.14

POCAM, as the FBI’s program was called, gathered information from wiretaps and hotel room “bugs.” It was on the basis of that surveillance that Hoover could report to President Johnson the week-to-week progress or failings of the Poor People’s Campaign. Hoover reported at one point, for example, that after eight rallies in Mississippi, King had raised only $1,000 for the campaign.15POCAM successfully interceded to prevent King from receiving grant money, and planted stories in the press to demonize King and the Poor People’s Campaign. An SCLC organizer claimed that in one instance they lost two hundred recruits because of planted stories that King was going to “strand them sick and penniless in Washington.”16

Memphis

While King struggled to get the Poor People’s Campaign off the ground, 1,300 Black sanitation workers walked off the job in Memphis to win union recognition. Here was a poor people’s campaign of another sort. Here was a struggle for racial and economic justice—one that put more “meat” on the civil rights bone. And here, rather than depending purely on moral witness, Black people were trying to use their power as workers—withholding their labor—to make change.

Neither the Black sanitation workers nor their white supervisors were long removed from the plantation life. In many ways, the relationship between them in the latter workplace was reproduced exactly in the former. James Robinson, one of the workers, recalled:

“Before the union, it was whatever they decided to pay you. If they wanted to pay you they did, if they didn’t want to, they wouldn’t.… I wasn’t makin’ a damn thing. You can’t pay the light bill on no 96 cents an hour.17

By 1968—after fifteen years on the job—his pay was only up to $1.60 an hour, or only five cents above the federal minimum wage. In addition, there were no set hours. Workers had to haul garbage until their route was finished, whether it took eight hours or fourteen. If it rained, they could be sent home with little or no pay.

Workers could be fired for being one minute late, or for “talking back.” They had no breaks. They had to eat their lunches in fifteen minutes and couldn’t be seen in the shade of a tree. The shade of the truck was their only refuge from the Memphis heat, even though the trucks were old, outmoded, smelled horrible, and would often have maggots falling off the sides. The city did not require residents to pack their garbage up or to even bring it to the curb, so the sanitation workers had to just grab everything as it lay, including tree limbs, dead animals in the road, and unpacked garbage. They had no sick days, and without a union, no recourse to protest any of this.

In the early 1960s, a group of sanitation workers who had military backgrounds and experience organizing in the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) began trying to build a union. T. O. Jones, the leader of what became AFSCME Local 1733, got support from civil rights activists, Black ministers, and some limited support from AFSCME’s national office, but the effort ran up against a wall. In 1966, Jones had five hundred workers ready to strike, but called it off at the last minute because the city had scabs ready to take their jobs and the courts issued an injunction declaring strikes against the public illegal.

For the next few years, Jones persevered, despite the fact that the union had only about forty dues payers out of 1,300 workers. Jones was desperate to strike a deal with the mayor, Henry Loeb, but Loeb refused to recognize the union on principle.
On February 1, 1968, the proverbial back of the camel was broken by a final straw: two sanitation workers—Echol Cole and Robert Walker—were crushed to death as they rode in the back of a garbage truck. They were seeking shelter from the rain at the end of a long day, and there was no room for them in the cab of the truck. Faulty wiring is believed to have set off the compactor, and the two were mashed up like so much garbage.18

Within a week, the deaths of these men created a new situation. P. J. Ciampa, a field operative for AFSCME, remembered that “The thing just got away from” T. O. Jones. Jones organized a meeting at the Memphis Labor Temple, and hoped that if 500 showed up he might have a force for negotiation. Instead, somewhere between 700 and 900 arrived, and by 11p.m., when they realized that the city would not negotiate, they shouted for a strike. “It wasn’t T. O. Jones,” remembered worker Ed Gillis. “It was all of us labor got together and we was going to quit work till we got a raise and got a better percentage, see, and could get justice on the job from the way they’s treating us.”19

Strikers quickly reached out to civil rights activists and clergy for support and solidarity. One reverend compared the sanitation workers’ struggle with the sit-down movement in General Motors auto factories in 1936. When the NAACP got involved, “alarm bells went off in white Memphis.”20 The workers actually avoided explicitly making the strike a “racial” issue at first, but their treatment at the hands of the police and the mayor was blatantly racist. Other city workers had unions, why not the all-Black sanitation workers? Again and again the intransigence of the mayor galvanized the strikers to press on with their struggle. The slogan they carried on placards, “I Am a Man,” said it all: this was a question of racial justice and economic justice.

Rather than sitting at home, the strikers were involved in constant, daily activity:

By Wednesday, February 21, a regular routine had been established: a union meeting of nearly a thousand strikers at noon, addressed by community supporters; a march to the downtown from Clayborn Temple; and mass meetings in various Black churches.21

Jericho road is a dangerous road

King’s staff tried to convince him not to go to Memphis. He would get “snared,” “bogged down” as he usually did, and they would have to postpone the Poor People’s Campaign (which they had already done at least once).22

On Monday, March 18, King spoke to the sanitation workers for the first time, at the Mason Temple in Memphis. King was exhausted and depressed by his failed attempts to pull together a coalition to get behind the Poor People’s Campaign. The sanitation workers were exhausted and depressed by a strike that was dragging on, and having to endure wave after wave of police brutality and abuse. When these two joined forces, however, they energized each other and gave each other courage to carry on. Fifteen thousand people came out to see King that night.

King told the Biblical story of Dives, who went to hell because he passed Lazarus every day and refused to see his plight. King warned, to raucous applause, “If America does not use her vast resource of wealth to end poverty and make it possible for all of God’s children to have the basic necessities of life, she too is going to hell.” He went on to show how the strike was a part of the new direction the movement needed to take.

 

 

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