An Open Letter To Sarah Sheridan and Jean Swanson responding to:
Guaranteed Annual Income-The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. The Volcano Issue 5- Spring 2016
(see below for full Volcano article including unbelievably ignorant cartoon out of touch with actual Livable4All Income movement and a slap in the face to Martin Luther King who was not a fool.)
I am so annoyed about the article in general and, I felt patronized when I read the position that Sarah Sheridan and Jean Swanson take on a Livable4All Income they call the “Guaranteed Annual Income”. I wondered if either of you ever had to live on the streets when I read it? Just curios. Not to say folks who lived on streets are all into a Livable4All Income. I just do not assume they are against it, or ignorant about or not all that well thought out on the topic of a #Livable4All (twitter) income.
“This article is a plea for people who justly despise the welfare system, it’s reasonable to hope for a sort of lotto ticket, a Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI)”
How patronizing. It is how I felt. Angered even. The cartoon says “Really? The GAI will make us Rich?” Many of us who are poor and want a Livable4All Income also do not want this death greed kapitalism that is currently destroying Life. Many of us want to stop destructive oil, gas, mining resource extraction and possible destruction of our water?
How is it that it seems that you all cannot accept that some of us DO NOT want to beg generation after generation for Welfare in Welfare offices to Welfare workers who are not needed on the journey! Capitalism is not looking like it is being overthrown anytime soon and, there ain’t gonna be no revolution lotto ticket anytime soon either so…?
Also, why is it that naysayers say the same old propaganda against the Livable4All Income when IT has never really been tried on a larger scale then say Manitoba where it worked well? Why not take that one and see why and make it happen all over? Hmm?
“Who gets it” is who needs it. Who gets welfare now? You all know how fucked that is and, as far as the horrible low levels. In the DTES some of you are right now doing the welfare challenge for GAWD sakes! It is 2016!
Why is it we never are able to quite whip up a frenzy for the Raise the Rates as we did those first few years? I wonder?
Well, after all these years and after so much unnecessary suffering and death, what can I say, it petered out? Well, I can tell you why. Fighting FOR Welfare SUCKS when it almost kills you and it needs to be abolished! People know it. Raise the rates is a mute point given the experience of us poor over generations!
So, lets change this up maybe?
I see the same with the Raise the Minimum wage campaighn’s.
We as poor have got to lead and, I do not want to lead in a raise the rates or raise the minimum wage when I know where it is going.
We got unions NOT taking care of all their people now for a lot of reasons, I know a nurse whose insurance ran out and on disability she went, who is taken care of exactly?
Just lately NDP leader accepts 15.00 minimum wage fights, it NOW needs to be 21.00! Talk about behind the times! You all know about Kapitalist greed, how it has no end, everything keeps going up like rents etc.
Why not listen to those of us poor from poverty who want to unite around “Demanding a Livable4All Income and Build Homes Now Government or else”? Why not and stop being so patronizing as if we are just not knowledgeable enough and you are going to educate us and lead us out of our state of poverty and YES, I know and respect that we walk on shoulders of others and we can learn a lot from Marxist and Leftist, Socialist and Communist even…
I am DONE and people who are untouchables, generational poor like me, well, we are done with unnecessary suffering under Welfare State and I get how we need to get educated as we been lied to for so long and, why not do this over a Livable4All Income campaighn?!
WTF? Why raise anything to do with such violent oppressive state? Lets end IT and bring about something new, for us, now, here on these lands, just maybe, with Idle No More and Black Lives Matter movements happening, we the poor can UNITE as well and as we come together, we help each other!
PS: Not all jobs are union and not all jobs ought to exist either so, a Livable4All Income can and will shift the economic system and will do so sooner than you think due to the hundredth monkey affect (It’s a great book readers, The Hundredth Monkey, from 1950’s) that is occurring globally and the obvious to many is that we want and need to act sooner than later.
We all get to rest and be humans too. I Am A Person. I Am Human. MLK to now, it still means something to us poor of many colours.
We can and must fight to change the economic system and NOT just think it is going to happen like YOU all think it has to! What ever happened to diversity of tactics?
We are supposed to be supporting Diversity of Tactics and we are supposed to let all voices exist. Instead of shitting on OUR campaign, why not try and convince folks of YOURS? You brought out the worst in me tonight before bed as I read that article again. I could not sleep till I published this and got this convo going.
The Livable4All Income movement came from the poor, MLK gave it a lot of thought and took it on, it is now growing amongst the poor currently, not just the kapitalist’s like it!
And you all know that anything good that comes from us the people, like the Livable4All income idea, this ugly colonial divide and ruled system will take and co-opt and mess it up unless we learn to get, keep and fight for a thing that means something to us for always. “Who Killed The Electric Car”!
Since Martin Luther King had a plan for this, worked his ass off on it and was shot and killed just before he was about to start an International Campaign for the eradication of poverty thru use of a basic income and, with that Homes being Built Now was a part of a budget he created for the USA.
I am so done with this argument I had to write this and I am going to send it out.
We got to talk, argue deal or what ever we got to do, I am done, ready and open.
To continue my response: We are reliant on a free market NOW? Right? So..?
The type of welfare we get depends on the person we have to deal with NOW, depends on new governments forming NOW, wealthy business owners OWN us NOW like ones connected to and with Rich Coleman, Christy Clark and her good ole boys club of Oil and Gas OWN us NOW. Walmart owns us NOW. Our education shite system is getting far worse and has owned us poor for generations NOW and still.
Any government NOW will always take advantage of this welfare state where poor are criminilised, cause it was built for that. It needs complete re-furb so, why not now then?
You know we ought to never trust ANY ministers in this system as it is flawed, we MUST rise up no matter what and for some time now Raise the Rates movements are hard pressed to get folks out to.
That overdue refurbishing has a LOT to do with that I am sure. The Livable4All Income Movement can BE that new thing the MLK talked about us being able to UNITE over and maybe after we can create it we’ll maybe fight to keep it how we want it? You ever think of that? We create it and we hang onto it and we fight to keep it cause its ours. Not their stupid ass colonial messed up born to fail welfare!
I will not fight for a colonial concept of “power over” and, here we are in 2016 and many of us Livable4All income folks think it is fucking time we create our own UP TO DATE campaign. Since this modern version comes out of Africa, and was women led, I think we ought to give it more time and consideration?
That was the other point that comes up for me re: race and generational poverty,
Yes austerity measures are on rise NOW. Yes we got government attention on this Livable4All income idea HOWEVER we got to take advantage of all the above facts and bring forward our version and fight for it. WHY NOT ALLOW THIS MOVEMENT TO BE THE SPARK THAT IGNITES the POOR to UNITE and fight for dignity and our rights? We walk on shoulders of all who came before including our own ancestors.
I never ever heard any poor person I know nor anyone I know in the Livable Income movement ask for ”welfare lotto” or expect one. We know that people are not inherently lazy, and, I do get that most people all across the board will try and see an easy way around a thing since currently most things for a lot more people are currently getting worse.
I always hear folks talk about how this economic system offers shit jobs, legislates poverty, criminalizes us poor who are legislated into poverty and “All I want to do is work with my hands and just be a human being.” said a lot of folks to me in my life.
So, when you, Jean and Sarah, hear the words Livable4All Income and Build Homes Now I hope you hear MLK and all the poor women in Africa and all us poor right here in our beautiful BC who ARE pushing for this Livable4All Income, and no matter what else we all know we got to do something different or pay attention to something differently NOW in order to get more numbers involved in their own freedom so, I think its time to see what flow there is and maybe go with it? Why not dream big in end days? Its not like we won’t need the continues education of the past and our amasing People’s Movements!
Why not stop destructive to planet jobs? Why not help women not have to stay with abusive men?
Why would you walk away thinking that its not worth if or since government is giving it some attention and remember that system does NOT want US to take and control.
I believe this here Livable4All Income and how government is paying attention, its like how they killed they electric car! Ever see that movie? Who Killed The Electric Car? Gas and Oil bought and killed it. Government and corporations working together once again to screw the wo’man.
“It could backfire unless implemented by people whose focus is the needs of the poor, not the pockets of the rich.” Like how it is NOW. Focused on the rich. By the “ever trained and ready” middle class. We need folks to “implement”…
Do we really need middle class managers anymore? No! We do need people to print checks yes. Not managers/workers who decide whether or not you are eligible for one.
You are eligible if there is no job for you or pay is not good enough, ten it gets topped up. Education comes in of course and the one many have in mind is also NOT this class divide system where public schools have always been a mess and now more are feeling it!
We ALL ought to be careful this does not backfire. Hint hint.
Everybody has a place in production and ought to get a Livable4All Income for whatever job they have and work they want to do that is productive in society. Period. The whole system needs shifting including and mostly what needs changing is the idea that anyone is going to save me or that I am going to save anyone.
I want to continue to empower people so that more of us can free ourselves and help each other to live better lives. Many social movements out of the DTES including the Memorial March for Missing and Murdered Women,Carnegie, VANDU and more I have the outmost respect for, but, this Federal Raise The Rates campaign I can no longer in good conscious support . Now I can go to bed and sleep.
With all due respect,
Kym A. Hines
PS: Can you imagine just how long my point list would be regarding the capitalist poor bashing haters who just LOVE this welfare state we are currently suffering under?
Its too big a list, current government included. Your list below of the Nimrod Kapitalist’s who want to KILL the Livable4All Income like how Oil and Gas Killed The Electric Car is rather short in comparison but, for sure has the hitters in their to do the job of killing hte Livable4All income movement. (see ‘who killed the electric car’ with martin sheen)
ctehv.wordpress.com THAW Blog
Here is The Volcano full article and please read cartoon by Debra McNaught
Guaranteed Annual Income – the good, the bad, and the ugly: By Sarah Sheridan and Jean Swanson
Imagine you’re a person with disabilities living on the BC welfare rate of $610 a month, paying $500 for rent. You get a part time job, earn $200, and declare it. This is completely legal, but then your welfare cheque stops for no reason. You need to solve this problem or risk eviction and starvation. You’re standing in line in the rain at the welfare office for hours and start to have a hard time standing. You could call but you don’t have a phone and you know that you’ll be on hold for upwards of an hour anyways. If you end up seeing a welfare worker, you know from previous experience that one visit or on phone call won’t be enough, they’ll want more documentation. You feel like screaming, crying or both.
When you’re facing indignities of living on a completely inadequate income and being disrespected by the welfare system, it’s reasonable to hope for a sort of welfare lottery ticket, a Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI).
This article is a plea for people who justly despise the welfare system: think carefully about rushing uncritically to support a GAI. We need to ask, who would get it? How much? How often? Who would pay for it? Would minimum wage be cut? Some GAI supporters want it to be paid for with a flat tax, where millionaires pay the same tax rate as a minimum wage worker. Is that fair? Some GAI advocates want all social programs “consolidated.” A cheque every month giving tax-free income to everyone might appear to be a progressive solution to poverty but does that mean that low-income people would have to depend on the unaffordable housing market rather than social housing? Would we be expected to pay for medical care with our GAI?
In theory, a GAI could mean that every resident of Canada receives thousands of dollars annually with no spending restrictions and no welfare office to deal with. But a GAI has a long history of being supported by wealthy business owners and often means much more reliance on the free market. Where one policy changes, another often adjusts to fit the wants of the wealthy.
The type of GAI we would get depends on the politics of the people who would implement it. Last year, Rank and File, a Canadian labour news website, wrote about the corporate connections of the new Liberal ministers. They included some of the new Liberal ministers listed below:
- Former senior fellow at CD Howe Institute (which produced a lot of poor-bashing propaganda in the 1990s): Jean-Yves Duclos, now Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
- Former senior financial analyst: Navdeep Bains, now Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development
- Former finance minister (that gave corporations more tax cuts and increased military spending): Ralph Goodale, now Minister of Public Safety and Preparedness
- Former investment banker: Scott Brison, now Treasury Board President
- Former RBC economist: John McCallum, now Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship
- The province of Ontario, which is also talking about a GAI, has implemented policies that hurt people on welfare with its new computer system and refuses to raise welfare and disability rates to liveable levels.
Should we trust these ministers and the Ontario government to implement a GAI that will redistribute the wealth and reduce poverty when they’ve benefited from this financial system as it stands? Austerity ripples through legislation under the cloak of progressive changes administered by a group of people who don’t feel the ground-level effects of those changes.
Without a shift in mentality, without the recognition that shared, secure public services save lives and improve communities, and without a willingness to prioritize people over profit, poverty will continue to thrive. So, when you hear the words “Guaranteed Annual Income” think carefully about what it really means, who is pushing for it, and whose interests they represent. It could backfire unless implemented by people whose focus is the needs of the poor, not the pockets of the rich.