Talk with Lois Leveen Tonight

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Join us tonight for the 

Politics for the People

Conference Call 

With Author Lois Leveen

 

Sunday, June 3rd at 7 pm EST.

 

Dial In and Explore

The Secrets of Mary Bowser

641-715-3605 and passcode 767775#

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Politics for the People May Column on IVN

Below is my Politics for the People column from IVN this month.  It includes Caroline Donnola’s review of The Secrets of Mary Bowser.  Then join us as we read Lois Leveen’s wonderful historical novel.  Our conference call with Lois will be on Sunday, June 3rd at 7 pm EST.

Politics for the People Book Club: The Secrets of Mary Bowser

Editor’s note: this article was co-authored by Cathy Stewart (introduction) and Caroline Donnola (main article).

The Politics for the People (P4P) Book Club brings together independent-minded Americans to read a wide range of books—both fiction and non-fiction—of interest to independents.  With each selection, we have a lively dialogue on the P4P blog culminating in an hour conference call conversation with our author.

We just finished reading Greg Orman’s book, A Declaration of Independents: How We Can Break the Two-Party Stranglehold and Restore the American Dream. On Sunday, April 15th we spent an hour with Greg talking about his current independent campaign for Governor of Kansas; the lessons he learned in his independent run for US Senate in 2014, and much more.

You can listen to our conversation on the blog.

Our next selection is the historical novel, The Secrets of Mary Bowser by Lois Leveen.  I am a fan of historical fiction. It can free us up to actually gain a deeper understanding of a particular moment in time, the leaders, the lives and the actions of ordinary people that shape history.

This book was recommended by P4P member Caroline Donnola, and I asked her to write the review below.  You can visit the blog, read along and join us on Sunday, June 3rd  at 7 pm EST when we will be talking with author Lois Leveen.

politics for the people

 

I’ve always loved to read, and then I majored in literature and writing. A lifelong fan of history, I often gravitate toward historical fiction as it combines these two great loves. Every day, on my commute from Brooklyn to Manhattan, I travel with my well-stocked Kindle. When I discovered The Secrets of Mary Bowser by Lois Leveen, I knew I wanted to share it with members of the Politics for the People Book Club.

The story is an intriguing one. As a young girl, Mary, a Virginia slave, is freed by Bet, the daughter of her master who sends Mary to Philadelphia to be educated. There Mary lives as a free Black woman and becomes active in the Underground Railroad. She builds a new life for herself.

But when Mary’s mother dies and her father becomes ill, she returns to Richmond where she must live, once again, as a slave. When she sees the chance to continue her fight for freedom for all slaves, she becomes a servant in Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ household where she spies on him and reports her findings to Union commanders.

Based on a true story and a real heroine, most of us have never heard of Mary Bowser. And because so little is known about her, the author is forced to imagine how Mary would think, speak and act as a child, in addition to as an educated woman and as a spy who must speak and act like a slave to conceal her identity.

Leveen creates Mary’s world and populates it with real and imagined historical figures in the years before and during the Civil War. We see, hear and feel Mary’s world of loving parents who are determined for Mary to have a better life.

We meet Elizabeth (Bet) Van Lew, the real-life daughter of Mary’s slaveholder who becomes an abolitionist, and upon her father’s death, frees all of her family’s slaves. But Bet cannot free Mary’s father who is owned by another family, and Mary’s mother will not leave without him. We feel Mary’s conflicts as she moves to Philadelphia to live as a free woman but has to leave her parents behind.

During her years in Philadelphia, Mary gets to know ordinary and extraordinary fellow travelers—free Blacks, Quakers and other abolitionists. She learns which parts of town she cannot enter and she encounters hate-filled white mobs.

We learn about the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society and the fights that took place amongst the abolitionists. We hear their arguments about John Brown, and we discover a historic event that took place when the train carrying his dead body passes through Philadelphia on its way to Brown’s burial site. We experience major Civil War battles and turning points. We witness Mary carefully and painstakingly carrying out her work as a Union spy.

I loved how the author was able to get inside Mary’s turbulent thoughts, her fears, her willingness to risk everything. Her relationships with her friends, parents, colleagues, and husband are complex and nuanced. In particular, her relationship with Bet is thorny, but it develops through their joint efforts to end slavery.

Leveen begins the book with two quotes that help shed light on how she thinks about this mix of history and imaginings. From Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“If the whole of history is in one man, it is all to be explained from individual experience… Each new fact in his private experience flashes a light on what great bodies of men have done, and the crises of his life refer to national crises.”

And from African American abolitionist and women’s rights leader Maria Stewart:

“Who shall go forward, and take off the reproach that is cast upon the people of color? Shall it be a woman?”

In The Secrets of Mary Bowser, we go on a journey filled with love, hope, pain, and sorrow. I hope you will relish this journey as I did and join the Politics for the People call with author Lois Leveen on Sunday, June 3rd.

 

The Poetry Hunt by Caroline Donnola

 

Roque Dalton, a renown poet from El Salvador (1935-1975) said in his poem titled “Like You,”  “I believe the world is beautiful and that poetry, like bread, is for everyone.”  (Jessie Fields submitted the full poem for your blog a few years ago.)  It turns out that hundreds of well-known poets, and probably thousands of lesser known ones, have written 12495942_10207847865062060_3320784175264629657_opoems about poetry.  This is fascinating to me because poetry is often seen as esoteric or alien or worse.  But what would the world be like if everyone was encouraged to write and read poetry?  Why is it a valuable activity?  What is it about writing poetry that encourages philosophizing?  These are questions that interest me.  During the past year I have written several poems that explore the activity of writing poetry.  Here is one.

 

The Poetry Hunt

 

The right word,
The best word,

The heartfelt word—
We poets hunt,
And then we hunt some more.
Should it be beacon or fire?
Passionate
Amorous
Or simply desire?
And if the shoe fits,
Must we wear it?
Or should our foot be handsomely shod?
No poet is an island.
We are weaving around and about
In all the world’s history,
In a dance with every poet we ever loved.
We are part of the main.
We have Dickinson’s passion
Donne’s power
Shakespeare’s breadth
Langston’s pain
Edna’s sensuality
Roque’s love.

The right word,
The best word
The heartfelt word—

And then all the words

Get flung together, conjuring
Longing
Remembrance
Newness
Joy
Rage
Comfort
Unity
As we join together
In our quest to cherish
Each other’s poetry.
The chance to be together
In a world we’ve created
From dust and air
From history, imagination
And yes, from Words.
Writing poetry

Is like making soup—
We swish together
the basic ingredients
Then toss in a pinch of
The unknown-
Our wishes, hopes
Secrets and dreams.
And then, there it is
Like a miracle—
Words that have become a poem,
And that poem
Becomes part
Of something wonderful,

A world that is filled

With our heartfelt words

Because poetry

Is spilling out of everyone

Every day

Even on the days we forget to

Say it out loud.

 

2018 National Poetry Month Poster

Reader’s Forum–Steve Guarin

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When I first got my copy of Declaration of Independents: How We Can Break the Two-Party Stranglehold and Restore the American Dream, I had in the back of my mind that it would be a dry political report.  It is not.

This book, of easy reading, is divided into four main parts. The first part recounts the author’s path to political Independence. His early life provided the perfect training to mediate with the polarization that has arisen in the government. His father was a Republican and his mother was a Democrat. He learned how to balance and accommodate conservative and liberal beliefs. Looking back at his youth he learned that “true independence comes not from adherence to rigid ideology but through putting our country ahead of a political party and the special interests that support it”. Part Ⅱ warns of the fate that awaits if we “don’t fix the dysfunctional duopoly that controls Washington, DC” The third section focuses on how the parties hold on and reinforcement their power. Part Ⅳ is the part that I found most useful.  It proposes an Independent “path that will lift up every American”.

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Steve Guarin (r) being presented with a 2016 Anti-Corruption Award by Juliana Francisco.

Declaration of Independents by Greg Orman is not only a good read, but warns us of the dangers of partisanship and the need for voters to discuss, civilly, their disagreements. This kind of level headed give-and-take will help us correct a government that “is less, and less, capable of making logical decisions. The parties have invested themselves in partisanship, not principals, ­gamesmanship, not statesmanship.”

Steve Guarin lives in the Bronx.  He is retired and an activist with the New York City Independence Clubs.

 

POLITICS for the PEOPLE BOOK CLUB

CONFERENCE CALL with GREG ORMAN, Author of

A Declaration of Independents

How We Can Break the Two-Party Stranglehold and Restore the American Dream

SUNDAY, APRIL 15th @ 7 PM EST

641-715-3605 and passcode 767775#

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Reader’s Forum–Michelle McCleary

 

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Observations On:

A Declaration of Independents

How We Can Break the Two-Party Stranglehold and Restore the American Dream by Greg Orman

The willingness to take a stand for what you believe in can be incredibly humbling and scary.  It can also be a very lonely experience because sometimes you must be willing to stand alone. History is filled with men and women who would eventually play an impactful role in changing the world. I have no doubt that these same men and women spent many days questioning their own sanity as they were discredited, attacked and deserted by their friends.  I felt a kinship with author Greg Orman as I read his book ‘A Declaration of Independents’.  I applaud Mr. Orman for having the courage to run for office in a race that he was unlikely to win.  In a grossly competitive country like America, ‘losing is for suckers’ and should be avoided regardless of who gets hurt or what gets destroyed.  In my more than thirty-five-year history of activism in student, political and professional organizations, I have stood next to, supported and worked with ordinary people who knew that it was unlikely they would be giving the victory speech at the end of election day, but who gave everything they had because it was the right thing to do.

In his chapter ‘It’s Not Rocket Science’ I loved what Mr. Orman had to say about the commonality of the concerns and beliefs of the American people.  I agree with the author that there is a tremendous need for us to figure out how to move past the ways in which we have been pitted against each other.  America’s partisan political system creates and thrives on this divisiveness.  I was deeply moved by Mr. Orman’s thoughtfulness in reminding the people he met on the campaign trail that they had much in common and agreed on some very important issues.  The chapter “It’s Not Rocket Science” helped me to remember my faith in the American people.  It’s easy to lose sight of this faith while reading daily about the ways in which we hurt each other.

I feel very lucky to have had one of the biggest reminders of the commonality and decency of the American people when I had the privilege to work on the 1988 Lenora B. Fulani presidential campaign for Fair Elections and Democracy. The issue of opening the elections process isn’t seen as the sexiest of endeavors, but I believe that it is a critical step in the growth and development of America.  I was 21 years old when I traveled to North Carolina – the first of many states I would help to get Lenora Branch Fulani on the ballot for President.  Looking back, I marvel at my courage: I left my job and apartment and got into a car with a man who I had never met to travel south.  I remember being so afraid to go ‘down south’ because I had heard and read about so many horror stories of racist terror and violence.  Sadly, some of my fears were realized when the multi-racial team I was on in North Carolina encountered hateful stares and comments.  We even woke up one day to find an announcement of a Ku Klux Klan meeting nailed to a tree in front of the house we were renting!

Although we had many scary experiences, the beauty and decency of the American people far out-shined the ugliness.  I met a man named Carl on a sunny day in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Carl was a white man, wearing a big cowboy hat.  Carl was at least 6”5 in height and twice my size!  I remember asking Carl to sign the petition to get Lenora B. Fulani on the ballot for President, but NOT showing Carl the campaign flyer because I was afraid of his reaction.  I still remember Carl’s deep southern accent when he asked, “well who is the candidate?” I swallowed hard and showed him the flyer that featured a smiling Lenora B. Fulani rocking her short, natural hairstyle.  Carl took a moment to look at the flyer and then said, “well why didn’t you show me this flyer first? This is an honorable cause.” Carl quickly signed the petition and even gave a financial contribution!  As I traveled the country from 1987 to 1988, I met countless people from all walks of life – doctors who were arriving at hospitals for their early morning shifts, men and women of every hue in some of the poorest neighborhoods in the country, wealthy women, store owners and the list goes on and on -who showed us their decency and caring about America.  It was not uncommon for our team of campaign workers, exhausted and broke, to arrive in a city to get our candidate, Lenora B. Fulani on the ballot but not have a place to sleep that night.  I am not kidding when I say that countless people of every hue and financial background who had NEVER met us would open their homes to us.  We were routinely given discounts at restaurants for our meals.  I still remember people who had signed the petition on a previous night driving by us after their work day to make sure that we were okay.  Although my body still bears some of the scars of that work — standing for 18 hours a day and sleeping on floors at night is truly grueling –  I have no regrets.

More than 40% of Americans identify as independents.  I am thrilled and proud of this fact, but I wonder when we will really step up and take the reigns in leading change in America.  I have days when I feel so anxious about the pain in our world.  I know far too many people who work eighty hours per week but who live in homeless shelters because they cannot afford to pay rent.  I dream of a day when we will recognize that America belongs to the people who built it and it is ours to change for the better.

Michelle McCleary is a life-long independent activist and the President of the Metro NY Chapter of the National Black MBA Association.

POLITICS for the PEOPLE BOOK CLUB

CONFERENCE CALL with GREG ORMAN, Author of

A Declaration of Independents

How We Can Break the Two-Party Stranglehold and Restore the American Dream

SUNDAY, APRIL 15th @ 7 PM EST

641-715-3605 and passcode 767775#

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New Selection—A Declaration of Independents by Greg Orman

 

Book Image

I am delighted to announce our first selection of 2018.  A Declaration of Independents  by Greg Orman was released in 2016.

In 2014, Greg Orman–a successful business leader and entrepreneur–ran for U.S. Senate in Kansas as an independent.  His landmark campaign attracted national attention as he nearly beat incumbent Republican Senator Pat Roberts.  The Democrat in the race dropped out, recognizing that Greg had animated record numbers of voters and was in the best position. The race was very close until the very final days.

The book chronicles Greg’s journey to becoming an independent and his experiences in this historic campaign.

In Declaration of Independents, Greg describes the huge price we are paying as a result of the toxic partisan political culture in Washington. Greg spells out how that two-party machine works, the supporting institutions that reinforce the paradigm limiting both competition and accountability to voters. In the final section of the book, Greg lays out his vision for reinventing our political system.

In his Acknowledgements, Greg writes that he had been “…writing this book in my head for over fifteen years….” He goes on to share the impact of his campaign on the book, “What would have been missing [had the book been written before the campaign] is the perspective that comes from having run for office in Kansas and being able to talk to my fellow citizens about issues that matter to the.  Without our campaign, there would be no book. Running for the U.S. Senate was genuinely the honor of a lifetime.”

ORman announcement photo from IVN

AP Photo

In January, Greg announced his independent candidacy for Governor of Kansas.  In an interview with Tim Carpenter from the Topeka Capital -Journal, Greg shared how he thinks about being an independent:

For me being politically independent is not about ideology. It’s about 3 things:

  • it’s about putting my state and my country ahead of a political party.
  • it’s about using facts and common sense to solve problems, not just clinging to rigid ideological solutions even when they are not working.
  • and importantly, it’s about being free from obligations to party bosses and special interests.”

Later in the interview Greg shared his view of state government, “At the end of the day we’ve had a government in Topeka that has been very resistant to the involvement of its citizens. And you’ll see when we come out with our transparency plan that we plan to open up the statehouse to the citizens of Kansas. We view them as equal partners in the problem solving process and we’re going to involve them.”

IVN has been regularly covering the campaign. In his latest article about Greg’s campaign launch, Shawn Griffiths writes,

The two parties will do all they can to make this about them — a race between red and blue. They — along with their allies in the media — will tell Kansas voters that any vote outside the two-party duopoly is a wasted vote. Republicans will accuse Orman of being a closet Democrat, while Democrats will say he is really a Republican.”

Sound familiar???

As we head into the 2018 election cycle, I am eagerly diving into A Declaration of Independents, looking forward to reading it with all of you and having the opportunity to talk with Greg.

Happy Reading!

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POLITICS for the PEOPLE BOOK CLUB

CONFERENCE CALL with GREG ORMAN

SUNDAY, APRIL 15th @ 7 PM EST

To My Pen Pal About Poverty in America

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To My Pen Pal About Poverty in America

By Frank Fear

A Review of $2.00 a Day:

Living on Almost Nothing In America

By Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer

My critiques of America are misguided, so my pen pal tells me. I underestimate America’s greatness and overplay its challenges. He is dedicated to helping me “understand.”

Yet another of his missives arrived a few weeks ago. It came at a time when I was reading, $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America (by Kathryn J. Edin and H. 836ad-2-a-dayLuke Shaefer. Boston: Mariner Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015).

It made me think about an omission in our discourse. My pen pal has never brought up the topic of poverty in America, not even once. Perhaps he thinks we’ve solved it. Maybe it’s not a priority for keeping America great.

Either way, he’s not alone in looking elsewhere. Poverty has fallen off America’s radar screen. We hardly even use the word these days. We prefer talking about tax cuts or referring to “working Americans.”

What a difference from the days of my youth! In 1964, President Johnson Lyndon made his intent clear and expressed it directly. He declared “A War on Poverty.”

What changed? Starting in the 1970’s, Governor (later president) Reagan had a bee under his bonnet for the “evils of welfare.” He promulgated his angst visually with the image of “The Welfare Queen.” Later, President Clinton signed a bill ‘reforming’ the welfare system.

Well, America got reform. And it American changed … for the worse.

“How so?” my pen pan will certainly ask. I’ll respond by quoting $2.00 a Day (p. xxiii).

“America’s cash welfare program that caught people when they fell—was not merely replaced with the 1996 welfare reform (note: Clinton’s reform); it was very nearly destroyed. In its place arose a different kind of safety net, one that provides a powerful hand up to some—the working poor—but offers much less to others, that is, those who can’t manage to find or keep a job. This book is based on what happens when a government safety net is built on the assumption of full-time, stable employment at a living wage combines with a low-wage labor market that fails to deliver on any of the above. It is this toxic alchemy…that is spurring the increasing numbers of $2-a-day poor in America.” 

That’s why (I’ll tell my pen pal) it’s precisely the right time for poverty to re-emerge as a public policy priority. $2 a Day should be the rallying call for that movement. “There can be no exceptional America (an image that my friend believes in so thoroughly) if that circumstance remains a reality,” I’ll write.

Misguided public policies need to be corrected, I’ll continue. We need to name, and then proclaim, those policies for exactly what they are … heartless. What we need today, I’ll write, is for American patriots to step forward—just as Marian Wright Edelman did in 1995 when she chastised President Clinton in an “open letter” published in The Washington Post. In that letter, Edelman quoted Franklin D. Roosevelt’s powerful admonition: “Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the constant omission of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.”

I’d then remind my pen pal of a conversation that I had with another colleague nearly thirty years ago. The colleague had been invited by then-President George H.W. Bush to serve on the commission to plan the Points of Light Foundation. “Points of Light?” I asked emphatically over dinner one night. “It sounds like a bait-and-switch, a flowery label used as a ploy – a ploy to reduce government support for those who need it most–to get people “off the government dole.”

My pen pal will bristle at that assertion, just as my other colleague did that night. But I’ll be prepared to bolster my argument by drawing on another passage from $2.00 a Day (p. 102).

“Private charity in America is often viewed as the little engine that could. It chugs along admirably, providing billions of dollars in aid to the poor each year…. Yet, even in America—and even for those who are adept at gleaning all that private charity has to offer—it can’t even begin to replicate, much less replace, what the government does. Private charity is a complement to government action, something that bolsters the government safety net.”

Charity is important. Self-help efforts are vital. But government support is the cornerstone. It’s not the cornerstone now – and that needs to change in a responsible, progressive way.

How so?” my pen pal will certainly ask. In response, I’ll offer three steps as proposed in $2.00 a Day (see Conclusion: Where, Then, From Here? Pp. 157-174).

The first step is to scrap the term, “reform.’ Welfare needs to be replaced. That’s not a new idea, I’ll tell my pen pal. It was the cornerstone of David Ellwood’s influential thinking from twenty years ago. It needs to be resurrected.

The second step is to ground a replacement strategy in four American values: 1) autonomy of the individual, 2) the virtue of work, 3) the primacy of the family, and 4) a desire for community. Basing policies on those pillars will go a long way toward integrating the poor in society, rather than separating them from society – the unfortunate reality that exists today.

The third step is to put in place policies that accomplish three outcomes: 1) provide opportunities for all to work, 2) enable parents to raise kids in a place of their own, and 3) strengthen the financial safety net so that people never go without.

I have faith in what Eden and Shaffer propose, I’ll say, because I believe it’s the foundation of good public policy.

He’ll scoff at that declaration! I know he will. Why do I think so? One reason is what I learned from reading a provocative article written recently by Kevin Quealy, published in The New York Times. Quealy talks about how political elites influence public opinion, especially with regard to topics that are complex, technical, or off-the-radar screen.

The political elites to whom my friend pays attention don’t talk about poverty. They talk about cutting taxes, bolstering corporate America, reducing government regulations, managing budget deficits, correcting trade imbalances, curbing terrorism, bolstering defense … but never, ever about poverty.

Poverty has been handled. It’s being dealt with by non-profits, churches, and philanthropists. “We in America are nearer to the final triumph over poverty than ever before in the history of any land. The poor-house is vanishing among us.” Herbert Hoover, August 11, 1928.

I’ll tell my friend that he’s misguided, that America needs to respond in a prudent, humane way. America can’t possibly be great if people are living on $2 a day.

Don’t you agree?

Frank A. Fear is professor emeritus, Michigan State University. Frank is a frequent contributor to the LA Progressive and also writes about issues that intersect sport and society. You can read him at The Sports Column at http://www.thesportscol.com/category/frank-fear/  He is a long time independent and active with Independent Voting.

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A Letter from a Friend in Response

Hi Frank,

What can I say?

I think your article is brilliantly written in the most honest, clear and down to earth way. A humane and compelling format/conversation with “the other”. No demonization. No negating. Very intimate and political, touching and smart-a powerful personal/political organizing piece!

You locate poverty (the unspoken and criminally ignored white elephant in our country and in the world) structurally and not as a new phenomenon that we can just blame on one party – or the other – or on one leader or the other.  Poverty is institutionally located within a quagmire of ongoing unjust, inhumane policies that have and are destroying millions of lives, families, children, every day. And as you say, which must be thrown out and replaced-not reformed.

As a longtime political activist, I see the – up from the ground -National Independent Political Movement (IV.org) -working in concert with the many groups and individuals nationwide to build together to bring about this change!

Between your distribution networks and ours, I hope your piece reaches endless numbers of people hungry for a humane and sane direction to follow in this period.

Thank you Frank.

Kindest regards,

June

junehirsch solo

June Hirsh is an organizer with IndependentVoting.org. She lives in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village.

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 Please Join the Politics for the People Conference Call

With Kathyrn Edin

We will be discussing:

$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America

Sunday, December 3rd at 7 pm EST

Call In and Join the Conversation

641-715-3605 and passcode 767775#

 

Reader’s Forum: Lou Hinman

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Lou Hinman on $2.00 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America

I love Kathryn Edin’s book $2.00 a Day. It gives a clear, concise account of the welfare reforms that were produced by the Clinton administration. It shows how the work of academics are used by politicians.

It also gives us a vivid, unforgettable narrative that exposes the human consequences of these reforms.  Poverty has long been hidden in America.  But $2.00 a Day shows us how poverty has become deeper and even more hidden .  Along with the super-rich, along with the growing gap between haves and have-nots, along with the destruction of families and wealth by the bank-fraud of the sub-prime mortgage disaster, there has grown an under-underclass of the super-poor — the destitute who try to survive in the wealthiest country in the history of the world on almost no money at all.

Those of us who have never missed a meal cannot know what this is like the way that the super-poor know it.  But Kathryn Edin makes us look at it.  She makes us look at fellow Americans whose main source of cash is selling their own plasma.  At mothers of children who are forced into prostitution the pay the electrical bill.   At teenagers who submit to sexual abuse to get something to eat.  At young children who say they want to be dead.

What are we going to do about this?  More of the Clintons (or the next generation of Democratic Party triangulators) will not fix this.  The Democratic Party is not reformable.  To  address poverty, super-poverty, the destruction of the middle class, and the future of our children and our children’s children, there must be structural reform of our political process so that all our voices can be heard.

Lou Hinman lives in New York City and is an activist with IndependentVoting.org and the New York City Independence Clubs.

Please Join the Politics for the People Conference Call

With Kathyrn Edin

Sunday, December 3rd at 7 pm EST

Call In and Join the Conversation

641-715-3605 and passcode 767775#

Kathyrn Edin Speaks at All Stars Project

On October 28th, I attended the All Stars Project President’s Roundtable hosted by Gabrielle Kurlander.  Kathryn Edin, one of the authors of our current selection, $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America was the the guest speaker for “A New Conversation About Poverty” with discussants Dr. Lenora Fulani and Dr. Bonny Gildin.

President's Roundtable

Bonny Gildin, Kathryn Edin, Cathy Stewart, Lenora Fulani and Gabrielle Kurlander at ASP President’s Roundtable.

Dr. Edin gave an opening presentation on her ongoing research in Baltimore, following the young people of families that were given the opportunity to move from the highest poverty neighborhood to an average neighborhood in the city.  She has been interviewing and visiting with these young people over many years.  She outlines the “developmental effect” — when young people were given a broader exposure to a range of opportunities…  She commented that as a poverty researcher, she had been “blind to the role and importance” of the arts to kids lives until this project.

Dr. Edin’s presentation was followed by a very rich conversation amongst the panelists and audience.  Kathryn spoke about how we have moralized poverty and see it as a moral failing.  Our public policy, Edin says relates to the poor “in the meanest possible way.”  She talked about the work of the All Stars Project as bringing dignity and a voice to the poor and how she is working to establish the power of the “dignity effect” in her research.

At the end of the conversation, Dr. Lenora Fulani shared her view that we have to teach people to love the poor. I could not agree more!

You can watch Dr. Edin’s opening presentation at the All Stars Project President’s Roundtable here or below:

 

Please Join the Politics for the People Conference Call

With Kathyrn Edin

We will be discussing:

$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America

Sunday, December 3rd at 7 pm EST

Call In and Join the Conversation

641-715-3605 and passcode 767775#

New Selection–Chosen by You

Thanks for voting and selecting our next book club selection.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOKS-A-MILLION | INDIEBOUND | APPLE | KOBO | SONY

Written by Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer

 

From the $2.00 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America website:

“Jessica Compton’s family of four would have no income if she didn’t donate plasma twice a week at her local donation center in Tennessee. Modonna Harris and her teenage daughter Brianna, in Chicago, have gone for days with nothing to eat other than spoiled milk.

After two decades of groundbreaking research on American poverty, Kathryn Edin noticed something she hadn’t seen before — households surviving on virtually no cash income. Edin, whose deep examination of her subjects’ lives has “turned sociology upside down” (Mother Jones), teamed with Luke Shaefer, an expert on surveys of the incomes of the poor. The two made a surprising discovery: the number of American families living on $2.00 per person, per day, has skyrocketed to one and a half million American households, including about three million children.

But the fuller story remained to be told. Where do these families live? How did they get so desperately poor? What do they do to survive? In search of answers, Edin and Shaefer traveled across the country to speak with families living in this extreme poverty. Through the book’s many compelling profiles, moving and startling answers emerge: a low-wage labor market that increasingly fails to deliver a living wage, and a growing but hidden landscape of survival strategies among America’s extreme poor. Not just a powerful exposé, $2.00 a Day delivers new evidence and new ideas to our national debate on income inequality.”

You can get your copy at Amazon, your local bookseller or library.

The book is riveting and paints the disturbing picture of growing poverty in American post the “welfare reforms” that started in the Clinton era.

Join in our conversation on line…

And join us when we welcome Kathryn Edin

To our Politics for the People Conference Call       

Sunday, December 3rd at 7 pm EST

Image result for kathryn edin johns hopkins

Kathryn J. Edin

 

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