Someone mass produces a shitty kinder egg toy, pays their workers crap and earns millions from the profit.
Someone goes out to feed and clothe people in destitution, gets paid nothing because it’s what they do to volunteer their services to humanity.
According to capitalism everything here is ok, because it only values one thing – and it’s not humanity.
Every pro-homeless thing I post gets support from my friends, and I love you for it.
Even 10 year’s ago it would be almost unthinkable to post pro-homeless things with any real support, and mostly just abuse would result.
I still get the indifference, still the abuse. I still have people use my status as an ex-homeless person against me.
I still have people pretend that the moment my homelessness comes up in a discussion or debate automatically means my voice no longer counts.
And it still hurts every time.
But I always knew that was how the world worked. It’s what I grew up knowing, and so as frustrating as it is, it’s just something I know to expect.
What’s amazing is to see how that’s becoming less normal, or at least less accepted as normal. To see how I find myself surrounded by people throughout the world who reject anti-homeless prejudice as being “normal”, and who reject homelessness as “normal” as well as the narratives that perpetuate it.
It’s not an easy issue, because we live in a system that not only exacerbates it, but which normalises the victimisation of homeless people – and even worse, commodifies us in order to profit from our perpetual stigma.
But every time I tackle the deep and disturbing issues, I find people who feel the same about the injustice and about what it means to be human.
I can’t ever truly put into words what it means.
Does aggressive begging exist?
Is aggressive begging the problem of homelessness?
It’s a cause of a shit system that values property rights over those who should have right to shelter.
The person who you encounter who aggressively begs you isn’t the problem.
It’s the landlords who profit from keeping 200,000 long term empty properties, which could House even our hidden homeless 2-3 times over, in order to inflate the housing market who are the problem.
Aggressive begging exists.
It’s not the problem.
It’s a symptom of the problem.
Get your heads around that.
The numbers speak for themselves.
We can House everyone tonight.
We can then pay for their support tonight.
Aggressive beggars are a problem for our economic system.
They aren’t a problem to humanity.
Our national election is the only one which gets hyped by the media.
The media go fucking crazy for our general elections, but not any others.
And what happens at general elections?
We vote for local representatives to parliament, and informally a national government is created.
But that’s weird, isn’t it?
Because our general election is touted as our vote for the executive branch of government, but we’re actually just voting for our representative branch, just like all other elections.
So, what’s happening?
Well, the executive branch isn’t formally elected, but we live in a perceived modern democracy so they have to be perceived to be elected.
They can’t be, because we have no formal separation of powers, so we have to dupe people into believing this election is the big one where YOU elect the government (*cough cough* no you don’t, you elect your local representative and the non-constitutional party system conflates that with electing the executive branch by informalising the electoral process and taking the power away from your representatives who you did vote for and giving it to the executive who you haven’t voted for – THIS IS THE POINT: your representative power is non-constitutionally given away to the executive branch. Want to prove me wrong? Who did you vote for at the last election? Every one of you will respond with a party, and not your MP’s name. My case in point).
It’s a power grab by the executive over the representative.
It’s why party whips exist, let alone have so much power.
“Oh, this policy adversely affects your constituents? Well fuck you, you’re on our party ticket so you have to vote with us.”
There’s a reason general elections get the highest turnout, and it has nothing to do with democracy.
It has everything to do with subverting it in order to ensure the representative branches of government are always subservient to the executive branch.
And why is that?
When we became a constitutional monarchy, did you really believe it was anything to do with allowing the people to have a say in politics.
“Reform that we may preserve” – Thomas Babbington Macaulay.
It’s the mantra of the conservatives at their birth in the 19th century, facing calls for democratic reforms that would look trivial today – this was before women got to vote by almost a hundred years!
Give a little, in order to conserve the power structure.
Why was this the case?
It was necessary to pass some limited reform in order to exclude the working classes from the constitution.
The sad thing is that we haven’t moved on democratically much from that moment, except the chartist movement and the 1911 parliament act.
*Elections and electoral reform in the uk are not – and never have been – about giving power to the people. It’s always been about preserving the power structures that already exist. Why do you think we still have an aristocracy and monarchy?*
So…. why do all elections get less turnout than general elections?
Because our executive branch desires that and the media enforce it.
We preserve our power structures. We don’t dismantle them on the flimsy whim that the people who are governed should have a real say in how they are governed.
Diogenes of Sinope, sound of mind and fortified by destitution,
Wakes from his slumber on the street and picks among the remains of his fellow Greeks
And asks of those around him, what human exertion can defy inevitability.
Oh you who project yourselves skyward,
Remember the bones around Diogenes
Which belonged to people as strong and handsome as you.
The difference between transient people and middle-class dropouts who use the world as their emotional playground:
Wherever you go, don’t pretend it’s an escape.
The people in the place you move to live in a world with huge problems, wherever you choose.
So wherever you go to call home, you have to resolve to making it your home by living with the people who live there and taking on their issues as your own – not as a saviour figure from outside, but as someone who wants to be a part of the community you find yourself in.
That’s the transient way.
Wherever we go, we take part.
So, always choose your destination well.
Take into account what you can give and what will be needed from you, as much as what you need and what you think you can expect to be given.
What do you need and what can you give?
Those two questions will define the best places for you to go.
It’s not “escape”.
It’s going where’s best for everyone, including you.
Unless you are fleeing a war zone or an utterly collapsed economy (and I mean collapsed to the point that you live on the street), the idea of transience being a way to “escape” with little care about anything except yourself isn’t transience. It’s neo-colonialism.
You’re not a transient, you’re literally colonising.
You’re going somewhere to either set up an enclave or maintain an enclave.
There are MANY times where transient communities are fucked over by people around them and forced to create an enclave.
But those occasions don’t begin with people from relatively affluent backgrounds displacing the local populace.
If you’re doing that, you’re colonising, not being transient.
Transience isn’t about escape.
Transience is a way of life.
It’s a way of life which involves a set of difficult responsibilities which you have to acknowledge and live by.
It’s not to say that you have to live as second class citizens to every static community you encounter.
It’s that you can’t pretend you’re superior to them.
It’s to acknowledge that, when movement is a choice rather than a response to immediate threat, we have an extra impetus to our responsibility to the community we engage with, driven by the lack of mitigating factors that can remove us from the responsibility of our actions as reasonable people.
Especially when we come from a more affluent background.
Caveat: if you’re so economically destitute as to be literally street homeless in a new country, or have been made homeless in your own country….
Well, there’s no caveat. You know this already. You’ve known poverty at its extreme, and you don’t need me to remind you of what it takes to survive it.
Looking at media, there are some troubling tropes around the portrayal of homeless people.
Tv tropes itself doesn’t tend to deal with the more negative tropes involving homeless people, and definitely doesn’t recognise these harmful tropes, so I thought I’d share them and talk about them:
The useful Tramp – the homeless person, or persons, who have no character (beyond possibly the most lazy stereotypes), who are utilised by the main characters in order to procure information or items of plot value.
Some narratives patronisingly attempt to pretend they are venerating the homeless community by suggesting they are “useful”, but still deny them any identity or agency of their own.
See “Sherlock” (tv series) and his use of a faceless and nameless network of homeless people for information, where he’s meant to be portrayed as benevolent for using them, and they are meant to be venerated above their social stigma by being useful to him – but not venerated enough to be given any character, and not allowed for their character alone, outside of their usefulness, to be enough to venerate them.
Deus ex vagrant – the homeless person who saves the day at the last minute, redeeming their original sin of being homeless in the first place.
Usually, they have no backstory and little mention is made of their character outside their involvement in saving the day.
The unrecognised victim – the homeless person, typically drunk, who’s first to witness the evil presence which ultimately kills them.
Their purpose in the story is solely to introduce the evil presence, by sacrificing a character that is given no background or sympathetic qualities and who can be easily forgotten by both the characters and the audience.
The jolly tramp – the homeless person whose sole purpose is to demonstrate the humanity of the main character. “Their so great, they even talk to and laugh with homeless people.”
Little, if any, backstory is given to them, and they are unanimously denied the privilege of a story arc of any kind (unlike even minor characters).
The derelict in distress/“aw, don’t be mean to them” – the homeless person whose sole purpose is to be a pitiful victim in order to highlight the bravery and/or compassion of the hero.
The destitute mystic – the homeless person who has magical powers, who’s only contribution to the plot is to grant wishes to compassionate main characters, or to give plot points as wisdom or magical items to main characters.
The tragicomic relief – their function is normally to appear drunk, spot a moment which should break suspension of disbelief (such as a magical occurrence), and do a double take before either running away or putting the experience down to their inebriation.
“Oh my god! I’m finally Rich!” – the homeless person who, often towards the end of a film, finids or is given a valuable item or pile of money, and quickly leaps up in delight exclaiming how their life is going to turn around.
They are almost never seen in the story before this point.
Another version of this trope involves homeless characters having no understanding of basic concepts, such as the value of money (“if I had a thousand dollars, why, I’d by a castle!”)
I live with Dupuytren’s contracture.
It’s a disease that typically affects people a decade older than I am, and I showed signs of it almost 20 years ago.
I’m 40. I shouldn’t even show signs of it until a decade from now. So you’ll understand how shit it is to show signs of this disease 30 years before you should – and especially when it’s so advanced that your entire palm and all the tendons connecting all your fingers are affected.
All my fingers.
Not just the middle finger on one hand that many people with this condition exhibit in their 50s or older.
ALL my fingers.
ALL the tendons on my palm connecting all of my fingers.
On both hands.
The only saving grace is that it advances quicker when you suffer from it at a later age, so I have more time to live with the symptoms than if it happened when I was older.
But it’s more widespread, and it will hit me at a younger age than most people who live with it.
Instead of a decade or so in my 50s, I get 2-3 decades starting from my 20s.
Not a great trade.
I found a new lump on the palm of my hand today. Every time that happens, I’m reminded of what awaits me not long from now.
My life has been defined by what I do with my hands.
I loved playing the guitar, and I’m a carpenter and a manual labourer.
Every new lump is a foreshadowing that soon my hands will be useless.
They will close up like my little finger did, and I won’t be able to do what I love and what I have to in order to have a job.
It fucking sucks.
It sucks worse to know that this started a good 20-30 years before it should.
Even today, I have difficulty doing certain things with my hands.
Occasionally I won’t be able to hand over coins or pens to people because my hands will seize up in an embarrassing way, because they won’t know why I’m stood there unable to just give them what’s in my hand.
Even 15 years ago, I would have to stop playing a gig half way through a song because my hand would contort itself painfully in a way that meant I couldn’t play, and I’d have to physically break my hand apart.
I found another lump today.
But I am what I do with my hands.
I love what I do and make with my hands.
I don’t know how long I have left to do it – maybe a decade if I’m lucky. Two if the gods shit gold on my soul. Possibly less.
I just want to do as much with them before I can’t.
Every new lump I find is a kick in the balls.
Every time I open my palms and find their relaxed position is more enclosed hits me.
But fuck it.
It can win in the end, but it doesn’t get to win now.
Every new lump makes me want to achieve more before it beats me.
Today I found a new lump.
Nothing else matters.
My main measure of someone is their theory of mind.
A theory of mind is your ability to accept that whilst you can never know anyone else really exists as another being who thinks and feels and acts of their own accord as you do, they do and you’re not the only “real person” in the universe.
Solipsism is the antithesis of a theory of mind, as is sociopathy – and sociopathy and solipsism are intricately linked.
The greatest evils of humanity are performed by those who reject a theory of mind in some degree or in its whole.
It’s why Nazis could dehumanise people. It’s why the indigenous people of Australia could be denied their humanity – and the indigenous people of America.
A lack of a theory of mind lies behind all the atrocities humanity has ever experienced or meted out against itself.
A theory of mind is a prerequisite for self-depreciation, self-critique, humility and empathy.
Those who pretend these things are weaknesses are always lacking in – and arguing against – a theory of mind.
Their ideologies and the atrocities they seek demand us to reject, in part or in whole, a theory of mind.
That’s why it’s the measure I use to judge others.
Sociopaths and solipsists are boring.
They are easy to figure out, easy to write.
Complex people have a theory of mind.
They are more interesting to live with, more complex to understand.
There’s a reason that all fascist and totalitarian regimes promote sociopathy and try to undermine our theory of mind.
It makes us easier to control, easier to apologise for and partake in atrocities.
Removing you from your theory of mind is the first step any totalitarian ideology demands.
That’s why Orwell’s 1984 was all about reforming the language in such a way as to remove the ability to use nuance and to have any theory of mind.
It’s why the Nazis demanded the dehumanisation of Jewish people, and the rejection of anything they said or did as having motive behind it that equated to motives others would understand and sympathise with.
It’s why conspiracy theories and cults thrive – and how they thrive.
Arguments against them can’t possibly be from free-thinking people who just disagree with you. They must be brainwashed “sheeple”, or worse – “shills”.
You have to eradicate at least some theory of mind, in order to prevent people from questioning the cult or conspiracy theory when they encounter arguments the cult or conspiracy theory fails to answer that may lead people away, by disingenuously claiming that those questions or arguments come not from ordinary people like yourself, but from puppets and puppeteers.
A theory of mind is the only thing that connects our humanity.
That’s why undermining it or completely rejecting it is the first step to totalitarianism, and is the root cause of every atrocity.
Another reminder of who the DUP are:
In 1998 they opposed the good Friday agreement, even when the Unionist terrorists agreed to it.
There are videos freely available showing UVF members being booed out of DUP meetings for just trying to explain why they backed the agreement.
They denounced UVF terrorists who fought for a ceasefire with Republican terrorists.
They are a Presbyterian sect who want to implement a theocracy.
The DUP have always been about destroying Northern Ireland and recreating it in a Presbyterian image.
Whilst they and Sinn Fein are arseholes who politically advocate terrorism to further their agenda, we’re meant to be ok with the DUP because their terrorists are pro-British nationalists, and vilify Sinn Fein because their terrorists advocate pro-Irish nationalism.
When Theresa May lost the Tory majority in Parliament and had to count on the support of the DUP – something that no Tory PM has had to do in years – she emphasised the name of the Tory party as the “Conservative and UNIONIST party”, which no Tory MP of influence has done for a hundred years.
There’s a reason she did that.
It’s to signal to her allies that she doesn’t care about diplomacy and legitimate democracy; to tell everyone else that she’s a patriot even if her actions destroy the country they’re told to love; and to show the DUP and everyone else that she thinks terrorism is ok when it suits her nationalist agenda.
Remember, the UVF killed civilians, just like the IRA (and fuck them both for that alone); but only the political wing of one is acceptably allowed to form a government.
Terrorism is ok…. as long as you kill people the state doesn’t care about 🤬
The fact that the government signs up with the DUP, who denounced the UVF for signing the good Friday agreement against the advice of terrorists they admonished for not going further, should tell everyone who were dealing with.
If you know that and vote Tory, fuck you, you utter cunt.
To be fair and balanced:
The truth is that both groups are terrorist advocates.
They both advocate the murder of civilians in order to further their cause.
But only one group is defined as “terrorist”, whilst the other is sanitised by the label “paramilitary”.
If you’re a paramilitary, you actively use terror to further a political cause.
I’d say that if you back the DUP alliance with the Tories, then you back terrorism. However, it’s worse than that.
If you back the DUP alliance with the Tories, you back a government that even the unionist terrorists disagree with.
And that makes you a terrorist sympathiser – and worse, one who pretends it’s wrong to sympathise with terrorists except in special circumstances.
Now consider why Trump pretends white nationalist terrorism isn’t a threat.
Get it yet?