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Tuesday, March 6

  1. page Demi Antzoulatos edited The truly affluent communities in the world have access to priceless resources that increase their…
    The truly affluent communities in the world have access to priceless resources that increase their political effectiveness and social well-being. Such communities tend to be inherited and politically maintained thereby marginalizing “outsider” communities. Important actors in each population knowingly and unknowingly perpetuate this cycle. This combination of intentional and unintentional maintenance is nearly impenetrable with the current model we have for political change. However it is possible to change, given that we act within the existing political will.
    I have come to better understand the complex situation of homelessness and poverty in America through the teachings of this class. I have also learned of my past contributions to such problems as well as my potential involvement in the future to help solve these issues. In the past I have neglected to account for the grey complexities of situations by categorizing them in to black and white. This has been convenient, however the oversight of such aspects has led to an incomplete understanding, and without a proper analysis a foreseeable solution is unlikely or impossible. Furthermore the possibility for bias is too high, and this would sacrifice the effort that would go into solving or making the situation better. I do think that this realization gives me an idea of where to begin, however the path of which I am to follow is less clear and would be easier to stray from.
    Drawing on my past experience I have been mainly committed to international ailments whose problems stem from abroad. This has been a main focus because I assumed that those involved do not have access to resources that enable an escape from the unhealthy situation, whereas people in America do have access to such resources. This is not necessarily true. I also assumed that homeless and poor Americans still have similar networks and access to resources, though to a lesser extent than I do. Yet again I was wrong. I did not realize how alienated one is when one is labeled homeless, poor or the stereotypical crazy and drunk. These assumptions have not only limited my commitment toward those abroad and away from home, but they have led me to be one of many that misunderstand this community.
    I have however realized that working within preexisting movements and with communities I feel the greatest connection with is the best way to be effective. I have been raised in a society that relies on the “do gooders” to fill in the cracks that our poor social-political policies create. These “do gooders” not only maintain a space for such people, but their existence does not put any pressure on governments to alter this model. Their intentions are usually the opposite of their effects. I have been in the “do gooder” camp and have become frustrated with the lack of responsiveness of those in power that could change the situation. I am now aware of the extent to which this is a difficult problem and how inexcusable this reality is.
    Again this blurs the lines and a course of action is less clear. So what would I do? Should I cease contributing in the way I know how, with the hope that the government would notice a one-person protest to this cyclical structural problem? I think this would be just as ineffective and hurt the people I wish to help more than the alternative. By being a “do gooder” I am working within the model that exists, yes it is inefficient and contributes to the present problems, but it is something. I think Mother Teresa had it right in believing that each act “is nothing but a drop in the ocean, but if we didn’t do it, the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”
    The world is not this black and white; there is a way to play on both teams without greatly compromising the other. I could foresee a participation in the “do gooder” camp as well as in the camp that promotes change of this current political structure. Knowingly doing this would also require a constant effort to maintain high commitment and not stretch oneself too thin.
    Building on this thought, I have learned that since the present situation of homelessness and poverty has not always been like this and is politically created and maintained, it does not have to be continued. By looking at how it was created and how it continues today one can see how to fix it. For instance, the homeless community does not have a political voice, because a lack of residence prevents them from voting. This can be changed only through avid political involvement of those who do have this essential democratic “privilege.” I have always spoken of my duty to do certain things because of my fortunate position in society, and this would be one instance where my effort, and that of others like myself, is the only long-term solution for this marginalized community.
    One person alone cannot complete such a task and hold such responsibility. The necessity of building a political will is thus revisited. The true effectiveness is in the masses, and when the voice of the voting community is loud enough to concern the political body of America, then change will occur. Yet most of the political changes in the past began with just a few, and then the political will carried the movement through to completion. This can be the case for a solution of eradicating homelessness and poverty in America, so one must “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world” even if it is one problem at a time.

    (view changes)

Friday, June 4

  1. page Readings for June 5 edited May 22 Class Discussion: Presentation Updated end of papers. Evaluations. Final class paper…

    May 22 Class Discussion: PresentationUpdated end of papers. Evaluations. Final class papers will be posted on the wiki.
    Guest Speakers: Wes Browning and Anitra Freeman
    Interesting stuff
    links (bibliography to review at your peril:
    {UnitetoExtend.pdf}
    {SweepsEmail.pdf}
    {2007-9- Reported Results In Reducing Street and Chronic Homelessness-1.pdf}
    come later tonight)
    My encounter with Dick Harmon of the IAF: http://apesmaslament.blogspot.com/2008/01/dont-try-do.html
    Songs (downloadable):
    Mesmerized by Uncertainty
    http://www.reverbnation.com/artist/song_details/3171992?play_now=true
    Revolution of Values
    http://www.reverbnation.com/artist/song_details/3171890?play_now=true

    (view changes)
    4:06 pm

Saturday, April 3

  1. page space.menu edited Class Overview ... for April 10 9 Readings for April 17 16 Readings for April 24 23 …
    Class Overview
    ...
    for April 109
    Readings for April 1716
    Readings for April 2423
    Readings for May 1April 30
    Readings for May 87
    Readings for May 1514
    Readings for May 2221
    Readings for May 2928
    Readings for June 5
    Class Papers
    (view changes)
    3:48 pm
  2. page home edited ... (2 Credits. Non Graded) Street newspapers such as Seattle’s Real Change build for a more just…
    ...
    (2 Credits. Non Graded)
    Street newspapers such as Seattle’s Real Change build for a more just society while helping to meet the immediate needs of those most affected by poverty. More than 100 such papers now exist in at least 27 countries, offering opportunity for self-help and political action by homeless people and their allies. This focus group will examine the issues through the lens of the street newspaper movement, and provide tools to develop a critical perspective on efforts to “end homelessness.” Students will visit the Seattle newspaper, explore local controversies on homelessness in the context of regional and national trends, and engage as activists to become part of the solution. The focus group is led by Timothy Harris, who is the founding Director of Real Change and a leader in the international streetpaper movement. Internship opportunities are available with street newspapers, both locally and abroad. Students attending all class sessions and completing all assigned work will receive credit.
    ...
    One: April 32
    Introductions. A brief history of homelessness. How do individual and systemic causes intersect? Can homelessness be solved? "Ending Homelessness as Zen koan." What is Real Change and how are street newspapers a solution to homelessness and poverty? Overview of goals and expectations of Focus Group.
    ...
    Two: April 109
    The Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness, considered in context. What does it do? Can it succeed? What are the contradictions, blind spots, and limitations to the approach? Who are the institutions?
    ...
    Three: April 1716
    Homelessness: who benefits? The political economy of homelessness, wages, and housing affordability. Globalization, development, and "strategies of reassurance." Is there a "dark side" to the Ten Year Plan?
    ...
    Four: April 2423
    Continuation of April 17 readings and discussion.
    Week Five: May 1April 30
    Class in America. The invisible issue. A discussion of homelessness, economic vulnerability, and the mythologies that confuse the issues. Class time for planning of activist project.
    ...
    Six: May 81
    Poverty, race, incarceration, and homelessness. Understanding the links. Special guest lecturer: Stephanie Knight.
    ...
    Seven, May 157
    Field trip to Real Change to meet vendors and staff and hear more about how Real Change works. Meet at 9:30 at the UW Van in the University Bookstore parking lot. We will leave at 9:35 sharp.
    ...
    Eight, May 2214
    The images in our heads versus the reality. Where do the stereotypes come from? How do policymakers view homelessness, and what do homeless people say?
    ...
    Nine, May 2921
    The Wes and Anitra Show. Wes Browning and Anitra Freeman are long-time editorial committee members of Real Change. Wes has a PhD in Mathematics and once taught at UW. He has been homeless four times. Anitra was a computer programmer for Boeing before her undiagnosed mental illness landed her in a women's shelter. She is now a leader in multiple organizations that address homelessness and poverty. They both live in the Union Hotel and are very happy together.
    Review of tasks for event (date, time and place of event TBD).
    Week Ten, June 5May 28
    Presentation of class papers. Evaluations.
    (view changes)
    3:40 pm

Monday, April 27

  1. page Readings for May 1 edited Class in America. The invisible issue. A discussion of homelessness, economic vulnerability, and th…
    Class in America. The invisible issue. A discussion of homelessness, economic vulnerability, and the mythologies that confuse the issues. Class time for planning of activist project.
    A follow-up from last week: My breathtaking account of witnessing a campsite sweep firsthand.
    http://apesmaslament.blogspot.com/2008/05/i-bleed-for-homeless.html

    Chapter from Betrayal of Work, by Beth Shulman
    How work fails, and the myths that make that OK.
    (view changes)
    10:21 pm
  2. page Readings for May 1 edited ... Chapter from Nickel and DImed, Barbara Ehrenreich {Ehrenreich_5and10ed.pdf} What we mean b…
    ...
    Chapter from Nickel and DImed, Barbara Ehrenreich
    {Ehrenreich_5and10ed.pdf}
    What we mean by class.Some thoughts on Classism. Read the Ehnenreich interview in the last half of this. The rest isn't as important.
    {Class_Matters.pdf}
    (view changes)
    10:08 pm
  3. page Readings for May 1 edited ... Chapter from Nickel and DImed, Barbara Ehrenreich {Ehrenreich_5and10ed.pdf} What we mean b…
    ...
    Chapter from Nickel and DImed, Barbara Ehrenreich
    {Ehrenreich_5and10ed.pdf}
    What we mean by class.
    {Class_Matters.pdf}

    (view changes)
    10:05 pm
  4. page Readings for May 1 edited Class in America. The invisible issue. A discussion of homelessness, economic vulnerability, and t…
    Class in America. The invisible issue. A discussion of homelessness, economic vulnerability, and the mythologies that confuse the issues. Class time for planning of activist project.
    Chapter from Betrayal of Work, by Beth Shulman
    How work fails, and the myths that make that OK.
    {BethShulman_BetrayalofWork.pdf}
    Chapter from Nickel and DImed, Barbara Ehrenreich
    {Ehrenreich_5and10ed.pdf}

    (view changes)
    10:03 pm

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