Much is made of the principle that all of us should have an equal opportunity to Food, Clothing, Shelter, Healthcare, Education, and so on (FCSHE+). That it is wrong to discriminate based on one’s color, religion, creed, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, etc., should be obvious to anyone capable of forming thoughts. Yet, in the US the Equal Rights Amendment could not garner the necessary support of 38 states to become a constitutional amendment. Latinos, African Americans, and Native Americans continue to suffer chronic social and economic disadvantages compared to white Americans. Lesbians, gays, transsexuals are viciously discriminated against throughout our society. And on and on.
Of course, one could argue that someone who is blind should not be given a job as a baseball umpire; yet, such exceptions are often raised, not as concerns to be accommodated, but to quash the entire concept of equal opportunity. Certainly, exceptions attend nearly every moral imperative, but while exceptions should be addressed, they should not be used as a means to destroy the imperative itself. During the 1970s, for example, conservatives cried that if the ERA passed, men and women would have to share the same locker rooms and bathrooms, i.e., all hell would break loose. These same conservatives didn’t give a damn that women’s incomes were less than men’s, as long as they didn’t have to urinate next to someone of the opposite sex.
That in the twenty-first century we must continue to fight for equality of opportunity for all people is a moral outrage. But even if we could guarantee equality of opportunity for all, the fight would not be over, for what we ultimately must demand is not just equal opportunity to FCSHE+ but the right to have FCSHE+. Having an equal opportunity to buy a home is not the same as having a right to live in a home.
In our society, FCSHE+, like all goods and services, are viewed as commodities to be bought and sold. Our only concern is that we not discriminate against the buyer based on her religion, color, gender, and so on. Yet we can and must discriminate against the buyer based on her ability to pay for these commodities. Discrimination based on one’s wealth and income, is not only acceptable in a market economy, it is necessary to the functioning of a market economy.
A commodified society such as ours, where everything and everyone has a price, naturally regards equality of opportunity as its pinnacle of fairness, its cornerstone of moral rectitude. The principle of inalienable human rights, on the other hand, rights that cannot be bought and sold, is anathema to a commodified society.
From a humanistic perspective, we must regard FCSHE+, not as commodities, but as human rights available to every member of society. Our super-rich, profit-obsessed, corporate warmongers, however, would like us to believe such rights are unaffordable. “Nothing,” they say, “is free in life. Who will pay for these?”
A graduated income tax is a start. If our taxes can pay for cruise missiles, nuclear submarines, aircraft carriers, and the most invasive eavesdropping system in the history of the world, our taxes can pay to feed, clothe, and shelter our people.
Imagine the human potential we could unleash if everyone was guaranteed healthy food; clean and beautiful clothing; safe, clean, and dignified shelter; comprehensive healthcare; education through college that focused on developing your individual talents; ecologically sustainable transportation; leisure time for artistic or athletic development; and on and on.
But if the goods and services to meet our basic needs are free, won’t everyone stop working?!
To be continued . . . . (by Stephen)
June 14: Auction Protest at Northwest Trustee Services in Bellevue for Jen
June 21: Auction Protest at Northwest Trustee Services in Bellevue for Larry
Depending on the outcome of Jeremy’s next court hearing, we are prepared to re-establish the eviction blockade on June 25. If you have yet to join SAFE’s Rapid Response Network, so that we can alert you as soon as the sheriff arrives to evict, please visit www.SAFEinSeattle.org, click on JOIN RRN, and sign up
This Past Week:
June 5: By unanimous consent Nickelsville and SAFE agree to join forces for direct actions. Since many SAFE members are only one-step away from homelessness, this is a natural fit. SAFE members are humbled and thrilled!
May 30: SAFE members deliver demand letters to Seattle branches of Bank of America and Chase. Rather than accept a letter from their customers, the BofA on the NE corner of Third Ave. and Madison shuttered their branch 90 minutes early! According to a security guard, “We knew you were coming.” The same with the BofA branch on Second Ave. and Cherry, where non-SAFE customers couldn’t get in and those already inside couldn’t get out. We then walked north to an unsuspecting Chase branch and delivered our letters, after reading them aloud in the lobby, without incident. Our meet-up spot for this action was the SW corner of Third Ave. and Madison, next to Wells Fargo’s headquarters. Even though we had no plans to deliver letters to this bank, their security guards shut down the building’s normal entry ways.
Other Upcoming & Ongoing Events:
Tuesdays, 7:00 – 8:30 PM: Weekly SAFE Meeting: Bethany UCC, 6230 Beacon Ave S (NE corner of Graham St). All are welcome!
You can reach us at info@SAFEinSeattle.org or 206-203-2125. Please visit our web site: www.SAFEinSeattle.org.
Thoughts & Opinions (SAFE welcomes written opinions from all of its supporters. If you have a letter or comment you’d like to include in the Thoughts & Opinions section of this Newsletter, please e-mail info@SAFEinSeattle.org. Opinions must be informative, relevant to the foreclosure/eviction crisis, and consistent with SAFE’s mission and principles. The opinions below do not necessarily represent those of SAFE.)