HOUSING IS A HUMAN RIGHT!
Standing Against Foreclosure & Eviction
February 5th, 2016
THE 2016 ONE NIGHT COUNT found an increase of 19%
Everyone’s talking about our State of Emergency on Homelessness yet our problem keeps growing. Here are the results from the January 29th One Night Count.
“At least 4,505 men, women, and children were without shelter during the three hour street count. This number is an increase of 19% over those found without shelter last year. This number is always assumed to be an undercount, because we do not count everywhere, and because many people take great care not to be visible.”
Compassionate Voice – Lisa Herbold
It is something of a surprise that our conservative paper, the Seattle Times, ran a great opinion piece from our new council member, Lisa Herbold. She gets to the heart of the problem on affordable housing.
“Seattle faces a serious affordable-housing crisis that is pushing out many long-time residents. The Journal of Urban Affairs found that, on average, an increase of $100 in median rent corresponded to a 15 percent increase in the numbers of people who are homeless.”
SAFE Supports Action against the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)
On February 3rd a couple of SAFE members joined the group gathered at City Hall and listened to speakers including Councilmember Mike O’Brien. From City Hall there was a march which then headed down to the federal building to where Maria Cantwell and Sen. Patty Murray have their offices. Both of them are supporters of the TPP agreement which is the modern WTO on steroids. The greatest part of this rally was sending a definite message to our Senators that we will no longer support, and will in fact work actively to replace them, if they continue to come out on the side of corporations.
The Media’s Blame Game-A Tale of Two Shootings
The shooting in the Jungle really highlights how the media creates prejudice in reporting on a story. At the link there is a great article on the finger pointing blame game played by the media as it concerns those who live on the street.
Instead of truly raising concerns on how dangerous is it to live without a home and how to solve our problems, the media generally sensationalizes drug problems and focuses on the coming action that will once and for all clear out the Jungle area leaving the inhabitants even more out in the cold. Here comes the sweep!
It is extremely import how the article notes in the three quotes below, the contrast in how two different shootings which took place in the same week are treated:
“On Wednesday, February 3, two suspects shot and seriously wounded a 22-year-old man on a bus in SoDo”
“The Metro [bus] shooting came only two days after horrifying details emerged in police documents concerning the previous week’s killing of two people and wounding of three others at The Jungle.”
“But after the Metro shooting, nobody demanded that the police seize all possessions being carried by the passengers on the bus. The Seattle Times didn’t run three straight days of front page, above-the-fold stories calling buses dens of drugs, guns, and deaths.”
Water and Human Rights
On February 2nd, SAFE hosted guest speaker and Human Rights activist Martha Schmidt of the National Lawyers Guild. She led us in an extended discussion on the human rights crisis in Flint, Michigan.
Flint is the poster child which illustrates the changing mission of our government. The new (neo) framework and aim of government is to foster a good business environment. No longer does the health and welfare of the citizen matter, only business matters.
Martha started out the discussion by having us define the very root of the problem, Neoliberalism.
The main points of neo-liberalism include:
1.THE RULE OF THE MARKET. Liberating “free” enterprise or private enterprise from any bonds imposed by the government (the state) no matter how much social damage this causes. Greater openness to international trade and investment, as in NAFTA. Reduce wages by de-unionizing workers and eliminating workers’ rights that had been won over many years of struggle. No more price controls. All in all, total freedom of movement for capital, goods and services. To convince us this is good for us, they say “an unregulated market is the best way to increase economic growth, which will ultimately benefit everyone.” It’s like Reagan’s “supply-side” and “trickle-down” economics — but somehow the wealth didn’t trickle down very much.
2.CUTTING PUBLIC EXPENDITURE FOR SOCIAL SERVICES like education and health care. REDUCING THE SAFETY-NET FOR THE POOR, and even maintenance of roads, bridges, water supply — again in the name of reducing government’s role. Of course, they don’t oppose government subsidies and tax benefits for business.
3.DEREGULATION. Reduce government regulation of everything that could diminish profits, including protecting the environment and safety on the job.
4.PRIVATIZATION. Sell state-owned enterprises, goods and services to private investors. This includes banks, key industries, railroads, toll highways, electricity, schools, hospitals and even fresh water. Although usually done in the name of greater efficiency, which is often needed, privatization has mainly had the effect of concentrating wealth even more in a few hands and making the public pay even more for its needs.
5.ELIMINATING THE CONCEPT OF “THE PUBLIC GOOD” or “COMMUNITY” and replacing it with “individual responsibility.” Pressuring the poorest people in a society to find solutions to their lack of health care, education and social security all by themselves — then blaming them, if they fail, as “lazy.”
Around the world, neo-liberalism has been imposed by powerful financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.
It was a great discussion and all participated!
We hope that there will be criminal prosecution of Governor Rick Snyder and Flint’s Emergency Manager, Darnell Earley. Both were supposed to speak to the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee and on Thursday, Earley was served with a subpoena by the U.S. Marshals Service.
Proof that officials knew the water in Flint was dangerous is found in the state supported shipping of bottled water for consumption by Flint’s city workers.
SAFE continues to endorse petition regarding Flint, MI
So far 591,406 people have signed Michael Moore’s petition that asks US Attorney General, Loretta Lynch to arrest Rick Snyder, the Governor of Michigan, for his complicity in the crime of poisoning the people of Flint. We urge our members and allies to sign it. Please go the link: http://michaelmoore.com/DontSendBottledWater/
Rally for Homeowner Justice
On Tuesday, February 2nd, some members of SAFE went down to Olympia to lobby once again. A group of about 30 people were there in all. Pina, Red, Merle, Jane, etc. were there to bring attention to the injustice of laws supporting criminal banks and their illegal activities in home foreclosures.
This dedicated Housing Justice Lobby group had also gone to Olympia the week before in order to attend a hearing on HOUSE BILL #2876 and they had drafted important changes of wording in the bill which would give homeowners an equal footing at Mediations. Their efforts to change the law were shut down but this group will not be deterred!
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The People’s Assembly 2016 – How Do We Win Change?
At City Hall – 11:00 am – Saturday, February 27th
Join Councilmember Kshama Sawant and many of Seattle’s best activists and organizers to discuss what to fight for in 2016, and how you can join the struggle to win:
Speakers will include: City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, State Senator Pramila Jayapal, Martin Luther King County Labor Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer Nicole Grant, Fromer Executive Director of the Tenants Union of Washington State Jon Grant, Climate Activist Sarra Tekola, and many others!
Weekly Solidarity Meeting
SAFE holds our weekly Solidarity Meeting every Tuesday at the Collaboratory, 5623 Rainier Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98118, at Rainier and Orcas in Hillman City. Our next meeting is Tuesday, February 9th, 2016. A meal is served at 6:30 pm; the meeting starts at 7:00 pm. All are welcome.
WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED!
QUESTIONS & COMMENTS
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