“Liberals” can mean Liberal-identifying people who are actively derisive toward people struggling in poverty. It can also mean someone genuinely interested in helping people in poverty, but seeing themselves as superior for “making better choices,” or their NIMBY opposition toward efforts to provide housing to poor people in their community. I’ve been guilty of all of these in the past myself. But I’ve changed, because of what I’ve learned and seen.
When I used to be a Liberal, I didn’t understand the reason why Liberal sources argued for welfare and charity because “we’ll always have poor people.” I accepted it as beyond my comprehension level for awhile, but the more I learned, I realized there were policy reasons for poverty, and humans control policy, so how are we this far along in human history, with all of our knowledge, resources and ability to recognize patterns and contradictions, and we haven’t yet solved how to make sure everyone gets their needs met and can thrive?
I started asking “Why can’t we solve this via policy?” At first I bought into the easy answer of blaming the GOP, this was all their fault! It fed my urge to point my rage at what I thought was the entire cause of our societal ails. But it was only partly correct.
Yes, US Republicans are responsible for some heinous policies, proposed policies, and actions toward poor people. But they aren’t alone. If we genuinely want to change our nation for the better, we must be radically honest with ourselves, and part of that process is acknowledging that US Democrats do very little to improve the material conditions of most people’s lives, either. Both parties blame each other for the lack of desired change. They rally their supporters to belittle, devalue, and dehumanize their political opponents and their supporters. This has become increasingly commonplace and woven throughout our culture to the point where it’s divided families, friends, and some are even killing one another over it.
Do you ever stop and think about how inhumane our socioeconomics are, and that is a choice? Obviously neither the GOP nor DNC give a damn about people in poverty. They’ve had plenty of time to do something about it, and haven’t. Both parties have had periods of majority rule during which they could’ve implemented policies popular with the majority of the US population. Those policies are popular! If they really cared about serving the voters, they’d have already done it and be re-elected due to their popularity. But they haven’t done it, and they won’t.
If you haven’t already recognized the role money, and those with most of it play in public policies & the enforcement of those here in the US, you have to be willfully avoiding information that confirms it, or deliberately blinding yourself to it. The Citizens United ruling by SCOTUS in 2012, their 2005 ruling that US police have NO duty to protect & serve the public (affirmed by subsequent rulings), the multiple Wall Street bailouts – but none for regular people, The Panama Papers, so many events and exposes just in the past 20 years show us who owns the US government and therefore controls policy: the richest people among us. It’s clear that they are protecting and serving their interests via their proxies, whose campaigns they donate to, and some of them are themselves industry agents on a revolving door program between their industries and the regulatory agencies meant to govern them to prevent harm to the public & planet.
Those rich people have interests diametrically opposed to our own. In fact, they’ve used the government and media to help condition us all into believing some myths (The American Dream Is Available To All, US Exceptionalism, Manifest Destiny, White Supremacy, Herofication Of War Criminals And Slavers, Everyone On Earth Wants To Live Here, Your Job Comes First, etc) that result in our support of policies and attitudes that benefit them the most, if those benefit the rest of us at all. It’s a happy coincidence for us when our interests are met and with the majority of the US population living paycheck to paycheck, price gouging, and the military-industrial complex pushing for WW3, those coincidences are few to none for many.
The rich owning class, often referred to as Capitalists, has also made a concerted effort to control what and how we learn about history, race, and class. Most USians think about “lower, middle, and upper” when they think about class in the context of the US. But in reality, that’s dividing 2 classes into 3, because what really exists is the working (lower & middle) and owning/ruling (upper) class. The owning/ruling class has been sowing divisions of all kinds among the working class since the early days of the US and Capitalism.
Capitalism was made possible because European immigrants who weren’t property owners back home were able to claim or purchase land in the already occupied “New World,” buy enslaved African people to do their labor, and reap the rewards from stolen land, resources, and labor. Things have evolved since then, but still under the control of the owning/ruling class, and the system we live under today retains many of the same elements of Plantation culture.
Capitalism continues to rely upon Imperialist practices: land, resource and labor theft, exploitation of people and animals, dehumanizing of others using white supremacist values, genocide, war, and oppressions of all kinds. It cannot be reformed, for it requires these very atrocities to function.
Capitalism relies upon a permanent underclass of people suffering in poverty in order to serve as a scare tactic to workers, who can serve as scabs during strikes, and who can be dehumanized by being portrayed as being individually responsible for their circumstances, rather than victims of a system requiring their hardships so that it can function. Things do not have to be this way. It is a choice. If you disagree with that choice, and want to seek out effective ways to implement system change, you must become aware of how we live in a class-based nation and that you are likely in false class solidarity with the Capitalists, despite not being one, and having needs contradictory to theirs.
It is not possible for endless expansion on a finite planet, which is why so many billionaires have been funding space travel. Some of them think they’ll simply leave Earth after they’ve helped collapse our precious ecosystem with their practices. The majority of us of have common interests aligned with those of the poor, not with the wealthy Capitalists. So why do we let them determine the future of any country, much less the entire planet?
Both Conservatives/Republicans and Liberals/Democrats in the US are Capitalists. Even the Radlibs are Social Democrats – who historically betray Communists to Fascists. The Nordic countries that many USians point to as worthy of imitation are still Capitalist, still rely on Imperialism, and do not attempt to eliminate the class divide. Any successful attempt to help end poverty and our climate crisis requires the removal of a Capitalist designed, owned and operated governing system.
That probably sounds terrifying, but frankly, letting these Capitalist psychopaths continue to drive us all further into their intentional hellworld frightens me far more. And GOOD NEWS, EVERYONE! We aren’t starting from scratch. There’s so many resources we have to consult, we have one another, we outnumber the Capitalists, but we must work together to help shed one another of their conditioning and build solidarity with one another instead.
We need a government that rules from the bottom up, instead of the top down. It must work to insure everyone’s needs are met. It cannot tolerate the divisions that the Capitalist ruling/owning class has sown among us in the Working class. It must topple the pyramid scheme that is Capitalism. That is the only way we can end poverty and improve material conditions for all in the Working class.
I had to learn all of these things over the past couple decades myself – I share provocative (also true) posts like this to try to help others as they try to find their way through these levels. I’m trying to give you a tutorial, cheat codes, and “loot” in the way of sharing resources I’ve found helpful to me. Need some reading/watching/listening resources on something in particular I covered here? Please LMK and I’ll do my best to help.