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Fighting the Power of the Rich

June 19, 2013

I have done two direct actions this week, one with Picture the Homeless, and the other with Occu-Evole.  On Saturday, I protested in Fieldston, Bronx, against Jonathan Weiner, who sounds like a slumlord although I am told that if you call him one you are likely to get sued.  He has goons intimidate people out of their apartments so he can fix them up and warehouse them, waiting for the property values to increase.  Fieldston is a wooded area with a lot of mansions.  We saw a number of people in the community, who seemed genuinely shocked that a huge mob of picketers had showed up in their neighborhood, so we essentially humiliated the guy in front of his neighbors because he has been unwilling to do his job properly or speak to his tenants, and it has taken a protests to try to get him to prove that he isn’t a greedy, lazy lout.

One young lady with the main group that organized the event (Picture the Homeless was a guest) kind of reminds me of Kate Dobson (an Indianapolis-area actor with whom I tried to work, and who did numerous short films in the area at the time) in appearance was really nice to talk to.  When I told her that my family blames my homelessness on my majors, she came to the same conclusion that I did–how many people with my major live in homeless shelters?  Probably not many.  She stated her belief that my homelessness is the result of systemic problems and nothing I myself did wrong.  I should note that for this and the following protest, I brought my cane, which I did not immediately need, but it should have been obvious to everyone that I really did need it as the action wore on.

On Tuesday, I rode a bus with Occupy groups up to Albany in order to protest the so-called “Independent Democratic Caucus,” which is really just a coalition of right-wingers who are nominally in the Democratic party.  A group of people linked arms in front of the Senate doors to represent the roadblock that they are creating, and we stood and applauded as each one got arrested.  Among the bills that have enough votes to pass that the IDC is denying from the floor are a bill to remove money from politics, the Women’s Equality Act, the DREAM Act, GENDA (preventing discrimination against transgendered people), and reducing marijuana possession to a violation (a ticketable, but not arrestable, offense).  No reasonable person could oppose any of these bills unless they have something to gain.

The bus ride was pretty disagreeable.  There were no electric sockets or wifi on the bus, and the toilet was loaded with crap that there is a $5,000 fine for jettisoning.  Worse, we came up on two different buses and returned crowded onto one.  Some of my friends would have been freaked out by all the transgender people on the bus.  They showed us Django Unchained, although the audio left quite a bit to be desired.  Dialogue that wasn’t loud was inaudible.

Today I was finally granted my fair hearing in regard to my medical bills.  Unfortunately, I didn’t know which fair hearing it was and came unprepared, with only some of the necessary materials.  My fair hearing was scheduled for 10 AM.  I arrived at 9:36.  I was not seen until nearly 1 PM.  They don’t allow food or drink in the waiting area, and if we leave the waiting area, we lose by default.  I asked the secretary what was going on, and she said that the judge was following the calendar.  they book multiply because they don’t expect everyone to show up, but everyone did.  I asked the secretary what moron made that decision (in those words), and she said someone in Albany, which doesn’t surprise me.

By the time the judge saw me, I was raising my voice every time she made me clarify something I had already said (the fact that I stayed in Jacksonville for two weeks after I was fired, for example, and she seemed to think that if I were fired after three months that I would still get the promised health insurance after 3 months, which makes no sense).  It’s as though they are trying to make you testy by making you go so long without food or water.  I now understand the reason it’s a felony to assault one of these workers while it’s only a misdemeanor to assault a regular citizen.  They set up the conditions to make it more likely for someone to explode.

As it is, I had to draw off my savings to buy food, since I managed to spend all but $8 of my last UIB stipend.  It is as though I am now being asked to choose between excruciatingly painful low wage work (in opposition to physician recommendation) and starvation.

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