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RNC Protests: Another Party for Elite White Kids?

The RNC protests have begun to repulse me as elitist privilege as they progress. I see NO efforts to airlift the poor, the homeless, welfare moms, etc. to NYC, but I DO see lots of privileged white kids from American suburbs going, and this is getting quite problematic.
RNC Protests: Another Party for Elite White Kids?
By Kirsten Anderberg (www.kirstenanderberg.com)

As I watch all the money and energy being put into the RNC protests in NYC this year, I have begun to be repulsed. Why haven't these troops of protesters been called out like this for the issue of "homelessness," or "hunger?" Why is it that tens of thousands of Americans are willing to put this much time, money and energy into one national convention protest, but not willing to do the same for the poor and hungry? Yeah, the concept is the GOP keeps us hungry via their policies, but really, so do the democrats. There is bipartisan support for screwing the poor at every turn. Why is it that so many white activists are willing to participate so fully in this RNC protest, but not as voraciously, and not in such numbers, for housing for the homeless? Not as voraciously for police accountability? I think the reason is the RNC protests have become "trendy," and NYC has become the "place to be seen" for this party, I mean, protest.

Back when I was enrolled at Santa Cruz's Cabrillo College in the 1980's, I auditioned for music scholarships. I literally auditioned in every category, pop, classical and jazz, as I was in destitute poverty as a single mom with no family, spouse or child support and had always excelled in music. A young gal who could not sing in key, even with a pianist accompanying her, won the pop category. A trained opera singer won the classical category, and another woman lacking any outstanding talents won the jazz category. Appalled, I actually went to the head of the music dept. to find out what on earth their criteria for winning these things was, as it had nothing to do with actually staying on pitch. The head of the music dept. said that I lost the pop category because I had been a paid performer before so I had "professional" experience in pop so could not win. So I reminded him that the woman who beat me in the classical category was a professional opera singer with professional training! The man in charge threw in that I could not win because A) I did not pay an accompanist and sang a cappella and B) I had not invested in extracurricular music activities like those who won, and C) my original music for the pop category would only go over at a "lesbian conference" and was not considered "entertainment." I had made a big stink earlier re the accompanist issue. Poor people cannot PAY a pianist for an audition. So, since they would not listen to me, I chose a song that is done a cappella for the classical piece, so I told him that. He conceded the piece had to be done a cappella so that issue was moot. His concept that my music was too political to be "entertainment" was bizarre logic, as I guess this was a scholarship for "entertainment," and my political humor was not that, apparently.

I explained to the man that I could not attend the after school rehearsals for the musical productions, although I would like to, because I had no childcare or family, was poor, and I had a three year old son! So you know what they did? They promised me that the next music audition cycle I WOULD WIN a scholarship in music, before the auditions even happened! And sure enough, next cycle, I won the classical applied music scholarship. The whole thing apparently was rigged, and it was truly weird. But what stunned me was how people with little to no musical talents were being handed scholarships for extracurricular participation, not for their musical abilities. And how they did not care in the least how this affected the poor and single moms! The scholarship only ended up getting me into more trouble as the dept. head's wife, Michelle Rivard, was assigned as the paid applied music voice teacher for me. She began to tell me I had to wear high heels, a bra and my hair in a bun to SING! I asked why Aretha Franklin did not have to wear heels to sing and she responded, and I quote this VERBATIM, "Blacks have extra air space in their head to sing like that." I immediately quit all contact with Cabrillo's Music Dept., after lodging formal complaints, having had enough by then.

But it was all about the privileged kids. The kids whose parents would pay for pianists to accompany their tone deaf children. Kids who lived a life of luxury that let them waste time at poorly attended community college musical events, and could not get a real music gig to save their lives. Kids who were given opera coaching by people that did not tell them blacks have more air space in their heads! And I realized that the Cabrillo Music program was not about musicianship, it was about class and race insulated privilege, period.

So what does this have to do with the RNC 2004? Well, I am a hardworking writer. I invest 5-12+ hours a day, writing and researching. I work endlessly with alternative press venues, trying to eek out a living in poverty, doing something I think is important, such as keeping the issues of poverty, homeless teens, single moms, orphans, and others who are often left out, in the forefront of the conversations. I have to self-syndicate. I do not just write an article, then others send it all over and pay me repeatedly for it, like political writers such as Geov Parrish. I work very very hard at being a reporter and writer, and take it seriously. I do not put out questionable facts, I do not present editors with grammatical messes. I did approach Not In Our Name (NION) early on about helping me with airfare to the RNC to report from the front lines on the police brutality, human rights violations, direct actions, etc. They seem to have given financial help to those with time for their extracurricular activities, mostly NION fundraising, just like Cabrillo College, and thus they were of no assistance. I also put in an application with the Institute of Anarchist Studies, for a grant to fund me going to the RNC to cover it as an alternative reporter. They also did not feel I was worthy of a cent of investment. And yet, it seems, everyone I know is airlifting out to the RNC. How are they able to afford it, I have to wonder?

Many of the publications I write for have publicly announced their whole staffs are leaving to NYC. All of the Slingshot Zine staff is supposedly going. The staff at Infoshop seems to have gotten their people there. Even my feminist cohorts such as the Guerilla Grrls have stated they are going. It seems every activist I know who is not poor is heading out to the RNC for the party of the century. I said EVERYONE BUT THE POOR ACTIVISTS. I am afraid in all the hubbub, those activists with middle class roots, forgot the poor in their protesting. We are getting left home, while *they* supposedly protest for *our* rights. Is it mostly white, middle class activists going to RNC from outside NYC? It does seem that way. It is funny how often the poor just get left behind.

So far, I have yet to hear of even one organization raising funds to fly the HOMELESS to NYC for this. I certainly would prefer to see groups of homeless folks flown to NYC for this protest than privileged white kids from suburbs. I have yet to hear of one group flying welfare mothers to NYC for the protests. I have yet to hear of funding being raised for the inner city ghettoes or Latino barrios to mobilize to NYC. I am not seeing a huge multiracial exodus to NYC, I am seeing lots of white kids with money heading to NYC. I see lots of trendy white punks shopping for what they are going to wear to the RNC. It is like the big party that is slated for white kids to show off their anarchist finery. The RNC has become an elitist party from where I sit. I am too poor to participate. And I did ask for help to go, and I did offer more of a product than standing around looking cool. I would have sent out hundreds of articles from the front line, and you know I would have. But no, I am reminded I am too poor for many direct actions and protests. I am true to my writing. Like the other poor activists in America, I will stay home and WATCH the white kids with money go blow a wad at the RNC this summer. But I stand in solidarity with the poor. I do not believe much, if any, effort was made by those with housing, food, and middle class family roots, to facilitate the mobilization of the poor to NYC for the RNC. After all the partying is over, we will still be sitting on the sidelines watching you all. We will still be isolated in hunger. We will still be left out.

I just want those of you airlifting to the RNC to think of the poorest people in *your* life. Are they going to the RNC? Why not? Who would make more of an impression politically, you or a poor person? Are you white, living in a suburb with parents who make sure you are never homeless? Have you spent as much money on trendy new clothing for the RNC as it would cost to fly a poor person to the protests? Is your trip to the RNC self-serving, or do you *really* care about the issues of poverty, homelessness, etc.? And how are these white people with money going to the RNC going to address the issues of poverty? Well, maybe this one time, you could put a homeless person first and give them your plane ticket to NYC! Or maybe you could give the money you were going to spend on the RNC to a local food bank so that others may EAT! Maybe you could sit home with us, watching the protests from the sidelines, and learn what it is like to not be allowed to play all their reindeer games. Maybe instead of going to the trendy RNC party, you could donate that money and energy to food banks and homeless shelters today. While the activists play in NYC, people are still starving every night in America. And those are the people, in my opinion, that should have been airlifted to the RNC protests FIRST.

homepage: homepage: http://www.kirstenanderberg.com

Untrue 26.Jul.2004 10:37


There have been plans in the works for over a year by groups working with the homeless and poor to get homeless and poor people to New York for the RNC or to house, feed and help the same while here. You are simply uninformed and not involved (obviously) with any of the planning, preperation or volunteering for the RNC protests.

Further you are dead wrong when you catagorize those who are planning, preparing and volunteering hundreds of hours as white elitists. Since you do not participate you don't know the racial and economic diversity of the group.

Stop complaining if you are sitting on the sidelines.

I'll second that.... 26.Jul.2004 11:06


More of the rich evil white man and the poor minorities who are incapable of caring for themselves. This point of view has been rehashed a thousand times by a thousand different liberals.

Come up with a new one, as this one's been heard ad nauseum.....

Is This For Real? 26.Jul.2004 11:34


Seriously, I can't find it on Kirsten's web site.

This is the sort of critique I'd expect from someone trying to divide the movement. Forgive me for being white. At 37, living paycheck-to-paycheck, I hardly think I quialify as an elite white kid. Let's not confuse the issue as to who the real "elite" are. You can always play political football by invoking the homeless. That's one reason why we're protesting the power elite who keep us under their boots.

chill out defensive posters 26.Jul.2004 11:41


These are important questions, must you be so nasty in your posts that disagree? Such attitudes indicate that you don't take these issues as serieously as they should be taken and that it's probably a bigger problem than you aknowlege. If you're succeeding in avoiding these pitfalls it's probably because you understand the problem well enough to challenge it, and if you understand the problem of elitism that well, then you know how pervasive it is. And if you know how pervasive it is then you probably would be in solidarity with someone who percieves elitism as occuring. Chill out and explain how you have dealt with this issue, and treat this author with some respect!

better than the mall 26.Jul.2004 11:43


I'd much rather have a bunch of "elite white kids" protesting the RNC, than just hanging out at the mall...

Hardly A Party 26.Jul.2004 11:44


I'd hardly call getting harassed by police for exercising your right to free speech a party. Reminds me of this great quote:

"Where is our free speech? If you are beaten for it, it is NOT free." -Kirsten Anderberg

where are these orgs paying for the poor to go to RNC? 26.Jul.2004 12:55

kirsten kirstena@resist.ca

"That's one reason why we're protesting the power elite who keep us under their boots."

WHO is "we?"
"I" am not protesting there, as I cannot afford it.
So really *you* are protesting *for* me.

Only those who have class privilege are going to argue I am wrong on this one. Sorry. Class privilege can even just mean you have a family. Orphans and homeless teens, of which I have been one, live in a different world than those with family, you would not know unless you did not have a family, how much you get from them most often.

I am not the divisive one, in my opinion. The divisiveness is in leaving the poor out and asking us to shut up. I do not believe the claims that the poor have been mobilized outside of NYC for the RNC. Start naming actual groups who have funded welfare moms and the homeless going to the RNC. How many homeless folks *did* NION help go to the RNC?

I do not believe the glib claims that there has been an effort to include the poor in the mobilization to the RNC. I believe the poor already IN NYC are mobilizing, but I see NO proof of any move to empower the poor to get to the RNC from outside of NYC. Please help me out and connect me to these fabulous organizations who are helping the poor pay for their airline tickets to the RNC. I have about 2,000+ friends who would like to talk to them.

So how does a white 58 yr old Elite Kid find a way to go for the RNC protest 26.Jul.2004 14:24

A white check to check 58yr old Kid

I wanna go!
i have been thinking of a 15 day greyhound bus pass as 7000 plus miles will cost almost 700 in gas.

Are there any places corrdinating rides?

how about getting together to charter a bus, think its like 1000 plus a day which could be reasonable for a bus load.

i live in corvallis

grateful 26.Jul.2004 19:38


I for one am very grateful to whoever has the wherewithal to get to the RNC convention to protest and their color, income or age is irrelevant. There's no way I can get away and I don't recover from being bounced or gassed so easy anymore. Many blessing on ALL activists-you are my heroes and models.
Dear Kristen, I usually enjoy your fine writing but lately you're attacking
people like a cat that got her tail stepped on. I sorry your life has been such a struggle but please don't take it out on everybody

Whaaaat... 26.Jul.2004 21:39


Damn. Kristen, I've always liked your articles, always thought you were a good writer who deserved a regular column at PDX IMC, so this comes as a surprise to me. I thought you'd be the last to go around saying that protesters are all rich, white, etc. That's just like what Cosby's been saying recently: not only is it not true, but conservatives latch on to this shit like flies.

Please say this was just a bad joke... please?

How I Am Getting To RNC 27.Jul.2004 00:48

I hear Compassion Across America will bleed from there.

How does a rich, white kid from the suburbs get to the RNC, anyway? Well, as an allegedly rich, white kid (I'm 23), I'll tell you exactly how I am getting there. First of all, I and my rich, white partner have been planning on attending the RNC protests since about January. We both live in group housing situations and I have a shitty, 8 dollar an hour, part-time job in mainstream politics which I will be abandoning to attend this conference. I acknowledge my privelege. How could I not, I grew up in freaking Lake Oswego, Oregon. In fact, the issue of my white/class privelege has been such a Sword of Damacles over my head that I have been involved as a volunteer, agitator, organizer and unpopular-subject-discussor since early adolecence.

I digress. I was explaining how I am getting to the RNC. My signifigant other's parents are fronting us tickets because they want to see their child. We arranged for the trip to coincide with the RNC. It is not an option for us to default on the loan because the parents are not in a position to eat such a cost, although they can manage to float it for a month or so. My partner's parent is afflicted with lung cancer and so this trip is related to a person's sketchy health and a major factor in the very real effort we are undertaking to make this happen. I could be spending my money on computer programs, CDs, books, decent meals, a safe bike or benders at the bar, since I am childless and currently not saddled with school loans (just wait...). But I am not. In fact, I forgoe all sorts of minor luxury so we can go to the RNC. It means we both had to come up with the next 2 months rent, a task not nearly accomplished. It means taking a risk in this lack luster job market of being unemployed from when we leave to our return. It means that if I get arrested for noncompliance with the facsist "Free Speech Zone" I will be seriously thwarted from accomplishing other things in my life directly after the RNC.

Am I protesting for you? Yes, and everyone else in the world, most of whom consider even the homeless and working poor in this country to be vastly priveleged. Can I get you or people in American Ghettos or Rural hells to New York? Um, no. Sorry. I don't even have a driver's licence and I live paycheck to paycheck. Somehow, I have managed to scrape together supplies for silk screening shirts for the Portland Affinity group. We thought it would be nice. Perhaps that money should have gone to a homeless shelter instead. I should let you know, though, that I made you one even before reading your diatribe, simply because someone from our group thought you deserved one. They were collaboratively designed in our regular meetings by kids who are flying, hitching, carpooling and train-hopping to the RNC. You can still have one, if you want it.

It's hard enough holding unconventional, improbable ideals no matter where you come from. I am going to the RNC, by hook or by crook. It is not a party, although I certainly hope it will be fun ("...if I can't dance..."). Since we are lamenting the injustice of the activist community, though, why omit the total silence from people like myself regarding transportation to Boston, for the DNC? Are not the gutless Democrats to blame as well for the continued lowering of all boats through war and Machievellian trade "agreements"?

You've struck a veign 27.Jul.2004 06:16

sword of damacles, I digress? WTF?

Thank you kirstin. I understand and relate to the relevance in what you said. I appreciate you taking this stand even when you knew you'd be attacked by the transient rich scene and thier "allies." Thank you for writing from the position that your personal expeierence is relevant to the news. Thank you.


so, where *are* these orgs that helped mobilize the poor you have referred to? 27.Jul.2004 09:07

kirsten anderberg kirstena@resist.ca

Let's shake this shit down here. I am not afraid of controversy and I still stand by what I have said! First of all, has even ONE non-white person spoken yet here? Second, has ONE homeless person chimed in telling me how full of shit I am? Have any people on welfare spoken here? Or is this all a bunch of people freaking out that I busted them? A bunch of people who are grappling with their own guilt? I am not taking ANY of the shit pouring out against me personally. If you CLAIM to be a supporter of the poor, do not go around saying "I WORK for my living..." The poor did not get that way from NOT working, no...not at all. Have you ever MET a farm worker family, cuz many of them are not even getting $8 an hour like the boy who wrote in trying to defend himself. We got poor from being orphans, from being homeless teens, from being throwaways in society with no family. And I do not think any of you criticizing me has lived outside your own parents' homes as kids from your tone.

Let's look at the analysis of the guy's LACK of privilege...

"First of all, I and my rich, white partner have been planning on attending the RNC protests since about January."

Okay, so right away you are working with two incomes...

"We both live in group housing situations"

Yeah, I went around and "auditioned" for many group houses a few years back and they would ask, "how old are you?" and I would say "40" and the collective house would gasp, literally. I was ALWAYS passed up for the 20 year old chick who came to look for a room. So I do not know where these group housing situations are for 40 year old single women, but I could not find them in Seattle. I could not find anyone who would share housing like you suggest so I am stuck in an apt. I would prefer group housing yes, but ageism does kick in here and you are lying to yourself if you think predominantly young households are choosing fat old women over young gals...and you know the reasoning there...

"I have a shitty, 8 dollar an hour, part-time job in mainstream politics which I will be abandoning to attend this conference."

So you somehow are able to get by on PARTTIME eh? And you do not see your privilege?!!! WOW~ And $8 an hour huh? My last job paid me $6.75 an hour,it was hard physical labor, while yours sounds like some political job where you do not get sweaty, and I have two university degrees and 2/3 a law degree that I clawed my way through in destitute poverty! Most of the poor are FORCED to work 40 hour weeks, minimum, or they are replaced by someone who will work 40 hour weeks. Most employers do not want to deal with parttime employees and want 40 hour min wage laborers. $8 an hour is ABOVE min wage where I live. And somehow you are not being forced to work 40 hour weeks just to pay rent, utilities, food...you were able to work PARTTIME and still just split for the RNC...HELLO, what IS your definition of privilege if not that?

"I acknowledge my privelege. How could I not, I grew up in freaking Lake Oswego, Oregon. In fact, the issue of my white/class privelege has been such a Sword of Damacles over my head that I have been involved as a volunteer, agitator, organizer and unpopular-subject-discussor since early adolecence."

So wait, you acknowledge your privilege, so are you SUPPORTING my stand that only white privileged kids can go to the RNC or what???

"I digress. I was explaining how I am getting to the RNC. My signifigant other's parents are fronting us tickets because they want to see their child."

Hahahaha! Oh my god! So wait, you work part time, have a two income household, live in cheap group housing, and now you are saying FAMILY FRONTED YOU PLANE TICKETS!!!!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHA is all I can say. You are the spitting example of what I was referring to! I said that most of those going had family help, in one way or another. Sorry, but no one is FRONTING me or any poor person I know tickets!!! The very fact that you are making this argument, using the very facts I did, is humorous. IF YOU HAVE FAMILY FRONTING YOU PLANE TICKETS, well...spare me your sob story.

"We arranged for the trip to coincide with the RNC."

Yes, I have heard that many of those getting there from the NW are using their parents or family back east to pay for a trip home to visit family and then using the proximity to get to the RNC, I am hearing lots of privileged white kids are getting family support to pull this off...and for those of us who are/were orphans and homeless teens? Oh yeah, you privileged kids will speak for us, that is right...

"It is not an option for us to default on the loan because the parents are not in a position to eat such a cost, although they can manage to float it for a month or so."

Again, no one offered to front me tickets for a few months. And what would happen if you did default? Would you lose your family? I think not. The people you say cannot afford to front the tickets to you, do they own a house?? Does anyone get how classinsulated this shit is????

"My partner's parent is afflicted with lung cancer and so this trip is related to a person's sketchy health and a major factor in the very real effort we are undertaking to make this happen."

This is very unfortunate, her parent is very lucky to have family who cares.

"I could be spending my money on computer programs, CDs, books, decent meals, a safe bike or benders at the bar, since I am childless and currently not saddled with school loans (just wait...)."

Yeah, that is not the list of a privileged white kid!
You know what I spend all of my money on? Rent, water, sewer, electricity, phone, internet connection, food, bus fare. That is it. No money left over to print my zines, to buy proper computer security, to even buy a bike!

"In fact, I forgoe all sorts of minor luxury so we can go to the RNC."

Luxuries like CD's????????
Luxuries like computer programs?
I cannot afford those even when I am NOT planning a trip to the RNC...
And I work approx 10+ hours a day.
Luxury to me is being able to eat (at home from scratch, never out) through the entire month!

"It means we both had to come up with the next 2 months rent, a task not nearly accomplished."

But you were not so poor that one month was hand to mouth.

"It means that if I get arrested for noncompliance with the facsist "Free Speech Zone" I will be seriously thwarted from accomplishing other things in my life directly after the RNC."

Like what, buying more CD's? And computer programs? I may get arrested just for the things I write without going anywhere! Join the club! But you will have parents to bail you out and hire an attorney, I will NOT!

"Am I protesting for you? Yes,"

NO, you are not!
Your issues are so far away from mine that we are in two different castes.

"and everyone else in the world,"

Agrandize yourself a little more! No, you are not. You are showing the world that yes, white kids with money can protest their horrifically hard lives working parttime at $8 an hour, living in group housing, forgoing things like computer programs and CDs...what that has to do with people like me is fleeting.

"most of whom consider even the homeless and working poor in this country to be vastly priveleged."

Yes, but you are neither. So why are you speaking for US?

"Can I get you or people in American Ghettos or Rural hells to New York? Um, no. Sorry."

And our request was one big joke to your privileged ass, so much so that you needed to write that long diatribe EXPLAINING how class insulated you are! You are right. You can only get white kids from white suburbs there, I forgot. Do you even KNOW anyone living in American ghettoes or NY's rural hells? Did you TRY to help get them to the RNC?

I have noticed that for all the hot air here, saying that the poor were mobilized, NOT ONE SHRED OF EVIDENCE, NOT ONE NAME OF AN ORGANIZATION HELPING THE POOR GO WAS BROUGHT ONTO THIS COMMENT AREA. IF YOU ARE GOING TO SAY THAT THE POOR ARE BEING INCLUDED, Back that shit UP! WHO ARE THE ORGS THAT HELPED MOBILIZE AMERICA'S POOR TO THE RNC. AS I said, I have 2000 friends waiting to contact them. It is a flat out LIE that the poor were mobilized to the RNC. If you think I am lying, PROVE me wrong.

"I don't even have a driver's licence and I live paycheck to paycheck."

No, you DO NOT live paycheck to paycheck or you would have a fulltime job just to get by like POOR PEOPLE! How many single moms do you know who work parttime for $8 an hour!!! Come on! And single moms have to pay $7 an hour for babysitting if they make $8 an hour so they are living off of $1 an hour, and you think you are equal to that poverty?! No, reality check! And you do NOT live paycheck to paycheck or you would not be buying CD's and computer programs. And no, you do NOT live paycheck to paycheck if you can just split town like you are. When you are HUNGRY at the end of every month, and do not know where you will sleep at night, perhaps the you will finally understand your luxury now.

"Somehow, I have managed to scrape together supplies for silk screening shirts for the Portland Affinity group. We thought it would be nice. Perhaps that money should have gone to a homeless shelter instead."

Yeah, I have seen alot of groups spending alot of money on cool little things like stickers and fliers and tshirts...and yeah, it BURNS ME UP that kids wasted money on that bullshit instead of helping the poor, you bet. And that is JUST the privilege I talk of. Yes, you SHOULD have given that money to a homeless shelter or at least sponsored a poor person to go to the RNC! I asked Seattle's NION to charter a bus to RNC before they wasted money on stickers and tshirts. But those kids told me they already had their plane tickets, and did not need a bus to the RNC, so they were on to the cool things like stickers and tshirts too. I told them I had no way to go, they did not care, they wanted their cool tshirts and stickers...

"I should let you know, though, that I made you one even before reading your diatribe, simply because someone from our group thought you deserved one."

Tshirts never fit me. I wear 2x-3x...It is a rare day when someone hands me a tshirt that fits. My chest is a mother's chest. But thanks for the thought, but does it ever occur to you how hard it is for me to have one of the most active info pages on the RNC on the web, to have written some of the most read articles on the RNC, about sex workers and the RNC, about heat exhaustion an dprotests, about street medicine, about the high times issue on the RNC, about chicago 68 an dRNC 2004, and then to be sent fliers, and stickers and pins for an event I am too poor to go to? If so many people enjoy my articles, why is there little to no support for me financially for all this writing? I see Geov Parrish paid thousands for his writing...people do pay writers in some other world than the one I live in! Instead of helping support an alternative writer, people are buying CDs and computer programs, I would LOVE a Norton Virus CD, for example, or a printer, or even just $50 a month to print my own zine. But I can do nothing, but write articles for free on the internet it appears. I thought if I worked my ass off writing, eventually I would garner community support...It is slow in coming...I actually DO live pay check to pay check and I often do not eat the last few days of the month. But I keep on writing.

"They were collaboratively designed in our regular meetings by kids who are flying, hitching, carpooling and train-hopping to the RNC. You can still have one, if you want it."

Do they come in MOTHER sizes?
I believe you have more people flying, than hitching or trainhopping.
Carpooling is good, got any room?

"It's hard enough holding unconventional, improbable ideals no matter where you come from. I am going to the RNC, by hook or by crook."

Or by privilege.

"It is not a party, although I certainly hope it will be fun ("...if I can't dance...").

Yes, it is a party by all constructive definitions. It is an elitist party at that! That is the trendiness I am smelling.

"Since we are lamenting the injustice of the activist community, though, why omit the total silence from people like myself regarding transportation to Boston, for the DNC? Are not the gutless Democrats to blame as well for the continued lowering of all boats through war and Machievellian trade "agreements"?"

I cannot afford to go to Boston or NYC. I sent dried nettles to the street medics in Boston...and in NYC. I wrote articles on heat and protests for Boston and gave them to them...I have done all I can with NO MONEY from here for both the RNC and the DNC.

I am sorry to be so harsh, but I am sick of this topic. I am sick of white kids with privilege telling me they are as poor as me. That is bullshit. And I WORK, and I WORK HARD.

Man.... 27.Jul.2004 10:19


You're sounding awfully high and mighty there....like you are the only one that knows low income living. Hello!!!! There's a lot of people out there like you, so please quit acting as if you're the only one, as that is what it is sounding a lot like....

right on 27.Jul.2004 10:54


right on kristen. best of luck to you.

And what's with the race-baiting? 27.Jul.2004 11:42


Pretty weak, IMO.

Ironic 27.Jul.2004 11:53

Solidarity with RNC protestors

Some would consider having Internet access to be a "privilege" or an "elitist" luxury. While we're at it, why not bash everyone going to the RNC for not paying to fly amputee children from Iraq to protest. They've got a bigger beef with our government than you, right Kirsten? Watch out for that slippery slope.

I was simply explaining how I am getting to RNC 27.Jul.2004 13:02


But now that I have been shown the light, I realize it's all just a big ego trip. I guess I do not really hold these ideals of a better country, a better world and since I am not at the bottom of that pyramid, it is the height of arrogance to mention those who are. I outlined the factors in my life that I have to contend with so I can get to the RNC. Sorry they are not hard enough for you to deem me worthy of attending. I was attempting to place my story out there as an example of the people who you were indicting. I'm white and grew up in the suburbs. Do I still get to talk, or is that the end of the conversation? With all your caps, I get the feeling I've been shouted at for attempting to participate in the conversation. I never said things were not easier for me. In fact, I specifically noted the opposite. I tried to go light on the sarcasm, too.

So I am a privileged kid whose always been seized by politics. Is that okay with you, Kristen? I have had opportunity because of my circumstances that is denied to other in less pleasant situations. I am aware of that. I apoligize if the way I explained my awareness the first time inferred that I might be interested in Greek culture as well. I did not attack you with my reply and my account was not intended as a self-salving defense.

It's wonderful that you are not afraid of speaking your mind for fear of a fight. I never said I was protesting my awfully hard life. So why am I protesting? Oh, right, I forgot. It's the hip new thing! My class privelege insulates me from the the horrific knowlege of what our country does and will continue to do to real brown, black and yellow people across the seas. My ivory tower keeps me from the stories of people victimized by the prison system, the mental health institution and lack of health coverage. But I do get bored of all those high ball, swanky parties I am always attending. "Slumming it" in the streets with the grubby proles is awesome! For awhile. Then I go back to my posh above-minimum-wage job and cackle at the fabulousness of my life and my trendy friends life. Bwhahahahaha!

sponsor the poor to rnc 27.Jul.2004 13:34

kirsten kirstena@resist.ca

Okay, all my rants, jealousies, personal baggage and emotions aside, my anger did unlock a valid issue. Yeah, I am sorry you all had to see me squirm and struggle with this issue in public, but I have figured out what I am trying to say now. It is that I would like everyone to think about sponsoring a poor person from your area to go to the RNC. Could you skip the luxuries that poor people never have, such as buying CD's, going out for meals, buying clothes, computer games, lattes, for one week and donate that collectively to a pool to get more poor people from your area to the RNC? What good is a Poor People's Party march if it is predominantly privileged people?

And I remember clearly when I first began to resent people with parents. I was in MacLaren Hall, a protective custody jail, in Los Angeles, with guards, uniforms, armed turrets and barbed wire fences with bars on our windows. The place was full of kids in the state's custody for being severely abused by their own parents. Lots of broken limbs, taped up faces, lots of black and blue. I remember thinking that whoever those kids were out there, outside MacLaren Hall, that got to live in those houses that I could see through the bars and fences, past the guards, whoever they were, I wanted to know what made them so fucking special that they got to not only have houses, and steady schooling and food, but they also were not abused by their parents. IT was if their parents actually liked them or something. Everyone in MacLaren Hall was a throw away kid, no one cared about us, not our parents, not society, so all the bullshit in the world on tv did not convince us the shit was okay. We lived together in a prison, beaten and battered...One survivor I met last year was in jail for over 16 years after there. Another woman killed herself at 42 last year, having spent her whole life trying to come to terms with her realizations in MacLaren Hall as a child unwanted. And when I got out of MacCLaren Hall and had to live with a foster family and explain where I came from to the kids at school, and they made fun of me, for not having parents, and coming from a jail, and being homeless basically, at age 8...I remember not only thinking that I wondered what made all these kids so special, but I remember thinking how could they be so mean to me, when I had NOTHING. I have struggled the rest of my life to try to deal with those visions at age 8 and beyond. SO I am sorry if I freaked you out by saying that people with family are privileged. But I saw some shit in the underbelly of American child protection services that most of you HAVE NOT, and may you NEVER see those types of things firsthand. It was traumatizing. For decades after MacLaren Hall, I would wake up in deep sweats, in terror, having heard the cries and screams of the MacClaren Hall kids at night, like it used to be, like a sanatorium for the insane, but I was 8, and I still dream about it today at age 43. So, please, I am sorry I stereotype, and generalize at times, but I am still wondering, I guess, what makes those kids so special, beyond the gates, that they got to have houses, and families and they now think they are poor but they do not know what poor is. And even as a homeless teen, I was living under the threat that if they find you on the street as a teen, they will TAKE YOU BACK TO MACLAREN HALL! I lived in TERROR of them finding me at age 15 on the street and taking me back there. So until you have walked in my shoes, I am sorry to be so intense...but I still feel different, ever since MacLaren Hall. And it still hurts to watch the kids through the fence walk freely to the parks together...sometimes it feels like we make ourselves invisible due to poverty...and we just watch those privileged kids, and they do not even see us watching...Did the kids walking by on the streets outside MacLaren Hall understand the saddistic suffering that was going on inside MacLaren Hall? I doubt it.

So, please think of sponsoring a poor person to the RNC in your neck of the woods. I am going to write a coherent article on that topic, hopefully free of the emotional tyrade in this article, and see if we cannot help mobilize some poor folks to the RNC too!

Sound like a plan?

Good criticism 27.Jul.2004 13:44

a trust fund baby

The claim that the movement is not appealing to minorities or in some cases working class folks is a long-term and accurate criticism. It happened in the '60s and it's happening today. But things are shifting, as I understand some blacks are finding reason to become active in the Green Party.

There are many reasons for this problem--minorities have more to risk and political actions. Truly struggling people, especially those with children, may find it impossible to attend demonstrations.

I say that if it takes "trust fund babies" to create a justice movement, LET THERE BE "TRUST FUND BABIES!"

Nevertheless, being aware of how and why we fail to reach people is always an important criticism. Yet we should try not to turn on each other in anger.

Blessings to all who have the ability and courage to attend the RNC!!!

Sounds like a good plan, Kirsten 27.Jul.2004 14:11


Keep up the good writings.

uhh 27.Jul.2004 15:53


<blockquote>My last job paid me $6.75 an hour</blockquote>
So you haven't worked since before January? Because Washington minimum wage went up to $7.15 in January. I mean, I'm not trying to be a jerk, but it seems to me that a womyn of your intelligence level should have been able to at least get a job at a mini mart or SOMETHING...

Silly Questions 27.Jul.2004 17:20



First, how likely is it that a homeless person is going to have internet access and be able to post here?

Second, if vanloads of homeless people are trucked to New York City for the RNC protest, who says that they will have the energy or the wherewithal to devote themselves to marching around with signs? Who is going to feed them? House them? Get them home? Sounds like they would be nothing more than pawns and about on a par with the people the Rajneesh brought to central Oregon merely to up his numbers to claim Antelope.

Third, I don't believe that the protesters are overwhelmingly "privileged white kids from the suburbs" . . . not if they are anything like the groups I've protested with in Portland. And even if they were, at least they are going to be there. Are you? (and before you ask, yes, we will be).

This is original writing! PLEASE FEATURE THIS! 27.Jul.2004 17:45

Michael b

This is original writing! PLEASE FEATURE THIS!

Kirstin can you please post a picture you feel would be relevant to a feature? Or a picture of yourself? If you say what city you live in i'm sure we could start a ride share link on thier indy. I grew up poor, now I'm a carpenter. The people I work with are just wrong in so many ways. I deal with it and try to get through the harassment because I got personal and political goals that require money. I grew up in a drug house with an abusive coked out father. There were so many times when I wished I didn't have a father. I don't got much but I could contribute twards a travel fund if you want. Tell me how.

PDX indy would it be possible to set up some kind of ride share/sponser board?

Do group lists exist for poverty based programs? Could we email them info or a flier on how to hook up with somthing like this so people that need to could see it?
Kirsten, how would a person demonstrate that they're poor if they went to this board? I mean is it too fucking harsh to ask people for the last year they worked tax statement? It's not like with a carpentery collective where we could just goto the persons house and see how they live. There's alot of subsudised punks that abuse others good will. Can we turn this thread twards some construtive responses to these real problems posed by kirsten?

This is original writing! PLEASE FEATURE THIS!

poorer than thou? 27.Jul.2004 18:43


Look, I don't know if you know this, but $8.00 an hour is hardly "rich". Assuming it's a 40 hour week (and assuming it's ~50 weeks), that's $16,000 a year. On $6.75 an hour, that's $13,500 a year. The difference between the two figures is $2,500.

16k a year. That's CRUMBS compared to 30k, 50k, or what have you. Seriously Kristen, I think you need to adjust your scale of who'se rich and who isn't.

What is a living wage? 27.Jul.2004 20:53


What is a living wage? and do workers deserve it? What do you think?

wage slaving stats 28.Jul.2004 01:42

kirsten anderberg kirstena@resist.ca

This does not even deserve response, but I will give it anyway. Yes, min wage is $7 and you know what, they were paying us $6.75 an hour and that is why places hate to hire me, cuz I busted that shit. I worked at an "alternative cooperative" bakery in Seattle, which actually was trying not to pay the workers proper min wage, and I was the one who had to tell them the actual wage laws. They were advertising in Seattle papers for a $6.75 position with $7 min wage laws, and no one but me noticed! Additionally, this place called itself a "coop," yet it was called a "tiered coop" which meant about 5 owners made all the rules and profit shared, and the rest of us were treated like any other min wage job, no benefits, etc. When I finally DEMANDED my 15 min breaks on my 8 hour heavy labor baking shifts, which no one was taking due to pressure from the bosses, the bosses took me aside and said that now that everyone is taking breaks, it is costing them massive money in production, that people now taking their breaks was hours from worktime...and when I finally left, one of the coop owners themselves thanked me for "getting them breaks." What the hell? Co-owners were afraid to speak up for legal breaks at this supposedly progressive bakery? So, yeah, places see shit like that on my record and run. It is not worth hiring someone for min wage if they are known to agitate and organize your labor pool for worker rights.

Also, the job I had before that the boss taped diet ads to my computer daily, talked about my breasts and body in very demeaning ways DAILY, (one office memo said, "Dear memory magnate, (crossed out) I mean mammory magnet...," it said.) Seattle's office of civil rights said that was ONE incident, but they needed TWO to press charges...and I could not prove the others or they did not meet Seattle's OCR criteria somehow. My boss came in one morning and said, "I get it, you think if you loose weight, you would lose business for your selfesteem workshops." Another day the boss came into the office and lectured me that I needed a breast reduction in front of the crew to the point that I found myself DEFENDING why I was nto getting a breast reduction, TO MY BOSS, in front of coworkers...the boss was obsessed with me walking around greenlake every day so that the boss would not be alone since friends were not the boss's forte...I refused saying I did not want to walk 3 miles around greenlake, that I had large breasts and walking for miles was not my idea of fun, especially since I did not own a car so I walked miles a day in the hot sun ANYWAY just getting places!!! This boss also did very racist things that were truly scary. On a description sheet for a person we needed to go locate for an attorney to question, the description said, "holocaust survivor cheeks." And even though I had a copy of that memo in the boss's handwriting, somehow the Seattle office of civil rights did not find that appalling or illegal. When the crew asked me what that meant, I had no idea. I had to ask the boss, who flippantly replied, "it means, you know, gaunt..." So, yup, I busted this boss too! Would you risk hiring an overly educated activist for min wage if you knew that they would probably organize the labor for more worker rights? And would turn your ass into the office of civil rights when you violated workers and were a raving lunatic racist?

Unless you are totally on the level and not ripping workers off, and treating them respectfully, I am not worth hiring. Very few companies fit that bill. Capitalism is borne of ripping off the worker, and as a worker, I do not give bosses any leeway at all. Because they do not give workers any leeway at all. And because the labor pool is ESSENTIAL to the boss' profits, so I always remind the workers that without us, the boss has nothing. Even at age 16, as a nurses aide in convalescent homes, I tried to organize a strike for better wages (WE were making $1.45 an hour to wipe shit and clean vomit for 8 hours a day off the elderly of people who did not want to deal their elders and could pay others to do it, while the convalescent home OWNERS and ADMINISTRATORS were literally getting RICH. They took in HUNDREDS a day for each one of these patients and only paid the labor $1.45 an hour with no benefits for all their money they took in.) I found out that a large amount of the crew were illegal aliens through that, as they were not able to strike due to the legalities of immigration...so, there are some problems with people wanting to hire smart, educated, activists with track records for organizing worker rights...believe it or not.

min wage stats ps 28.Jul.2004 02:10

kirsten kirstena@resist.ca

Also, let's take that $13,500 a year amount for a minute and see if CD's and drinking at bars and going to movies, et al is possible on that.

A single mom for instance, making $13,500 a year pays:
* MINIMUM $600 a month rent for 1 bed apt in Seattle = $7,200 yr.
* Let's add $100 a month for water, sewer, trash, phone,
electricity...(which is a low estimate) = $1,200 yr.
* Food for one adult, one child (low estimate $250 a month) = $3,000 yr.
* Busfare to work, kid's school, etc
(low estimate at $4 day for all trips, 20 days month) = $1060 yr.
So we are at $12,460 right now, BEFORE childcare costs...
FOR JUST RENT, UTILITIES, FOOD AND BUSFARE, not even childcare to work.

Now you tell me how you do not get poverty. It is simple MATH!
I cannot believe people challenge the poor on their shit like this, but back at ya! And I call you one! Tell me HOW you are expecting single mothers, much less single adults, to be living in luxury buying CD's, going out for meals, having cars, buying clothes, going to movies, etc...when we make $13,500 a year. Explain it please. $13,500 covers JUST rent, food, bus and utilities where I live. Actually, in reality, $13,500 does not even cover that as I used very low estimates. Try going for 20 years on min wages and see how much property you own...you spend your life working to buy other people homes through rent. And then people act like you are making the poverty up!

And by the way, currently welfare moms get $440 a month to raise one child. The $440 is actually a subsidy for the father's portion of child support that he is not paying, most usually, so even though the mom IS taking responsibility and working 24/7, and the father who is absent and not helping or paying child support is costing the state to cover his part...somehow the woman bears the stigma for the man not doing his part, most often, in welfare. She is told she is lazy, while working nonstop, when the other parent, who does nothing and pays nothing, escapes all stigma!

A single mom on welfare receives $5,280 a YEAR. I just showed you how $13,500 does not work. Now reduce that by almost two thirds, and you tell me...am I imagining all these people hidden away laboring in poverty? I think NOT. The people living in a dream bubble are those who challenge poverty via trying to escape basic math, trying to place the blame for poverty on the hard workers who are ripped off, not the companies and bosses who do the ripping off, and those who seriously are class insulated enough to actually argue that $13,500 is MORE than enough to live on!

every library has internet in seattle for homeless 28.Jul.2004 02:16


And by the way, when I was homeless in seattle, I spent a lot of time in libraries trying to pass time inside where it was warm, and every library in Seattle has several computers and internet access, so in Seattle, unlike many cities, and probably due to bill gates living here, the homeless actually DO have internet access if they want it.

shit 29.Jul.2004 18:13

kirsten kirstena@resist.ca

As you all can see, this issue is one that f*cks with my emotions. I am not commenting here or trying to explain this shit further until I can find a way to say what I am trying to say without it being so murky.

Let it suffice to say that orphans, homeless teens, the homeless, welfare moms, etc. are literally living in a different kind of poverty than single white kids in shared housing who live in portland working for $8 an hour with parents. It is not that one is good or bad, I just wish we could at least *acknowledge* the reality of the differences in those two poverties. They are 100% different. And I worry that if kids who really have a lot of privilege perceive themselves as the poor, they will not realize the real poverty out there. Anyone with parents is definitely better off than a person with no family at all, such as orphans. I have yet to meet even one person who bought their house or land with *zero* help from a family member or a family inheritance. Additionally, if you grew up in a house until age 18, you are definitely living in a privilege category. A woman in Seattle I know tries to claim she was raised in poverty, while she lived with her family her whole life, attending one grade school, knowing all her neighbors, etc in an 8 bedroom house in Ravenna, an expensive area in Seattle! It is just hard to watch people with so much say they are disadvantaged. When her mom had no money, she had 8 bedrooms of equity to fall back on. When my mom could not pay the rent, we were homeless. BIG difference there.

So I am retiring this article, and issue for now. I think it is and was an important issue, I understand why people are angry at me for saying this. Unfortunately, I still think the truly poor living outside nyc will never have a chance to be in the RNC poor people's campaign march, but it is okay to have symbolic poor people there, I guess.

Sorry to piss so many people off with this article. But would I be any fun if I only did PC articles? I am sorry to be so controversial. Some hated me for the SUV article supporting Jeff Free Luers. Others hated me for saying welfare is a male subsidy on the whole in an article. Now many are pissed re this article. I am sorry. I cannot please everyone. Nor do I try to.

hrrm 29.Jul.2004 20:58

anderberg sure can fill a page! (harder for me)

I've been homeless on and off for over 10 years, for mostly health reasons, grew up in an abusive situation, no longer have contact with my family, etc. etc. I'm a little younger than Kirsten, but older now than the typical "activist." In the '80s I was atypical for being unusually young in the same little world.

I don't completely agree with everything she's said here, but I think she has a point. I can vouch for discriminatory snobbery in the Seattle group-housing market, in particular. Just get the fuck out of Seattle, Kirsten. It's not worth it.

Activist scenesters who say things like, "you just need to be more involved -- at least I'll BE there -- will YOU? <sneer>" definitely need to check their shit.

poor kid going to the party 30.Jul.2004 03:14

yup jasonfjackson@hotmail

heres a point of view i'll let you pick apart.

i'm a poor kid who has stumbled on to the opportunity of going to the rnc. it fuckin better be a party and it better be fun. i'm all about the politics, but politics only count at home. so new york is just another chance at living shit i otherwise wouldnt get to experience. the original poster knows whats up. but i'm not missing out on the chance to see the country and east coast

heres to all the poor kids and old farts who are going with the intention of seeing whats up and taking advantage of whatever privelaged system of money they can to get them there. (and yes, i realize the inherent privlage which can be found in who has the chance to stumble into opportunities)

to the 58 yr old kid from corvallis, if your name is steve or tony. get ahold of me.

Hmmn, maybe a little research would help here. The Poor Peoples' Campaign. 30.Jul.2004 06:15

Tired of the screed

Kensington Welfare Rights Organization and the Poor People's Campaign


The Poor Peoples' Campaign and the mobile "Bushville" are attempts to unite fifty different poor peoples' organizations from around the country to bring them to NYC to protest at the Republican National Convention in August. This includes groups in Chicago, Florida, Philadelphia and elsewhere.

The March for Our Lives brought over 10,000 people into the streets in Philadelphia in 2000.

This is a coalition of poor people working to bring poor people from around the country to march in NYC. Whether they are flying everyone is another story. A lot of them are marching from Boston to NYC as I type.

Now, let me speak to another matter, beyond pointing out the good work done by the Kensington Welfare Rights Organization of Philadelphia.

Perhaps if some of the time spent posting lengthy screeds and diatribes on Indy Media was used to do organizing, then the question of fund-raising would be moot. However, that would imply the ability to get along with people and work with them collectively and having a community of friends and supporters.

There are medics and journalists and other individuals from the West Coast who are going to NYC who are receiving assistance from others to do so. This is called solidarity.

It is curious to me, when fund-raisers routinely raise several hundred dollars in Portland at a time for individuals and groups, that someone in Seattle must post on the Portland site about their financial difficulties and yet nothing appears on the Seattle Indy Media site.

It is curious to me that an individual, with no apparent attachment to any community or organization anywhere, is responded to as though they represent poor people. Is it time for a reality check here?

Poor 30.Jul.2004 13:17


Accumulating two college degrees and two-thirds of a legal degree suggests a certain initiative, and the feelings about being disenfranchised are probably best understood by someone who has been there, but some things in this picture appear to be out of focus.

First, and most simply, you seem to be computer literate, having twice mentioned that you'd like to buy an antivirus software for your computer. What do you have against using free software? Search (Google)for free antivirus software, and you'll find several. I happen to use Avast.

Second, your not knowing anyone who has bought a house without parental assistance may say more about who you know than it does about how people live. Many do obtain help from others in getting started, but I find it hard to believe that I would be the only one who started with nothing, deferred being a parent, served time in the military, saved, deferred parenting, worked, attended college, deferred parenting, served in the Peace Corps, worked, saved, worked, deferred parenting, worked, subjected myself to bosses whom I greatly disliked in order to have a positive cash flow, worked, invested, worked, and achieved economic independence. Was it fun and games? No. Did I ever envy those who had more? Yes. Did I ever whine about it? Regretfully. Did that help? No. Did it ever seem helpless? Yes. Did I miss out on many of the experiances and pleasures that a more properous child might have enjoyed? Of course. Would I trade my present independence for having had a wife or offspring, even temporarily? Tough question, but probably not. Can I go back and do things differently? Sure, just like I could have picked my own parents.

Yes, being poor can be nasty and mean, and those who have only slightly more can seem privileged, but the most important wealth will ultimately be attitude and beliefs. Is wearing size 3x large being "mother sized" or is it simply being obese? Are employers your enemy, or are they your source of income? Do your friends challenge you, or are they enablers? When dandylions grow in your yard, are they picking on you, or are they finding their niche? When you are in another's lawn or place of business are you a dandylion, a sandburr, a thistle? We are what we are and learning to accept or alter that can be a continuing challenge. Expecting the world to take care of us can be delusional.

curiouser and curiouser 30.Jul.2004 15:01

blah blah blah

>It is curious to me that an individual, with no apparent attachment to any
>community or organization anywhere, is responded to as though they represent
>poor people. Is it time for a reality check here?

Yes it sure is, but not the kind you're thinking of.

Most poor people in America are not "apparently attached" to any "community or organization," with hook-ups in well-connected, relatively successful institutions like the Kensington Welfare Rights Organization and/or eight generations of extended family living within two blocks of each other in West Philly. Most poor people in America are getting screwed one person at a time and don't know what the fuck to do about it, just the way "farmer" and all the capitalist-sycophants like him like it.

Ms. Anderberg is not "representative" of poor people -- and, dirty little secret, neither are the professional activists at KWRO -- she's EXEMPLARY of poor people. She's an EXAMPLE. She's irrefutably too poor to go to New York and pay for it herself without rendering herself homeless in the process, and she's telling her own story. That's why people are taking her seriously.

If you're not inclined to take her seriously because she's not the kind of poor person you're interested in, well -- what the fuck's up with that? THAT'S the reality check it's time for here.

It's hardly surprising that "poverty groups" in the Northeast aren't bothering to fly anybody in from the West Coast, and nobody said they should. Some northeasterner's bleat that there were plenty of groups working on this (omitted detail: in Boston or some such fuckin' place) and that Anderberg just wasn't "involved" enough -- in Seattle -- was a red herring. What Anderberg seemed to be saying in the first place (not to presume to speak for her, but she said she was done talking about this) was that people with means in the West should bring other, less empowered people WITH THEM on these trips. She's writing an essay about it because that's what she does. That IS her activism. This IS how she engages what community she has. Otherwise she's just a normal isolated drop in the ocean.

She's posting to Portland Indymedia because Portland Indymedia's probably the most widely read Indymedia site on the West Coast. Seattle Indymedia is a joke, and lots of people who've worked with them in the past have lingering issues with the people who are still there. Not that you'd know that back East or have any reason to care. But you asked.

So, KWRO: We're not talking about you, feel free to help if you want, thanks for sharing if you don't.

blah blah blah 31.Jul.2004 02:17


"Most poor people in America are getting screwed one person at a time and don't know what the fuck to do about it, just the way "farmer" and all the capitalist-sycophants like him like it." If there is no rain and no harvest, is that the way the farmer likes it, or is that reality? If you have no support and no job, do you like that, or is that reality?

I was neither sufficiently poor nor sufficiently wealthy to avoid military service, and I didn't like it, but it did provide an escape from the rural poverty, starting at $68 per month plus board, room, and a particular environment. The then existing draft was a way to minimize the wages and the labor cost of war and to transfer that expense from those with capital to those providing the labor. Was that screwing poor people one at a time, or was it mass production? It would have been nice to have known of a different option.

If years of sacrificing and deferring a normal life in hope of escaping poverty is a crime, then I am guilty. I am grateful for my modest success, aware that my escape may be temporary, and aware that there are those whose health and discipline precludes probable escape. That thought gives me no pleasure, but I doubt if attending a political convention will free anyone. Conventions are a celebration, not where policy decisions are made.

The feeling of poverty, the sense of marginality and dependency, is expressed well by Kirsten.

answering our fan mail 31.Jul.2004 04:30


"the market" is not like the weather. it's a set of constructed human institutions. those institutions are subject to pressure and change if people don't like the results. unlike the weather. people know this. nobody feels threatened if somebody else criticizes weather they like.

now then -- if you call yourself "farmer," and simultaneously describe uppity employees as WEEDS (!) infesting "another's place of business," you sure damn well are a capitalist sycophant. maybe you'd like to sort out how you really feel about all this. you seem to have some internal conflicts to deal with.

advantatious? misrepresentation. 31.Jul.2004 11:46

Michael b

Farmer: "Are employers your enemy, or are they your source of income? Do your friends challenge you, or are they enablers? When dandylions grow in your yard, are they picking on you, or are they finding their niche? When you are in another's lawn or place of business are you a dandylion, a sandburr, a thistle?"

.......: "farmer," and simultaneously describe uppity employees as WEEDS (!) infesting "another's place of business,"

"When dandylions grow in your yard, are they picking on you, or are they finding their niche?"---------- To me this seems to be the balance of what farmer was saying. I'm not trying to speak for the guy. It just seems that "....." Is using the statment above to paint this farmer guy in opposition when he's not. It seems like he was a little confused by Kristin's life story and was trying to clarify some shit. He came off a bit harsh, but he did after all give Kristin respect for writing what she did. When somebody questions what they think are holes in my story or methodology I try to examine thier motives and give them respect for enabling me to clarify or learn somthing. Friends question each other to enable, capitalists tear each other down for profit and social capital.
In my eyes the moral seems: Should the poor, and working class people that grew up poor, be tearing each other down? Don't we got bigger problems than each other? I'm not putting this out to evade criticism, it's just.. The middle class goto high powered $chools to learn how to speak for us. The rich fucking breed for it. Our tactics and stuggles are limited by the expierences of people that know little but property and priveledge. For whom poverty is a fast to releave thier consience. As a radical I've tried to reach out to organizations that work with the poor and organize help, and solidarity work only to be blocked by some middle class colledge educated manager. I've talked to the founding organizer of a respected recycling organization in town and been told that there was never a neo-nazi infestation in portland. My expierence has been qualitativly different. I've spoken to people in the local carpenters union and been told that as a carpenter I'd be a scab if I did FREE carpentry work for people that couldn't afford it, and sliding scale work for people that had little more money. The problems that kristin addresses in herstory are relevant. They're not addressed as a whole because the class dynamics of the actavist scene discourage it. That's a problem. It's infuriating. There are economic reasons that corperations, governments, and even the poor act in brutally racist and imperialist ways and as actavists we are held back from addressing them. We're held back as a political body because the effective LEADERS of our actavist community are predominately middle class and unable to deal with us outside of THIER class dynamics. I'm sickened by the presedential cantidates and thier "I'm the working man's cantidate, I speak for the poor." All parties do this. If they're gonna come to my town and say look I think this and this is a problem whatever, but if they're gonna come here round up a thousand middle class thugs and say they represent us they should be ran out of town.
Hell I've had actavist kids call me a racist sexist homophobe for saying this shit. I call it label blocking. I think it's fucked up to use real peoples problems to defend your place to dictate the terms of "legitamit actavism." For example: A friend of named chad threw a flower on the ground in a park in front of the "justice center" at a free Mumia protest here in portland. He was tackled by a cop. My friend Craig ran over and started shouting "What are you doing! Stop! Police brutality!" That's when the horse cops rushed in and a tackled him, put him in a compliance hold, then broke his arm in three places. They then proceeded to drag him three blocks by his broken arm to the holding cell. After he got out craig and some allies started organizing a protest against police brutality. The flier had the mayors face on a riot cop body because the mayor here is head of the police here in portland. Craig was sick on meds at home when people from the local copwatch and black cross came over and started shouting at him for organizing a police brutality protest without asking thier permission, and using a really "inflamitory" flier. He was pretty fucked up from the pain meds but managed to tell them to get the fuck out of the house he was staying at. They convienently don't remember this. Just like another person in thier group doesn't remember telling our allies to stay away from us. What gives people like this the right to determine the terms of "legitamit actavism."
I think policy makes poverty. Capitalism need poor people. Without the poor and inequality in society there cannot be rich people. The gentry or middle class are made by lords. They are given the "opportunity" to be middle class because thier beliefs do not question the authority of lords or the rich to govern. Those beliefs that do not fundamentally threaten the system as it is need to be questioned.
It's hard to get a damn thing done cause we don't trust each other. We don't know eachother cause were held back by shame and unable to speak about, and from, our personal experiences. I'd like to. Honestly I really appreciate Kirstin's courage.

in love and war,

whatever guys 31.Jul.2004 14:10

spent enough energy on farmer

>"When dandylions grow in your yard, are they picking on you, or are they
>finding their niche?" To me this seems to be the balance of what farmer was

>"....." Is using the statment above to paint this farmer guy in opposition
>when he's not.

well, I've reviewed everything dude wrote, and it still looks to me like a bunch of bill-o'reilly-style "grew up working class so I still am, even though I'm not any more, and I'm on your side even though I'm here to tell you you're a delusional whiner and your problems are your own fault" stuff.

there is no shortage of right-wingers posting to these sites telling people to shut up and stop complaining. oh, and love Boss more and work harder. that's the solution to everything, even for people they've never met. if he was writing about police killings from the same perspective I doubt michael would be so eager to let him off the hook.

Kirsten: Get a job! 31.Jul.2004 17:25

Alice indy4lic3@yahoo.com

Haha just kidding, sort of. You say that you can't get employed because people don't want to hire you because of your record for not taking bullshit. That's easy: FAKE YOUR RESUME! Make up good-looking jobs and put down phone numbers of friends who would be willing to answer their phones as a business name for a few weeks/months. If you need help with this, you can email me and I'll give you a phone number and a business name that you can use as a reference. The bottom line is that the only way you are going to get a good job is to lie to the employers. Then, once you are employed, keep your head down and take their bullshit for one whole year. After the year is up, you can be yourself because if they get rid of you you can go on unemployment, so they won't be so quick to do that. I know a year is a hard length of time to deal with bullshit, but keep in mind that you are just securing your future. Also, remember that the employment department, in order to calculate how much to pay you, averages out how much you made per week for the period of one year that started a year and a half ago and ended six months ago, so if you haven't been working much before you get hired, it's probably a good idea to hang on for a year and a half before you "let it all hang out", so that the period they look at will be a full-income period, and therefore you will get more unemployment. If you have any questions, feel free to email me and I'll tell you everything I know. I hate to see people suffer from poverty when it's TOTALLY unnecessary. If you're poor, and you can't get what you need to survive, it's because you are ignorant (and not ignorant in a bad way like you're stupid or something, but ignorant in the sense that you just don't know where to look/what to do), not because you are doomed to be a victim of society. NOTE: It's probably not a good idea to put your full name on-line, since any internet-savvy potential employer can simply google you and see it all laid out in black and white (or white and black, as is the case on your website).

Real concerns, or sour grapes? 31.Jul.2004 19:10


Anderberg is a fairly competent writer..most of the time. But this self referential little tirade seems to be more about her personal ambitions and needs than any real concern about the very real economic barriers that prevent folks from working class and communities of color from participating in the RNC protests.

These barriers are a huge problem, and one that has been an issue for grassroots groups literally for decades - and one that should concern the entire peace and social justice movement.

Yet, one of the things that may make the RNC protests so huge is that dozens of local community grown social justice groups around the country have been working tirelessly for months to fundraise and provide support for their supporters to get on the bus and come to NYC. Had Anderberg been so inclined, a little fact finding around the country might have revealed just what some of these initiatives are. Is it enough? Hell no, but the RNC protests - unlike previous anti-war and anti-globalization protests - seems to be striking a chord with many grassroots groups who have historically focused on local organizing. And as has previously been pointed out in this thread, Anderberg simply disses the efforts of those groups like KWRU and Still We Rise who are busting ass to scrape up the resources that will make it possible for low-income and disenfrancised folks to participate.

Let's cut to the chase. Anderberg complains that she is starving, trying to make a living as a radical journalist? Sorry, but this truly smacks of class privlege. Most radical writers actually have to work shit jobs that have absolutely nothing to do with advocacy journalism to make ends meet for their families. Welcome to capitalism.

BTW, there are literally dozens of IMCistas, writers, videographers, filmmakers, guerilla radio types, poets, artists and media makers of all stripes who are scratching the bottom of the barrel to find ways to get to NYC for the RNC. And many of them are trying to pool resources and do this together. Anderberg might take note.

elitism, yes, but not in your sense 31.Jul.2004 20:23

Roger Mexico

The "elitism" problem is not one of supposedly rich or affluent "white kids."
A large problem that has affected the counter-fascist, counter-militaristic protests from back in the 60s (and I'm sure earlier) is one of cliques or cadres of radicals believing and proclaiming themselves to be ideologically or motivationally superior to others.
Individuals of whatever priority concern - peace, racism, economics and class, etc - are not immune from narcissistic needs to toot their own horn, sometimes in the form of sneering macho advocacy of violence, sometimes in the form of whining saintly martyrdom.

The poor don't need liberals, radicals or progressives flocking to help them organize themselves, organize protests, etc. They need as much as the rest of us to get this fucking GOP monstrosity off our backs, so we can deal with the relatively more manageable outrages of the Democratic side.

The priority is to kick George W. Bush's lying scumbag ass out of office, and all the turds that hang on with him.

Hopefully, there will be millions of us marching to attest to that wish and intent. If a morally superior soul wants to stay home and snit, . . . frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!

Actually, it would be nice if you grew up. Love to have you with everyone else - old, young, white, black, whatever.

we're not autonomous from gravity 31.Jul.2004 21:08

trace hunter

K. is saying that only the "privileged" are going to the protest. That is plainly not true from here in NYC. The protests are being organized largely by everyday people, with specific groups such as the Kensington Welfare Rights Union organizing a major march on Aug. 30, along with the Still We Rise coalition and a hip-hop protest starting from Union Square.

Baiting the rich or even not poor is a waste of time. I wish we had a lot more rich radicals, then there might be some funds.

I also know that some groups, such as NION from Oakland have pooled money to give stipends for young, poor activists to get to NYC. Maybe you weren't on the top of the list, but that doesn't mean it isn't happening.

This is the second article by K. I've read specifically about denouncing a group or baiting a kind of people. The other one was ranting about Seattle Indymedia, of which I admittedly know nothing. But it seems K. is seeking to make a presence by twisting people's sore spots.

I am not rich, privileged or any other such thing. I am broke as hell. I have to work to get money, I don't have kids because I can't afford it. But hey, that's just me. We all make our choices.

Personally, I am tired of the sentimenet that K. is spreading. Stop complaining about other people and do the thing you want.

And all you anarchists: ORGANIZATION is how poor people gain power. All this worship of "autonomy" and the "spontaneous" is just another way that middle class people have of justifying their own privilege. What gets me is the nastiness towards groups who actually manage to do things, as if that makes them "authoritarian" or "privileged."

"staying home in a snit"? 31.Jul.2004 21:52

the whole POINT is she can't AFFORD TO GO!

god I can't even respond to this

y'all just don't get it. yer repeating the same condescending crap she's complaining about in the first place.

petty 31.Jul.2004 23:25


I'm sorry, but complaining about some kid making 16,000 bucks a year sounds pretty bitter to me. Personally I admire the kids drive to get his shit together and scrimp and save so he can go to the protests. He's giving up quite a bit of 'luxury' to get the money to go and I feel your need to attack him borders on pathological.

Let's do a little fact check. 01.Aug.2004 01:16


I can't decide what is more bogus- the arrogant assumptions about RNC protesters KA makes - or the shameless self-promotion going on here.

Since she penned the original article, and since she asserts that she writes well researched articles, you have to wonder why she didn't get off her ass and take the time to contact KWRU (  http://www.kwru.org/ ) about the March for Our Lives during RNC? Or any of the community endorsers and groups building for this critical action?

To make it easier for KA, here's a partial list.

People's Health Movement-USA
National Welfare Rights Union
National Center for Human Rights Education
National Immigration Solidarity Network
Social Welfare Action Alliance
Rochester Poor People United (NY)
Direct Action Welfare Group, DAWG (WV)
Greater NY Labor Religion Coalition (NY)
The Presbyterian Health, Education, and Welfare Assoc, PHEWA (NY)
Michigan Welfare Rights Organization (MI)
Highland Park Human Rights Coalition (MI)
Community Partners for Affordable Accessible Health Care (OH)
Organize! Ohio (OH)
Center for Economic and Social Rights (NY)
Rock A Mole Productions (CA)
Rochester Poor Peoples Coalition (NY)
Portland Organization to Win Economic Rights (ME)
Mass Welfare Rights Union (MA)
Survivors Inc. (MA)
Thorpe Family Residence (NY)
Coalition to Protect Public Housing (IL)
The Refuge/Solid Rock Church (FL)
For the Homeless by the Homeless (FL)
Critical Resistance Tampa Bay Chapter (FL)
Coalition For the Reform of Youth Services (FL)
The Braveheart Youth Foundation of Tampa Bay (FL)
Community Homeless Alliance Ministry (CA)
Arise for Social Justice (MA)
Deaf and Deaf-Blind Committee on Human Rights (OH)
JEDI for Women (UT)
Poor Voices United (NJ)
Women's Economic Agenda Project (CA)
Women in Transition (KY)
Kensington Welfare Rights Union (PA)
Coalition of Immokalee Workers (FL)
Loring-Nicolett Alternative School (MN)

hmm 01.Aug.2004 02:35

Joe Shmuckatelly

If, as you say, you go the last few days of the month without eating or have a hard time buying food in general, how is it that you wear a size 2x???

Serious Question 01.Aug.2004 10:23

Jordan in Ohio Bartramfan@EXPN.com

I am white, have access to monetary funds, and have lived an easy life. I recognize how lucky I have been and how unfair this world is. I attend University paid for by my parents, and I also use their money to travel. When they offered to buy me a car, I opted for a trip to the congo and visited refugee camps. I am telling you this not for credibility sake or in defense to your comments, I'm only trying to demonstrate that I am trying to use my well-off position for good causes. So, I am taking the train to NYC next month, but after your article Kristen, I did begin to question my motives (as I often do). SO here is my question: What should I do? I cannot help that I have been grossly lucky in comparison to the rest of the world. Should I be apathetic and sit around and watch MTV? Yes, it sucks that this world is so unfair (and I feel like I cant even say that because history has been so good to me) but I am spending the money I have to go protest, NOT to buy a car, or buy clothes, or plane spring break vacations, or anything of the sort. I have this skewed and idealized view that I am going to protest for YOU, but I guess that is a pathetic assumption? And perhaps my motives are selfish . . . But all motives are selfish, who willingly does things that they do not want to do, with no slef serving purpose? I like to tell myself that my interests and passions are ones that fight for the greater good, but that might be ridiculous. If the only people in the society that fought the power were the ones being oppressed, I'm not sure what would happen. Do you think it means something that even the people from the upper crust of society are coming out to fight, even though the system works for ME, I know its a crappy sytem for almost everyone else and I dont like that . . . So don;t let this come off as defensive, I just want a real response about what would be a better option for someone in my position? Thanks.

Hold up... Kristin has two degress and is a law student? 01.Aug.2004 10:55


This is hilarious -- where else could someone with a "two university degrees" and work towards a law degree bait OTHER people for their privilege. She attacks one guy for having a romantic mate, as if that was "privilege."

I think Kristin's real oppression is her shitty attitude, mopey self-pity and tendency to attack other people instead of constructing real solutions. Seriously, this woman has two college degrees and her last job paid less than $7/hr and was "hard, physical labor?"

I suspect developing her interpersonal skills might go far in solving some of her problems.

Damn 01.Aug.2004 11:23


TO MR SCMUCK: She wears a siz 2x because she's a mother, and what right do you hace to question her SHAPE you fucking pig!

A lot of people are in touch with local actavism and not in touch with national actavism. It's easy to see how if you're poor and you live in a city where the poor are not organized you could feel like the only people you know that are going to this are people with money. It seems like kirstin was speaking from personal expierence, so she didn't dig far enough and see that predominately on the east coast there are groups that have organised support for this protest. Weither that support is just an indorsement or they plan to get folks there is a different story. Apperantly KWRU is getting people there, good. This hardly discredets Kirsten's personal expierence.
Jordan it's ok to speak for your self. You don't need to go there for someone else.

plbpblbpblblbpbpblblbp!! 01.Aug.2004 14:29

your mama

I see a bunch of professional grant-writing activists congratulating themselves for getting a big endorsement list together and insulting and dismissing the personal experiences of one actual poor person who doesn't fit their profile of a fundable project target.

Have fun at the party.

a bogus complaint 01.Aug.2004 16:19


I am not a reciever of any grant. I have zero income and I have not had access to work for 2 and a half years. I am spending the last of my money on this protest. That's what Kristen calls 'elitist'. Newsflash: not all whites are elite. And Kristen, if you wanted to participate you could for free. Make a sign that says 'Protesting the RNC' and hitchhike. I'm sure you'd get rides across the continent plus donations for your expenses. Its no one else's fault if you won't move your butt.

This race baiting may well be a 'planted' article but views are held by some (at the sidelines who don't attend meetings).

planner 01.Aug.2004 16:37

sorry for nastiness

I apologize for prior 'move your butt' comment. Poverty makes you crazy. I know first hand. It could be inability to coordinate plans from the stresses of no money. Anyway, I do think with a lot of outreach and a sign you could make your way to the RNC and find free food and housing when you're in NY via www.counterconvention.org etc.

I've been working like a demon for the past year on RNC protests and I mean to welcome all, not beat up on people. It just bugs me getting called elitist. For a white person its as bad as the 'N' word. A real insult.

gurgle gurgle 03.Aug.2004 02:34

mumble mumble

I think it's clear Kirsten was originally talking about round-trip travelers from the West Coast who are NOT already homeless, and are NOT consciously rendering themselves homeless to go to this protest. Somehow I doubt most visitors from out here are railhopping or hitchhiking to get there. I think she said the same thing.

If significant numbers of people had the courage and self-confidence necessary to intentionally "go homeless" to do a political action -- really homeless, no money, no crash pad waiting back where you came from, you'll just figure it out later -- we'd live in a very different society than the one we're stuck in now.

As it is, these may be admirable sacrifices to make, but seems unrealistic to expect many to make them.

In some ways these events seem to be joint actions of the "idle rich" and the "idle poor" -- people who have so much they're exempt from ordinary responsibilities, and people who have so little they have nothing to lose. Everybody in between is too preoccupied holding onto their rungs on the ladder to join in.

Warning to less experienced hitchhikers: A good rule of thumb is it takes about four times as long to hitch somewhere as to take the bus. Trainhopping takes even longer. The one time I hitched all the way across the country it took me over a week and a half. The Holy Grail of a ride going more than a few hundred miles at a time eluded me.

Visit Kirsten's website. 03.Aug.2004 08:31


Hmm. So after reading the orginial article and subsequent posts, I decided to visit Kirsten's website for a look see. Pretty impressive, and she has a full page dedicated to the RNC with lots o links.

Then I noticed something. The link to Still We Rise Coalition - a coalition of New York community-based organizations planning a "Poor People's March & Rally for Justice" on August 30.
which was buried way, way down, just below the UFPJ link. And I noticed that no link existed to KWRU at all. Check it out at:  http://users.resist.ca/~kirstena/pagernc.html

Curious, no? Here's a tip. Perhaps it's time to start practicing what you preach.

As long as they go 25.Aug.2004 03:40


Yes, kids who live in the lap of luxury and take for granted opportunities that we toil for, annoy all of us... but you have mixed them up with caring people who may have the means to make it to the RNC.

Either way- Why does it matter who goes as long as they go. We need numbers, we need the masses to make an impact.
I agree with whoever said.. at least they aren't in the mall. I am an NYC teacher... no one has any idea how hard we are working to make our students politically aware. Hey, if anyone (especially teens) are going to spend their Sunday to go and just be there... I feel its progress and I'm all for it. Don't stop progress that we NEED!

naive 29.Aug.2004 11:12

Washington, DC

"Who would make more of an impression politically, you or a poor person?"

who has the dollars? in the current political paradigm who has the power?

Although your sentiment of feeling sad about what it takes to "wake-up" an American today does resonant...

Remember, MANY of the protesters are not merely protesting Iraq or Bush, but rather the entire political system that does not offer a true choice to the American people. So this is about raising our voices to be heard...all political change, throughout history has been driven by mass demonstrations....New York is only the beginning...

the disenfranchised condition can only improve when we end the "more of the same" political landscape