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Firing Line: William F. Buckley Interviewing Saul Alinsky- Mobilizing The Poor

June 29, 2011

Saul Alinsky

Source: This piece was originally posted at FreeState Plus: Firing Line: William F. Buckley Interviewing Saul Alinsky- Mobilizing The Poor

‘Mobilizing the Poor’, sounds like a great idea to me, but what to mobilize them for is the question. What do you want them to do. Now me if I’m going to mobilize the poor, I would work with them to improve their own lives and empower them to empower their own lives. To make themselves self-sufficient, but also to get them involved in their own communities, if nothing else to make them better. So they are no longer stuck living in crumbling housing projects, living in dangerous neighborhoods and living in low-income communities where they can’t get good jobs. Because one, good jobs don’t exist in their communities. But also because they don’t have the skills to get good jobs and their kids won’t get the skills to get good jobs.

Because low-skilled low-income adults are stuck going to rotten schools in violent neighborhoods, because their parents don’t have a choice in where they send their kids to school. And thus are stuck with the same awful future that their parents had or in lost of cases just one parent. Perhaps never ever meeting their biological father or mother and in many cases father and end up repeating the same cycle of poverty as past generations in their family. In women’s cases having kids too early and not finishing high school to take care of their kids. Ending up on Welfare or stuck working minimum wage jobs the rest of their lives or perhaps ending up hanging out with the wrong crowds and ending up in jail or prison with kids.

And in men’s cases fathering kids way too early and perhaps never even meeting them or walking out on them, because they are not ready to raise them and can’t handle it. And perhaps dropping out of high school and ending up on Welfare or stuck working minimum wage jobs the rest of their lives as well. Or ending up in jail or prison, because they tried to make easy money by again hanging out with the wrong crowd. This is the future that we as a society should mobilize the poor to get away from and into a much more positive future. Of quality education, for parents and their kids, good jobs for the parents and their kids, so they can live in thriving communities.

If you’re talking about people living in poverty, but a have place of their own to live in, like an apartment, but don’t make enough money to support themselves on their own, or are on Welfare Insurance and don’t work at all, then I believe the answers to finally winning the War on Poverty, are good, positive and simple. And it really gets down to education, for parents and their kids to get the skills that they need to become self-sufficient and live in their own home. And it’s also about housing as well, whether it gets to encouraging the private sector to invest in low-income communities and train some of the people there. So they can get the skills that they need to get good jobs in these company’s, so the people there can get good jobs to become self-sufficient.

We should be reforming Public Housing in a way all together by instead of forcing low-income people to live in housing projects in low-income communities. Build these housing projects in middle class communities so low-income people are exposed to other communities around them and aren’t forced to live in violent communities. And have a shot at living a good life but reforming Public Housing alone won’t solve the problem. Another component has to be about reforming public education in America. So low-income students and their parents aren’t stuck going to bad schools, where perhaps they won’t even finish high school. But even if they do finish high school, they won’t have the skills that they need to get good jobs.

And having public school choice so parents can decide on their own what school to send their kids to. But also empowering low-income parents and adults to finish high school as well as go to community college so they can get the skills that they need to get good jobs. The answer to finally winning the War on Poverty is not just Welfare checks, even though that helps people on Welfare Insurance survive in the short-term. But the answers to finally winning the War on Poverty is about empowering low-income people to get the skills that they need to become self-sufficient on their own.

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