Why don’t working people rise up? Poverty and Oppression.

On 14 May 2020 I posted an article, ‘Why the rush to get workers back to work – no matter what?‘. One person on Facebook commented: “Absolutely spot on! If only the workers realised the power they hold…..”, which garnered this response: “Speaking personally, my only power feels like refusal to go back to work, resulting in more extreme poverty and probable homelessness. It really does not feel like power.”

I posted this response: “You have just nailed the elephant in the room, which I’ve battled with all my adult life and which is seldom talked about – economic slavery and why ordinary working people don’t rise up. We can’t afford to.

Money, isn’t just the means of our survival, it is also an ideological weapon that’s been used against ordinary people for centuries.

In the desert, the one who controls the water supply is king.

In Britain, it’s wealth, that’s what keeps the rich in power and subjugates millions of people.

No matter how loudly we shout, until we resolve the problem of access to the means of survival we’ll never be free.”

I have repeated over and over that ‘poverty is violence’ to which I have never found an answer and until we do billions of people will never realise their potential.

Britain is the home of the Industrial Revolution. People abandoned their farms and flocked to the cities and areas of industry looking for work, to be paid poverty wages, working in appalling conditions [1] or found themselves in work houses or debtors prisons. [2]

Work houses were brutal places of unimaginable cruelty. Historically, as now, the poor are always blamed for their poverty by those in power.

Between 1983 and 1985 I was studying Community and Youth Work at Durham University in which we were required to do three community placements. One of my placements was in a mining town during the miners strike and my final placement was in another mining town shortly after the strike ended. For a wide eyed, naive, southern boy it was terrifying, at a level I’ve not experienced before or since. The violence and suffering was horrific whilst the bravery and courage of the miners and their families was awe inspiring. The two overriding issues were resources (survival) and unimaginable state violence courtesy of Margaret Thatcher.

Boris Johnson wants nothing more than to be seen as a modern day Churchill, but in reality he’s still pursuing the policies and brutality of Thatcher. She has a long shadow, still.

Since 2010, the Conservatives have been waging economic warfare against the people of Britain – subjugation and control.

Unless and until we defeat poverty and stop the use of money as a weapon, dreams will remain shattered and lives stunted and ruined for the brief time people are alive, prevented from enjoying it by those with too much wealth and privilege and no humanity and compassion.

Imagine if life was a celebration instead of a burden and a curse for far too many.

Perhaps Jesus was right that the poor will always be with us, but he never said that they should be humiliated, punished and despised for it.

If there is a heaven and if I’m in it, I shall enjoy chatting to the camels as the rich rage and spit, “Don’t you know who I am?” and God replying, “oh yes.”

Life should be a joy, not a prison.

Keith Ordinary Guy. 15 May 2020.

[1] https://www.ducksters.com/history/us_1800s/working_conditions_industrial_revolution.php

[2] https://sites.google.com/site/debtorsprisonsp72014/debtors-prisons-and-workhouses

6 thoughts on “Why don’t working people rise up? Poverty and Oppression.

  1. ‘Speaking personally, my only power feels like refusal to go back to work’

    Perhaps then we could look more closely at speaking collectively and talking about ‘our’ power instead of ‘my’ power. I can’t help but think that solidarity or rather the lack of it, is the elephant in the room. Community centres are all but gone. Independent, working class pubs are nearly gone. We were isolated, at home with the TV long before Covid-19 appeared. Solidarity overcomes poverty and power.

    1. I agree, but unions and solidarity have been brutally suppressed by, and since, Thatcher. We have collectively got a hell of a task on our hands.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s