i would mimic mike’s “demand a plan” campaign to stop gun violence with a “demand a plan” to stop homelessness in new york city – complete with testimonials by hollywood stars and pro football legends. stories from people affected by homelessness would be dubbed over clips of bloomberg in one of his eleven houses, boarding his private jet, etc. contrasted to scenes of homelessness. there would also be an app where you could type in your phone number and we would call you to give you a few “talking points” on homelessness in new york city and then, connect you to mike.
someone asked me if i thought my work changes anything. i’m like, “the homeless population of nyc has risen by almost 3000 since i started bugging bloomberg five months ago. reverse effects maybe? – of course this shit don’t do shit.”
i came to nyc to look into mike bloomberg (the mayor, with a net worth of 25B representing the 1%) and homelessness. homelessness is a symptom rather than a cause, and in looking at the causes of homelessness in nyc, i am, over and over again, confronted with a racial divide. so now, i wonder, what is the relation between the 1% and racism? and is this really the crux of it? the economics of white supremacy?
if incarceration,* homelessness, and poverty (and with poverty comes lack of health care and lack of mental health care, which leads us right back to homelessness and incarceration) are all intertwined – and if incarceration, homelessness and poverty are all dramatically higher for the “non-white” population, what conclusion other than white supremacy can be made?
and how do you tackle those who uphold white supremacy while calling themselves “philanthropists?”
*if arrest leads to a criminal record
(for example – having marihuana in public view, – P.L. § 221.10 – Criminal Possession of Marihuana in the 5th Degree A person is guilty of criminal possession of marihuana in the fifth degree when he knowingly and unlawfully possesses: marihuana in a public place, as defined in section 240.00 of this chapter, and such marihuana is burning or open to public view; or one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing marihuana and the preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances are of an aggregate weight of more than twenty-five grams.)
– and if a criminal record leads to loss of job and access to government programs such as housing and food stamps (amongst other consequences) you become much more vulnerable to finding yourself homeless. likewise, once homeless you can be ticketed for blocking pedestrian traffic, for sleeping on a park bench, for defecating in public (why does nyc have no public washrooms?,) for being intoxicated in public, even… for spitting.
– and if you are held in prison because you are a “flight risk, i.e. you are homeless and have no address or you are poor and can’t make bail, and your case is heard but you have already “done the time” your conviction would have entailed, rather than plead innocent and have a future trial date set keeping you in prison longer, a lot of people are “encouraged” to plead guilty, even when they are not.
– we have what is called the criminalization of poverty.
u say u r pro gay marriage, – yet u slash funding for aids – guess who is affected most? people who can’t afford health-care. guess who that is? homelessness has skyrocketed since you became mayor even though in your second term u said u wanted 2 make poverty reduction yr major theme. guess who most of the poor homeless population is? u have not raised the minimum wage from the dismal $7.25, that even u, in yr state of the city address of january 2012, said was in need of adjustment, u vetoed city council’s living wage bill, u said u would do the same if a paid sick leave bill was proposed. u target black and latino youth 4 yr stop and frisk.
and while we r at it – u r anti gun – yet it was under yr leadership for the first time ever that nyc started selling the police department’s used bullet casing to an ammunition company – to recycle with new bullets to sell them… to the public.
seems to be a mismatch between how u present yrself – and what u actually do. maybe try alligning the 2?
aids : aids
aids : 107,000 New York City residents are living with HIV/AIDS, and the rate of infection in the city is three times the national average, AIDS is the third leading cause of death for city residents ages 35 to 54.
prison: stop and frisk
prison : 1 in 3
poverty : no increase in $7.25 min. wage
poverty : no legislated sick leave
poverty: vetoed living wage bill
here we have wall street. here we have a billionaire as mayor. here we have 47,475 sheltered homeless and roughly 3000 unsheltered homeless. here we have the most expensive retail rental space in the world (fifth ave) coupled with a minimum wage at $7.25 that keeps working people well below poverty level. here we have a mayor who calls himself a philanthropist. a mayor who believes in the “great american dream.”
and then this. a portrait of “power” and its underside, – of sorts – of a person caught in a location of time and place. and how this power yields and does not yield to a kind of decay and decomposition. how to show that? in relation to me? because i m always here. always in relation. like goya painting himself into the portrait of the royals. implicit. implicated.