Gwen Brown— International Liberation Reference Person for People Who Were Raised Poor

Raised-Poor People

The following are key issues for raised-poor people, as well as for the RC Communities and the world. We need to

  • recognize our inherent connection to all other humans and act on it,
  • reclaim our ability to fully discharge our distress recordings and help others do the same,
  • understand the roles we are set up to play in global capitalism and change how we live our lives; the current world situation requires us to think and act outside of our distress recordings.

I have focused on helping raised-poor people (and people from other classes) understand how the economic system has confused us and set us up to behave in ways that do not reflect our caring, integrity, generosity, and power. I work with people on moving past class-based confusions so that we can have the lives and the world that we want.

Our economic system is responsible for enormous damage. It plays a major role in limiting our lives and threatening life on this planet. It makes it possible for two or three percent of the world’s people to control ninety percent of the world’s wealth while most people struggle to find even a small amount of food, shelter, health care, and education.

The following are four important aspects of our current system:

1) Owners typically pay workers as little as possible and use most of the profits for themselves. They use them to make investments and acquire more money. They use them to buy respect, opportunities, protection, and services. They use them to pay for extravagant lifestyles that include multiple houses in the most expensive and safest neighborhoods, frequent “jet set” vacations, yachts, expensive jewelry, fine foods, the latest styles in clothes, and the best health care and education—all of which are far beyond the means of working-class and poor people. They also pass their wealth down the generations so that those who come after them start life far ahead economically compared to the descendants of working-class and poor people.

2) Owning-class people use much of the wealth produced by workers to buy political influence. This ensures that the economic system will continue to operate in their favor and money will keep moving to the top. Once again the advantages and wealth of the owners grow, at the expense of everyone else. Owning-class people support candidates and judges of their choice and fund scientists who will produce the conclusions they seek (for example, that global warming is not related to human activity). They create “fake news,” undermine progressive movements, and publish and promote the words of people who confuse the public about the economic system (for example, by saying that lower taxes for the wealthy create “trickle down” wealth for the poorer classes or that more good jobs will be created if companies can be free of safety and environmental regulations).

3) Under global capitalism, the overall good of humanity and the planet is not what determines the decisions of those in power. The projected profits of the wealthy are what determine the decisions, including about what, where, and how to build, transport, sell, and dump. The environment and poor people and the safety of poor people’s neighborhoods are the last consideration.

4) Owners are vastly outnumbered by workers and poor people. Therefore, they have to divide workers against one another and against poor people. They set up scapegoats to distract people from the real source of the problem. For at least two thousand years Jews have been used as scapegoats to distract working people from the oppressive policies of those at the top. In the United States, Black people and poor people have been key targets.

In election after election we hear, “Those people are your problem.” Some groups are defined as “better than” and more deserving of the fruits of society. Others are defined as “less than” and are expected to receive less pay and fewer privileges, and even to be attacked. Racism, sexism, classism, and anti-Jewish oppression have been used most frequently to “divide and conquer.” However, any identity can be used to divide people and keep them from uniting and taking power.

In the last U.S. election we saw an unprecedented amount of this “divide and conquer” strategy. Voters were told that their economic troubles were caused by Muslims, Gay people, Jews, poor people, “illegal aliens” from Mexico, and, as usual, Black people. The government itself was attacked, in order to undermine policies that had regulated industry; supported health care and education for children, poor people, and women; protected the environment; and promoted equality. Lies, distortions, and “fake news” were and continue to be used to keep people fighting each other and keep huge amounts of money going to the top one percent. Much of the working class, particularly the white working class, has seemed unaware that their fears, angers, and oppressor distresses are being intentionally stirred up to divide them and to undermine candidates that would actually work for their economic well-being.

To end the acting out of oppressor patterns and have a caring world, we need to discharge the distresses

  • that confuse us about our inherent goodness and interfere with our connection with all human beings,
  • that make us vulnerable to political manipulation,
  • that keep us feeling afraid, hopeless, small, and incompetent.

Until these distresses are fully discharged, we need to step over them outside of our sessions and support one another, speak up, and take principled stands against the policies that threaten us all. We need to support each other’s liberation work. We have to choose to be the human beings we were born to be.

We raised-poor people need to use our voices and act powerfully, no matter how uncomfortable and small we may feel. We who grew up at the bottom have always had a sense of the injustices of the system. We also know working-class and poor people whom we can listen to, care about, inform, and empower. We can teach them to use our listening process, which moves people toward ever more awareness, caring, and connection.

We need a world in which discharge is, and remains, a part of all of our lives. We raised-poor people can and must be central to bringing this about [making this happen].

Gwen Brown

International Liberation Reference Person for Raised-Poor People

Wilmington, Delaware, USA

(Present Time 188, July 2017)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00