By Teka Lark
Poverty driven nonprofits are the opiates for privatization. It makes the wealthy OK. It makes gentrification OK. It makes charter schools OK. It makes cops murdering people OK.
It turns formerly political people into social justice junkies who want to negotiate with the police and real estate developers.
Poverty driven nonprofits came about during the Civil Rights movement. It was a way for the private industry to dictate public policy under the guise of helping.
For example defunding and dismantling public housing and creating Section 8 made keeping a community poor and dangerous valuable (you get extra money and tax credits for building and developing in areas documented as poor and dangerous) for real estate developers. Section 8 housing is privately owned. It’s valuable for everyone, but people who live in the community. The “dangerous Black community” roots are not in gangs or family values, its roots are in policy and real estate.
Nonprofits have eased the way for the destruction of a secure government safety net and have depoliticized the US public.
Imagine if Martin Luther King had been fighting for justice in current day. Black people would still be riding on the back of the bus and he’d have a nonprofit (funded by Goldman Sachs or some real estate developer) based on eventually moving to the front of the bus, after negotiations and dinners. We would still be talking about this now and maybe have some songs and some poetry about it….
Take all the energy that the best and brightest would have spent challenging the institutions of oppression like they did in the 30s for Workers Rights, in the 60s for Civil Rights and in the early 20th century for Women Rights and funnel it into $10.00 an hour jobs where four people are expected to help 1,000 people find housing.
Poverty driven nonprofits take the best and brightest and give them titles like executive director, development director and outreach director. Instead of challenging corporations and the men and women of industry –they work with them.
I understand the complications of raising the minimum wage, but if you can’t pay grown people enough to rent a room in the edges of L.A. then you have no business pretending to be an employer, especially if you have a place to live and you have a car and you’re paying for your kid’s college tuition.
They say things like, “We’re helping,” when they should be telling their wealthy donors to fuck off.
Nonprofits are the cheap perfume on the sociopath drug dealer that is capitalism.
Private industry will not fund nonprofits enough to do anything, but to prepare to write more grants to foundations and to go to more parties for networking.
Instead of making change, nonprofits beg for change.
To get a nonprofit to shut up all you have to do is write them a check.
Nonprofits can’t make change, because they never have any money and that was corporate America’s plan.
Capitalism wants to take social work, schools, public housing, health care out of the government hands and move it to the private sector, so that they can defund it.
When you work at a foundation funded nonprofit to fill a gap that the government should be filling you’re not doing your job as a progressive and you are certainly not a radical.
A 20 person nonprofit at most might be able to grow a community garden. It might be able to help five people, but it can’t change policy. It can’t break this system in half and that’s what we need.
We need a real safety net funded by our government. We need better than a safety net. We need universal support, so we are never caught in a free fall.
The US government provided corporate America better than a safety net. The US government (which is us) provided $608 billion in support to banks and we the US public lost $30 billion.
Foundations funded by corporate America have no business dictating policy by withholding cash. The rich need to pay their damn taxes like everyone else.
The rich shouldn’t get to decide who gets a playground or who gets to eat or who gets housing and then get a tax write off and loans they don’t have to payback for that privilege.
Nonprofits are a payday loan when you need a better paying job and reasonably priced housing. Nonprofits are a temporary high for justice.