or Socialist Propaganda on Plight of the Working Poor?
Should Ebenezer have told the ghost to get lost?
Meeting # 3,508 - Justin Tucker, Chair of the Libertarian Party of Chicago, and CoC regulars Tim Bolger and Corina Schusheim
The seemingly timeless story in Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol hides the fact that it was very much the product of a particular moment in history, its author meaning to weigh in on specific issues of the day, the plight of the working poor, at the onset of the industrial revolution. Dickens first conceived of his project as a pamphlet.
Workers were leaving the countryside to crowd into new manufacturing centers and cities. Meanwhile, there was a revolution in the way goods were manufactured: cottage industry was upended by a trend towards workers serving as unskilled cogs laboring in the pre-cursor of the assembly line.
Girls who sewed dresses for the expanding market of middle class consumers, for example, regularly worked 16 hours a day, six days a week, rooming—like Martha Cratchit—above the factory floor. Workers, laboring in the pre-cursor of the assembly line, were valued or measured by how many nails they could hammer in an hour.
Popular theories about how—or whether—to help the poor often made things worse. The first was the widespread sense that poor people tended to be so because they were lazy and immoral, and that helping them would only encourage their malingering. If they were to be helped, it should be under conditions so awful as to discouraged people from seeking that help. The new workhouses were seen as the perfect solution—where families were split up, food was minimal and work painful.
Associated with this concept were the ideas of Rev. Thomas Malthus, who cautioned against intervening when people were hungry because it would only lead to an untenable population size. Better that the poor should starve and thus “decrease the surplus population.”
Friedrich Engels also saw the same conditions of labor that Dickens did and, with his collaborator Karl Marx, envisioned an eventual revolution in The Communist Manifesto, also written in England around the same time.
Dickens, however, was very much an anti-revolutionary. In fact, he implied that revolutionary was the fearsome consequence of not solving the problem some other way.
Compassion & Choices
Meetings # 3,506 - Compassion & Choices is the nation's oldest and largest nonprofit organization working to improve care and expand choice at the end of life, with 450,000 supporters nationwide.
Author of "Inside" about Organized Crime in Chicago
and other Cities
Meetings # 3,505 - "Inside" by Scott M. Hoffman is an intriguing work detailing the internal workings of the Outfit, an organized crime family, which originated on the South Side of Chicago during prohibition and rose to power in the 1920s. The Outfit has been involved in a wide variety of criminal activities including gambling, loan-sharking, prostitution, drug trafficking, money laundering, extortion, labor racketeering, adult and child pornography, political corruption, and murder. The individuals and events in Inside are composites of real people and real events.
Ideas that Work to Make this City Better Now, and
A Review of All the Mayoral Candidates
Meetings # 3,507 - Political activist Marc Loveless
Reform City Vehicle Sticker Program and other Fees.
Provide Quality of Life Report on all New Ordnances.
Commercial True Property Owners Registry.
Social Enterprise and Civic Investment initiative.
Empower Social Entrepreneurship and fertilize Mission Driven Ventures.
Promote Civic Engagement, Social Justice, and Civil Liberties.
Promote accountability of fees and reduce penalties to improve quality of life.
Midwest Workers Association
Campaign to Stop the Shutoffs of utilities: gas, water, electricity