Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Being Poor Is...

Being poor is hoping your kids don't have a growth spurt.

Being poor is stealing meat from the store, frying it up before your mom gets home and then telling her she doesn't have make dinner tonight because you're not hungry anyway.

Being poor is Goodwill underwear.

Being poor is not enough space for everyone who lives with you.

Being poor is feeling the glued soles tear off your supermarket shoes when you run around the playground.
Go read the whole list - it is well put together (via Alas

One of the things that I find annoying amongst political activists is people who can't distinguish between having no money, or a low income, and being poor. I think this generally comes from young middle class activists who are defensive about their family background, and haven't learned to deal with it yet. I wish that everyone who had ever said to me "I'm not middle class - I have no money" would read this list.

For whatever reason I've never felt that particular brand of defensiveness about my decidedly middle class background (I do get embarassed at times, and self-concious at others - but generally I figure that as long as I'm not arrogant in assuming everyone had the privileges and options I did - then it's what I do that matters). I do have some sympathy for where it comes from, but I tend to think that the suffers should just get over it rather than inflict their insecurities on people who do know what poor is.


  1. I actually agree with you on this one.

  2. Anonymous1:15 pm

    "Being poor is stealing meat from the store"

    Maia, are you condoning stealing or are like Span who while not condoning it can understand it?

    Where do you draw the line between being poor enough to have stealing as being OK and being slightly better off and not being able to steal.

    I'm sure the mother of the thief would be horrified.

    Instead of this middle class hand wringing could you not be pre-emptive and start communal purchasing co-ops for example or communal gardens to grow vegetables?

    How about exploring the living wage for everyone irrespective of poverty so that the poor are no longer poor?

    Even a middle of the roader like me can see the advantage of a living wage irrespective of poor or rich.

    How much income would a poor person need to keep the family above the poverty line?

  3. I absolutely endorse poor people stealing from rich companies.

  4. Anonymous6:15 am

    Then in return you wont mind rich people ripping off the poor.

    As in shaky loans, eternal revolving credit, etc, etc.

    As I thought middle class activism which is do nothing but wait for the revolution (a hundred years in the making and never going to happen) and happy sitting on the sideline snipping away at a system that could easily bring salvation to the poor.

    Any pre-emptive ideas and involvement at all Maia?

  5. Anonymous7:05 am


    You being middle class and considered "rich" by the poor will no doubt not report a theft from you to the police not claim any insurance for the loss.

    Afterall it is to be endorsed!

    Wow, have you got a sign up outside your door. If you are poor take anything you like.

    Logic I guess is that once you have taken it you are no longer longer "poor" and you will never need to steal again.

    Interesting socialist concept.

  6. Anonymous7:15 am


    Now Maia, having been made "poor" by her loss is now endorsed to steal from her previously "poor" but now "rich" thief.

    Ah, the ironic hypocrisy.

    Would it not be better to work collectivly in a system that works (vesus a system a hundred years in the making and destined never to arrive) to improve the position of the poor.

    No comment on some of the other points I raise?

  7. Anonymous7:28 am


    Off course the once "poor" then "rich" now "poor" again thief is endorsed to steal from the once "rich" then "poor" but now "rich" again Maia.

    What a way to beat the poverty trap.

  8. Anonymous8:17 am


    Is there are difference between rich companies (owned or operated by private and/or public shareholders) and an individual?

    Is it OK for the poor to steal from a State owned company like KiwiBank?

    Is it OK for the poor to steal from the State by not paying their rent on the state owned house?

    Before your theoretical revolution it is OK to steal from companies.

    After this mythical revolution when all companies will be owned by the State will it be OK to steal from these if you are poor. Or is it more lilely that you will be shot for stealing from your fellow comrades?.

  9. Anonymous8:59 am

    oops, I forgot.

    After the revolution there will be no more poor.

  10. Anonymous11:25 am

    Have done Carebear,

    How about soemone answering the questions in the comments?

    Morally it is OK to steal if you are poor?

    Give me a break.

    No cause and effect I suppose.

    No more long essays from me.

  11. Anonymous6:56 pm

    Yae, thanks carebear.

    I dont think simply giving the poor a handout in the form of money is going to get them out of the poverty cycle.

    As a solo father bringing up four teenagers I can vouch for how hard it is on a single income sales reps salary.

    Not going to get pious because I have done so no long essay.

    Have plenty of ideas though.

  12. Anonymous6:58 pm

    Sorry should have said bought up, all have left the nest.

  13. Anonymous10:26 am

    This blog is hosted by Blogger. Owned by Google. Capitalists.

    Why are you supporting a capitalist site? Why not shift to non-capitalist web space?

    I found some:


    Probably not as easy to use or fully featured, but a lot more honest, wouldn't you say?

  14. maia I share your view on this one. I think the same logic applies exactly to those who claim we have poverty in New Zealand and Glen Innes is a centre of it. There is no genuine poverty in New Zealand of the working hard and still cannot afford to eat, live in proper shelter and clothe themselves.

    There are plenty of people who cannot cope with modern society and expect others to provide for them or who have gone off the rails on drugs or alcohol. But no wrenching poverty of the like seen in Africa or South America

  15. sagenz - you don't agree with anything I say, you don't appear to understand anything I say.

  16. I absolutely endorse poor people stealing from rich companies.

    Maia - is it just companies that you endorse stealing from, or rich individuals as well? What about rich organisations as opposed to companies?

    What is your definition of rich?

    Without knowing the parameters you are meaning it is impossible to interpret the meaning.