Book Review: Vincent Lyon-Callo, Inequality, Poverty, and Neoliberal Governance: Activist Ethnography in the Homeless Sheltering Industry. Broadview Press, 2004.


In recent years there has been increased discussion of the role that the non-profit structure has had on building radical struggles. INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence's edited volume The Revolution Will Not Be Funded, which focused on the role of foundation funding on movement building, was a watershed on this issue. Lyon-Callo's book, published as an academic monograph three years earlier, functions as an important, but largely overlooked, companion work.

The focus in this volume, based in the author's experience in the 1990s working as a shelter staff member, is the way structural factors that create poverty become normalized and reinforced in day to day thought and action, and the difficulties particular actors encounter in challenging that normalization. Lyon-Callo's narrative is based on the small city of Northampton, Massachusetts, which experienced a significant loss of manufacturing jobs in the 1980s, accompanied by a decrease in affordable housing and the consequential appearance of homelessness. Since the 1970s there was also a major shift in wealth, and an increase in low-wage and low-hour jobs that made accessing enough wealth to obtain basic stability all the harder.

The environmental dangers of hydraulic fracturing

"The Water's Gone Bad"

Carter Road, in Dimock, Susquehanna County, has earned the nickname “ground zero,” as it gains fame in the natural gas controversy of Pennsylvania. Residents of Carter Road organized to file suit against Cabot Oil and Gas after 14 wells used for drinking water became undrinkable. (See "Passing the Buck on Water Contamination" for details of the lawsuit). While Cabot denies that deep rock fracking caused the water contamination, the company was heavily fined by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and later forced to plug three wells in Dimock.

Over Our Dead Bodies: Dying Homeless People with AIDS on the Streets of Philadelphia

by Sam Sitrin and members of ACT UP

ACT UP Philadelphia (AIDS COALTION TO UNLEASH POWER), the AIDS activist group, is inciting action in response to the City of Philadelphia having the worst record for housing sick people with AIDS in the continental United States. The only cities that are part of the United States with more people homeless with AIDS are in Puerto Rico and Guam.

Electric rates to increase as much as 20 percent

Thanks to a 1996 deregulation of electric companies in Pennsylvania, we all will soon pay at least 10% more on electric bills starting in January. PECO has made an offer with their Early Phase-in Program: we can start paying more now. Aren't they generous? As the matter stands, it seems that the rate increase is a done deal. However, that may not be so.

Poor Families Demand Change from Obama

Protesters shut down street to call for a national freeze on foreclosures

On January 28th, the morning after President Obama’s first State of the Union address, over 50 people organized by the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC), most of them poor, shut down a busy stretch of Market Street to call for change.

Police Destroy Huntington Tent City

Long Island Food Not Bombs Makes Call For Solidarity

Account from a member of Long Island Food Not Bombs

Call to action! Police raze Huntington Station Tent City, hundreds homeless and facing the possibility of freezing to death! Long Island Food Not Bombs (LIFNB) needs your help to prevent that from happening! 

Lowercase Squat Facing Eviction

For the last two years a collective house in Chicago’s Hermosa/Logan square neighborhood has been squatted and used as an anarchist organizing space. Taking advantage of a heavily-indebted landlord who disappeared, the house has functioned as a place for fundraisers and a Food Not Bombs chapter. While the housing crisis has slowed the pace of evictions in Chicago, the Lowercase collective was recently served an official eviction notice and is seeking supplies and support.


In Defense of the Land:

The Mill Creek Farm and Brown Street Community Garden

By Jade Walker, co-director The Mill Creek Farm, with Suzy Subways

The [Brown Street Community Garden] has been around for 30 years (I remember when the houses caved in on that site and it was just an eyesore for many years) and it now brings much enjoyment to the community. My mother (now deceased), a country girl, had a space in the garden and planted much of the vegetables that eventually found their way to our dinner table. It brought such contentment to many of our senior citizens and lightened their food budgets. Now I am a senior citizen trying to raise my grandson who just turned 13 (my daughter is deceased) and trying to find everything imaginable to keep him occupied and out of trouble.... He spends as much time as possible with the [Mill Creek Farm] staff and he is learning about farming/gardening and he also helps set up the stand to sell the fruits of their labor.”

Engrid R. Bullock, neighbor

AIDS is not in Recesion

AIDS Policy in the Obama Era

by Kaytee Riek

When President Obama took office in 2009, AIDS activists celebrated the historic occasion. The first black president, the first president to have been a community organizer, is also the first president to come to office with an AIDS plan. It was activist pressure that spurred the president to release his ambitious plan on the campaign trail, and it will be activist pressure that helps him live up to it. Nearly a year into Obama’s presidency, it is time to look back on the development of the plan and take stock of where we are in implementing it.

Take Back the Land Campaign

Building a Movement

by susan simensky bietilaA severe housing crisis exists in the United States. All across the country, despite courageous struggles against divestment, land speculation and gentrification, public housing communities are being permanently displaced as developments are razed to the ground. Millions of families have been dispossessed of their homes, wrongly evicted and displaced from their communities by the escalating foreclosure crisis. Homelessness is escalating to levels unseen since the 1930’s as a direct result of the various forces of displacement stated above and economic dislocation from increased automation, deindustrialization, and the globalization of production.

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