In Search of a Proper Burial


July 7, the dreaded Monday start back to another week of wage-slave hell, only a brief July 4 Holiday on Friday, possibly providing you with a three-day weekend and reprieve of the endless toil; yet it’s back into crawling out of the hole, working overtime to pay off bills and look forward to a life of endlessly hustling for money. It’s a particularly hard to start the week when you find yourself on the the side of a busy intersection with your family members, holding rags and cleaning supplies in hand holding up signs ‘Carwash, Donations for Tilyah”.  The ‘land of opportunity’ allows you the opportunity to take advantage of the ‘free-market’ by hustling a street corner to pay for a family member’s funeral expenses. Now, even paying for a funeral is a ‘commodity’; if you are one of the unfortunate members of the bottom tier working poor, a funeral can be just ‘the thing’ Upton Sinclair alluded to in the Jungle — sending one to their economic, and consequential physical demise. Time to put that American Spirit of Work Ethic in high-gear and earn the privilege of a proper burial.

I’ve lived in Bakersfield, California over two years now, and noticed the funeral car-wash phenomenon when I first landed here, but it seems every few months the signs become more populous. On Monday, I drove across my locale in ‘East Bakersfield’ (just across from the bridge from the methamphetamine neo-nazi gangs in the illustrious Oildale) and witnessed the first family asking donations for ‘Emilio’. An older Hispanic man was holding a sign, he seemed to have the ‘popeye’ appearance of someone who had lost most of their teeth, and an assortment of young Hispanic girls waving signs; all-together probably six or seven family and friends standing, working just to pay off a funeral expense. I hopped out of my car to give one of the younger girls a few dollars, and not much conversation was exchanged, except ‘Thanks!”. The little girl who accepted the money from me was quick to rush back running furiously in her flower-patterned dress, waving her sign. I pondered the impossibility of them making enough cash to cover the most basic necessities for a funeral in this manner. Venturing west, the signs continued to populate different intersections and at the end of the day I counted over six different intersections I saw, all families holding car-wash signs for deceased family members. It seemed quite a few people in Bakersfield unfortunately met their untimely demise the previous weekend.

This is the savage nature of current ‘functioning’ capitalism, and we are witnessing the further eradication of any resemblance of a social safety net. What a cruel and macabre joke; that we find ourselves in a nation where we celebrate a day of independence, only to find ourselves struggling to find the capital to bury family member’s after the weekend is over? Once again, we enjoy the freedom to be grinded through the neo-liberal machine, and hope to make the most of a life of penury. In a way, these signs, that are becoming more prevalent in this location and others, are saying something more radical and profound then any ‘We are the 99%’ slogan or banner. These signs show the reality for every-day working Americans in some of the less pristine areas of California, and across the nation. These signs are saying “Help me live, It’s too expensive to die”. Hold tight, load up on vitamins, avoid any dangerous activity and hermit away. Hopefully you don’t punish your family by burdening them with an expensive, unexpected bill in your wake.

Daniel Church is an anarcho-syndicalist activist residing in Bakersfield, California. He can be reached at Lfsdan@hotmail.com

November 30, 2015
Henry Giroux
Trump’s Embrace of Totalitarianism is America’s Dirty Little Secret
Omur Sahin Keyif
An Assassination in Turkey: the Killing of Tahir Elci
Uri Avnery
There is No Such Thing as International Terrorism
Robert Fisk
70,000 Kalashnikovs: Cameron’s “Moderate” Rebels
Jamie Davidson
Distortion, Revisionism & the Liberal Media
Patrick Cockburn
Nasty Surprises: the Problem With Bombing ISIS
Robert Hunziker
The Looming Transnational Battlefield
Ahmed Gaya
Breaking the Climate Mold: Fighting for the Planet and Justice
Matt Peppe
Alan Gross’s Improbable Tales on 60 Minutes
Norman Pollack
Israel and ISIS: Needed, a Thorough Accounting
Colin Todhunter
India – Procession of the Dead: Shopping Malls and Shit
Roger Annis
Canada’s New Climate-Denying National Government
Binoy Kampmark
Straining the Republic: France’s State of Emergency
Bill Blunden
Glenn Greenwald Stands by the Official Narrative
Jack Rasmus
Japan’s 5th Recession in 7 Years
Karen Lee Wald
Inside the Colombia Peace Deal
Geoff Dutton
War in Our Time
Charles R. Larson
Twofers for Carly Fiorina
John Dear
An Eye for an Eye Makes the Whole World Blind
Weekend Edition
November 27-29, 2015
Andrew Levine
The Real Trouble With Bernie
Gary Leupp
Ben Carson, Joseph in Egypt, and the Attack on Rational Thought
John Whitbeck
Who’s Afraid of ISIS?
Michael Brenner
Europe’s Crisis: Terror, Refugees and Impotence
Ramzy Baroud
Forget ISIS: Humanity is at Stake
Pepe Escobar
Will Chess, Not Battleship, Be the Game of the Future in Eurasia?
Vijay Prashad
Showdown on the Syrian Border
Dave Lindorff
Gen. John Campbell, Commander in Afghanistan and Serial Liar
Colin Todhunter
Class, War and David Cameron
Jean Bricmont
The Ideology of Humanitarian Imperialism
Dan Glazebrook
Deadliest Terror in the World: the West’s Latest Gift to Africa
Mark Hand
Escape From New York: the Emancipation of Activist Cecily McMillan
Karl Grossman
Our Solar Bonanza!
Mats Svensson
Madness in Hebron: Hashem Had No Enemies, Yet Hashem Was Hated
Walter Brasch
Terrorism on American Soil
Louisa Willcox
Grizzly Bears, Dreaming and the Frontier of Wonder
Michael Welton
Yahweh is Not Exactly Politically Correct
Joseph Natoli
A Politics of Stupid and How to Leave It Behind
John Cox
You Should Fear Racism and Xenophobia, Not Syrian Refugees or Muslims
Barrie Gilbert
Sacrificing the Grizzlies of Katmai Park: the Plan to Turn Brooks Camp Into a Theme
Rev. William Alberts
The Church of “Something Else” in “an Ecclesiastical Desert”
Andrew Gavin Marshall
Bank Crimes Pay
Elliot Murphy
Cameron’s Syrian Strategy
Thomas S. Harrington
Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe and the Death of Ezra Schwartz
Gareth Porter
How Terror in Paris Calls for Revising US Syria Policy
Michael Perino
The Arc of Instability