FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

In Search of a Proper Burial

by

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

May 04, 2016
Kshama Sawant
It’s Not About Bernie: Why We Can’t Let Our Revolution Die in Philadelphia
Conn Hallinan
Baiting the Bear: Russia and NATO
Joshua Frank
Hanford’s Leaky Nuke Tanks and Sick Workers, A Never-Ending Saga
Paul Craig Roberts
TIPP: Advancing American Imperialism
Ted Rall
Hillary to Bernie Supporters: Don’t Vote for Me!
Eric Draitser
Hillary Clinton and Wall Street’s Neoliberal War on Latin America
Leslie Scott
The Story of Jill Stein: Putting People, Peace and the Planet Before Profits
Ann Garrison
Building the Greens Into a Mass Party: Interview with Bruce Dixon
Tom Clifford
Crying Rape: Trump’s Slurs Against China
Lawrence Davidson
Getting Rid of Bad Examples: Andrew Jackson & Woodrow Wilson
Ellen Brown
Bank of North Dakota Soars Despite Oil Bust: A Blueprint for California?
Nelson Valdes
Is Fidel Castro Outside or Part of Mainstream Thinking? A Selection of Quotes
Jesse Jackson
Don’t Send Flint Down the Drain: Fix It!
Nathan Riley
Help Bernie Keep His Halo
Rivera Sun
Remembering Nonviolent History: Freedom Rides
Clancy Sigal
Rachel and the Isolationists: How Maddow Blew It
Laura Finley
Changing the Conversation About “The Woman Card”
CJ Hopkins
Coming this Summer … Revenge of the Bride of Sophie’s Choice
May 03, 2016
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy Resumé: What the Record Shows
Michèle Brand – Arun Gupta
What is the “Nuit Debout”?
Chuck Churchill
The Failures of Capitalism, Donald Trump and Right Wing Terror
Dave Marsh
Bernie and the Greens
John Wight
Zionism Should be on Trial, Not Ken Livingstone
Rev. John Dear
A Dweller in Peace: the Life and Times of Daniel Berrigan
Patrick Cockburn
Saudi Arabia’s Great Leap Forward: What Would Mao Think?
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Electoral Votes Matter: Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders vs Donald Trump
Chris Gilbert
Venezuela Today: This Must Be Progress
Pepe Escobar
The Calm Before the Coming Global Storm
Ruth Fowler
Intersecting with the Identity Police (Or Why I Stopped Writing Op-Eds)
Victor Lasa
The Battle Rages on in Spain: the Country Prepares for Repeat Elections in June
Jack Rasmus
Is the US Economy Heading for Recession?
Dean Baker
Time for an Accountable Federal Reserve
Ted Rall
Working for US Gov Means Never Saying Sorry
Dave Welsh
Hunger Strikers at Mission Police Station: “Stop the execution of our people”
John Eskow
The Death of Prince and the Death of Lonnie Mack
May 02, 2016
Michael Hudson – Gordon Long
Wall Street Has Taken Over the Economy and is Draining It
Paul Street
The Bernie Fade Begins
Ron Jacobs
On the Frontlines of Peace: the Life of Daniel Berrigan
Louis Yako
Dubai Transit
Bill Quigley
Teacher, Union Leader, Labor Lawyer: Profile of Chris Williams Social Justice Advocate
Patrick Cockburn
Into the Green Zone: Iraq’s Disintegrating Political System
Lawrence Ware
Trump is the Presidential Candidate the Republicans Deserve
Ron Forthofer
Just Say No to Corporate Rule
Ralph Nader
The Long-Distance Rebound of Bernie Sanders
Ken Butigan
Remembering Daniel Berrigan, with Gratitude
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail