In the effort to protect the public from secondhand smoke, the main obstacles are “social justice” representatives who worry about the imposition it might create for a smoker to use nicotine gum or step outside to avoid exposing the millions of low-income nonsmoking renters who can’t afford to move.
This timely exhibit features the work of 30 artists working over the last 75 years to document homelessness and the government's role in the crisis. Depression-era and contemporary artists offer glimpses of life on the street and show the human face of poverty, injustice and economic hardships in both eras.
Despite the already extreme levels of poverty in California, Gov. Brown is planning to balance the budget on the backs of the poor by grabbing an additional billion dollars from critical social services programs. This deal jeopardizes the state’s safety net, with permanent changes being made to many life-saving programs.
The federal government is about to remove the cap that limits the amount of rent that can be charged to the poorest of the poor. Yet, there are no caps on how much money the executives in the so-called affordable housing industry can grab for their often excessively high salaries and wage compensation.
From the Great Depression to the present day, many artists have expressed solidarity with the 99% against the monopolized wealth of the ruling elites. Art has been a powerful catalyst for building solidarity with workers and poor people because the artists saw themselves as workers and poor people.
Congress already fell for this scam with a tax holiday passed in 2004. But companies didn’t create the jobs or investment they promised — layoffs actually increased. Instead, they boosted CEO pay, stock buybacks and shareholder dividends, and stockpiled even more money offshore to avoid taxes.
The art exhibit, “Hobos to Street People," unites the viewer with workers of past generations who overcame unjust economic conditions. It reunites us with our dispossessed counterparts by reminding us of our own historic political vulnerabilities and losses — but also, what justly belongs to all citizens of civilized societies.
A new book by San Francisco artist Art Hazelwood, Hobos to Street People: Artists’ Responses to Homelessness from the New Deal to the Present, examines the legacy of political artists from the Great Depression to the Great Recession. It also serves as a catalogue to a traveling art exhibition.