Thursday, June 11, 2009

An open letter to the Brooklyn offices of a.c.o.r.n.

Dear deluded clerical workers and canvassers at the Brooklyn offices of a.c.o.r.n.,

May I ask a simple question? Not to be rude; but are you aware of what it means when the following two words: 'social' and 'justice', are used in conjunction with one another?

I'm not sure you do. You see, when you see those two words next to each other, it implies a certain degree of actually helping people that are suffering. A really basic example of when social justice is critically needed would be lets say if some huge developer decides that it wants to build a basketball stadium in a neighborhood, where the existing and [illegally displaced] former residents plus those of neighboring areas vehemently oppose the project on multiple fronts, for a wide range reasons because of the dire consequences that would follow the building of said basketball stadium.

When something like that happens, you generally would take action to help those people.

What you don't do is help the developer who proposes the project, so that you can get 100 units of affordable housing in a place where asthma rates will be so astronomical, that all of the people living in those units will likely live with or die of some terrible respiratory impairment or cancer from all the air pollution. Not to mention the misery of living with the unbearable light pollution, and everything that goes along with essentially living inside a massive and soulless commercial complex, with what would be the greatest population density in the Atlantic corridor, occupying the smallest amount of space.
Lest we forget, let's just run through all of logistical nightmares of building such a monstrosity; i.e.: super-poorly planned sewage and waste-treatment systems, ugly and illogical design/planning that when juxtaposed to the adjacent neighborhoods [that it would tower over] gives you a headache trying to figure out, the massive traffic congestion it will produce that will undoubtedly lead to a drastic increase in the rate of respiratory illnesses in the area, the negative effects it will have on the character of brooklyn, the shady methods used to displace the land-owning residents using eminent domain of all the despicable things! Need I say more?
If a "social justice" organization were to cut a deal with such a developer, not only would it legitimize the project and give them the tiny ounce of community support to go ahead without so much of a scratch in the media; it leaves entire neighborhoods stranded and disenfranchised completely.
By making a deal to 'cut your losses', you've already lost. Developers have no moral scruples about them, especially when they claim to be hurting financially. Undesirable planning (i.e. affordable housing) often ends up on the cutting room floor when there is major editing done to accommodate an shrinking budget.

Wouldn't you agree?

But I must be stupid, because such a thing has already come to pass, leaving hundreds of people stranded, and alienating hundreds of former allies from standing in solidarity with anything a.c.o.r.n. has a hand in.

Just to get the point across as fully as possible, another very obvious example of what social justice is not; is to have impressionable idealistic youths (and slightly naive older folks) subsidizing your inflated salaries by making them go door to door harassing poor people that are just barely surviving into giving them money to 'become members', never to hear from the likes of you again. All the while treating these unknowing individuals as disposable as a condom. Way to be.

From my experience working for the the lot of you, I can attest to the fact that when you have an objective of earning $80 a day by extracting money from the projects and poor neighborhoods, essentially from thin air, you will tend to view a person opening their door to you as if they were an temperamental atm machine. When that happens, it is impossible to simultaneously connect with them as human beings, convey the importance of a campaign and subsequently leave that door with any sense of morality intact. When you enter your plea, and no money comes out; you will move onto to the next atm machine with no more or less regard for the troubles and strife this next person might be afflicted with. Dare I say it, this is super dehumanizing and seems to go very much against the grain of helping other human beings. It hasn't worked so hot in Iraq either.

What I can deduce is that you all are in a desperate search of a group of impassioned robots with money extrapolating prowess. I am sad to report however, such a thing has yet to be invented by some bored enterprising youth in Japan or anywhere else for that matter.

In any case, it wasn't much fun for me to be treated like an emotionally expendable yo-yo, having a job dangled in front of my face for two weeks, only to end up feeling like a reject because I couldn't show much trophy money for having adequate "communication" skills (with an a+ in exploitation of people in desperate situations). For the record, you don't judge how well a person can communicate and connect with others based on such a superficial litmus test of utter bullshit.

And to go on a tiny tangent, f.y.i.; "campaign victories" aren't selling points. Grow a spine, find your moral compass. Stop selling, start organizing.

In all honesty, I am boundlessly relieved to have rid my life of being involved with such a morally reprehensible occupation of my precious, precious time. Hope you all have a grand old time swimming in the river Styx with ratner, bloomberg and all your other pals when the time comes. Don't forget your floaties!




Anonymous said...

Oh no, someone got with a really bad attitude and snippy personality is angry that they were not asked to join the team after tryouts...

There are many who have started out at ACORN canvassing, just like you, who weren't suited to the work but maanged to find other positions in the organization. So...

You should be asking yourself why any employer would hired someone a negative disposition as yourself?

Gabriella Szpunt said...

Well, that was very original and thought provoking I do declare!

I fail to see how calling acorn out on it's bullshit is negative. If you happen to comment again, I would appreciate it if you would put a little more thought (and correct grammar/spelling) in what you have to say and kindly address the actual content of the entry i.e:. social justice relating to Atlantic Yards (I'm assuming you are affiliated with acorn in some way after getting so hot and bothered over a little criticism of what you may purport to be a 100% innocent organization, so please tell me how bailing on the people affected by Atlantic Yards is social justice), or the fact that the only standard for judging communication skills is monetary intake (I find that a bit backwards for an organization that supposedly helps the poor)

Lastly, I don't know if you're aware, but I'm entitled to share my opinion as guaranteed by the First Amendment of the constitution. If a morally inept organization hires me under the pretense of becoming a community organizer, but decides I don't make enough money for them; I'm going to have a strong emotional response to being dropped and shuffled around like a rag doll without any emotions or opinions.