Homelessness is a problem in the majority of capitalist societies. Thanks to the crisis and the dominance of neoliberal politics, it is on the rise, with shortages of affordable housing, evictions as a result of the bedroom tax, domestic abuse and substance abuse being some of the reasons thatlead people into the streets. In London and elsewhere (think Brazil in the run-up to the World Cup), newly developed areas are “cleansed” of the exploited people who are seen as undesirables and eyesores by the exploiters. Westminster even tried to make it illegal to feed homeless people by getting rid of soup kitchens, only to be forced into a U-turn by public outcry.
Nonetheless, the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill can be used to make being homeless illegal. Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs), for example, are used by councils to ban spitting, ban the homeless or young people from parks, and ban begging or rough sleeping. So, instead of dealing with the social issues that cause these phenomena, the government simply hopes to act like it cares through punishment rather than reform.
Within the last few years, governments have introduced partitions on public benches so that other citizens don’t have to see homelessness, or be confronted with this ugly and uncomfortable capitalist reality. Now, however, things have got even worse. Spikes have been introduced in certain ‘sleeping spots’ in an attempt to stop homeless people from resting and taking shelter in public areas. Near underpasses and shops, spikes can be seen (as in the pictures below), and are set to be used more and more with the increase in homelessness.
Apart from fighting to change this political system (through encouraging consciousness, solidarity, and democratic community movements), there are other ways to protect the homeless from these attacks. For example, rapid cement (with a setting time of between 30 and 60 minutes) can be bought from builders merchants and placed on top of the spikes. Expanding foam can also be used, as it is quick and insulating, but can be removed more easily by authorities.
Unless we all realise that capitalist societies are based on oppression and exploitation, we will not be able to see that homelessness is a ‘natural part’ of such a system. We desperately need to raise consciousness about this reality, and change the priorities of our communities. For example, we could ensure homeless people were given somewhere to live (like in Utah). We could also help them to resolve whatever problems they may have, and help them back onto their feet. And we could support our fellow humans to ensure they can all achieve their potential. But such measures will only be taken if we make a stand, and fight for profound change in our political and economic system.
Excerpts taken from http://theaccidentalacnarchist.wordpress.com/2014/06/08/spikes-for-the-homeless/