Today I gave a talk about poor people and street youth organizing themselves, given the place it was held, the room itself, from no fault of my own was not condusive to discusion, simply by the way it was set up, it was me at the front and chairs rising up, sort of like a school lecture hall, and this would have worked for a rally or something, but didnt suit the purpose of the workshop that i wanted to hold, because the way it was desighned it demarked a clear constrast between those who are presenting and those that present. So i changed my whole aprouch and tallked about my experiance organizing my peers. Now i never write a speech cause i feel that if i have something to say i want to say it because i believe in it not cause its on a peace of paper, thats how I roll, and many times this works to my advantage and sometimes i fall flat on my face, i ended my speech by saying I forget what I was talking about any questions? And then a discussion occured. The question of social workers came up and many people who had experiance with the system had very negative views , not because they are bad people or exploiters of labour but rather because the way the system is desighned the role of the social worker is not one of peer support but rather one of someone else coming from outside and “fixing” the problems that someone else faces. In other words, the role is disghned to make the individual the problem and if only we correct there negative behaviour, then everything is fixed. This view is problematic not only because it ignores the systemic problems that people face making the individual the issue but also because the people directly affected by the systemic injustices that they face are cut out of the equation. In other words, professionals who are told not to view the person as human, through rules such as no contact outside of work, not to empathize with your client etc. are put in a place where they have all the power to make decisions that affect peoples lifes, with drastic consequences, yet they have no understanding of the reality that the person life whom they have power over. The person then becomes another case, a statistic, a pawn in the ideological beliefs and values of a society whose interests do not reflect there own interests because they have no power to determine there own destiny. Another example of this is lawyers, who due to the constraints placed on them by the system stop serving the interests of people but rather serve the interests of there client above all else or whomever is paying them. Poor people who go through the legal system have no say in how there legal matters are persued and are at the mercy of the legal professional system where a group of professionals have every say in there lives, through backroom deals etc. with no concern for the person dirrectly affected as human. Workers who go and fight the battle for a strike or better wages face the same problems due to the Rand Formula where deels are worked out by professionals and the workers are all cut out of the process. The issue is not that professionalism is bad and that these are bad people but rather there is no mechanism in place to hold them accountable and by the very nature of the system there is no accountablity because the people are cut out of the desision making process. In other words the people become pawns in the games of the rich and the intermediary, the professional is the one who has all the say without having an understanding of the material conditions that the people whom they are “helping” face. When we started organizing our view was that we as a collective should determine our own destiny and if the state will not provide the outlet to meet our needs then we ourselves will take up social responsability and do what must be done. This is not because we are the best and smartest of all stratas of society but rather because we ourselves understand our reality and by fighting our fight we are calling on other groups and collectives to set there own agenda and stop being used as pawns in asystem that is based on cutting the people out of the equation. Given the fact that today under the present admininstration and pretext of giving people a say is being stripped away and harper uses his porgative to do what he pleases its obvious that our analysis was correct and that the only way to move forward is to unify with other people who are also interested in setting there own agenda and determining there own destiny. Yes, the strugglle has not been easy but we have achieved results due to the fact that we took our stand, held our principles and fought in defense of our rights that we have by virtue of being human. To us, the status quo was never an option because it hinders us and stops us from determining our own destiny leaving our fate in the hands of do gooders and professionals, who care not what we think, and good or bad that leaves us at the mercy of others stopping us from setting an agenda that is in our interests. We still hold our grounds and despite what problems we face we have raised our flag and defend it. By this act in and of itself we have took the first steps in creating a new society where the people themselves are the desision makers, and due to this we will withstand the violent attacks dirrected at us by the security appartus not for any other reason then that we dirive our stength from our principles and the fact that we will no longer be pawn in a system but will be sentient beings who have the right to determine there own destiny, marching forward defending our banner in the face of all repression and attacks. Thus we will fight, thus we will win!!!!!!