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Making Democratic Space for Poor People: The Kensington Welfare Rights Union

  • Diana Zoelle
  • Jyl J. Josephson

Abstract

In north Philadelphia in the summer of 1995, a multiracial group of welfare mothers, members of the Kensington Welfare Rights Union, set up a tent city on the lot of a Quaker Lace factory that had recently been the victim of arson. This event was the culmination of a series of events that can be seen as part of the U.S. context of the consequences of economic globalization. As journalist David Zucchino put it:

In many ways, the arrival of welfare mothers at Quaker Lace was a fitting coda for the old factory and everything it represented about North Philadelphia’s ongoing industrial decline. The collapse of manufacturing and the evaporation of blue-collar jobs had helped give rise to the illegal drug trade. Those who sold drugs had torched the Quaker Lace ruins, which in turn had provided a new home for another unfortunate byproduct of the area’s economic collapse—welfare recipients. It was like a forest fire that cleared out old growth and made way for new vegetation. (Zucchino 1997, 59)

Keywords

Foreign Policy Poor People Civil Disobedience Virtual Tour Economic Human 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Janie Leatherman and Julie Webber 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diana Zoelle
  • Jyl J. Josephson

There are no affiliations available

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