Sunday, March 13, 2016

WHEN AN ACTIVIST FALLS THROUGH THE CRACKS: AN INTERVIEW WITH JODDA MITCHELL by Jack Balkwill

Jodda Mitchell is an activist who lives in Arkansas, surrounded by people who hate her for her beliefs in feminism, peace, a clean environment, social justice and other progressive causes.  She's carried on her activism despite a threat that she's losing her home and may be evicted if she doesn't get help soon.  I interviewed her this week.

Jack:  What do you consider to be the most important thing currently happening for activists to address?

Jodda: Despite the grinding poverty in my own life, and the general poverty I observe in this part of Arkansas, my main concern is ending wars for corporate profit. Given the tremendous impact on our national budget, the horrific effect on the environment, and the injury, starvation, loss of life, and displacement of victims of US aggression, it's easy to conclude that every other Leftist cause is affected by war.

If you support women's rights, keep in mind that wars kill women. LGBT people are killed in wars. Animals are killed in wars. Corporations feed on wars.  Wars enrich the 1% tremendously. Wars consume money that could be spent on health care, education, infrastructure, and social programs.
If you vote for pro-war candidates, you vote against everything the Left stands for, including the working class which is sent to kill and die for the enrichment of the 1%. There is no way around this. There is no way to mitigate it other than to take a stand against war.
War is the stinking, blood-soaked, raging psychopathic elephant in the room that liberals continue to ignore at the expense of all that is good in the world.

Jack:  Are you supporting a candidate for president this year?

Jodda:  Yes. I have been voting for Green Party candidates since the 2000 election, and I will vote for Dr. Jill Stein this November. Unlike the corporate-owned candidates, Jill Stein is completely opposed to wars for profit, and is 100% supportive of the working class. In addition to supporting free college, she also supports elimination of all current student debt. I love the plans in her Green New Deal.  http://www.jill2016.com/plan


Jack:  How are you doing on keeping your house?

Jodda:  We are constantly threatened with foreclosure. We have applied for a loan modification several times now, only to be turned down because Kenny's income from Walmart is too low.

Jack:  Are you doing anything new to attempt to bring in income?
Jodda:  Yes, two things. I have been an astrologer for more than 25 years and have started giving readings for a fee. Through an analysis of your unique natal planetary placements and aspects, I can help you find your life's path, discover any current astrological influences, and can help you determine if particular love interest is the right person for you.
You can find my astrology service here:

https://www.facebook.com/Drops-of-Jupiter-Astrology-Service-269962756516353/

I am also an excellent genealogist. I am very affordable, and my customers love my work, judging by the reviews on my business page.

Recent research has shown a positive psychological influence occurs when we think about our ancestors. I also believe everyone should know their family origins. It provides a grounding effect, and can make one feel a part of something much bigger than self.

(research here:) http://digest.bps.org.uk/2010/12/benefits-of-thinking-about-your.html

My page is here:

https://www.facebook.com/Genealogy-Finding-Your-Kith-and-Kin-in-History-996167740394499/

Jack:  I'm aware that you rescue animals and wonder if you can share why you do it?

Jodda:  I do it because I have to. I simply cannot see an animal abandoned alongside the road without stopping to help. Given the elevated poverty rate in the area, many people don't spay and neuter their pets and the unwanted litters end up dumped on the highway. There are no animal control services in this area, no one to call for help.
At times, the most I can offer is a meal and a drink of water, so I always carry dog and cat food, water, a leash and collar, and a pet carrier in my car. Nearly all of these animals are terrified and I am unable to catch them, so I do the best I can by putting out food and water. Now and then, I find one who is brave enough to come to me, or one who is injured and can't run away. These are the ones who become family! 


There are also colonies of feral cats I feed each night, sallying forth through all sorts of weather to provide a meal. When possible, I trap them and have them spayed and neutered and get them a rabies shot.

My mother impressed on me from a very early age that it is our duty to help those less fortunate. "As ye do unto the least of these", "Entertaining angels unawares", "A defense for the helpless, a defense for the needy in distress"–those are three of the more than three hundred Bible verses commanding us to make tending those in need a major theme of our lives, and it is how I was raised. Incredible woman, my mother, and I'm so glad to have had such a powerful social justice warrior in charge of my upbringing.

Jack:  How did you get so behind on your mortgage payments that you were threatened with foreclosure?

Jodda:  When we purchased this home, my partner of the past 14 years, Kenny, had a well-paid factory job. He had been at this job for 5 years when he inadvertently violated a safety rule and was fired. He was unable to collect unemployment, and it took several months for him to find another job. We live in a very small town, and the only other job available is at Walmart, where he has worked for the past 2 years, earning less than half what he made at the factory. We have applied for loan modifications, but we keep getting turned down because Kenny's income is so low.
I have always fought for the poor and homeless, and now as I'm falling through the cracks in the system I realize this could happen to anyone. There are no jobs that pay a living wage around here, and we are a step away from homelessness.


Jack Balkwill has been published from the little read Rectangle, magazine of the English Honor Society, to the (then) millions of readers USA Today and many progressive publications/web sites such as Z Magazine, In These Times, Counterpunch, This Can't Be Happening, Intrepid Report, and Dissident Voice.  He is author of An Attack on the National Security State, about peace activists in prison.

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