The Reality Behind Crowdfunding — Secrets Other Sites Won’t Tell You
Michael Sim

It’s not a “failure of technology”, it’s deliberate class oppression by the privileged “haves” and “have-mores” against the disprivileged “have-nots”— and it’s intentional. It’s all about making sure that only those with privilege and comfort get funding while poor people with legit unmet needs never get any money.

It’s a total lack of empathy for the poor who need money and opportunities the most but never get any — instead only getting generous amounts of victim-blaming and abuse from privileged people, for the “crime” of “begging” and “Living While Poor.”

Case in point: 
After a 4 1/2 yr fruitless job search (due to age discrimination on top of additional barriers to employment I faced my entire life because of being a poor marginalized woman — a human trafficking survivor whom NOBODY ever cared about or helped), I finally landed a dev job as a contractor through Upwork this past June. Which meant no health benefits, no unemployment benefits, and NO workers’ rights protections whatsoever. This was after struggling to build a difficult high tech skillset around the obstacles of poverty — utility shut-offs, no heat in the winter, no money to afford any computer programming books and courses, etc.

Two weeks after getting hired as a contractor through Upwork for a Ruby programming job, I got sick. Throwing up bile and blood for 12–18 hours sick. Shitting water and undigested pieces of food sick. Blockage from either infected scar tissue or solid mass tumor (that could be cancer, given my family history) in my stomach/intestine sick. Unable to eat or drink anything but water and clear broth for 2 1/2 months sick. Dehydration, weak and running fevers sick.

I lost my F# programming book deal with Packt AND the one and only job opportunity I got after struggling for 4 1/2 years to get a chance as a poor marginalized older woman (I am 50 years old) because I got sick.

My best friend, Marissa van Eck, set up a medical Gofundme on my behalf with the help of my mentor, Leah LaSalla.

It’s three months later and I’m still sick, still in need of a biopsy and surgery, and did not even get half of the necessary amount so I could get the surgery and other medical care I need in time in order to even have a chance.

Instead, I got a generous amount of victim-blaming and abuse from privileged middle class/rich people who’ve never starved, been homeless, or suffered without medical and dental care a single day in their lives due to total disprivilege and no real economic safety net for those who get economically left out/pushed out of the job market due to age discrimination (on top of deeply entrenched classism, sex discrimination and institutionalized misogyny).

It gets worse:

Person(s) unknown made an anonymous fraud complaint (with NO proof whatsoever that any fraud/misleading occurred at all) to Gofundme against my medical fundraiser — “just for the principle of it.” Just because I’m POOR.

The result:

Gofundme froze the few donations I DID get from Aug 29th all on the say-so of an unsubstantiated “anonymous” fraud complaint made by someone with privilege for no reason other than malice, selfishness, and gratuitous cruelty — with the deliberate intent of making sure that I as a poor marginalized woman who really needs money and support, wouldn’t get any, at the cost of my life.

Gofundme’s “Trust & Safety Customer Happiness Team” finally released the hold on my fundraiser on Sep 9th — over a week later — after violating my HIPPA rights by demanding access to my private medical records, along with a copy of my bank statement proving that I didn’t misuse what little donations I already got. (Gofundme is NOT careful with protecting sensitive private data, either)

Even though Gofundme did finally release the hold, the damage caused by a malicious and slanderous fraud claim can never be undone. Because with cancer or any untreated chronic and incurable disease (like Crohn’s disease, cancer, etc) there is no “wait” and “later” is too late.

After researching complaints against Gofundme, I found that only POOR people who are the intended beneficiaries of fundraisers got attacked like I did and suffered from frozen accounts (and even permanently lost potential donations).

Middle class people lucky to have good jobs with health insurance and other resources built into their lives (as opposed to someone in poverty with NO INCOME, NO healthcare, and no support network of middle class/rich family and friends) are never interrogated, abused and accused of being frauds — they get tons of money thrown at their medical fundraisers with no questions asked ever.

Nobody tells privileged people who already have resources that they don’t need to “beg”, that they “don’t need money because they can just get Medicaid”, etc. (Even if you can get Medicaid, that don’t keep a roof over your head or buy food or keep the electric, water, and heat on while you’re battling a chronic/terminal illness or recovering from major abdominal surgery!)

Privileged people who already have resources and middle class support networks built into their lives are never disbelieved about their need for money, and interrogated for having fundraisers.

And they’re the ONLY people that ever get any money while those in dire need get little to nothing except abuse for “begging” and accused of expecting money for “doing nothing” since poor marginalized people’s time and work isn’t allowed to have any value (just like poor people aren’t allowed to need money to buy their own food choices to meet special dietary restrictions because of getting sick with any kind of chronic, deadly disease — like Crohn’s disease and other incurable digestive tract diseases which kill over 230,000 Americans each year).

Bottom line: It’s NOT a “failure of technology”; it’s selfishness, malice, and a total absence of justice and humanity.

Crowdfunding is just one more vehicle that got deliberately commandeered by privileged people to prevent truly poor and needy marginalized people in dire circumstances from getting any money.

Privileged people don’t want the poor to get helped onto our feet and be lifted up out of poverty. They don’t want us to be able to get any access to the economy after all other options for us had been precluded by those with privilege, options, and economic power.

Privileged people that demanded social and economic policies aimed at deliberately harming the poor. They elected politicians who ran on platforms and enacted policies that collapsed the floor from under the poor “just for the principle of it” and they are the same privileged people who then refused to hire marginalized people in all those jobs they demanded that poor marginalized people get up off our asses and go get.

They refused to give poor marginalized people good jobs (because “not a good cultural fit”) so that we can survive with just a little bit of comfort and dignity, and get stablized enough to make it possible for us to succeed at starting our own small companies that could provide job opportunities to other poor marginalized people whom upper-middle class gatekeepers refused to hire and barred from economic opportunities.

They’re also the same privileged people who deliberately made access to crowdfunding platforms hostile and inaccessible to the poor and marginalized by enacting policies that presume poor people without any incomes and any way of getting any sustainable incomes are all “frauds” and “con artists” — resulting in poor people’s attempts at crowdsourcing getting disqualified or banned in the most unjust, NON-transparent and inequitable manner, for one excuse or another.

Middle class and rich people are allowed to beg for handouts and get all the money they want without anyone doxxing, harassing, stalking, abusing and attacking them and policing their spending — it’s not “begging”, “scamming”, or “expecting money you don’t deserve” when you have social class privilege.

“They would not need our charity if we didn’t deny them justice.” ~ Anonymous

Poor marginalized people are not wanted on crowdsourcing platforms because privileged people decided that we’re not allowed to ask for (never mind get) any money, no matter how legit our reasons are. We’re not allowed to have needs.

Privileged people have told us that crowdfunding platforms are NOT for us. Poor marginalized people are instead only supposed to “seek help” (that doesn’t exist) from the “public social services agencies and private charities” even though they know that those agencies and charities are NOT adequately helping us, that there is no real safety net, that there is no real helping hand up out there for the poor. And the reason they know this is because they’re the ones who led the War on the Poor these past 40 years to make damn sure there wouldn’t be — “just for the principle of it.”

Bottom line: It’s not the technology that’s the problem. It’s the spoiled, selfish, entitled, arrogant privileged people who build, own, and control all these technologies that are the problem. And they have made it clear that they have no interest in solving the problem because that would require them to relinquish some of their class power and economic privilege and they’re not willing to do that.

History shows us that there is only one kind of technological fix for the greedy, evil privileged people who caused and perpetuate poverty, oppression, misery and suffering — not because of scarcity and a legitimate fear for their own well-being, but because of their selfishness cloaked in “principle” and political will. And I don’t believe that the solution is more crowdfunding platforms built and run by the most privileged members of the controller class who’ve deliberately hurt the poor in the first place.