Drush not working

I can’t get drush (for Drupal management) fully installed for use from my shell account.

The first problem I ran into is that drush (and composer used to install drush) require at least PHP 5.3.x while the default shell version is PHP 5.2.x. Okay, I learned how to use version 5.4.x from the shell.

So I tried to install composer to have it install drush. No go: composer requires phar (presumably only for its install) which is not available.

So I tried to install drush by hand. The last step in the instructions I was following said to use composer to install any drush dependencies. Lovely. If I could have gotten composer installed, I would not have bothered with a manual drush install.

Well, my manual install of drush works until it doesn’t. Presumably that’s when it runs into a missing install. For example, “drush help” earns me:

Fatal error: Class ‘Console_Table’ not found in /home/me/my_drush_path/drush/includes/drush.inc on line 988

Has anyone got drush fully working on Dreamhost? Can anyone offer me advice on getting my drush fully working? Thanks in advance.