It is past time for a movement in the streets to demand the continuation and in fact the expansion of the $600/week federal unemployment subsidy!
The US economy in free fall, declining at a 33% annualized rate, yet congress is letting the subsidy expire. Over 30 million people are receiving these benefits, meaning a loss in income of $1.8 billion per week for the unemployed. While the Republicans are leading the way in killing this subsidy, the Democrats are not far behind. Not only is Biden silent on the issue, so are the rest of the Democrats, including their “left” wing.
Meanwhile, the eviction moratoriums that many states have enacted will be expiring, meaning millions will be facing evictions.
Nowhere is it clearer how the struggle against racism is directly tied to the class struggle than in this issue. Due to systemic racism, black and Latino people disproportionately work at those jobs which cannot be done from home – jobs such as janitors, grocery store clerks and slaughterhouse workers. Those who can work from home are more able to keep their jobs.
Added to this is the fact that in many cases social distancing is not enacted by the employers. As a result, Covid 19 has hit these communities especially hard. But what option do these workers have? On the miserly state unemployment benefits they cannot afford to take off from work.
That is why the movement against police racism and police brutality should now take up this issue. Not only should we demand the continuation of these full benefits; we should demand that all workers – including the undocumented immigrants and those who voluntarily leave their jobs out of safety fears – be covered. That would benefit us all as it would also help stop the spread of Covid 19.
- Build a nationwide movement in the streets to demand keeping and expanding the $600/week federal unemployment subsidy!
- Build a movement inside the unions to demand that the unions lead the fight for this!
- Build a nationwide unemployed council, with the support of employed and retired workers, to lead this struggle forward.