Capitalism and Economy http://www.fightbacknews.org/department/antiwar en Hurricane Ida: Black, indigenous and working-class Louisianans can’t afford to leave, corporations raise prices http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/8/29/hurricane-ida-black-indigenous-and-working-class-louisianans-can-t-afford-leave-corporatio <p>New Orleans, LA - On August 29, at 11:55 a.m., Hurricane Ida made landfall on the Louisiana coast. The storm arrived on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Like then, working class, Black, and indigenous Louisianans are least able to evacuate and suffer the most damages.</p> <p>Storm surges reached up to 16 feet. Affected parishes include Lake Charles, an industrial city that already suffered from Hurricane Laura last year.</p> <p>The poorest neighborhoods of the coastline are predominantly Black and indigenous. Many more of their residents had no choice but to stay, compared to wealthier and whiter areas. All suffer from dilapidating infrastructure. Even before landfall, thousands of Louisianans lost power.</p> <p>Dorothy Williams, a Black evacuee and retired housekeeper, told <em>Fight Back!</em>, “I have a niece and nephew that stayed for financial and transportation reasons. We almost didn’t make it either.” Williams’ niece is a healthcare worker.</p> <p>For Black workers who could leave, many will likely face unemployment and discrimination when they return. Tulane University sociologists James R. Elliott and Jeremy Pais found that that Black workers were seven times more likely to have lost their job after Katrina than white ones.</p> <p>Meanwhile, corporations selling basic necessities took advantage to increase their bottom lines.</p> <p>Williams remembered that a friend of hers “figured that their rooms went for double the price.”</p> <p>Charlette Becnel, a retired flight attendant and journalist who evacuated from New Orleans, said: “Before I had left, on Wednesday night, gas was $2.48 a gallon. The day everyone evacuated, gas went from $2.62 that morning to $2.98.”</p> <p>She noticed that prices even went up for food and other basic necessities that stores already had in stock. Becnel pointed out that her motel is “not a five-star place. Prices here are what five stars would’ve been before.”</p> <p>Louisiana is also among the states that suffered the worst outbreaks of the COVID-19 Delta variant. The state’s ICU units were almost full before the storm, and at least one Thibodeaux city hospital has already lost power. The hurricane will probably trigger another spike in cases. All Baton Rouge city hospitals are in the southern white areas.</p> <p>Southeast Louisiana’s mutual aid organizations are making preparations for relief efforts. Time will tell if federal, state and parish governments will do the same.</p> <p>This is a developing story. <em>Fight Back!</em> will provide ongoing reports from the ground.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/8/29/hurricane-ida-black-indigenous-and-working-class-louisianans-can-t-afford-leave-corporatio#comments People's Struggles Capitalism and Economy African-American Anti-racism Environmental Justice hurricane Hurricane Ida Indigenous Peoples New Orleans Oppressed Nationalities Poor People's Movements Mon, 30 Aug 2021 01:13:39 +0000 Fight Back 9254 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Amazon-banned U.S. book “Capitalism on a Ventilator” to be published in China http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/8/17/amazon-banned-us-book-capitalism-ventilator-be-published-china <p>New York, NY - As the Delta variant rages through the U.S., a major Chinese publisher has signed a contract to distribute a timely book comparing COVID-19 responses in the countries' two systems: capitalism and socialism.</p> <p><em>Capitalism on a Ventilator: The Impact of COVID-19 in China &amp; the U.S</em>. - originally published last year and penned by dozens of writers from the U.S. and around the world - will now be translated and distributed in China. It will be available for sale by late September.</p> <p>The book’s secondary title - <em>An anthology of social justice activists discussing a global choice: cooperation vs. competition</em> - describes the stark choice facing humanity.</p> <p>“It’s been an honor for our book to be published in China,” said Lee Siu Hin, national coordinator of the China-U.S. Solidarity Network and the National Immigrant Solidarity Network, as well as a writer and editor of the book, “and a great opportunity for U.S. activists to meet and build solidarity with Chinese academia and activists. We hope to continue this work for peace and friendship.”</p> <p>The authors detail the decisive, comprehensive steps taken by the Chinese government to break the chain of infection, as opposed to the chaotic U.S. response which ranged from outright denial to chaotic bungling, to racist blame games.</p> <p>Events have borne out the message of the book, published in July 2020 when the U.S. COVID-19 death toll was 150,000. That number has since quadrupled, reaching well over 600,000 in a country of 350 million. By contrast, since that time the number of deaths in China, a country of 1.4 billion, has remained below 5000.</p> <p><em>Capitalism on a Ventilator</em> also puts into perspective the ridiculous campaign to use the “lab-leak theory” to blame China for the coronavirus. It was China which, in January 2020, tried to warn the U.S. about the virus, through phone calls, public announcements and early sequencing of the virus, mounting the world’s most comprehensive and successful campaign against the novel disease.</p> <p>“Despite China’s many accomplishments, a dangerous war drive against China is gaining momentum in the U.S.,” said Sara Flounders, director of the International Action Center and co-editor of the book. “Hopefully this book will introduce voices who are resisting this pull and urging science, cooperation and solidarity as the only alternative.”</p> <p><em>Fight Back!</em> editor Mick Kelly states, “This important book includes a chapter from one of our writers, Robert Hayes, that shows the superiority of socialism in combating COVID-19. Every activist should get this book and read it.”</p> <p>In September of last year, union-busting Amazon tried to ban <em>Capitalism on a Ventilator</em> from its all-powerful platform, claiming the book did not “comply with [Amazon’s] guidelines” and falsely listing it as “out of print.”</p> <p>While an outcry forced Amazon to carry the title on its megasite, even now it cannot be found on Kindle, the publishing giant’s e-book format.</p> <p>The chapters include articles by many authors including: Ajamu Baraka, Monica Moorehead, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Margaret Kimberley, Margaret Flowers, Vijay Prashad, Max Blumenthal, Lee Siu Hin, Sara Flounders, Carlos Martinez, Kevin Zeese, Deirdre Griswold and more.</p> <p>The book can be found online at these locations:</p> <p><a href="https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/capitalism-on-a-ventilator">https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/capitalism-on-a-ventilator</a></p> <p><a href="https://world-view-forum.myshopify.com/products/capitalism-on-a-ventilator">https://world-view-forum.myshopify.com/products/capitalism-on-a-ventilator</a></p> <p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Capitalism-Ventilator-Impact-COVID-19-China/dp/0895671964">https://www.amazon.com/Capitalism-Ventilator-Impact-COVID-19-China/dp/0895671964</a></p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/8/17/amazon-banned-us-book-capitalism-ventilator-be-published-china#comments People's Struggles Capitalism and Economy Socialism Culture Asia Book Reviews China China COVID-19 Healthcare International Tue, 17 Aug 2021 23:56:26 +0000 Fight Back 9235 at http://www.fightbacknews.org 50 years after end of dollar’s link to gold: U.S. faces new crisis http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/8/16/50-years-after-end-dollar-s-link-gold-us-faces-new-crisis <p>San José, CA - Fifty years ago, on August 15, 1971, then-President Nixon ended the U.S. dollar’s link with gold. This marked a retreat from the economic supremacy of the United States after World War II. Less than four years later, the fall of Saigon marked a defeat for the United States and a turning point in U.S. domination of the developing world.</p> <p>In 1944 the United States hosted a meeting at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, to set out a post-World War II economic agreement. At the meeting, the United States’ plan dominated over a British plan crafted by famous economist John Maynard Keynes. This was the end of British imperial financial leadership and the beginning of U.S. financial supremacy. Instead of the fixed exchange rate of the Gold Standard of the late 1800s and early 1900s led by Great Britain, there was now a new system of fixed exchange rates, based on both gold and the U.S. dollar.</p> <p>This so-called Bretton Woods agreement established fixed exchange rate system that facilitated international trade and investment dominated by the United States. Since the other major capitalist economies - Britain, France, Germany and Japan - were focused on rebuilding after World War II, and because of the socialist Soviet Union, United States saw little economic competition. The United States was the economic power in the world and held most of the world’s gold.</p> <p>But the recovery of Germany, Japan and other capitalist nations in the 1950s and 1960s put pressure on the U.S.-dollar centered economic system. With other countries holding U.S. dollars to back their own currencies, the United States was supposed to hold gold to back the U.S. dollar. But as doubts about continued U.S. economic supremacy mounted, gold began draining away and finally Nixon had to give up on backing the U.S. dollar with gold in 1971.</p> <p>This began the modern flexible exchange rate system, where the prices, or exchange rates, of most currencies move up and down in the foreign exchange market. After a period economic instability in the 1970s, the United States was able to stabilize its economy through deregulation and increased exploitation of the working class under President Reagan in the 1980s. But with the Great Financial Crisis of 2008, a new period of relative economic decline for the United States began. In the last 20 years China has grown to be the major economic competitor of the United States. With a socialist economy, China’s gains are also stoking doubts about U.S. capitalism.</p> <p>The relative stabilization of the U.S. economy in the 1980s and the fall of the U.S.S.R. in 1991 emboldened the United States to be more aggressive militarily, leading the invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. But now the United States is trying to reduce its military commitments in the Middle East and pivot to Asia in preparation for a war with China. The Afghan government built and financed to the tune of almost $1 trillion by the United States after the 2001 invasion has collapsed.</p> <p>The United States economy managed to weather the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic through massive government borrowing and spending. The total government debt, as compared to size of the economy, is now as large as during World War II. The U.S. central bank, or Federal Reserve, has not only created trillions of dollars to buy U.S. government bonds, but expanded its bond buying to mortgage-backed bonds and other bonds.</p> <p>But despite the vaccinations of 60% of Americans who are twelve or older, the U.S. economy is again coming under stress with the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic fueled by the Delta variant. One sign of this is the re-emergence of inflation for the first time since before the financial crisis. The looming cut-off of government unemployment aid and eviction moratorium over the next two months will increase hunger and homelessness at a time when economic inequality has increased with the pandemic. While another economic crisis does not appear to be around the corner, the declining strength of the United States around the world points to another period of economic turbulence.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/8/16/50-years-after-end-dollar-s-link-gold-us-faces-new-crisis#comments People's Struggles Capitalism and Economy economy gold standard Mon, 16 Aug 2021 18:00:19 +0000 Fight Back 9231 at http://www.fightbacknews.org California protest slams end to federal unemployment benefits http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/8/1/california-protest-slams-end-federal-unemployment-benefits <p>San José, CA - On Saturday, July 31 members and supporters of the Northern California Unemployed Committee or NCUC rallied to protest the coming end of federal unemployment benefits set for September 6. Speakers pointed out how 9 million unemployed people will be losing their benefits and the rest will have their payments cut in half.</p> <p>John Root spoke about his troubles with the California unemployment insurance system, stating, “I got no benefits for four months and had to depend on family to survive. I was calling up to 30 or 40 times a day without a response. The unemployment system is broken.” Root pointed out that there are more than a million other unemployed in California with similar experiences.</p> <p>There were also speakers from the South Bay Mutual Aid, Freedom Road Socialist Organization and the NCUC. The NCUC is calling for another protest at the local office of Congressperson Zoe Lofgren on August 23.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/8/1/california-protest-slams-end-federal-unemployment-benefits#comments People's Struggles Capitalism and Economy Freedom Road Socialist Organization Northern California Unemployed Committee Sun, 01 Aug 2021 19:18:06 +0000 Fight Back 9217 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Federal unemployment benefits to end next week in Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi and Missouri http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/6/14/federal-unemployment-benefits-end-next-week-alaska-iowa-mississippi-and-missouri <p>San José, CA - On Saturday, June 12, four Republican-led states cut off three federal unemployment benefit programs. These were the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation or FPUC which provides a $300 per week supplement to regular benefits, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA for self-employed and gig workers, and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation or PEUC, for the longer-term unemployment who state benefits have run out. This means that 370,000 who have lost work in Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi and Missouri will be losing their benefits starting next week. </p> <p>These cuts will fall the hardest on African Americans, Chicanos and Latinos, and Native Americans who have higher unemployment rates than whites. For example, in Mississippi, one of the four states ending federal benefits now, two-thirds of those collecting unemployment are African American, which is almost twice their percentage of the population.</p> <p>These four states will soon be followed by 21 more Republican-led states which will also cut benefits for these federal programs. This will end benefits for more than 3 million more unemployed. The end of the $300 a week supplement will drop the average replacement in these states from 60 to 90% of their previous income down to 25 to 50%. The purpose is to drive the unemployed to take jobs at low wages that will further increase businesses’ bottom line. Many of these governors or their families own businesses that will benefit from being able to keep wages low.</p> <p>The PUA and the PEUC provide benefits to almost 12 million people, who are more than three-quarters of all the jobless getting unemployment benefits. These two programs, along with the FPUC, will expire on September 6, unless the federal government passes an extension. This will cut an additional 8 million people from their unemployment benefits. </p> <p>These benefits are being cut even as the federal eviction moratorium is ending on June 30. With more than 10 million tenants behind on their rent, the unemployment cut will just add to the number of renters facing eviction. </p> <p>The weekly new claims for unemployment insurance have hit new pandemic lows and are less than 10% of the peak in April of 2020. However, the number of new claims last week are still more than twice the weekly number of claims in February 2020 when the recession began. The total number of people collecting unemployment insurance has declined more slowly, to more than 15 million in the latest numbers from a peak of more than 30 million last May. So, while businesses are laying off fewer workers, the number of jobless workers who need unemployment benefits to survive is still very high, seven times the number when the recession began.</p> <p>Corporate profits are at an all-time high. The monopoly capitalists who own and control the large corporations have seen their wealth soar with new record highs in the stock market. But there are more than 7 million fewer people working than before the recession started in February. Companies are using the recession to reduce their labor costs to boost profits. What workers can actually buy with their wages is down 3%, as inflation is rising faster than paychecks.</p> <p>Mainstream media claims that prices are rising because people are spending. But the economy has become even more dominated by big corporations during the recession; with small businesses folding, big businesses are selling and profiting more. These corporations can raise prices to increase their profits without a lot of competition. One example of this is Campbell Soup, whose sales are falling as people venture to eat out more. What did Campbell Soup do? They raised prices to protect their profits.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/6/14/federal-unemployment-benefits-end-next-week-alaska-iowa-mississippi-and-missouri#comments Capitalism and Economy Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation or FPUC or PUA Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Mon, 14 Jun 2021 19:16:17 +0000 Fight Back 9128 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Federal unemployment benefits to end next week in Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi and Missouri http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/6/14/federal-unemployment-benefits-end-next-week-alaska-iowa-mississippi-and-missouri-0 <p>San José, CA - On Saturday, June 12, four Republican-led states cut off three federal unemployment benefit programs. These were the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation or FPUC which provides a $300 per week supplement to regular benefits, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA for self-employed and gig workers, and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation or PEUC, for the longer-term unemployment who state benefits have run out. This means that 370,000 who have lost work in Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi and Missouri will be losing their benefits starting next week. </p> <p>These cuts will fall the hardest on African Americans, Chicanos and Latinos, and Native Americans who have higher unemployment rates than whites. For example, in Mississippi, one of the four states ending federal benefits now, two-thirds of those collecting unemployment are African American, which is almost twice their percentage of the population.</p> <p>These four states will soon be followed by 21 more Republican-led states which will also cut benefits for these federal programs. This will end benefits for more than 3 million more unemployed. The end of the $300 a week supplement will drop the average replacement in these states from 60 to 90% of their previous income down to 25 to 50%. The purpose is to drive the unemployed to take jobs at low wages that will further increase businesses’ bottom line. Many of these governors or their families own businesses that will benefit from being able to keep wages low.</p> <p>The PUA and the PEUC provide benefits to almost 12 million people, who are more than three-quarters of all the jobless getting unemployment benefits. These two programs, along with the FPUC, will expire on September 6, unless the federal government passes an extension. This will cut an additional 8 million people from their unemployment benefits. </p> <p>These benefits are being cut even as the federal eviction moratorium is ending on June 30. With more than 10 million tenants behind on their rent, the unemployment cut will just add to the number of renters facing eviction. </p> <p>The weekly new claims for unemployment insurance have hit new pandemic lows and are less than 10% of the peak in April of 2020. However, the number of new claims last week are still more than twice the weekly number of claims in February 2020 when the recession began. The total number of people collecting unemployment insurance has declined more slowly, to more than 15 million in the latest numbers from a peak of more than 30 million last May. So, while businesses are laying off fewer workers, the number of jobless workers who need unemployment benefits to survive is still very high, seven times the number when the recession began.</p> <p>Corporate profits are at an all-time high. The monopoly capitalists who own and control the large corporations have seen their wealth soar with new record highs in the stock market. But there are more than 7 million fewer people working than before the recession started in February. Companies are using the recession to reduce their labor costs to boost profits. What workers can actually buy with their wages is down 3%, as inflation is rising faster than paychecks.</p> <p>Mainstream media claims that prices are rising because people are spending. But the economy has become even more dominated by big corporations during the recession; with small businesses folding, big businesses are selling and profiting more. These corporations can raise prices to increase their profits without a lot of competition. One example of this is Campbell Soup, whose sales are falling as people venture to eat out more. What did Campbell Soup do? They raised prices to protect their profits.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/6/14/federal-unemployment-benefits-end-next-week-alaska-iowa-mississippi-and-missouri-0#comments Capitalism and Economy Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation or FPUC or PUA Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Mon, 14 Jun 2021 19:16:24 +0000 Fight Back 9129 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Economy on bumpy road, Republicans end benefits http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/6/6/economy-bumpy-road-republicans-end-benefits <p>San José, CA - On Friday June 4, the U.S. Department of Labor monthly report on the job market for May 2021 showed that 559,000 new jobs were created, bouncing back from the poor showing the month before. But the economy remained down 7.6 million jobs from February 2020, when the recession began. If job creation continues at the same rate as in May, it would still take until summer of 2022 to reach the pre-pandemic level.</p> <p>But this is unlikely, given all the shortages showing up in the economy. Shortages of computer chips have slowed car production. Shortages of lumber are crimping housing construction and driving up prices. </p> <p>One thing that is not rising rapidly are wages, with a gain of 2% over the last year. This is less than half the overall inflation rate for consumers reported in April of 4.2%. This means that the actual purchasing power of workers’ wages are going down on average.</p> <p>Nevertheless, businesses across the country are complaining about a shortage of labor, even as they drag their feet on increasing wages, in an effort to further fatten their bottom line. The big corporations and the richest 1% made out like bandits during the recession, and now they are doing the same. </p> <p>Businesses are showing their control of both political parties, as 25 Republican-led states are ending the $300 a week supplement to unemployment benefits and also the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or PUA for the self-employed and gig workers. President Joe Biden defended their “right” to end the aid and emphasized that they are temporary programs. </p> <p>But the PUA in particular is needed as a permanent program, as a growing number of businesses like Uber and Lyft convert their workforce to “independent contractors” to save on taxes and benefits. These workers are not covered by traditional unemployment insurance, and the PUA actually is paying benefits to more jobless workers than the regular state unemployment program.</p> <p>Last month, when the job creation number was only about one-quarter of what economists predicted, businesses launched a campaign to blame unemployment benefits. This month, with twice as many jobs created, they are still singing the same tune. What they really want is to reduce unemployment benefits as much as possible to force the jobless to work for lower wages. Another sign of the businesses chasing lower wages is that the unemployment rate for teenagers fell to a historic low in records going back to 1953.</p> <p>The same jobs report also said that the official national unemployment rate fell in May to 5.8%, from 6.1% in April. While most of this improvement came from the unemployed finding jobs, almost one-third came from people leaving the labor force by giving up their search for a job. Over the last three months the unemployment rate has only dropped by 0.2%. At this rate is would take almost three years to get the rate down to the pre-recession level of 3.5% last seen in February 2020. </p> <p>The official unemployment rate understates the economic hardship workers have faced. Counting all the people who have given up looking for working or working, the unemployment rate would be closer to 7.6%, more than twice the level before the recession. The rising tide of job creation, as usual, is very unequal, with Latinos and African Americans having unemployment rates 50 to 100% more than that of whites.</p> <p>Another challenge for jobless workers is that the federal eviction moratorium is ending on June 30. More than 10 million tenants are behind on their rent and could face evictions once this protection is dropped. The federal government is spending billions to try to aid tenants and landlords. But not only is the amount too little; only part of the money has been spent. A handful of states have enacted their own moratoriums but many more will need to do this.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/6/6/economy-bumpy-road-republicans-end-benefits#comments People's Struggles Capitalism and Economy economy Indigenous Peoples Masao Suzuki Pandemic Unemployment Benefits (PUA) U.S. Sun, 06 Jun 2021 22:43:25 +0000 Fight Back 9102 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Job market stumbles in April http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/5/11/job-market-stumbles-april-0 <p>San José, CA - On Friday, May 7, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that businesses added 266,000 workers. This was only one-quarter of the additional 1 million jobs that economists had predicted. This left the economy down more than 8 million jobs from February of 2020, right before the economic crisis started. At the current rate it will take the economy more than two and half years to gain back the lost jobs Women have been harder hit by the recession, and the gap with men widened in April as all of the net new jobs went to men. </p> <p>The weak jobs report unleashed a flood of claims by the Republicans that federal unemployment benefits were keeping people from taking jobs. But last fall they opposed expanding federal aid because they said that the job market was strong and was recovering on its own. Republican-ruled states are already starting to cut back on aid to the unemployed. South Carolina and Montana have blocked the extra $300 per week from the federal government. Both states will also be ending their participation in the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, or PUA, in June. The PUA is for self-employed and gig workers.</p> <p>But this doesn’t explain why 400,000 more workers started looking for work last month, and why the unemployment rate went up last month to 6.1% as more people started looking for work. Nor does this claim explain the more than 200,000 jobs cut by businesses last month. In fact, this is the same old austerity program of trying to cut government spending, and pushing the burden of the crisis onto the backs of working people. </p> <p>The unemployed also face a growing threat of evictions, as a federal court overturned the nationwide eviction ban by the federal Centers for Disease Control. Only 16 states out of 50 have their own eviction bans for those hurt by the recession, and all but six of them end in May or June. This will put millions of people in danger of eviction and many will end up joining the growing ranks of homeless. </p> <p>The official federal count of homeless people - of a little more than 500,000 - is a vast undercount based on counting people in the street and shelters. Schools reported about 1.5 million students without their own home. If each unhoused student has a parent sibling not in school, this would be about 3 million homeless, or about 1% of the U.S population.</p> <p>This shows another of the glaring inequalities of life under capitalism: while the average price of homes went up over 9% in 2020, millions of people cannot afford to pay for their own place to live.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/5/11/job-market-stumbles-april-0#comments Capitalism and Economy COVID-19 pandemic Unemployment Assistance program U.S. Department of Labor Tue, 11 May 2021 13:41:19 +0000 Fight Back 9025 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Job market stumbles in April http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/5/11/job-market-stumbles-april <p>San José, CA - On Friday, May 7, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that businesses added 266,000 workers. This was only one-quarter of the additional 1 million jobs that economists had predicted. This left the economy down more than 8 million jobs from February of 2020, right before the economic crisis started. At the current rate it will take the economy more than two and half years to gain back the lost jobs Women have been harder hit by the recession, and the gap with men widened in April as all of the net new jobs went to men. </p> <p>The weak jobs report unleashed a flood of claims by the Republicans that federal unemployment benefits were keeping people from taking jobs. But last fall they opposed expanding federal aid because they said that the job market was strong and was recovering on its own. Republican-ruled states are already starting to cut back on aid to the unemployed. South Carolina and Montana have blocked the extra $300 per week from the federal government. Both states will also be ending their participation in the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, or PUA, in June. The PUA is for self-employed and gig workers.</p> <p>But this doesn’t explain why 400,000 more workers started looking for work last month, and why the unemployment rate went up last month to 6.1% as more people started looking for work. Nor does this claim explain the more than 200,000 jobs cut by businesses last month. In fact, this is the same old austerity program of trying to cut government spending, and pushing the burden of the crisis onto the backs of working people. </p> <p>The unemployed also face a growing threat of evictions, as a federal court overturned the nationwide eviction ban by the federal Centers for Disease Control. Only 16 states out of 50 have their own eviction bans for those hurt by the recession, and all but six of them end in May or June. This will put millions of people in danger of eviction and many will end up joining the growing ranks of homeless. </p> <p>The official federal count of homeless people - of a little more than 500,000 - is a vast undercount based on counting people in the street and shelters. Schools reported about 1.5 million students without their own home. If each unhoused student has a parent sibling not in school, this would be about 3 million homeless, or about 1% of the U.S population.</p> <p>This shows another of the glaring inequalities of life under capitalism: while the average price of homes went up over 9% in 2020, millions of people cannot afford to pay for their own place to live.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/5/11/job-market-stumbles-april#comments Capitalism and Economy COVID-19 pandemic Unemployment Assistance program U.S. Department of Labor Tue, 11 May 2021 13:40:41 +0000 Fight Back 9024 at http://www.fightbacknews.org May Day 2021: Unite the many to defeat the few! Down with the billionaires! We need socialism! http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/4/30/may-day-2021-unite-many-defeat-few-down-billionaires-we-need-socialism <p>International Workers Day is celebrated on May 1. Around the world, workers have accomplished many great things over the past year that we can be proud of. The ruling class, made up of monopoly capitalists, have tried their best to keep profits high at the expense of the people during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we’ve seen time and time again that the people can rise above the obstacles created by the 1% and bring about real change. On May Day 2021, it is important to reflect on the past year. We must also renew our efforts to end the rule of the monopoly capitalists and replace their broken, failed system with a system that benefits not the few but the majority of people – socialism.</p> <p>May Day began as a celebration of the working class and its heroic struggle after Haymarket in Chicago in 1886. Workers at Haymarket fought against terrible working conditions and for an eight-hour workday. The greedy bosses and their servants, the police, tried to brutally repress the workers and their movement. The police attacked, injured and killed striking workers, most of them immigrants, leading up to the Haymarket massacre. Then the state of Illinois held a trial and hung four labor leaders, the Haymarket Martyrs. Still, the spirit of that first May Day lives on and is celebrated by workers around the world each year.</p> <p>In the United States, the monopoly capitalists and their politicians tried to replace the globally celebrated International Workers Day with ‘Labor Day’ in September. It wasn’t until the massive marches for immigrant rights of 2006 that the celebration of May Day became once again widespread in the U.S.</p> <p>Workers around the world continue to struggle in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The ruling class has made it clear over the past year that they value making profits much more than they value the lives of the working class. This is especially true as we see African American, Latino/Chicano, and Native American communities continuing to suffer the worst effects of the pandemic, even as many people begin to have access to vaccinations. Asian Americans are being hit by a wave of racist violence, as both the Trump and Biden administrations have ramped up tensions with China The situation in the U.S. lies in stark contrast to the measures being taken in other countries like Cuba, where the socialist government is actively helping their people against the pandemic.</p> <p>A few stimulus checks over the past 12 months is nowhere near enough financial help for families struggling in the U.S. Teachers continue to struggle with administrators and politicians over safety in our schools. College students are fighting back against administrations that have treated many young adults unfairly. Many people who should have been among the first to receive vaccinations are having to wait because capitalism is a failed system that doesn’t serve our best interests.</p> <p>May Day is a time to plan for the battles to come as we analyze and reflect on the current situation. Justice must be won by any means necessary for George Floyd and all victims of police crimes. We must fight for an end to the cruel treatment of immigrants and refugees at the U.S. border, and we need to shut down all the detention centers where terrible abuses are taking place. We must support sectors of the working class that are organizing for better conditions, including the workers at Amazon in Alabama currently seeing massive repression from the boss and from the state throughout their union election. For each and every cause, we must double down on our organizing efforts and continue fighting for a people’s agenda that puts the needs of the many first.</p> <p>Capitalism is on its last legs, and the weakness of that system shows more and more as time goes on. The attempts of the ruling class become more desperate as each crack in their system brings forth increased resistance to their outdated and rotten way of doing things. This is evident all over the world, as workers continue their fight along many fronts. Over this past year, after the murder of George Floyd, we have witnessed a great rebellion that has drawn millions into motion. This country is at a turning point. History is on the side of the working class and oppressed people all over the world. Only once economic and political power is in the hands of the working class can the people’s needs truly begin to be met. Seize the time – let us renew our efforts to win a better world for all and smash the system that’s holding us back.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/4/30/may-day-2021-unite-many-defeat-few-down-billionaires-we-need-socialism#comments People's Struggles Capitalism and Economy Socialism Antiwar Movement Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) Healthcare Housing Struggles international workers day May Day 2021 Immigrant Rights In-Justice System Labor Oppressed Nationalities Poor People's Movements Student Movement Sat, 01 May 2021 03:06:05 +0000 Fight Back 8996 at http://www.fightbacknews.org