The American Working Class, Coronavirus, and the Recession, by Dan La Botz
March 22, 2020 at 2:40 PM - Views: 8 #290946Ohio BarbarianModerator
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Dan La Botz is a Socialist, who ran for US Senate in 2010 on the Socialist Party ticket. This is a very lengthy but very good analysis of the left during the coronavirus crisis.
American workers’ lives have been turned upside down by the coronavirus. They are endangered by the health crisis and threatened by the subsequent economic crash. While the coronavirus spreads across the country, leading the federal, state, and local governments to shut down large parts of the economy in order to promote social distancing, the crisis has also triggered an international economic recession that many economists are now predicting will be worse than that of 2008. We appear to be facing both a pandemic and a coming great depression and neither government, nor employers, nor unions are prepared for it.
Many industries, like the airlines, have reduced operations, leaving many without work. Similarly with the shipping companies. As health officials have recommended social distancing, many events with mass audiences—concerts, sports events, and Broadway plays—have been shut down. Several states and cities have now ordered the closing of all restaurants and bars, throwing tens of thousands of cooks, bussers, waiters, and bartenders out of work. Many others who serve the public, such as subway operators and bus drivers, remain on the job. Millions of workers, in warehouses and grocery stores, for example, also continue to work. And, of course, health workers continue to go to their jobs in clinics and hospitals.
The working class taken as a whole has many groups that will be particularly threatened by both the pandemic and the economic crisis. There are in the United States an estimated 500,000 homeless people, as many as 40 percent of whom are under eighteen; that is, there are tens of thousands of homeless school children who, when schools close, will have no place to go during the day and will lose their usual school meals. The United States has the largest prison population in the world proportional to its total population with 2.3 million prisoners and various prisoner organizations have expressed fears that coronavirus in a prison could be devastating. There have been calls to release older prisoners who have not committed violent crimes. The poor will also be especially vulnerable to both crises, and the poor make up 12 percent of the U.S. population or 38 million people according to official figures. Finally, in our country we have 11 million undocumented immigrants, many of whom fear to seek medical help because they may be deported.
The situation is overwhelming for many and perhaps most working people. The United States has no national health care system and tens of millions of American workers have no health insurance. In addition, millions of American workers have no paid sick days, no family leave, and millions in precarious employment have no vacation days. Workers have no guarantee of employment or income. All of this is complicated by the closing of schools, after-school programs, and daycare centers.
It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs
You can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail the revolution.--Fred Hampton
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