General Strike: The Eviction Crisis Escalates

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Above photo: Cancel Rent banner from GenStrike.

With an estimated 17 to 40 million people at risk of losing their homes by the end of September, and with the failure of the federal government to pass an eviction moratorium or an unemployment benefits extension, the greatest eviction and foreclosure crisis since the Great Depression is now upon us. In some states in the Southeast, as many as 60% of renters are at risk of being evicted, and people of color are likely to be hit disproportionately hard. The Census Bureau’s Household Pulse survey in July, for example, highlighted that 42% of Black renters felt little to no confidence in their ability to pay rent this August, compared to 21% of White renters. For the percentage of renter households at risk of eviction in each state.

 

It is no surprise that across the country, renters being threatened with destitution are taking a stand to put a stop to this brutal display of Capitalists’s commitment to profit over people. Courthouses have been blocked by protesters in New Orleans, Kansas City, and Brooklyn, and this trend will likely grow in the coming months. Protesters in all 3 cities have been working to disrupt eviction proceedings as much as possible and to publicize the complicity of lawyers and the justice system in the perpetuation of the eviction machine.

“‘Keep trying to evict tenants, and we’ll keep showing up and shutting down your office every day,’ the group Housing Justice for All tweeted alongside a video of one of the protests. ‘Other lawyers working for landlords: watch out, we’re coming for you next.’”

While the housing crisis looms large, there have also been a number of positive developments in the news this week. The New York Attorney General is suing and seeking the dissolution of the NRA; Cori Bush, the original Justice Democrat, has won her primary against William Lacy Clay for Missouri Congressional Seat 1; and scientists have “shown that it’s possible to eliminate 70 percent to 80 percent of US carbon emissions by 2035 through rapid deployment of existing electrification technologies”, an encouraging asset in the fight to decarbonize industry and mitigate climate change.

Last but not least in the news was the establishment of a Worker Council by the city of LA this week that will monitor businesses’ pandemic responses and inform public health officials when business owners are breaking guidelines. This is a positive step forward for the city, where multiple industries’ poor working conditions were contributing to the spread of COVID-19, and it serves as an example for other communities to potentially work to take after and establish for themselves.

If you’d like to increase your involvement in direct action efforts, reach out today to see what opportunities may exist in your community to make a difference helping keep people housed, fed, and in good health.

Renters aren’t giving up without a fight! “In a last-ditch effort to fight lockouts… activists aren’t content to go after politicians. Instead, they want to shut down the machinery of the eviction system: the nation’s housing courts and the people who make it run.”