COVID-19: PSL Announces National Protests Calling for Rent Cancellations

nationwide protests (they say in at least 28 cities) this weekend calling for rent cancellation
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Photo: Twitter

The following message was released by the Party for Socialism and Liberation announcing nationwide protests (they say in at least 28 cities) this weekend calling for rent cancellation amid the ongoing chaos caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

This weekend January 29-31, people across the country will be participating in protests to demand “Cancel the rents and mortgages!” Protestors will wear face masks and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Our movement is demanding the government take measures to address the extreme crises we’re facing, starting with canceling rents and mortgages for renters, homeowners, small businesses and small landlords.

We all need a place to live but many of us cannot pay. As many as 40 million people may be evicted as a result of the pandemic and economic collapse. More than 50 million working class people of all backgrounds have lost jobs. For non-white households income loss figures increased by almost 10 percent above the national figures. Of the 45,000 public sector jobs lost in December, 91 percent were held by women. Even before the pandemic, two in five people and three in five renters could not have come up with $400 in an emergency.

For Wall Street there have been bailouts and a massive infusion of cash into the financial system — but what has the government done to address the crisis for working people? While Congress and state legislatures have agreed to an uneven patchwork of temporary assistance most of which have expired or have been cut back. The recent $600 stimulus check is not enough and Biden's proposed $1,400 just adds insult to injury. One-time stimulus checks of any amount are not sufficient. We need ongoing replacement income for those who cannot work.

In September the Centers for Disease Control issued an “eviction moratorium” order until the end of the year and recently the Biden administration has extended that through March. Even so, the moratorium lacks enforcement and local courts and landlords have undermined the federal guidelines by continuing to file and execute evictions.

Landlords have thrown tens of thousands of people out of their homes, leading to the death of at least 10,000 people who were infected by COVID-19 as a result of an eviction.

The federal “eviction moratorium” only delays the looming crisis. Once the moratorium is over, millions of people will be faced with back rent they cannot pay that has piled up over the months.

The solution is clear: the government must cancel the rents and mortgages! This is the only way to ensure housing and safety to everyone during the pandemic.

The Government has the power to cancel the rents and legislation for this has even been introduced to Congress in the past. With the Biden Administration in the White House and the Democratic Party in control of both the House and Senate, there are no more excuses to not act.

Working class people are building a movement to hold the government accountable. No concessions have ever been granted without an organized people’s movement taking action. As Frederick Douglass famously said “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”

We are petitioning for rent cancellation, mobilizing our communities in protest, organizing tenant unions with our neighbors, and demanding that the politicians take action.

Join us in building a movement that makes it loud and clear that housing is a human right! More information about the call to action can be found here: CancelTheRents.org

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