As vicious winter storms blasted across the Eastern and Central US, with murderous temperatures comparable to those on Mars, unsheltered people froze to death in the streets. Recently run out from under a viaduct in Chicago, their tents confiscated, homeless people lay on corners under blankets which couldn’t keep out the killing cold. In California, as the rains sent mudslides down hills burned by monster forest fires, cities still found the resources to break up tent communities, steal blankets and possessions and scatter people to the streets of exposure, suffering and death. The city of Anaheim in southern California recently declared their intention to raid and destroy a large homeless community in a dusty riverbed. In Elgin, IL, a man who sheltered homeless people in his basement on below-freezing nights was ordered by the local government to stop! All over the country, especially in the West, homelessness is soaring. Many of the newly-homeless are women, families and children.
Instead of housing the people who are suffering and dying, those who should represent us treat us as criminals, guilty of the crimes of poverty—of not being able to pay skyrocketing rents, even though many homeless people hold down jobs. Nurses, school teachers and others with formerly stable ‘middle class’ jobs are finding themselves living in vehicles, unable to afford a place to live. Millions of schoolchildren are in homeless families. College students couch surf or live in their cars or on the streets. What could be a better example of this epic social fail!?
People are morally outraged and appalled that their government, which is supposed to guarantee ‘life liberty and pursuit of happiness’, is instead attacking the victims of this failing economic system, and those who reach out to help their fellow human beings. It’s as though those in power think their job is simply to enrich themselves and their fellow ruling-class billionaires.
In fact, this is the grim logic of capitalism. As workers are replaced by robots, millions are being pushed out of work forever, or subsisting on low-wage and part-time work, earning not even enough to keep a roof over their heads.
Those who hold this social wealth as private property no longer see any reason to keep unneeded workers alive. This billionaire ruling class will let us starve and die in the streets, stripping homeless and poor people of every right, even the right to survive. We are in the throes of a growing fascist offensive. The corporate-controlled state is terrorizing those whose labor it no longer needs to exploit. This is a dying system, and needs to be replaced.
According to one count, there are six houses standing empty for every homeless person in this country. The government should take foreclosed-on homes back from the banks that fraudulently stole them, and give them to those without shelter. Public housing should be repaired, expanded and made available for all who need it.
We are all at risk of becoming homeless. This is unsustainable and immoral. We must demand that human needs be put first, that the government make housing for all a social priority and an absolute right. We have all we need to create a new society that houses and treasures everyone.