Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Stop The Evictions!

With the temporary moratorium on evictions expiring, many states have announced plans to resume evictions. This is a heartless move that criminalizes poverty and increases the risks for spreading the coronavirus even further.

Sybil Davis

May 22, 2020
Facebook Twitter Share

When the coronavirus pandemic first began to reach deadly heights in the U.S. in March, many states bowed to public pressure and placed a moratorium on evictions. However, this eviction moratorium did not nearly go far enough in protecting those who are at risk of homelessness because of the coronavirus-related shutdown — as well as those who were at risk before the current crisis. The nationwide eviction moratorium only applied to a small fraction of properties, and states had to implement their own, often qualified, moratoriums. Additionally, the moratoriums never prevented landlords from filing new eviction notices even during the eviction period. So, these notices built up while the courts were closed, and now they can all be handed out en masse now that states across the country are re-opening.

On May 19, the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s office posted the following tweet, which quickly went viral:

Not surprisingly, the most common response to this message was outrage. To throw people out of their homes in the midst of both a pandemic and an economic crisis and then claim to be behaving with “respect” or “compassion” is laughable. The fact of the matter is that people will almost certainly die because of this decision.

A recent study found that the massive unemployment that has resulted from COVID-related shutdowns could cause the homelessness rate to grow by 45%. Even before the current crisis, over half a million Americans were homeless, with Black and Indigenous people massively overrepresented in the homeless population. The connection between eviction and homelessness is clear. Eviction was one of the three leading causes in a recent study of homelessness in San Francisco, after job loss and drug use. Eviction rates have been rising in several U.S. states even before the pandemic. A recent report from Michigan showed that a staggering 1 in 6 tenants faced eviction in 2018. 

In the age of the coronavirus pandemic, the homelessness crisis is now also part of an even greater public health crisis. Scientific American recently published an article titled “Coronavirus Presents Unique Threat to the U.S. Homeless Population” in which they showed that individuals experiencing homelessness are especially vulnerable to respiratory diseases such as COVID-19. Homeless individuals are forced to choose between sleeping on the street or entering crowded shelters. In addition, because states are reopening early, it is highly likely that we will see another spike in coronavirus cases, which will only increase the risk factors for homeless people and the rest of the working class. This is the context in which states are deciding to resume evictions. 

Furthermore, evictions criminalize poverty, poverty that has been caused by a capitalist crisis. Individuals and families who are unable to pay their rent are forcibly removed from the premises by the police, who are acting on behalf of the landlords. Even in “normal” times, this process is a prime example of the depravity of capitalism. Evictions also have long term negative consequences including potentially limiting the ability to find new housing accommodations. It is a heartless and deadly tactic used by landlords to continue the exploitation of their tenants.

As we are seeing now, the eviction moratoriums put in place at the beginning of the current crisis were not enough to protect people from evictions. Additionally,  the lack of rent freeze or rent forgiveness has brought many closer to the crisis point of eviction. A report out this week shows that 23.7% of the March workforce is now unemployed. We are in the midst of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. Drastic measures must be undertaken now to demand protections for the working class. There must be nationwide rent forgiveness, guaranteed housing for all people, a total moratorium on evictions, a quarantine wage to all workers, and hazard pay for all essential workers.

The capitalists and their politicians are, once again, revealing their true colors during the midst of this crisis. They want us to pay for their crisis, and they don’t care if we live or die. The police are perfectly happy to work for landlords and have no problem throwing working class and unemployed people out into the street, without regard for the fact that displaced people are significantly more likely to contract coronavirus. Landlords, most of whom are big real estate companies and not individuals, can’t profit off of people who aren’t paying rent, so they are throwing out vulnerable people to potentially fall ill and die, all so they can protect their own profit margin. This is a terrible crisis that demands radical solutions. Stop The Evictions Now!

Facebook Twitter Share

Sybil Davis

Sybil is a trans activist, artist, and education worker in New York City.

United States

Activists in Detroit speaking at a press conference condemning repression of the pro-Palestine movement on May 20, 2024.

Detroit Activists Hold Press Conference to Condemn Repression of Pro-Palestine Protesters

Detroit Will Breathe organized a press conference to discuss the police violence and repression against pro-Palestine protesters. The movement must stand in solidarity and unite to combat the increase of repression.

Kyle Thibodeau

May 23, 2024
Protesters carrying Palestinian flags march on a street in front of a line of cops

Activists, Including Left Voice and Detroit Will Breathe Members, Arrested at Protest of Biden in Detroit, Free All Arrested and Drop All Charges

Detroit police brutally arrested activists who were protesting outside of Biden's speech to the NAACP.

Left Voice

May 19, 2024
Tents at the Rutgers University in NJ during the Palestine encampment in May, 2024

What the Movement for Palestine Can Learn from the Rutgers Encampment Deal

The Gaza solidarity encampment at Rutgers New Brunswick ended in a deal between the administration and a negotiations team at the camp. It’s been a highly controversial decision. The experience at Rutgers shows the need for a truly democratic, bottom-up fight for Palestine.

Jason Koslowski

May 17, 2024
Pro-Palestine encampment at UCLA in May, 2024.

“The Working Class has the Power to Stop this Genocide”: Interview with a UAW 4811 Rank and Filer

On Thursday May 15, 48,000 UAW Academic workers voted to authorize a strike, the largest academic workers union in the country to do so. Left Voice interviewed UAW 4811 member Peter Ross about what sparked this historic vote, and the labor movement’s fight for Palestine

Julia Wallace

May 16, 2024

MOST RECENT

Two large signs that read "UC Divest from Genocide" and "Gaza Solidarity Encampment" behind the two signs a "UAW on Strike sign" pokes out

Dispatch from Day 2 of the UC Santa Cruz Picket Line

Left Voice member and City University of New York worker Olivia reports on the second day of her trip to Santa Cruz for UAW 4811’s historic strike to talk to workers.

Olivia Wood

May 25, 2024

Why Won’t PSC-CUNY Stand with Palestine Now?

While other higher education unions are going on strike in defense of their workers and against the genocide in Gaza, the bureaucratic leadership of PSC-CUNY just crushed a resolution calling on the university to divest from Israel and to drop the charges against Palestinian activists arrested on April 30. 

James Dennis Hoff

May 24, 2024

Attack on Pro-Palestinian Protestors at UMich Latest Example of Democrats Defending Israel’s Genocide in Gaza

Capitalist apologists from the Democratic Party have chosen their business partners in Israel’s far-right government over Palestinian lives. In Ann Arbor, those same so-called “progressive” Democrats decided to bring felony charges against protestors earlier this week, encouraging harsh police violence against the University of Michigan encampment.

Ryan McCarty

May 24, 2024
A sign for the University of California at Santa Cruz with a line of UAW signs in front of it

Dispatch from Day One of the UC Santa Cruz Picket Line for Palestine

Left Voice member and City University of New York worker Olivia traveled to Santa Cruz for UAW 4811’s historic strike to talk to workers. This is her dispatch from the first day of the strike.

Olivia Wood

May 22, 2024