Articles ~ 2 Actions ~ Updates for May 1 events – New & Revised (from Adrienne Fong)

– Please post events on Indybay even if event is digital: https://www.indybay.org/calendar/?page_id=12

    Thank you to all who are – See Indybay for other events.

Articles:

A. Hundreds of protesters, some carrying guns in the state Capitol, demonstrate against Michigan’s emergency measures

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/apr/30/michigan-protests-coronavirus-lockdown-armed-capitol

   See event # 7

B. Cops roll into huge Civic Center homeless encampment — residents say they were forced to stay in tents during ‘curfew’ – April 29

CAs US Approaches Record Deficit, Israel Asks for Record Handout – April 29, 2020

D. US-Backed Forces Killed Twice as Many Children as Taliban and ISIS Did During 1st Quarter of 2020  – April 28, 2020

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/04/28/us-backed-forces-killed-twice-many-children-taliban-and-isis-did-during-1st-quarter

2 ACTIONS

1. Stop the Execution of Walter “Arkie” Barton in Missouri

  SIGN: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/stop-the-execution-of-walter-arkie-barton-in-missouri?clear_id=true&source=email-reasonable-doubt-in-upcoming-mo-execution-2

2. Demand Congress provides safeguards for Black immigrants in the next COVID-19 stimulus bill

  SIGN: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/sign-the-petition-demand-that-the-us-congress-provides-safeguards-for-black-immigrants-in-the-4th-covid-19-stimulus-bill?source=20200420_BlackImmigrantsCOVID_Kos&redirect=https%3A%2F%2Fsecure.actblue.com%2Fdonate%2Fdkpromigrant2020%3Frefcode%3D20200420SWBlackImmigrantsCOVID&link_id=2&refcodeEmailReferrer=email_786847&can_id=4d8abb95a7895a1648b41bfa1ad2bb3b&email_referrer=email_786847&email_subject=sign-if-you-agree-black-immigrants-must-be-included-in-the-next-covid-19-stimulus-package

Friday, May 1

New and Revised Events

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1. Friday, 9:30am – 12:30pm, Car Caravan For Immigrant Rights!  (NEW post – Santa Rosa)

Meet at:

Dollar Store
Sebastapol Rd.
Santa Rosa

Car Caravan – Alliance of Active Women In Solidarity (ALMAS), the Graton Day Labor Center, The Women’s Collective/SF Day Labor Program, NorCal Resist, and many others are calling on Northern California to join them in this car caravan and virtual rally in solidarity with California’s immigrant community during this time of crisis!

 Everyone will remain in their cars during the entire event. We’ll leave the Dollar Store, on Sebastapol Rd., in Santa Rosa, join caravans from other areas in Fairfield, and drive in to Sacramento for a brief time before heading back home.

Demands include: 1) More financial assistance to the undocumented; 2) Health and Safety protections for domestic workers and day laboreres (Pass SB 1257); 3) Shut down all immigrant detention centers in the state; 4) Rent forgiveness in California. More info: Renee Saucedo, renee@gratondaylabor.org, 707-273-2974.

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/528360094504526/

2. Friday, 12:00am – 11:30pm, Target Community Boycott

Target team members are asking our guests and fellow community members to stand in solidarity with us as we #Strike4OurLives on May 1st, International Workers Day! Take the pledge that you won’t shop at our Target stores, order any Shipt deliveries from our stores, and encourage your friends and family to do the same! We need to send a message loud and clear to Target Corporation that they are not doing enough to protect us essential workers! Take a picture of yourself holding a sign with a message of support and the hashtag #Strike4OurLives to show you’re in solidarity with Target workers and post it in this event page!

Join our facebook group Target Worker – Community Alliance to keep up to date on developments as we head towards May 1st!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/834449876968368/

Host: Target Workers Unite

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/3052364328119452/

3. Friday, 10:00am – 12Noon, SF May Day Caravan (New Time on FB)

RSVP / Register: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScP6VLwb4WOaVxFFmNI0BHRLZ2Q7jjIoWqK8VAd2gIQAk–YQ/viewform?link_id=3&can_id=4d8abb95a7895a1648b41bfa1ad2bb3b&source=email-sf-may-day-car-caravan-cancelrent-homesforall-debtfreefuture&email_referrer=email_788206&email_subject=sf-may-day-car-caravan-cancel-rent

Meet at:

Pier 50: Terry Francois Blvd. & Mission Rock St.
(turn into pier’s main lot; cross streets: Terry Francois Blvd & Mission Rock St)
SF

This will be a safe & physically distant multi-location rally
Everyone in attendance should use a face covering for safety, and not exit their cars unless they are 6 feet apart from those around them. Bring gloves, masks, sanitizer, and any hygienic products that can ensure your safety as well as the safety of others.

Even before the pandemic, 40 million US households were paying over a third of their incomes for housing, and half a million people were living on the streets. As a historic 22 million workers filed for unemployment in the US in the last month, we are demanding legislators provide immediate relief by cancelling rent, mortgage and utility payments NOW and by establishing emergency housing for those without the ability to safely shelter in place.

 Union members – attach a sign with union local to the outside of your car!

Hosts: Housing Rights Committee of SF, SF Tenants Union, Coalition on Homelessness, Jobs with Justice SF, SF Rising Alliance, SF Senior and Disability ActionInfo: https://www.facebook.com/events/247175096485928/

4. Friday, 10:00am – 1:00pm, SF International Workers’ Day Car Caravan (NEW)

Pier 50
Terry Francois St & Mission Rock St.
(nr. Giants Ballpark)
SF

This is a car caravan action merged with the SF May DAY Car Caravan: a housing coalition.

We are a grassroots ad hoc committee of labor and environmental activists demanding Protection for Frontline Workers, the Green New Deal, Release of ICE Detainees, and Cancel Rent. This action is also endorsed and supported by the 1000 Grandmothers for Future Generations.

We will be meeting up, putting posters on our cars and driving in a car caravan to various locations to circle for our demands, live-streaming, including government buildings, a 1930s New Deal site to make the connection between lived history and present day needs—especially the need for a Green New Deal for economic and environmental justice and recovery. More information to come.

Host: May Day Solidarity Action

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/260792798408694/

5. Friday, 10:00am – 2:00pm, May Day in the Bay: Worker & Community Caravan – Oakland

Meet at:

SSA Terminal
1717 Middle Harbor Rd.
Oakland

**We ask that everyone in attendance use a FACE COVERING for safety, and not exit their cars unless they are 6 feet apart from those around them. Bring gloves, masks, sanitizer, and any hygienic products that can ensure your safety as well as the safety of others.

Join us from 10-11am for a SAFE & SOCIALLY DISTANT rally with the ILWU at the Oakland Port. At 11am, we leave for a car & bike caravan up Broadway to demand:
1. RELEASE ALL PRISONERS/OPEN THE CAMPS (Oakland Jail 11:30)
2. EQUITABLE EDUCATION FOR ALL (OUSD HQ @ 12:00)
3. POWER & RESOURCES TO THE PEOPLE (City Hall @ 12:30)
4. FREE HEALTHCARE FOR ALL (Kaiser @ 1:00)
5. WORKER SAFETY @ WHOLE FOODS – 230 Bay Place (1:30)

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Port of Oakland, SSA Terminal.

11:30 AM – 11:45 AM

Oakland Police Station – 550 6th Street (@ Broadway)

12:00 PM – 12:15 PM

Oakland Oakland Unified School Dist (OUSD) HQ – 1000 Broadway

12:30 PM – 12:45 PM

City Hall / Federal Building – 14th & Broadway

1:00 PM – 1:15 PM

Support Healthcare Workers @ Kaiser – 3600 Broadway

1:30 PM – 1:45 PM

Support Worker Safety @ Whole Foods – 230 Bay Place (1:30)

Let’s send Trump, Wall Street, and the capitalists a clear message: #WeWontDieForWallSt
#PeopleAndPlanetOverProfits

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/600269507244447/   or  https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2020/04/23/18832607.php

6. Friday, 11:15am – 1:00pm, SF May Day Rally With Black United Workers At SF City Hall

Meet at:

Third Baptist Church (out front)
1399 McAllister St.
SF

Join Us for our May Day Rally Protest by Car – Come One Come All Friday, May 1, 2020 12 Noon SF City Hall
Black United Workers The Color of COVID SF
SF May Day Rally With Black United Workers
Join Us for our May Day Rally Protest by Car – Come One Come All Friday, May 1, 2020 12 Noon We will meet at 11:15 AM at
Third Baptist Church out front. The route will be to City Hall for 12:00 Noon and jointly we will drive to City Hall and will circle the block in rapid sub-session. We will provide signs to be used as we honk for our horns and have media coverage for our Rights and Safety in this Era of COVID Pandemic.

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2020/04/21/18832543.php

7. Friday, 11:30am – 1:00pm, May 1 Action to Counter “ReOpen America” Rallies (NEW)

Meet at:

Van Ness Ave. (between Grove & McAllister Sts.)
Across from SF City Hall
SF

11:30am Press conference

On Friday, a group calling for “Reopen America” are calling for a rally across the country including in San Francisco at City Hall at 12Noon.

SAY NO—to the anti-scientific, fascist mobs holding “Reopen America” rallies across the country, including in San Francisco at City Hall.  They proceed from a callous disregard for public safety and human life.

RefuseFascism.org and supporters in San Francisco will hold a press conference at 11:30 am on Van Ness Avenue across the street from City Hall between Grove and McAllister Streets.

We also invite all who want to join us to counter-protest the fascist mob. We will observe social distancing and safe practices. Bring masks and gloves, and signs.

“Open the State Rallies” are also being held in, Los Angeles, Huntington Beach, San Diego, Sacramento and Ventura in California

Hosts: Refuse Fascism Bay Area, Raging Grannies Action League,

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/754551202052921/

8. Friday, 12Noon – 1:00pm, Virtual Rally: We Are Always Essential  – San Jose

*La traducción en español le sigue abajo*
Join us on May 1st at noon on FB LIVE and Instagram LIVE to hear worker testimonials and worker rights updates under COVID-19.

Share&like this post and use our hashtag so we can all come together!
Long live international worker’s day!
#WeAreAlwaysEssential #SiempreSomosEsenciales

Host: San Jose May Day

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/2647174252194547/

9. Friday, 1:00pm – 2:30pm, May Day Message LIVE from Angela Davis  (NEW)

Register:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/may-day-message-from-angela-davis-registration-102739400312?fbclid=IwAR0BVbUal3rbk0i4npIScx-fcVxYArRdVI2zk6sBYSi2jFJrUUSpLVPSG_w

$5 – $10 – Sliding scale.

The disruption of the world’s economies during the Covid-19 pandemic has been devastating. Here in the U.S., the impact has been especially catastrophic for Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities.

Covid-19, however, didn’t cause the economic crisis. Decades of corporate greed did – 1% of Americans essentially received all of the benefits of economic growth over the last 40 years. The top 1% got $21 trillion richer, while the bottom 50% became $900 billion poorer.

The capitalist system is in crisis and the pandemic shines light on its failures. We cannot get out of this situation by carrying on as before.

On this International Workers Day, political activist, scholar, author, and SpeakOut speaker Angela Davis reflects on possible ways forward and what it’s going to take to bring about economic and racial justice.

She invites us to reimagine a society that benefits all workers – from low wage earners to workers in the gig economy; from those working remotely to those on the front lines of the pandemic; from artists to incarcerated people.

Host: SpeakOut

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/268623944299104/

10. Friday, 2:00pm – 3:00pm, Undocumented Workers are Essential! (NEW)

Livestream: facebook.com/PSL.SanFrancisco

To share your story or show support:

-Submit a selfie to sf@pslweb.org with a sign that says: “This May Day, I demand amnesty and safety for undocumented people because…” [and write in your reason]

OR

-Submit a short video (2-4 min) telling us about your experience during the COVID-19 crisis, and what you think should be done to protect our immigrant communities.

***With your submission, include your name, what kind of work you do/ or if you are unemployed, and if you need for your identity to be anonymous.

During this COVID-19 crisis, it has been made clear that workers are the ones who keep the world running, despite the capitalists being the ones who hoard the wealth. Essential workers risk their health and safety in some of the lowest paid and least appreciated jobs. Some relief is offered by federal and state governments, but it is insufficient and excludes one of the most exploited group of workers: the undocumented. No stimulus checks, unemployment benefits, or relief for DACA students, and a total exclusion of households with even one undocumented family member. To top it off, both Republicans and Democrats are signing off on trillions of dollars to protect banks and big corporations, while workers and the poor, including immigrants, are left to fend for themselves!

Hoar: PSL

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/590869174878191/

11. Friday, 3:00pm – 5:00pm, Workers Seize Power – Virtual International Workers Day

pre-register here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_p0RDu16oQuKIx38JvCHxEg

When you register you’ll be given a link unique to you. Please don’t share that link with others. Instead, share the pre-registration link above.

We’ll have a two part panel, starting at 3PM.
The first panel will feature Resource Speakers, offering info on resources for workers, housing, and health.
Confirmed speakers for this panel include: Mark Janowitz/East Bay Community Law Center on housing, Carole Vigne/Legal Aid at Work on labor, and Margaret Handley – Public health-trained epidemiologist (SFGH) on health.

The second panel at 4pm will be a panel discussion featuring organizers leading campaigns around prisons, detention centers, housing, labor and international solidarity.
Confirmed speakers include: Jose Bernal/Ella Baker Center on prisons, Barbara/Detention Watch Network on detention centers, Carroll Fife/ACCE Action on housing, Lucia Lin/ Young Workers United & Grassroots Asians Rising on labor, and Jenabi Pareja/Peoples Association of Workers and Immigrants (PAWIS) on International Solidarity.

We are offering simultaneous translation in:
Spanish
Arabic
Tagalog
Mandarin

Host Oakland Sin Fronteras

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/2675560309342990/

12. Friday, 5:00pm – 6:00pm, Friday Night Forums: International Lessons on Organizing

Zoom:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_3gpIfsZaR_CPe9GkvYaVCw

Rachel Herzing will be in conversation with Kali Akuno (Cooperation Jackson),  Zenei Cortez (National Nurses United) and Vijay Prashad (Tricontinental).

Hosts: The Red Nation, AROC, The Center for Political Education

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1553642318117753/?event_time_id=1553642328117752

Bernie Sanders Facing Increased Pressure to Unsuspend His Campaign

The Humanist Report Get early access to videos by supporting us on Patreon, YouTube or PayPal! Sign up here: http://www.patreon.com/humanistreport or here: http://www.humanistreport.com/support… or here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7Q4… ************************ Visit Our Website: http://www.humanistreport.com/ Follow Us on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/HumanistReport Like Us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/humanistreport Follow Mike on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mike.figuer… Audio Available on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/h…

HOW NEW YORK GOV. ANDREW CUOMO IS USING THE PANDEMIC TO CONSOLIDATE POWER

Akela Lacy
April 28 2020, 11:54 a.m. (theintercept.com)

NEW YORK ELECTION officials’ decision on Monday to cancel the June Democratic presidential primary was just the latest in a series of moves by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration to consolidate power and shut out progressives in the state.

The state based its decision to cancel the presidential primary on public health grounds, since former Vice President Joe Biden is the presumptive nominee after Sen. Bernie Sanders dropped out on April 8. But New York will be moving forward with congressional and state-level primaries on June 23. The cancellation of the presidential primary is likely to depress turnout among Sanders supporters, and lower progressive turnout will likely have a ripple effect for a handful of left-wing insurgents who are mounting credible challenges to longtime incumbents.

In recent weeks, Cuomo has been lavished with national praise for holding nightly briefings about the pandemic, seemingly filling a leadership vacuum left by the federal government. But not only did Cuomo fumble his state’s response, minimizing the risks of the virus in early March, but he has also used this political moment to cement his authority and that of his political allies. Over the past month, Cuomo has canceled six special elections and used the state’s annual budget process, over which he wielded great influence, to enact some of the most strict ballot access laws in the nation and expand his budgetary power. Progressives say the combination of moves amount to a power grab, given cover by the ongoing pandemic.

“He’s high on his new popularity and using it to become even more authoritarian,” said Monica Klein, a progressive strategist in New York City and co-founder of Seneca Strategies.Join Our NewsletterOriginal reporting. Fearless journalism. Delivered to you.I’m in

Sanders’s presidential campaign slammed New York’s decision on Monday, citing the fact that the Vermont senator had asked to remain on the ballot to try to collect more delegates to increase his leverage over the Democratic Party platform. Sanders adviser Jeff Weaver said the move gave precedent for President Donald Trump to postpone the November election.

Progressives in the state are saying the move by the Board of Elections, whose commissioners are appointed by the governor, leaves them disenfranchised. In addition to the cancellation of the primary, they’re pointing to a handful of other changes Cuomo recently made that weaken the left-leaning Working Families Party, with which he has been in a yearslong feud.

“If it’s not safe to hold a presidential primary, then why is it safe to hold a primary for congressional and state offices? It doesn’t make any sense,” said progressive strategist Rebecca Katz. “If they really want to help New Yorkers, they should be canceling rent, not canceling elections.”RelatedAmerica’s Crisis Daddy Andrew Cuomo Exploits Coronavirus Panic to Push Bail Reform Rollback in New York

Cuomo’s office dismissed the idea that he was using the pandemic to consolidate power and put full responsibility for canceling the primary on election officials. “The presidential primary was a decision made by the Board of Elections and no one else,” senior adviser Rich Azzopardi said in a statement to The Intercept. “We’re fighting a pandemic and have no time for conspiracy theories, especially poorly thought out ones.” The governor’s office did not respond to questions about what role it played in conversations leading up to Monday’s decision.

ON FRIDAY, CUOMO signed an executive order canceling five special elections, including four state legislative races and one local election for Queens borough president. He issued another order the next day canceling a sixth special election, for city council. The legislative seats will remain open until November, and the current acting Queens borough president will serve until then as well. The fate of the election for a Brooklyn City Council seat will be decided in court later this week.

“This is your progressive governor that you all think should be president,” city council candidate Sandy Nurse tweeted following the news that her election was canceled. “This is by far the most blatant anti-democratic power grab.”

@NYGovCuomo just cancelled the Special Election for DC 37 where Darma Diaz, Misba Abdin, and I were on the ballot. @Council4Council, Misba Abdin, and I are waiting for the court ruling to see if we are on the ballot for the off year primary. https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/no-20224-continuing-temporary-suspension-and-modification-laws-relating-disaster-emergency …No. 202.24: Continuing Temporary Suspension and Modification of Laws Relating to the Disaster…No. 202.24: Continuing Temporary Suspension and Modification of Laws Relating to the Disaster Emergencygovernor.ny.gov

This means that unless @NYCMayor steps in and enforces the city charter and unless the court agrees, @NYGovCuomo has effectively handed a city council seat to the machine.597:41 PM – Apr 25, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy27 people are talking about this

The state’s new budget, which Cuomo signed into law on April 3 — after bullying the state legislature to pass it, including by threatening to shut down the Department of Health in the midst of a pandemic — gives him the power to make unilateral rolling budget cuts at any time throughout the year, up from once annually. During budget negotiations, Cuomo had threatened to make cuts to Medicaid and education — some of the Medicaid cuts made it in while he continues to threaten to slash education spending.

Also in the budget, the governor increased the threshold for ballot access, effectively kicking the WFP off the ballot, an issue they’ve battled over for years. WFP is reviewing legal options for pushing back against the increased ballot threshold, according to a consultant who works with the group. In the meantime, it will continue its political organizing in an effort to reach 130,000 votes in November. (Cuomo has also taken some steps to develop safe election processes in light of the pandemic, using executive action to make it easier to vote by mail and shorten the period to gather signatures required to make the ballot.)

Under the new rules, a political party can only get a ballot line if it gets the higher of 130,000 votes or 2 percent of the overall vote every two years on gubernatorial and presidential lines, up from 50,000 votes. Among alternative parties, only the state’s Conservative Party has ever gotten more than 200,000 votes, meaning that in future elections, it could be the only party to appear alongside the two major parties.

Cuomo’s allies have been open about their intentions to stymie progressives by increasing the ballot access threshold. Cuomo ally and Public Campaign Finance Commissioner Jay Jacobs, who chairs the state Democratic Party, admitted last November that the ballot access changes could leave only the Conservative Party to survive among alternative parties, eliminating the candidates in the Working Families, Independent, and Green parties. In a November radio interview, Jacobs argued that any legitimate political party should be able to raise enough money to turn out 150,000 votes, arguing that the thresholds were meant to root out “sham parties,” clarifying that he did not think that applied to the Working Families, Green, or Conservative parties.

“But if you spend a little bit of money — and they all raise a lot of money — the executives of the party and the people in the party get paid a good amount, and I don’t know what they do with the rest of the money, but they sure don’t use it campaigning like the Democratic Party does and the Republican Party does,” he said. “And if you can’t, after you do that, you’re not a credible party.”

Even Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has said the ballot access change would only help conservatives and weaken Democrats. “Senator Schumer believes eliminating the WFP from the ballot only helps conservatives and weakens our ability to win races,” Schumer spokesperson Angelo Roefaro told the Daily News in November.

CUOMO AND THE WFP have long feuded over some of the same left-versus-center issues straining the national Democratic Party. In New York, those tensions have manifested in battles over the issues of fusion voting and ballot access for minor parties, along with what progressives say is the governor’s mixed messaging on Democratic priorities.

Last year, Cuomo created the State Public Campaign Financing Commission to determine aspects of the state’s public campaign financing system. The governor’s office said the commission would “have the binding power to implement public campaign financing for legislative and statewide offices, authorizing up to $100 million annually in public funds.” Last year, a state Supreme Court in Niagara County found that the commission, and its approved proposals to change ballot access requirements, were unconstitutional. The court said the setup amounted to “an improper and unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority to the commission.”

WFP New York State Director Bill Lipton has said the commission’s true purpose was to end fusion voting, which allows candidates to run on multiple party lines and exists in only a handful of states. Cuomo has dismissed the idea, noting that he himself has run on multiple lines, though he went on to add the commission’s ballot threshold changes to the state budget this year.

The sweeping changes to elections have progressive politicians fired up. “Trying to suppress democracy at any time is abhorrent,” Nurse and her backers, including New York Rep. Nydia Velázquez and state Sen. Julia Salazar, said in a statement following the cancellation of Nurse’s election. “Trying to sneakily suppress democracy during a pandemic is absolutely outrageous.”

CONTACT THE AUTHOR:

Akela Lacyakela.lacy@​theintercept.com@akela_lacy

Don’t Waste an Economic Meltdown

A Strategy to Replace Capitalism

 By Rabbi Michael Lerner | April 29, 2020 (tikkun.org)
People Wearing Masks

byronv2 People Wearing Masks

In the height of the largest pandemic the world has known since the plague in 1918, people are struggling to make ends meet, losing their jobs, struggling to pay mortgages and rents, in danger of becoming sick, and experiencing increased hunger. Food banks report being depleted of supply[i], while farmers in Wisconsin and Ohio are dumping and burying eggs, milk, and other produce[ii]. The largest U.S. dairy cooperative, Dairy Farmers of America, estimates that farmers are dumping 3.7 million gallons of milk each day. A single chicken processor is smashing 750,000 eggs every week.

Why, when people are in need of food, is food being thrown away? The NYT “neutrally” reports that “many of the nation’s largest farmers are struggling another ghastly effect of the pandemic. They are being forced to destroy tens of millions of pounds of fresh food that they can no longer sell.”[iii]

But who is forcing them? Most farmers would prefer to have their food used to help people who are hungry. The “capitalist system and its profit making imperative, itself enforced by government, media, and economists, are “forcing” farmers to (choose to) destroy the food so many people desperately need rather than give it to food banks and people in need.

Of course, there are many people who go hungry even in “ordinary times,” but the government does not interfere with this element of the capitalist economy. Big agricultural firms fear that government involvement, beyond the huge subsidies it gives them, would undermine their profits. As in so many aspects of daily life in a capitalist society, the hidden element shaping which human needs are met and which are not is this: the assumption that profits must be the foundation for all our economic interactions. The result: something as obvious as having a significant part of “the bailout of 2020” fund delivery systems from farm to food banks for the hungry was woefully not included. While giving $500,000,000,000 (five hundred billion dollars) to the large corporations, and many billions to smaller ones, the government did not require that the money go solely to pay worker wages and only to corporations that at least paid a minimum wage of $15/hr. But unfortunately our government is divided between those whose highest priority is further enriching the rich and those who would wish it could be different but do not have the backbone to stand up and say “no money to anyone unless it is disproportionately distributed to those most in need, including the poor and the homeless” and accompanied by instituting a living wage for all workers and a guaranteed income for every adult living in the U.S.

But the super-rich and powerful resist addressing these needs because funding them would require significant reductions in their wealth. And the rest of us lack the political power to successfully challenge corporate bailouts and demand the support necessary to meet our needs. In addition, the millions already unemployed and many more to come have found no effective way to organize themselves to pressure their governments to act on their behalf. In fact, the corporate insistence on huge profits for their stockholders led to many corporations to close badly needed hospitals around the country because they were not making enough profit. This made it very difficult for many Americans to even get to places where they could be tested or treated for a variety of ailments, most dramatically revealed in the way that those hospitals that remain have been overwhelmed, often without adequate beds or equipment. And without any obvious way to get their government to work on their behalf, many face isolation at home. Many think that all they can do is be cheerful about a grim situation (or pray that they and their friends and family don’t die) while frantically washing their hands, wearing masks, and avoiding anyone who stands too close in the supermarket or pharmacy.

We’ve been conditioned to believe that people only care for themselves, that we are all basically selfish, and that hence we have to just look out for number one. If that is the reality, then the hope of creating a society based on caring instead of on profit would be pointless.

But what we actually see is that there are literally millions of people who are risking their lives as doctors, nurses, hospital workers, bus drivers, supermarket and pharmaceutical workers, farmers and farmworkers, truck drivers, police, firefighters, caregivers, and many others who risk their lives to care for the rest of us who are correctly obeying the call to stay at home. It’s true that some may be driven by the need to make a living to feed their families, a reasonable goal! Yet many have chosen to continue to take the risks because they genuinely care about others. So if we had a society that was based on caring rather than profit, tens of millions of others would feel much better about their lives if they didn’t have to choose between making a living and serving the well-being of everyone else. People actually yearn to have work that serves higher needs than putting more money into the pockets of the super-rich.

For that reason, it is important to acknowledge that there is still a chance in the remaining weeks of social isolation for a mass movement to emerge and last beyond this sad moment. That movement would have staying power if it used Zoom-based conferencing to replace the hope to “get back to business as usual” with a vision of a different kind of society that we could create together.

This vision needs to satisfy both material and psycho/spiritual needs. It is the narrow articulation of human needs limited to material needs that has limited the appeal of the Left. Even when social democratic forces have won power and implemented generous programs to provide money, entitlements and services, the vast majority of people have accepted these goodies but not given much loyalty to those who delivered “objective caring.”

What the socialisms of the past offered was based on a theory of human beings that ignored our hunger for respect, love, generosity, and a sense of higher meaning to our lives. In my research at the Institute for Labor and Mental Health with thousands of middle income working people, exploring stress at work and stress in family life, I learned that many people think of the objective caring delivered by the Left (e.g., social security or even health care benefits) as a kind of insurance program. Just as they are happy to have home and car insurance, they are happy  to have social security and health care insurance, but they don’t feel particularly close to their insurance agents! And when they have to interact with their government that delivers these services, they rarely feel respected or appreciated. Rather, in many instances, the message our government and media sends folks who receive government aid is that they are somehow less than those who have bigger incomes and don’t rely on government subsidies. Yet the truth is that many of the most economically successful have had plenty of help from government (building the infrastructure, creating ways for a significant section of the wealthy to pay a smaller percentage of their income or wealth in taxes than the rest of us, declaring that corporations are really “persons” with the same or greater protections on their wealth than any of the rest of us have and protected their “right” to spend millions to influence the outcome of elections, and actually not working as hard as many in the bottom half of income earners who often have to take frustrating jobs or work more than one job just to barely support their families.

Some recognize that in a society where the top 1% own more wealth in the U.S. than the bottom 80% of wealth holders, that their government insurance programs are really little more than a way of giving as little as possible to most Americans and giving as much as possible to the ultra-wealthy. Others just suspect that there is something missing in what liberal governments offer, so they don’t feel appreciative, particularly when they find that government benefits rarely are enough to deal with their material needs. As a result, just as the New Deal of the 1930s was followed by conservative or neo-liberal regimes in the U.S., the socialists who delivered even more generous objective caring benefits in Europe were eventually voted out of power.

What is needed then is a politics that gives equal attention to fostering a society based on generosity and kindness—the opposite of the capitalist marketplace. To get there, forget about the word “socialism” and instead let’s talk about what I describe in my book Revolutionary Love as ”the Caring Society—Caring  for Each Other and Caring for the Earth.” To achieve that we will need a new bottom line.

In a capitalist society, we judge our institutions to be productive and efficient and rational to the extent that they maximize money and power. In “the Caring Society” a new bottom line would judge our economy, our corporations, our government policies, our legal system, our education system, our cultural systems, and even some of our personal behavior to be rational, productive, and efficient to the extent that they maximize our capacities to be loving and caring, kind and generous, attuned to social, economic and environmental justice for everyone on the planet, committed to overcoming every form of racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia, responding to each other as intrinsically valuable (or in religious terms, sacred beings) rather than simply valuing them to the extent that they can deliver something to satisfy our personal needs, and responding to the universe and our mother Earth with awe, wonder, and radical amazement, rather than valuing them only to the extent that we can turn them into commodities to sell in the capitalist marketplace.

Of course the caring society would also have material benefits, so I want to affirm the positive contributions made by those who helped create the social support system that does exist and who are righteously fighting to expand it, e.g. in the New Green Deal or the programs promoted by  Bernie Sanders. Yet these campaigns would be far more successful if framed in terms of achieving the Caring Society and the New Bottom Line—speaking to the values that underlie their more narrowly framed specific legislative initiatives. Yes, the need to expand those objective caring programs is particularly urgent now, but that can only happen when we start reframing those efforts in terms of achieving the caring society, treating people with respect even when they do not yet agree with our vision, affirming rather than dissing their religious commitments (even when we disagree with some of what those religions teach), and including in our discourse the need for a life connected to higher meaning than profits.

And, the caring society must be visionary in what we ask for even in regard to “objective caring”. This should include, among other things, a living wage for everyone, 28-hour workweek over 4 days (leaving more time to be with friends and family and to be in nature), guaranteed paid sick leave, canceling student and medical debts and debts of the poorest countries of the world, universal health/child/elder care, free education through graduate or professional schools, 6 week guaranteed vacation, universal replacement of fossil fuels with environmentally friendly sources of energy, among other things.

This approach will be received more successfully if liberals, progressives, and caring people of every sort prioritize what I call “subjective caring.” We need to teach that people would easily be won to caring for others if society stopped rewarding selfishness. Eventually, caring behavior would become the norm at work and at play. Caring at work might well slow down the pace of what we consider traditional ‘production’, which would be good for the future of the planet and a contribution to making work more pleasurable. If the goal of production was no longer profits for the top 10% of income earners, we could still produce enough of life’s basic necessities to have enough for everyone, though we wouldn’t have new versions of our cell phone or computers every year, or new flashy cars. The pace of life will slow down. For those who love the intensity of challenges, there will still be plenty of challenges for them to tackle. The big challenge will be creating enough global solidarity that people can work together to save the earth from the environmental catastrophe predicted by environmental scientists that will make the current pandemic look like a minor problem.

We are at a crossroads. Right now, while ordered to remain in our homes till the pandemic crisis is over, you and I could begin the process to build a movement for a caring society. Otherwise we will soon find ourselves returning to “life as usual” and ignoring all the warnings we are being given that a far greater environmental danger to life on earth is developing less dramatically but even more destructive unless we change how and what we are doing to our planet. While champions of the capitalist marketplace in our major political parties lead them to accept the notion that “success” equals endless growth,  producing more and more things, the Caring Society will see success in creating work and leisure that are serving the best interests of all humanity, the animals, and the survival of the life-support of Earth.

But how would it be possible to build a movement for a fundamentally different kind of world? There is something that each of us can do right now while so many of us are bound to our homes.

A first step is to invite everyone you know to engage in imagining a world they would really want if profit was no longer the bottom line. Ask them to share their vision and this new bottom line with everyone they know, and then to create large group discussions on social media and “face-to-face” on Zoom-like video platforms. Invite them to read with you my book Revolutionary Love: a Political Strategy to Heal and Transform the World. Go to tikkun.org/lj to read why this book has been endorsed by Cornel West (professor of African American Studies at Harvard), Gloria Steinem (founding editor of Ms. Magazine), Keith Ellison (Attorney General of the State of Minnesota and the first African American to have been the vice-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus), Medea Benjamin (co-founder of Code Pink), Riane Eisler, Dean Ornish, Walter Brueggemann, Henry Giroux, Ariel Dorfman, and many others! (You can purchase the book there as well.) This is not some new agey “lets change ourselves first and then we’ll change the society” (a position I  show to be deeply flawed) but rather a tough minded strategy to actually build a different world. But it starts by changing the liberals and the Left so that they stop alienating the very people who they need to win over (for example by dissing all whites or all men or acting as though anyone into religion must be on a lower level of psychological or intellectual development than those who reject all forms of religion and dismiss all spirituality as nonsense). And what you can also do is invite people to an online book group discussion of Revolutionary Love, working thru your own and others’ resistances, and allowing yourself to really become advocates for a different world.

Every day we can read on social media or even sometimes on the corporate-dominated media stories of people showing caring during this pandemic. There are tens of millions of people in our society who would love to live in a world that valued generosity and caring. They just don’t believe it is possible—until you tell them that you are part of a movement that intends to build such a society. This is the kind of organizing that could lead to the birth of a non-violent revolutionary movement far more radical than we have seen, in part because it validates not only the legitimate material desires of socialist programs, but also the psychological, spiritual, and higher-meaning-to-life desires of many who have turned away from the one dimensional Left. And it can all happen right now. You can start the process with your own friends and contacts. And you can also take a training with Cat Zavis that will help you develop some of the skills you may need to talk to people who will at first dismiss your ideas because they themselves are fearful of allowing themselves to feel how unhappy they are with the world of money and power-over others.

This is one way to not, once again, miss the opportunity presented by the economic meltdown we are all facing.

Unrealistic? Yes, in the same way that the civil rights movement, the feminist movement, and the movement for GLBTQ rights were seen as unrealistic in the first few decades that they were being articulated. What I have learned is that you never really know what is or is not possible until you spend decades of your life fighting for what is desirable. So my advice: “don’t be realistic.” Instead make use of this very time of plague to create a new hopefulness that could change the world that will otherwise present itself as the only possible world – a world in which people will return to patterns and pathologies of the capitalist society, such as depression, hate of others, suicide, addictions, etc.

This is both the challenge and opportunity created by the current economic meltdown, and it will persist even when the media and government try to hide the ongoing suffering of so many who will be left behind by any “bail out stage 2 or 3 or 4” that the government is likely to provide. And this is the biggest spiritual and ethical opportunity of our time, and if we don’t take it, confine our focus to immediate (and very important) forms of societal repair of the worst suffering, but without a strategy to change the institutions and class and patriarchal practices that have caused so much suffering (including by failing to address human needs and give them priority over profit for the few, we will likely look back at this moment with deep regret. You and I can change that. The first step is to share this with everyone you can possibly reach.

________________________________________________________

[i] Facing Food Insecurity on the Front LinesNew York Times, April 10, 2020.

[ii] Dumping Milk, Smashed Eggs, Plowed Vegetables: Food Waste of the Pandemic, New York Times, April 11, 2020.

[iii] Ibid.SHARETWEET EMAILMORE

ABOUT RABBI MICHAEL LERNER

Rabbi Michael Lerner

Rabbi Michael Lerner holds a Ph.D. in philosophy (1972) and a second Ph.D. in psychology (1977), is editor of Tikkun www.tikkun.org, executive director of the Institute for Labor and Mental Health, rabbi of Beyt Tikkun Synagogue-Without-Walls in Berkeley, chair of the international Network of Spiritual Progressives, and author of 12 books, most recently Revolutionary Love published by the University of California Press (more info about this book at www.tikkun.org/lj). Lerner was recently described by Professor Cornel West of Harvard U. as “one of the most significant prophetic public intellectuals and spiritual leaders of our generation” and Keith Ellison, Attorney General of the State of Minnesota, says: “The caring society is the only realistic path for humanity to survive, and in Revolutionary Love Rabbi Lerner lays out a powerful and compassionate plan for building that caring society.” Talking about his book Revolutionary Love, Gloria Steinem, a founding editor of Ms. Magazine, says “Michael Lerner takes the universal qualities wrongly diminished as ‘feminine’—caring, kindness, empathy, love—and dares to make them guides to a new kind of politics that can challenge the cruelty, competition, and dominance wrongly elevated as ‘masculine.’ Revolutionary Love opens our minds and hearts to a fully human way of living and governing.”

Workers Gear Up for Major May Day Strike in Pushback Against Unsafe Conditions Amid Pandemic

April 29, 2020 by Common Dreams

One organizer explained that the goal is to “push back with large numbers against the right-wing groups that want to risk our lives by reopening the economy.”

by Andrea Germanos, staff writer

 6 Comments

Amazon employees hold a protest and walkout over conditions at the company's Staten Island distribution facility on March 30, 2020 in New York City.

Amazon employees hold a protest and walkout over conditions at the company’s Staten Island distribution facility on March 30, 2020 in New York City. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Workers at some of the nation’s biggest companies including Amazon and Target are preparing to symbolically lock arms Friday for a May 1 strike and demand better protections on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.

Among the lead organizers of the action, Motherboard reported Wednesday, is Chris Smalls, the Amazon worker who was fired last month from his job at a fulfillment center in Staten Island after organizing a protest.

“We formed an alliance between a bunch of different companies because we all have one common goal which is to save the lives of workers and communities,” Smalls told Motherboard.

“Right now isn’t the time to open up the economy,” Smalls added. “Amazon is a breeding ground [for this virus] which is spreading right now through multiple facilities.”

Adam Ryan, who works at a Target store in Virgina, is another lead organizer of the May Day action. He explained to Motherboard that the goal of the strike is “to shut down industry across the board and push back with large numbers against the right-wing groups that want to risk our lives by reopening the economy.”

As Motherboard reported:

While the mass strike action might not be enough to shut down society, the collective action certainly echoes the calls for a general strike—a coordinated work stoppage across businesses and industries in pursuit of a common goal—the likes of which have not been seen in the United States since World War II.

The workers are demanding their profitable employers provide increased pay and paid leave, health insurance for all workers, and for Covid-19 affected stores to be shut. The workers are also calling on customers to show solidarity by not shopping at the stores on May 1, according to a flier shared on social media.

The Intercept also reported on the upcoming strike, with Daniel Medina writing Tuesday:

The May 1 strike is the latest in a wave of actions led by union and nonunion front-line workers. Last month, Amazon workers in New York City and more than 10,000 Instacart workers across the country staged a walkout. Whole Foods employees led a national sickout on March 31, while upwards of 800 workers skipped their shifts at a Colorado meatpacking plant as coronavirus cases were confirmed among employees. Sanitation workers in Pittsburgh and bus drivers in Detroit both staged wildcat strikes.

“These workers have been exploited so shamelessly for so long by these companies while performing incredibly important but largely invisible labor,” said Stephen Brier, a labor historian and professor at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies. “All of a sudden, they’re deemed essential workers in a pandemic, giving them tremendous leverage and power if they organize collectively.”

“May 1 is a celebration of working people around the world,” Margaret Kimberley wrote Wednesday at Black Agenda Report. “It is the perfect moment to begin the fight for economic justice which has accelerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.

Articles ~ Actions ~ Events, Wed. Ap. 29 – Fri. May 1 (from Adrienne Fong)

♥ Hold in your thoughts all parents and children – especially single parent households that are “Sheltering in Place” ♥

– Please post events on Indybay even if event is digital: https://www.indybay.org/calendar/?page_id=12

    Thank you to all who are – See Indybay for other events.

ARTICLES:

A. The U.S. plans to lend $500 billion to large companies. It won’t require them to preserve jobs or limit executive pay.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/04/28/federal-reserve-bond-corporations/

B. Mayor defies supes, says she won’t open hotel rooms for all homeless – April 26, 2020

C. Pentagon planning flyovers in dozens of US cities as a tribute to frontline workers battling coronavirus – April 25, 2020

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/04/24/coronavirus-pentagon-planning-flyovers-blue-angels-thunderbirds/3021567001/

D. Breed’s Police Commission nominees face uncertain path forward – April 24, 2020

E. Millions of People Face Stimulus Check Delays for a Strange Reason: They Are Poor – April 24, 2020

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/millions-of-people-face-stimulus-check-delays-for-a-strange-reason-they-are-poor/ar-BB139wrl?ocid=sf2

F. Amid pandemic, Israel jails more Palestinian children – April 23, 2020

https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/tamara-nassar/amid-pandemic-israel-jails-more-palestinian-children?fbclid=IwAR3wzo-lJKJ9oQ8YF9Htik4PBcFUtpHC-Z9ZzQCODvGD0PdMpIUr490WZqU

G. Five major banks refuse to fund Arctic Refuge oil drilling – April 23, 2020

https://www.wilderness.org/articles/blog/five-major-banks-refuse-fund-arctic-refuge-oil-drilling?fbclid=IwAR1UcWH2Xs9iAnwoMX0KCBAZ1lUSM7ilXVL3hJpYwZzDwq6AtY1kG7p0GU4

H. “Irresponsible and Dangerous”: U.S. Deports Haitians Despite Coronavirus Risks

https://theintercept.com/2020/04/12/haiti-coronavirus-united-states-deportation/?fbclid=IwAR26APAYI-JAwSI8ViT7yvXT1eRwsh-dFtUP4kWNfp2isdW04fAugi3U0kE

ACTIONS:

1. Bail Out the People, Not the Pentagon & Arms Dealers

2. Secretary Esper must answer questions on landmines!

https://act.winwithoutwar.org/act/esper-must-answer-questions-on-landmines?source=em20200423&t=6&referring_akid=6212.294094.zrz3r2

3. Save the U.S. Postal Service, before it’s too late

https://www.dailykos.com/campaigns/letters/sign-and-send-the-petition-save-the-us-postal-service-before-its-too-late?detail=emailaction&link_id=3&can_id=4d8abb95a7895a1648b41bfa1ad2bb3b&source=email-sign-if-you-agree-us-postal-service-is-in-the-constitution-it-has-to-be-saved-2&email_referrer=email_786451&email_subject=sign-if-you-agree-us-postal-service-is-in-the-constitution-it-has-to-be-saved

  “…Postal Service is being economically harmed. It’s not about receiving your junk mail, or bills, it’s about 1.2 billion prescriptions which are delivered each year, and other valuable community services provided! 

4. Amazon, 3M, Fedex, US Bank and Honeywell stop blocking millions of face masks and gloves!

https://actions.sumofus.org/pages/amazon-us-bank-and-3m-stop-holding-up-face-masks-and-gloves-for-health-workers/?akid=73094.222562.1cYlyP&rd=1&source=fwd&t=9

5. Safeway, Black SNAP benefit recipients deserve the ability to shop online for groceries.

https://act.colorofchange.org/sign/safewaysnap/?t=3&referring_akid=42053.797581.6S6eMC

EVENTS

Wednesday, April 2 – Friday, May 1

Wednesday, April 29

1. Wednesday, 4:00pm – 5:00pm (PT), Colonialism & Contamination: Mapping U.S. Military Injustices on the Chamorro People of Guam

Register – free webinar:

Join World BEYOND War for a free webinar on April 29 at 7pm Eastern as part of our “Close Bases” campaign! We’ll be joined by speakers Dr. Sasha Davis & Leilani Rania Ganser to talk about the negative impact of U.S. military bases in Guam. We’ll explore how the military presence threatens the indigenous Chamorro culture and people, as well as the environmental impacts of the weapons stored on the bases.

Panelist:  

Dr. Sasha Davis has a PhD from Penn State University, completing his dissertation on the effects on nuclear contamination on the Bikini Atoll, on the Marshall Islands in the Pacific. He has done extensive research on matters of militarization in the Pacific and contamination caused by military bases. He is a professor at Keene State College in New Hampshire, where he teaches courses in Human Geography, Tourism, and Recreation

Leilani Rania Ganser is the Grants and Impact Coordinator at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Her experiences as a person who identifies as Chamorro and Kanaka Maoli have encouraged and inspired her to include indigenous methods of storytelling in her writing and in public conversation. Her activism spans multiple social issues, and she studies colonial violence and gendered violence as well as interactions between indigenous communities and the military. Prior to working with the Pulitzer Center, she served as an advocacy intern for the Gateway Center for Domestic Violence Services, and a climate justice intern for the Institute for Policy Studies

2. Wednesday, 4:00pm – 6:00pm (PDT), Webinar: How white folks can take anti-racist action in covid19

REGISTRATION: https://350org.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMsdOmsrzopEtNX11BK3wv9fvFrzyzpdFj_

Webinar: How white folks can take anti-racist action in times of COVID19
April 29th, 4-6pm PST, 5-7 MST, 7-9 EST
https://www.facebook.com/events/658847021610177/

White people have a role to play in building an anti-racist response to COVID-19. In this webinar, we’ll talk about how to shut down racist scapegoating for this crisis and get involved in building a multi-racial movement for the things we all need in your region!

People of colour, Indigenous people and immigrant communities will be among those hardest hit by COVID19 due to existing racial inequalities–but the state’s responses to COVID19 may not reach them, may exclude them altogether, and in some cases, may even worsen their situation. This agenda requires and depends on white silence or active opposition to multiracial movements that are out to win the things we all need–like fully funded healthcare, affordable housing and a sustainable climate.

This workshop will help us practice interrupting racist scapegoating for covid-19, share how multiracial movements are fighting for a fair response to covid-19 (and a society that leaves no one behind), and support white people in getting into action.

The second portion of the webinar will feature facilitated regional breakout groups to build networks, share strategies, and get organized for the long haul!

This workshop is open to anyone to attend! The focus is on how white people can take action as it is our responsibility as white people to take action on racism, but this is a conversation for anyone who would like to attend.

Facilitator Bios:
Emma Jackson is a community organizer and queer settler living on Treaty 6 territory. She organizes with Climate Justice Edmonton and 350 Canada.

Chanelle Gallant has been an organizer, writer, speaker and troublemaker in sex work and racial justice movements for 20 years.

Annie Morgan Banks is an organizer and printmaker, living on Ohlone territories in the Bay Area. She is a co-founder of the Wet’suwet’en Solidarity Front-Bay Area and a member of the Anti Police-Terror Project.

Johanna Lewis is a community organizer with Showing Up for Racial Justice – Toronto, a doctoral candidate in History at York University, and a queer femme parent of two strange and magical children.

Sheryle Carlson is a white settler, degrowth proponent, organizer in support of racial justice, Indigenous and migrant rights, living in amiskwacîwâskahikan, Edmonton.

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/658847021610177/

3. Wednesday, 4:00pm (PT), Popular Resistance May Day General Strike Call

Registration: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeEF2NNPQ2iHhHqO0ySqsMAUG6CErvU9zS52TFi3aD984Svvg/viewform

 learn how to participate in the general strike from home

Host / Info: Popular Resistance

4. Wednesday, 6:00pm – 7:30pm, TLM Online Presents: Sex Workers and the COVID-19 Crisis

Zoom link will be sent on the day of the event to those who register.

Source: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tlm-online-presents-sex-workers-and-the-covid-19-crisis-tickets-102931502896

Suggested donation: $0 – $10

Due to lack of support from the government, workers face the difficult choice of sheltering-in-place and losing income or having to work and risk exposure to COVID-19. Beyond the impacts on other industries, sex workers are further marginalized by stigma, explicit exclusion from federal relief efforts, and criminalization.

For sex workers and other workers in informal economies, governmental relief has been insufficient to meet need—but as with all workers, sex workers need economic relief so they can shelter in place and help all of San Francisco stay home.

Join the Tenderloin Museum for a digital panel in which sex workers and community organizers from the Rad Mission Neighbors, US PROStitutes Collective, and St. James Infirmary speak out on the urgent need for the decriminalization of sex work and how organizing around sex workers’ needs makes the city safer for all its residents. Moderated by local historian and activist Ivy Anderson, participants will learn about local legislative measures aimed at ensuring the support and safety of sex workers—and how to join the mutual aid effort to provide emergency aid to sex workers now.

Info: US PROStitutes Collective

5. Wednesday, 7:00pm – 7:30pm, Jose Antonio Vargas: How Undocumented Immigrants are Being Left Out of the Recovery

Click below to tune in to the conversation.
https://zoom.us/j/95261651707

Join us for a cyber conversation with activist Jose Antonio Vargas to discuss the hardships of undocumented immigrants during this pandemic.

What is the reality of undocumented immigrants right now?

How are they faring during this pandemic?

What relief efforts are being proposed and implemented that can assist undocumented Americans today?

Due to their status, over 11 million undocumented immigrants have been left out of federal relief programs.

Is this what America stands for? How can we fight back to protect our undocumented brothers and sisters?

ose Antonio Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Emmy-nominated filmmaker, and Tony-nominated producer. A leading voice for the human rights of immigrants, he founded the non-profit media and culture organization Define American

Host: Manny’s

Thursday, April 30

6. Thursday, 10:00am (PDT), 1:00pm (ET), How to Protect Your Privacy & Security When Participating / Hosting Zoom Calls

Virtual Workshop

RSVP: https://action.consumerreports.org/20200430_workshop_privacy?utm_campaign=20200429_privacy_webinar&utm_medium=email&utm_source=cr

After you sign up we will send you the information on how to join the call

This workshop will look at Zoom more closely, and provide details on the settings you can change to protect your privacy. You’ll also learn about recent changes Zoom has made to privacy protections and how you can leverage them.

Host: Consumer Reports

7. Thursday, 1:00pm – 2:00pm (PDT); 4:00pm – 5:00pm (EDT), The Investigation of Courtney Copeland’s Murder

Watch here: https://interc.pt/2WaMLzB

The new podcast Somebody documents Shapearl Wells’s quest to find out what happened to Courtney Copeland, her 22-year-old son who wound up with a bullet in his back outside a Chicago police station in 2016 and died soon after.

On Thursday, April 30, at 4 p.m. ET, The Intercept, Topic Studios, and Chicago-based journalism nonprofit Invisible Institute will present a live conversation and listening session focused on Shapearl’s experiences confronting Chicago Police and challenging the city’s long-standing racial disparities. The event will be hosted by Intercept co-founding editor Jeremy Scahill and feature Somebody co-hosts Shapearl and Alison Flowers, a journalist at the Invisible Institute.

8. Thursday, 4:00pm – 6:00pm, SFPD Virtual Town Hall Meeting RE: recent Officer involved shooting

The town hall will be broadcast live on SFGovTV and streamed on SFGovTV’s YouTube page (http://youtube.com/sfgtv).

 It will also be streamed on SFPD’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/SFPD/).

Following a presentation by SFPD command staff, a call-in number will be provided to viewers wishing to offer public comment.

As part of the San Francisco Police Department’s commitment towards accountability and transparency with our community, a virtual town hall meeting will be held on Thursday, April 30, 2020, from 4:00 until 6:00 PM to provide the community with an update on the investigation of the officer-involved shooting that occurred at on the 500 block of Jones Street on April 21, 2020.

This virtual town hall is being held to protect the health and safety of the public and essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/599603223975152/

9. Thursday, 5:00pm – 6:00pm, Digital Town Hall – Asian Americans in the Time of Covid-19

How to Watch on Facebook Live:

1. ‘Like’ our Facebook Page at facebook.com/caamedia so our Facebook Live shows up in your feed
2. Adjust your Following settings to receive a notification when we go live
3. If you don’t have a Facebook account, you can still join by tuning into our Facebook Video at: https://www.facebook.com/pg/CAAMedia/videos/ page, where the live video will stream from

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM PST
8:00 PM – 9:00 PM EST
Facebook Live on facebook.com/caamedia

In connection with the upcoming PBS series, ASIAN AMERICANS, the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), WETA, and Asian American community leaders will host a digital town hall exploring how lessons from Asian American history can help us understand the experience of Asian Americans in the time of COVID-19.

Participants to include:
Moderator Amna Nawaz
Congresswoman Judy Chu
Comedian Hari Kondabolu
Writer Viet Thanh Nguyen
Journalist Amna Nawaz
Series Producer Renee Tajima-Pena
Series Narrator and Actor Tamlyn Tomita
Philanthropist Darren Walker
Journalist and Activist Helen Zia
Executive Director Naomi Tacuyan Underwood

Hosts: Center for Asian America Media & WETA

10. Thursday, 5:00pm, Youth on Fire!

Will be streamed live on facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/events/253760852419389/

THURSDAY, April 30, 2020 at 5PM PST, 8PM EST learn about youth leading the environmental justice movement. We will be streaming the short Greenaction video, Youth On Fire and a video made by our Salinas Valley Environmental and Climate Justice Youth Academy, followed by a panel discussion from our very own Youth Academy Participants!!!

Host: Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice     

Friday, May 1

 May Day

(Other events being organized will be added later) 

11. Friday, 12:00am – 11:30pm, Target Community Boycott

Target team members are asking our guests and fellow community members to stand in solidarity with us as we #Strike4OurLives on May 1st, International Workers Day! Take the pledge that you won’t shop at our Target stores, order any Shipt deliveries from our stores, and encourage your friends and family to do the same! We need to send a message loud and clear to Target Corporation that they are not doing enough to protect us essential workers! Take a picture of yourself holding a sign with a message of support and the hashtag #Strike4OurLives to show you’re in solidarity with Target workers and post it in this event page!

Join our facebook group Target Worker – Community Alliance to keep up to date on developments as we head towards May 1st!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/834449876968368/

Host: Target Workers Unite

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/3052364328119452/

12. Friday, 10:00am – 12Noon, SF May Day Caravan

RSVP / Register: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScP6VLwb4WOaVxFFmNI0BHRLZ2Q7jjIoWqK8VAd2gIQAk–YQ/viewform?link_id=3&can_id=4d8abb95a7895a1648b41bfa1ad2bb3b&source=email-sf-may-day-car-caravan-cancelrent-homesforall-debtfreefuture&email_referrer=email_788206&email_subject=sf-may-day-car-caravan-cancel-rent

Meet at:

Pier 50: Terry Francois Blvd. & Mission Rock St.
(turn into pier’s main lot; cross streets: Terry Francois Blvd & Mission Rock St)
SF

This will be a safe & physically distant multi-location rally
Everyone in attendance should use a face covering for safety, and not exit their cars unless they are 6 feet apart from those around them. Bring gloves, masks, sanitizer, and any hygienic products that can ensure your safety as well as the safety of others.

Even before the pandemic, 40 million US households were paying over a third of their incomes for housing, and half a million people were living on the streets. As a historic 22 million workers filed for unemployment in the US in the last month, we are demanding legislators provide immediate relief by cancelling rent, mortgage and utility payments NOW and by establishing emergency housing for those without the ability to safely shelter in place.

 Union members – attach a sign with union local to the outside of your car!

Hosts: Housing Rights Committee of SF, SF Tenants Union, Coalition on Homelessness, Jobs with Justice SF, SF Rising Alliance, SF Senior and Disability ActionInfo: https://www.facebook.com/events/247175096485928/

13. Friday, 10:00am – 2:00pm, May Day in the Bay: Worker & Community Caravan

Meet at:

SSA Terminal
1717 Middle Harbor Rd.
Oakland

**We ask that everyone in attendance use a FACE COVERING for safety, and not exit their cars unless they are 6 feet apart from those around them. Bring gloves, masks, sanitizer, and any hygienic products that can ensure your safety as well as the safety of others.

Join us from 10-11am for a SAFE & SOCIALLY DISTANT rally with the ILWU at the Oakland Port. At 11am, we leave for a car & bike caravan up Broadway to demand:
1. RELEASE ALL PRISONERS/OPEN THE CAMPS (Oakland Jail 11:30)
2. EQUITABLE EDUCATION FOR ALL (OUSD HQ @ 12:00)
3. POWER & RESOURCES TO THE PEOPLE (City Hall @ 12:30)
4. FREE HEALTHCARE FOR ALL (Kaiser @ 1:00)
5. WORKER SAFETY @ WHOLE FOODS – 230 Bay Place (1:30)

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Port of Oakland, SSA Terminal.

11:30 AM – 11:45 AM

Oakland Police Station – 550 6th Street (@ Broadway)

12:00 PM – 12:15 PM

Oakland Oakland Unified School Dist (OUSD) HQ – 1000 Broadway

12:30 PM – 12:45 PM

City Hall / Federal Building – 14th & Broadway

1:00 PM – 1:15 PM

Support Healthcare Workers @ Kaiser – 3600 Broadway

1:30 PM – 1:45 PM

Support Worker Safety @ Whole Foods – 230 Bay Place (1:30)

Let’s send Trump, Wall Street, and the capitalists a clear message: #WeWontDieForWallSt
#PeopleAndPlanetOverProfits

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/600269507244447/   or  https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2020/04/23/18832607.php

14. Friday, 11:15am – 1:00pm, SF May Day Rally With Black United Workers At SF City Hall

Meet at:

Third Baptist Church (out front)
1399 McAllister St.
SF

Join Us for our May Day Rally Protest by Car – Come One Come All Friday, May 1, 2020 12 Noon SF City Hall
Black United Workers The Color of COVID SF
SF May Day Rally With Black United Workers
Join Us for our May Day Rally Protest by Car – Come One Come All Friday, May 1, 2020 12 Noon We will meet at 11:15 AM at
Third Baptist Church out front. The route will be to City Hall for 12:00 Noon and jointly we will drive to City Hall and will circle the block in rapid sub-session. We will provide signs to be used as we honk for our horns and have media coverage for our Rights and Safety in this Era of COVID Pandemic.

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2020/04/21/18832543.php

15. Friday, 12Noon – 1:00pm, Virtual Rally: We Are Always Essential  – San Jose

*La traducción en español le sigue abajo*
Join us on May 1st at noon on FB LIVE and Instagram LIVE to hear worker testimonials and worker rights updates under COVID-19.

Share&like this post and use our hashtag so we can all come together!
Long live international worker’s day!
#WeAreAlwaysEssential #SiempreSomosEsenciales

Host: San Jose May Day

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/2647174252194547/

16. Friday, 12Noon – 2:00pm, SF May Day Car Caravan: CancelRent, HomesForAll, DebtFreeFuture!

Meet-up:

Pier 50
(turn into pier’s main lot; cross streets: Terry Francois Blvd & Mission Rock St)
SF

Join the SF May Day Car Caravan to #CancelRent, Mortgage & Utility Payments and Demand #HomesForAll and a #DebtFreeFuture with tenants, homeless residents, workers and families!

This will be a safe & physically distant multi-location rally
Everyone in attendance should use a face covering for safety, and not exit their cars unless they are 6 feet apart from those around them. Bring gloves, masks, sanitizer, and any hygienic products that can ensure your safety as well as the safety of others.

Why:
The COVID-19 pandemic has further unveiled the deep inequality in our economic and housing systems. Workers without job security, paid sick leave, and health insurance also usually lack housing security. Even before the pandemic, 40 million U.S. households were paying over a third of their incomes for housing, and half a million people were living on the streets. In California the numbers are worse – renters make up almost half of the population of the state, and 55% of them are considered cost-burdened, with low-income people and people of color suffering the worst instability. It doesn’t have to be this way! We have enough housing units to safely house everyone!!!

Residents can’t follow Governor Newsom’s call to “Stay Home, Save Lives” if they don’t have a secure home, or if they fear future evictions or homelessness should they not be able to make their rental or mortgage payments. Current temporary eviction moratoriums without rental forgiveness will leave many facing insurmountable debts and will mean that any wages one is able to secure will be redirected to the real estate industry. We refuse to let this recovery be on our backs! Tenants, workers, houseless residents and families are standing together for Homes for All and a Debt Free Future!!

Hosts: Housing Rights Committee of SF, SF Tenants Union, Coalition on Homelessness, Jobs with Justice SF, SF Rising Alliance, Senior and Disability Action ,

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/247175096485928/?notif_t=plan_edited&notif_id=1588024100458760

Or

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2020/04/24/18832618.php

17. Friday, 3:00pm – 5:00pm, Workers Seize Power – Virtual International Workers Day

pre-register here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_p0RDu16oQuKIx38JvCHxEg

When you register you’ll be given a link unique to you. Please don’t share that link with others. Instead, share the pre-registration link above.

We’ll have a two part panel, starting at 3PM.
The first panel will feature Resource Speakers, offering info on resources for workers, housing, and health.
Confirmed speakers for this panel include: Mark Janowitz/East Bay Community Law Center on housing, Carole Vigne/Legal Aid at Work on labor, and Margaret Handley – Public health-trained epidemiologist (SFGH) on health.

The second panel at 4pm will be a panel discussion featuring organizers leading campaigns around prisons, detention centers, housing, labor and international solidarity.
Confirmed speakers include: Jose Bernal/Ella Baker Center on prisons, Barbara/Detention Watch Network on detention centers, Carroll Fife/ACCE Action on housing, Lucia Lin/ Young Workers United & Grassroots Asians Rising on labor, and Jenabi Pareja/Peoples Association of Workers and Immigrants (PAWIS) on International Solidarity.

We are offering simultaneous translation in:
Spanish
Arabic
Tagalog
Mandarin

Host Oakland Sin Fronteras

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/2675560309342990/

18. Friday, 5:00pm – 6:00pm, Friday Night Forums: International Lessons on Organizing

Zoom:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_3gpIfsZaR_CPe9GkvYaVCw

Rachel Herzing will be in conversation with Kali Akuno (Cooperation Jackson),  Zenei Cortez (National Nurses United) and Vijay Prashad (Tricontinental).

Hosts: The Red Nation, AROC, The Center for Political Education

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1553642318117753/?event_time_id=1553642328117752

Demand Grows for Biden to Address Tara Reade Allegations as Democrats Wrestle With #MeToo Hypocrisy

April 28, 2020 by Common Dreams

“Republicans already basically dismiss sexual assault allegations against their co-partisans out of hand; if Democrats do the same for the leader of their party it will do a great deal to move us back to the pre-#MeToo past.”

by Andrea Germanos, staff writer

 54 Comments

Then-Vice President Joe Biden listens to former President Barack Obama during a meeting in the Situation Room of the White House, Feb. 2, 2015. (Photo: Obama White House Flickr)

Then-Vice President Joe Biden listens to former President Barack Obama during a meeting in the Situation Room of the White House, Feb. 2, 2015. (Photo: Obama White House Flickr)

Former Vice President Joe Biden is facing a growing demand to address the credible sexual assault allegation made by former Senate staffer Tara Reade as the Democratic Party itself faces accusations of hypocrisy in terms of the #MeToo movement.

“We have reached a point where it is journalistic malpractice for anyone interviewing Biden to refuse to ask him about Tara Reade’s allegations, the mounting supporting evidence in her case and the numerous other allegations of his misconduct toward women,” author and The Intercept co-founder Jeremy Scahill tweeted on Tuesday.

The increased pressure on Biden and his party comes as new reporting this week and last further corroborated Reade’s account of the alleged 1993 attack, which Reade first detailed in full on journalist Katie Halper’s podcast last month.

While Biden’s presidential campaign has said the accusations are false, the deeper scrutiny into the case has made the silence of the candidate himself and many of his supporters all the more problematic for those in Democratic Party circles who in recent years have championed the #MeToo movement, which has as one of its central tenets the responsibility to take seriously such accusations by women against powerful men.

“This happened, and I know it did because I remember talking about it,” Lynda LaCasse told Business Insider of the alleged attack.

LaCasse was Reade’s neighbor in the mid 1990s and told the Insider that Reade shared details of the event in question with her in 1995 or ’96.

“I remember her saying, here was this person that she was working for and she idolized him,” LaCasse told the outlet. “And he kind of put her up against a wall. And he put his hand up her skirt and he put his fingers inside her. She felt like she was assaulted, and she really didn’t feel there was anything she could do.”

Lorraine Sanchez, a former legislative staffer in Sen. Jack O’Connell’s office, also backed up Reade’s accusation.

“[Reade said] she had been sexually harassed by her former boss while she was in DC,” Sanchez told Insider, “and as a result of her voicing her concerns to her supervisors, she was let go, fired.”

Audio that resurfaced last week also backs up Reade’s claim. As Ryan Grim reported at The Intercept, Reade’s mother called in to “Larry King Live” on August 11, 1993 to talk about how her daughter had suffered at the hands of a powerful boss and had no recourse other than the press.

“My daughter has just left there, after working for a prominent senator, and could not get through with her problems at all, and the only thing she could have done was go to the press, and she chose not to do it out of respect for him,” said the anonymous woman, whom Reade confirmed to Grim was her mother.

With Biden now the presumptive nominee, the accusations have exposed a major obstacle for Democrats eager to defeat President Donald Trump—himself accused by dozens of women of sexual harassment and assault.

Writing for The Cut, journalist Rebecca Traister said the entire situation is a “grievous mess,” one that has put Democratic women and other feminists in a nearly impossible position.

Now that he is the presumptive choice, [Biden] may in fact be the only presidential bulwark against Donald Trump, who is both murderous and incompetent and whose reelection would lead to further cataclysmic collapse of our environment, health-care system, courts, and democracy, with fatal results that will redound more negatively to women than to men and most negatively of all to women with the fewest resources. In the fight to prevent this, Biden and his campaign will be calling on women — especially the women who have challenged him in the past, including on feminist grounds—to help him build support by rallying other women around him. That rallying will now have to entail somehow papering over the disgust and dismay provoked by multiple allegations of inappropriate touching and alleged assault made against yet another would-be president.

Traister specifically tackles the issue of what the accusations will mean for Biden’s pick for vice president—who he said will be a woman—but others said the implications go beyond that for the Democratic presumptive nominee:

Sarah Jones, writing for the Intelligencer on Monday, noted that as “corroborative evidence for Reade’s account begins to mount, Democratic voters find themselves in an unpalatable situation” just as the general election begins in earnest.

“Topping the ticket of one party is Donald Trump, who has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by over two dozen women,” explained Jones. “On the other side is Biden, whose handling of the Anita Hill hearing and previous support for the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of public funds for abortion, already made him a difficult candidate for some women to support.”

In his Monday column for The Week, Ryan Cooper argued that the whole debacle has exposed serious hypocrisy among Democratic supporters who championed #MeToo, many of them now ignoring or explaining away allegations against their candidate after raising uproar when it was Trump or Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh facing similar charges.

“Now Democrats are set to blow a hole in the movement with their probable nomination of former Vice President Joe Biden for president,” wrote Cooper.

The progress gained by the feminist movement will “be grossly undermined if Democrats choose to look past Biden’s allegations for political reasons,” Cooper argued. “Republicans already basically dismiss sexual assault allegations against their co-partisans out of hand; if Democrats do the same for the leader of their party it will do a great deal to move us back to the pre-#MeToo past, when far too many people looked the other way at abuses committed by powerful politicians. One cannot create a broad political norm against sexual misconduct if the issue becomes a partisan football for both parties.”

At 3:00 pm ET on Tuesday, Biden is hosting a virtual town hall on the subject of Covid-19’s specific impact on women.

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‘Demoralizing’ New Michael Moore Film Attacks Climate Movement at a Time When Solutions Should be at the Forefront, Say Critics

April 28, 2020 by Common Dreams

“Throughout, the filmmakers twist basic facts, misleading the public about who is responsible for the climate crisis.”

by Eoin Higgins, staff writer

 137 Comments

The new film from Michael Moore is coming under fire from climate activists.

The new film from Michael Moore is coming under fire from climate activists. (Photo: POTH/publicity still)

A new film produced by documentarian Michael Moore is angering environmental activists who say filmmaker Jeff Gibbs plays fast and loose with the facts, attacks the wrong targets, and even ends up arguing for ecofascist solutions to the climate crisis.

“Throughout, the filmmakers twist basic facts, misleading the public about who is responsible for the climate crisis,” wrote University of California Santa Barbara professor Leah Stokes of the film for Vox.

“We are used to climate science misinformation campaigns from fossil fuel corporations,” she continued. “But from progressive filmmakers? That’s new.”

In “Planet of the Humans” (POTH), Gibbs focuses on what he sees as the false promises of renewable, green energy solutions to the climate crisis and a dismissal of the climate activist movement as the hurdles for decisive action to address the crisis.

Climate science writer Ketan Joshi, in a scathing review of the film, wrote that the film’s “outright lies about wind and solar are serious and extremely harmful.”

“Wind and solar aren’t just technological tools with enormous potential for decarbonization,” wrote Joshi. “They also have massive potential to be owned by communities, deployed at small scales with minimal environmental harm, and removed with far less impact on where they were than large power stations like coal and gas. They do incredible things to electricity bills, they decentralize power (literally and figuratively), and with more work they can be scaled up to properly replace fossil fuels.”

Heated newsletter writer Emily Atkin, in a post enumerating questions on the film for Gibbs and Moore, wondered why POTH avoids backing up its claims on energy.

“This movie repeatedly claims that humans are better off burning fossil fuels than using renewable energy,” said Atkin. “But it also fails to cite any peer-reviewed science on lifecycle emissions, which show the cumulative impact of different renewable energy sources. Why?”

In a more disturbing move, Gibbs promotes population control as the best answer to the warming of the planet. 

“There’s a reason that Breitbart and other conservative voices aligned with climate denial and fossil fuel companies have taken a shine to the film,” Earther‘s Brian Kahn wrote last week. “It’s because it ignores the solution of holding power to account and sounds like a racist dog whistle.”

That sentiment was echoed by Joshi, who noted that the film’s emphasis on prioritizing white American voices was in line with its argument on population control.

“The film features a parade of—solely—white Americans, mostly male, insisting the planet has to reduce its population,” wrote Joshi. “There is no information provided on which people in the world need to stop fucking, but we can take a guess, based on the demographics of the people doing the asking.”

Films for Action, in a post on POTH, said that while questions of population growth are “complicated,” the movie’s proposal of poulation degrowth does not acknowledge those complexities.

“It’s true we can’t keep growing forever, in the same way we can’t keep consuming the Earth forever, but in high-consumption countries, populations are already declining, and in areas where populations are still growing, the ‘impact on Earth’ is still low compared to the impact of ‘rich’ nations,” the group wrote. “The truth is, pinning our problems on population lets industrial capitalism off the hook—what Daniel Quinn called the culture of maximum harm.”

POTH has also been criticized for its treatment of climate activists. As Stokes wrote for Vox, the timing of such an argument seems counterproductive to solving the climate crisis. 

“Perhaps the most insulting thing is that this film comes at a time when the youth climate movement is finally gaining momentum,” wrote Stokes. “Young women like Greta Thunberg and Varshini Prakash have helped climate change break into the mainstream. Rather than bolster the work of the Sunrise Movement, Fridays for Future, or Zero Hour, it undermines these activists’ achievements by sowing confusion and doubt.”

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Here’s How to Cover Uninsured Americans During the Pandemic

April 28, 2020 by Politico

Empowering Medicare to cover our health needs is comprehensive and cost-effective.

by Bernie Sanders

 24 Comments

For the duration of this crisis, under the act, Medicare will cover all medically necessary health care, including prescription drugs, for the uninsured, whether those who have recently lost their jobs or those who have been long without insurance. (Photo: Sally Prevost/flickr/cc)

For the duration of this crisis, under the act, Medicare will cover all medically necessary health care, including prescription drugs, for the uninsured, whether those who have recently lost their jobs or those who have been long without insurance. (Photo: Sally Prevost/flickr/cc)

As the coronavirus continues to spread, and the United States climbs closer to 1 million cases and nearly 60,000 deaths, we face an unprecedented economic and health care crisis that demands an unprecedented response. While we work toward an economic solution that keeps people on the payroll, Washington is also in the midst of a crucial argument over how to help cover the costs of testing, treatment and all other essential care for the millions of people who are now uninsured or soon will be as the country faces record levels of job loss. This pandemic makes even more clear that we are all only as safe as the least-insured in our country.

Last week, the White House said it would give an unspecified amount of federal aid directly to hospitals to cover the costs of treating uninsured Covid-19 patients, but details have not been released, and the proposal leaves out all non-Covid-19—but still crucial—medical care. The week before, a handful of Democrats proposed spending hundreds of billions of dollars on expanding subsidies for COBRA—the program that allows those who have lost their jobs to continue, on a temporary basis, paying out-of-pocket for the health insurance coverage they received from their previous employer.

Under this proposal, everyone in the United States, regardless of insurance coverage or immigration status, would be able to walk into a doctor’s office to receive the care they need without worrying about the cost.But there’s another, better way to guarantee that everyone in America gets all the health care they need, without cost, for the duration of the pandemic: Empower Medicare to pay all of the health care costs for the uninsured, as well as all out-of-pocket expenses for those with existing public or private insurance, for as long as this pandemic continues. Our Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act is more comprehensive than Trump’s vague proposal and less expensive than the Democrats’ COBRA expansion.Let’s be clear: Even before this crisis began, 87 million Americans were uninsured or underinsured—struggling to get to a doctor when they needed to. Now the situation is much worse.

There is no doubt that the health care crisis we are facing right now is an emergency. Already, an estimated 9.2 million workers have lost their employer-sponsored insurance, and as many as 35 million people might lose coverage by the end of the crisis. Meanwhile, the cost of hospital treatment for the coronavirus amounts to tens of thousands of dollars, and patients struggling with the disease are desperately worried that they cannot afford treatment or might go bankrupt if they get it. To make matters worse, some of the communities hit hardest by the coronavirus, such as the undocumented, largely do not have any health insurance coverage at all.

Yet, unbelievably, in the midst of this horrific pandemic, Republicans in Congress have only continued their cruel and single-minded focus on repealing the Affordable Care Act. Further, Republican governors, like Greg Abbott in Texas, continue to fight against Medicaid expansion, leaving many of the most vulnerable people in their states desperate and sick.

While almost all Democrats understand the severity of the crisis and the need to act, too many of them are proposing a totally inadequate response that would simply lock in place the dysfunction and waste of our current health care system.Subsidizing COBRA, as they have suggested, would be both expensive and ineffective: Not only would health insurance corporations make massive profits off the plan—profits that come at the cost of the American taxpayer—but it would still leave tens of millions uninsured or underinsured. And during this pandemic, a lack of insurance means more Covid-19 transmissions and more deaths.

Expanding COBRA during the pandemic would do nothing to cover those who already lacked insurance. It also won’t help the many Americans who continue to receive employer-provided health care but are still prevented from going to the doctor by massive deductibles and co-pays. In fact, the average family with employer-provided insurance faces $4,700 in out-of-pocket costs every year. The deductible alone for the average low-income worker is $2,600 a year. Maintaining the status quo does nothing to address these extraordinary costs, made worse during the pandemic economy.

Further, COBRA subsidies will only cement the inequities of our current health insurance system. Right now, low-wage workers are, on average, enrolled in plans with low premiums but higher deductibles. On the other hand, higher-wage employees, often professionals, have platinum plans with much higher premiums and far superior coverage. Expanding COBRA, which subsidizes only premiums, would treat high-income workers who lose their jobs far better than low-wage workers who do, even though the latter have suffered the brunt of the economic damage wrought by the pandemic.

The Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act would treat all people equally. For the duration of this crisis, under the act, Medicare will cover all medically necessary health care, including prescription drugs, for the uninsured, whether those who have recently lost their jobs or those who have been long without insurance. It is simply irresponsible and dangerous to the public to allow millions of people in this country to go without health coverage as a pandemic rips through our communities.

Medicare, under our plan, would also temporarily cover the copays, deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs for all medically necessary health care for those who are already insured. Here is how this simple and efficient plan would work: When people go to the hospital or doctor, they provide their insurance information. If they have insurance, their provider will bill Medicare for the out-of-pocket costs; if the individual is uninsured, the provider will bill Medicare for the entire cost of care. The patient will not be forced to pay any bills for their treatment.

This proposal would prevent insurance companies from decreasing coverage and ban surprise billing so patients don’t get unexpected charges later. It would also prevent price gouging by pharmaceutical companies by making sure the government pays the same lower price for prescription drugs as the Veterans Health Administration.

Allowing Medicare to cover out-of-pocket health care expenses during the pandemic isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s actually less expensive for taxpayers because, unlike COBRA, the government would not be covering the cost of expensive monthly premiums to insurance corporations.

The numbers make this clear. If 35 million Americans lose their employer-provided coverage, as estimated by Health Management Associates, subsidizing premiums to health insurance corporations through COBRA would cost $157 billion over four months, or as much as $472 billion over a year. And even then, these figures don’t include the outrageously high deductibles that many people would still have to pay. Meanwhile, the conservative Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that allowing Medicare to cover out-of-pocket expenses for everyone would cost around $150 billion over four months, or only $400 billion over a year. In other words, the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act provides comprehensive coverage to far more Americans while saving taxpayers money.

The American people deserve a health care response to the pandemic that’s simple, easy to understand and doesn’t require them to fill out complicated forms or deal with an already stressed bureaucracy in order to receive care. Under this proposal, everyone in the United States, regardless of insurance coverage or immigration status, would be able to walk into a doctor’s office to receive the care they need without worrying about the cost.

At a time when many American families are waiting hours in food lines and are often unable to afford groceries, whatever amount of money is left in their pocket must be saved for the basic needs of their families, not exorbitant health care bills. When so many of our people are struggling economically and are terrified by the possibility of becoming sick with the coronavirus, the government must take the burden of health care costs off the backs of working people. The Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act would do just that.

© 2020 Politico

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006 after serving 16 years in the House of Representatives. He is the longest serving independent member of Congress in American history. Elected Mayor of Burlington, Vt., by 10 votes in 1981, he served four terms. Before his 1990 election as Vermont’s at-large member in Congress, Sanders lectured at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and at Hamilton College in upstate New York. Read more at his website. Follow him on Twitter: @SenSanders or @BernieSanders