The current coronavirus outbreak has created cascading issues for the working class in the United States — access to healthcare linked to increasingly precarious employment, inconsistent and insufficient paid sick leave, low wages and a lack of labor protections for essential employees, among so many other policy failures. It is clearer now than ever before that our predatory, capitalist system is actively harming the majority of people in our country. Our incompetent national leadership, more concerned with handing trillions of dollars to corporations than supporting the working class, will only exacerbate massive wealth inequality and tragic outcomes as the pandemic continues to unfold.
However, now is not the time for despair. We have an opportunity to advocate for our values as the general public becomes aware of just how broken our system is. As such, Denver DSA, [in partnership with Boulder, Ft. Collins, and Colorado Springs DSA Chapters,] present the following strategy to be adopted [statewide] until the conclusion of this crisis:
- Provide solidarity for those who have lost work and income due to the pandemic. Nearly 20,000 unemployment claims were filed in Colorado in only the first week of the stay at home order. We are providing support for workers filing unemployment, and helping those who seek to organize their workplaces for paid leave, protective equipment and hazard pay.
- Call for a cancellation of rent, mortgage, and utility payments and a suspension of evictions for the duration of the crisis. We are working to pressure our local, state, and federal representatives to support and enact these demands, provide shelter for Coloradans experiencing homelessness, and prevent evictions of those who have lost income due to the virus. We have also created a list of available resources for those needing housing support, and are aiding those organizing other tenants in their buildings.
Additionally, our Chapter[s] will pursue the following actions as part of our broader belief in shifting to an economic and political system that puts people over profit:
- Call for a statewide, not-for-profit, paid family and medical leave program. Now more than ever we are seeing the need for an equitable, universal paid family and medical leave program and mandatory paid sick days policy that puts the needs of workers first. We are pressuring Governor Polis and other state and local representatives to support a publicly funded program that does not give control to private insurance companies. We also have a collaborative guide document that outlines campaign action steps for those looking to join the coalition for a Paid Family & Medical Leave program.
- Partner with the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN) to call for the release of immunocompromised detainees at the GEO Group’s for-profit facility in Aurora. We are seeking sponsors for those released from detention to provide local community support for our undocumented comrades currently held in unsanitary and unsafe conditions.
- Join with the National DSA call for Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, debt forgiveness, and a COVID-19 response that puts people over profit. The United States continues to resist providing basic services for those living in this country that are standard in much of the rest of the world. We resist basic action to prevent catastrophic climate change, and are content to watch young adults drown in unsustainable debt. Our economy, as organized, seeks only to create profits for those at the very top. Now is the time to call for a bold reorganization of our economy, to shift from a profit-based economy to one that protects and serves the people.
We echo the sentiments of our National organization: “If there were ever a time for bold leadership not bound by the old ways of doing things, this is it. Right now, we have a choice. We can let Trump and the Democratic Party establishment have their way, pushing private corporations as the “saviors,” letting them turn a crisis into a profit-making opportunity while millions die. Or, we can come together in solidarity — to push back against the rich and powerful who use racism and xenophobia to divide us — and demand that the crisis be dealt with in the only humane way — with universal programs that guarantee basic needs as human rights, and pave the way to a more just society.”