(8PM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)
Despite the system trying to project an aura of unflinching omnipotence, I believe it is actually extraordinarily sensitive, even fragile. Thus it took 10’s of 1,000’s of dead in Vietnam to bring down Lyndon Johnson, but Bush went psychotic over there being any pictures of coffins coming home from Iraq.
Likewise, they greatly fear the images of the homeless. It’s fascinating how many Republicans have voted for extensions.
But the Democrats tried hard to bury the lack of a Tier 5 for unemployment benefits (benefits beyond 99 weeks). Any one of “our” good liberals could have made news by addressing the issue. Obama could have talked about the country’s commitment to the victims of the depression. Instead, the headlines all bragged that Congress had extended benefits, they were going to take care of the long-term unemployed, yakked about benefits to the end of this year, yay Congress. No details. This was deliberate, to prevent us from building momentum to help the 99’ers (those about to lose their benefits after the 99 week max).
Now Wall Street guy Chuck Schumer is talking about pushing for additional benefits. Per Huffington, “Once I ensure that every New Yorker receives the full 99 weeks to which they are entitled, I will work with my colleagues to create a fifth tier of benefits. More than 25,000 New Yorkers have exhausted the full 99 weeks of benefits and I am committed to providing them further relief.” (The state says the number is 57,000, but who’s counting?)
Did Chuck just have a compassion attack? Not exactly.
Just a few weeks ago, a woman going by the name Palidinette created a Facebook group called Now: Jobless / Next: Homeless. It has quickly grown to over 600 members. They have taken on a campaign, including Unemployed Marchinthestreets and MAYDAY SOS FAX RESUMES TO WASHINGTON for Tier 5.
There has been discussion on these pages of whether the poor could be organized. So far, I’d have to say that this is happening on a small scale, but shows the possibility. I suspect there is more happening that I am unaware of. One question is whether this can hold together beyond the Tier 5 fight. This is where the blogosphere can come into play. It didn’t initiate this campaign. That happened as the result of folks on the ground. But the blogosphere can play a major role in making it snowball.
The unemployed need all the help (and hope) you can give them.