Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Defying Trump and Their Governors, Many Workers Are Refusing to “Reopen”

Protests to go back to work, protests to keep from going back to work, tenants threaten rent strikes, landlords threat tax strikes, debt strikes, labor strikes…This is all starting to look kind of like pan-secessionism, actually. Everyone protests whatever they feel like protesting but withdraws consent from the system.

By William Rivers Pitt


he argument over whether or not to extend stay-at-home orders has reached a crescendo after weeks of COVID-19 cloistering — combined with scant assistance from the federal government — and left millions forced to choose between their money and their lives. Many people need cash after weeks without working; those people want and need to work, but many of those people don’t want to die for work.

If Congress and Donald Trump were to act with the powers at their disposal — a national testing program (finally!), serious and sustained financial assistance for more than large companies, ramped-up production of protective gear — those fears would not be nearly so acute. Likewise, if the federal government had acted months ago to contain this thing with speed and vigor, many of those fears would be allayed.

That is not the country we live in, however. The abject failure to contain COVID-19 has left us with only one option: “mitigation” — containing the damage through hand-washing, social distancing, mass closures of schools and businesses, stay-at-home orders, masks in public, and full self-quarantine if exposed. The other option — let the virus “burn through” and take the old and ill to their “natural conclusions” — is advocacy for mass murder in order to “save” the economy.


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