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Jan 18, 22

This Is America #157: Protests in NYC as Eviction Moratorium Ends; Student Walkouts Spread Across US

Welcome, to This Is America, January 18th, 2022.

On this episode, we speak with a student involved in organizing ongoing strikes in the Oakland Unified School District. We talk about the spread of Omicron throughout schools, the impact of sickout actions by teachers, and how students began to self-organize to issue their own demands and push for schools to close as the variant has surged.

We then switch to our discussion, were we address the importance of the latest round of strikes, as they represent a direct response from below against current conditions which rejects the policies of both major corporate parties that are pushing for the re-opening of workplaces and schools at the expense of people’s lives.

All this and more, but first, let’s get to the news.

Living and Fighting

Protests by tenant unions and other organizations kicked off in New York, after a moratorium on evictions was not extended. Protesters hit the streets, people held rallies – burning their eviction notices, and banners were dropped demanding an end to evictions.

As Brooklyn Eviction Defense wrote in the Brooklyn Rail:

There are currently 223,883 eviction cases pending in New York City…Even if we were not still mired in a global pandemic that is killing millions with no conclusion in sight, even if that pandemic was not surging locally yet again, and even if we were not in the winter months when evictions are particularly devastating—the reopening of evictions would be a gruesome act…as all evictions are violence.

This is in no small part because the city’s conditions—its decrepit infrastructure, the policing of public transportation, the city’s wanton war on the poor and houseless, the ten year waitlist for NYCHA, the state of shelters…ensure that evictions are…an acceleration of enduring marginalization. The looming eviction crisis will be disproportionately black, brown, and made up of women—resuming legal evictions is genocidal class warfare.

Hunger Strike at Rikers Island

Since last Friday, hundreds of prisoners at Rikers Island have been on hunger strike:

…protesting conditions such as lack of medical care and access to other services that have persisted since last year due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic and a lack of staffing at city jails…over the past year more than a dozen inmates have died in custody, violence has increased and backlogs in the courts due to the pandemic have kept people behind bars for longer periods.

Repression Follows Park Protests in Asheville

According to the Asheville Blade:

Asheville police continue retaliation for camp eviction protests [and j]ust announced [the] arrests of 3 people. Claiming, absurdly, that art supplies in Aston Park counted as “felony littering”…

The arrests are in response to ongoing protests against contentious sweeps of houseless encampments in the city.

Walkouts Against Re-Opening of Schools Continue Across US

Mass walkouts continue across the US, as student organized strikes took place this week in Chicago, Boston and beyond. Students are demanding rapid testing kits, PPE, and a return to online-instruction in the face of the surging Omicron variant. See our updated roundup of worker and student actions here.

Rally Against AT&T for Role in Destruction of Atlanta Forest

In so-called Atlanta, GA, people protested AT&T and their role in funding the Cop City project which threatens to destroy the Atlanta Forest.

Resistance at Winnemucca Indian Colony Continues

Resistance at the Winnemucca Indian Colony continues, as land defenders remain committed to supporting elders who are fighting eviction and facing down a variety of forces, from law enforcement to local goons, attempting to remove them. Those on the ground can be supported here.

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photo: Chicago Free Media

music: Soundz of the South

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