Inequality and the social crisis

Pandemic and Tory government measures having brutal impact on London’s disadvantaged young people

By Harvey Thompson and Charlotte Salthill, 14 July 2020

The report notes, “Families who were already enduring hard, challenging lives have had to survive lockdown in the most appalling circumstances.”

Puerto Rico declares emergency as drought leaves nearly 150,000 residents without water

By Julio Patron, 13 July 2020

A lack of consistent running water will make it more difficult for frequent handwashing to limit the spread of the coronavirus which has already infected thousands on the island.

Chancellor Sunak announces end of UK jobs furlough and rolls out cheap labour scheme

By Robert Stevens, 10 July 2020

Sunak’s declaration that “we can’t protect every job” is the understatement of the century. Companies are announcing thousands of redundancies every day amid warnings of unemployment reaching 5 million by next year.

As it charts depths of economic crisis

OECD pushes for cuts in assistance for jobless

By Nick Beams, 9 July 2020

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development says that up to 10 times fewer hours have been worked in some countries as compared with the first months of the 2008 financial crisis.

Melbourne public housing residents condemn Australian police lockdown

By Martin Scott and Oscar Grenfell, 9 July 2020

“Instead of nurses, doctors and social workers, they send us the police, which gives the wrong message among the community.”

UK: Coronavirus exposes Leicester’s sweatshops and government hypocrisy

By Thomas Scripps, 8 July 2020

Government ministers have struck a pose of outrage at a situation they have ignored for years and want to replicate across the country.

As cutoff of $600 weekly benefit and wave of evictions loom, Congress takes a holiday

By Shannon Jones, 7 July 2020

The $600 weekly federal supplement to unemployment benefits is set to expire July 25, while moratoriums on evictions have already expired in 20 states.

Illinois and Chicago offer paltry COVID-19 assistance program to residents

By Brian Green, 7 July 2020

As unemployment skyrockets, Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker and Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot push a return to work and COVID-19 relief programs too small to address desperately needed assistance among workers.

Millions in the US face catastrophe as federal unemployment relief set to expire amid surging pandemic

By Kevin Reed, 4 July 2020

The combined economic impact of the raging pandemic and the imminent cutoff of $600 weekly federal assistance is leading to a social catastrophe for millions across the US.

As pandemic spread accelerates

Wall Street celebrates biggest quarterly surge in more than 20 years

By Nick Beams, 2 July 2020

In the course of less than three months, the actions of the Fed—its reduction of interest rates to zero and purchases of debt across the board, including junk bonds—have put $7.1 trillion into the hands of stock investors and speculators.

“It’s eugenics by the back door”

UK disability campaigner Doug Paulley speaks on coronavirus pandemic

By Alice Summers, 30 June 2020

Doug has recently been involved in legal action opposing the use of “scoring” systems to deny ventilator treatment to the sick, disabled and elderly.

The poor in Germany have a higher risk of falling sick from COVID-19

By Elisabeth Zimmermann, 30 June 2020

The poorest people in Germany, including the long-term unemployed and recipients of Hartz IV social welfare, have an 84 percent higher risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19 and requiring hospitalization.

New report exposes staggering level of social inequality in Canada

By Louis Girard, 30 June 2020

Revealing the oligarchic character of Canadian society, the report found that the top one percent of Canadians own as much as the poorest 80 percent of the population.

Worker opposition grows as coronavirus spirals out of control

By Andre Damon, 30 June 2020

Six months after the world first learned of COVID-19, workers across the globe are going on strike to demand measures to stop the rampant spread of the disease.

New York City officials accused of undercounting and mismanagement after dozens of homeless COVID-19 deaths reported

By Sam Dalton, 27 June 2020

A new report gives an insight into the consequences of the city authorities’ malign neglect as the virus spread amongst the homeless in the center of global finance.

Another 1.5 million US workers file for jobless benefits

By Jerry White, 26 June 2020

The US Labor Department recorded a record fourteenth week in a row in which the number applying for unemployment aid topped one million.

General Motors lays off 680 workers and eliminates third shift at its Spring Hill, Tennessee plant

By Zac Thorton, 26 June 2020

The company has filed a 60-day notice of mass layoffs as sales decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Australian unions support Queensland Labor government’s public sector wage freeze

By Gary Alvernia, 26 June 2020

The pay “deferral” sets a new precedent for exploiting the COVID-19 emergency to intensify the ongoing corporate and government attack on the living and working conditions of workers.

Joblessness reaches Great Depression levels in Australia

By Mike Head, 20 June 2020

The rate of youth unemployment and underemployment would be a staggering 48 percent if everyone who had lost their job was counted.

Nearly 24,000 Ohioans told to return unemployment payments

By Isaac Finn, 16 June 2020

State authorities demanded that thousands of workers give back “overpaid benefits” they have received since the start of the economic crisis sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This government has decided that disabled people are better off dead”

UK disability campaigners speak out on coronavirus pandemic

By Alice Summers, 16 June 2020

The WSWS spoke to disability rights campaigners last weekend about the impact of coronavirus pandemic and the Johnson government’s “herd immunity” policy on the lives of disabled people.

White House demands end to $600 per week emergency unemployment pay

By Andre Damon, 16 June 2020

The Trump administration’s plan to cut unemployment assistance in July is a naked ploy to force workers back into factories that are hotbeds of COVID-19.

Detroit literacy case ends with no legal precedent for the right to an education

By J. Cooper, 15 June 2020

The US Sixth District Court of Appeals allowed the settlement of the “right to read” case in Detroit to stand while vacating the legal precedent.

Three years since the Grenfell fire: Collaboration with Grenfell Tower Inquiry must end!

By Robert Stevens, 15 June 2020

Hundreds of thousands of people still go to bed every night in unsafe buildings, with thousands in the “high-risk” category.

Classical musicians face unprecedented challenges amid COVID-19 pandemic

By Fred Mazelis, 15 June 2020

The New York Philharmonic and other orchestras are canceling performances for the rest of this year.

The paradox of the Wall Street surge

By Nick Beams, 10 June 2020

The rise of the market, taking place in the midst of the greatest health crisis in a century, stands in stark contrast to the underlying real economy.

Trump hails dubious May jobless report to boost stock market, back-to-work drive

By Shannon Jones, 6 June 2020

An unexpected decline in the unemployment rate in May is being used by the White House to declare the pandemic-fueled economic crisis over.

New US weekly unemployment claims near 2 million as foreclosures, hunger loom

By Shannon Jones, 5 June 2020

The economic meltdown triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic is evolving into a deep and long economic slump.

Australia: NSW government pushes public sector wage freeze

By Martin Scott, 5 June 2020

The government is now asking the Industrial Relations Commission to deny nurses, teachers, paramedics, and other essential workers a promised 2.5 percent wage increase.

Tennessee government to stop sharing information on known COVID-19 infections

By Warren Duzak, 2 June 2020

The Republican governor Bill Lee’s decision will place first responders such as paramedics, police and social workers at risk of catching the deadly infection.

Australia’s richest “Top 20” soar further in wealth during pandemic

By Mike Head, 2 June 2020

The results illustrate the immense concentration of wealth since governments bailed out the financial elite after the 2008–09 economic breakdown.

After ignoring migrant workers’ plight, the Indian Supreme Court now acknowledges unfolding social tragedy

By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 30 May 2020

The court’s intervention reflects concerns fear by India’s legal authorities that mounting mass anger will erupt against the entire capitalist elite and its state.

“When push comes to shove to make cuts, education is on the cut list.”

Massachusetts school district gets rid of art, music and PE teachers for coming school year

By Will McCalliss, 30 May 2020

The drastic cuts at Randolph and Brookline schools are a foretaste of what will befall many districts, teachers and students across the US.

Trinity Health to terminate psychiatric beds in Massachusetts in midst of pandemic

By Ben Oliver, 30 May 2020

If approved by the state, the closure will eliminate 74 beds for adults, the elderly, and children, along with 202 jobs.

Pandemic intensifies social crisis in New Zealand

By Tom Peters, 30 May 2020

More than a third of the population is in financial difficulty, as the Ardern Labour Party-led coalition government presides over tens of thousands of job cuts.

New York governor exempts nursing home operators from criminal liability after taking millions from the industry

By Philip Guelpa, 29 May 2020

Governor Andrew Cuomo took millions in donations from hospital and nursing home executives and then protected them from responsibility for deadly criminal actions regarding COVID-19.

Child poverty and hunger set to spike in Puerto Rico

By Alberto Escalera, 29 May 2020

Even before the pandemic, the island was reeling from a decade-long economic recession, chronically low labor force participation rates and a public debt crisis that served as a pretext for years of severe austerity policies.

UK: students charged rent, threatened with eviction during coronavirus pandemic

By Peter Reydt and Laura Tiernan, 28 May 2020

Eighty percent of students are worried about how they will cope financially. Even before the pandemic, soaring rents were creating social distress.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans face homelessness during pandemic as states begin lifting restrictions on evictions

By Trévon Austin, 26 May 2020

Across the US, moratoriums on eviction proceedings and home foreclosures, set in place during the onset of the pandemic, have either been lifted or are set to expire early next month.

The global pandemic and global war on immigrants and refugees

By Bill Van Auken, 26 May 2020

As with attacks on the working class as a whole and the drive to war, capitalist ruling classes the world over have responded to the pandemic by intensifying the brutal assault on migrant workers.

US juvenile detention centers record 474 COVID-19 cases

By Sam Dalton, 25 May 2020

As more information about COVID-19’s effects on minors emerges, the virus’s unchecked spread in the juvenile prison population is leading to deadly consequences.

UK local councils face financial collapse due to pandemic

By Dennis Moore, 23 May 2020

Social care spending could face a shortfall of £3.5 billion, placing up to 225,000 adult social care places at risk in the coming year.

Central Michigan residents speak on dam failures that sparked historic flooding

By Luke Galvin, 23 May 2020

The flooding has displaced over 10,000 residents and washed out multiple bridges and roads, forcing many to gather at emergency shelters.

The US opioid crisis in the era of COVID-19

By Katy Kinner, 23 May 2020

According to a report from the American Medical Association, over 20 states have reported an increase in opioid-related mortality since the official declaration of the pandemic.

Wealth of US billionaires soars as pandemic expands, nearly 40 million unemployed

By Niles Niemuth, 23 May 2020

The class logic at play in the homicidal push to reopen the US economy before the spread of the coronavirus has been controlled is becoming increasingly clear.

US unemployment claims approach 40 million since March

By Niles Niemuth, 22 May 2020

According to some estimates, the real unemployment rate has already hit 22.5 percent, which is nearing levels reached during the depths of the Great Depression in 1933.

Chilean government violently represses demonstrations against hunger

By Mauricio Saavedra, 22 May 2020

The ultra-right government of Sebastian Piñera has responded to an outbreak of hunger protests across Chile with repression and mass arrests

The economic impact of the pandemic on young workers in Wayne County, Michigan

By Helen Halyard and Kevin Reed, 22 May 2020

The WSWS spoke with Karissa, 27, about her experiences over the past eight weeks since she and her fiancé lost their jobs when the coronavirus pandemic hit the Detroit area.

Australian unions back pay cuts for fast food workers

By Oscar Grenfell, 22 May 2020

The attack on some of the lowest-paid workers, on the pretext of the coronavirus pandemic, is a precedent for a broader pro-business restructuring.

Coronavirus infections surging in German refugee shelters

By Martin Kreickenbaum, 21 May 2020

The forced placement of refugees in large communal accommodation facilities exposes many people whose health is weakened to a deadly risk.

World Health Organisation warns pandemic could “turn the clock back” on other killer diseases in Africa

By Stephan McCoy, 21 May 2020

The WHO has predicted that some quarter of a billion Africans will become infected with COVID-19 and as many as 190,000 will die within the first year of the pandemic.

Almost no US prisoners have been released since the beginning of the pandemic

By Sam Dalton, 21 May 2020

Despite highly publicized executive orders, only a handful of inmates have been released from jails and prisons across the US even as 100,000 inmates are projected to die from COVID-19.

Australia: Twelve fast food outlets closed in Melbourne after coronavirus outbreak

By Martin Scott, 21 May 2020

Around 1,000 McDonald’s workers have been stood down, and hundreds are in self-isolation.

Sunday Times Rich Listers receive billions in UK government handouts

By Simon Whelan, 20 May 2020

The pandemic has exposed how those buccaneers of the “free market” are happy to claim government welfare.

Millions of Americans, including front-line workers’ families, face loss of employer-sponsored health insurance in pandemic

By Alex Johnson, 19 May 2020

The families of health care workers, first responders and other workers deemed essential who have died from COVID-19 now face the prospect of losing their health coverage due to the cut-off of their loved ones’ employer-sponsored insurance.

NHS management said elderly would “have to die” in care homes

By Robert Stevens and John Stryder, 19 May 2020

Official statistics show that around 10,000 people have died in the UK’s care homes, but the real figure is at least double that.

Brazilian police massacre 13 in brutal operation in Rio de Janeiro

By Tomas Castanheira, 19 May 2020

“Instead of sending doctors and nurses to protect the residents from COVID-19, the government sends police, armored vehicles and helicopters to kill us.”

Canada: Quebec government advocates hiring children to disinfect daycare centres amid coronavirus pandemic

By Laurent Lafrance, 19 May 2020

Faced with a shortage of childcare staff, Quebec’s CAQ government is advocating their replacement by teenagers as young as 14, thus threatening to expose them to the potentially lethal coronavirus.

Prices for basic foods soar in the US as pandemic disrupts supply chains

By Alex Findijs, 16 May 2020

Grocery prices in the country rose 2.6 percent in April, the largest increase in a single month since 1974.

Australian governments exploit mass unemployment to coerce workers into unsafe workplaces

By Mike Head, 16 May 2020

Nearly half a million workers dropped out of the workforce in April, yet unemployment and underemployment still reached a record total of 19.9 percent.

Elon Musk and the economics of class war

By Evan Blake, 13 May 2020

With his decision to illegally restart production at Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California, Musk is forcing 10,000 workers to return to work under unsafe conditions.

Rising number of COVID-19 deaths in Germany’s retirement and care homes

By Elisabeth Zimmermann, 12 May 2020

As the German government is effectively ending its coronavirus lockdown, reports about people dying of COVID-19 in retirement and care homes are increasing.

UK COVID-19 death rate far higher in working class

By Simon Whelan, 12 May 2020

Millions of workers employed in what the ONS terms “elementary” jobs, including cleaners and low-skilled construction workers, had the highest risk of death.

As unemployment soars to Depression-era levels, Canada’s unions endorse reckless back-to-work drive

By Roger Jordan, 12 May 2020

Nearly 7.6 million workers—equivalent to one-third of the country’s total labour force—have applied for the federal government’s meagre, temporary Canadian Emergency Response Benefit.

Over 5 million live in families with hungry children since UK lockdown

By Harvey Singh, 11 May 2020

Before the lockdown, schools provided the threads of a safety net for struggling families through free school meals and breakfast clubs.

Homeless face desperation on London streets amid lockdown

By Charles Hixson, 9 May 2020

Those remaining on London’s streets face increased deprivation, as normal sources of food from distributors and food kitchens have gone.

COVID-19 cases skyrocket among the US homeless population

By Renae Cassimeda, 9 May 2020

Infection rates are rising among the homeless, many of whom are dying in the shadows and will not be counted in the COVID death toll.

Depression USA

By Joseph Kishore—SEP candidate for US president, 9 May 2020

The social desperation of millions of people in the United States is being used by the ruling class to compel a return to work amidst the expanding coronavirus pandemic.

Mass joblessness deepens in US as corporations move to implement permanent layoffs

By Shannon Jones, 8 May 2020

The official unemployment rate now stands at 14.7 percent, itself a significant underestimate of the scale of joblessness, as millions of families are confronting food insecurity.

Over 40 percent of mothers with children ages 12 and under are now food insecure in the US

By Kevin Reed, 7 May 2020

The Hamilton Project, a Washington, DC policy think-tank, has published survey results that show dramatic increases in hunger in households across the US.

Deaths surge in UK care homes

By Stephen Alexander, 7 May 2020

Data based on death notifications directly from care homes recorded 6,391 COVID-19 fatalities between April 10 and May 1.

Nearly half of Australia’s young hospitality workers lose their jobs

By Mike Head, 7 May 2020

Despite the biggest government handouts to big business in history, almost 1 million people were made jobless in just five weeks.

Coronavirus, the NHS and the charity shakedown

By Julie Hyland, 6 May 2020

Social care provision in the UK increasingly resembles that of the Victorian period when the lives and wellbeing of millions depended on philanthropy.

British government bailout for big business: An act of robbery

By Richard Tyler, 6 May 2020

While the FTSE 100 index plummeted in early March, losing over 2,000 points, it has already gained 1,000 points since the injection of vast sums of public money into the private sector.

Pandemic exposes inherent flaws in capitalist food production

By Alex Findijs, 6 May 2020

The inefficiencies of capitalist food production have generated mass amounts of waste and put thousands of workers at risk of dying from COVID-19.

Layoffs and corporate bankruptcies spread as US workers face mounting hardship

By Shannon Jones, 5 May 2020

Job cuts are sweeping the US as major manufacturers join retailers in announcing long-term layoffs.

“They are sucking the lifeblood out of us”

Millions of Americans cannot pay their rent

By Kayla Costa, 4 May 2020

On May 1, millions of Americans were not able to pay their rent due to the dire social crisis sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic, opening up a housing crisis in which many working class families face a future of debt, eviction and homelessness.

Furloughed workers face hunger in New Jersey, America’s second-wealthiest state

By Erik Schreiber, 4 May 2020

The shuttering of workplaces in New Jersey, an epicenter of the pandemic, has forced workers with little savings to join mile-long lines for food assistance.

As southwestern states begin to reopen

Navajo Nation COVID-19 cases rise while emergency federal aid remains delayed

By Evan Cohen, 2 May 2020

Endemic impoverishment and a lack of critical infrastructure imposed on Native Americans by Washington have contributed to some of the worst coronavirus infection rates in the country.

Trump blocks federal funeral aid to families of COVID-19 victims

By Jacob Crosse, 2 May 2020

While $45 billion has been allocated to the Federal Emergency Management Agency through the CARES Act, a memo from Trump bans the agency giving burial funds to thousands of victims.

Argentine unions and employers agree to wage cuts pushing millions into poverty

By Rafael Azul, 2 May 2020

More than a million workers will face hunger and poverty while businesses get massive subsidies.

Amid back-to-work drive and state reopenings

US government prepares for hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 deaths

By Patrick Martin, 2 May 2020

Press inquiries have found that the federal government is ordering enough body bags for at least five times the current US death toll.

999 Crisis in US over rent payment and rent strike

2 May 2020

As US unemployment reaches Great Depression levels, millions still unable to obtain assistance

By Shannon Jones, 1 May 2020

With the official jobless rate expected to reach 20 percent, millions find they cannot get state unemployment benefits as overloaded systems crash.

Dozens of decaying corpses found piled in unrefrigerated trucks at New York City funeral home

By Philip Guelpa, 1 May 2020

More than 18,000 New York City residents have so far died from COVID-19, and the city’s ability to deal with the bodies is at the breaking point.

US citizens married to undocumented immigrants denied stimulus checks

By Meenakshi Jagadeesan, 1 May 2020

A provision in the CARES Act prohibits stimulus checks from being sent to couples if one of them has used an individual tax ID number in jointly-filed returns.

Aid group warns of 3.2 million COVID-19 deaths, 1 billion infections in war-torn countries

By Bill Van Auken, 30 April 2020

The threat of massive fatalities is the legacy of decades of US imperialist wars that have ravaged entire societies, from Afghanistan, to Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen.

Food banks face supply and volunteer shortages as mass hunger rises in the US

By Alex Johnson, 30 April 2020

The staggering rise in joblessness and wage reductions have driven underfunded charitable food services to the brink due to an explosion in need.

Family members protest amid six more deaths at Australian aged care home

By Mike Head, 30 April 2020

The outbreak underscores the danger of a new wave of COVID-19 infections as governments and business chiefs step up their drive for a premature return to work.

As millions face destitution gravy train continues for US auto execs

By Shannon Jones, 29 April 2020

General Motors CEO Mary Barra was among the top 20 highest paid executives in 2019 with Ford and Fiat Chrysler execs not far behind.

The Great Wall Street Heist of 2020

By Joseph Kishore—SEP candidate for US president, 28 April 2020

2020 will go down not only as the year of the coronavirus pandemic but also as the year of the greatest act of thievery and plunder yet perpetrated by the corporate and financial oligarchy.

Estimated £515 monthly loss to UK households due to COVID-19 the tip of the iceberg

By Julia Callaghan, 27 April 2020

Households will suffer an overall £43 billion loss—equating to a 17 percent reduction in monthly household disposable income.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell calls for states to declare bankruptcy and gut pensions

By Barry Grey, 25 April 2020

Declaring bankruptcy would allow state governments to override laws and state constitutional provisions that guarantee the pension benefits of retired public workers.

US elderly care devastated by the profit system

By Isaac Finn, 25 April 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the failure of the American health care system, and the inability of the wealthiest country on Earth to take care of its elderly and infirm.

Henry Ford Health System lays off 2,800 as COVID-19 continues to ravage Detroit

By Kevin Reed, 25 April 2020

Following Beaumont Health, which laid off 2,475 employees and permanently eliminated 450 positions on Tuesday, HFHS told workers they were being put on temporary furlough.

COVID-19 pandemic pushes UK charity sector into crisis

By Ben Trent, 25 April 2020

Charities set to lose up to £4 billion over a 12-week period because of the coronavirus pandemic.

UK: Millions of pounds donated to the National Health Service as coronavirus crisis continues

By Alice Summers, 25 April 2020

A fundraising page for the NHS, set up by 99-year-old war veteran Captain Tom Moore, received overwhelming public support, raising more than £28 million in two weeks.

Los Angeles mayor releases plan for massive budget cutting and city worker furloughs

By Dan Conway, 25 April 2020

The cuts announced by the Democratic mayor herald an onslaught of similar measures in other US cities and states.

999 Las Vegas mayor to leave casino safety to the free market

25 April 2020

999 Daimler and VW boost production and demand tax billions

25 April 2020