Capitalism and inequality

“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

Foodbank use soars across Canada, as 8 million apply for government aid

By Penny Smith, 24 April 2020

According to Food Banks Canada, demand has jumped 20 percent nationwide in recent few weeks and is expected to “keep going up and up and up.”

World Food Programme warns: COVID-19 pandemic will cause “famines of biblical proportions”

By Jean Shaoul, 23 April 2020

Hundreds of millions of people face starvation and millions could die as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unrest spreads in France in response to police brutality

By Will Morrow, 23 April 2020

While sparked by the latest act of wanton police violence, the riots are more fundamentally driven by popular anger over social inequality and the right-wing policies of the Macron administration.

Despite restrictions eviction notices still being delivered in New Orleans amid pandemic

By Aaron Murch, 23 April 2020

There have been multiple instances in New Orleans and around the country of landlords sending eviction notices as a bullying tactic to force out or squeeze rent payments from of poor and unemployed workers.

Merchants of death: Multibillion-dollar bailout for arms industry amid rising COVID-19 toll

By Bill Van Auken, 23 April 2020

Workers in arms plants, classified as “essential infrastructure,” have protested and struck against the coronavirus threat that confronts the entire working class amidst the drive for a return to work.

Hundreds line up to receive free food outside of Washington, D.C. area supermarkets

By Nick Barrickman, 20 April 2020

On Friday, hundreds of people from Maryland and Virginia lined up outside of local MegaMart supermarkets with the hope of obtaining free baskets of groceries to feed their families.

US rural hospitals close amid COVID-19 pandemic

By Gary Joad, 17 April 2020

Since 2010, 128 rural hospitals have closed, with 19 closures taking place last year alone.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos cashes in on coronavirus pandemic, adding $24 billion to his fortune

By Jacob Crosse, 16 April 2020

Never letting a good crisis go to waste, the financial oligarchy has used the COVID-19 pandemic to enrich itself at the expense of society.

Steep fall in US economy and worse is to come

By Nick Beams, 16 April 2020

Any notion that there will be a rapid economic recovery once the immediate effects of the pandemic pass is being dispelled.

The global elite seek their pandemic retreats

By Paul Bond, 15 April 2020

The rapacious quest for pandemic hideouts by the super-rich starkly demonstrates the waste of societal resources under capitalism.

Bolivia’s coup regime extends COVID-19 quarantine amid repression

By Cesar Uco and Don Knowland, 15 April 2020

In a recent speech, interim President Añez stressed that anyone who violates the quarantine will face the “active participation of the Armed Forces and the National Police.”

World economy to take biggest hit since Great Depression

By Nick Beams, 15 April 2020

The IMF’s “baseline scenario” is that the world economy will lose $9 trillion in 2020 and 2021, equivalent to the combined economic output of Germany and Japan.

The impact of the pandemic on childcare in the US: A social catastrophe affecting generations

By Nick Barrickman and Linda Rios, 14 April 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed particularly sharply the inability of the capitalist system to provide for the needs of society’s most vulnerable members, including infants, children and their caregivers.

Reality of American capitalism exposed: Millions line up for food aid as pandemic spreads

By Niles Niemuth, 13 April 2020

The desperate social reality for tens of millions in the US, typically hidden in “normal times,” has been exposed by the coronavirus outbreak for the world to see.

Thousands line up at US food pantries as hunger surges due to coronavirus crisis

By Julian James and Kate Randall, 11 April 2020

With supermarkets emptied of staples and cupboards increasingly bare, people struggling with hunger are lining up in record numbers at food pantries across the country.

Detroit nurse fired by Sinai-Grace Hospital for demanding action to improve desperate conditions

By Stephen Fuller, 11 April 2020

Kenisa Barkai was dismissed for insisting hospital management protect staff and provide the necessary care for the expanding number of coronavirus patients.

Thousands of Florida residents claim unemployment benefits as state governor says schools must reopen despite increasing COVID-19 infections

By Matthew MacEgan and Alex Johnson, 11 April 2020

So many people are applying for unemployment compensation in Florida that the state’s web site has collapsed.

International Labour Organisation warns of massive job losses from COVID-19

By Nick Beams, 10 April 2020

According to the International Labour Organisation, the COVID-19 crisis is expected to wipe out 6.7 percent of total working hours globally in the second quarter of this year—equivalent to 195 million full-time workers.

Deaths from COVID-19 mount in German elderly care homes

By Markus Salzmann, 10 April 2020

The large number of deaths stems from the failure to implement timely countermeasures or follow them, a shortage of staff, overworked personnel and the absence of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Social and economic catastrophe intensifies as 6.6 million Americans file for unemployment

By Jerry White, 10 April 2020

Emergency measures are necessary as the health crisis produced by the coronavirus pandemic develops into the greatest economic crisis in the United States since the 1930s.

“Managers, directors and council leaders should be held to account if people become ill or die”

UK social worker speaks out on unsafe conditions sanctioned by management and unions

By our correspondent, 9 April 2020

The WSWS spoke to a children’s social worker in a Local Authority in northern England about the conditions she and her clients face amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hundreds of thousands of UK jobs threatened as coronavirus spreads

By Margot Miller, 9 April 2020

The loss of thousands of jobs only confirms that the government's £370 billion emergency bailout fund to big business is doing next to nothing to protect the working class from the loss of their livelihoods.

New Zealand government says unemployment will hit “double digits”

By Chris Ross and Tom Peters, 9 April 2020

The coronavirus-induced crisis is having a devastating effect on jobs, with unemployment expected to reach levels unseen since the Great Depression.

Unions agree to salary furlough at British Airways

By Paul Bond, 8 April 2020

The Unite union claims it has secured BA’s agreement that no worker will be laid off without pay, and that there will be no redundancies, at least temporarily.

Canada’s health minister promotes “herd immunity,” after admitting government’s coronavirus failure

By Laurent Lafrance, 8 April 2020

Health Minister Hajdu acknowledged that if Canada’s hospitals lack vital equipment it is because the government has been “underfunding” healthcare “for decades.”

Share buybacks have been the “only net source of money entering the stock market” since 2008

By Nick Beams, 7 April 2020

A report published in the Wall Street Journal reveals that one of the main reasons for the cash shortage of major corporations, now lining up for a bailout, is the trillions of dollars they have spent on share buybacks to boost the fortunes of the ultra-wealthy.

US jobless numbers head toward Depression levels

By Nick Beams, 4 April 2020

The official March data, showing job losses of 701,000, are a significant underestimation since they are based on surveys conducted before widespread lockdowns were in place.

Coronavirus crisis: Hunger and malnutrition spread in Germany

By Carola Kleinert and Andy Niklaus, 4 April 2020

Research indicates some 13 million people in Germany are living in poverty or confront hunger, malnutrition and social misery due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Working-class Londoners risk their lives fighting COVID-19 as the city’s billionaires decamp

By Michael Barnes, 4 April 2020

While the super-rich complain of being bored in their gated mansions, masses of workers in London have lost their jobs or are forced to work in unsafe conditions.

Nearly three years after the Grenfell Tower inferno, flammable cladding still widely used in UK

By Alice Summers, 4 April 2020

High Pressure Laminate cladding, thought to be used on thousands of buildings across the country, has been shown to be as highly flammable as the cladding used on Grenfell Tower.

Massachusetts veterans hospital investigated for COVID-19 catastrophe

By Julian James, 4 April 2020

As of Friday, 21 residents at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, Massachusetts were confirmed to have died from COVID-19 in a span of only 10 days.

Australian airline exploits pandemic in an attempt to sink rivals

By Terry Cook, 4 April 2020

Qantas CEO: “This will be a survival of the fittest and Qantas is one of the fittest and most dynamic airlines in the world.”

The class issues in the coronavirus pandemic

By Niles Niemuth, 4 April 2020

The coronavirus does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, nationality or sexual orientation. However, the one factor that is undoubtedly key in avoiding infection and improving the chance of survival is wealth.

Coronavirus hits Seattle, Washington homeless shelters

By Julio Patron, 3 April 2020

As the pandemic rips across the United States, COVID-19 cases are beginning to be reported among the homeless population in Seattle.

For emergency action against the destruction of jobs! Full financial and social support for all working people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic!

By Joseph Kishore—Socialist Equality Party candidate for US president, 3 April 2020

All sections of the working class must be fully compensated for the economic consequences of the pandemic.

US Conference of Mayors survey shows severe lack of equipment to combat coronavirus pandemic

By Bryan Dyne, 2 April 2020

As the US death toll nears 5,000, a report to the federal government from mayors of 213 cities showing a desperate shortage of lifesaving equipment has fallen on deaf ears.

Without work and regular paycheck millions of Americans at risk of eviction as rent comes due

By Jacob Crosse, 2 April 2020

In New York City, the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic, up to 40 percent of tenants are expected forgo rent payments this month.

Covid-19 pandemic poses gravest threat to world’s poorest countries

By Jean Shaoul, 1 April 2020

Hundreds of millions of people across the globe live in homes that were detrimental to their health and safety even before the onset of the coronavirus.

Hundreds wait in mile-long line at Pittsburgh area food bank

By Samuel Davidson, 1 April 2020

The situation in Pittsburgh is being repeated throughout the US as more than 3.5 million workers filed for unemployment last week and millions more are expected to do so this week.

Tennessee state officials recommend health care workers use swim goggles, diapers and garbage bags as protection from COVID-19

By Warren Duzak, 31 March 2020

As of Monday, the state has reported 1,818 infections and ten deaths, with a shortfall of the intensive care units needed to treat the critically ill expected to come in the next two weeks.

Cleveland, Ohio residents wait hours in food bank drive-thru line as unemployment skyrockets

By Katy Kinner, 31 March 2020

Last week drivers backed up for miles through the streets leading to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. One-third of those seeking assistance had never before sought food assistance.

As 150,000 hotel rooms remain empty, Las Vegas government forces 500 homeless residents to sleep outside on asphalt parking lot

By Jacob Crosse, 31 March 2020

The action follows the closure of one of the few homeless shelters in the city after someone staying there tested positive for coronavirus.

The profit system is sabotaging the struggle against the coronavirus

By Patrick Martin, 31 March 2020

Giant American corporations have blocked the development of inexpensive ventilators and are hoarding supplies of materials needing to make billions of N95 masks for health care workers.

Detroit mayor confirms denial of treatment to “extremely sick” patients: “What they put out is honest”

By Kevin Reed, 28 March 2020

One ICU nurse at a local hospital posted a video to social media from her car in tears as she described the COVID unit in her hospital, saying that “it felt like I was working in a war zone.”

House passes Senate “rescue” bill

Democrats unite with Trump to enact massive corporate bailout

By Barry Grey, 28 March 2020

The bill amounts to virtually unlimited funding for the corporate and financial aristocracy, with no real strings attached.

Albany, Georgia walloped by coronavirus outbreak as governor refuses to implement state-wide stay at home order

By Aaron Murch, 28 March 2020

As of Friday the Albany area ranked second only to the New York City metro region, the epicenter of the outbreak in the US, in the number of infections per capita.

Canada’s parliament approves coronavirus bailout for corporations and austerity for workers

By Keith Jones, 28 March 2020

While billions are being handed to big business, Canada’s health system, ravaged by decades of austerity, has no "surge capacity."

Coronavirus crisis “devastates” US museums, arts organizations, many of them for good

By David Walsh, 28 March 2020

The bipartisan corporate “rescue” package passed by the US Congress this week provides only $232.5 million for cultural organizations, one-sixteenth of the $4 billion for which the American Alliance of Museums had lobbied.

New US unemployment claims hit 3.28 million as pandemic produces economic catastrophe

By Shannon Jones, 27 March 2020

The number of new weekly claims for state unemployment benefits reached the staggering total of 3.28 million, an increase of 1,000 percent over the previous week, and the largest such total in history.

Profits before lives: German parliament passes emergency package for large corporations and the rich

By Johannes Stern, 27 March 2020

All parties in parliament, from the Left Party to the extreme right AfD, are working together to defend capitalism and to shift the burden of the COVID-19 crisis onto the working class.

Canada: Vancouver homeless left to fend for themselves amid coronavirus pandemic

By Penny Smith, 27 March 2020

The Canadian ruling elite’s policy of malign neglect in the face of the lethal coronavirus pandemic is exemplified by the failure of all levels of government to do anything to protect homeless people.

US Senate passes massive economic “rescue” bill

By Patrick Martin, 26 March 2020

The $2 trillion bill allocates the bulk of its funds to loans and grants to corporations and businesses, with some emergency aid to workers.

PG&E to plead guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter for Camp Fire deaths

By Dan Conway, 26 March 2020

The guilty plea allows the utility to escape further costs and legal liabilities stemming from its refusal to modernize its antiquated electrical grid.

The wealth of Australia’s richest 250 soars to $377 billion

By Clare Bruderlin, 26 March 2020

According to the Murdoch media magazine, the number of billionaires has more than trebled in two years, from 33 to 117.

COVID-19 begins to rip through homeless population as 30 test positive in New York City shelters

By Sam Dalton and Clara Weiss, 25 March 2020

The homeless are at heightened risk of infection and death from the coronavirus.

Latest Australian COVID-19 measures driven by concern about profits, not health

By Mike Head, 25 March 2020

Prime Minister Morrison channeled Donald Trump and insisted on keeping “the economy” going, regardless of the mounting danger to the health and lives of millions of people.

US soon to pass Italy and China in coronavirus cases

By Benjamin Mateus, 24 March 2020

The total number infected in the United States is approaching 50,000, with nearly 600 dead.

US Congress moves toward massive bailout of big business

By Patrick Martin, 24 March 2020

The wrangling between Democrats and Republicans in Washington is political theater to disguise the highway robbery being carried out by corporate America.

Attorney general requests suspension of habeas corpus

Military, Trump administration ready plans for domestic crackdown as virus spreads across US

By Eric London, 24 March 2020

The Justice Department has asked Congress to suspend habeas corpus and due process, even as the military develops plans to deploy troops on US soil to suppress “riots” and “civil disobedience.”

Florida residents on COVID-19 pandemic: “There is no way we can go longer than a month at this rate.”

By Matthew MacEgan, 24 March 2020

Workers and students spoke with the WSWS about lack of supplies, limited testing, and growing concerns over the economic, social, and health impact on their families and friends.

US officials use economic fallout from pandemic to slash school funding

By Phyllis Steele and Jerry White, 24 March 2020

Even as school districts deliver free meals to millions of low-income students, state governments have already begun slashing school spending and reneging on promised pay raises to teachers.

Australia: Coronavirus cancellations decimate live performance industry

By Martin Scott, 24 March 2020

Tens of thousands of performers are facing an indeterminate period without work.

Retail and service industry workers demand safety measures, store closures and full compensation during coronavirus pandemic

By Trévon Austin, 23 March 2020

Retail and service workers, particularly in grocery stores and coffee shops, are at high risk of contracting COVID-19 as they interact with hundreds of customers on a daily basis.

Catastrophic worldwide medical ventilator shortfall despite years of warning

By Steve James, 23 March 2020

World productive capacity of medical ventilators is far below peak requirements during the coronavirus outbreak.

Australian state of Victoria shuts down school system, other states remain open

By Patrick Kelly, 23 March 2020

The chaotic situation reflects the wider disarray and criminal neglect in the ruling elite’s response to the coronavirus crisis.

No corporate bailouts! Direct financial resources to the working people, not the capitalist elite!

By Statement of the Socialist Equality Party (US), 23 March 2020

The ruling class is seeking to exploit this crisis to engineer another multitrillion-dollar redistribution of wealth, on a scale even greater than the 2008 bank bailout.

Amid coronavirus pandemic, thousands in Detroit remain without running water

By Kevin Reed, 21 March 2020

The claims of the Democratic Party’s mayor of Detroit and Michigan state governor that they would restore shut-off utilities have been exposed as a fraud.

Massive social disaster looms as worldwide job losses from coronavirus pandemic expected to reach 25 million

By Jerry White, 20 March 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is now metastasizing into an immense economic and social crisis.

Front-line nurses and doctors face dire shortages of personal protective equipment

By Benjamin Mateus, 19 March 2020

There are mounting fears among health care workers that they are running unacceptable risks because of the lack of equipment.

Australian doctors condemn government response to COVID-19 “disaster”

By Mike Head, 19 March 2020

Letters, signed by thousands of doctors, warn that a catastrophe “worse” than Italy’s can only be averted by a lockdown and the urgent pouring of resources into hospitals.

Australian workers face mass job cuts amid coronavirus crisis

By Oscar Grenfell, 18 March 2020

Millions of workers, especially those employed on a casual basis, face financial ruin amid the collapse of the airline, hospitality and tourism sectors.

Democratic Party debate dominated by coronavirus pandemic

By Patrick Martin, 17 March 2020

The exchanges between the candidates had been rendered largely irrelevant by consolidation of the Democratic Party behind Biden, making him the presumptive nominee.

Health official warns that 150,000 Australians could die in coronavirus pandemic

By Mike Head, 17 March 2020

Many of these people will die as a direct result of the failure of the governments, both federal and state, to take the urgently needed action and allocate the necessary medical resources.

Australian governments invoke emergency powers amid COVID-19 disaster

By Mike Head, 17 March 2020

These laws contain powers only previously used in wartime, such as arbitrarily detaining, imprisoning or imposing massive fines on people, to be imposed now in the name of protecting public health.

After handful of tests, West Virginia officials claim zero coronavirus cases

By Naomi Spencer, 17 March 2020

The state has, by many metrics, the unhealthiest and poorest adult population in the US, putting a majority in higher risk categories for COVID-19.

Amid coronavirus pandemic Nevada gaming commission announces “no plans” to close casinos

By Jacob Crosse, 17 March 2020

Regulators in just six US states—Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois and Massachusetts—have ordered casinos shut down in a criminally belated attempt to halt the spread of COVID-19.