Militant Journalism

Sacramento car caravan demands: Cancel the Rent! Stop the Sweeps!

Two days after the National Day Of Action to #CancelTheRents, a coalition of Sacramento organizations, Services Not Sweeps, took to the streets of California’s capital to continue the struggle.

On the evening of April 27, Downtown Sacramento was met with over 60 vehicles honking their horns to make themselves heard. Signs carried the messages: Free them All! End ICE! Cancel the rent! Stop the sweeps!

COVID-19 has shown the utter failures of the capitalist system, and working class people are fed up. As the epidemic causes lock downs throughout the United States, many folks have not been able to pay their rent. While some states and cities have delayed rent and mortgage payments, these measures do not stop the power of landlords to collect rent after the epidemic is over.

The action on April 27,  like the one days earlier, highlighted the looming debt over many people’s minds. It also had a focus of exposing the violent actions of Sacramento PD clearing homeless encampments and abusing the unhomed community. Signs taped along protesters’ vehicles stated “Another world is possible” and “Capitalism is the Disease!” and highlighted an ever-increasing voice that capitalism is not only failing us but killing us methodically.

From the statement released to the press for the event, the broad-ranging coalition said:

“As the COVID-19 crisis continues to disrupt daily life, putting over 26 million people out of work while rents and other debts continue to mount, the majority of resources mobilized by government leaders have been funneled to multinational corporations and wealthy households already controlling the majority of US wealth. With Congress passing their fifth stimulus package since February, some were extended a single check of $1,200 and expanded unemployment benefits to last the duration of the crisis, while corporations large and small were issued more than $850 billion in collective stimulus funding in addition to US Treasury loans to major banks that could exceed $4 trillion.

Needs of most vulnerable not being met

While states like California have taken action to address the economic impacts of stay-at-home orders, many of the most urgent relief measures have failed to reach the most impacted and vulnerable to the virus, particularly low-income workers, the poor and unhoused, Black and Indigenous communities, the undocumented community and incarcerated people. Despite state officials booking more than 900 hotels and motels across California in March, stringent qualifications have meant that the vast majority of acquired shelters have yet to be filled, including in Sacramento”

Photo: Courtney Hansen

As the Caravan approached City Hall, multiple police vehicles swarmed in and blocked off access, forcing the caravan to turn directions and circle the county jail, honking in solidarity with those inside. The caravan then drove to the state Attorney General’s office building in Midtown, also the site of other oppressive sites representing the ruling class apparatus.

The last stop was historic Oak Park, where organizations including The Liberation Collective, Sacramento SOUP, Sacramento Homeless Union, Anti Police Terror Project, Decarcerate Sac and others spoke. Community members brought awareness that capitalism cannot meet the needs of the people and that power comes from the community. While the city of Sacramento sat on its hands and lied to its community saying it was providing resources for the homeless, it was volunteers across the city and county that fed them, clothed them, and built hand-washing stations. While the police continue to brutalize Black and Brown communities, volunteers set up a hotline called MH First to deal with community issues without police violence.

COVID-19 has shown that solidarity and community power will meet the needs of the working class and that another world is demanded by the people who make society function. We dare to struggle! We struggle for socialism and liberation!

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