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PORTSIDE  August 2010, Week 2

PORTSIDE August 2010, Week 2

Subject:

Jobless Workers Look to Shift Elections

From:

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Date:

Wed, 11 Aug 2010 21:53:19 -0400

Content-Type:

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The Unemployed, Organized Online, Look to the Midterms

Jobless Workers Look to Shift Elections 

Annie Lowrey
The Washington Independent
July 28, 2010
http://washingtonindependent.com/92821/the-unemployed-organized-online-look-to-the-midterms

Sometime this spring, Republicans turned against
unemployment. In Nevada, Sharron Angle (R), the
candidate facing incumbent Sen. Harry Reid (D), told
local reporters, "You can make more money on
unemployment than you can going down and getting one of
those jobs that is an honest job." (Untrue.) Angle also
called the unemployed "spoiled." Rand Paul, a candidate
for a Kentucky Senate seat, made similar statements,
and politicians in Washington followed suit. Sen.
Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said on C-SPAN that extending
unemployment would discourage "individuals that are out
there to actually go out and go through the
interviews."

But unlike most comments from politicians, these
criticisms did not diffuse into the generic noise of
political chatter. They began reverberating in what
might be termed the unemployed netroots - a system of
highly trafficked, influential blogs and sites
connecting the jobless and updating them, often in
minute detail, about the ins and outs of Congress' work
on unemployment issues.

When Jordan, a former programmer living in Nevada, lost
his position with a local university, he began sending
out resumes, but he also found himself following the
eight-month battle for an unemployment extension
closely - each failed Senate vote, each new House
proposal. (He requested I withhold his last name to
avoid impeding his job search.) Online, he started
surfing list-servs, posting on message boards and using
resources from the unemployed. A few times, he has
worked up the courage to call his legislators' offices.

Jordan has searched hard for a job and is now
considering moving away from his family for a few
months, if it means he can send home a paycheck. "I
have voted Republican my entire life," he says. "I
don't want to vote for Harry Reid. But I don't want to
be told I'm lazy, and I'm dumb, and I'm living high on
the hog, collecting [unemployment insurance] because I
want to."

There are more than 30 million people left without work
at some point during the course of the recession; 14.6
million are currently unemployed. As many as 4 million
people have exhausted the maximum weeks of federal and
state unemployment benefits. In each case, Jordan is
among these millions, and for an uncountable number of
people like him, the experience with income insecurity
has led to a political awakening.

[Continue reading this article at:
http://washingtonindependent.com/92821/the-unemployed-organized-online-look-to-the-midterms]

_____________________________________________

Portside aims to provide material of interest
to people on the left that will help them to
interpret the world and to change it.

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