As a recently unemployed person, I am feeling the stress of income insecurity. The thoughts of how I will pay for my rent, bills, or for food come to mind. I am lucky, for now, to have unemployment insurance, but it’s not much. Being let go from my job was shock enough, but trying to get another job with that on my record is daunting. How do you convince people to give you a chance when they think you’re a liability?
On top of that, the job market sucks. There aren’t a lot of good
jobs, and the ones that exist are very competitive — which means the
employers can afford to be picky. Although I have a Master’s degree, I
often feel insecure, as if I am not qualified or as experienced as other
candidates. I don’t want to take a job that’s not a good fit for me,
but as long as I don’t have a job, I struggle.
I don’t have health insurance without a job. I don’t have money to
fix my broken down car. I am over 40K in debt from student loans, which I
was forced to defer, adding $70 of interest every month. Our only
saving grace is my parents, who live on a fixed income; a meager amount
of social security. They can sometimes help us make it from one month to
the next, if we are short. But what about people who have no one they
can turn to?
I know it could be worse for us; but couldn’t it also be better?
Shouldn’t it be better for most of us? Social programs are being cut
back, including food stamps. Whatever happened to that supposed social
safety net the vast majority of us feel is a moral imperative? If people
cannot get good jobs, they will need help if they are going to survive.
I believe we need both: good jobs and support. That is what a community
should provide to each other.
Socialists believe we are mutually dependent on each other and that
our society must reflect that. That means our jobs should be co-ops
where workers own their own means of production and share in the fruits
of their labor equally, as well as have an equal say in their work. That
means social programs that support people, from public health care to
fully funded tax-paid college education. It means the hungry get fed,
the homeless get housed, everyone gets a good job who wants to work, and
no one struggles to survive.
Check out this article below that paints the bleak picture of where we are right now:
Right now, people are suffering more and more every day, instead of
living the lives of our dreams. As a community we owe it to ourselves
and each other to make those dreams a reality, together. Admittedly,
there is a lot standing in our way. The rich are, no doubt, a very
powerful adversary. However, the challenge they represent is nothing
compared to our collective will to start truly living, instead of barely
*Originally published in The Socialist on August 2, 2013