Progressives, angry at the US lawmakers’ failure to extend the eviction moratorium, thus potentially leaving millions of Americans on the street, called for “occupation” of Congress, prompting parallels with the January 6 events.
Hashtag #OccupyCongress briefly shot to the top ten of Twitter’s US trends on Sunday, with dozens of progressive commentators demanding Congress come back from its 6-week recess and reinstate a federal ban on evictions, which expired on Saturday.
“It’s fitting that #OccupyCongress is trending. Not only should there be no end to the eviction moratorium while Congress vacations and a pandemic rages again but we need to keep organizing a widescale housing justice movement to fight nationwide,” Democratic Socialists of America tweeted.
It’s fitting that #OccupyCongress is trending. Not only should there be no end to the eviction moratorium while Congress vacations and a pandemic rages again but we need to keep organizing a widescale housing justice movement to fight nationwide.
— DSA ? (@DemSocialists) August 1, 2021
The hashtag was also launched in support of the action by several Democratic lawmakers, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Cori Bush, who spent the night on the steps of the Capitol, with AOC decrying her own party and the Biden administration for dragging their feet on the issue.
We’re still here. We have to reconvene the House and vote to reinstate the eviction moratorium to put an end to the eviction emergency.11 million lives and livelihoods are on the line. pic.twitter.com/qUJIebTkSg
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) August 1, 2021
Some commentators, however, began drawing parallels between the campaign, driven by the progressive left and the Capitol riot.
“Let me get this straight. The same people who called January 6 an insurrection and a rebellion now want to #OccupyCongress to extort them into meeting their demands?” one commenter tweeted.
#OccupyCongress to impose will over reps: BRAVEInterrupting Kavanaugh hearings: DEMOCRACYTexas Dems preventing democracy: HEROICUnarmed 1/6 protesters: VIOLENT INSURRECTION OF TREASON
— Razor (@hale_razor) August 1, 2021
I see #OccupyCongress is trending. It’s confusing, because ever since January 6, I’ve seen numerous tweets stating that entering the “sacred temple of democracy” without an invitation makes someone a “seditious insurrectionist” or worse.
— Colonel Paul Green ? (@bigsexy_tote) August 1, 2021
The January 6 events saw hundreds of supporters of former President Donald Trump flocking to and then storming the Capitol in a bid to stop the certification of the presidential election results because they believed they were fraudulent.
While #OccupyCongress was trending heavily at one point, the hashtag conspicuously disappeared from the trends shortly after. Some activists went as far as to suspect a Twitter crackdown. “Twitter is suppressing and silencing poor working class people asking for their rights,” one commentator concluded.
The eviction moratorium was issued by the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) to prevent tenants who were behind on their rent due to the Covid-19 pandemic from imminent eviction and was repeatedly extended. However, after the CDC extended the moratorium for the month of July, it stated that this would be the final extension, leaving it up to the Congress to figure out how to protect some 3.6 million Americans at risk of losing roof over their heads.
Even though the Democratic Party controls the House, the last-minute effort to round up enough votes to approve the bill failed on Friday reportedly after about a dozen of House Democrats refused to support it. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi squarely blamed the Republicans for “blocking” the measure all while admitting on Friday that she learned of the need to pass the bill “only yesterday.”
The Democratic Party could have easily united to extend the eviction moratorium. We have the House, the Senate, & the presidency. There is no room to blame Republicans. This was a policy choice and Democrats chose wrong. #OccupyCongresshttps://t.co/LfO0PPWwCL
— Salem Snow (@Salem4Congress) August 1, 2021
That is despite US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh signalling in a June ruling that the moratorium could not be extended any further and that the time left should be used for “additional and more orderly distribution of the congressionally appropriated rental assistance funds.”
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