Tigers and Flies: STL City Government Sits on $135 Million in Pandemic Relief Funds as Workers Suffer

Tishaura Jones. Image Riverfront Times.

“Progressive” Mayor Tishaura Jones, known for dragging her feet on closing the Workhouse, abusing her city expense account, and being advised by her father, notorious crook Virvus Jones, has been exposed once again as a liar and a fraud. While the City recovers from a devastating ice and snow storm last week, and the unhoused are left to fend for themselves, it was revealed by local ruling class organ Saint Louis Post-Dispatch that the City has only spent $3.4 million of $135 million in approved relief funds. A revolutionary outreach worker expressed the sentiment of his comrades:  

“I am going to have an aneurysm. I have worked in shelters so crowded that bathrooms flooded with human shit. I have almost certainly been exposed to COVID positive individuals multiple times, and have had to keep going back because there were not physically not enough hands on deck to ensure these shelters stayed open. I have spent countless nights taxiing people across the city to whatever shelters we could find them on any given night. I have delivered supplies to most encampments that I know of in the city. I have driven in a blizzard this past week to get people into shelter, and in the process nearly gotten into accidents. The people I have worked with have had to beg churches to open their doors. People have stayed overnight and multiple days working at these shelters. We have been stretched to the breaking point. We still didn’t keep people from dying in the cold this winter. I have done work with PotBangerz, Winter Outreach, Safe Haven, the Ferguson Warming Center, Mutual Aid STL, etc. I have had to spend my own money on gas and scrounge up supplies. We have fed, clothed, sheltered, and transported hundreds of people, and the city had over one hundred million dollars it was sitting on. Fuck them. Tigers and flies.” 

The Jones Administration continues to deflect blame from the executive for the situation, claiming that red tape has tied her hands and made any relief efforts ineffective. Those familiar with the lines of bullshit that local governments regularly feed the masses correctly identify this as yet another. The city report mentions gift cards, “vague outreach and canvassing efforts”, and a variety of other trifling half-measures that fail to get to the root of the situation. Unhoused people continue to freeze and starve on our streets, workers had to work all through the omicron wave, and the progressive masses who have taken it upon themselves to serve the people are pushed to the breaking point. Only a mass movement led by the best of the revolutionary working class can ensure that funds are spent on the people instead of frittered away on corruption and waste. 

Another revolutionary aid worker says: “All these politicians are full of shit. They don’t care about the people, only whose pocket they can put their hands in”. This corruption is endemic with the system under which we live, capitalism-imperialism. Those who are called “public servants” are really just bandits who live at the people’s expense, padding their own pockets and trafficking in the masses’ struggles to enrich themselves and their friends to climb up to higher positions. Meanwhile, with inflation manufactured by the capitalists running rampant and wages remaining stagnant, the foundation for continued militant class struggle continued to be strengthened. One FTPSTL cadre says that this just “generates another layer of nihilism, we were promised all this relief and yet it exists only on headlines. More proof that you can’t trust shit these people say and we need to continue to expose this bullshit”. Another issue raised in conversation around this issue is the promised five hundred dollar direct cash relief from the Jones Administration. Very few people have received this assistance due to all the hoops and red tape that people are expected to jump and cut through. Workers are expected to run here and there gathering documentation to “prove” to the State that they are suffering from the pandemic and meet income requirements, despite the fact that workers come home bone tired, do not feel that they should have to prove to the ruling class government that they qualify for relief that comes out of their pocket via taxes anyway, and often have spotty or nonexistent internet access. Furthermore, the consensus is that five hundred is simply not enough. As another comrade says, “that ain’t even a month’s bills”. Empty chatter and empty wallets – this is what the Jones Administration continues to offer working Saint Louis, and the people continue to clamor for organized struggle.

It is obvious that the ruling class, from the Biden Administration right down to the Jones Administration, are incapable and unwilling to deal with and meet the masses’ demands during the continuing pandemic. Thus, the struggles will sharpen and continue, and Communists will be made in the course of the struggle for real pandemic relief that actually addresses the needs and concerns of the people. All comes through struggle. 

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