Homeless tent cities grow in the West

Ira Birkenfeld works with homeless people in Reno, Nevada. At last week’s 29th Convention of the Communist Party USA, Birkenfeld spoke passionately about their survival struggles. In the short video below he describes his work and outlines the severe crisis of everyday living the that the homeless face.

As the economic crisis continues to throw thousands into the streets, it seems that some major “relief” efforts are aimed at hiding the homeless from the world. Many of the homeless are people who continue to work but have lost their homes or apartments. Ira and many other homeless advocates believe that it’s time to unite and mobilize a national network of the unemployed and the homeless to fight for jobs and decent housing for all.




Scott Marshall
Scott Marshall

Scott Marshall is a vice chair of the Communist Party and chair of its Labor Commission. Scott grew up in Virginia where he first became active in the civil rights movement in high school, working on voter registration and anti-Klan projects in rural Southern Virginia and Tennessee. He was also active against the war in Vietnam.

Scott has been a life long trade unionist and was active in rank and file reform movements in the Teamsters, Machinists and Steelworkers unions in the 1970s and '80s. He was co-chair of the Save Our Jobs committee of USWA local 1834 at Pullman Standard in Chicago and active in nationwide organizing against plant shutdowns and layoffs. He was a founder of the unemployed organization Jobs or Income Now (Join), in Chicago, and the National Congress of Unemployed Organizations in the 1980s.

Scott has worked for the Communist Party since 1987 when he became the district organizer for the party in Illinois, a post he held until he was elected chair of the National Labor Commission in 1997. Scott remains active in SOAR (Steelworkers Active Organized Retirees). He lives in Chicago.