The Unemployed Netroots Are Gaining Power

The Unemployed Netroots Are Gaining Power

The Unemployed Netroots Are Gaining Power

There are people who have been unemployed for six months and there are some who have been unemployed for 99 months or more. Congress should watch out for the 1.5 million unemployed people known as the "99ers."

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The unemployed and their fluctuating ranks do not make for a natural political constituency. But with so many people out of work for more than 99 months—15 million to be exact—this group is unfortunately becoming more stable. If just a fraction of these people were well organized and politically active, Nation Washington editor Christopher Hayes says, imagine how the 2010 midterm elections would go for Republicans, "whose members have referred to out-of-work Americans as ‘hobos,’ ‘on the dole,’ ‘spoiled’ and ‘lazy.’”

While guest hosting The Rachel Maddow Show, Hayes asks Washington Independent economy reporter, Annie Lowrey, "How effective are the online efforts to organize unemployed people?" This group, which she calls "the unemployed netroots" is only six months old. Their benefits have extended, but these people are still gathering online on sites like, Unemployment Lifeline, The Layoff List and U3. Lowrey says they’ve started to gain political power and have begun "demanding things from people who are running from office or are representing them.” This group is "taking a page out of the Tea Partiers book" and standing up for their interests, forcing Congress and the media to ask, "If all of these millions of people are connecting online, what kind of effect might they have?"

—Melanie Breault

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