Nixon called it Workfare – a change to public assistance, signed into law by Bill Clinton, which imposed work requirements for public assistance, set time limits, cut benefits and increased penalties for non-compliance.
Welfare activists say it is extremely punitive, drives poor mothers to break the law, and must be changed. The workfare model has been emulated in Canada, the UK, Australia, and the Netherlands, to similar effect.
Rev. Annie Chambers, a founding member of the US Welfare Rights Organization and current Green Party public official; US Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI), former welfare mother and author of the Rise Out of Poverty Act; Pat Gowans of Welfare Warriors; Rachel West of the US Prostitutes Collective.
Interviews conducted at The People’s Summit 2017 by Sarah Jaffe (for The Baffler) and Paul Jay (for the Real News Network). Editing and narration: Mindy Ran. Series Producer, Frieda Werden. Photo: thepeoplessummit.org