Saturday, February 26, 2011
Sacramento Rallies to Save the American Dream
Over 1500 union members and supporters rallied again at the State Capitol in Sacramento on Feb.26, called by Move- on.com, and Jobs with Justice to support the working people in Wisconsin in their struggle to defend their union rights. Speakers described the financial crisis that began 2007 as an assault on organized labor, working people, and our democracy. A retired teacher from Wisconsin detailed many of the events occurring in Madison in an effort to end the demonstrations by public employees and families there. For example, Wisconsin teachers and public employees have agree to all of the demanded salary and benefit cuts, but insist that their union rights to negotiate be protected. This defense of union rights is not acceptable to Governor Walker and the Koch Brothers who fund him.
Several speakers, and several signs noted that the assault in Wisconsin is class war- by the rich against working people.
While Wall Street has recovered and returned to profitability, working people continue to suffer 15 million unemployed with at least 10 million more under employed. It is more than a crisis - the reality is that the financial class has looted the U.S. economy. The Oligarchs took 13 trillion dollars out of the economy and caused 4 million people to lose their homes and another 4.5 million to fall into foreclosure. Now they want you and I to pay for their greed by forcing budget cuts on the states.
In 2010-2011 the crisis is hitting state and local governments hard. The AFL-CIO is tracking this assault at http://www.aflcio.org/issues/states/.
In November of 2010 Republicans and the Tea Party won a majority in the House of Representatives, took control of several state houses including Wisconsin , elected governors, and now dominate the main steam media with their messages. Conservative forces, the Republicans, the Tea Party, and others use the economic crisis in the states to launch aggressive campaigns against public sector unions and the salaries and pensions of public sector workers.
The Sacramento response, like rallies in other states condemned the anti union campaigns of Republican governors and legislators. In Wisconsin Governor Walker's immediate attack is aimed directly at some 200,000 public workers in Wisconsin.
As Rose Ann DeMoro Executive Director, California Nurses Association said in a well distributed letter,
“Working people did not create the recession or the budgetary crisis facing federal, state and local governments, and there can be no more concessions, period.
It should be apparent that the right wants to scapegoat workers and their unions, and is trying to exploit the economic crisis for an all-out assault on unions, public employees, and all working people in a campaign that is funded by right-wing, corporate billionaires like the Koch brothers.
Who caused the economic crisis? Banks, Wall Street speculators, mortgage lenders, global corporations shifting jobs from the U.S. overseas.
Who is profiting in the recession? Corporate profits, third quarter of 2010, were $1.6 trillion, 28 percent higher than the year before, the biggest one-year jump in history.”
At the Saturday rally in Sacramento Jim Hard of SEIU 1000 said that if the Republicans are able to break unions in Wisconsin and the Mid West, next they will be attacking social security.
John Reiger of Veterans for Peace said that over 50% of the federal budget went to war and defense. If we had these billions here, we could hire the teachers, fire fighters, police, nurses and social workers we need to take care of our own communities.
The Sacramento rally was organized by Move-on.com as one of over 50 rallies nationwide today, one in each of the state capitols plus rallies in major cities including Chicago and New York City. Each rally united unions and citizens groups to oppose the attacks on union rights of Wisconsin Governor Walker and the Republican majorities in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio and other states.
The turn out on Saturday was impressive since labor had held a similar rally on Tues and turned out over 2,500 on the same issues. Some 75 Tea Party supporters rallied to support Governor Walker and state budget cuts at the other end of the Capitol Plaza.
Reported by Duane Campbell .