Occupy Freedom Plaza Brings Its Message to the Chamber of Commerce
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC is the home of all of the Big Industry lobbyists; Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Finance, you name it. The Chamber’s massive concrete fortress is appropriately situated directly across from the White House. Congressman Dennis Kucinich says, “Wall Street runs the White House,” and the US Chamber of Congress serves as the direct connection between industry interests and public policy.
Many people in the U.S. are unaware of this connection. They do not realize that the US Chamber of Congress represents multinational corporate interests. All of the areas of crisis that we are striving to address can be tied to the Chamber.
The October2011 Movement/Occupy Freedom Plaza is taking on the Chamber of Commerce. We started on Sunday, October23 with a direct confrontation with Tom Donohue, President of the US Chamber. On Monday, October 24, we marched to the Chamber from Freedom Plaza to speak with Mr. Donohue about foreclosures.
This summer, Tom Donohue called for more foreclosures and asked on the White House to stop helping families who are facing foreclosure. When legislation was introduced last week that would grant automatic visas to foreigners who can purchase US homes valued at $500,000 and up, the Chamber of Commerce announced its support.
On Monday, it became clear that the Chamber had its way. The President had originally called for $50 billion to be spent to assist an estimated 9 million families at risk of foreclosure. After ‘internal discussions,’ the White House backed down and only $2.4 billion was spent to help 1.7 million families. The reason given was concern about placing a burden on the taxpayers and the economy.
Let’s think about this. Millions of families (an estimated 11 million) are facing foreclosure, eviction and being turned out into the streets and the President is worried about placing more of a burden on the 300 million taxpayers. Who would better be able to bear this ‘burden,’ 11 million families or 300 million people? And how many families could be helped if we stopped sending troops and bombs into more and more countries?
Monday morning, 40 of us marched to the US Chamber of Commerce. We chanted “People not profits, End foreclosures now!” and “Chamber of Commerce, shame on you, time to fire Donohue.” Our demands were simple: stop foreclosures, end evictions and put families into vacant homes now.
Immediately upon our arrival, the massive wooden doors to the Chamber were shut and locked. We knocked and knocked and rang the bell, but they would not answer. We stayed outside for close to 2 hours and still no response. You can see the video.
A group of us went to the back door which remained open. They greeted Michael Chertoff as he left and watched as a large plasma TV, gift baskets and Halloween costumes were delivered.
As we left, we chanted “We’ll be back!” And that is true. Join us this Wednesday as we march against the weapons industry and on Friday as we march against the health industrial complex. See the website calendar for more details.
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