FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 3, 2011
OCTOBER2011 COALITION and AMERICAN 99ers JOIN THOUSANDS IN OCCUPYING FREEDOM PLAZA IN
WASHINGTON, DC BEGINNING OCT 6th
“I am a 99er whose job disappeared over 3 years ago and have gone without any income for 1 year 3 months. I advocate for the 99ers and would like to see jobs created in this country. Human needs before WAR.”
So said Rhonda Taylor, referring to the American 99ers, those people whose unemployment benefits ran out after 99 weeks and who are still out of work. They can expect to be out of work indefinitely, as the CEO Economic Outlook Survey Index predicts hiring over the next 6 months will be down 15%.
Rhonda Taylor took the pledge to occupy Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC beginning Thursday, October 6th. She will join thousands of others from across the country in a prolonged occupation that coincides with the 10th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan and a new federal Fiscal Year that promises austerity in everything but weapons and war.
The billions in war dollars must come home to address human needs -- jobs, homes, health care, environmental protection. The austerity being preached by our political and corporate leaders must be visited not on working people, but on the bankers, hedge fund managers, and war profiteers who are looting the country.
Just a few days ago, as the protesters of Occupy Wall Street marched down below, Wall Street executives were laughing and drinking champagne from their perch high above. These people have become so callous and immune to the suffering they have caused that they don't even pretend to hide it.
The October2011 Movement is calling them to account. Our coalition involves thousands of people and 150 organizations. Rev. Bruce Wright of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign says, "We believe that the War on the Poor must end here and abroad, that all foreclosures must stop, and that housing, healthcare, adequate food, and Fair Wage are universal human rights." Vanessa Beck of HealthCare-Now concurs: "Our safety net is at risk of being gouged, further threatening the health and well-being of our nation's most vulnerable at a time when 1 in 6 live in poverty and 50 million are uninsured. Cuts to Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare will increase poverty, illness, and death. There is no better time to implement improved Medicare-for-all. It saves lives, keeps people healthy, and redirects money from corporations to health care."
The Freedom Plaza occupation occurs as activists continue to occupy Wall Street and initiate protests throughout the United States. It also follows major demonstrations across the Midwest against austerity budgets, and in DC against the Tar Sands Pipeline where more than 1,200 were arrested.
The October2011 Movement demands that the government represent the people, not just the top 1%. October2011.org stands with super majorities of Americans on seven key issues:
- Tax the rich and corporations
- End the wars, bring the troops home, cut military spending
- Protect the social safety net, strengthen Social Security, improve Medicare for all
- End corporate welfare for oil companies and other big business interests
- Transition to a clean energy economy, reverse environmental degradation
- Protect worker rights including collective bargaining, create jobs, raise wages
- Get money out of politics
Among those signing the pledge and participating in the action are Ann Wright, Baldemar Velasquez, Chris Hedges, Coleen Rowley, Cornel West, Cynthia McKinney, Ray McGovern, Sibel Edmonds, and Ted Rall.
And the still unemployed Rhonda Taylor.
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