August 2: The Next Step in NYC’s Anti-Austerity Movement
Tuesday, August 2, 4:30 – 7 PM, at the bull
The debt ceiling battle is being fought by representatives of the rich with no input whatsoever by the people. We’re being asked to sit on the sidelines while the Democrats and Republicans duke it out. Possibly we can root for one side or another.
In this drama, August 2 is the deadline for Washington to raise the debt ceiling.
The Bloombergville activists have another goal for that date. We have named August 2 as the day for a People’s Assembly on Wall Street – in other words, August 2 is the day that we assert ourselves, and insert ourselves, into the life-and-death decisions over programs that affect our lives.
We’re the only force that could insert any sanity into this drama. If we had any semblance of involvement in budget questions, someone would ask the common sense question: What about raising the debt ceiling to create a massive jobs program to achieve full employment?
Or better yet, don’t raise the debt ceiling, and instead use interest payments — federal debt service is $29 billion a month — to create jobs rebuilding the crumbling infrastructure. What is interest, after all, but money banks collect for doing nothing?
The debt ceiling has been raised dozens of times. The reason it is a crisis now is that the $14 trillion handed to Wall Street three years ago has depleted a treasury already maxed out by wars and made worse by the recession.
Having looted the treasury, the banks and bondholders want to make sure they’ll still get their interest payments on time.
This is the true crux of the “crisis” facing Washington – and it’s a high-volume drama that’s blocking out the REAL crisis: the effects on our lives by the relentless insistence by banks and bondholders that they get their interest payments on time.
The REAL crisis is that, already, clinics that rely on Medicaid to provide desperately needed services are worrying about whether they can continue to provide services. At Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn, for example, about 84% of net patient revenue comes from Medicaid and Medicare.
The REAL crisis is that, as food shelters report a rise in hunger in every part of the country, Congress is proposing a $187 billion cut in the food stamps program, which is currently relied upon by 44 million people.
The real crisis is mass layoffs. Hunger. Homelessness. Millions of homes in some stage of foreclosure. The bank-sponsored demolition of foreclosed homes. Looting of pensions. Dismantling of public schools. Furloughs. Union-busting.
And while the Democrats willingly offered up cuts in Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and food stamps, nobody knows what other programs and services are actually being eliminated by these millions in cuts.
No matter what happens in Congress, we are the only force that can stop this madness. On August 2, we will meet on Wall Street, at the bull — the scene of the crime — to decide what to do about it. We’ll discuss the planned occupation of Wall Street set for September 17, or we may come up with a new date. Whatever we decide, we need YOU there!
No matter what happens on August 2 — default or no default — not one penny should be withheld of benefits or entitlements. Let the bankers miss their payments — not the people!
The thirteen protesters who were arrested during their heroic non-violent action against the NYC budget cuts on June 26 have been released after pleading guilty to one count each of disorderly conduct.
We urgently need to raise $1,560 to cover their fines. Please contribute whatever you can, asap.
Please make donations through PayPal:
The funds must come from a bank account or PayPal account; we cannot accept debit/credit card payments at this time.
On Mobile Phone:
For more information on their case, check this out.
Or you join us Saturday, July 9, at a fundraiser to honor the Bloombergville attorneys, who contributed their legal services. We will also honor, Picture The Homeless, who guided the setup of our encampment and helped us keep it legal and viable for more than two weeks! Invite a friend or two.
Thanks for your solidarity!
The Indypendent: Bloombergville 13 Released, Reflect on a Night in Jail
“The 13 protesters arrested Tuesday for blockading the entrance to an office building in which City Council members were making final preparations to approve a city budget laden with budget cuts were freed Wednesday evening.”
Democracy Now!: New York City: 13 Activists Arrested In “Bloombergville” Budget Cut Protest
“In New York City, 13 members of the group, New Yorkers Against Budget Cuts, were arrested Tuesday for barricading themselves in the lobby of the City Council to prevent a vote on a compromise budget deal. The activists have slept outside of City Hall for two weeks at a camp they called “Bloombergville,” in protest of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s budget proposal, which would have cut 6,100 teachers and made deep cuts to education spending and other social services.”
NY1, “City Council Approves $66 Billion Budget,” June 29, 2011
NY1, “City Council Postpones Budget Vote,” June 28, 2011
Workers World, “Bloombergville’s Larry Hales talks about what’s next”, Dee Knight, June 29
Workers World, “Talking with ‘Bloombergville’ arrestee Sara Flounders”, Dee Knight, July 1
The Indypendent, “Bloombergville 13 released reflect on a night in Jail“, John Tarleton, June 30.
Amsterdam News, “‘Bloombergville’: Activists’ shantytown springs up in protest to the mayor,” by Juan Espinal, June 30, 2011
Gotham Gazette, “Council Passes Budget, Taking a Bow for Saving Teachers, Fire Companies,” by Gail Robinson, June 30, 2011
City Hall News, “Tough City Budget Faces Final Delay,” by Jon Lentz, June 29, 2011
WNYC, “City Council Votes to Pass 2012 Budget,” by Bob Hennelly, June 29, 2011
Free Speech Radio News, “New York City council approves budget as protests against cuts continue,” June 29, 2011
WEB SITES AND BLOGS
Rhodes Pictures: “Bloombergvillle Direct Action at the New York City Council” By Messiah Rhodes
Peoples Video: Activists from Bloombergville resist the budget cuts
Dane101, “Protests follow Walker to the Empire State; Bloombergville connects with Walkerville,” by Jesse Russell, June 29, 2011
AlterNet, “Bloombergville: Students Camping in to Fight NYC Mayor’s Austerity Plans,” by Rae Gomes, June 28, 2011
Job Party, “Bloombergville Skypes Spain & Walkerville,” by Harry Waisbren, June 28, 2011
Education Notes, “Today: UFT Delegate Assembly to Sell Deal, Bloombergville Protests, Plus Video of Activists at PEP Last Night (And Happy Last Day of School!),” by Norm Scott, June 28, 2011
DNAinfo.com, “Protesters Arrested as City Council Budget Vote is Delayed,” by Jill Colvin, June 28, 2011
At 7:30PM Tuesday night, June 28, as City Council was scheduled to vote on the budget deal, about 100 residents marched from Bloombergville down Broadway to protest at City Hall.
As the protesters reached City Hall, a disruption squad of 13 entered the City Council office building at 250 Broadway, across the street. Chanting “Stop the Vote! Stop the Vote! We have a right to be here!” they sat down in the lobby, locking their arms together to block the entrance from inside.
When word of the action spread, protesters broke off from City Hall and hurried across Broadway to the City Council building. Inside the building, police began separating the protesters and arresting them. Shouting “Let Them Go!” and “They say cut back, we say fight back!” protesters outside surged forward to block the entrance, preventing police from taking the group out the main doors.
As police started bringing the sit-in protesters out a side entrance instead, they were met by more Bloombergville protesters, calling “Let Them Go!” and surrounding the two police vans they were being loaded into and keeping them from being driven off. Police and protesters chased each other for two blocks, stopping the vans and being pushed back so they could keep going.
Protests continued into the night at 250 Broadway and then at the Emigrant Bank Building, 49-51 Chambers Street, where the vote was scheduled to be held around midnight. In the end, the vote on the budget was postponed until Wednesday.
Protests continue today.
First video of last night’s protest: