Friday, April 30, 2010
Wall Street Taken Over - Workers Demand: Fix This Mess You Made
1. 31,000 Deliver Message to Wall Street: Fix The Mess You
2. I'm Marching Today to Make Wall Street Pay (Richard
3. Thousands Swarm To Massive Protest On Wall Street
31,000 Deliver Message to Wall Street: Fix The Mess You Made
by James Parks
AFL-CIO Now Blog News -- Apr 29, 2010
Some 15,000 union members and other progressives on the
ground and another 16,000 virtual marchers got Main Street's
message to Wall Street today: Good Jobs Now! Wall Street
Must Pay! Marchers in New York carried the names of virtual
marchers on stickers as they marched toward the statue of
the Wall Street bull.
Led by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, union members and
activists from National People's Action (NPA), NAACP, Move
On and others took over Wall Street during the afternoon
rush hour for a march and rally. When the marchers got to
Wall Street, there were so many that they filled up two
At the rally, Trumka told the cheering crowd:
We're here today for the folks who were played for
suckers in the casino economy and will be silent no
more. And the message we bring is this: Wall Street, fix
the mess you made.
America lost 8.5 million jobs because of the financial
crisis created by Wall Street, Trumka said, and now is 11
million jobs in the hole.
We need to go back to basics, where good jobs, not bad
debts, drive our growth. An economy where Wall Street is
the servant, and not the master of Main Street.
Workers in the public sector and education talked about how
deep budget cuts are strangling schools and public services.
NAACP President Benjamin Jealous told the massive crowd that
this is the time to take back America from the Big Banks. He
said while money can buy votes, money can't vote and all the
newly registered voters in the 2008 election will make a
difference in 2010.
Trumka laid out three simple steps the Big Banks can take to
start paying back for the damage caused by their risky
* Stop fighting Wall Street reform. Stop acting like
what happened to our economy was some kind of accident,
like a meteor fell on us. Take some responsibility for
what you did. Call off the lobbyists. * Second-Stop
speculating and start lending. We bailed you out, it's
far past time you started lending to Main Street. *
Third-Take responsibility for the clean-up of the mess
you made. Pay your fair share of the cost of creating
the jobs you destroyed.
During the rally and march, hundreds of participants joined
a text messaging action and called Goldman Sachs, telling
the Wall Street giant to stop opposing meaningful financial
reform. In addition to the mass of people taking part,
hundreds watched the event in a live webcast (see clips at
www.aflcio.org/wallstreet) and commented live throughout the
march and rally, many showing the deep hunger across the
country for action to create jobs and restore our economy.
Some of the comments included:Kevin Hansel/IN: WALLSTREET-
IT'S OUR MONEY AND WE NEED IT NOW!!!!!
Rita: After living through a lay-off lasting 11 months, I'm
working 3 part time jobs for less pay! Stop the destruction
of the working class! Solidarity Now!!!
Donna:TRUMKA CAN LEAD US INTO THE FUTURE! GOD BLESS HIM!
Liz: TAKE THIS MARCH NATIONWIDE!!!!!!!
CWA 7019: Shame on you Wall Street!
Today's march and rally followed a week of actions
spearheaded by unions and the community affiliate Working
America at shareholder meetings across the country.
I'm Marching Today to Make Wall Street Pay
By Richard Trumka,
Huffington Post - April 29, 2010
So now we learn that as millions of America's families were
losing their homes, Goldman Sachs cheered because it stood
to make huge money betting on a housing market gone bad. Is
that Wall Street's vision of American values? It's not mine.
And it's not the values of the thousands of working
Americans who are marching on Wall Street today in person
with me and online.
Our message is simple: Big Banks tanked our economy and took
our money when they needed a bailout. Now they're thumbing
their noses at our communities but making billions in
profits. It's time they pay up.
Pay up by investing in communities to create jobs for the
millions of unemployed workers -- like Terry in Florida, who
was laid off a week before Christmas. Being forced to return
his family's Christmas gifts to the store was just the
beginning of his pain. While the corporation he worked for
is turning a profit, he fears his family will be homeless by
Meanwhile, in 2009, 25 hedge fund managers were paid the
equivalent of the salaries of 680,000 school teachers.
That's in 2009, when we taxpayers spent billions of dollars
bailing out the financial sector. If Goldman Sachs is
cheering at the collapse of the housing market, what's the
rest of Wall Street saying? Thanks, suckers?
Those may be Wall Street's values. They're not America's.
In a stunning new Pew poll, more than half of those surveyed
say within the past year a member of their household has
been out of work -- up 15 percentage points since last year.
Fully 70 percent of Americans say they have faced one or
more job- or financial- related problems in the past year,
up from 59 percent in February 2009.
And homelessness no longer is a scourge of the most troubled
of our society. Maria Foscarinis, executive director of the
National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, describes
the nation's epidemic of homelessness as reaching crisis
proportions not seen since the Great Depression -- and it
stems directly from the Big Bank-fueled recession in which
millions of workers lost jobs and savings and can no longer
afford their mortgage or rent.
Meanwhile, the Big Banks announced massive first quarter
earnings -- Citigroup, $4.4 billion; Bank of America, $4.2
billion; Goldman Sachs, $3.46 billion; JPMorgan Chase, $3.3
billion; and Morgan Stanley, $1.8 billion. It turns out that
much of that money was made by the same risky trading
practices that cost taxpayers a $700 billion bank bailout.
The damage inflicted has deepened economic inequality, which
has gotten worse since 2007. The richest 10 percent now
control nearly 70 percent of the wealth. Those with incomes
in the bottom 50 percent have a little more than 2 percent
of the wealth.
The bottom line is Wall Street should pay to clean up the
mess they made and Congress must enact strong Wall Street
reform. We are supporting four ways for the Big Banks to pay
-- President Obama's bank tax, a special tax on bank
bonuses, closing the carried interest tax loophole for hedge
funds and private equity and, most important, a financial
speculation tax levied on all financial transactions --
including derivatives -- that would raise more than $150
billion a year, according to the Congressional Budget
Office. The financial speculation tax would have a
negligible impact on long- term investors but would
discourage the short-termism in the capital markets that led
to so much destruction over the past decade.
Congress also must aggressively address the jobs crisis now
-- if not because it's the right thing to do, then because
of November 2010. That Pew poll I cited above? It found
Americans united in the belief that the economy is in bad
shape: 92 percent give it a negative rating.
Wall Street's values are based on greed. The American
people's values are rooted in working hard, playing fairly
and doing right by our family, neighbors and friends.
If you can't march and rally with us on The Street, join us
live online today at 4 p.m. EDT. We'll be 10,000 strong on
the ground and marching for tens of thousands more who have
signed up to take part in our virtual march.
Working people are angry -- and we are right to be angry at
the betrayal of our economic future. Help us turn that anger
into the energy to create jobs, fix our economy and build a