Yesterday, a few thousand New Yorkers participated in a Wisconsin solidarity/pro democracy rally in Manhattan in City Hall Park and on the other side of Broadway. It was part of a collection of protests nationwide aimed at fighting the corporate oligarchs and the corrupt politicians they have bought.
Here's some of a promotional email I received about yesterday's protest from Democrats.com.
This Saturday we're drawing a line in the sand. The entire progressive movement is putting everything we have into one massive display of progressive solidarity nationwide.
We won't let Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker - or any other billionaire-bought TeaParty Governor - break the unions. Unions created America's middle class and if they disappear we'll all end up as corporate slaves.
The entire progressive movement - Netroots, unions, environmentalists, and community groups - will hold solidarity rallies in major cities, including every state capital, this Saturday around noon.
We'll demand an end to the attacks on workers' rights and public services across the country. We'll demand investment to create jobs. And we'll demand that the rich and powerful pay their fair share of taxes.
People may not be familiar with Democrats.com. It is not an official arm of the DNC. It is a site of grassroots, liberal Democrats who push the party to the left while opposing the rightist campaigns of the GOP.
There are a couple of things I should mention about the photos that follow:
1. Like it says on more lascivious queer blogs than this one, "click to embiggen."
2. The photos that I took towards the end of the protest didn't turn out at all. I think my cell phone was too low on power at that point. It's a shame because I didn't get shots of some great signs. But, as you can see, I got quite a few pics that did work.
Here are pics of some of the signs I really liked.
One of the speakers pointed out that the protests had only been put together over a few days. To me, this was in sharp contrast to the teabagger protests at townhalls during the healthcare debate that got fewer people showing up despite literally months of planning and threats from HMOs and health insurers that their employees better show up or lose their jobs.
Because the protest was on both sides of Broadway and had a few branches in City Hall Park, it would be easy for someone viewing it on a bus or walking by to not appreciate just how many people did show up. I've included a set of crowd shots so you can get an intuitive feel for the stretched out nature of the protest and its overall size.
I also received an email promoting this protest from The Color of Change. Here are a couple of points they made that I found particularly interesting.
Across America, the far right is working to gut government's ability to protect the most vulnerable among us, while at the same time attacking the middle class. If we let them succeed, our communities will be hit first, and hit the hardest.
Instead of asking the wealthiest of us to contribute their fair share in tough times, these politicans are trying to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, WIC, Americorps, Head Start, and even trying to destroy the right of workers to organize for better workplace conditions — all of which help uplift and protect our communities. And they're doing it while many elected officials in both parties overlook the corporate recklessness that has squeezed budgets across the country in the first place.
MoveOn.org played a major role in organizing and promoting the protests. They certainly deserve credit for that. I've noticed that MoveOn.org is great at mobilizing action when Republicans do horrible things. Yet, when Democrats do horrible things, they usually look the other way. Sometimes they even support horribe rightist policies from Democrats like Harry Reid's efforts to fund the Iraq War during the last two years of the Bush regime and Obama's wealthcare plan for the HMOs, health insurers, and Big Pharma. MoveOn.org promised their members not to support a bill without a strong Public Option and broke that promise when it was time for the actual vote.
In the future, I would really like it if MoveOn.org held Democrats to the same standards as Republicans. Maybe the Democrats wouldn't act like Republicans so often if groups like MoveOn.org were a bit less partisan in their approach.
I also would like to express my appreciation to all the people who showed up to the NYC protest in the cold on such short notice. There are plenty of people in NYC who are more than happy to take stands for social justice if there are opportunities to do so.