Posted on August 11, 2011 by the Website Workers Council.
The Emergency Labor Network urges an all-out mobilization of the labor movement and its allies, beginning on Saturday, October 1, 2011, and continuing, to demand
- No Cuts to to the Social Safety Network! Hands off Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid
- Federally funded public works program to create 27 million new jobs
- Tax the rich and the corporations
- End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bring the war dollars home now.
When: Saturday, October 1, 2011
Where: Washington, D.C.
What: Actions in support of the labor movement
Sponsor: Emergency Labor Network
Contact: See sponsor
The Peace and Freedom Party has endorsed this event.
The October 2011 Coalition calls for related actions beginning on October 6 and continuing thereafter.
The following announcement is from the Emergency Labor Network.
March for Jobs on October 1 —
Hands off Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid!
Dear Sisters and Brothers:
The AFL-CIO has issued a statement calling for actions in early October in cities across the country to demand jobs.
The statement says in part: “In partnership with our community allies at the local and national levels, as well as our state federations and labor councils, we will build to a National Week of Action in early October that focuses on the demand for good jobs and demonstrates in communities all across the country that America Wants to Work.”
The ELN urges an all-out mobilization of the labor movement and our allies on Saturday, October 1 in support of this appeal, and calls on unionists and activists to demand:
- No Cuts to the Social Safety Net! Hands Off Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid!
- Federally funded public works program to create 27 million jobs!
- Tax the rich and the corporations!
- End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan! Bring the war dollars home now!
To safeguard Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other vitally needed federal social programs, it will be necessary to repeal the debt-increase deal adopted by Congress — a deal that is rejected by 82% of the American people, according to a recent New York Times/CBS poll. This is all the more urgent given that President Obama has expressed a willingness to cut Social Security and Medicare, and Senate majority leader Harry Reid has urged the 12-member Congressional committee — a body with super powers that circumvent the traditional democratic process in the Congress — to tackle “entitlements.” [Note: Both Reid and House minority leader Nancy Pelosi joined other Democrats and the Republican leaders in voting for the debt increase bill, which the labor movement opposed.]
Also, as long as the debt ceiling deal is in place, it will be impossible to create a federal public works program to put the 27 million unemployed and underemployed people back to work — a key to redressing the economy and preventing a double-dip recession. The infrastructure bank and other job proposals submitted by Congresswoman Pelosi and the Democrats to the bipartisan Joint Committee of 12 would, at best, create only one million jobs, according to their own estimates. A massive infrastructure program should be funded by the government from taxes on the rich (the corporations are hoarding $2 trillion at present), just like the WPA was.
As we have repeatedly emphasized in previous postings, the bill to increase the debt limit was enacted based on a hoax, i.e., that it is necessary to reduce spending and cut deeply into the safety net program because the country is going broke and workers and the poor must “share the sacrifice” to get us out of the hole. That is bogus! Tax the big corporations and the wealthy! According to Citizens for Tax Justice, 12 major corporations like Honeywell, Verizon and General Electric* in three years made $167 billion in profits and paid zero in taxes, in fact got $2.5 billion back from the Treasury. Close the loopholes, end the wars and occupations, bring the war dollars home now, rescind the Bush tax cuts on the rich — these and other measures can cure what ails the economy without further impoverishing workers and the poor. But none of these was included in the bill, which did not call for raising any additional revenue.
Let’s keep in mind that this October will also mark the 10th anniversary of the U.S. war against Afghanistan. As the AFL-CIO August 3 statement declares: “There is no way to fund what we must do as a nation without bringing our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan. The militarization of our foreign policy has proven to be a costly mistake. It is time to invest at home.” The latest U.S. casualties and the continued killing of so many Afghans only underscores how costly the wars and occupations are. And, of course, there is also the war against Libya and at least 75 secret U.S. wars in places like Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan and Kosovo.
There is something else that needs to be done. Keep in mind that the Democratic members of Congress voted by a sizeable majority in favor of the debt increase deal (140–101), which Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner said gave him 98% of what he was after. According to Teamsters Local 237 President Gregory Floyd in his article copied below, the time has come to ask two questions: “Is there still room in the Democratic Party for us? If not, should we start our own party and run for office ourselves?”
The ELN encourages labor organizations across the country to approve the following statement:
“[Name of labor organization] believes that the time has come for the labor movement to begin a discussion on what it would take to establish our own independent labor party in the U.S. that would represent all working people.”
As AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka said on September 16, 2010, “We have learned that third parties generally take votes away from progressive candidates.…But that should not mean we shouldn’t debate it.…Democrats and Republicans alike need to know that we’re not in anyone’s pockets.…If neither party will do it, then we’ll find candidates or a party that will do what’s best for workers.”
Please let us hear from you on this. And be sure to read Brother Floyd’s thoughtful remarks below.
Donna Dewitt, President, South Carolina AFL-CIO
Dennis Serrette, Retired Education Director, Communications Workers of America
Ashaki Binta, UE Field Representative
Alan Benjamin, Executive Committee, San Francisco Labor Council
Jerry Gordon, Retired International Representative, United Food and Commercial Workers Union
On behalf of the ELN Coordinating Committee