Occupy Chicago and local community organizations reject Grand Bargain austerity measures
Chicago–(ENEWSPF)–November 12, 2012. Five Occupy Chicago men and women and 15 members of the Make Wall Street Pay Illinois coalition, were arrested by federal marshals on Friday, November 9 while attempting to meet with US Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) in order to secure his commitment to reject a Grand Bargain compromise that would balance the federal budget by making cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Erin Delaney, Greg Goodman, Noah Moskowitz, Larissa Prittenger and Sam Sandmel, and 15 additional arrestees including clergy members, senior citizens, students and community members, were taken into custody during business hours in the taxpayer-funded and publicly-owned Kluczynski Federal Building. The group insisted that they had a right to share their concerns about the budget with Senator Durbin. Durbin’s Federal Building staff refused to contact the Senator on behalf of the demonstrators.
Describing the Grand Bargain as a Wall Street Budget, the demonstrators insisted that Durbin must reject any plan to balance the budget on the backs of the poor, working people, the sick and the elderly by slashing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. They told the Senator to instead fight for a People’s Budget by blocking the extension of the Bush Tax Cuts for the top 2%, imposing a Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street financial speculation, taxing capital gains as normal income and closing corporate tax loopholes.
“This budget affects everyone. From mothers and their children to the elderly, the austerity measures Durbin is fighting for will kill thousands in Chicago and across the nation by denying them aid,” said Sam Sandmel. “We cannot watch this happen. Right now, Durbin is choosing the interests of Wall Street CEOs and Big Business over the lives of his constituents.”
“Instead of Durbin being complicit in the evisceration of the middle and working class’ support services through Simpson-Bowles, Durbin should be seriously considering letting the Bush/Obama tax cuts expire and imposing the Robin Hood tax on Wall Street transactions,” said Erin Delaney.
“By dismantling the safety net, we not only put millions of lives at risk, but we open up these services to privatization by corporate forces – that’s why CEOs have been campaigning around Capitol Hill so adamantly for this ‘Grand Bargain,'” said Greg Goodman. “There is no ‘Bargain’. That’s a lie. The Bush Tax Cuts are set to expire at the end of the year no matter what happens. The idea that Democrats are trading these cuts to the social safety net in exchange for higher taxes on the rich is just something politicians on both sides of the aisle have been telling the public in order to make this Wall-Street-engineered evisceration of the New Deal look like bipartisan statesmanship. It’s not.”
A crowd of more than 400 individuals representing at least twenty different local activist communities and organizations – including Occupy Chicago, Occupy Rogers Park, IIRON, SOUL, Northside P.O.W.E.R., the Southside Solidarity Network, DePaul Students for Justice, Loyola Organizing in Action, the North Park Justice League, UIC Roots of Justice, the Lakeview Action Coalition, the Jane Addams Senior Caucus, National Nurses United, Illinois People’s Action, University of Chicago Graduate Students United, National People’s Action, Common Cause Illinois, US Uncut, the Illinois Single-Payer Coalition and Park Ridge Citizens United – rallied outside of the Federal Building in support of the individuals attempting to meet with Senator Durbin.
Source: Occupy Chicago