Direct action follows three days of breadlines outside Durbin’s office — part of groundswell of opposition to proposed cuts to New Deal-era and domestic programs that will gut economy, hurt seniors, disabled, families.
CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–December 6, 2012. Local grassroots organizations will erect a “Durbinville” shantytown/protest at noon on December 6, as part of a widening effort to pressure U.S. Senator Dick Durbin to raise taxes on the wealthy and Wall Street and oppose cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other vital national safety net programs. The action will be held in the Federal Plaza, adjacent to Durbin’s office in the Kluczynski Federal Building, at Adams and Dearborn.
After refusing to relent for months in meetings with local grassroots leaders, Durbin agreed in late November to move away from Social Security cuts in current budget negotiations, as groups – representing diverse segments of society including senior citizens, students, working people and the long-term unemployed from all walks of life and areas of the metro region – are stepping up the call for broader guarantees to protect vital economic safety net programs.
Durbin is steering budget negotiations for the Obama administration, and he has stated a willingness to balance the federal budget by cutting Medicare, Medicaid and other domestic programs. Although the Durbin and Obama say they are willing to let the Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans expire in an effort to raise revenue, they still insist there must be $3-4 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade. Grassroots leaders argue that – while voters decisively rejected Paul Ryan’s plan for austerity on election day – Obama and Durbin are instead serving up a “Ryan-light” budget with deep cuts to programs that Americans hold dear, have paid for and desperately need. Instead, grassroots leaders argue that the wealthy and Wall Street should pay their fair share – above and beyond letting the Bush Tax Cuts expire for the top 2%, including implementing a Financial Speculation Tax, restoring a robust estate tax, and increasing tax rates paid by millionaires and billionaires.
To push back, a local metro Chicago coalition of social service providers and grassroots community groups led by Make Wall Street Pay Illinois – whose members include IIRON, SOUL, Lakeview Action Coalition, & Northside P.O.W.E.R. – along with Occupy Chicago, Stand Up Chicago, Jane Addams Senior Caucus, American Friends Service Committee and other local groups, will take over Federal Plaza on Thursday, December 6 to make visible the hunger and suffering that budget cuts will create in their communities. Participants will demand that Durbin look into the eyes of the people his budget decisions will affect, and remember that CEOs and Wall Street donors are not the only people with huge interests at stake in current budget negotiations.
20 people were arrested on November 9 in Durbin’s office and in the lobby of the Kluczynski Building, at a protest that drew more than 400 to oppose Durbin’s role in negotiating safety net cuts on behalf of the Obama administration. Dozens more have vowed to risk arrest through acts of civil disobedience to oppose Durbin’s and the Obama administration’s commitments to making cuts in order to balance the budget.