SpeakOut

Bloombergville 13: Support Our Heroes!

The thirteen protesters who were arrested during their heroic non-violent action against the NYC budget cuts on June 26 have been released after pleading guilty to one count each of disorderly conduct: http://www.indypendent.org/2011/06/30/bloombergville-13-released/

The thirteen are residents of "Bloombergville," a two week-old street encampment near City Hall built by concerned city residents who wished to prevent the unjust cuts from being passed by the City Council.

They have each been assessed a fine of $120, making the total amount for all thirteen $1,560. Bloombergville, located at the corner of Broadwayand Park Place across from City Hall Park (just look for protest signs and sleeping bags) is collecting donations to help pay the Thirteen's fines.

HOW TO HELP:

1. The best way to donate to the Bloombergville 13 is to stop by the collective and donate in person. Corner of Broadway and Park Place across from City Hall Park in Manhattan. Come to donate, stay to chill with the heroes!  A good time to come is at 6:30, when the nightly assembly commences.

2. If you just can't make it for a visit but have a PayPal account, you may donate via PayPal. Go to https://www.paypal.com/, log in and click SEND MONEY, choose PERSONAL, and enter this email address: bloombergville13@gmail.com. *PayPal ONLY; no credit/debit cards can be accepted.

WHAT ELSE CAN I DO?

Help the Bloombergville community plan its next moves at two important meetings coming next week: Tue, July 5 and Thu, July 7, both at 6:30 and both at the Solidarity Center, 55 W. 17th St., 5th Floor, Manhattan. Until then, stop by the collective to hang out and show your solidarity!

Go to http://bloombergvillenow.org/ for the latest updates.

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News of Historic Protests Against Unjust NYC Budget

Tuesday and Wednesday were eventful days in New York City, with multiple schedule changes at City Hall and the residents of Bloombergville keeping on top of all of them with protests and flyering.

13 Bloombergvillagers were arrested after barricading themselves inside the building where councilmembers were scheduled to vote Tuesday night: http://www.dnainfo.com/20110628/manhattan/city-council-budget-vote-delayed

Video of Bloombergville's courageous stand for justice: http://bloombergvillenow.org/2011/06/29/bloombergville-disrupts-last-nights-city-council-vote-video/

Great NY1 coverage (video and article): http://www.ny1.com/content/top_stories/141839/city-council-postpones-budget-vote?ap=1&MP4&r=5184950976

Democracy Now! covered the protests on their June 29 show: http://www.democracynow.org/2011/6/29/headlines#19

A computer glitch as well as other problems delayed the vote several times until it was finally rescheduled for Wednesday morning. It was then that the criminal budget was finally passed, but not without plenty of pushback from Bloombergville: http://www.dnainfo.com/20110629/manhattan/city-council-adopts-66-billion-budget-for-2012

Protesters who were arrested on Tuesday night are expected to be released Wednesday. We welcome them back and continue the fight for peace and prosperity, not war and austerity!

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Bloombergville: An Inspiration and a Model for All

For the last two weeks, I’ve been hearing increasing stories of a magical place called “Bloombergville.” It’s a Hooverville-like tent community (minus the tents) set up in the shadow of New York City’s City Hall, built to stand as a continuous protest against the Bloomberg administration’s draconian budget cuts made on the backs of our city’s most vulnerable residents. It is inspired by the late and great “Walkerville” tent city in Madison, WI as well as other tent cities and continuous gatherings taking place around the world, most notably in Madrid, Spain, in response to severe austerity measures being implemented by governments near and far. When I first got there, I saw a row of empty sleeping bags and protest signs leaning against the side of the building next to which this little community has sprung up. I wondered where the actual residents were until I turned the corner and found them sitting on crates and folding chairs in a tight circle, having what looked like a very intense meeting. I smiled to myself and thought, “of course they’re having a meeting. Why would anyone just throw a sleeping bag and a sign on the street and think that that would be enough to fight City Hall?” That’s the first misconception I think most people would have about a tent city ala Hooverville: it’s not about the tents, or the signs. It’s about what you do with the community you have built to spread the message and grow support and power for the movement, and to increase the pressure on the government to do the right thing.

I had been meaning to pay a visit to Bloombergville for awhile. My friend Harry, a recent NYC transplant from that land of endless struggle and inspiration, Wisconsin, had invited me to join him there and say hello. He was planning on staying the night, having already visited a few separate times and made videos and blog posts in an effort to spread the word further and strengthen the bond of solidarity between the movements in his new and old home states. He introduced me to a few residents with whom I was instantly impressed, heard the exciting report from the meeting on Skype that Bloombergville had earlier with Madison and Madrid, and then stayed for their nightly assembly. The assembly was so orderly, so democratic and so cordial (and loving!) that I don’t think I can honestly say I’ve witnessed anything quite like it. The “chair” of the meeting couldn’t have been older than 20, yet he displayed a level of professionalism, fairness and respect that I have a hard time finding in some 40- and 50-somethings. But the attendees weren’t all that young: the ages seemed to range from this young man all the way to a few who looked to be in their 50’s or 60’s, all committed to their cause and each other as equals. They started by reaffirming the rules for Bloombergville, all based on mutual respect and equal responsibility. Then they listened to reports from the different committees and reviewed the next day’s busy schedule: three rallies to attend, individual outreach, another meeting, a concert and the Bloombergville High School Pep Rally, a tongue-in-cheek energy-building event in preparation for Tuesday’s big protest against the budget, which is expected to pass. No, this movement is not about tents, it’s about action! And keeping this truth in mind, after the other business was settled, the residents of Bloombergville kicked off an ongoing debate about whether to continue after the budget passes on Tuesday. Some felt that the current format was too strong and too inspirational not to continue on, and some felt that their energies would be better spent packing up and moving onto other tactics. But one thing that everyone agreed on was that, no matter what decision was made on the fate of Bloombergville as it stands, it will be made with the best interests of the anti-austerity movement in mind, and the bonds of solidarity that were forged so strongly here on the streets of New York will not be broken.

Ordinary folks around the country and around the world know the simple truth: budget cuts against schools, first responders, public spaces, social services and the like are NOT the right solution to a problem caused by the greed and recklessness of a few at the top. We ordinary citizens abide by the simple rule: you break it, you buy it. So when we witness governments and corporations rewarding bad behavior with bonuses and bailouts and designing budgets that make the rest of us pay to clean up their mess, we feel we have no choice but to spring into action. Ordinary measures like phone calls, petitions and protests have their influence, but it is limited; those who decided to raise the stakes did so by creating their own communities in Madison, New York and abroad, not only to serve as a constant protest against unjust austerity measures, but to also serve as a living example of what a just and equitable society can look like if we all pitch in and play by the rules. Bloomberg is cutting housing and shelter services; Bloombergville has created a safe place to live in the company of new friends and an uplifting sense of solidarity. Bloomberg is cutting library funding; Bloombergville has set up its own library where anyone is free to borrow a book and bring their own books to share. Bloomberg is cutting school funding; Bloombergville is having its own high school pep rally! Bloombergville is a small but inspirational beacon to the city and the world of what a truly democratic and neighborly society can and should look like, and I am proud to have witnessed it and have the honor of “rubbing elbows” with these enlightened revolutionaries! I’m looking forward to today’s rallies and working with the residents of Bloombergville, both physical and spiritual from all over the city and country, to create a society that truly lives up to the American ideal of liberty and justice for ALL.

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.Tax breaks for the rich is a double job killer, not a job creater

Yes, federal government spends our tax money ineffectively, but at least the money is spent here in USA mostly. The money republicans give to rich people will be invested in China to set-up companies to take away our jobs and steal our technologies. Think about it thourouly, not only tax breaks for the rich don't create any jobs here, worse yet, they also create jobs in China to take away our jobs in USA. Tax breaks for the rich is a double job killer, not a job creater

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Trade between a slavery-master(Chinese communists) and we Americans is not a free trade.

Job first, worry about debt latter. If it is not fair trade between free people, it is not free trade. Trade between a slavery-master(Chinese communists) and we Americans is not a free trade.

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John Nichols: Wisconsin Declaring 'This Fight is Not Over!'

Tens of thousands are still protesting in Wisconsin, with the energy inspiring action across the country. Yet, as the Madison native John Nichols writes in The Nation, the "energy in Wisconsin remains unmistakable, and unrelenting."

Three months after Governor Scott Walker proposed to strip state, county and municipal employees and public-school teachers of their collective bargaining rights, the governor's agenda remains stymied. Legal challenges,moves to recall Republican legislators who have sided with the governor and the fear on the part of legislative leaders of mass protests have prevented implementation.

That fear is well-founded.

A Madison rally organized just this past Saturday by the We Are Wisconsin and Wisconsin Wave coalitions drew an estimated 15-20,000, along with ralliers showing solidarity across the state.

Walker is certainly not being cowed by the intensity, but fortunately, the intensity of Wisconsin is not being cowed by Walker either.

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Tax Day is Today: Activists out in Force!

Much going on in New York and around the country to highlight tax inequities on the most relevant of days:

On April 18, 2010 diverse groups from all over New York City, including Common Cause/NY and Billionaires for Millionaires, Community Voices Heard, US Uncut NYC and MoveOn, will be engaging in unique actions to highlight our broken tax system- demanding that the highest income earners in the state and corporations making money off of US subsidies and tax loopholes pay their fair share. They will be calling on their elected officials on the Federal, State and City to help to fix our broken income tax system – that disproportionately taxes the poor and gives tax breaks to those making half a million dollars a year or more. We all benefit from a state government which can invest in more jobs and a better infrastructure. A broken tax system places New York State at a disadvantage in the national and global market place.

I've heard the main twitter hashtags seem to be #weareny in NYC & #makethempay nationally, so if you're tweeting make sure the include them.

Furthermore, Brad and John from 3 Knights Media are engaging in online and on the ground social media at the Queens MoveOn event to create a "Monument to the Moment" that aggregates content from the Exploited Alliance as they put it. 

So if you have any pictures, video, tweets, or stories to tell from the rally, please relay them, and we'll make sure they are added and used as inspiration for posterity!

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Tax Day: Make Them Pay events

MoveOn is holding Tax Day events nation wide, asserting that:

It’s time to demand that everyone pays their fair share to rebuild the American Dream. We invite frustrated taxpayers, underwater homeowners, vilified public servants, job-hunting students, and unemployed veterans—everyone facing cuts or cutbacks, a pink slip or a shrinking paycheck—to join in.

If you are in New York, Regina Schroeder is hosting the Queens event in Long Island City, and would love added attenence / help / collaboration!

She is motivated to incorporate social media on the ground and online, so if you are attuned on that front, it could be an especially fruitful MoveOn event to head to.

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Lee Camp Clarifies: Corporations Pay Less in Taxes than YOU

Comedian Lee Camp passionately lays out how horrifyingly hilarious our current tax structure is, with corporations seeing record profits while paying less than $10 in taxes per year. Check out his "Moment of Clarity" on it video below:

As he explains, during a time when everyone is being asked to tighten our belts, these "corporations are not tightening their belts, they are buying new, better belts."

Time for us to change that.

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Adopt a Wisconsin Voter

Citizen Action and USAction / True Majority have teamed up on quite a cool campaign.

What you do is declare that you "stand with Wisocnsin", and then sign a petition declaring that:

YES! I will help turn the tide of anti-worker legislation by adopting a Wisconsinite. As a foster-voter, I'll call and email my adopted voter and make sure they know how disastrous Scott Walker's budget is for the country.

After you sign they specify that...

We need you to connect with your adoptee person-to-person, one relationship at a time. You'll be responsible for calling and emailing them to tell them why Gov. Walker's budget is not only bad for Wisconsin -- it's bad for workers and bad for America.

With eyes still focused on Wisconsin and people nation wide trying to figure out the best ways to fight the War on Workers, especially on the war's ground zero in Wisconsin, I could see this catching on. 

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