99 Percent takes aim at spring

Mona Dubay worked as a trainer at a recent event to teach area residents about non violent direct action.

Mona Dubay worked as a trainer at a recent event to teach area residents about non violent direct action. Photo by Stephen Bartlett.

— Those gathered introduced themselves, using words to describe themselves, such as hope, peace, dismay, hopelessness, frustration and corruption.

They watched a short video on the history of non violence resistance, which featured such events as Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat to make room for a white passenger on Dec. 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama.

The video touched on Delano, California where mostly Filipino workers walked off the farms of table-grape growers, demanding wages equal to minimum wage. Cesar Chavez joined the strike and thus was born the United Farm Workers in 1966. The group eventually succeeded in reaching a collective bargaining agreement that benefited thousands.

The video further touched on globalized capital and the shipping of jobs overseas, rising student debt, rampant foreclosures and more.

It ended with testimonials from individuals describing themselves as part of the 99 percent, page after page of testimonials from individuals who worked hard at their jobs and are now unemployed, underemployed, lacking adequate health care and on the verge of ruin.

Those gathered also shared their own stories of losing their jobs and trying to care for their families with inadequate health care. They struggled with threats to social security and Medicare, corporate greed, tax inequality, housing issues and loosing their basic civil rights.

“People are being forced to do things that are illegal or unethical just to survive,” said Jenn Colver.

“We all have challenges that come out,” Dubay said.

The group included workers, the unemployed, disabled, parents, grandparents, veterans, students, women, men and young and old.

They want a future where there is fairness, peace, economic justice, good health care for all, clear thinking is encouraged, tax equity, education is a right and consumerism is not the national religion.

They talked about building a strong middle class with the help of laws that came out of the Great Depression and then the systematic attack, starting in the early 1970s, by corporations on the American free enterprise system. Through deregulation and more, they said, corporations have influenced policy and reaped the benefits. They attack unions to destabilize the power such groups have to fight for workers, they attack democracy and they divide Americans, pitting different groups with the same concerns against each other to prevent them from uniting.

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