NEW YORK — The downtown area was on fire Thursday. At lunchtime over 2,000 workers from various unions protested the Bush plan to bail out Wall Street, after making bad investments for the last 5 years.
Hard hats, transit workers, machinists, teachers and other labor unionists railed against the U.S. government’s proposed bailout of Wall Street on Thursday in a protest steps from the New York Stock Exchange.
Several hundred protesters yelled their enthusiastic support as union leaders decried a proposed $700 billion plan aimed at reinvigorating the credit markets by relieving financial institutions of distressed debt.
“The Bush administration wants us to pay the freight for a Wall Street bailout that does not even begin to address the roots of our crisis,” said AFL-CIO National President John Sweeney.
“We want our tax dollars used to provide a hand up for the millions of working people who live on Main Street and not a handout to a privileged band of overpaid executives.”
Signs read “No Blank Checks For Wall Street” and “Our Hard-Earned Pensions Are Not Up For Grabs.” Protesters cheered repeated calls for the government to spend money on education, health care and housing as freely and readily as it was proposing to do for Wall Street.
“We know that the economic situation has to be solved. But we want a responsible rescue, not an opportunistic bailout,” said United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.
“And that means, just like every single boss says to me, that there should be accountability for the teachers, then there should be accountability for Wall Street,” he said.
“The bailout is a sellout unless it includes the victims of the tyranny,” civil rights activist the Rev. Jesse Jackson told reporters after the rally. “The homeowners need long-term, low interest rate loans and the restructuring of loans, not the repossession of homes.” “This is a Roosevelt moment,” Jackson said, referring to former President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s program to lift the United States out of the Great Depression. “It’s time for reconstruction of manufacturing law, trade law and banking transparency.”
After Wall Street faced the wrath of unions, the streets filled again at 4 PM with other concerned citizens who piled up their “junk” at the famous “Bull” at the foot of Broadway. Over 1,000 people, ranging from children to students and working people, showed up and showed their anger. From the rally at the “Bull” people took to the streets to march up to Wall Street where workers were exiting the buildings. The chants ranged from “You Broke it you bought it!” to “No Bailout for Wall Street,” and some others that signified how angry the crowd really was. One sign read “Jump, f**ckers!”
Students were outraged that they soon they would have to pay more for college tuition since CUNY is now threatening to raise fees, are steeped in college loans, and trying to work to just get buy. New Yorkers who are just working class stiffs showed up to let the I-bankers know that since they had to work hard just to buy food, they wouldn’t agree to bailing out anyone.
Protesters took over the steps across the street from the New York Stock Exchange enraged over what this government is planning to do with a $700 billion buyout package, no strings attached. One young man was yelling the entire time as we marched screaming that he “had had enough of Bush and the rich” in this Country, and that “they need to go down!”
Bush and Treasury Secretary Paulson are trying to ram the “no strings attached $700 billion” proposal down the throats of hard working people in this Country, who have had just about enough of being told what’s good for them.
It was inspiring to see the crowds and hope that Washington is paying attention because this could just be the beginning of the awakening of the masses.