Groups announce protest of bailout scheme listen10/02/08 Seán Kinane
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Today, a coalition of seven groups from across the ideological spectrum encouraged people to join a march on St. Petersburg City Hall on Saturday. The demonstration will protest the Wall Street bailout passed by the Senate on Wednesday night.
Omali Yeshitela is the Chair of the African People’s Socialist Party. Yeshitela was one of several people who offered alternative plans, saying that financial resources should go directly to the people.
Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has argued that the $3 trillion war on Iraq has contributed to the Wall Street collapse and to its demand for a bailout.
Chris Ernesto from St. Pete for Peace pointed out that the destabilizing effect of the American empire throughout the world is contributing to the country’s financial crisis. Ernesto said rather than giving free money to corporations, Americans would be better served with free health care and free education.
Penny Hess, with the African People’s Solidarity Committee, opposes bailing out the same people who “endangered the entire world economy.” She said “if the U.S. government is serious about re-inflating the economy, then it has to put money into jobs, infrastructure,” and aid to homeowners.
A press conference to announce Saturday’s March and rally was held Thursday in front of the Bank of America building on Central Avenue in downtown St. Petersburg. The Rev. Bruce Wright with Refuge Ministries said opposing the bailout is an “economic issue and a moral issue [of] exploitation of the working and the poor.” Wright urged that the money be used instead on public works programs, health care and education.
A spokesperson from Bank of America was not immediately available. Other sponsors of the March on City Hall include the Sarasota Green Party, the Poor People’s Campaign and the local chapters of Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty and Progressive Democrats of America. Speakers at the press conference encouraged citizens to keep the pressure on their representatives in Congress. Yeshitela said the mobilization against the bailout by the American people prompted many lawmakers to vote against it. WMNF asked Yeshitela if Saturday’s march on City Hall would still be necessary if the House approves the bailout on Friday.
“Should this bailout occur before Saturday, the need is even greater then to have this mobilization and to give the people an opportunity to speak for themselves since their representatives will not do that.”
The march begins at 10 a.m. Saturday in Williams Park, located at 1st Avenue North and 4th Street. Learn more by calling (727) 821-6620.
Photo by Seán Kinane/WMNF