Home > Uncategorized > Thousands Rally In Trenton In Solidarity With Wisconsin Workers

Thousands Rally In Trenton In Solidarity With Wisconsin Workers

Pro-labor Crowd Denounces Christie Agenda and Attacks On Middle Class

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[Update 2/27/11: I noticed that NJ Democrats (other than Frank Pallone) were notably nowhere to be seen at the rally. Did I miss them? Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono has a great Op-Ed. But here's' where "Democratic" Senate President Sweeney was:  NJ Senate President Sweeney presents his own reforms - Big Problem.]

Thousands of labor supporters rallied today in front of the Statehouse in a show of solidarity with Wisconsin labor unions and to oppose attacks on public sector employees and labor rights. Threats of heavy rain likely dampened turnout.

After a warmup singing Woodie Guthrie’s classic “This Land Is Your land” and other labor songs, the crowded roared as a series of rousing speakers denounced Republican policies that cut taxes for corporations and the rich, while slashing social programs and destroying the middle class.

While voicing support for Wisconsin labor unions, the crowd sent a message to Governor Christie and the Legislature that the labor movement was unified, building coalitions with other progressives,  and ready to fight to protect hard won middle classs lifestyles.

Governor Christie has refused to focus on reversing growing inequality and the struggles of working people. He ignores the Wall Street deregulation and corporate greed that caused the recession.

"New Normal: Unions get busted: corporations get deregulated: Middle class gets crushed: Rich Get richer"

"New Normal: Unions get busted: corporations get deregulated: Middle class gets crushed: Rich Get richer"

Instead, attempting to define a “new normal”, Christie puts the pedal to the metal on exactly the policies that have caused the problem: even more aggressive blind pursuit of tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, deregulation, privatization, and attacks on public employees.  A protestor’s sign summed up the process (apologies for the poor resolution):

New Normal:Unions get busted: corporations get deregulated: Middle class gets crushed: Rich Get richer”

Adding insult to injury, Christie has joined with Democratic Senate President Sweeney in what looks like a conscious effort to divide public and private unions, by exploiting legitimate anger over high unemployement, stagnant wages, record home foreclosures and bankruptcies, and a deep insecurity in what looks like an increasingly bleak future for people who work for a living.

For thirty years now, corporations have received huge tax cuts and subsidies, while they enjoyed record profits from off shoring jobs, deindustrializing, slashing workers’ wages and benefits, in pursuit of a cost cutting, short term profit maximizing, race to the bottom strategy (some call it “financialization”).

Christie now wants to import that corporate disaster into the public sector.

Christie appeals to resentment – pitting worker against worker, private union versus public union - and employs divide and conquer and blame the victim tactics, a view summed up by Sweeney himself in a New York Times magazine interview:

“My politics are union politics,” Sweeney, the Senate president, assured me when I visited him in his State House office. He reminded me that he is not only the state’s top elected Democrat, but also a union ironworker. And yet, he said, “what I think that public-sector employees have to do is look at what’s going on around them, look at all the pain around them, and understand that no one hates them, but they want them to sacrifice like everyone else. It’s that simple.”

Well, it’s not that simple Mr. Sweeney. As a colleague wrote in a recent email:

In NJ, we saw businesses and their interests use the recession as an excuse to drastically reduce environmental protection and privatize our jobs under the guise of spurring the economy (as if NJ DEP caused the recession in NJ!), so I’m not surprised.  It’s full-scale class warfare if you ask me. Today, it’s public workers in WI, tomorrow it will be retirees everywhere. Next we will be told that there’s no money for social security but we can’t raise taxes on the wealthy making over $200K per year because that isn’t fair.  But we can take away pensions, social security, medicare or  unemployment compensation that were promised.  That is totally fair!

Here are some more photos – I was proud to stand with this diverse crowd of everyday people!:

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  1. February 26th, 2011 at 00:33 | #1

    Great photos. I think I can find myself in the first photo – or at least the back of my hat. My photos are at http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=56268&id=146285935384000&l=f3786b2eb5 and a video from the pre-game show is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wc0aJXHYNdU

    It was a great rally, but we can’t stop here. We need to remind King Christie and his Cronies that it was the workers who built NJ and they need to be treated with the respect and resources that they deserve.

  1. March 22nd, 2011 at 21:54 | #1
  2. December 1st, 2011 at 20:14 | #2
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