Filed under: Global Economy & Politics, Me Stuff, Race, Society & Economy, U.S. Politics
I’m involved in OccupyChicago. I stand on the corner with a sign for a couple of hours every few days, plus I go to the larger demonstrations. I was arrested over the weekend for a sit-in to defend the medical aid station set up by National Nurses United.
Being in jail for 18 hours was unpleasant, but really, not that big deal. When I was finally released, there were about 50 OccupyChicago people in front of the cop station throwing a party for us. Most people don’t get cheers and a welcoming committee when they get out of a South Side Chicago jail cell.
As I was being processed out, I saw a few young black guys staring out of their cells. They may have been hard guys on the street, but away from their pals, they just looked like scared kids to me. Whether they had actually even committed crimes was irrelevant. We punish the innocent and the guilty alike. Read more
Filed under: Global Economy & Politics, Me Stuff, Society & Economy, U.S. Healthcare, Unions
The Occupy Movement world-wide speaks for what Johnny Cash, The Man in Black, called,”The poor and the beaten down, livin’ in the hopeless, hungry side of town.” We want to change the global economy so that working people can live in dignity rather than be plagued with unemployment, debt, low wages, poor health care, inadequate education, pollution and homelessness.
Here in Chicagoland OccupyChicago has led vigils, protests and marches for the past month. On the evening of October 23rd, 3000 of us held a noisy march through downtown to Grant Park to set up an encampment. When we arrived there was already a medical tent. This was soon supplemented by other tents as people set up for what they hoped would be a long stay.
OccupyChicago had decided that we needed a permanent encampment as a base of operations, and I agreed. NYC had one and look how much that helped. I knew our chances of success were not good, but I was willing to join a demonstration to at least try.
I was at Grant Park when the 11 pm curfew was announced. Read more
Filed under: Job Safety & Ecology, Society & Economy, U.S. Healthcare, U.S. Politics, Unions
We know that Herman Cain is not really a happy man. He doesn’t like black people very much because he thinks they’ve been brainwashed into a plantation mentality by evil Democrats. Cain doesn’t like brown people very much either. He wants a moat full of alligators, a deadly electric fence and armed sharpshooters on the US-Mexican border. Even the Berlin Wall lacked alligators and high voltage. Women? Nope. He thinks women have no right to an abortion, even after rape or incest. Low income Americans? Nope again. He wants to raise their taxes.
Cain was head of Godfather Pizza and the National Restaurant Association. The former made him a rich man and the latter made him a powerhouse in politics. But he had open contempt for the majority of people in his industry. Food service workers are among the lowest paid employees in the USA. Cain blocked improvements in their wages and fought against allowing them health care. Sick, underpaid waiters and cooks sneezing on your food didn’t seem to bother him a bit. Read more
Filed under: Global Economy & Politics, Me Stuff, Society & Economy
I’ve been a part-time participant in #Occupy Chicago. We’re not a large group. Yesterday afternoon when I was there, we peaked at around 150. There were more of us on Friday evening. We had an afternoon General Assembly in Grant Park with the organizers taking great pains so that all could be heard, even the shy and normally quiet. It was conducted with several Chicago police in full view. That was interesting.
We are normally on LaSalle Street in front of the Federal Reserve in the heart of the financial district. The Board of Trade towers over us with its Mordor-like architecture. The Mayor’s Office up the street has made it logistically hard, not letting people set up an encampment on the sidewalk, but #Occupy Chicago has learned to cope. Given the violent history of the Chicago police, the cops have been on their best behavior by comparison.
We’re noisy but then the sounds within the city canyons are like that anyway. There is no peace to disturb. Every few hours, people march around the Chicago Loop with their signs and noisemakers.We get lots of friendly honks from cabbies, truck drivers and just ordinary people braving the city traffic. Tourists like to snap photos from above their open-air tour buses. Some pedestrians give us friendly smiles. Some stop to chat. Others try to pretend they don’t see us. The one thing we don’t get is a lot of open hostility. Read more
Greg Jones has a job that is critical to human survival. He feeds us. Not literally of course. This New Jersey truck driver goes to work at 8 pm and driving by night until 4 am, brings us the food we eat. He has become a nocturnal (nighttime) mammal with a diurnal (daytime) body. He knows what this means. Many of his co-workers have persistent health issues that indicate body deterioration. He has a daily discipline of 2 hours of exercise that he hopes will keep his body going without constant pain and grim trips to the hospital.
Because you see, trying to be a nocturnal mammal in a diurnal body can mean a weakened immune system with a tendency toward diabetes, heart disease and perhaps even cancer. Humans are social mammals. Shift work means one’s family and social life are impaired. If they are parents, shift workers may drag themselves to important milestones in their children’s lives in a mist of fatigue, all the time pushing themselves to show enthusiasm in a way that a stage actor might. Read more