A People’s Assembly held Nov. 5 at Hostos Community College in the South Bronx launched an exciting fightback program for jobs, against racism and for the rights of workers and poor people to unions, food, healthcare, and public education.
The People’s Assembly launched an Occupy For Jobs Network to coordinate a large-scale campaign for jobs. “Occupy Wall Street has opened up space for people to do other things,” said Larry Holmes, a founder of the Bail Out the People Movement. “It is vital to open up new fronts and no front is more necessary than the fight for jobs. The underlying issue is depression level unemployment.”
A multinational crowd of more than 150 activists from organizations throughout New York and several other cities participated, including members of Occupy Wall Street, Occupy the Bronx, Occupy Philadelphia, Occupy Boston and Occupy Baltimore, as well as the South Bronx Community Congress, the Freedom Party, the Million Worker March Movement, and the Bail Out the People Movement.
An ambitious and bold series of immediate actions and long-term strategies was agreed on.
It shows the breathtaking escalation of the people’s movement in the current period:
- Wednesday, Nov. 9, join the Teamsters #814 picketline at Sothebys (72nd & York)
- Saturday, Nov. 12, March and rally at Woodlawn Cemetery, 1pm, to “Stop Racist and Anti-Union Abuse on the Job” (To see a Public Service Video, click here: http://youtu.be/XYjzg3h3iSI)
- Tuesday, Nov. 15, Stand in solidarity with TWU #100’s fight for a decent contract:
Oppose cuts to service and jobs! 4:30pm, Sheraton Hotel, 7th Ave & 52nd St.
- Rally Nov 16 to block the sell-out of Antonetti School to make a charter school
Stop the charterization/privatization of public schools!
Stop the closings of public schools!
Protect Special Education and services to special needs students and their families.
Defeat Bloomberg’s bill to cut bus service for special needs students
Stop the layoffs of education workers!
- Thursday, Nov 17, National “Occupy for Jobs” march and rally –
in NYC “shut it down!”
- Save the Postal Service – blast the hearings on Nov 21 (West Farms & E. Tremont, Bronx), Nov 22 (Lincolnton Stn, 5th Ave & 138th St, Harlem), Dec. 12 (Botanical Gardens Stn, 204th & Mosholu Pkwy, Bronx)
- CUNY students WALKOUT Nov 21 (starting at 1pm at CUNY) and march to Trustees Meeting at Baruch College 4pm.
- Wednesday Nov. 23, protest the Congressional Super Committee’s proposals to slash $1.2 trillion+ from the federal budget. Mobilize to stop the closing of thousands of post offices, which would involve slashing 250,000 postal worker jobs, as some in Congress are advocating.
- Tuesday, Dec 6, Occupy for Housing (more info to come on time and place)
- Thursday, Dec 8, Freedom & Justice Organizing School, Teamsters Local 808, 22-43 Jackson Ave, Queens, 6:30pm. (7 Train to 45th Rd & Courthouse Sq; G or E to Court Sq) (More info: www.millionworkermarch.org)
- January 14-16 – Martin Luther King holiday weekend: Nationally coordinated actions to demand a massive Public Works Program to provide jobs at union wages for the more than 30 unemployed and underemployed workers in the country.
Sharon Black, a member of the All People’s Congress in Baltimore, said the Occupy For Jobs Network will do whatever is necessary to expand the fight for jobs in order to be effective:
“If they go to shutdown a workplace, what should we do? Occupy! If they try to shut down post offices what should we do? Occupy,” she declared. “If they try to do anything against workers the rest of us have got to unite and take action.”
The People’s Assembly took place at Hostos College, the site of an historic occupation in 1976. Ramon Jimenez, a founder of the South Bronx Community Congress and a participant in that occupation, said students occupied the school for 20 days when the city announced it was going to close it. They won the battle to keep the school open. “It all took place because people fought back, struggled and occupied,” Jimenez said.
Recent and on-going actions emphasized the themes of the People’s Assembly:
- Aminifu Williams of People’s Organization for Progress, based in Newark, NJ, reported that POP has protested in downtown Newark for 130 days in a row calling for a national jobs program like the Work Projects Administration. Launched by the Roosevelt Administration, the WPA employed millions of people in the construction of buildings, roads, bridges, and schools, as well as in arts and literary projects.
- The Jobless Working Group of Occupy Wall Street held a march to subway stations on Oct. 28 to demand that the Metropolitan Transit Authority provide free fares for the unemployed.
- Occupy Latin America, which is within Occupy Wall Street en Español of OWS is holding a March on Nov. 20 focused on women’s rights.
- The Immigrant Rights Working Group of OWS is planning a march at Zuccotti Park on immigrant rights.
The initial signers of the call for an Occupy For Jobs Network include the Bail Out the People Movement; Frantz Mendez, president, USW Local 8751 Boston School Bus Union; Chris Silvera, Secretary-Treasurer Teamsters Local 808; Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney; Teresa Gutierrez, co-coordinator of the May 1st Coalition for Immigrant and Workers Rights; Larry Adams, Vice President of People’s Organization for Progress and former president, National Postal Mail Handlers Local 300; and the Occupy Wall Street Jobless Working Group.
Workshops on Education Rights and Fighting Poverty and Violence resolved on the following long- and near-term goals and strategies:
- Organize at schools – get parents, HS students and all school workers & community. Build grassroots so we’re ready to occupy.
- Teachers: bring in a union leadership that reflects the community.
- Develop a People’s Board of Education
- Take-over Vacant Properties and set up committee to coordinate these actions
- Take-over St. Vincent's Hospital
- Take-over Vacant Buildings
- Take-over Vacant Lots
- Monitor the current Class Action re: Parkland on Randall's Island
- Organize a Class Action Law Suit against Enslavement of Public Assistance Recipients
- Protest Action on "New Slavery (Forced Labor) of Public Assistance Recipients
- March & Rally at FEGS (a major Public Assistance processing entity)
- Social Work Schools
- Business Schools
- March on Graduate Schools:
8. Educate on and Organize for a Resource-Based Economy
- Grow Food on vacant under-utilized land and establish bartering system for same