Drawing their inspiration from Egypt and Wisconsin, nearly 10,000 union supporters clogged the streets of Los Angeles to let it be known they will not stand for what they call an attack on the middle class.
Tom Morello, lead guitarist of band, Rage Against the Machine, took his rage to the stage in Los Angeles for political change.
“It’s my honor to stand shoulder to shoulder with you today as we show the world that we are not going to take this bullshit that they’re trying to force down our throat in the Midwest and that’s not coming here,” said Morello, to a cheering crowd.
The massive rally in downtown Los Angeles drew thousands of people and became the new front in the fight to keep the American dream alive.As far as the eye could see, people lined up in solidarity, to let Washington, DC and Wall Street know that Americas poor and middle class will no longer be the scapegoats for the nation’s money problems.
“They’re the ones who wrecked the economy,” said Morello. “It wasn’t the teachers union that wrecked the economy, it wasn’t the steel workers or cops or students that wrecked the economy. It was the malfeasance of Wall Street that wrecked the economy.”
The frustration of the poor and middle class is manifesting itself throughout the west coast and in many other cities across America. With federal and local governments proposing major budget cuts, and private industry still hiring at a sluggish rate, the pain is hitting home for many.
Gaines Newborn is fighting to keep kids off the streets while at the same time fighting to keep food on his table.
“I’ve lost my job twice in the last six months from being laid off from a youth institution,” said Newborn. “I’m a youth mentor and my job is to help empower people to become successful and I’m struggling to stay in the field,” Newborn added.
Like many demonstrators, he believes the government’s solutions so far have only slung the nation backwards, expanding and entrenching poverty.A recent study showed that nearly two million people in Los Angeles County are living in hunger.
“I can go a couple days without food, but my child will not go a day without food,” said Gaines.“And people are willing to do anything to feed their kids and the shelter they need. It’s dangerous.”
Those concerns are shared by workers who fear their wages and benefits are at risk by the right wing movement to kill organized labor.
Kelly Pierce was encouraged by people taking to the streets.She depends on her benefits to pay for her daughter’s heart surgeries, so she will fight for her benefits and for those of others.
“Look at all the vets that you see on the street corners,” Pierce said. “They fought for our country. Yet you see more and more homeless people. And it’s not only the vets, it’s us standing on the street corners asking for money and that’s wrong.”
It appears that Main Street America is finally waking up, a solidarity movement developing ready to fight for a fairer system.
“It’s global,” said Morello. “You see tens of thousands of people in the streets of Cairo in Madison, in Los Angeles, I think it’s a really international groundswell of people standing up against injustice.”
Nomi Prins, the author of “It Takes a Pillage” and a senior fellow at Demos explained the protests highlight an awakening and increase in collective action targeting Wall Street and the government who keeps bailing out big business.
“The encouraging aspect is that the people in the streets are everybody. They are all classes, they’re all types,” she noted. “The fact that the mainstream media didn’t cover this was absolutely awful.”
She argued the media continues to claim the US is in recovery, but she contended otherwise.
“Clearly in California and in other states and other cities we have double digit unemployment, we have foreclosures increasing, we have schools closing,” Prins said. “People are getting screwed.”
As more people feel the crunch, more will rise up and America will see greater collective protests, she argued.
Founder of Survive and Thrive TV George Hemminger who has actively followed economic changes in America’s middle class said America is headed to a point where high process and hard economic times are pushing those in need to speak out and take to the streets.
“You can probably expect these protests to eventually become violent protests,” he added. “What will happen in America when Main Street rises up and really starts demonstrating remains to be seen.”
He argued that in some cases, people rise up and change takes place, in others the people are faced with force from the government. Some in America, he argued, worry the US government may soon impose martial law to fight against protests.
“It’s incredible, the price increases that we are seeing,” he remarked, explaining how high inflation has reached and how hard it is for families to afford to live in America.
There needs to be a recall of all government spending overseas, it should be focused and spent on bettering Americans, not others.
“We need to start implementing policies that are pro-American, pro-American people,” he said. But, “Obama doesn’t care.”
He argued that American politicians only care about money and big business, and are out of touch with reality.
“Obama is totally out of touch with reality,” he remarked.