November 1 Storm Update (scroll to end of post for update)
Black NJ: RWDSU Local 108 Joins POP Daily Pickets!
On Wednesday, October 19, the 116th day of the Daily People's Campaign for Jobs, Peace, Equality & Justice, Local 108 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, AFL-CIO (RWDSU) joined the People's Organization for Progress and other community-based organizations, individuals and Newark residents at the Lincoln monument in front of the Essex County Hall of Records between Springfield Avenue and Market Street.
Local 108's participation was an important development in the proposed 381-day campaign. While many individual union members have participated over the past months, while labor organizations have sent out members, this was the first time an endorsing union local has come out in force with their leadership.
"We must grasp Newark's unique situation," Charles Hall, Jr., President of RWDSU Local 108 said. "While national unemployment figures hover around 10%, Newark's numbers are 22%, double-depression levels!"
"In this situation, politicians' promises fail to spark hope among the city's unemployed," Larry Hamm, NJ Chairman of the People's Organization for Progress added. "When unemployment among minority youth approaches 75%, Mayor Booker's claimed 'concern' about jobs looks more like a campaign slogan than an actuality."
The Daily People's Campaign's goal of at least 381-days of continuing picketing was conceived by the People's Organization for Progress to recall the length of the Montgomery Bus Boycott 0f 1955-56, but as this momentous movement enters its fourth month, local residents …and supporters far beyond Newark's boundaries… are linking it to the many Occupy! actions (Occupy Wall Street!, Occupy Chicago!, Occupy Boston!, Occupy London!, etc., etc.) that are drawing national and international attention.
Perhaps, as the Black Agenda Report's Glen Ford has noted (see People's Organization for Progress protest), POP's Newark "demonstration marathon" shares a community of interest with Occupy Wall Street. To me it appears that by uniting labor and the community against the failed banking and government policies that reduce the vast majority of Newark's citizens to poverty, the People's Daily Campaign is Occupy Newark!
This past weekend, during the late-Fall blizzard (which plunged most of the Newark-area into almost a pre-electronic age situation as it brought down trees and power-lines all over Northern NJ) the People's Organization for Progress kept our daily picket active, sent a delegation to Wall Street and issued the following statement in support of Occupy Wall Street:
Statement of Solidarity from POP
and the Daily People’s Campaign Coalition
To the Occupy Wall St. Movement: October 2011
The Peoples’ Organization for Progress (POP), the statewide social justice organization, based in New Jersey and rooted in the Black Freedom Movement, extends greetings of Solidarity to the Occupy Wall St. Movement (OWS). We too are part of the 99%...who are victims of the current vastly disparate distribution of economic and political resources and power in the U.S. social system. With you, we are the “have nots,” who are resolved to fight back against the effects and the roots of the economic downturn and the accompanying political repression that is necessary to maintain the status quo.
The “Great Recession” in the rest of Americas is full blown Depression in Black America and the communities of other oppressed nationalities: Latinos and Native Peoples. We suffer double national levels of unemployment. The sub-prime predatory mortgage attacks by robber financiers have been exposed as intentionally targeting Black and Brown borrowers. Foreclosure and eviction are epidemic in our already impoverished communities; accelerating social decay and generational setback in already minimal wealth accumulation. The devastating effect of Government withdrawal from social service and safety support is exponentially magnified in these neediest of communities. The diversion of national treasury to wars of plunder and occupation and the historically unprecedented concentration of trillions of dollars of private wealth in the hands of the 1% deprive the U.S. Working Class, the Oppressed Nationalities and the small capitalists and support strata, who constitute, the Middle Class, of necessary resources for national reconstruction, necessary in the wake of the crisis. The 1% is at war against the 99% at home abroad.
Like you, POP is resolved to Fight Back! In response to the ruling class, the 1% efforts to burden the 99% with the ill effects and costs of the meltdown of their monopoly capitalism, while preserving their domination of society’s economic and political resources, we have put forth “The Daily Peoples’ Campaign for JOBS, PEACE, EQUALITY and JUSTICE.” Inspired by the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the campaign projects 381 days of daily protests against fundamental aspects of their war on us, demanding:
•A government sponsored national jobs program like the WPA of the 1930’s Depression,
•End the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and wherever U.SD. military is projected abroad; and, repatriation of the wasted treasury for national reconstruction,
•Preserving and strengthening workers’ rights and collective bargaining,
•A moratorium on foreclosures and evictions,
•Opposition to privatization of public education and guaranteed availability of university education without indentured servitude to finance capital,
•A national single-payer health program for all residents,
•End to police brutality and state repression of our fightback
The campaign is endorsed by in excess of 50 community, labor, faith-based and student organizations, who mobilize their constituents to join the picket line for at least one day of the 381, which was the duration of the 1957 Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott, which jumpstarted the modern Civil Rights Movement. Like the MBB, POP and our Coalition strive to organize allies in the Fight Back; to generate a political climate of resistance among the inactive masses of victims and; to advance the movement against Imperialism and for transformation of the U.S. social system to one that serves the 99%, rather than the1%.
Wall St. Occupiers and Occupiers across the country and around the world, POP and the Daily People’s Campaign Coalition unite with your resistance to the dictatorship of the Imperialism, led by U.S. Imperialism over our world. To novices to the Struggle, we extend welcome! Every fight for freedom and liberation requires the exuberance, idealism and energy of youth that young soldiers of OWS bring to the struggle. Your courage in standing up and fighting back is inspirational. Your fight against Wall St. greed and for the interests of the 99% are the right thing to do, placing you on the right side of history, for in spite of sacrifice and setbacks inevitably we shall win. As you are part of the historic continuum of resistance, we say: “Occupy Wall St. Live Like Them; Dare to Struggle and Dare to Win!”
POP and the Peoples’ Daily Campaign Coalition look forward to opportunities for joint work in building the Peoples’ resistance to oppression and exploitation.
(to view this statement as a reprintable leaflet, click HERE, on leaflet)
[Thanks to sister Ingrid Hill, POP's Corresponding Secretary, and Angenetta Robinson, POP's Treasurer for the excellent photographs in this FotM blog]