Category Archives: Activism

“First Friday” Rally Photo’s

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Photo’s from Aprils “First Friday” Rally.

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April 1st “First Friday” Rally: “Jobs with Justice” and “US UnCut Chicago”

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This week I was asked to speak on behalf of US UnCut at the Jobs with Justice monthly rally at the James R Thompson Center in Chicago. There were four speakers including Susan Hurley of Jobs with Justice. After the speeches we marched up Lasalle Ave, in a noisy but orderly fashion to the Bank of America where we protested outside the bank for while. Please come out and see us next “First Friday” May 26th 2011.

  • What is “First Friday?”

“First Friday” is the first Friday of the month when a number of people give up part of their lunchtime to come downtown, show public solidarity with the nation’s unemployed and underemployed workers.

  • Why “First Friday?”

We take action on the “First Friday” of every month because that’s the day the Labor Department releases its report on the previous months’ job creation (or lack thereof). Not to mention it’s fair, practical and just the right thing to do!

  • What happens on “First Friday?”

We gather to demand the following: a federal jobs program, jobless benefits (including health care) for ALL of the unemployed, and making Wall Street pay for it!

  • How can I get involved?

Next month come out and be seen engaging the public discussing the kind of jobs program the country needs. Comment for Internet TV and radio. Exchange experiences related to job finding and job improvement, and housing, food, and health care issues. Petition lawmakers. Sign up to receive information about future actions. Pick up a sign. Come early, spend some time. Take a stand with our unemployed activists and allies for a federal jobs program so all of our loved ones, friends and neighbors who struggling can get back to work!

Please join us to help make common sense more common!

For more information, call (312) 738-6161 or send an email to susanh@jwj.org. Also visit the Chicago Job With Justice website to learn more.

The Nation’s Allison Kilkenny reports on US UnCut’s Actions!

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On March 26th US UnCut held an international day of action. In the UK 400,000 people walked the streets of London in protest. All over the States in places like Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Seattle people got out and held actions in Bank of America. Please take a moment to visit the Nation’s Website. For photo’s from Chicago’s action Photo’s and Video click the corresponding link

Yours truly was interviewed by Ms. Kilkenny for her report. Below is the quote from me that was published. I thank Ms. Kilkenny for speaking with me and I felt proud to be able to add my voice to the voice of the people.

Chicago’s William Shehan, a US Army veteran, explained that he feels it’s his duty to protest this practice of corporate tax evasion. “As a Veteran I swore to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” Shehan’s written statement says. “The behavior of the corporations and elected officials has made it necessary for ‘We the People’ to alter or abolish our relationship with the aforementioned organizations, replace the elected officials, repeal unjust laws and to put in place safeguards to insure a secure future.

US UnCut Chicago Bank of America Action (Video)

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This past weekend US UnCut Chicago went toe to toe with Bank of America.

Why I became involved in US UnCut’s Action in Chicago March 26th

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Yesterday, for the first time in my life I decided to participate in an Civil Action. I did not make this decision lightly! As I dug into the history books in my personal library, watched the news, read the newspapers, and listened to NPR I slowly came to realize that our Nation was under attack; when I joined the Army I swore to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Years ago when I took this oath I never once imagined that the domestic enemies would be elected officials and corporations!
In my studies I saw that the actions of such people and businesses is widening the gap between the rich and poor and shrinking the middle class and weakening this great Nation.

I feel as did William Henry Harrison when in 1840 he said. “I believe and say… that all measures of the government are directed to the purpose of making the rich richer and the poor poorer” it also seems to me that instead of a democratic government the aforementioned people want our current government to become an Oligarchy. In his book The Republic, Plato defined Oligarchy as “A government resting on a valuation of property, which the rich have power and the poor man is deprived of it.” It seems that the Rich have been greedy throughout history and even though we are 10 years into a new millennium, our society is no better than it was in the far past.

Furthermore, all over the world people are rising up, saying “enough is enough” and yet it is falling on deaf ears -unless they have oil-. The people of the United States, too, have been patient long enough, hoping in vain, that those we elected would wake up and put a stop to the long running abuses and despotic behavior. Our patience has run out and time for words has ceased, it is time for action, we must act now to work for the benefit of all Americans, not just the privileged few.
My resolve was further strengthened when, in my library, I came across the following quote that Abraham Lincoln, wrote in is his Notes for speeches in Ohio “The people– the people are the rightful masters of both congresses and courts– not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert it.”

Thus I was moved to action, so I acted. I was surprised at all the people at the action. It first started off with two, brave souls, going in and distracting the managers by asking questions about opening an account. Then, people came in with checks that were for 1,500,00.00 (the amount that Bank of America should have paid in taxes) and trying to cash them. When the tellers told them “No” the Uncutter’s gave a quick speech about how the American people were owed this money and that in 2009 Bank of America made 4.2 Billion in profits and paid ZERO taxes to which the tellers seemed speechless about. I personally spoke to two Managers of Bank of America and was told by them that Bank of America “Pays their taxes.” If you combine this with what the tellers said we can draw two conclusions.

  1. The Tellers and Managers are lying.
    or
  2. The Tellers and Managers do not know what their employers are doing.

Either way the American People are hurting and the Truth needs to be told. It seems to me that our current laws are creating a rapid accumulation of property and wealth in a few hands, and thus rendering the rest of the population dependent, poor and hungry. I ask you the following question, “How much are you, and your children, willing to sacrifice so the Rich get richer?” Please get involved in any way you can and at what level you are comfortable with. My next posting will discuss ways you can get involved at various levels.

Bank of America refuses to close customer’s account.

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It seems that todays Action by US UnCut reached at least one person and that person was so moved that they proudly walked into the Bank of America to close her account. But, when she came out of the bank she was in shock and near tears. When asked why? The response was “The manager asked me why I wanted to close my account. I told him it was because Bank of America pays no taxes. The manager then refused to close my account and said if I did not leave he would call the police.” The person has asked that her name not be used but has sworn that she will go to another branch and close her account on Monday.

I say that we ALL close our accounts and move our accounts to a Credit Union or a locally owned bank; I will be doing this first thing tomorrow. Dr. Martin Luther King and Gandi both taught us to speak “with your money” and they both talked about Boycotts. This is something that we as Americans need to do!

I am not asking you to do something that I am not willing to do, I am asking you to do what myself and others are doing, including the Wisconsin Firemen and Policemen, and bring your money back to your local banks, credit unions and savings and loans. It may not seem like much but every dollar you take back is one less they can earn interest on and buy politicians!

Dr King said it best and I will close with a quote from his “Mountaintop Speech”

Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation.

US UnCut Chicago March 26th Action (Photo’s)

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Today I went to the US UnCut Chicago action and took some photo’s. I enjoyed seeing so many people out on such a cold day exercising their First Amendment Right!

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US Uncut – Bank of America protest Tips!

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If you are going to protest tomorrow in solidarity with US UnCut’s International “Day of Action” here are some tips you might find useful

Tips and Action Ideas from US Uncut San Francisco

Part 1: Intervention inside banking center
Materials
• Fake BoA checks (to USA c/o Tax Paying Citizens. Print as double-sided document with “fine print” on back)
• Fake BoA credit card applications (filed by Tax Paying Citizens for USA)
• Fake BoA loan applications (filed by Tax Paying Citizens for USA)
• Fake BoA banker name tags (formatted for standard address label sheets (Avery 5660); print on glossy sticker
paper for best quality)

Roles
• Fake BoA customers (appear as a customer or potential customer. Don’t bring visible US Uncut signage)
• Fake BoA bankers (wear suits and attach BoA banker name tags)

Part 2 – Street Theater / Public Spectacle
Materials:
• US Uncut signs (make your own or download here: http://usuncut.org/actions/howto)
• People for teach-ins, Billionaires or Wealthcare, fake bankers, … or other roles if you decide to do a creative
action.

Part 3 – Inform the Pubic / Invite them to Join
Materials:
• Fliers with info about US Uncut, your chapter’s Facebook page, our corporate tax dodging targets, and examples
of programs/services/benefits being cut due to this corporate greed. (The checks have some of this info printed
on the back and can be handed out as fliers)

How to make homemade paints.

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A few days ago I wrote about how to make sidewalk chalk. After a bit of testing I wanted something that was more vivid in color. Then my daughter smiled at me after drinking her Kool-aid and as I wiped off her little face I realized the answer was staring me in the face.
Ahh, Koolaid the high sugar power drink for kids! Now we can use it to power our message that we are mobilizing and taking back our government.

Below are three recipes that I tested. * Note I did substitute, Mixade, a less expensive version of Kool-Aid.

  1. Flour based paint
    • Directions: In a large pot add 3 cups of water and 3 tbsp of oil. Bring to a boil and add the following:
    • 2 cups flour
    • 2 packs unsweetened Mixade or Kool-Aid
    • 1/2 cup salt
      This recipe makes a very good consistency and makes really vivid colors!
  2. Cornstarch based Paint
    I then tried a variation on the corn starch that I used for chalk. This time I added more cornstarch and the Mixade instead of food coloring. 

    • Directions: Mix cornstarch and water in a saucepan and stir until mixture thickens.
    • Allow to cool, then add Mixade.
    • This one makes very vivid colors too.
  3. Corn Syrup based Paint
    • This one is simple and has but two ingredients
    • Directions:
    • Pour corn syrup into bowl.
    • Add your favorite color of Mixade
    • For this one you have to have time for it to dry but it paints very nicely almost like traditional paint.
    • Also be aware that this is sticky!

I suggest that you use a small roller with a square bucket for ease of use. Also, if you do use these let me know your results and send photo’s.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Glenn Beck and Workers Rights

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This week I was flipping through the channels and saw Glenn Beck mention “collective bargaining” and I thought, hmm I wonder what whacky thing he is going to say now. To my shock and horror he took a quote from AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka and twisted it around to besmirch the legacy of Dr. King.

On his show, Mr. Beck discusses a quote from a speech that Mr. Trumka recently gave regarding an upcoming “day of solidarity.” Mr. Beck reads a portion of a transcript of the speech where Trumka asks that April 4th, 2011 be “a day to stand in solidarity with working people of Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, and a dozen other states, where well-funded right-wing corporate politicians are trying to take away the rights that Dr. King gave his life for.” At this point, Glenn Beck stopped, saying:

“Wait, wait, hold it, just a second. Dr. King lost his life for collective bargaining for the public unions, really?”

Mr. Beck is, once again, trying to reinterpret history by using logical fallacies to distract from what Mr. Trumka really said. I challenge anyone in today’s media to twist facts and statements as well as Mr. Beck does.

Dr. Martin Luther King did give his life for Civil Rights, and the right to assemble and to protest are part of that. If our government fails to “Be true to what you said on paper”, as Dr. King said in his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech, which is exactly what Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and other States are doing, then they are violating our Civil Rights. And that is exactly what Dr. King believed in and died for.
Further more on the night before his death Dr. King asked the question, to the crowd at the Mason Temple, “If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?” Obviously, Mr. Beck has no clue what it means to stand up for the oppressed and to have principles that you are willing to die for as Dr. King did.

In his “Mountaintop” speech, Dr. King, said “Something is happening in our world. The masses of people are rising up. And wherever they are assembled today, whether they are in Johannesburg, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; Accra, Ghana; New York City; Atlanta, Georgia; Jackson, Mississippi; or Memphis, Tennessee” These words were true then and are still true today and I suggest that Mr. Beck go back to school and study his history to see what happens next when the people finally rise up.

Dr. King’s Speech

Sources:

I’ve Been to the Mountaintop Speech

AFSCME Video on Dr. King and Unions.

Glenn Beck Rant from Crooksandliars.com