Jobless figures mean crisis for young people

Larry Hales
FIST photo: Larry Hales

Excerpted from a talk given by Larry Hales, FIST National Leader, at the WWP National Conference in New York City, Oct. 8-9.

We have been talking about the crisis and that, eventually, people’s consciousness will lead them into action in response to the deepening crisis that we see as intractable and continuing. The release of the job figures for last month shows that they are nowhere near being able to replace the 8 million jobs that were bled from the system because of the crisis, and they can’t keep up with the new workers entering into employment age. I think last month 400,000 people became of age to enter into the job market.

In the U.S., the conditions are especially hitting young people. The occupiers down on Wall Street and in other places are majority white but young. The reason is because a lot of young people that have graduated from high school or college and have never had a job, have no prospects for a job. So, you enter into your adult life, hoping to have a family, wanting to strike out on your own, but you don’t have the means and resources for which to do so. Continue reading


Big antiwar turnout rocks Boston’s business district

Occupy Boston youth join union members and veterans to denounce U.S. wars.
WW photo: Stevan Kirschbaum

By Gerry Scoppettuolo & Frank Neisser

Occupy Boston and the United National Antiwar Committee rocked the city’s business district as 5,000 protesters marched on Oct. 15 with cries of “Whose streets? Our streets!” A contingent from Steelworkers Local 8751 representing Boston school bus drivers led the march from a union sound truck festooned with placards declaring “Wall Street = War Street.” The truck was ringed by a steadfast security contingent from Vets for Peace/Smedley Butler Brigade. Continue reading

Bloomberg, NYPD: Hands off Occupy Wall Street! Hands off the Muslim community!

Statement from the International Action Center —

Billionaire Bloomberg has announced that tomorrow he wants to “clean” Zucotti Park, the site of Occupy Wall Street.

Interesting how when the righteous protest against banks gains massive popularity, Bloomberg suddenly becomes concerned about health and safety.

Where was Bloomberg when New Yorkers needed him to “clean” the city streets after an average winter snowstorm just before New Year’s Eve?

What steps does he ever take against absentee slumlords, who allow their building to fall into dangerous disrepair? Where was his concern when the MTA laid off station agents and closed bus lines? Continue reading

Occupations take root across the country, attract growing support

By LeiLani Dowell , NYC FIST

Following the lead of Occupy Wall Street, occupations are growing in size and number across the country, with actions taking place in hundreds of cities. The following reports from Workers World correspondents give a flavor for some of those demonstrations.

Boston: More than 100 arrested

WW photo: Joseph Piette

At 2:30 a.m. on Oct. 11, hundreds of state, transit, city and riot police tore into the second campsite of Occupy Boston, dragging and handcuffing participants and arresting 100 of them. The cops also stole tents and removed them from the site.

The previous day an estimated 10,000 union members, students, veterans, fami­lies, women and men of all ages had marched from the Boston Common to Dewey Square, and then to the North Wash­ington Bridge, to demand economic justice. Police stopped these protesters at the bridge, and one person was arrested. Later the demonstrators joined Occupy Boston, which expanded to fill the second site.

Rochester, N.Y.
Photo: Josie Clancy

At the General Assembly the evening before the arrests, Pat Scanlon of the Smedley Butler Brigade of Vets for Peace received a big ovation after offering words of encouragement and a brief history of the Vietnam War movement. The Brigade has been critically supportive of Occupy Boston. Continue reading

Undocumented youth block intersection for college access

By Elisa Benitez-Hernandez
Charlotte, N.C.  FIST chapter

Sept. 6 protesters occupy street with banner
reading: “We will no longer remain in the shadows.”

Seven undocumented youths blocked traffic in front of Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 6. This civil disobedience was protesting the inaction of the Democratic Party, the harsh anti-immigrant agenda of the Republicans and Tea Party, and the outrageous out-of-state tuition imposed on undocumented students to attend community college.

The event started with a “coming-out” rally, with several youths sharing their stories and publicly announcing their undocumented status. Approximately 200 people, of all ages and backgrounds, gathered in support of their message and courageous actions. The rally proceeded to a march. Finally the youths sat in the middle of an intersection in uptown Charlotte, causing traffic to stall within minutes. At the top of their lungs they shouted, “Undocumented, unafraid! Undocumented, unashamed!” Continue reading

Billionaire Bloomberg is right: Unemployment, poverty sow seeds of rebellion

By Larry Hales
New York FIST chapter

During an interview with WOR radio on Sept. 16, New York City’s billionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg, stated that the conditions of high employment in the U.S. could lead to social unrest on a par with what has occurred throughout parts of North Africa, the Middle East, Britain, Spain, Greece and elsewhere. His specific comment was, “You have a lot of kids graduating college can’t find jobs. That’s what happened in Cairo. That’s what happened in Madrid. You don’t want those kinds of riots here.”

The uprising in Egypt had more of a political character, the primary demand being against the corrupt and brutal Mubarak regime which had been in power for 30 years. But this was against a backdrop of an economic crisis that has led to large-scale unemployment around the world and rising cost of staples, fuel and other necessities. London was in response to state repression, again set against the scrim of the current economic crisis. Continue reading

Youths occupy Wall Street

By G. Dunkel
New York

Youth see no future in capitalism,try to clog up Wall
Street. Pictured, Sister Rain from LupeFiasco’s Street
Team along with John Jon Gregory from
Hip Hop Caucus.  WW photo: G. Dunkel

“Occupy Wall Street” was a demonstration rooted in tweets, Facebook messages, and email exchanges. There was no call to kick it off, no list of endorsers, and no office with a director and staff. There were lists of Web pages, some of which had links to files to make leaflets, and certainly meetings occurred where issues and tactics were considered.

The models the organizers explicitly listed were the youth occupations in Spain, particularly Madrid, and Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt.

Nearly 1,000 people showed up on Sept. 17 starting at noon in lower Manhattan in the Bowling Green Park, which is just off Wall Street. On the weekends, this area is a popular tourist destination. Most of the demonstrators were young — some observers suggested that 85 percent were less than 25 and 95 percent were less than 35 years old. Many had bedrolls and were planning on staying in the streets to make their protest clear. Continue reading