On December 10, 2012, 3 Members of the New York Chapter of the United Front Against Austerity made a pointed and direct intervention into the National Nurses Union Rally held at 780 Third Avenue, which are the Manhattan office’s of U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Senator Charles “Chucky Boy” Schumer. The Rally, which was well attended by well over 100 activists representing both labor, political, and concerned grass-roots community organizations, was originally billed by the National Nurses Union as a “Candle-Light Vigil”. Contrary to the passive solemnity that an event billed under that term might imply, this was actually a very loud and vocal event, studded with at least 6 speakers on Bullhorns giving forceful speeches against the threatened budget cuts coming from Capitol Hill and the White House itself, and leading the rally in loud chants against those cuts.
Besides the National Nurses Union, who were there as part of an their “National Day of Protest” with rallies staged In cities around the country, there were also delegations from Move-On.org, Robin Hood Tax.org, DC 37, Retired CUNY Faculty, Lenox Hill Hospital Nurses, and others. The UFAA’s presence was pronounced and distinct. Not only are we demanding a FULL one percent sales tax on all Financial Transactions, that would generate Trillions in taxed revenue from Wall St. and the where-with-all to do it, but we came with a full set of demands that could be easily understood in the ubiquitous “Say No To Austerity” pamphlet, as well as the “One Percent Wall Street Sales Tax Tick Poster”. Points of the UFAA program, including Nationalization of the Federal Reserve; and a 30 million Jobs Program modeled on the New Deal, Works Progress Administration, CCC And Reconstruction Finance Corporation were on the tips of many tongues. Although there may have been some technical differences in how these could be achieved, there was solidarity and agreement in the overall direction and tone of the UFAA’s platform.
As far as the Wall St. Sales Tax is concerned, when explained that there is already a law to collect the one percent tax in the state of New York, and that’s it’s actually given back to the banks, most activists were eager to organize around this fight with a new-found energy. The Wall Street Sales Tax, as we presented it, was put forward with cogent reasoning and the solid conviction that makes its reality palpable. Discussions on the creation of a National Bank, with more detailed discussions around the programmatic solutions to our platform intrigued many, and we were invited to take make ourselves available to various labor organizations to give “teach-ins” on those subjects.
All-in-all, this was an extremely successful intervention for the nascent UFAA: distributing over 200 pamphlets and flyers in the middle of busy mid-town Manhattan, making contacts with activists that we’re sure to cross paths with again, and hopefully having them organize for the full set demands of the United Front in earnest as we continue our recruitment drive here in the Big Apple.