People demand of MN politicians, “Tax the rich!”
“Put a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions!”
St. Paul, MN – It took several minutes for the people gathered outside on the front steps of the Minnesota State Capitol to filter through the doors and into the echoing rotunda, chanting, “Hey politicians, here’s the fix! Tax the rich! Tax the rich!” Nearly 200 protested here, Jan. 24, on the opening day of the Minnesota legislative session. Over two dozen Minnesota organizations endorsed the rally, under the slogans, “Make the rich pay for their crisis,” “Put a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions,” and “Stop the attacks on the 99%!”
The protest was organized the Minnesota Coalition for a People’s Bailout (MCPBO).
Deb Konechne spoke for the MCPBO, “This system that we live under, is a system where profit is the ultimate motive and a tiny percentage controls the wealth and power. It’s a system that was built on greed, aggression and outright thievery since its very beginning – from the stealing of land and resources to the stealing of people’s labor. Everything they have was made by us. Everything they own belongs to us all. We are in the biggest economic crisis since the great depression. We did not create it. Yet we are the ones who are being forced to pay for it!”
Darnella Wade, a member of the Welfare Rights Committee, a founding group of the MCPBO, said, “The Welfare Rights Committee is back here at the capitol, for the 20th year in a row. We will be fighting for the demands of the 99%. We are here to demand an end to the attacks on our families. We demand they pass legislation to stop foreclosures and to tax the rich!”
MCPBO is working on two bills this legislative session. One bill, SF1521/HF1886, puts a two-year moratorium on home foreclosures and on the eviction of tenants from foreclosed properties. The other bill, to be introduced Jan. 26, increases taxes on the richest in Minnesota.
Senator Scott Dibble and Representative Karen Clark, the authors of the bill to put a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions, addressed the rally. Senator Jeff Hayden, an author (along with Rep. Frank Hornstein) of the bill to tax the rich, roused the crowd as well.
Ramon Silva Hernandez spoke about the battle against his home foreclosure, “I worked hard to go back to school, to educate myself and I wanted to be a part of America by purchasing a home. I was given a predatory loan by Aurora. I tried for two years to modify my mortgage through President Obama’s program without any answer, and mailing the same package of requirements every month.” Silva Hernandez concluded, “I am here with hope of finding a solution to this situation. I am calling on politicians to put a moratorium on foreclosures.”
The “Occupy the Capitol Rally” ran well over its allotted time, as passionate representatives of many groups lined up to express outrage and determination to fight back against the wave of attacks on poor and working people.
After the speeches inside the rotunda, the crowd marched up the broad staircase to the second floor of the capitol and paraded outside the doors of the House and Senate chambers, chanting all the way.
Then, protesters surged into the hallway outside the Governor Mark Dayton’s office and packed his lobby until capitol security forced them out and barred the doors. Chants ranged from “Money for human needs, not for stadiums,” (Gov. Dayton advocates state funding for a Vikings football stadium) to “We are the 99%! We occupy, we represent!” After a standoff outside the doors of the governor’s office, people moved outdoors and pressed against a window to look in at Governor Dayton as he held a meeting in his office until, after a scuffle, state troopers forced the defiant crowd to the nearby steps, where the rally ended with vows to return. Besides the Minnesota Coalition for People’s Bailout and the Welfare Rights Committee, which organized the opening day protest, the rally was endorsed by ADAPT MN, Advocating Change Together (ACT), AFSCME Council 5, AFSCME Local 3800, Anti-War Committee, Communities United Against Police Brutality, General Assembly of OccupyMpls, Marriage Equality Minnesota, Minnesotans for a Fair Economy, MN Immigrant Rights Action Committee, MN Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC), MN Nurses Association (MNA), MN Tenants Union, MN Peace Action Coalition, Occupy Homes, Occupy the Hood, Occupy Saint Paul Tactical Working Group, Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign, Saint Paul Regional Labor Federation, Students Association for the Advancement of Children as People (SAACP), Students for Democratic Society (SDS), TakeAction Minnesota, Twin Cities Peace Campaign, United Food And Commercial Worker Union Local 1189, Universal Health Care Action Network of MN and Women Against Military Madness (WAMM).
For more info, go to http://mnbailout.wordpress.com