Tag Archives: california nurses

What Would Robin Hood Do?

19 May

Chicago Police Dept has added $1 million dollars of riot gear, aka 1st amendment repellant, to their arsenal against the tens of thousands of people, including RoseAnn DeMoro, marching and protesting at the annual NATO summit in Chicago. As Boots Riley says, pick a bigger weapon. What ‘weapon’ are we the people going to bring to this ‘gunfight’? And to be clear by ‘gunfight’ I do not only reference protesting at this NATO summit, I mean the ‘gunfight’ where many of us are fighting for justice with our various causes and organizations, like Occupy, National Nurses United, or Iraq Veterans Against the War. The ‘weapon’ I suggest bringing is a very large mass of people, such as Occupy Oakland amassed for the Nov. 2, 2011 Port of Oakland shutdown. According to many, including The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur, media reports grossly underestimated the crowd numbers at the General Strike and Port of Oakland shutdown on Nov. 2, most sources stated approximately 3,000 people showed up for the march, the highest crowd Cenk Uygur reported hearing about was on an ABC affiliate who reported 10,000 marchers. Whichever mainstream media (MSM) report you go by, there were far more than 3,000-10,000 people marching on Nov. 2, if you haven’t already, click this link and watch all 4min 30sec of our glorious march on the way to the port.

Why is it that the corporate sponsored MSM has continually skewed the coverage away from the favor of the protesters, whether they are nurses, veterans, Occupiers, or others? Why is is that all protesters, but Occupiers especially, are receiving such brutal and systematic police repression? My personal belief is that ‘the powers that be’, aka the mega rich, took notice of actions happening like the port shutdown on Nov. 2 and collectively said “oh fuck, the natives are restless!”. I say ‘collectively’ because unity is key for either side of this struggle. Right now those opposed to Occupy, either in principle or because corporate controlled MSM tells them we are ‘bad’, are winning the battle of acting collectively. The very small 1% is getting all sorts of potential supporters of Occupy/our associated ’causes’ to join their side, or at least not to join our side. Further support/sympathy for the Occupy protesters and our demands will lead to more solidarity which will lead to increased strength in numbers which leads to the true power of the people, to make a demand and act collectively until that demand is met. As Frederick Douglass said “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” On Nov. 2, 2011 Occupy Oakland and our supporters showed the world that we have demands. The ‘powers that be’ did not like that massive act of solidarity so they have been systematically repressing our message through both skewed MSM coverage as well as violent police suppression of peoples 1st amendment rights. This weekend in Chicago at the NATO summit protesters, Occupy or not, are already experiencing some this violence at the hands of the police.

There is a reason that most have never seen this powerful footage of tens of thousands, possibly 100,000 people marching to shut down the Port of Oakland, it’s the same reason that Chicago PD is spending $1 million on riot gear for use against protesters: top down suppression of the people’s collective voices demanding justice and a more equal playing field like for example what the Robin Hood tax would levy. The reason is the mega rich clearly do not want to share and they definitely do not want RoseAnn DeMoro’s Robin Hood message getting out, they are spending $1 million dollars on one weekend to suppress the nurses (and others) message of take from the rich and give to the poor. I use the term ‘mega rich’ because it is important to note $1 million is petty cash compared to the estimated $350 billion a year that the Robin Hood tax would collect from of Wall Street and distribute to job creation, equal access to healthcare for all, and many other things that our corporate[greed] sponsored government is failing to provide.

On Nov. 2, 2012 Occupy Oakland called for a General Strike, which means no work, no school, no business as usual. During the General Strikes people took to the streets; union member and non union worker, self-employed, underemployed, and unemployed alike all joining together in solidarity to make their demands be known. Many people participated in the General Strike, however, many more did not. The reason for this disparity in participation in the General Strike is not all attributable to laziness or complacency, it is also due to real fears, like debt, most people in America are slaves to their debt and rightfully so feel like taking a day off to join a strike will increase their debt. The problem is that this debt is manufactured by the mega rich who currently own have all of the power over legislation determining the distribution of wealth. The reason why there is the ‘1%’ and then ‘the rest of us’ is because they have used their wealth to get more wealth instead of using it to help others, like Robin Hood would have done.

We currently have a disparity in power because we have let the 1% define money as power. Where do the 1% get their ‘power’? From the fruits of the workers labor. So, following this logic, what power do the ‘99%’ have? To collectively withhold our labor. The 1% are acting collectively right now based on fear against those standing up for justice, whether with Occupy, Iraq Veterans Against the War, or National Nurses United. The mega rich are showing their fear of the ‘serfs’ uniting and potentially rising up, this fear is evidenced by the amount of money spent on police repression, like $1 million to handle the protesters at the NATO summit, the fear is also demonstrated by the number of individual and collective civil rights the police, politicians, and others are willing to violate. Reclaiming power from the 1% is a numbers game, so the question is who has the larger numbers? While the ‘1%’ model and ‘99%’ model has it’s shortcomings, if we oversimplify the economic stratosphere for the purposes of math, we have the ‘1%’ who have the ability to affect legislation and policy with their $power$, and then we have the rest of us, the ‘99%’. According to the US Census Bureau there are 313,556,830 people living in the US as of May 16, 2012. Rounding down to the nearest million, 300,000,000, and using the 99% vs the 1% model, 99% equals 297,000,000 people while 1% equals 3,000,000 people. Just to make the math even simpler, take away all the zeros, 297 vs 3; those are the numbers and the actual power disparity if we realize that there is strength in numbers, not dollars. Right now Occupy may seem weak in numbers because those of you who might support us are afraid to join us/are against joining us due to false propaganda and rampant police repression. Or maybe you are not joining in because you are just too damn busy working trying to pay off debt or stay out of debt, debt that is manufactured by the 1%. The ‘powers that be’ founded our country on the backs of slaves, it was a wrong system put into place and it’s never been corrected, even by the 13th or subsequent amendments to the Constitution. While modern day wage slaves may not all suffer and struggle the same way as actual African slaves brought over on ships to support the colony, the point that slaves are the basis of our current capitalist system and without slaves the system as we know it will crumble is still a valid and important statement to be made. The 1% have worked too hard to let it all go just because a few Occupiers or a few nurses ask them to share and be nice.

The 1% are acting collectively right now, they have the corporate sponsored mainstream media (MSM) outlets broadcasting their coordinated message “the occupy protesters are violent” and “the occupy protesters are anarchists” and “occupy is dead” and “occupy has no leader” and “occupy has no goals” and “protesters clash with police” and “occupy hurts small local business” and “occupy is draining/diverting all the police resources away from protecting innocent citizens” and on and on and on with the blatant lies used to tell you all not to join us in our fight for justice, compassion, equality, and whatever else people are struggling for.

If Occupy wants to ‘play the game’ we should think about the PR war being waged on us and try to beat it/best it/join it to begin to get our real messages out and let the world see the real work we are doing. It is far different than the narrative being played out on TV, the newspapers, the magazines, the radio, etc….we are a very dedicated, organized, skilled, hardworking, and diverse group of people who do believe that a better Oakland, a better New York, a better America, a better Greece, a better world is possible if we all join together to make it so. By getting the real message about Occupy out, then some of the 297,000,000 who have not yet checked us out might want to give us a try and see what we are up to. I can’t speak for all of Occupy, but as one Occupier I think we should ask ourselves ‘what would Robin Hood do?’.

May Day according to Mollie

28 Apr
Image

Thats me in the left of the photo, I voted to go on strike 4 times during my 2 years working for at Summit hospital, a Sutter Health Affiliate who I will say right here cares more about profit than patient/nurse safety/happiness.
It is thanks to the collective efforts of California nurses that there is a state mandated 5:1 patient to nurse ratio, it is not because the administrators gave us that out of the goodness of their generous and compassionate hearts. No, the hospital administrators are much more concerned about things like locking us out of our jobs for a week as a punitive action meant to intimidate us into not going on strike. If we voted for a one day strike that really meant we were voting for a week without pay, because of the lockout we would be penalized with for our disobedient behavior, bad nurses for trying to make things better for our patients!
Of note, the man under the "safe staffing saves lives" sign is not a nurse, he works in Respiratory Therapy but he went on strike with us in solidarity because he knows that an injury to one is the concern of all. Also of note, 4,500 nurses have announced a strike against Sutter on May 1st to end the corporate greed that Sutter operates with and to improve nurse & patient safety and well-being.

May Day, or May 1st, is International Workers Day. It’s a day for workers around the world to stand in unity and celebrate their strength. There will be a global General Strike on May 1st bringing the collective demands of the workers of the world to the 1%. It’s “A day w/out the 99%”. As with any strike, the more who participate in the General Strike, the louder, clearer, and more powerful the message of our collective demands will be to the ruling class, aka the 1%.
May Day Demands:
Workers deserve to have equal opportunities to access the wealth they create. This is really really huge, think about it. Workers should have equal opportunity to access the wealth they create.
Workers should be free from discrimination and harassment for immigration status, race, and sexual/gender identities, and incarceration history.

Why incarceration history?:
I add incarceration to the usual list of anti-discrimination demands related to the workplace. Imagine for a moment trying to get a job if you had to tell EVERY SINGLE potential employer that you have a criminal record. You are immediately judged as a “bad and untrustworthy person”. We spend disproportionate more $$$ on prisons than we do on education, if our prison system is so great, worthy of being funded at 6 times the rate of education, then people should come out of prison rehabilitated and better off than if they had gone to college before becoming incarcerated. I am going to quote Fareed Zakaria here: “In the past two decades, the money that states spend on prisons has risen at six times the rate of spending on higher education. In 2011, California spent $9.6 billion on prisons, versus $5.7 billion on higher education. Since 1980, California has built one college campus; it’s built 21 prisons. The state spends $8,667 per student per year. It spends about $50,000 per inmate per year”. With that kind of spending on prisons we should have people who come out of prison ready to work and be contributing members of society, we should not have a revolving door of recidivism where more African Americans are behind bars today than were enslaved in 1850. http://www.newjimcrow.com/
May Day History:
Back in 1886 some shit went down (serious worker solidarity surrounding the amount of hours worked in a day–and as a result, serious police repression) and workers won the right to an 8hr day, due to their collective actions.
Link w/a brief history of May Day in 1886:

How To Observe May Day:
No Work! No School! No Banking! No Chores! No Business As Usual!
There are solidarity actions (strikes, rallies, marches, walkouts, sit-ins, peace-outs, shutdowns) all over the world happening on May 1st.
One way to observe May Day is to make a statement to your boss by not going to work on May 1st, this is a numbers game, the more workers who act in solidarity the stronger the message to the bosses of the world that workers deserve dignity, respect, and freedom from discrimination.
The easiest way to not go to work is to be honest with your boss about why you are not working on May 1st, educate your boss about May Day, encourage your boss to act in solidarity as well and close for the day if possible. If honesty is not the best policy, then call in sick. How can your boss prove that you are not sick? (don’t post awesome May Day marching photos on Facebook/Twitter if you are worried about retribution from your boss).
I realize that there are those of us, like my sister, who is a Kaiser nurse who’s union is not striking on May Day, and who cannot in good conscience cannot call in sick. For those of you in that situation, I suggest that you can still act in solidarity by helping to spread the word between now and Tues. May 1st.
This link has a comprehensive list of cities who have some type of May Day activity planned:
The Significance of May Day:
May Day is a day to honor the Workers of the world, aka the producers of wealth. May Day is celebrated in over 80 countries as a national holiday. The contribution of the worker to society as a whole needs to be celebrated, but obviously American capitalism can’t have a national holiday celebrating the worker and putting funny ideas in workers’ heads like you deserve to be treated w/dignity and respect & you deserve a living wage & you deserve equal access to healthcare & you deserve equal access to the wealth you create, etc….
In 2006 immigrant workers rejuvenated May Day in the US by taking to the streets in massive numbers showing Americans what a day without an immigrant looks like.
This year, 2012 will see Occupy, Labor, and Immigrant rights groups join together and collectively demand that the worker be treated with dignity and respect. And since so many factors go into treating a worker with dignity and respect, just about everyone can have a “pony in this race”, whether or not you care about healthcare, workplace safety, immigration rights, LGBT rights, the environment, our broken injustice system, education, a living wage, etc…
May Day Is About Compassion and Solidarity:
“An Injury To One Is The Concern Of All!”~May Day slogan
If workers (and those supportive of workers rights) ALL unite together globally on one day to ensure that the 1% hear our voices, regardless of if we paid a lobbyist to carry our voice to them or not, we would be heard, there is definite strength in numbers, that is what solidarity is about.
My Parting Thoughts:
“Power Concedes Nothing Without A Demand. It Never Did And It Never Will.”~Frederick Douglass, a man who escaped slavery, turned great American abolitionist; he was also a writer, orator, statesman, and social reformer. THEY didn’t like him for the same reason THEY didn’t like MLK; he gave African Americans, former slaves, knowledge (and hope). Everyone knows knowledge=power.
**But wait, if knowledge=power and everyone knows that, then why are we spending such a disproportionate amount on prisons vs education in this country?**