The Resistance Continues as Citizens Fight Budget Cuts

The Resistance Continues as Citizens Fight Budget Cuts

The Resistance Continues as Citizens Fight Budget Cuts

Citizens across the country continue to battle budget cuts, in ways large and small.

Facebook
Twitter
Email
Flipboard
Pocket

Much has been written about the future of Occupy: the movement is dead, it is not dead, it evolved into something else, it will experience a resurgence in the fall etc. But what has received less air time are all the ways in which citizens, be they part of Occupy or not, continue to battle budget cuts in their own communities and across the country.

The blasé reception of this ongoing resistance might be explained, in part, by the decline of Occupy’s occupations. Revolution is sexy, but the quiet resistance of low-key direct action lacks Liberty Park’s flash.

Yet the resistance continues, in ways large and small.

A city in central New York is losing its top two law enforcement officers to retirement after lawmakers announced major spending cuts for the police department. Auburn Police Chief Gary Giannotta and Deputy Chief Thomas Murphy both announced their retirement plans this week in response to the city council’s plans to slash $400,000 from the department’s budget.

Giannotta said the cuts to his department will be detrimental to public safety.

In another example, NETWORK, a national Catholic social justice lobby, and the NETWORK Education Program organized fourteen nuns to ride in a “Nuns on the Bus” vehicle through nine states to protest federal budget cuts proposed by Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI).

 

NETWORK emphasizes that Ryan’s budget will have a detrimental effect on struggling families, and cites tax breaks for the wealthy and decreased funding for health insurance programs for low-income individuals as two of the biggest problems with the proposal.

In a country where citizens are often failed by traditional institutions (even the Catholic Church has criticized the Nuns on the Bus), direct action by these nuns has proven to be pivotal in their communities.

Toledo Blade:

“The nuns have always reached out and provided programs for low-income groups,” said Karen Krause, social justice chairman of Toledo Area Jobs with Justice and Interfaith Worker Justice Coalition, part of a national network that advocates for the rights of working individuals.

“The Ryan budget breaks the circle of protection around the poor and vulnerable,” Ms. Krause said.

Nearly 100 students, parents and coaches gathered in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, Monday evening to protest budget cuts that could eliminate some sports.

“I’m concerned that the school board is cutting middle school athletics; I’m concerned that they’re cutting academic programs; I’m concerned they are cutting field trips,” said Aaron Hajduk, a parent, to KDKA. “I think this is a critical time in a child’s life.”

The most dramatic proposals include entirely eliminating all athletic programs at the middle school. Other proposals include firing teachers and cutting back on field trips, buses and uniforms.

“It’s a failure no matter; it’s like when you build a house, you’ve got to have a good foundation. There’s our foundation that’s going down,” said Cliff Thompson, of the high school football coaching staff. “I’ve been coaching in high school for 35 years and I’ve never seen it like this.”

In Oakland, protesters at Lakeview School invoked the spirit of Occupy as they entered the second week of camping out at the elementary campus in an attempt to stop the district from closing it.

KQED reports that several hundred people marched this past weekend in support of the protesters, who accuse the school board of voting for the closure (along with four other elementary schools) despite the school’s rising test scores and high level of community involvement.

Activists say the plan will backfire and create instability, driving more families from district-run schools.

Families at Lazear Elementary, another school slated for closure, applied to convert their school into an independently run charter in order to keep it open, a request the Alameda County Board of Education approved on appeal last week.

Mercury News:

Joel Velasquez, whose children attended Lakeview, said the group has no plans to leave the area. The effort has drawn support from local businesses and residents sympathetic with the cause, he said. On Tuesday, passers-by brought coffee and bagels. A sign on the Grand Lake Theater marquee, questioning the school board’s decision, remained up.

“It’s been very inspiring,” Velasquez said.

 

Thank you for reading The Nation

We hope you enjoyed the story you just read, just one of the many incisive, deeply-reported articles we publish daily. Now more than ever, we need fearless journalism that shifts the needle on important issues, uncovers malfeasance and corruption, and uplifts voices and perspectives that often go unheard in mainstream media.

Throughout this critical election year and a time of media austerity and renewed campus activism and rising labor organizing, independent journalism that gets to the heart of the matter is more critical than ever before. Donate right now and help us hold the powerful accountable, shine a light on issues that would otherwise be swept under the rug, and build a more just and equitable future.

For nearly 160 years, The Nation has stood for truth, justice, and moral clarity. As a reader-supported publication, we are not beholden to the whims of advertisers or a corporate owner. But it does take financial resources to report on stories that may take weeks or months to properly investigate, thoroughly edit and fact-check articles, and get our stories into the hands of readers.

Donate today and stand with us for a better future. Thank you for being a supporter of independent journalism.

Ad Policy
x