Laura Dean attended the local Take Back the Economy protest today and files this dispatch:
Quite a crowd had gathered outside AIG’s K street offices despite the dreary weather for today’s “Take Back the Economy” rally sponsored by the SEIU, MoveOn and ACORN among others. The action was one of over a hundred scheduled across the country to protest the AIG bonuses and corporate excesses.
There were hoarse chants and lively percussion – everyone shook cans of change chanting, “AIG! You can’t hide! We can see your greedy side!”Young organizers in purple union hoodies joined seasoned members who bellowed new chants when energy lagged, inspired passersby, and even Rocky Twyman, founder of Prayer at the Pump.
Anastasia Christman, one of the organizers, expressed outrage over the AIG bonuses while “autoworkers, firemen and policemen are having to break their contracts” and go without – an issue we should perhaps hear more about when AIG complains that their hands are tied due to “binding contracts.”
Eventually the group assembled in front of an enormous “reality check,” made out to AIG for “billions” signed by “taxpayers.” The crowd heard from Joan Nemoth, an SEIU member, who described her 14-year struggle for healthcare, before she joined the union. “But there are others” she said, and that’s why we need “to pass the Employee Free Choice Act.”
Then came SEIU chairman Andy Stern, who denounced the recent spate of anti-EFCA conference calls hosted by TARP recipients, reserving particularly choice words for Citibank and B of A. “We don’t need restitution,” he said, “we need prosecution!” And entered the building to dispatch the check. When he emerged the crowd continued down K street to make their sentiments known at several of the other banks around town – their first stop: Citibank.