The F Word: Bringing the budget protests to New York

From Wisconsin to Indiana to right here in New York, the state capitol in Albany Wednesday night echoed as well with chants of “This is what democracy looks like” as protesters occupied the halls to protest budget cuts to education.

This time, it’s a Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo, in the driver’s seat, and while he’s not threatening to take away union negotiating rights, the budget pushed through at 1AM contains steep cuts to primary education spending, the State University of New York, and job creation. It also allows the millionaires’ tax to expire—that’s a surtax on incomes over $1 million.

In other words, it’s not just Republicans cutting taxes on the rich and taking the funding from students and the unemployed.

Just like in Wisconsin, protesters in New York, chanted, “Whose house? Our house!” ate pizza, made s’mores and were joined by state Senators Adams and Diaz, who carried pillows to sleep on, as they announced their votes against the budget.

A sign on a door announced that it was for “Senators, Staff & Lobbyists Only” but Twitter later announced that the group Community Voices Heard had taken over that spot.

Despite the protests, though, the budget passed and the politicians celebrated but the battle’s not over yet. New Yorkers and working people around the country are gearing up for “We Are One” rallies on Monday—foreshadowed in New Haven yesterday by a march that brought union workers from public and private sectors together with non-union folks from the community.

What can people do against massive power? Who knows. But from what we’re hearing, a whole lot of Americans are planning to come together Monday and find out.

The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv which broadcasts weekdays on satellite TV (Dish Network Ch. 9415 Free Speech TV) on cable, and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com. Support us by signing up for our podcast, and follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on Twitter.com.

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