Posted 10 years ago on April 4, 2012, 10:22 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Occupy Wall Street and the Amalgamated Transit Union have declared today, April 4, a National Day of Action for Mass Transit. Demonstrations are taking place in over 20 cities including New York, Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Milwaukee, Detroit, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Denver, and Portland.
Today is also the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who called public transit a civil right. With today´s coordinated actions, first proposed by Occupy Boston and endorsed by dozens of other community, labor, and Occupy groups, we are standing with transit workers and all of our supporters to continue the fight to make this dream a reality. According to the ATF, Chicago has lost 14 percent of its transit services in just the past two years, while Pittsburgh has lost over half. Even in New York City, which has historically prided itself on its subway system, the transit system has suffered severe cuts. Instead of more service cuts or fare increases that working people cannot afford, we are calling for investment in resources that benefit our communities, especially low-income communities and communities of color who were hit hardest by the Wall Street-manufactured economic crisis.
While governments have been slashing away spending on projects that benefit the 99%, the 1% on Wall Street has been reaping the rewards. Banks and elite financial institutions have been reaping huge profits as the rest of us suffer from lack of services. With each cut in public funding, Wall Street investors step in with pricey loans that cost taxpayers and transit riders even more. It´s time to say no more! Their greed got us into this mess; now is the time the 99% take control of our public resources and fix it.
"URBAN TRANSIT SYSTEMS HAVE BECOME A GENUINE CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE” - DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
On the anniverary of Dr. king’s death, April 4, 1968, transit workers join together with the occupy movement and transit passengers across the us to honor Dr. King’s legacy. We ask: “Where Is Mass Transit Today?”
In 2011 Americans took 10.4 billion trips on mass transit, the most in decades, but public transportation is still under attack...
- Thousands of transit workers have lost their jobs.
- 85% of transit systems have cut service or raised fares since the recession having a devastating impact on those who rely on mass transit — the 99%.
- Transit systems are deteriorating: older vehicles, deferred maintenance, longer wait times for overcrowded buses and trains.
- Wall Street is profiting off of the debt that transit systems face. The NYC Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) had to pay over $1.1 billion in interest payments in 2011. Instead of cutting fares, **MTA is cutting checks to Wall Street bankers – the 1%.&&
- Service is being outsourced to foreign national companies looking to make a killing while compromising the safety and service for passengers and workers.
- The Pentagon spends $300 million per day on the Afghan War. That’s our tax dollars that could be spent on public transportation and other critical investments for our communities.
- Politicians won’t commit to fund mass transit adequately and blame the economic crisis. Instead they raise fares and cut routes, but service does not improve.
- The bankers and brokers – the 1% - control the money for public transportation and threaten the transit systems that took a century to build. The greed and corruption must stop.
Take Action Now!
It’s time for sustainable, reliable funding for public transportation to improve the lives of 99%, not pad the pockets of the 1%. We demand:
No service cuts!
No fare hikes!
No privatization of our treasured public transit system!
A comprehensive plan for affordable and sustainable transportation that works for the 99%.
Original call to Action from Occupy Boston:
Public transportation is a right. It is also an integral part of our sustainable future. Rather than fighting price hikes and service cuts, we should be focusing on expanding service and innovating more sustainable and convenient systems for mass transit that are free for all. The economic downturn has been used as a reason to cut back service, raise fares, and layoff workers in Boston and elsewhere. We are told again and again that there is no money, but we have had enough of this lie!
The money for transportation is in the hands of the 1%, who control more wealth in this country than at any time since before the Great Depression. This money pays grotesquely bloated salaries and bonuses to criminal financial industry executives that produce nothing, even as hardworking people struggle to find food and shelter. Worst of all, it is used to fund criminal wars for resources, record numbers of murderous drone strikes, military aide to brutal anti-democratic dictatorships and private military contractors. The Pentagon budget dwarfs that of investment in education, the arts, medical research, environmental protection, food and drug safety regulation, and transport COMBINED. It is time that these resources are put to use in ways that will improve the lives of the 99%, not pad the pockets of the 1%.
April 4th is the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s groundbreaking speech “Beyond Vietnam: Breaking the Silence” in which he spoke of the connections between war and poverty. He explained his understanding that “America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube”, and that he had become “increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.” We share this view, and recognize that the fights against war and for public transportation are in fact fronts of the same struggle for a humane society, in which the needs of all come before the profits of the few. Exactly one year after this speech, as he built momentum for a general strike, Dr. King was assassinated on April 4th, 1968.
Let us observe this day and remember a great visionary by continuing his fight for economic equality and an end to war.
The following proposal passed the General Assembly of Occupy Boston on March 3, 2012:
Call to Action
The General Assembly of Boston calls on occupations, general assemblies and people’s movements across the country and around the globe to mobilize on April 4th, 2012 to demand public transportation for the 99%. In Boston and in cities around the country, our hard-won and necessary transportation systems are under attack. Their viability is being threatened by savage cuts and fare hikes in a calculated push towards privatization by corrupt and unresponsive politicians and their corporate benefactors.
Public transportation is a right and must be accessible to all. Service cuts and fare hikes will have a devastating and disproportionate impact on low-income communities, communities of color, students, workers, seniors and the environment. We say NO TO PRIVATIZATION of our common resources and NO MORE EXCUSES! We will not accept any funding strategies that attempt to divide the 99% against each other or shift the burden onto the backs of the 99%: the poor and working classes. End the wars and tax the rich!
On April 4th, we will stand together to demand public transportation for the 99%. If our call is not answered and the necessary funds redirected, it will only add to the growing body of evidence that our government no longer represents us.