More than 50 protesters marched through the streets of Boston on Saturday, June 16, to protest austerity measures in Massachusetts and around the world. At different sites around the city, activists spoke out against policies which would shift the cost of capitalism’s crisis away from the perpetrators and onto the backs of working people. Saturday’s march was organized by Occupy Boston, Occupy the MBTA, Socialist Alternative, Industrial Workers of the World, and Common Struggle.
Early on in the march, folks gathered at Bank of America in the financial district. Speakers told how Bank of America grew from a small bank to prime example of the United States’ “financial industry’s absolute corruption.” One particular point highlighted that the results of the 2007-8 bailout for Bank of America “extracted our money, our labor and lives to these crooks which bought foreclosures. This is what our government forced us to buy.”
The march also passed by the Boston housing authority, where speaker Gerry Scoppettuolo described, “There are 30,000 people in Boston waiting to get on 200 vouchers to get in subsidized housing while the rich are building commercial real estate.”
Other speeches discussed the importance of the following day’s elections in Greece. Most marchers voiced solidarity with SYRIZA, the anti-austerity left-wing coalition.
The march then arrived at the State House, where Al Johnson from Veterans for Peace declared, “the struggle against austerity is about that goddamn war budget.” Johnson called on all political representatives to vote “not one penny, not one dime, not one person for the wars!” This elicited a round of applause. According to the Department of Defense, between $1.030–$1.415 trillion has been budgeted for defense-related spending in 2012. Decrying the human cost imposed by that budgetary policy, Johnson concluded his remarks by voicing the popular IWW slogan: “an injury to one is an injury to all!”
Genevieve Morse from the Massachusetts Teachers’ Association discussed the latest fee increases at UMass Boston. The school is raising parking fees from six dollars a day to ten dollars a day. Morse said this measure “is pricing people out of education. And on top on that, the MTA is having trouble getting a contract passed.” She pointed out that Governor Deval Patrick wants UMass Boston to be creative with their budget, “which just means more layoffs.” She vowed that the teacher’s union would keep on fighting.
The march ended at Park Street with a focus on the MBTA’s budget crisis, which will implement fare increases and service cuts on July 1. A protester named Ariel Nicole decried the MBTA, saying “We went to their hearings. We sat through their system and we told them this was unacceptable. And what did they do? They ignored us!” The day ended with a call for a citywide fare strike to take place on July 1.
More than 30 people from the march walked into the Park Street station chanting, “They say fare hike! We say fare strike.” Then, without paying, they went through the turnstiles and took the green line to Copley Square to begin organizing for a July 1 fare strike.