Oakland Progressives gather in support of Rep. Barbara Lee (CA)


In light of the national ‘crisis’ of raising the debt ceiling, Moveon.org asked it’s members to flock to local congressional reps office and urge them to stand firm on their decisions to not allow cuts to entitlement programs. (Moveon reported via email today that over 800 rallies occurred nationwide!)

I got the email from a friend on Monday and decided to attend the gathering at rep Barbara Lee‘s office at noon on Tuesday. I’m not a progressive but I do support Barbara Lee. She was one of the few to stand up against going to war in Iraq, she supports increased funding for global and HIV/AIDS prevention, care and education and is a staunch advocate of the low-income community.

I felt it would be pretty easy to spend a couple of hours in support of her.

When I arrived at her office in downtown Oakland, I found a small group of progressives chanting and giving speeches complaining about the cost of war and protesting cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

They didn’t really touch on the debt ceiling. However here are a some talking points and chants that I gathered:

  • Confidence in Obama’s economic policy is eroding, because he is having to compromise too much. We need to stand together to raise our voices so that Obama has the power to stand firm.
  • They (republicans) are attacking Americans, our health, our way of life. Just throwing people in the streets.
  • It’s not just us (progressives) that support social security and Medicare, 17% of teabaggers do as well. We need to unite in one voice to stand against the rich and corporate greed.
  • We need to support Unions and their right to organize
  • A liberal made this statement: The President needs criticism and he needs to be pushed  so that he doesn’t have to make compromises.

Chants:

  • “Social Security: NO CUTS! Medicare: NO CUTS!”
  • “Starve the wars, feed the people!”
  • “We want jobs!”
  • “Stop the wars, fund education!”

They ended with a couple of local announcements on how to continue on with the fight:

Rep from Babara Lee's office addressing the group

The a rep from Lee’s office came out, Ann Taylor (sp?) and thanked us for our support and to announce an event. Progressive Congress.org is sponsoring a forum: “Speakout For Good Jobs Now!” August 16th 5:30-7pm at Allen Temple Baptist Church. Reps Barbara Lee and Raul Grijalva (Az) will be present.

Another event sponsored by New Priorities Campaign.org and Moveon.org East Bay is a training on how to speak out on progressive issues will be held at Berkeley Public Library, July 30th, 10 am on the 3rd Floor.

Overall, not a lot of people showed up, but it was a small passionate group nonetheless. Glad I could participate!

So what are you thoughts about the debt ceiling? A Pew Poll yesterday says that most Americans want Congress to compromise even if neither side gets what they want.

What do you think?

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Filed under Oakland, Politics

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