"This is What Democracy Looks Like"

With humor and a sharp political bite, Jim Perlstein, co-chair of the PSC Solidarity Committee, addresses thousands of New Yorkers at a 2/26/11 City Hall Park rally in support of Wisconsin trade unionists.

Greetings from the Professional Staff Congress, the union representing 22,000 faculty and staff at the City University.

I’m a poor substitute for our president, Barbara Bowen. But Barbara’s in Wisconsin, traveling the state rallying teacher groups, and stressing the common cause of workers in Wisconsin and NY.

JPcityhallpark022611.jpgI’m by trade an educator, so listen up: you have got it wrong. It’s not trillions for misbegotten wars. It’s not tax cuts for business. It’s not subsidies for real estate speculators. It’s not gambling on Wall St. It’s not the privatizing of public services.

No. I’m the 75-year-old son-of-a-bitch responsible for all your problems. I put in 43 years at the City University trying to improve educational opportunity for working people in this city. I put in 43 years at the City University and earned enough to raise a family. I put in 43 years at the City University and got my medical bills covered. I put in 43 years at the City University and I’ve got what I hope is a secure retirement. An over-compensated and over-privileged public sector worker, that’s what I am. Get the likes of me under control, and we’ll have heaven on earth.

Thank the Lord, Walker and Cuomo and Bloomberg have opened our eyes. Pity the downtrodden landlord and the poor, barefoot Wall St. banker. There’s no sacrifice too great to ask of working people if we’re to preserve the inequality, the lack of jobs, the lack of prospects faced by the majority of us.

But okay. Irony and $2.50 gets you on the F train. Let’s hope that Wisconsin is the spark that starts the prairie fire. We need jobs. We need the public sector. We need the labor movement. We need them in Wisconsin. We need them in New York. We need them nationwide. We’re ready to fight for them.

This is what democracy looks like. It’s this fight that makes democracy real. Thank you.

Links:

  • A Reuters report of the City Hall park rally features our own Judy Barbanel, Chapter Chair at QCC.
  • Click here for more Wisconsin solidarity news, updates, links, videos and events.

Images from City Hall Park rally in support of Wisconsin trade unionists.

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Raging Grannies leading rally in a rendition of Woody Guthrie's This Land is Your Land.
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