Demonstrators in Washington protest against corporate control of politics


Story Transcript

DAVID DOUGHERTY, TRNN: Several thousand demonstrators gathered on downtown Washington’s K Street on Wednesday, December 7, to call attention to corporate influence in the United States political system. Protesters identifying themselves as the 99 percent say that the powerful lobbying firms on K Street protect and advance corporate interests to the neglect of working Americans by buying off elected officials and setting the legislative agenda. Demonstrators have been calling on politicians to raise taxes on banks and corporations in order to increase funding for jobs programs and social investments.

THERESA SIMPSON, CITY LIFE/VIDA URBANA, MASSACHUSETTS: Well, the people that we send to represent us, you know, they should do their jobs. You know, they know the needs of their people in their areas. They should, you know, work for things that will bring jobs to our cities and towns and everything. Don’t slate everything towards the rich, because for ten years, if they were such job creators, why are we in this shape? Now, they say to us that they don’t want to tax the rich, because they’re the ones that create our jobs. Well, Bush gave them that tax cut in 2003. It’s been ten years. Where are the jobs? You know, prove what you’re talking about, because we do need jobs, because we have kids to raise, we have housing to take care of, and we want to educate our kids so they can make this a better world.

DOUGHERTY: Occupy movement participants, workers, the unemployed, people experiencing home foreclosures, and community organizers were among the many people who traveled from all over the country to demonstrate in Washington. Several dozen protesters, including a number of Occupy D.C. members, were arrested after blocking several major intersections. Many of the “Take Back the Capital” participants later marched through the streets before returning to the National Mall, where a large tent area paid for by the Service Employees International Union has served as a base for the week’s ongoing events. For many SEIU and other affiliated union workers present at the march, the week’s coordinated events are about much more than just organized labor.

CHRISTINA NAVOA, WORKERS UNITED, WESTERN STATES REGIONAL: This is extremely important, not just for our members that we represent, but in general as a society. Our members have, you know, brothers and sisters and neighbors that are losing homes that are–you know, that don’t have a job. And so we need to send a message that it’s not just union, you know, or the labor movement, but as a society, you know, we need to do our part to send a message to Congress that, you know, we’re not going to take it anymore. You know, the 99 percent is standing up, and that 1 percent needs to listen, and they got to pay their fair share of taxes.

TESSA BROOKS, SEIU, PORTLAND, OREGON: I would just like to see the political–I’d like to see some of the money taken out of politics. The Citizens United decision really hurt all of Americans because money is not–free speech and corporations are not people, but when they’re given those rights and they–unlimited money can just funnel into the system, it’s going to be corrupt. And so I would like to see that changed so that the government belongs to the people and we can elect people that will do what’s in our best interest and not in some corporation’s best interest.

DOUGHERTY: With an election year fast approaching, vast quantities of private dollars are likely to flood into Washington, as powerful interests fuel the campaigning efforts of presidential and congressional candidates. A final day of actions in the capital has been planned for Thursday as the 99 percent continues its struggle for a more equitable system, where people without millions of dollars can both access and influence United States politics. This is David Dougherty with The Real News Network.

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