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Thousands of Participants mobilize to demand jobs, an end to war, and community reform

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VOICE OF MALAK BEHROUZNAMI: On Saturday, October 2, in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, tens of thousands of people came together at the One Nation March to express solidarity and act as a counterweight to the upsurge of conservative activism.

PARTICIPANT 1: I’m here because we need to pressure the Obama administration to stick to the promises they made.

PARTICIPANT 2: I don’t want this country going back to where it was.

PARTICIPANT 3: Yes, the reason why we are here today, for jobs creation.

PARTICIPANT 4: Health care for everyone.

PARTICIPANT 5: To support the dream of unity.

PARTICIPANT 6: To kick Wall Street’s butt.

PARTICIPANT 7: We need jobs for the young.

PARTICIPANT 8: There’s an alternative to Republican or Democrat.

PARTICIPANT 9: Jobs, justice, and education.

PARTICIPANT 10: Saving health care—676, that’s my biggest project.

PARTICIPANT 11: We’re here for jobs.

VOICE OF MALAK BEHROUZNAMI: Over 400 unions, progressive organizations, civil rights groups, and individuals came to the march to voice their concerns. Major endorsers of the event included the NAACP, LARASA, and the AFL-CIO.

SEIU MEMBERS, MID-ATLANTIC DISTRICT: We are janitors. We come from all sectors of life. And the same thing that’s going on around the world—our people are being laid off, cutbacks. You know, they want the same amount of work done but less people doing it.

INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF ELECTRICAL WORKERS: I actually moved down here from Connecticut about a year ago, down to North Carolina, because of job cuts and because of the fact that we—lack of work and all that. And Charlotte had some work in order to keep me busy.

SARAHI ALMONTE, ONE NATION FIELD COORDINATOR: I’ve been unemployed for three months now, and I’m just trying to, you know, just raise awareness on the job loss.

VOICE OF MALAK BEHROUZNAMI:Participants attempted to connect the dots from the largest deficit in American history to current military spending.

MIKE FERNER, PRESIDENT OF VETERANS FOR PEACE: You know, there’s been over $1 trillion spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. For example, I’m from Toledo, Ohio. It’s a town of 300,000 people. And since these wars began, we have spent $800 million from our city, you know, and we’ve got a deficit like every school district has got, every library, every city. You know, it’s just killing us. You know, one of the things we’re saying is, how’s the war economy working for you? And for most people it’s not working very well.

VOICE OF MALAK BEHROUZNAMI: One Nation organizers encourage citizens to get together with the new communities following the rally and vote in the upcoming elections.

SARAHI ALMONTE, ONE NATION FIELD COORDINATOR: We are a people, and that’s the whole concept. We’re one nation. We need to work together. We need to have our legislators do their work, and we have to do our work on our end. It really is a collective effort to pass legislation, to create more jobs, to fix the health-care system, to, you know, do what we—you know, we need to end the war, we need to have all these strategies together and come together.

VOICE OF MALAK BEHROUZNAMI: Some were critical of the rally’s effectiveness.

DANNY SCHECHTER, TV PRODUCER AND FILMMAKER: You know, voting is important. I’m not against voting. I vote. Hopefully, you do too. But a lot of the real issues were not dealt with here, unfortunately. The financial crisis was barely mentioned. Foreclosures were barely mentioned. The fact that so many people have lost their jobs by outsourcing and by deliberate techniques were not really mentioned. So to just demand we want jobs—who’s going to create them? How are we going to get them? What’s involved in doing this? That wasn’t really discussed, or how to organize for that. And that’s the problem here.

End of Transcript

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