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We All Need Help: Hold Unemployment Accountable

Delivered on June 27, 2020 in Portland

July 8, 2020

I’m gonna tell y’all why you should tell your friends to join DSA. Everybody can hear me, right? Alright, I’m totally happy when we have humble beginnings when we’re starting to get a movement together. This is good. This is a core. Give yourselves a round of applause. Okay, so,

I’m just gonna start off by saying your friends who you know who are coming around to this movement, who are just maybe saying “defund the police” for the first time, who are maybe recognizing that unemployment is the tool that capitalists use in order to keep some workers afraid that they’re gonna end up like other workers.

And that those workers might be afraid of losing our jobs and that’s why they have our houseless neighbors—not homeless threats, houseless neighbors—that’s why they keep them in such oppressive conditions, so that the people that are on the bottom of the economic rung look at them and say, “I don’t want to be like that, so I’m gonna make sure I behave for my boss, who’s on my back.”

So, I think that for your friends who are hearing that for the first time, who want to get involved in something, I think that the Democratic Socialists of America is a very good onboarding tool for our political moment. Because it puts forward the general idea of pushing back against capitalist logic.

It’s a very good thing for people who are coming around to get a good intro, and once they come into the DSA you’ll let them know, the best thing you can be doing right now is to be turning out your communities, the people you care about, the people that are in the comments and the facebook threads that you follow. Tell them, “If you want to get involved, I can help you. I’m a member of this organization and I can bring you on board.”

So, it is them that have been waiting for the poll numbers to come in for them to finally be able to say, “Black Lives Matter.” Even though not that long ago they were ready to help the police beat us all down in the streets because we’re saying, “Black Lives Matter,” and they want to call that “Black identity extremism,” and put us on watch lists.

And start a caucus inside of the organization to turn all 1500 members out so that we can put ourselves on the line, so when Don’t Shoot Portland does an action, we’re all there saying, “Hands up, don’t shoot!”

Do y’all remember why we say that? Mike Brown was killed by Darren Wilson in Ferguson, MO on August 9th, 2014, that’s why we came together in Dawson Park the next day, to say that we’re sick and tired of this… crap (I’m on the news), to say I’m sick and tired of this crap, and we’ve been going ever since.

So yes there’s been a lull in the movement, but Don’t Shoot Portland has been holding it down for you this whole time. So, now that it’s popular again, and some of our neighbors have put back their Black Lives Matter signs in their yards when maybe they’d put it in the backyard…. Okay, I’m not mad at you, I’m happy to see it again. Good, I’m very happy about it. That means we’re fu-… that means we’re winning!

We’re at the Department of Human Services. Raise your hand if you’ve ever been denied something at this building. Okay, look around, you’re not alone, don’t be ashamed, because you need help, okay? This is capitalism. We all need help. The only people in this system that don’t need help are the people really making the decisions, that are making the people in this building tell us that they don’t have anything for us.

It is the mega-rich, the capitalists, the pigs—well, I like pigs—the worst people you can ever imagine. It is them, it is them, they are having backdoor meetings with each other right now, and deciding whether or not they’re gonna stay with the status quo with Biden, or if they’re ready to go full fash with Trump. That’s what they’re doing. So they’re having meetings now, so all of our representatives who we send to Washington, DC, who we hope and pray are over there representing what we say—they’re not—they’re over there, and we’re hoping and praying that they’re gonna bring something back home to us, that they’re gonna be able to take care of us. They’re not. You’ve been denied, repeatedly.

You all saw each other raise your hands. They are not doing a good job and yet they still ask every time, “Oh, please, let me have your vote!” No! You’re not gonna have it. You know what, you’re not gonna have my vote. So, I just want to make sure everybody’s on the same page. I already said you’re all the core, you’re all at the first action, I’m giving you congratulations, and I’m letting you know that we have to have a shared understanding about who is at the table, who’s pulling the strings.

Why is it that we’re here, and we don’t have any power except collective people power, but we’re not in any elected positions, we’re not titans of industry, we’re not business owners out here, we’re not anybody that has the power to actually be able to push things, and deliver that power. All we have is our bodies and our collective voice. So you might want to be asking yourself, why is it that the people who have the access are not out here with us? Why is it that us, all of us little low… I don’t want to curse but you know pieces of you-know-what, that’s how they think about us. Why is it that it’s us who have nothing, that have to come together to be able to say in a collective voice that we’re not happy, and they’re not even here with us? No.

Because they’re waiting for the polling to come in. They’re waiting for the polling to come in. They’re waiting for all the people that are advising them to tell them that they’ve crunched the numbers, the poll numbers are in, and you can say, “Black Lives Matter,” now. Even though… Ooh, I’m getting so mad. Come on, scream! So, it is them, that have been waiting for the poll numbers to come in for them to finally be able to say, “Black Lives Matter.” Even though not that long ago they were ready to help the police beat us all down in the streets because we’re saying “Black Lives Matter,” and they want to call that “Black identity extremism” and put us on watch lists.

And at the same time, they were saying that they were going to defund programs that watch white supremacist groups so that they could watch us! That is true. So that means, that because of their overreach, because they always get real cocky, and they always think that they can do whatever they want to people, they were not anticipating that in this moment of a global pandemic, when people are getting sick, people are scared to come out of their homes…. 

Okay, look around, you’re not alone, don’t be ashamed because you need help, okay? This is capitalism. We all need help.

If anybody’s filming this, and you share it with people, and they’re watching it at home and they’re not out here with us, you should know we are not saying that you need to come out or you’re not with us. We know you’re with us, and we thank you.

But it was the disgusting capitalists who told their paid politicians that it was better to keep everybody at home while they unrolled this disgusting program. The HEROES Act? Are you kidding me? You’re gonna make sure that the banks have more money, after the Occupy Wall Street movement already showed everybody how dirty these people are. After they got bailed and we got sold out, right?

The Occupy movement already told us that. It’s already been laid bare. And the Black Lives Matter movement has already laid bare that y’all out here killing Black people, you’re sending cops to do it, you’re helping them get away with it, and you know what? You made the mistake of helping the class forces come together with the racial justice forces. So now, you’ve got all of these radicals showing up on your doorstep. Send out your security. Sorry, you gotta do this job, but you know what?

You’re protecting some real…. So, because these movements are articulating themselves and we are saying, defund the police and fund unemployment, now that is a political articulation of us saying what we think they should be doing with that money. Because to be clear, and I’m gonna leave you with this, and I’m gonna be happy walking away with my laryngitis, I don’t care. I want people to know that “Defund the police” is not and should not be—if you ever hear someone say that this is why we’re doing this, you tell them they’re wrong—”Defund the police,” we are not saying it because we want to “save the city money.” No! The city’s got the money. The mayor’s got the money, alone. Okay. Ted Wheeler, you are disgusting. You are one of the capitalists, the worst people in the world who we’re talking about out here. We don’t want you, we want Teressa, okay?

We’re not saying that we want to save the city money, they’re not saying that in any other cities. There are occupiers at City Hall in New York City right now, some of our comrades, holding it down for the fourth day. When we say, “Defund the police,” we do have ideas about where that money needs to go, and you better run. So we’re saying, we know that y’all are messing up on getting people their unemployment money. The building here is shut down, they’re not running the money that people need. You’ve seen all the people raising their hands, saying they’ve come to this building and been denied in the past.

We’re saying, take that money away from the police and fund programs so that people can survive. Period. Thank you!



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