Itís time to get on the bus!
Mark Spadafore

Stimulus fail to solve your problems? Tea party not your cup of tea? Get on the bus to DC on 10-2-10 and work together to demand progressive change. Artwork: Banksy

On October 2, 2010 (10-2-10), hundreds of thousands of people from all over the United States will participate in an historic march in Washington, DC to ensure a future of hope and unity for our nation.

This past year, we have heard a lot from the so-called “tea party” movement in the United States. I do believe that the tea party is a movement, but it is an “Astroturf” movement, in that it is funded by corporate interests that manipulate people who believe that increased government intervention is the reason that their lot has gotten worse over the past 30–40 years. The reality is that the tea party movement is not entirely wrong. For example, they rail against the bank bailouts and other wasteful acts of government spending. Currently, our government is dominated by corporate money that creates “crony” style governmental polices that benefit corporate interests (profits) over individual interests (people). They are right in contending that the government does not work for them; what they do not recognize is that the government does not work for any of us.

Where the movement goes horribly wrong is their assertion that President Obama is a socialist, or that his polices are ruining the nation. In reality, President Obama is a centrist Democrat who must be pushed by a movement on the left to implement polices that benefit everyone in our nation, not just corporate interests.

Another factor that shows how the tea party is misguided is its homogeneity. The party uses the fear of people who are different from them to proclaim that they must “take this country back.”  Back to what?  To a time when people were truly judged by the color of their skin, their gender, their sexual orientation or country of origin?  And does the tea party truly believe that all those identifiers no longer hold people back today?  Back to what?

With all of the media attention on these people with tri-cornered hats and hateful signs, it is time for us on the left to assert ourselves into the political process. The corporate-owned national media cannot ignore hundreds of thousands of people on the national mall with a different message. We need to take our country forward – forward to a more equitable and just society that embraces everyone.

That is why you are seeing unions such as 1199 SEIU, the American Federation of Teachers and the AFL-CIO working with civil rights organizations such as the NAACP and La Raza to bring disparate people together to show that we are truly one nation and not divided as the corporate class would like to see us. And we can make that statement, but only if progressives get out of their particular issue and join the broader movement.

We must also recognize the threat of the far Right. Barack Obama campaigned against partisanship, declaring that there were “no red states” and no “conservative America.” Apparently, he thought it was merely a contrivance or myth that there were people who rejected science, demonized gays, assailed minority and women’s rights – or he didn’t think that they genuinely believed in what they said. Obama seemed to think that the entire history of politics since the rise of Reagan and the Right with their strategies of polarization was a superficial problem attributable to certain “divisive” personalities and easily wiped away with gestures toward bipartisanship. His view of the parties was that they were simply mirror images sharing fundamental beliefs but separated by “partisans.” The skilled and devoted community organizer could bring them together. But the divide is not superficial; it is real, and it is deeply rooted. Those of us at the grassroots level know that we cannot let the Right dictate the narrative. We cannot allow the politics of fear to divide our communities along racial lines or class lines, while corporate interests steal our future. We on the Left must work to bring people together and create a unified movement to take our country forward!

That is why we are marching on Washington right before the midterm Congressional elections. At the march, we will demand:

♦          Funding for healthcare and schools – not warfare

♦          Jobs for all and an economy that works for everyone

♦          Renewable energy and green jobs

♦          Unity – not division – no more hate!

Locally, a steering committee has been formed surrounding the event. The committee is made up of labor unions, community organizing groups, and peace organizations. The purpose of this group is to have a statement of local purpose and to work on local outreach for the event. As progressive organizations, we believe that we can use the 10-2-10 event to springboard more progressive action in Syracuse. We all agree that if the rally is just a “one off” event, it won’t achieve its purpose of gathering all of us into one nation. We need to get on the bus, to create one Syracuse.

It is free to get on the bus to this historic rally, but you must reserve your seat! Simply send your name and contact information to or leave this information at 424-1743 ext. 148.
See you on the bus!

Mark is a longtime labor organizer in Syracuse and is part of the local organizing effort for the national demonstration on 10-2-10.