Economic Justice

October 15, 2011

The streets of Bloomington swelled on Oct. 15, 2011, with Occupy Bloomington protesters who demanded a cultural revolution that rewards humanity and justice over avarice and sociopathy. The march began at People's Park and proceeded to the Farmer's Market and back to the park, with stops at Chase bank, the Monroe County Jail and the Farmer's Market.

As motorists, downtown shoppers and market-goers honked, smiled and otherwise demonstrated support, the marchers chanted "We are the 99 percent; you are the 99 percent," "Banks got bailed out, we got sold out," and "This is what democracy looks like."

October 13, 2011

“Hundreds turned out onto the streets of Indianapolis to protest the banksters and perpetual war machine. The crowd was high spirited and politically sophisticated. Revolution was in the air!” So went the assessment of day 1 of Occupy Indianapolis by Bob Baldwin, an Indianapolis resident.

In an e-mail, Baldwin did a good job capturing the mood of the protest, which began at noon on Oct. 8, and the corporate media did a decent job of describing its content. But no news story except one in the Bloomington Herald-Times mentioned the most exciting aspect of the event, the “leaderless resistance,” as that story described it – that is, the process through which the protest took place.

October 8, 2011

News Release
Occupy Bloomington

Passionate community members and students will gather at People's Park on Kirkwood Avenue at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 9, to begin an occupation of the park in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement and the Occupy Together movement as a whole. Those in attendance will set up camping equipment to use the park as a hub to plan other events and actions around the Bloomington community to empower and raise awareness.

The Occupy Bloomington movement has drawn people of all ages, creeds, races, beliefs and political standings. Through group consensus the movement has agreed on a location and time to begin the event. Any interested community members are invited to come share ideas, passions and thoughts on where to take the movement.

'Prostate cancer is the least of my worries'
October 1, 2011

Ethan McKenzie didn't have to read Dr. Rob Stone's article "Health care vs. wealth care in America" to know how screwed he is by the U.S. "health-care" industry. What led the 59-year-old to share his story with The Bloomington Alternative was the timing, along with the line, "Self-employed and a pre-existing condition – in America today with those two strikes, you are out."

Until a month before Stone's article was published on Sept. 17, the IU employee had been self-insured with one costly but manageable pre-existing condition. Five days after he read the piece, McKenzie learned he now has two. It will be a few weeks before he learns if he has prostate cancer. But there's no question that until age 65 and Medicare eligibility, he's an economic hostage held by people who would benefit by his premature demise and have no twinge of conscience if it happened.

"Being self-insured with pre-existing conditions makes me feel like Troy Davis," he said, "an innocent man facing a death sentence. But in my case, a swift execution could be the preferred outcome."

October 1, 2011

It’s easy to talk about socialism in the abstract, but hardly anyone tries to imagine and codify exactly what socialism in the United States could be like.

David Schweikart has a vision of what our society could be like after socialism replaces capitalism:

"[T]he Marxian vision of a new world is one in which the work I do — the work we all do — is both challenging and satisfying. Through work I develop my skills and talents, and have the pleasure of contributing to the well-being of others. The work I do involves my body as well as my mind, physical dexterity as well as intelligence — capacities that have been nurtured through education."

September 27, 2011

CWA Local 4730

As President Michael McRobbie gives his annual State of the University address, it is time once again to consider the plight of support staff on the IUB and IUN campuses. Things have not improved over the last year few years, and there is little sign of improvement in the near future.

1) Staff levels continue to drop in all but a few areas, as student enrollment continues to climb.

2) Job losses continue as more services are privatized or consolidated, and another planned benchmarking study is bound to be used to justify more job losses.

Divest from health insurance companies

September 17, 2011

I was the doctor on duty one night in August when the ambulance rushed a man into our Midwestern hospital ER. As I walked into the room, the scene was right out of TV. A nurse was trying to start an IV. Someone was running an EKG. A student had just put oxygen in the patient’s nose. The room seemed crowded. The paramedics were sweating and slightly out of breath.

But my attention was on a pale, thin, 55-year-old man sitting bolt upright on a gurney, clutching his chest and straining to breathe. Cold sweat dripped off his nose. I asked a couple of quick questions as I leaned him forward to listen to his lungs. Someone handed me his EKG showing an acute heart attack.

September 14, 2011

A new U.S. Census Bureau report reveals the number of people living in poverty last year surged to 46.2 million — one in six Americans — the highest number since the Bureau began tracking such data more than 50 years ago. According to the report, blacks and Hispanics together accounted for 54 percent of the poor, with whites at 9.9 percent and Asians at 12.1 percent. Children under 18 suffered the highest poverty rate.

Meanwhile, the number of Americans with employer-provided health insurance has also continued to decline, and the ranks of the uninsured now hovers just below the 50 million mark, the most in more than two decades. Analysts say the numbers would have been worse if not for government assistance programs, including extended unemployment compensation, stimulus spending, Obama’s health reforms, and Social Security. We speak with Heidi Shierholz, labor economist at the Economic Policy Institute.

August 26, 2011

The Midwest Rising Convergence 2011, on Aug. 12–15 at the University of Missouri–St. Louis conference center, wasn’t an ordinary conference. It featured no experts or celebrities. The 200 or so participants co-operatively ran it, cooking and serving meals, working at the registration desk and holding workshops.

Billed as an anticorporate gathering of activists with a focus on environmental and economic justice and on the interconnectedness of social justice issues, the convergence was highlighted by several instances of direct action.

August 25, 2011

Feeding Indiana's Hungry

Feeding Indiana’s Hungry and Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief organization, today released a new study which reveals that 24.5 percent of children under the age of 18 in Indiana are struggling with hunger. This is about 388,640 or one in four Hoosier children, spanning all 92 Indiana counties.

The study, Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity 2011, reveals that there are children struggling with hunger in every county in America. Nationally, while one in six Americans overall is food insecure, the rate for children is much higher: nearly one in four children is food insecure. The study shows that rates of child food insecurity in Indiana range from a low of 17 percent in Hamilton County to highs of 32 percent or more in Fayette, Elkhart, Adams, Miami, Crawford and LaGrange Counties, touching all areas of the state.

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