It was a perfect day for a march; it was the perfect crowd.
At least three hundred people participated in last evening's May Day Fight For $15/hr rally, and mass feeding at Oscar Grant Plaza in downtown Oakland. Around two hundred and fifty people - and one rabbit - marched through the streets, followed, of course, by at least twenty officers in uniform, helicopters and who knows how many undercovers.
True, the rabbit didn't seem to be demanding a livable wage, but the rest of us were. (Scratch that; the cops already make on average $178,000/yr.) The march wound its way through downtown, stopping at a Starbucks, a Burger King, a Rite Aid pharmacy, Taco Bell and Sears to chant demands for a livable wage for their and all low-wage workers.
No Oakland march is satisfying without having taken the streets, and take the streets we did.
Back banner: "Employer Scum Your Time Has Come!"
No Oakland march is complete without the Brass Liberation Orchestra, and, lo and behold, there they were.
No activity associated with Occupy Oakland is complete without a food fest. And, lo, there was food.
(The rabbit is barely visible, held by the woman behind the man in the orange shirt mid photo).
No Oakland march is complete without a bevy of overpaid, grim faced police making people feel uncomfortable and, lo and behold, there they were, trailing fifteen yards behind the march from start to finish.
Raising the wages of the working poor is hugely popular all across the country (the latest Gallup poll on raising the minimum wage showed 71% in support). This was demonstrated on the streets last night as people readily took flyers explaining the Fight For $15 and seemed genuinely happy to see us out there calling attention to the issue of a livable wage.
Not that the politicians and their masters are listening. But maybe, soon enough, they will be forced to hear the sound of people being crushed by debt and unable to pay their rent. As the SF Chronicle noted
Protest organizer Barucha Peller said people simply can't cover their basic needs - rent, health insurance and child care - on minimum wage. "The corporations are making millions of dollars a year... but the workers themselves can't survive in the money that they're making."Fight For $15 and similar rallies, marches and walkouts have now taken place in New York City, Chicago and Oakland. So far, so good. Now comes the hard part: turning the campaign into something low wage workers will believe in, that they will be willing to participate in for a chance for a better life for themselves and their families.
Fight for 15 Oakland FightFor15Oak
#Mayday was a success! Thank you all so much for the support. We have much work to do we hope that you #JoinUs #FightFor15 #LivingWage
Yours truly (middle) heading back to OGP. The shirt commemorates the Nov 2, 2011 General Strike.
The next organizing meeting for Fight for $15 Oakland will be Wednesday, May 8th.
Fight for 15 Oakland @FightFor15Oak 14h-----
Hope to see lots of people at Fight For $15 first meeting Wed May 8th, 6 PM @. 14th & Broadway http://campl.us/...