National Press on Chicago Rally to Tax Wall St.
A coalition of nurses’ unions is calling for a “Robin Hood” tax on Wall Street, which they say could generate up to $350 billion a year, in the first major protest ahead of this weekend’s NATO summit in Chicago.
Their pitch: impose a tax of 50 cents on every $100 of trades of stocks, bonds, dividends and other financial transactions, which are not currently taxed. The U.S. would join more than a dozen other nations that already have a financial transaction tax, according to National Nurses United (NNU).
"I've been asked many, many times ... 'What are you doing here as nurses? ... What do you have to do with the economy?'" Karen Higgins, a registered nurse and co-president of NNU, said to the crowd in Chicago's Daley Plaza.
"We're watching this every day. We're watching patients suffer," she said, noting that nurses were seeing people without insurance or others who can't afford their co-pays, as well as a spike in the number of children with adult diseases due to eating poorly because their parents can't afford healthy food. "This is serious and in some cases it is actually deadly."
"We know the solution... we are watching and seeing Wall Street throwing our money away as we see people suffer and die. It will not continue," she said. "We pay sales tax. It is time for Wall Street to start paying back what they owe the rest of the country and they need to pay sales tax."
The nurses’ call echoes last fall’s outcry by the Occupy Wall Street protesters over income equality, corruption and corporate greed. Proceeds from the Wall Street tax would support social services, education and healthcare.
Chicago Tribune- Nurses rally in Daley Plaza with music
The National Nurses United rallied in Daley Plaza. People took to the streets walking all over the loop into Grant Park and to the bridges. Tom Morello played for the rally. See video of the ACTION!
Chicago Tribune- Peaceful Start to NATO Protests
The kick-off rally was far from the angry, violent protests seen at other gatherings of world leaders. The National Nurses United rally featured people dressed like Buddy the Elf and dancing to Motown music. At one point, former Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, an Occupy activist who has been at the movement's forefront, had to stop and teach the crowd how to sing protest songs.
Police estimated that between 2,400 to 2,800 people, many of them wearing red shorts and Robin Hood-style hats made of green felt, had gathered at Daley Plaza to support a so-called Robin Hood tax on financial institutions' transactions in order to offset cuts in health care and social services. A Tribune analysis of a crowd photo made during the middle of the rally counted just over 3,200 people, including police and bystanders. The Emanuel administration last week revoked permission for a march to Daley Plaza, claiming that the demonstration was expected to grow far beyond the original crowd estimate of 1,000 people. City officials later relented after they came under attack for suppressing free speech, but only after the nurses agreed to drop their plans to march through downtown.
Anna Deavere Smith has, in essence, combined a career doing serious, interview-based theater work like "Fires in the Mirror" and "Twilight: Los Angles" with more lucrative acting gigs on TV shows like "The West Wing" and, currently, "Nurse Jackie." Watching her perform for — and rev up — a couple of thousand nurses in Chicago Friday night, though, suggested that Smith might well be a good leftist candidate to run for office. Few think of her that way. Perhaps they should.
At one point in the colossal main ballroom at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers — packed to the gills with members of National Nurses United — Smith persuaded the assembled nurses to stand, find three or four fellow nurses they did not know, look each nurse in the eye and say to each one in turn, "We need you to heal this country."
Chicago Tribune blog- Nurses United During NATO Protests
There was one comfort today amid all the concerns for personal preparedness and safety during the NATO protests - there was no shortage of available nurses on hand. National Nurses United staged a peaceful rally at Daley Center Plaza which featured Occupy activist Tom Morello, better known as the guitarist from Rage Against the Machine. During the rally, the nation's largest nurses union called for a Robin Hood tax, or a small tax on financial transactions on Wall Street to help support the social safety net. The Robin Hood theme explains the sea of green felt hats in the crowd. The union took a peaceful, fun and productive approach in addressing society's problem during the NATO Summit. I wonder what will happen the rest of the weekend.
New York Times- Chicago Protests Draw Thousands Before NATO Event
...In a plaza named for former Mayor Richard J. Daley, members of the National Nurses United union, wearing green felt caps, called for a “Robin Hood tax” on Wall Street. Some demonstrators later marched through the streets of downtown, at times deflecting police efforts to stop them but eventually scattering as scores of police officers, some in riot helmets, arrived in a pack of unmarked white vans and blocked off access to the Michigan Avenue Bridge over the Chicago River.
CHICAGO (AP) — Thousands of nurses and other protesters have gathered at a downtown Chicago plaza in the largest protest so far leading up to a two-day NATO summit that is expected to draw even larger demonstrations.
The protesters are demanding a "Robin Hood" tax on banks' financial transactions.
National Nurses United is calling for the tax to offset cuts in social services, education and health care. The nurses are being joined by members of the Occupy movement, unions and veterans.
The DePaulia- National Nurses United rally outside Daley Plaza
The Daley Plaza itself is a grand spectacle—a visually intimidating building hovering high above Chicago, scattering brilliant beams of sunlight into blinding, glistening prisms. But it was a much grander sight today—with hundreds of nurses sporting Kelley green felt Robin Hood hats, forcing red and white picket signs into the clear Chicago sky, and swaying to The Rolling Stones ballad “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”
The 3rd National Nurses United (NNU) assembly convened at Daley Plaza today at noon. Nurses and supporters of NNU’S cause demonstrated to promote awareness of the current financial crisis’ affect on nurses and other public programs.
“We are trying to create awareness of how nurses are affected by this economic crisis,” Deborah Burger, RN, President of National Nurses United said. “We are here to make sure that NATO and G8 know that their priorities are upside-down and that they need to focus on the community.”
As the G8 got underway today at Camp David, an estimated 2,500 held a "Peoples' G8" in Chicago's Daley Plaza to call for a Financial Transaction Tax.
Last fall, National Nurses United (NNU), the chief organizer of the rally, began demanding a so-called “Robin Hood Tax” in coordination with National Peoples’ Action and other labor and community groups. NNU has been a close ally of many local Occupy groups, and today hundreds of nurses dressed in Robin Hood costumes descended on the plaza along with newly-arrived members of Occupy Wall Street, Occupy L.A. and other out-of-town demonstrators.
The rally opened with a parody of the concurrent G8 summit, with an actor playing President Obama greeting the crowd, “Welcome to the G8 summit, world’s largest casino!” as world leaders were seated around a poker table where they proceeded to wager their country’s respective social programs before breaking into a round of “Viva Las Vegas.”
Columbia Chronicle- Nurses Unite at First Major NATO protest
More than 3,000 protesters gathered for a rally Friday organized by the National Nurses United group in Daley Plaza, 118 N. Clark St. It was the first major protest in advance of the NATO Summit this weekend.
Karen Higgins, one of the co-presidents of National Nurses United, said she the nurses want to fund healthcare instead of warfare.
“We will not go away,” Higgins said. “This is the beginning. We are not turning our backs on this country. We do not accept this in this country.”
The rally is held every year by nurses from across the country to address certain issues that they feel are important to our society. The group is not limited to solely nurses, but anyone who believes in their causes.Back to News »