Sunday, January 30, 2011

Building Peoples' Assemblies to confront crisis

Marching for housing in Philadelphia

Published Jan 29, 2011 9:16 AM

They’re already marching away from City Hall — members of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign protesting residential foreclosures in Philadelphia on Jan. 17.

WW photo: Joseph Piette

The light is red, and the demonstration is moving up the street. If I rush up to 16th Street, I’ll be able to join them. Finding a parking spot makes me late, and then I mistake the many homeless in Love Park lined up for hot food as the housing protest.

“The banks get bailed out; the people get thrown out!” The turnout and energy are good for such cold weather. Now we’re turning back up 16th Street, and we stop at a Bank of America office. I take out my camera.

“Bank of America, the recipient of $45 billion in taxpayer bailout money, continues to foreclose homes and evict families from their homes.” I’m taking several photos, one of an infant in a pink coat being held by a man holding a pink “STOP FORECLOSURES!” sign.

As we take off back toward City Hall, one man says, “Is it time to use the rocks yet?” A couple of people quickly respond, “No!” “Just wondering,” he replies. “We used them back in the day.” Everyone laughs.

I take a picture of protesters in wheelchairs, one of whom has no gloves. My hands are cold, and I’m wearing gloves.

I move to the front of the protest to take a shot of the whole march. We begin to climb steps when shouts in the back make us stop — the wheelchairs can’t follow us. We return and walk in the street to City Hall.

Back on the sidewalk, the marchers are led toward Broad Street. The chants are now directed against the sheriff’s policy on foreclosure evictions. “Where’s the sheriff’s office?” I ask a marcher. He shrugs and goes to ask someone.

I stop. It’s 1 p.m. I have to go to a rally against deportations with fliers against the FBI entrapment of Muslims on Jan. 25 and Workers World newspapers.

The marcher returns and tells me the sheriff’s office is one block south of here. I tell him I’ve got to go. “See you next time,” he responds.


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