An upcoming action this month is simultaneously taking on the unemployment crisis, the climate crisis, and the corporate corruption of Congress crisis all at once. And it needs your support.
We all know by now that almost every member of Congress doesn’t take votes based on what’s best for their people, but bywho gives them the most money. Simply sending a petition to Congress, or calling a Senator or sending an email asking them to create jobs, or to crack down on pollution, or to do what’s in the best interest for the people will have minimal effect if corporate special interests are sending them buckets of money for their re-election campaign war chests. Even if they vote against the will of the people, Congress knows their ass is covered in the next election if they get enough corporate cash.
So from May 18 to May 24, a determined group of long-term unemployed people will be marching from Philadelphia, Penn., to Washington, D.C., directly to the front door of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s headquarters. As the organization that ranked#1 in lobbying last year with a whopping $136,000,000 spent, and that has an undefeated record in the Supreme Court since President Obama took office, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the main string-puller in Washington.
Unlike local and county chambers of commerce who are made up of local small business owners, the U.S. Chamber spends millions of dollars lobbying on behalf of multinational corporations, putting their interests above everyone else while hypocritically calling itself the voice of America’s small business community.
They support job-killing austerity policies that have put millions of Americans out of work. They’ve actually led seminars with the Chinese government teaching American corporate executives how to outsource jobs to China. Their president, Tom Donohue, has gone on record saying that there are “legitimate benefits to outsourcing not only jobs, but work.” This is especially outrageous considering the U.S. Chamber has the word “JOBS” hanging from the front of their building.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was also the leading voice behind a successful 2009 campaign to block new safety regulations for chemical plants and fertilizer depots. The legislation in question could have prevented the recent fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas that killed dozens and leveled nearby buildings by implementing stronger safety standards.
Because the U.S. Chamber of Commerce values corporate profits and stock prices over human life, the bill died in the Senate without even getting a vote, despite passing the House of Representatives. The U.S. Chamber spent millions to defeat that legislation, labeling it a “key vote” of 2009.
Along with most Americans, the unemployed activists marching from Philadelphia know that the largely-untapped renewable energy sector has the most potential to create millions of new jobs that will all stay in America. After the 150-mile trek from Philadelphia, these marchers will hold the U.S. Chamber of Commerce accountable for buying off Congress and spending millions blocking any meaningful attempt at green jobs legislation. And all along the way, they’ll be sharing their stories on social media.
This march is just the beginning—activists all over the country will be organizing with their local small business owners, creating an alliance between loyal customers and entrepreneurs to collectively demand that local and state-based affiliates of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce divest their dues from the organization and put them toward more sustainable, progressive, alternative business alliances like the American Independent Business Alliance and the Main Street Alliance. Over time, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will no longer have the funds necessary to lobby Congress or influence elections.
If your town is nearby, come out and visit with these activists and march with us. You can click here for our official Facebook event, and if you can’t march with us but still want to support us, you can make a donation by clicking here. These marchers are unemployed and have families, so they have very few possessions. We’ll need as much financial support as possible to make sure they have something to eat along the way, along with tents, sleeping bags, blankets, and other camping supplies to they have a place to lay down at night.
The march itself is being organized by nascent group Shut the Chamber, in conjunction with the Philadelphia-based Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, anti-corporate personhood coalition Move to Amend, and Public Citizen, based in DC. Help these groups out with a follow on their social media pages and tweet with the hashtag #OpGreenJobs to show your support.GeneralShut the ChamberShut the ChamberShut the Chamber