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    The 99% Rejects the MBTA’s Austerity Measures

    The following is Occupy MBTA’s response to the MBTA’s latest  proposal for service cuts and fare hikes:

    Today’s proposal by MBTA does not go nearly far enough in addressing the concerns of the T-riding 99%. The MBTA claims to have listened to the thousands of riders who have flooded their meetings and demonstrated these past few months, but they seem to have missed our key message: “No Hikes! No cuts! No Layoffs!” Significant fare increases and service reductions will devastate students, seniors, low-income communities, people of color, workers, and everyone who must rely on the T. Any plan that will lead to more driving, more congestion, and more CO2 emissions is simply unacceptable. And, to make matters worse, the MBTA freely admits this is only a one-year stop-gap measure, and that we’ll be facing further austerity measures next year.

    The MBTA has been presented with many solutions that would have allowed the agency to balance its books without placing the financial burden on those who can afford it the least. The MBTA’s refusal to explore those solutions – including, but not limited to, the possibility of canceling its interest rate swaps with Deutsche Bank, U.S. Bancorp (USB), and JPMorgan Chase – speaks volumes about its priorities.

    We are neither placated nor discouraged by the MBTA’s latest proposal; the fight to save the T is only just beginning. On April 4, this fight will move to the State House when Occupy MBTA and our allies hold a People’s Assembly to demand a comprehensive state-wide plan for affordable and sustainable transportation that works for the 99%.  Join us!

    April 4 at the State House
    Hearing: 3-5pm
    Rally & Speak Out: 5pm until we’re done

    Join us as part of the National Day of Action on Transportation to demand:

    • No service cuts
    • No fare hikes
    • No layoffs
    • No privatization of our treasured public transit system.
    • A comprehensive state-wide plan for affordable and sustainable transportation that works for the 99%.

    For more information on #A4 or to get involved in Occupy MBTA, please visit http://occupymbta.org/.

    The power of the 99%: MBTA scraps initial draconian proposals; activists vow to escalate fight for public transit!

    After an uprising from the 99%, MBTA General Manager Jonathan Davis announced last night that neither of the agency’s proposals to slash service, raise fare hikes, and layoff hundreds of workers will be adopted.  No details for the new proposal have been released. On January 3, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) released two proposals – both a toxic mixture of draconian service cuts and unacceptable fare hikes – to close the MBTA’s $161 million deficit for the coming fiscal year.  But thousands of members of the 99% – including members of Occupy the MBTA and other advocates for seniors, the disabled, students, workers, low-income communities, and the environment – flooded public hearings and rallied to tell the MBTA, “No Hikes! No Cuts! No Layoffs!”

    The MBTA’s retreat demonstrates the growing power of the 99% movement, but our work is far from done.  We will not accept any plan that attempts that attempt to balance the MBTA’s books on the backs of those who can afford it the least. We will continue to demonstrate, speak-out, and Occupy to ensure that the MBTA’s final proposal does not include any cuts to service, layoffs or fare increases and to demand that the legislature develop a comprehensive, affordable, and sustainable transportation plan that works for the 99%.  Public transportation is a right and must be accessible to all.Since January 31, over 6,000 people have attended 31 public hearings about the MBTA’s proposals, according to the Boston Globe.  In addition, a coalition of organizations including OccupyMBTA, Mass Senior Action, the T Riders Union, Students Against T Cuts, the Save the T coalition, MassUniting, Occupy Boston, Occupy Somerville, Occupy JP and many more have taken to the streets over the last two months to raise awareness and organize opposition to the proposed fare hikes, service cuts and layoffs. Members of these organizations and the broader 99% organized several major marches and rallies, mic-checked on trains, and spread the message through flyering and social media.
    Let’s keep the pressure on! Join us today  at 12:30 as we rally inside and outside of the MassDot board meeting.  And on April 4, we’ll bring our message to the State House (think Wisconsin!) for a people’s hearing and rally as part of our national call to action on public transportation.

    This Monday’s Community Gathering: “Decolonize our Minds, our Movement & our Food Supply”

    On Monday, February 27th from 6pm – 9pm, at Christ Church in Cambridge (map), members of the Decolonize to Liberate Working Group will host an Occupy Boston Community Gathering.  The Working Group invites the rest of Occupy Boston and members of the public to join in an ongoing discussion of how the goals and roots of the Occupy movement are related to the history of ongoing indigenous resistance to colonialism and corporate exploitation.  Please join us to learn what it means to “Decolonize Occupy” and how we can better create a global movement that works for everyone.

    “Unless we each decolonize our minds, and together decolonize this movement, unless we dismantle the deeply-ingrained systems of oppression that we inherited with colonialism, we risk merely creating a new version of an unjust society,” said Martin Dagoberto, a member of the working group.  The Decolonize to Liberate Working Group has been hosting weekly discussion meetings since it formed and introduced one of the first proposals passed by the Occupy Boston General Assembly, the “Statement of Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples.”

    Working group member Laurie Leyshon emphasized that the Community Gathering will not only provide a movement-building experience, but also present “a renewed call to action for the benefit of all people and all Life.”  The gathering coincides with “#F27 Occupy the Food Supply and attendees will also have an opportunity to join in on this international day of action.  Added Leyshon, “The privatization, control and manipulation of our food supply is the ultimate form of conquest.  What Monsanto and the like are doing is a continuation of a long history of colonialism – the commodification of life.

    To learn more about the meaning of “decolonization,” people are encouraged to listen to a recent radio broadcast produced by Decolonize to Liberate working group member Ukumbwa Sauti:  “Ancestral Continuum – Decolonization.  The working group has also assembled a collection of articles and materials at decolonizeboston.org.

    If you are a dedicated catalyst at Occupy Boston, a supporter, or just curious or completely new to the movement, we invite you to please join us for a unique community learning experience.  This will be a great opportunity to connect, share food, words, and build.  If you would like to take advantage of free child care during the event, please email decolonizeboston@gmail.com.

    Occupy Boston’s Community Gatherings are held every Monday evening and are free and open to the public. The Gatherings are designed to build and strengthen the Occupy Boston community through ongoing dialogues, presentations, workshops, and facilitated conversations, in order to build a resilient, widespread and inclusive social movement.

    This Friday: Occupy Lent at Bank of America!

    Members of Occupy Boston and the Protest Chaplains will gather at the First National Bank Building (home to Bank of America) in Boston’s Financial District every Friday of Lent to pray for forgiveness from our society’s economic sins and our complicity with them. The gatherings will start this Friday, February 24 at 8 AM and continue every Friday until Easter.

    “Come join us as we repent from the sins of greed, corruption, and apathy,” said Occupy Boston member Joshua Eaton. “Come join us as we wait for the world where every chain is loosed and every yoke is broken. Come join us as we Occupy Lent.”

    The group plans to recite prayers of repentance, sing hymns, and read passages from scripture that relate to economic justice. Their event announcement quotes Isaiah 58, verse 6: “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?”

    WHO: Members of Occupy Boston and the Protest Chaplains

    WHAT:  A gathering each Friday in Lent—the season of repentance—to publicly ask forgiveness for our society’s economic sins and for our complicity with them

    WHEN: Friday, February 24 at 8:00 AM and every Friday in Lent (through April 6)

    WHERE: First National Bank Building at 100 Federal Street in Boston’s Financial District. Once the Federal Street Church, it was an incubator for liberal religion and the site where Massachusetts ratified the US Constitution. Now, as home to Bank of America,  it stands as a temple to unfettered financial capital.

    For more information, please visit:  http://www.facebook.com/events/324346397617221/.

     

    This Monday: Ride the Rails & Rally At Copley to Save the T!

    On Monday, February 13, 2012, activists from Occupy Boston and other local Occupations will ride their respective train lines and converge on Copley Square for a mass rally at 4:30 PM to Save the T.  At the rally, Occupiers and advocates for Boston’s working-class, seniors, students and  environmental justice will demand “No Service Cuts!” and “No Fare Hikes!” After the rally, demonstrators will attend a public hearing sponsored by the MBTA and voice their concerns directly to agency representatives.

    The public transit system that the 99% relies on has been underfunded by the Massachusetts Legislature for years, and is now threatened with staggering debt – much of it transferred to the MBTA from Big Dig projects. Currently, every penny of our fares is spent paying off this debt – not on the maintenance we need to keep an aging system in working order.  Meanwhile, the big bailed-out banks have exploited the MBTA’s financial situation, raking in untold millions of dollars by underwriting the MTBA’s bonds and profiting off of interest rate swaps with the agency.  Despite the dire situation, the MBTA’s two proposals would do nothing to shore up the long-term sustainability of the T while devastating local communities by raising fares and slashing services.

    “The proposed MBTA service cuts and fare hikes are the perfect way to appease elected officials and their corporate partners by draining the remaining resources of the 99%,” said Brett West, an organizer for Occupy Boston. “For us, affordable and accessible public transit is a necessity, not a luxury.  We say ‘none of the above’ to the MBTA’s so-called solutions and demand a permanent funding solution that does not attack the resources of Boston’s elderly, students or working-class people.”

    Monday’s Day of Action will offer activists a number of ways to have their voices heard.  Several local Occupations and community groups will ride their respective trains and buses to the rally and engage other riders about the cuts and hikes through live streaming, flyering, mic-checking, singing, and conversation.  Confirmed meeting times are as follows:

    • Occupy Boston will meet at Downtown Crossing at 3:00 PM (contact brett@occupyboston.org for more info.)
    • Occupy Somerville will ride the rails in from Davis Square at both 4:00 PM and 5:00 PM (occupysomerville@yahoo.com).
    • Occupy Dorchester will meet at Fields Corner at 3:45 PM.
    • Occupy Quincy will be leaving at the Quincy Center T station at 3:30 PM (brykoulouris@gmail.com).
    •  Occupy JP and Occupemos El Barrio are planning similar actions; check back here or contact your local Occupy for meeting times and locations.
    • Students Against the T Cuts will meet at the Boylston T Stop at 4:00 PM (media@studentsagainsttcuts.org).

    At Copley, the Occupiers will join the T Riders Union and a coalition of dozens of community, student, senior and environmental groups for a rally to say “No!” to the MBTA’s draconian proposals of service cuts and fare increases and demand that the Legislature fund a transit system that benefits everyone.  At 6:00 PM, the rally moves indoors for the MBTA’s public hearing.

    Whether you can make one or all of the above actions, we need you on Monday. The T is a lifeline for our communities and vital for building a strong, sustainable economy. A strong public transit system is a linchpin of a society that prioritizes the needs of all before the profits of a few. Join us!

    Contact us

    Occupy Boston Media <Media@occupyboston.org> • <Info@occupyboston.org> • @Occupy_Boston