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News of our struggle

October 3, 2003 | Page 10

Stop the war on the poor
By Lee Wengraf

NEW YORK--As the Democratic presidential candidates dined, 50 low-income family members and activists marched into Manhattan's swanky Sheraton Hotel, chanting, "Hold up, wait a minute, give us a debate with our issues in it!" Organized by the National Network of Low-Income Grassroots Groups, protesters timed the event to coincide with the candidates' debate earlier in the day.

Carrying a mock color-coded security system, activists declared a "red alert" for families. "Red alert security statistics" were displayed on signs reading "3.2 million jobs lost under Bush," "14.4 million families with critical housing needs" and "3 million homeless on any given night." They demanded that the candidates address low-income issues and meet with activists, calling on them to take a stand against homelessness, unemployment and the AIDS crisis.

Wearing one of many shirts calling for "$87 billion for family security," Stephen Bradley called on the candidates to oppose the massive spending for war. "We need $87 billion--people are dying right here," he told Socialist Worker.

"They seem to only listen to the rich people," said Rosario Rodriguez of Families United for Racial and Economic Equality. "But how are they supposed to end poverty without listening to the people who are poor?"

When it comes to fighting poverty, Democrats' actions speak louder than words. Earlier in the day, Democratic presidential candidate and former Vermont governor Howard Dean denied that he had sided with former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich's attacks on welfare and $270 million budget cuts.

But Dean had nothing to say as he swooped by angry protesters on his way into the gala event at the Sheraton. "Both the Democrats and the Republicans are one machine, out for corporations," Lorraine Speights of Community Voices Heard told Socialist Worker.

"The economy, health care, jobs creation--none of the candidates has talked about it. We have to start taking to the streets and turn our states upside down."

Contact the National Network of Low-Income Grassroots Groups at 212-860-6001 for more information about upcoming "red alert" actions in 25 cities around the country.

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We say no to sexism

MADISON, Wis.--A dozen University of Wisconsin-Madison students picketed outside the Barrymore Theater September 26 to protest the sexist stand-up comedy of Doug Stanhope, host of Comedy Central's The Man Show. Protesters carried signs saying, "Wage Gap, Anorexia, Rape, Sexual Harassment: Sexism Is Not Funny" and "Keep Your Jokes Off My Body."

"With new hosts Joe Rogan and Doug Stanhope at the helm, men everywhere will rejoice in the celebration of Juggies, beer and other chauvinistic fun," according to Comedy Central. But according to Laura Nelson, a member of the International Socialist Organization and an organizer of the protest, "Sexism is not funny. Women and men need to stand up to 'comedy' that objectifies and degrades women."

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