Detroit demands action on jobs

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Over 5,000 jobseekers showed up at the Wayne County Community College in Detroit for a jobs fair and town hall meeting yesterday. More than 7,000 attended last week's event in Cleveland, the second stop on the Congressional Black Caucus's "For the People" tour.

Over 1,000 positions were offered at the fair.

The event was hosted by Democratic U.S. Reps. John Conyers and Hansen Clarke. Also present from the caucus were Maxine Waters of California, Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri and Gregory Meeks from New York.

President Obama, himself on a rural bus tour in the Midwest, announced he would give a major speech on jobs and the economy after Labor Day.

According to the Associated Press, "The president's plan is likely to contain tax cuts, jobs-boosting infrastructure ideas and steps that would specifically help the long-term unemployed. The official emphasized that all of Obama's proposals would be fresh ones, not a rehash of plans he has pitched for many weeks and still supports, including his 'infrastructure bank' idea to finance construction jobs."

The New York Times again pressed the Obama administration to offer bold new jobs creation proposals, the second time in as many days. President Obama, says the Times, "needs to come up with policies big enough to match his new found anger - and big enough to get the economy growing again."

In recent speeches, the president has sharply criticized the Republicans for putting politics over country.

Detroit residents at the town hall meeting, however, facing 50 percent unemployment rates, felt the president and Congress could do more. According to Thegrio.com, "During the sometimes heated town hall, people's frustration over their economic conditions overwhelmed decorum and order."

Rep. Maxine Waters, noting the great love and admiration for President Obama in the African American community, called on the audience to "unleash us" to address the president on the jobs issue. "When you tell us it's alright and you unleash us and you tell us you're ready for us to have this conversation, we're ready to have the conversation. The Congressional Black Caucus loves the president too. We're supportive of the president but we're getting tired ya'll..." she said.

Rep. John Conyers called for a demonstration in front of the White House, reports Thegrio.com. "We should be in front, three to five, six thousand people the day before we open our 40th conference on Tuesday, September the 20th, in front of the White House, demanding jobs," Conyers said.

Tuesday's event in Detroit coincided with a parallel forum organized by the Progressive Caucus in Oakland, Calif.

The Oakland event too had a militant character. "The session, organized by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, was at times raucous, with some heckling or angrily chanting that it is time to 'tax the rich.'"

The Black Caucus events now go on to Atlanta, August 18-19; Miami, August 22-23; and Los Angeles, August 30-31.

Photo: Congressional Black Caucus

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  • Thanks to the distinguished people's leaders, congresspersons, Conyers, Clarke, Waters, Cleaver, Meeks and others. Nowadays, the relationship between Detroit, MI(and all "rust bowl" cities, north, south, east, west for that) and London, England should be noted, along with the prophetic leadership of the CPUSA's W.E.B. Du Bois, over a century ago.
    It was the late working people's new Moses and the internationalist, the Du Bois, Mahatma Gandhi and especially Jesus Christ disciple MLK, who made his first I Have a Dream speech in Detroit, later to repeat it in Washingto in 1963, where the magnificent W.E.B. Du Bois was honored as author of the movement for "JOBS and FREEDOM".
    About 63 yrs before that fateful day in '63, "our professor" (as Paul Leroy Robeson called Du Bois) led the first Pan-Africanist conference in London, now scene of strife and rebellion, as is Detroit. Today, thanks to the efforts of farsighted and constructive members of congress, this rebellion is being organized for practical success and order.
    The titanic Du Bois had traced the Civil Rights struggle back 5,000 yrs, then put it in the arsenal of all those struggling for democracy, a world democracy, a democracy which included all those of African and Asian descent, in organized struggle for and by that democracy.
    This work, incoporated the bodies of work of Marx, Sumner, Phillips, Stowe, Lincoln, Benezet, Douglas to name some, but especially, materially and spiritually, John Brown, the "ruff hewn American" and by Du Bois, the U. S.'s greatest anti-racist.
    Today, the fruit of Du Bois's labor(along side the labors of countless others) manifests in the heroine Maxine Waters, from little oppressed Kinloch, MO, the heroic people's politician, John Conyers Jr., from Detroit itself.
    These bolstered by the AFL-CIO, its leader, Richard Trumka, the Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus of Congress, we are destined to continue the fight for Jobs and Freedom, including the whole working poor, those of African descent, in the U.S., including Haitians, Jamaicans, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, all immigrants, of Latino background and African.
    The solution of the Problem of the 20th century, and now, the problem of the 21st-The Colorline-is again universal democracy that is presenting itself in the fight for jobs, jobs, jobs, for the millions of millions of color and others who are underemployed and unemployed.
    There will be no freedom, there will be no civil rights without a massive, massive jobs program to employ the millions and millions with "good union jobs" to answer all, the environmental, economic, and "Colorline" problems of today.
    The struggle of people's organizations to win this Jobs and Freedom, with president Obama's re-election in 2012, is written in the stars-the Problem of the 22nd century, shall not be the problem of Detroit and London-the Colorline.

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 08/18/2011 1:32pm (3 years ago)

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