The march was organized by TakeAction Minnesota and began with a rally at Government Plaza, home to the Occupy Minnesota forces who have been gathered there since Friday. Over two-hundred and fifty people marched four square blocks from the Hennepin County Government Center, past the branches of some of the country's biggest financial institutions including U.S. Bank, Ameriprise and Wells Fargo. Along the route, marchers repeatedly pointed their red foam fingers and chanted "Cut Banks, Not People!"
Marchers also took over the Wells Fargo lobby at 6th and Marquette for about ten minutes, demanding that the CEO come down and address the crowd.
In reference to Occupy Minnesota and Occupy Wall Street, TakeAction Minnesota's Executive Director, Dan McGrath, said
"the wheels of democracy are turning in city after city. As a result of the immense concentration of wealth in the hands of the richest minority, people around the country are taking to the streets to send a message to Washington: end the corporate stranglehold over our government that has sent the majority of Americans into economic free fall."
McGrath said he believes
"people have been given a false choice by political leaders who claim we have a spending crisis and need to cut programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicare to lower the deficit. The truth is, we have a revenue crisis. We have a jobs crisis. We have a mortgage crisis. And we have a health care crisis. And these have all been caused by our government's failure to make big corporations pay what they owe in taxes and revenue."
Along the march route, members of TakeAction Minnesota handed out flyers demanding that the Congressional "Super Congress" charged with reducing the federal budget deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over the next ten years reduce the deficit by raising revenue via taxes on corporations and banks rather than cutting programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. McGrath said such programs
"have no business having a target on their backs while the corporations who caused our economic crisis avoid paying billions in federal taxes and their CEOs collect fat and untaxed bonus checks."
Photo by Jake Encinas
TakeAction's flyer outlined a "People's Budget" which would reduce the federal deficit by $541 billion were financial transactions to be taxed and by $795 million if bank bonuses were taxed. In stark contrast, the flyer also described a "Big Banks Budget" which depends on a continuation of tax loopholes, bailouts and bonuses.
At a stop outside Wells Fargo Bank, marcher Delores Voorhees of Cedar Lake, Minnesota told the crowd that millions around the country have stories just like hers -- people young and old alike who have had a much better life as a result of Medicaid. She warned about falling prey to those who say more cuts are needed.
"We cannot let corporations run our government anymore. We need a people's budget -- one that makes corporations pay what they owe while protecting our country's vital health care programs."
Tuesday's march is part of a week of action organized by TakeAction Minnesota in conjunction with Minnesotans for a Fair Economy, which is shining a light on the role the banking industry and big corporations have played in devastating the U.S. economy. On Friday, Minnesotans for a Fair Economy will hold a "March and Rally to Save the American Dream" at Peavey Plaza on Nicollet Mall, beginning at 3pm.