First published in the Summer 2017 issue of the Massachusetts Peace Action newsletter
On Saturday, April 15, two thousand people gathered on a sun-drenched Cambridge Common to send some clear messages to Washington: “President Trump, release your tax returns; stop your attacks on our families with your ‘death budget’; don’t you dare move $54 billion from the human needs budget to the Pentagon; and drop your proposed new tax cuts for wealthy corporations and high rollers”.
The crowd also had a message for the Democrats: “Be bold. Support the Peoples’ Budget as your party’s positive alternative to the shameful Republican budget schemes”.
The combination of brass bands, beautiful weather, a chorale, and sign language interpreters together with the sparkling M.C.’ing by state representative Michael Connolly, and strong presentations on budget issues related to public education, climate justice, war and peace, criminal justice, seniors, single-payer healthcare, housing and low-income crises – all lit a fire under the crowd and made the event one of the more lively local rallies we have seen. We were even joined making our demands by speakers from the Libertarian Party of Massachusetts and the New England Independence Campaign.
The Cambridge rally was one of dozens of simultaneous protests around the country organized in response to a national call for Tax Day events. That national call and all those other actions in other states focused exclusively on Trump’s tax returns. But here in Massachusetts the Budget for All Campaign worked with the New England Independence campaign (who originally issued the call in Massachusetts for a tax day event) to include the more important issues of taxes, budget priorities and military spending as the focus of the event.
The Budget for All Campaign is anchored by MAPA, the Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants and the American Friends Service Committee. The rally was also supported by volunteers from Food Not Bombs, PassMass Amendment and New England War Tax Resistance while 19 other organizations did outreach as sponsors. Chris Nogiec obtained all the permits and as a volunteer provided indispensable logistical assistance. Since the rally, the Budget for All Campaign has re-named itself the Massachusetts Peoples’ Budget Campaign. It continues to bring together groups working on many different issues into a more coordinated mobilization to confront the great dangers of militarism, climate change, inequality and racism.