BOSTON - Community and labor activists gathered at Government Center Wednesday to protest the revised $700 billion financial bailout bill before Congress, claiming the controversial plan fails to address the needs of working people.
"We need a bailout for Main Street, not Wall Street," said Russ Davis, executive director at Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, a coalition of labor and community organizations. "The bill is not going to do anything to help people who are struggling with jobs and mortgages; with education, with health care."
Dozens of people joined the rally, including Richard Rogers, executive secretary-treasurer at the Greater Boston Labor Council. Activists ranging in age from 20 to 80 held slogan boards, chanting: "Main Street, Not Wall Street."
Their voices attracted bystanders, who listened to the speeches and got their brochures.
Speakers at the rally criticized the revived bailout plan that passed the Senate Wednesday night. They said the plan would favor the wealthy with tax cuts.
"It will be a sad day if they do bail out the corporations," said Bishop Filipe Teixeira of St. Martin De Porres Church in Brockton. "All the poor people, the Main Street people, are suffering."
Davis said the money would be better spent by creating jobs to get the economy going again and providing mortgage relief, education and health care.
"We, as working people, as the average Americans, need to stand up," said Davis. "We need to fight back. We need to tell our representatives that they need to represent us not the people that give them the campaign contribution."
Others had a different view.
"What happens on Wall Street will actually influence Main Street," said Yanming Guo, a software developer from Quincy.
"People have other channels to get better welfare. The bailout is just another way to help the shattered economy."