The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Charles Idelson, 415-559-8991, Donna Smith, 773-617-4493, or Carl Ginsburg, 917-405-1060

Nurses, Global, U.S. Activists Converge on Chicago in Call To G-8 Leaders for Tax on Wall Street to Heal Economy

Day of Action with Colorful Rally, Joined by Musician Tom Morello, with Plan to Heal U.S. and Global Economies, International Panel on the Fight Against Austerity


The nation's largest organization of nurses, National Nurses United, is sponsoring a day of action May 18 on the eve of the G-8 and NATO summits to promote a plan to help heal the U.S. and global economies and highlight the fight against austerity measures harming families around the world.

Rally at Daley Plaza (Dearborn at Randolph) with Tom Morello - 12 noon

Highlighting the day will be a colorful and festive rally at Daley Plaza featuring a comedic skit, and a special performance by eminent musician Tom Morello, The Nightwatchman.

At the rally Robin Hood and the nurses will scour the trees for the AWOL G-8 world leaders, who decided to run off and hide in the woods of rural Maryland rather than face a disgruntled public in Chicago as originally announced, to determine what they are doing to help average families, not just the banks and Wall Street high rollers, in the midst of a continuing economic gloom.

Robin Hood is there to call attention to the main theme of the rally - the proposal for a Robin Hood tax on Wall Street stocks, bonds, derivatives and other financial instruments that can raise up to $350 billion every year to help mitigate the economic crisis created by the banks, with the revenue available for jobs, healthcare, education, and other basic needs and services.

Among the scheduled speakers is Tom Hayden and NNU Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro.

More than 100 U.S. and international environmental, health, labor, faith, anti-poverty, and other organizations have endorsed the May 18 action in Chicago and its call for the Robin Hood tax.

The proposed tax, as little as 50 cents on every $100 of trades would operate like a sales tax most Americans pay on a wide variety of goods and services. The key difference is this tax targets the banks and financial institutions, not ordinary consumers, whose reckless gambling with people's homes and pensions are largely responsible for the recession that still affects people's lives every day.

"This is a tax for the people, not on the people," says NNU Co-president Karen Higgins, RN. "A better world is possible and now we know how to pay for it."

Further, sponsors say, the Wall Street trading tax, also known as a financial transaction tax, would help reduce some of the reckless speculation, most of which is automated with thousands of trades happening every second, which creates both market volatility and contributes to rising food and gas prices.

NNU's rally and other actions are part of a global week of action for the Robin Hood tax, with activists holding actions throughout Europe, on Mount Fuji in Japan, in several African nations, and other countries, as well as in Chicago. The week is timed to coincide with the G-8 summit, and a May 23 meeting of European leaders where a European FTT is on the agenda. More than 40 countries already have some form of FTT, which is already raising billions of dollars a year for those nations.

Panel from Seven Nations Highlight the Global Fight against Austerity - 8 a.m. - Sheraton Chicago Hotel, 301 East North Water Street, Ballroom (Level 4)

The day of action opens with an international panel of speakers of guests from seven nations speaking about the global challenge by workers and communities against bank-imposed austerity measures. The event, being held in the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers Ballroom, 301 East North Water Street, Chicago, is open to the press at 8 a.m.

It will include speakers from the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, South Korea, Guatemala, Canada and the U.S.

Panelists are Mi Jung Han, RN, Vice President, Korean Health and Medical Workers Union (South Korea), David Hillman, Coordinator, Stamp Out Poverty (UK), Jorn Kalinski, Director of Lobbying and Campaigns, Oxfam Germany (Germany), Rosa Pavanelli, President, Funzione Pubblica CGIL (Italy) [in English, Public Function] and Vice President, European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), Linda Silas, RN, President, Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (Canada), Brenda Cristina Morales, RN, Regional Coordinator, Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de Salud de Guatemala (SNTSG) [in English, National Health Workers Union of Guatemala] (Guatemala), and NNU Co-President Karen Higgins (U.S.)

Anna Deavere Smith--of Nurse Jackie-- to Perform in Chicago on Nation's Healthcare Crisis - - Sheraton Chicago Hotel, 301 East North Water Street, Ballroom (Level 4)

Capping the day's events, critically acclaimed actress and playwright Anna Deavere Smith, who portrays a nurse on the Emmy award winning Showtime dark comedy Nurse Jackie, will perform Tell Us Where It Hurts, America's Nurses are Listening, a theatrical piece written derived from real-life stories of nurses and their patients gathered by NNU.

The special performance begins at 7:30 p.m. for the nurses, with limited seating on advance reservations available for the media. It will also be held at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers Ballroom, 301 East North Water Street, Chicago.

"I'm not a real nurse, I play one on TV," Ms. Smith said. "But as fans of the program know, we deal with real-life issues facing many Americans--hospital closures and cuts due to a corporate healthcare system whose bottom line is profits, not quality care. This hurts families with no health insurance and illness brought on by a faltering economy. It's a welcome creative challenge to tap into these experiences from the lives of nurses."

National Nurses United, with close to 185,000 members in every state, is the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in US history.

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