Put People First, May 1st In Vermont

By Lindsey Gillies

As May Day protests across the world drew tens of thousands of demonstrators into the streets of the Philippines and Pakistan to Greece and Spain, hundreds of demonstrators in Vermont’s captial  demanded health care for all, environmental justice and an end to corporate greed.

The “put people first” rally and march, organized by the Vermont Worker’s Center, came as state legislators are trying to wrap up for the session. Speakers outside the state house are pushing for a state budget which will put the needs of people of Vermonters before those of corporations. Other highlighted issues at the rally and speak out included, demands for universal health care, ability for child care workers to unionize, the shutting down Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power plant, and legislation to allow undocumented migrant farm workers to get licenses.

Members from the Burlington-based climate justice collective, Red Clover Climate Justice, started off the rally with their energetic “False Solution Circus.” The “Circus” highlights controversial mega energy and industrial projects which feed Vermont’s energy grid and demanded the closing of Vermont Yankee, southern Vermont’s nuclear power plant.

The rally continued with Bread and Puppet’s “the Golden Cage,” a short skit about the oppression and exploitation of migrant labor on dairy farms in Vermont, featuring members of  Migrant Justice.

The rally culminated in a march through downtown Montpelier which brought traffic to a stand still.

Will B on Bass

Will B of Brass Balagan leading the march

Danilo Lopez of Migrant Justice with a Bread and Puppet cow

Vermont Farmers for Food Justice

The crowd swelled as the march ended in a speak-out on the steps of the State Building. The Vermont Workers Center has successfully organized Vermonters to achieve Act 48, the country’s first universal healthcare system. 

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