Occupy Youngstown on the Chamber’s Doorstep

I truly enjoyed attending, “Occupy Youngstown” today even if the weather was windy and cold. Our area’s lifetime activists Staughton and Alice Lynd spoke and were eloquent as usual. It’s also great to hear our younger generation like Lemon Grove owner Jacob Harver put truth to power.  The good-sized crowd’s age took in quite a few generations and that’s a great thing! A small contingent of Occupy Youngstown will remain downtown through Nov. 8, Election Day. I ran into a lot of really caring folks that I know. It was a mix of artists, poets, musicians, business owners, students, nurses, teachers, professors, lawyers, politicians, workers, veterans, and retirees. I also saw a man I know who was a white-collar worker at Delphi. He is one of the Delphi retirees that are fighting to get their stolen pensions. While our area had a lot of our born and bred flock move away, we have been lucky to have some great activists move here over the years and call our valley home. I’m talking about our adopted brothers and sisters like the Lynd’s, the Sextons, the Beiersdorfers, Rev. Ray, Dr. Russo and a lot of other YSU educators. I can’t begin to list all of our homegrown activists I’ve come to know and love! You know who you are. Thanks for all who came today as you gave me something to be very optimistic about.

One of the main points of these occupy events around the country is pointing out that it is time to put the interests and needs of Main Street before the greed of Wall Street. Getting people to vote no against SB5 was also pointed out to those in attendance. On the downside, I am getting tired of the pseudo-anarchists that attend such events. The anti-WTO events had young people in ski masks or bandanas hiding their faces always show up. I have concluded these are students who want to destroy property and not be recognized. That way they can still get their MBA’s and will be able to get that Wall Street job as they won’t have a criminal record. The latest trend at demonstrations is wearing Guy Fawkes masks from the movie, “V.” The film was based on Guy Fawkes but was historically very inaccurate. Fawkes was not an anarchist fighting against fascism as in the movie. Fawkes was a Catholic zealot turned terrorist who wanted to blow up the House of Lords in England and set up a Catholic controlled state with no parliament. To these would-be anarchists, I’d say trade the masks for a copy of “Civil Disobedience,” by Henry David Thoreau. This is the book that influenced Gandhi to promote nonviolent resistance. Along with the masks lose the black clothes and jackboots.

The Occupy Youngstown event was held near Market and Federal Streets in front of the bank office high-rise that includes the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber office. The location was picked to send a message to the chamber. Tom Humphries, president and CEO of the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber got in hot water awhile back because he had the board vote on the endorsement of Ohio Senate Bill 5. The bill is 600 pages and limits collective bargaining rights for public employees. I don’t know why Humphries and the chambers endorsement came as a shock to so many people. Did anyone actually think organizations like the country’s Regional Chambers and groups like the National Association of Manufacturers were worker friendly let alone union friendly? The only shock of the chamber supporting SB5 was the fact someone from the chamber’s board leaked how the vote turned out. I’ve been told such votes at the chamber are very routine and that anyone who thought they stayed neutral on such things is foolish. Some members left the chamber after the public learned Humphries and board members supported SB5. I question whether those that left were angry at the chambers support of SB5 or the thought that their being members would hurt their business. I do know that one business that made a grandstand of quitting the chamber had donated money to Kasich and other Republican candidates over the years. I also wonder how many of those that left have unions at the businesses they own.

Tom Humphries might have been in the hot seat locally, but Gov. Kasich has rewarded Tom by putting his ass in a new throne. Kasich has appointed him to a seat on the new Local Government Innovation Council. “This new Local Government Innovation Program is going to give government and school officials some real resources to implement service sharing and efficient government initiatives that will save taxpayers money and provide for more effective government operations,” Humphries said. Can anyone say public sector job cuts? Do you think only the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber idiots support anti-worker initiatives and anti-union candidates? Here is what the Ohio Chamber of Commerce said after Kasich was elected, “We applaud Gov. John Kasich for proposing a two-year budget that, while difficult, is focused squarely on job creation and transforming government into a 21st century institution.” Would you like to know who belongs to the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber? If so, see here.

We have a powerful weapon we can use against the corporations, organizations, think tanks and the wealthy that are buying our politicians. That is the weapon of mass destruction they fear most known as, “a closed wallet.” When I need the services of a plumber, dentist, doctor etc. I have access to information to make sure he will do the job I need him for in my best interest. If he is on lists like this that support candidates like Kasich, or anyone in the GOP for that matter, he doesn’t have my interests at heart. Put in a zip code and see who in your area you are doing business with that isn’t looking out for you and yours. In the Trumbull County area I can see that Sam Covelli owner of Panera Bread and O’Charley’s Restaurants gave money to Kasich and lots of other GOP candidates, so I won’t be doing business with his establishments. John Payiavlas the chairman of AVI Food Systems gave quite a bit of money to the Republican Party. He gave so much he had to increase the prices in his AVI food machines at my workplace. Even if the food was free I won’t be patronizing his machines. I’d like to tell them to their faces but as they live near the country club I don’t think we run in the same circles.

The Business Journal on Occupy Youngstown.


What some in the 1% are doing to undermine the Occupy Movement.

Marvin Gaye: Mercy Mercy Me

What’s Going On

Inner City Blues

Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves. ~ Henry David Thoreau



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2 responses to “Occupy Youngstown on the Chamber’s Doorstep

  1. susie

    Thank you Jim! Your words and you always inspire me!
    Hey there’s some common unity happening!

    PS I would love to see this on the Occupy Youngstown facebook PAGE site. We all have a lot to learn from each other… With your permission…

  2. elecpencil

    Susie ~ Send it if you want. I wasn’t sure about posting on their site. Thanks for the comment. I wish I had just a smidge of your volunteering energy. I talk about a better future for our kids a lot. I’m sure your daughters volunteer at things because they’ve seen the excellent model of that by watching you and Ray do that. Thanks for coming to our community and helping provide common unity!

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