Photos by Orin Langelle for Global Justice Ecology Project
Burlington, VT–Several hundred people marched and rallied in support of the Oakland General Strike, while expressing their outrage at the current state of affairs in Vermont and elsewhere. The march was led by unions along with Occupy Burlington participants, students and supporters. The march left from the Occupy Burlington encampment in City Hall Park, stopping at the University of Vermont (UVM) library, where the AFL-CIO and the Industrial Workers of the World met up with United Academics. The group then invaded the UVM’s administration building where a coffin was placed in the halls at the Day of the Dead altar, representing the death of the soul of UVM, whose last president received hundreds of thousands of dollars when he left the university after his wife was involved in a sex scandal. UVM has a history of letting high level executives go with giant severance packages while UVM employees and teachers salaries stagnate and student tuitions go up – exacerbating the debt load on graduates.
Protesters then marched back to City Hall and held a speak-out on its steps adjacent to City Hall Park where the Occupy Burlington encampment is. There was a unanimous call for solidarity with the Oakland General Strike and in protest of last week’s police brutality in Oakland, including the injuring of Iraq Veteran Scott Olson. The failure of capitalism was strongly critiqued by the speakers as a failed system where workers suffer to make the rich richer. There was talk of a potential occupation of UVM as this crisis escalates.