On Saturday May 1st from noon to 4pm, a coalition of organizations and protestors came together to draw attention to the Philadelphia People’s Budget. More than 250 protestors showed up to celebrate International Workers Day, also known as May Day.
Organizations have come together to support the People’s Budget ahead of the three looming public budget discussions slated for May.
The Philadelphia People’s Budget has three core demands, which they list as:
- Defund the Police. We’re spending too much money on a violent, ineffective police force. The PPD should not get any more of our money.
- Tax the rich. Philadelphia was already giving away more municipal property tax revenue than any city in the U.S., while remaining the country’s poorest big city before the pandemic hit. Last year’s budget cuts further impoverished our communities while the gap between rich and poor exploded in growth.
- Commitment to 10 Years of Investment in Our Communities. For too long, City Leadership has operated in a scarcity mindset, claiming that there is not enough money to invest in the programs and services that community members have been asking for. The money is there, but it’s being poured in the carceral system and hoarded by major corporations and nonprofits who don’t pay their share of taxes to the City they occupy. Our communities are in crisis because of decades of divestment– COVID-19 and increasing rates of gun violence have only sharpened this reality for more people.
The Philadelphia People’s Budget specifically asks for:
- $100 million for Housing for All
- $100 million for gun violence prevention
- $50 million for healthcare
- $2 million for caregivers
- $250,000 to Implement Trauma Informed Practice
- Less fossil fuel investments
- No raise for Philly PD
- Tax the Rich
Many of the protestors and speakers spoke about cutting the Philadelphia Police budget by 50%.
During the day’s actions, between 250-400 protestors marched throughout Center City stopping at places deemed corrupt. Speakers stopped at Comcast to discuss Comcast’s tax breaks & intertwined financial interests in Philadelphia politics. Speakers stopped at Wells Fargo to discuss their enthusiasm for a public bank – highlighting Councilman Derek Green’s legislation for the creation of a public bank.
The organizations on site included Philly DSA, Eastern Service Network Association, Foods Not Bombs, Mural Arts Philadelphia, Reclaim Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Banking Coalition, Tax the Rich PHL, Philadelphia Community Bail Fund, Socialist Resurgence, Workers World Party, ACT Up, Philly Neighborhood Networks, Socialist Alternative, Amistad Law Project, the Sunrise Movement and Philadelphia Municipal Workers.
Beyond agreeing with the Philadelphia People’s Budget – each organization had initiatives they were spearheading.
Philly DSA organizers were distributing information on their “Stomp Out Slumlords” campaign. Philly Socialists were seeking volunteers for their Philly Survival Collective program. Eastern Service Workers Association was distributing their quarterly printed newspaper.
Artists and activists rallied at LOVE Park giving speeches and reciting poetry for protestors and passersby to tune into. Speakers ranged in diversity from a 12 year old girl who was a member of the Sunrise Movement to a retiree who was passionate about public banks. The disconnect between Philadelphia residents and Philadelphia leadership remains wide, protests will continue to march in the streets until their needs are met.