Thousands march for California's future


SACRAMENTO - At least 12,000 people marched here recently, crowding on to the space in front of the State Capitol to protest corporate greed and the state's budget cuts to public education, transportation and health services.

Dozens of buses had brought demonstrators, from San Bernardino to the Oregon border,  and brightly colored t-shirts proclaimed their membership in many unions and community and student organizations.

The rally was the culmination of a 48-day-long, union-organized march from Los Angeles to Sacramento. Along the way, local marches, demonstrations and meetings showed the depth of anger of ordinary Californians at the cuts forced by the Republicans and the state law requiring a two-thirds majority to pass a state budget or raise taxes.

Many of the union officials at the podium echoed Art Pulaski, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the California Labor Federation, who proclaimed. "The last day of the march is the first day of a revitalized campaign for financial change in California...we want change and we're making it happen now."

"Don't tell us there is no money when there is more money spent on the prison-industrial complex than on our educational system," said San Diego Community College student Jose Rodriguez, one of the people who had marched all the way from Bakersfield. "Don't tell us when the 300 richest corporations pay no taxes at all."

Hundreds of signatures were collected on a petition to change the budget-passing requirement to a simple majority.

Photo: Gail Ryall - Elementary school chorus from Agapeland School in Bakersfield sings at the demonstration ending the March for California's Future.