Occupy Providence opposes the PawSox corporate welfare deal

Providence, April 21, 2015—Occupy Providence opposes the efforts to give millions in “public assistance” (corporate welfare) to the proposed PawSox stadium in Providence. Specifically, we oppose state funding, funding by the city of Providence, and state and city tax breaks for the project.

20081201-socialismThe proposals for taxpayer aid are economically senseless. Anyone concerned about Providence’s economy knows that the last thing Providence needs is more tax-exempt land. The PawSox’s current home, McCoy Stadium, is being abandoned after being built with expensive taxpayer funding, and if another new stadium is built with taxpayer assistance, there is no guarantee that the PawSox won’t leave that one again in 5 or 15 years, maybe to move out of state. These kinds of concerns exemplify why even major-league stadiums , when funded by taxpayer money, are commonly regarded as bad deals. Claims have been made that the stadium will contribute to the economy in the nearby area. But if there were to be such economic benefits, they would flow mainly to those favored insiders who are well-connected enough to be awarded favorable terms on the nearby I-195 land, which is now being dispensed in a highly corruptible process. Ordinary Rhode Islanders will be largely left out, though left to bear the burden of the stadium’s taxpayer funding and the resulting budget cuts.

Still, the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation continues to discuss funding this boondoggle. That’s no surprise: the same Commerce Corporation was responsible for awarding other insider-favored deals such as 38 Studios, and also the imprudent state tax breaks offered to Hasbro a couple of years ago merely to shift its headquarters from Pawtucket to Providence. The current proposal is all too reminiscent of these bad deals, and again ordinary Rhode Islanders get no say in the process. The RI Commerce Corporation, like the rest of our political elite, is skilled only in favoring those with clout and not in helping the economy.

If our political elite really had our interest at heart, they would make clear from the beginning that any major taxpayer funding for this project is unacceptable. The fact that they haven’t done this shows that we’re on the road to another bad deal t
hat favors the well-connected.

There is an alternative. Instead of an expensive deal like the PawSox stadium, whose large-scale benefits are hypothetical and whose profits are destined in large part to out-of-state interests, we can do better by ordinary Rhode Islanders. We can reject the propose Medicaid cuts, which hurt wages of ordinary Rhode Islanders by “eradicating the safety net” (as Speaker Mattiello put it). We can cut property taxes for real, ordinary Rhode Islanders instead of a small, favored group of partly out-of-state interests. And we can stop the foolish path of funding those who compete by showing their lack of loyalty to Rhode Island.

If we’re going to compete with other states, let’s compete in turning down these foolish insider deals, just as Massachusetts competed with us by turning down the 38 Studios deal. We can’t afford to devote more and more of our state budget to an ever-increasing variety of foolish corporate welfare schemes, which are poorly targeted in helping the economy. Occupy Providence joins other groups such as the Rhode Island Progressive Democrats in rejecting this deal.

Antiwar activists plan protest to coincide with President Obama’s visit to Rhode Island

Antiwar activists plan protest to coincide with President Obama’s visit to Rhode Island

When: August 29, 2014 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Where: Burnside Park, Providence, RI
Who: Rhode Island Antiwar Committee; RI Coalition to Defend Human and Civil Rights; Occupy Providence

Rhode Islanders who are not millionaires will have a chance to “speak to” President Obama this Friday, August 29 between 5:00 and 6:30 PM at Burnside Park in downtown Providence. The open-mike rally will draw parallels between U.S. foreign policy and the recent killing of the unarmed African-American, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri. Also included will be calls to: stop police brutality in communities of color from Palestine to Ferguson; end the militarization of our cities; end the war on Gaza and all aid to Israel; end the U.S. military presence in the Middle East; and stop NSA spying on private citizens.

“One reason for our choice of locale,” said Paul Hubbard, spokesperson for the Rhode Island Antiwar Committee (RIAC), “is that President Obama will be fund-raising among the 1% at a secluded ocean-front mansion in Newport. The other 99% of his constituents will probably be unable to catch even a glimpse of him, due to the blocked roads and high security surrounding his brief visit. This situation strikingly symbolizes the truth about which groups the U.S. government is really serving.”

The rally is also calling on Obama to keep his campaign promises and hold out against war hawks trying to escalate the Iraq war and spread it to Syria. “The public – and the media – seem to have forgotten that after the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, the military disarmed the Sunnis first, (debathification) and created a civil war between Sunnis and Shia with the surge of 2007. The years following the U.S. partial withdrawal have been a reaction to that bloodbath, and they show that continued U.S. military action will only bring further resentment, brutal killings, and terrorist attacks,” noted Christopher Murphy, another RIAC member. Instead, RIAC demands that more resources be devoted to solving our many domestic problems. The bombings, invasions, and occupations of countries around the world are an exercise in unchecked U.S. imperialism that primarily benefits privilege-seeking corporations and the military-industrial complex.

However, RIAC notes that Obama recognized overwhelming public opposition to war with Syria last summer and cooperated with Russian President Putin in removing Syrian poison gas stockpiles.

Other sponsoring groups include the RI Coalition to Defend Human and Civil Rights and Occupy Providence.

48-Hour Occupation Begins in Providence

Join Occupy Providence in a 48-hour open occupation near
the Verizon building on Empire Street, Saturday through Monday
of Labor Day weekend, leading into Jobs with Justice’s Labor
Day march at 12noon Monday.

An occupation open to all people of good will. We won’t stop advancing the rights of the 99%, and Labor Day is a great time.

We will protest the Verizon CEO’s efforts to cut jobs and squeeze more money from the 99%. We’ll stand against politicians’ efforts to commit more taxpayer money to pay the bankrupt 38 Studios’ Wall Street debt. And our occupation will end just in time to join Jobs with Justice’s Labor Day march, 12noon Monday Sept. 3, from Brown University to the financial district.

Some of our issues:

1) Workers are facing freezing or ending pensions, while pensions for the 1% have soared higher than ever. CEOs like Verizon’s threaten to end job security for their employees, eliminate the two-day weekend, and set new policies with no limits on outsourcing jobs overseas. At the same time, Verizon overcharges its cellphone customers. Many workers are ready to strike over these issues. They need community support to help them realize the strength they have.

2) While cuts are being made to social programs across the city, Brown University is paying a disproportionately small amount in taxes, especially considering the vast amount of property that it owns. A highly lucrative university is being favored over many other areas of the community, including people who work hard to make our city and state economy work.

3) The state of RI has favored supporting millionaire Curt Schilling’s business disaster over creating stable jobs for individuals within RI. We will fight state leaders who’ve offered to use taxpayer money to pay 38 Studios’ leftover Wall Street debt. The money should go to services for the 99% like transportation and education, not for another Wall Street bailout. 38 Studios was the 1%’s fault, and its bankruptcy doesn’t leave taxpayers with any obligation to step in.

4) Occupy Providence is also taking a stand against the mistreatment and discrimination of immigrants in the city and nationally. No human is illegal!

Saturday 9/1

2pm- Move in march! Rally in Burnside park and march through the city to the Verizon building. March, banner drop, and  pickets along the way!
4pm – General Assembly outside Verizon with people’s soap box.
6pm – community time
8pm -Teach-in’s

Sunday 9/2

11am – Working Group meetings
1pm – March to Brown to protest tax inequality BROWN UNIVERSITY PAY YOUR SHARE! Outreach to Brown, promotion of Labor Day march, chalk action throughout city.
3pm – Teach in
4pm – General Assembly
8pm – Art, music and culture time

Monday 9/3

11am- March up to Brown to get to Labor Day rally early.
12pm – Join Jobs with Justice’s Labor Day march from Brown’s Main Green to the Financial District
Meet after the march, time TBA

Other events and teach-in speakers TBA
RI politicians have favored the rich over the needy, and CEOs have favored profits over people. We have no future unless the 99% stand up. We need your help. On Saturday September 1, join the occupation outside Verizon!


  • Facebook event page for OP’s 48-hour occupation, Sep 1-3: http://www.facebook.com/events/335190899904892/
  • Facebook event page for Jobs with Justice’s Labor Day march, Mon Sep 3: https://www.facebook.com/events/274434885996633/

Occupy the House of Compassion

The House of Compassion is a community residence in Cumberland, RI for those living with HIV/AIDS and other disabilities. It opened in 1994 and has cared for over 900 residents. Occupy Providence members have formed Occupy the House Of Compassion, whose mission is to save the house, which was auctioned off over overdue water/sewer bill. They are attempting to raise $16000 in order to save the house and to replace the oil burner which was destroyed in a fire on Dec 15, 2011. We must save this amazing loving home!

  • ‘Like’ the Occupy the House of Compassion facebook page
  • Donate at the House of Compassion’s website