By James Thompson

League City, TX – About 400 activists attended a lively rally in Walter Hall park in League City (a community located between Galveston and Houston) on 7/23/11 to oppose the draconian cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The rally was called by Health Care for All Texans, Healthcare NOW, Neighborhood Democrats to commemorate the 46th birthday of Medicare/Medicaid with a slogan “Medicare-the solution not the problem!”

Participants and speakers demanded “NO cuts to public insurance programs.”

Many organizations were present to include Texas AFL-CIO, Texas Democratic Party, United Steelworkers, UAW, Physicians for a National Health Program, National Nurses Organizing Committee, Progressive Democrats of America and many other left and progressive organizations.

People quoted Martin Luther King, Jr. who declared, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.”

U.S. Congressperson Al Green was one of the speakers and demanded “We must protect social security for those in the twilight of life.” “We will not stand by and see Medicare destroyed” and asked us “What did you do for the least, lost and last of us?”

One speaker asked for everyone who receives social security or have family or friends who receive social security to raise their hands. Almost everyone raised their hands. He asked that people who are unemployed or underemployed to raise their hands as well. The hand raising was virtually unanimous. He asked that people put down their hands. He then asked that everyone making over $500,000 raise their hands. One person raised her hand and that appeared to be a joke.
People were distributing sample letters which could be mailed to Senators Cornyn and Hutchinson demanding that they “Stand up for the majority of Texans and the future of the health of our nation!”

Others distributed flyers demanding “Let’s get rid of the Koch brothers dirty money!” which listed the various companies and industries they own to include: “Angel Soft Toilet Paper, Brawny paper towels, Dixie plates, bowls napkins and cups, Mardi Gras napkins and towels, Quilted Northern toilet paper, Soft n’ Gentle toilet paper, Sparkle napkins, Vanity Fair napkins, Zee napkins, Georgia-Pacific paper products and envelopes, All Georgia-Pacific lumber and building products, including: Dense Armor Drywall and Decking, ToughArmour Gypsum board, Georgia Pacific Plytanium Plywood, Flexrock, Densglass sheathing, G/P industrial plaster, FibreStrong Rim Board, G/P Lam board, Blue Ribbon OSB Rated Sheathing, Blue Ribbon Sub-Floor. The Koch Brothers have been instrumental in the funding of the most right wing sectors of the political spectrum in the U.S. and have fought to bust unions and end collective bargaining.

At the end of the rally, which was conveniently located in an air conditioned pavilion next to the western edges of Galveston bay, participants were treated to a wonderful performance by the Kashmere High School Reunion Stage Band. We received flyers promoting the release of a documentary about the legacy of Conrad Johnson and the Kashmere Stage Band scheduled for September 23 and 24 in Houston.

It is clear that many Texans are opposed to the outrageous cuts proposed by Republicans in our social services network. It remains to be seen whether the Democrats, including the President, will do their job and uphold the rights of workers as they were elected to do. If Democrats fail to perform, people may wake up to the need for an independent political party to lead and fight for the interests of working people. That party could be the CPUSA.