The events, organised by PSI affiliate National Nurses United and other civil society groups, started with a rally on Farragut Square, and included a march around downtown Washington with stops in front of the White House and the US Treasury. Rally goers wearing Robin Hood hats chanted, held up banners chiding the treasury as an instrument of big banks, and waved massive puppets of wealthy Wall Street bankers.
Rosa Pavanelli, PSI General Secretary, spoke at the rally (see video, 37"30)and explained how PSI has been mobilising with European affiliates and allies, and lobbying national governments and the European Union to introduce a Financial Transactions Tax.
"Like in Europe, it's also time for the U.S. to ask the bankers to pay their fair share," said Rosa. "As nurses, you care for people, and you care that public health care is funded properly so that it can be of high quality and affordable and accessible to all. Investing in quality public services such as health care, education, water and sanitation, is the most equitable way to redistribute the wealth and ensure sustainable development and growth and good jobs."
"PSI is part of a broader coalition for tax justice," she added. "With our allies, we continue to mobilise for the Robin Hood Tax, but we need to fight for tax justice as well. Effectively fighting against tax evasion, tax havens and poisonous financial speculation will save trillions and trillions in public money that is stolen from our economy and our communities. Fighting for a just corporate tax system means that those responsible for the economic crisis have to pay. Workers should not have to bear the heaviest burden."
Jean Ross, Co-President of National Nurses United, said, "What people don’t need is more austerity, like more cuts, to Social Security, and other programs that help people. That’s why nurses for two years have been campaigning across the country for more revenue for our cities, our communities, our patients with a tax on Wall Street speculation."
The rally and march coincided with meetings of G-20 finance ministers in Washington and took place three days after the reintroduction of the “Inclusive Prosperity Act, H.R. 1579” sponsored by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), legislation that embodies the goals and principles of the Robin Hood Tax Campaign.
Ellison’s bill would create a Wall Street sales tax, providing hundreds of billions of dollars in new revenue every year at a time of great need, and allow the United States to join the rest of world in a growing system of financial transaction taxes.