Reprinted from Real Change
Editor’s Note: In 2010 our friend, comrade, and former Retriee Advocate Editor Will Parry (1920-2013) gave a 90th birthday interview to Real Change reporter Cydney Gillis. In Part I, in last month’s issue, Will talked about the life experiences that made him a Communist. This month, he talks about more current issues, the Great Recession and how people are fighting back. More of the interview will appear in following issues of the Retiree Advocate.
How would you say people are reacting to today’s Great Recession compared to those days?
My sense is it’s a gathering storm. It’s very early, and similar organizing has to take place, but people are not going to sit around and starve or get kicked out of homes by the millions. They’re just not going to do it …
What signals that gathering storm?
The formation of very broad coalitions is a good sign. The coalition in this state that advocated for health-care reform had 60 or more organizations that affiliated. They spoke with real power and the same kind of thing was going on in most places in the country and the collective impact was enough to get that bill through. Flawed as it is, it’s historic. And we’ll improve it in the years ahead—I’m sure. We’ve got to … In some ways, that’s what we’re trying to do with the [Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action]: organize people to defend themselves. In our case, one of our core priorities is to defend Social Security, which is again under very grave attack and in danger of being privatized.
The Obama Administration has set up a commission on deficit reduction and directed it to come with up recommendations to cut the deficit, but the majority of the people appointed to the commission see this as opportunity to eviscerate Social Security. There’s $2.4 trillion in the [Social Security] reserves and Wall Street wants to get its hand on the money. It’s there because workers have paid into the trust fund all these years and it’s there for present and future retirees and Wall Street doesn’t like that. So there’s a real danger they’ll come up with a recommendation to extend the retirement age, to transform the formula which determines benefits so that there are lower benefits—all kinds of things to water down Social Security. They’re after Medicare and Medicaid, too.
(Following Will’s lead we have been succesfull in stopping cuts to these