Sunday, May 5, 2019

"Blackrock Feeds GileadGreed” and other rumblings for healthcare, battling Focus on the Family, and remembering Pete! #GileadGreedKills #PharmaGreedKills #DecriminalizeWeed #AbortionIsHealthcare#HealthcareAll

@actupny tweeted. greed is making us sick. Literally. Last year, the pharma company made $13 billion dollars in HIV treatment and prevention. Last month, they introduced a 4.9% increase in their top-selling drugs. Join TODAY to fight .
brandon cuicchi reminds us.
@actupny photos from our #GileadGreed action this afternoon.  
Together let us  demand greater access to life-saving treatment and prevention meds. 
Kenneth C Bing @bing_kenneth May 4th
ACT UP die in  at Black Rock #GileadGreedKills

“Pills Cost Pennies, Greed  Costs Lives”
we chanted on Saturday at noon at Columbus Circle.

Price is a choice, cost is a reality!
ACT UP reminded:

“We need affordable HIV and hepatitis medicines to save lives! Gilead Sciences continues to put people at risk by denying treatment to those who need it most. In March 2019, Gilead Sciences hiked up the price of 14 medicines by 4.9%, including those that treat HIV, hepatitis B, and cancer—all earning them over $16 billion dollars in profit. Pricing and treatment restrictions for Gilead’s hepatitis C cure continue to pose obstacles for patients. All these medicines were publicly funded using taxpayer revenue, yet the benefits are monopolized and privatized by Gilead Sciences and few people can afford treatment. Price hikes lead payors and insurance companies to remove life-saving medicines from preferred drug lists and from coverage, putting people’s lives in jeopardy.

Join us in calling out pharma greed and telling folks that healthcare is not a luxury!

Throughout the month of May we are sounding the alarm on Gilead Sciences’ malfeasant practices by:

- Calling out Gilead Sciences greed and price gouging that continues to deny treatment and prevention for all who need it;
- Targeting investors like Blackrock for unethical investment practices and profiting from our diseases and untimely deaths;
- Demanding transparency and community engagement during government pricing negotiations with Gilead Sciences (including by the Department of Health and Human Services and CDC);
- Pressuring Gilead to drop the prices of Truvada®, Sovaldi®, Harvoni®, Epclusa®, and Vosevi® in high-income countries like the US;
- Demanding Gilead to immediately register sofosbuvir (Sovaldi®) in all middle-income countries;
- Advocating to lift all hepatitis C treatment restrictions to ensure universal access, including for people who use drugs and incarcerated populations;
- Demanding that all publicly funded medicines like the hepatitis C and pre-exposure prophylaxis like Truvada® be kept in the public domain and universally accessible and affordable!”

Outside of Trump Hotel we screamed:

“Tick tock Blackrock!!! Sell your shares of Gilead stock!!!!”

And made our way down to BlackRock where we died in, chanting:

“Break the patent now!”
“Gileadgreed PREP is what we need!!!”

Being ACT UP, we stopped outside of Bergdorf Goodman on Madison Avenue
To admire the wigs before our die in.
Susan  Sontag’s words splashed across the windows.
The spectacle of the commodity fetish expanding,

“I love you ACT UP!!!
You are the  best,” I  bid adieu after our die in.

“You are ACT UP!”
Emily replied.

Riding  down  to Bryant Park for a counter protest,
As New York was being invaded with antis.

“Dear AmericaYou are waking up, as Germany once did, to the awareness that 1/3 of your people would kill another 1/3, while 1/3 watches.”
 Werner Twertzog warned.

My friend Kate Barhart wrote:

Church Ladies etc - who is planning to be at Focus on the Family Counter-Protest tomorrow? Details below:

The Weather Forecast for Times Square tomorrow is for a little rain in the morning but the afternoon will be Sunny and Filled with Bigots. Please join us tomorrow to protest Hate Group Focus on the Family's Anti-Abortion event and tell them to GTFO of NYC!
We'll be meeting at 130pm at Bryant Park at the fountains, near 6th Ave. Wear Red and Bring Noisemakers! After a short rally at Bryant Park, we'll march to Times Square.”

All week, Rise and Resist had been battling the right.
George  De Castro Day
had been  talking about:
neo-fascist movements and resistance in the US and Brazil.
Big shout-outs to #RiseandResist and #RevoltingLesbians!!!”

“Get  up, get down
New York is a protest town!!!”
“Get  up, get down
New York is a pro choice town!!!”
People reminded Focus on the Family.

Meagan  and Diane and Jay and countless others were.

Sing out Louise was there.

ACT UP was there.

“We stand with all the people around the world who want an abortion,”
Emily mic checked.
“So kill the global gag rule.
So kill the global gag rule.
So kill the global gag rule!!!”

“Pro life is such a lie.  You don’t care if women  die!”

Its my fifth protest this week, noted Diane,
Zapping Betsy.
CD at Chucks.
Kids walking  out.
Marching  for Science.

Downtown Dana was screaming at the Canabis Parade!

Judson bulletin declared:

“The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old  is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid systems appear,” Antonio Gramsci, Prisons Notebooks, Notebook 3, 1930

“odio gli indifferenti,” declared one t shirt there,
referring to his old letter.

Sometimes the world goes upside down.
Bikes careening through the streets.
Down the BQE!
Walking in  the rain.
Walking into  Judson  the next day,

Dad, look at my new dog collar. 
Very subtle.
Less is more 

Rise and resist.
Gramsci greeted me,
Images of Pete Seeger,
Who had turned a hundred this weekend.
The teenager and I were there to usher in his 90th birthday party a decade prior.
We walked through the city,
Catching the train.
A man smoking a jay on  the train on the way home.
Rain everywhere.

I’d sing out love between,
My brothers and my sisters,
All over this land.

Its good to remember.

Thank you ACT UP,
Fight back.

“Realize that little things lead to bigger things. That’s what Seeds is all about.”
Thank you Pete!

 “We Shall Overcome”: Remembering Folk Icon, Activist Pete Seeger in His Own Words & Songs

AMY GOODMAN: We spend the rest of the hour remembering Pete Seeger.
Well, I got a hammer,
Well, I got a hammer,
I got a bell,
And I got a bell,
And I got a song,
All over this land,
This hammer of justice,
The bell of freedom,
Song about love between
My brothers and my sisters,
All over this land.
I want to turn to Pete Seeger in 2004, when he joined us in our firehouse studio at Democracy Now! I asked Pete Seeger to talk about his time serving in the military during World War II.
PETE SEEGER: I first wanted to be a mechanic in the Air Force. I thought that would be an interesting thing. But then military intelligence got interested in my politics. My outfit went on to glory and death, and I stayed there in Keesler Field, Mississippi, picking up cigarette butts for six months. Finally, they let me know, yes, they’d been investigating me, opening all my mail.
AMY GOODMAN: Pete Seeger, when you came back, they continued to investigate you.
PETE SEEGER: Well, I have assumed most of my life that if there wasn’t a microphone under the bed, they were tapping the phone from time to time and opening my mail from time to time. Who knows?
AMY GOODMAN: But it was more than that, wasn’t it?
PETE SEEGER: Well, sometimes they’d have picket lines out, but, you know, in a crazy way all it did was sell tickets. I remember one concert did not sell out. My manager said, “Pete, we should have gotten the Birches to picket you. Then it would have sold out.”
AMY GOODMAN: I’m looking at a transcript of the House Un-American Activities Committee, August 18th, 1955, when they started off by saying—Mr. Taverner said, “When and where were you born, Mr. Seeger?” You actually answered that question.
PETE SEEGER: Well, I wish I had been more—spoken up more. I just did what my lawyer, a very nice guy—he says, “Don’t try to antagonize them. Just don’t answer these questions, because if you answer this kind of question, you’re going to have to answer more questions. Just say you don’t think it’s legal.” Well, I said, “I think I’ve got a right to my opinion, and you have the right to your opinion. Period.”
And so, eventually I was sentenced to a year in jail, but my lawyer got me off on bail. I was only in jail for four hours, and I learned a folk song. They served us lunch, a slice of bread and a slice of bologna and an apple, and the man next to me was singing, ”If that judge believes what I say, I’ll be leaving for home today.” The man next to him says, “Not if he sees your record, you won’t.” But that’s an old African melody, you know. It’s in many, many African-American folk songs.
AMY GOODMAN: Now, you were sentenced to a year in jail?
PETE SEEGER: And a year later the appeals court acquitted me. Ironically—the contradictions of life still amaze me—the judge who acquitted me, the head judge—there were three judges—head one was Irving Kaufman, the man who sentenced the Rosenbergs to the chair 10 years earlier. But he acquitted me. He said, “We are not inclined to lightly disregard charges of unconstitutionality, even though they may be made by those unworthy of our respect.”
However, I feel that—both my wife and I feel we’re lucky to be alive and lucky to be on good terms with our neighbors, and in the little town where we live, people shout out, “Hi, Pete! Hi, Toshi!” And I’d like to—I wish I could live another 20 years just to see things that are happening, because I believe that women working with children will get men to wake up to what a foolish thing it is to seek power and glory and money in your life. What a foolish thing. Here we are—
…I think what was in the Declaration of Independence is true now just as it was then. Those great lines, they’re written by Ben Franklin, you know, not Jefferson. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that when any government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it.”
AMY GOODMAN: Pete Seeger, can you tell us about “We Shall Overcome”?
PETE SEEGER: I thought, in 1946, when I learned it from a white woman who taught in a union labor school, the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee, that the song had been made up in 1946 by tobacco workers, because they sang it there to strike through the winter of 1946 in Charleston, South Carolina, and they taught the song to Zilphia Horton, the teacher at the labor school. And she said, “Oh, it was my favorite song.” And I printed it in our little magazine in New York, People’s Songs, as “We Will Overcome” in 1947.
It was a friend of mine, Guy Carawan, who made it famous. He picked up my way of singing it, “We Shall Overcome,” although Septima—there was another teacher there, Septima Clark, a black woman. She felt that “shall”—like me, she felt it opened up the mouth better than “will,” so that’s the way she sang it. Anyway, Guy Carawan in 1960 taught it to the young people at the founding convention of SNCC, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, SNCC for short. And a month later, it wasn’t a song, it was the song, throughout the South.
Only two years ago, I get a letter from a professor in Pennsylvania, who uncovered an issue of the United Mine Workers Journal of February 1909, and a letter there on front page says, “Last year at our strike, we opened every meeting with a prayer, and singing that good old song, 'We Will Overcome.'” So it’s probably a late 19th century union version of what was a well-known gospel song. I’ll overcome, I’ll overcome, I’ll overcome some day.
AMY GOODMAN: You sang it for Martin Luther King?
PETE SEEGER: In 1957, I went down to Highlander. Zilphia was dead, and Myles Horton, her husband, said, “We can’t have a celebration of 25 years with this school without music. Won’t you come down and help lead some songs?” So I went down, and Dr. King and Reverend Abernathy came up from Alabama to say a few words, and I sang a few songs, and that was one of them. Anne Braden drove King to a speaking engagement in Kentucky the next day, and she remembers him sitting in the back seat, saying, “'We Shall Overcome.' That song really sticks with you, doesn’t it?” But he wasn’t the song leader. It wasn’t until another three years that Guy Carawan made it famous.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about getting older?
PETE SEEGER: Oh, it’s no fun to lose your memory or your hearing or your eyesight, but from my shoulders on down I’m in better condition than most men my age. I can go skiing with the family, although I stick to the intermediate slopes. I don’t try the double diamond.
AMY GOODMAN: Pete, you sit here listening with headphones on. You’re a singer. Sound is very important. It’s not as easy for you to hear things so clearly anymore. How has that affected you?
PETE SEEGER: Well, I’m singing to myself all the time, just humming or just in my brain. I’m not making any sound. But admittedly, I can’t—unless I have earphones on, I can’t really—even with what they call hearing aids, I can’t really hear music. I don’t listen to CDs. I don’t listen to the radio. I don’t listen to TV. And occasionally, when friends come around, I’ll join in with them, but my fingers are slowing down. I hear records that I made years ago and say, “How did I ever play that so fast?”
On the other hand, these are exciting times. There’s never been such as exciting times. And win, lose or draw, it’s going to be very, very exciting. And I applaud what you are doing. I think what Democracy Now! is doing is just fantastic. This couldn’t have been done half a century ago, could not have been done.
PETE SEEGER: Well, they didn’t have the technology for it, I guess. So as I say, technology will save us if it doesn’t wipe us out first.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, final words, Pete Seeger, as we wrap up this conversation—the role of music, culture and politics.
PETE SEEGER: They’re all tangled up. Hooray for tangling!
AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you very much for being with us. And for someone who isn’t so hopeful who is listening to this right now, trying to find their way, what would you say?
PETE SEEGER: Realize that little things lead to bigger things. That’s what Seeds is all about. And there’s a wonderful parable in the New Testament: The sower scatters seeds. Some seeds fall in the pathway and get stamped on, and they don’t grow. Some fall on the rocks, and they don’t grow. But some seeds fall on fallow ground, and they grow and multiply a thousandfold. Who knows where some good little thing that you’ve done may bring results years later that you never dreamed of?

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