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(en) US, Texts from the anti-bus cuts struggle in Indianapolis

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Wed, 14 Apr 2004 11:45:19 +0200 (CEST)

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An update on the situation as well as the texts from two broadsides
distributed by a few of the anarchists involved in the struggle to
prevent drastic cut backs to bus service in Indianapolis.
These texts, distributed as front-and-back flyers were distributed
at the initial "public meetings," at demonstrations, and on the
buses. Their appearance was modeled on the original "Flash"
notices published by IndyGo announcing the fare hikes and bus
cuts. Tens of thousands of people will be affected by the cuts (14
of the 37 routes are being threatened), leading to sizable, angry
turnouts at the aforementioned "public meetings," and reception
to the "Flash" flyers has been, overall, fairly positive.
Anarchists have been involved at every stage of the anti-bus cuts
struggle, which is now reaching a critical point. Following the
initial wave of resistance to the cuts (which went far beyond what
the city government has expected), the final decision by the
IndyGo board was delayed until April 29th, although the fare hikes
were passed. Despite this victory, which postponed the
implementation of the cuts by two months, it is widely believed
that the IndyGo board will impose the cuts at the end of the
month. Please keep your eyes open for updates!

FLASH! IndyGo Fare Hikes and Service Cuts Are Attacks On the

The current proposal to "modify" IndyGo service is an attack on
the poor and the working class. By raising fares and cutting back
or eliminating service on important bus routes, IndyGo will hurt
their riders in ways that IndyGo's rich management can barely
imagine. Jobs will be lost as people lose their transportation, many
elderly people will lose what little freedom of movement they
have, and working class people in general will lose access to the
limited amount of entertainment and leisure that is offered to
them in Indianapolis.

IndyGo drivers will be hurt as well. If the IndyGo bosses get their
way, and nearly half the routes get cut, more than seventy drivers
will be laid off. Instead of cutting routes, they should be adding
lines, as even Gilbert Holmes, the IndyGo CEO has
acknowledged: "The kind of minimalist system we have had has
made it unattractive to nearly everyone but those who cannot drive
and have no alternative." The IndyGo board knows that the people
riding the bus depend on it for getting to their jobs, to do their
shopping, and getting to the doctor.

These cuts come at a time when the city of Indianapolis is
spending record amounts of money and resources to cater to
corporations and the rich. The Mayor is currently frothing at the
mouth to turn over $10 million to Colts owner Jim Irsay, more
than twice as much as it would cost to maintain IndyGo service
for the thousands of city residents who depend on the bus. This
handout is dwarfed by the $106 million that the Mayor turned over
to Eli Lilly and the $150 million given to United Airlines. In fact,
Indianapolis has given over $200 million to corporations every
year, reflecting the fact that politicians, whether Democratic (like
Peterson) or Republican (like Goldsmith), are in power to serve
the rich.

At the same time that these politicians sell themselves to the
corporate elite, they claim that they lack funds for basic services,
such as affordable health care and humane jails. Wishard
Hospital, whose Wishard Advantage program is one of the few
sources of affordable health care in Indianapolis, needs $50
million to get itself back on solid financial footing after years of
neglect, or else cut back services by 25%. The Marion County Jail
has been similarly neglected. While money has been poured into
corporate welfare, hiring new police officers, and even installing a
$750,000 Closed Circuit TV system in the lock-up to prevent
prisoners from enjoying face-to-face visits, thousands of
Indianapolis residents who pass through the jail on nonviolent
charges must face chronic overcrowding, unsanitary and
dangerous conditions, and rotten food. Finally, despite the city's
eagerness to give away $200 million annually to corporations, it is
entirely unwilling to spend an additional $4 million on the IndyGo
system to keep down fare hikes which would unfairly affect poor
riders and maintain routes which serve tens of thousands of

This bias reflects the fact that Mayor Peterson's administration's
main interest is in serving the rich. We can't improve the situation
by voting in new leaders: All politicians, whether Democrat or
Republican, capitalist or socialist, are our enemies. They are all
mainly interested in maintaining control ("law and order") and
extracting taxes from us to redirect to their rich friends. Politicians
are only interested in providing services such as IndyGo and
Wishard Advantage to the extent that they fear the power of
working class people and feel a need to appease them. So long as a
Peterson or a Goldsmith feels confident that he will get our votes
and support, he will ignore our interests. That's why the only way
to prevent the IndyGo cuts is to resist! Peterson won't dare go
through with fare hikes and route cuts if he knows that that will
lead to strikes, sabotage, fare dodging, and demonstrations (at the
City-County building or at the Mayor's house!). It is only together
that we can stop the Mayor's regressive, anti-worker policies.

-Concerned Hoosiers for Class War

FLASH #2 How to Stop the Bus Cuts and Fare Hikes

It is now clear to everyone that the IndyGo bosses have no real
interest in actually meeting our needs or listening to working class
people. They are happy to spend $1 million to run bus routes to
rich suburbs like Fishers and Geist which carried a total of 100
people during 59 runs, while planning to cut routes that thousands
of people need. When we became angry at their hypocrisy, they
were forced to call public meetings, but then put most of the
meetings in rooms that didn't have half the capacity needed to
hold everyone. Why have public meetings in convenient locations
such as school gyms in the affected communities, when you can
have them in the City-County building protected by dozens of

In the end, they don't really care what we have to say. The only
reason that they'll stop the route cuts is that they fear what we'll
do if they continue their attacks on the poor. That's why we have
to raise the costs of their plans: In other words, make it more
worthwhile for them to keep the routes than to cut them. The
anger and resistance at the public meetings was already enough to
get them to talk about delaying the cuts, but we'll need new tactics
if we're to stop the route cuts altogether. We don't have all (or
most) of the answers, but here are some suggestions that have
worked in other cities:

1) Demonstrations Downtown or at their Offices We should
continue to try to pressure them downtown and harass the bosses
at their workplaces. Appropriate locations include the City-County
building, Monument Circle, along parts of the threatened bus
routes, and at the IndyGo office at 1501 W. Washington.

2) Home Demonstrations The politicians and IndyGo bosses need
to realize that the results of their destructive decisions won't end
when their work days do. We will be affected seven days a week-
they should be too. This means that we should begin visiting them
at their homes. Home demos are completely legal as long as we
stay on the sidewalk or in the street and we don't make too much
noise after dark. Whistles, drums, and flyers to embarrass them in
front of their neighbors are all good ideas. Appropriate people
include: Gilbert Holmes, Roselle Boyd (or any city councilor), and
Bart Peterson.

3) Fare Strikes Fare strikes have stopped fare hikes and route cuts
in San Francisco and New York, as well as in many other cities. A
fare strike is when the bus drivers (officially or probably
unofficially) continue driving their routes but stop collecting fares.
This would cause IndyGo to lose thousands of dollars, but is
much harder to stop than a regular strike and would also help the
same people that IndyGo will be hurting with the bus cuts and the
fare hikes. Perhaps this would be most effective if the drivers
planned the fare strike about a week before the cuts (so that the
message would be clear, but IndyGo would have time to change
its mind).

If any of these ideas (or any of your ideas) are to work, we need to
organize! CHCW will do its best to disseminate the addresses and
phone numbers of city councilors and IndyGo higher-ups. We will
also post information for an organizing meeting in the upcoming

In the end, the most important part of this struggle is for us to
stand together. The IndyGo bosses have already shown us who
they're loyal to: other rich people. To stop these cuts, we have to
be loyal in the same way, but to working people like ourselves. We
can't let them get away with just delaying the cuts, or cutting only
some of the routes: An injury to one is an injury to all.

-Concerned Hoosiers for Class War
posted by an indiana anarchist on infoshop.org

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