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San Francisco Rally for the American Dream Draws Thousands, Demanding Economic Rights and Opportunity

AlterNet spoke with some of the attendants who came on Saturday to stand up for the middle class and the democracy protests in Wisconsin.

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What does your sign mean?

I think a lot of people have been hoodwinked in the last election. They were sold a bill of goods, they were lied to and deceived and I think people are starting to realize that the tea parties are not for the people but for the big corporations. The whole tea party was backed by big oil interests like the Koch brothers. And basically, the big polluters.

Angela, 50, is a non-union independent construction contractor. She lives in Sonoma County, and made the trip down to San Francisco for the protest.



When was the last time you attended a demonstration?

Oh, it was a few years ago -- against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Why are you here?

I think people who were already aware are realizing that now is the time when you don't step up and speak – and try to fight what's happening with these republicans in office, we're going to be in a lot of trouble.

Jane, 30, was a social worker, but is now back in school. She lives in San Francisco, and gets most of her information from the Huffington Post and emails blasted out by groups like and True Majority. She last attended an anti-war protests 2 years ago.



Why are you here?

I wanted to support the protesters in Wisconsin. And I'm tired of cutting programs that end up hurting the middle class and the poor. I think we spend far too much on the military budget. And I think the world is showing us that we don't need to “fight for democracy” and kill their people. We see that in Egypt and elsewhere. So, it's time to cut the military spending and not the programs.

Carlos, 29, is a security officer from Oakland, and a “proud union member.”



Why are you here?

The situation in Wisconsin – if we let that happen in that state it will carry over. There's no way the government should take away that right (to bargain collectively) away.

How do you think the mainstream news media have covered this issue?

The media is switching the message around so the message is confused. And the thing is that it's the people who are suffering. And if you look at Fox News or the corporate media – when they talk about unions, they put it in a way that doesn't reflect that the unions are basically the people. They treat it as just an entity.





On the podium, a series of progressive activists outlined the theme of the day: this is the beginning, not the end. Everyone we met today agreed.

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