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In solidarity with hunger strike

Crowd occupies Post Office slated for closing

Published Jul 5, 2012 8:54 PM
Photo: Patricia Jackson

A large crowd took over the lobby of the Civic Center Post Office here on June 27. It is one of five in this city that’s on the Postmaster General’s hit list to be closed. The station is a lifeline for the many people without homes or those living in city-supported “single room occupancy” hotels for the very poor, who get their mail in P.O. boxes or at the General Delivery window.

For half an hour the post office halls rang out with irreverent songs, “open mic” commentaries and loud chants like “No closures, no cuts! No ifs, ands or buts” and “The 1 percenters are full of greed, don’t let them take away what the people need.” Someone unfurled a large “Occupy the Post Office” banner.

Some 200 people took part in the action, organized by the San Francisco Community/Labor Coalition to Save the People’s Post Office. The coalition is part of the national network, Communities & Postal Workers United, which organized the June 25-28 postal hunger strike in Washington, D.C., demanding that Congress “stop starving the Postal Service.”

The July 27 action began with a rally at the Federal Building and a march through the Tenderloin District. At the rally, the Postal Service cuts were attacked by rank-and-file members of organizations in the coalition: letter carrier Angela Bibb-Merritt, postal clerk Alice Lindstrom-Davis, Jazzie Collins from Senior Action Network, Gary Hall from the Union of Unemployed Workers, Robbie Donohoe from Occupy Oakland, Bruce Allison from Living Wage Coalition, Michael Lyon from the Gray Panthers and Anne Jayne from Church Women United.

Signs read: “Poor and rural neighborhoods depend on the Post Office,” “Our communities need living-wage postal jobs,” “Keep the 1%’s greedy hands off our public Post Office! No to privatization!” The media were out in force.

In the echoing postal lobby, occupiers sang lustily the following words to the tune of — “Mister Sandman”:

“The 1 percenters, dollar signs in their eyes,
They want the post office privatized.
Their friends in Congress really make me nervous;
They’re out to sabotage the Postal Service.
“Mr. Postman, together we can save her,
The postal workers and our friendly neighbors.
“We need every post office in this town.
Keep it open: Don’t close it! Keep it open:
Don’t close it!

Keep it open: Don’t close it! Don’t shut it down!”