On April 25, ACT UP New York and Occupy Wall Street will come together in a Wall Street action to commemorate ACT UP NY's 25th anniversary, starting at 11 am at City Hall. Hundreds of protestors are expected to converge for a daylong demonstration in lower Manhattan.
The groups are joining forces to pump up the volume on a growing nationwide outcry for a "Financial Speculation Tax" (Fi.S.T.) on Wall Street. They are calling on local, state, and federal legislators to "give Wall Street the FiST!"
Both ACT UP and OWS suggest the revenue from a Financial Speculation Tax would be significant - potentially in the hundreds of billions of dollars - and should be used to fund the end of the AIDS pandemic, i.e. to fill in US budget gaps in the fight against HIV/AIDS at home and abroad, providing treatment, services and prevention to thousands of Americans and millions around the world.
The Fi.S.T. does not target individual investors, and would not affect regular bank transactions. Instead, it would place a small tax - a mere fraction of one percent - on speculative trading by Wall Street investment banks, hedge funds and other large financial institutions.
"We are organizing this historic united front to bring our message to governments and to Wall Street financiers who are sitting on the key to ending the AIDS epidemic," says Eric Sawyer, a founding member of ACT UP New York. "There is no excuse. We have the know-how to end AIDS. It is lack of funding and political will that keeps us from reaching universal access to HIV treatment worldwide."
Additional organizations expected to join the demonstration include Housing Works, Health GAP, National Nurses United, OWS Healthcare for the 99% Working Group, Visual AIDS, MIX NYC, Le Petit Versailles, Queerocracy, Queering OWS and others.
"The AIDS crisis is not over," says veteran ACT UP New York member Ann Northrop. "But, we know it could be."