COMBO Title and Securitization Search, Report, Documents, Analysis & Commentary GET COMBO TITLE AND SECURITIZATION ANALYSIS – CLICK HERE

Why ‘Occupy Wall Street’ makes sense

Banks are sitting on cash hoards and corporate profits are riding high – yet ordinary US taxpayers face joblessness and cuts

Occupy Wall Street Anti-Bank Protest

Protesters at the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ rally at Bowling Green Plaza, New York City, on 17 September; the demonstrations continue this week. Photograph: Steven Greaves/Demotix/Corbis

If 2,000 Tea Party activists descended on Wall Street, you would probably have an equal number of reporters there covering them. Yet 2,000 people did occupy Wall Street last Saturday. They weren’t carrying the banner of the Tea Party, the Gadsden flag with its coiled snake and the threat “Don’t Tread on Me”. Yet their message was clear: “We are the 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%.” They were there, mostly young, protesting the virtually unregulated speculation of Wall Street that caused the global financial meltdown.

One of New York‘s better-known billionaires, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, commented on the protests: “You have a lot of kids graduating college, can’t find jobs. That’s what happened in Cairo. That’s what happened in Madrid. You don’t want those kinds of riots here.”

Riots? Is that really what the Arab Spring and the European protests are about?

Perhaps to the chagrin of Mayor Bloomberg, that is exactly what inspired many who occupied Wall Street. In its most recent communique, the Wall Street protest umbrella group said:

“On Saturday we held a general assembly, two thousand strong. … By 8pm on Monday we still held the plaza, despite constant police presence. … We are building the world that we want to see, based on human need and sustainability, not corporate greed.”

Speaking of the Tea Party, Texas Governor Rick Perry has caused a continuous fracas in the Republican presidential debates with his declaration that the US’s revered social security system is a “Ponzi scheme” Charles Ponzi was the con artist who swindled thousands in 1920 with a fraudulent promise for high returns on investments. A typical Ponzi scheme involves taking money from investors, then paying them off with money taken from new investors, rather than paying them from actual earnings. Social security is actually solvent, with a trust fund of more than $2.6tn. The real Ponzi scheme threatening the US public is the voracious greed of Wall Street banks.

I interviewed one of the “Occupy Wall Street” protest organisers. David Graeber teaches at Goldsmiths, University of London, and has authored several books – most recently, Debt: The First 5,000 Years. Graeber points out that, in the midst of the financial crash of 2008, enormous debts between banks were renegotiated. Yet only a fraction of troubled mortgages have gotten the same treatment. He said:

“Debts between the very wealthy or between governments can always be renegotiated and always have been throughout world history. … It’s when you have debts owed by the poor to the rich that suddenly debts become a sacred obligation, more important than anything else. The idea of renegotiating them becomes unthinkable.”

President Barack Obama has proposed a jobs plan and further efforts to reduce the deficit. One is a so-called millionaire’s tax, endorsed by billionaire Obama supporter Warren Buffett. The Republicans call the proposed tax “class warfare”. Graeber commented:

“For the last 30 years, we’ve seen a political battle being waged by the super-rich against everyone else, and this is the latest move in the shadow dance, which is completely dysfunctional economically and politically. It’s the reason why young people have just abandoned any thought of appealing to politicians. We all know what’s going to happen. The tax proposals are a sort of mock populist gesture, which everyone knows will be shot down. What will actually probably happen would be more cuts to social services.”

Outside in the cold Tuesday morning, the demonstrators continued their fourth day of the protest with a march amidst a heavy police presence and the ringing of an opening bell at 9.30am for a “people’s exchange”, just as the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange is rung. While the bankers remained secure in their bailed-out banks, outside, the police began arresting protesters. In a just world, with a just economy, we have to wonder: who would be out in the cold? Who would be getting arrested?

• Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column

20 Responses

  1. JOIN this protest in your state. Boycott the foreclosing banks.

    Take away their profits to hire people to beat these protesters, and steal homes.


    and someday silver…

  2. To The A Man

    Facebook is a tool of the CIA. Merely a Data Mining device, a way to get sleepers “comfortable” with the exposure of personal information.





  4. N.O.R.A. Light. Israel has homeless people since the large Russian Immigration. Israel also accepts refugees from Sudan Darfur etc.. that cross through the Egyptian Border after they were raped and beaten by the Egyptian Military. They are greated by Israeli Soldiers with Donuts and Coffee.

    But other than that I can agree with most of what you are saying.

    I give great hope that this country The United States of America its people are in the process of waking up.

    G-d Bless America

  5. It gets clearer and clearer. The media is bought and sold by wall street.
    To anyone paying attention, the U.S. Citizen is feed up. A little protest here, wall street occupation there, and before you know it, the people of this country are going to rise to the challenge of getting rid of the lawless banks trying to control the countrys biggest assest. Land.

  6. Yves Smith. aka Susan Webber, a Banking consultant, ignores the protests as well. You’ve been warned repeatedly about the web, but parties that allege they believe in justice, fairness and human rights are frequently revealed to be the absolute opposite. Tragedy doesn’t need footsoldiers who continue to do the work of Banksters. ‘Nuff said

  7. Let me make myself clear. I pray and hope the Arab Spring and the Egyptian people get there well deserved freedom.

    May there be peace on Earth.

  8. what people here know about Egypt and the Egyptian is coming from the media, it’s not always the reality, some of it may be right and most it isn’t. Main stream media is not dead yet, it’s what most americans watch on daily basis. Whether or not they are on the verge of BK I don’t know, but they are still the main source of information.

    It’s true that 2000 youngsters on the streets of NY is very measly, which shows that people in this country are very divided. And yes I think the younger people are more informed, not that they know everything, but they know things are wrong and that the problems we are having economically were cause by wall street and that our government just sat there and allowed it to happen. they know that the world is run by corporations and not by those who are payed to work for the people!

    There’s a whole lot more than any of us will ever know, including who or what’s behind the Arab Spring and the recent crisis. We cannot just assume that what we hear or see is the absolute truth, because it is not. And we cannot depend on our government any more and that’s been proven. We cannot count on our judicial system because they failed us as well. Do you think that the average person in this country understands all that?

    By they way, I respect everyone’s opinion regardless if it’s right or wrong. It’s true that the Egyptians hadn’t made any change or improvement in fact they are worse off now than they ever were, and FYI, most Egyptians were against the protest and that info. is from the horse’s mouth. No one knows what the future holds for them or for us. I can only say that what we are told here by the media is not always the truth! A lot of what’s happening either here or in the Middle East is instigated.

    And The A Man, with all due respect, you have proven my opinion. Israel is a very small country, they are very united and very affluent in that region and it’s them against many millions, so yes they can have a much better organized demonstrations and more! You’ll never see homeless or hungry people on the streets in Israel except possibly in the Arab occupied areas.

    My children were the ones who opened my eyes to the fraud and deceit in our financial system, and in my own mortgage. They brought to my attention the crime committed upon myself and the millions of others. They don’t watch that much TV, they are on the internet day and night. I was oblivious and so are many of my middle aged friends who by the way are very intelligent group of people. Believe me when I say that even the most intelligent can be ignorant.

  9. Americans in mass should stop paying mortgages, credit cards, student loans – all debt – civil disobediance – that should get someone’s attention. Let them beg us to keep paying all of the above at 2%. Sell us back our homes at the auction price – or fess up – the mortgage is already paid in full many times over. Unsecured stll owed the debt buyers who got it for pennies or the servicers who got it for 0? Where did anyone sign up for that? It’s not on the Deed of Trust or the Note. Demand state owned banks. North Dakota did it.

  10. The Egyptians did not make any change what so ever. Egypt continues to be under Military Rule. The number 2 military guy is leading instead of the number 1 guy. The Islam Brotherhood will replace the Military Junta. And we do not want the Islam Brotherhood which supports Terrorism to take over.

    The only ones who are making a change are the Israeli’s who brought out 400K to 500K (approximately 10% of the population to protest non violent) and are making a difference.

    Anonymous is a violent organization.

    The Mainstream Media is dead anyways. They are all on the verge of bankruptcy if not bankrupt.

    Facebook is worth more than all the mainstream media put together.

    Money Talks and Facebook and the other social media are the only way.

  11. i don’t know if i’d agree that talking in class and watching youtube makes the younger people more informed. it was pretty pitiful that around 2000 younger adults formed the protest. 2000 people on wall street blend in with the pedestrians…

    they made a statement and hopefully someone saw it. but the real change needs to take place in state legislatures

  12. I think it’s time the people let the main stream media know that they are unhappy with them! The problem is that people are divided and scattered. I f the Egyptians could do it, why cannot the American? This country is huge, many different states and the government is much too clever here. If they know there’s such organized protesters they’l make sure that the media is hushed, and that the other media, (internet) is bugged!

    Bloomberg is making light of this situation, he’s saying that because these protesters are young and cannot find jobs that they are doing this, he’s so wrong. The young people are more aware of the crimes being committed because they are more informed. they gather in Schools, they discuss things in class and they have passion in what they believe in! Oh yea, and they watch YOU TUBE!!!

    The old people are so darn drugged up and all they watch is FOX news! The middle class are struggling to keep their homes and their jobs. The poor are on the other side of the streets, also sitting out in the cold. Frankly I am jealous that I am not there in NY with these young people, like many millions I am fighting to keep my home, and trying to keep my 120 hr/wk job.

    The stage was set, the holes were dug long ago, and we were blind sighted. This is no longer the America that we are use to, this is something different I cannot even put in words. But we can still fight in so many ways, we can chose who we give our money to, what to watch and where we frequent.

    The Egyptians did not have a choice, that’s the way they have made changes in the past. Frankly I was surprised it took them so long to get out on the streets. I know because I used to live there. they are not out of the woods, they are hurting big time now and for many years to come! We on the other hand, hold more power than we all know. Corp World cannot survive without us, just remember that!

  13. It will eventualy get to the so-called mainstream media. It took years for the foreclosures and the fraud that was perpetrated to come to the media. The media is a bunch of BS.

  14. Here is a very sad comment.. If the congress proposed a 100% income tax, whereas everyone ‘s income for the year was paid to the IRS, it still wouldn’t be enough to meet the Government’s obligations.

  15. And, A Man—the average person STILL thinks that the “homeowners” did something wrong…the “powers that be” have done great job at keeping the truth out of the media…

  16. If 2,000 Tea Party activists descended on Wall Street, you would probably have an equal number of reporters there covering them.

    Well, of course you would. After all, Tea Party has been hijacked by Koch Brothers and they would make sure it was covered by the media.

  17. Oh, believe me—the way things are going in this country—you’ll be seeing bigger numbers VERY soon—

    Justice is coming…one way or another…

  18. I’m enraged that with over 1 million fraudclosures and millions of college graduates who live with their parents only 2K showed up to protest. Especially with Facebook youtube etc.. who needs mainstream

    I’m Enraged

  19. 2000 is not news. That is all? Better it stay out of the news

  20. No one has reported about one of those kids being beat into a coma either. And Blomberg told us exactly why: no one wants a revolution in this country. So much for free press.

Contribute to the discussion!

%d bloggers like this: