Clarion Call to Join the Wall Street Protests

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lterNet / By Arun Gupta

The Revolution Begins at Home: A Clarion Call to Join the Wall Street Protests

We all need to go down and join the occupation — and not just by “liking” it on Facebook, signing a petition or retweeting protest photos.
September 27, 2011  |

Photo Credit: Sarah Jaffe
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What is occurring on Wall Street right now is truly remarkable. For over 10 days, in the sanctum of the great cathedral of global capitalism, the dispossessed have liberated territory from the financial overlords and their police army.

They have created a unique opportunity to shift the tides of history in the tradition of other great peaceful occupations, from the sit-down strikes of the 1930s to the lunch-counter sit-ins of the 1960s to the democratic uprisings across the Arab world and Europe today.

While the Wall Street occupation is growing, it needs an all-out commitment from everyone who cheered the Egyptians in Tahrir Square, said “We are all Wisconsin,” and stood in solidarity with the Greeks and the Spaniards. This is a movement for anyone who lacks a job, housing or health care, or thinks they have no future.

Our system is broken at every level. More than 25 million Americans are unemployed. More than 50 million live without health insurance. Perhaps 100 million Americans are mired in poverty, using realistic measures. Yet the fat cats continue to get tax breaks and reap billions while politicians compete to turn the austerity screws on all of us.

At some point the number of people occupying Wall Street — whether that’s 5,000, 10,000 or 50,000 — will force the powers that be to offer concessions. No one can say how many people it will take or even how things will change exactly, but there is a real potential for bypassing a corrupt political process and for realizing a society based on human needs, not hedge fund profits.

After all, who would have imagined a year ago that Tunisians and Egyptians would oust their dictators?

At Liberty Park, the nerve center of the occupation, more than 500 people gather every day to debate, discuss and organize what to do about our failed system that has allowed the 400 richest Americans at the top to amass more wealth than the 180 million Americans at the bottom.

It’s astonishing that this self-organized festival of democracy has sprouted on the turf of the masters of the universe, the men who play the tune that both political parties and the media dance to. The New York Police Department, which has deployed hundreds of officers at a time to surround and intimidate protesters, is capable of arresting everyone and clearing Liberty Plaza in minutes. But they haven’t, which is also astonishing.

That’s because assaulting peaceful crowds in a public square demanding real democracy — economic and not just political — would remind the world of the brittle autocrats who brutalized their people demanding justice before they were swept away by the Arab Spring. And the state violence has already backfired. After police attacked a Saturday afternoon march that started from Liberty Park the crowds only got bigger and media interest grew.

The Wall Street occupation has already succeeded in revealing the bankruptcy of the dominant powers — the economic, the political, media and security forces. They have nothing positive to offer humanity, not that they ever did for the Global South, but now their quest for endless profits means deepening the misery with a thousand austerity cuts.

Even their solutions are cruel jokes. They tell us that the “Buffett Rule” would spread the pain by asking the penthouse set to sacrifice a tin of caviar, which is what the proposed tax increase would amount to. Meanwhile, the rest of us will have to sacrifice health care, food, education, housing, jobs and perhaps our lives to sate the ferocious appetite of capital.

That’s why more and more people are joining the Wall Street occupation. They can tell you about their homes being foreclosed upon, months of grinding unemployment or minimum-wage dead-end jobs, staggering student debt loads, or trying to live without decent health care. It’s a whole generation of Americans with no prospects, but who are told to believe in a system that can only offer them “Dancing With the Stars” and pepper spray to the face.

Yet against every description of a generation derided as narcissistic, apathetic and hopeless they are staking a claim to a better future for all of us.

That’s why we all need to join in. Not just by “liking” it on Facebook, signing a petition at Change.org or retweeting protest photos, but by going down to the occupation itself.

There is great potential here. Sure, it’s a far cry from Tahrir Square or even Wisconsin. But there is the nucleus of a revolt that could shake America’s power structure as much as the Arab world has been upended.

Instead of one to two thousand people a day joining in the occupation there needs to be tens of thousands of people protesting the fat cats driving Bentleys and drinking thousand-dollar bottles of champagne with money they looted from the financial crisis and then from the bailouts while Americans literally die on the streets.

To be fair, the scene in Liberty Plaza seems messy and chaotic. But it’s also a laboratory of possibility, and that’s the beauty of democracy. As opposed to our monoculture world, where political life is flipping a lever every four years, social life is being a consumer and economic life is being a timid cog, the Wall Street occupation is creating a polyculture of ideas, expression and art.

Yet while many people support the occupation, they hesitate to fully join in and are quick to offer criticism. It’s clear that the biggest obstacles to building a powerful movement are not the police or capital — it’s our own cynicism and despair.

Perhaps their views were colored by the New York Times article deriding protestors for wishing to “pantomime progressivism” and “Gunning for Wall Street with faulty aim.” Many of the criticisms boil down to “a lack of clear messaging.”

But what’s wrong with that? A fully formed movement is not going to spring from the ground. It has to be created. And who can say what exactly needs to be done? We are not talking about ousting a dictator; though some say we want to oust the dictatorship of capital.

There are plenty of sophisticated ideas out there: end corporate personhood; institute a “Tobin Tax”

19 Responses

  1. […] So, regardless of what a Realtor may tell you, when doing a short sale, read all of the documents your lender sends to the title/closing agent to make sure they are forgiving the remaining balance of the loan.  If the letter is blank, they have not.  Also, remember that the Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 helps a person with their primary residence only.  It does not help with investment properties, or with deficiencies. […]

  2. Everything in 40 year cycles. Forty years ago — and forty years before.

    A young man who had a blog about debt collection fraud — before the crisis — was shut down. Proud to say — I knew him.

    His last post was — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Imb4tYOk8GE

    Peace loving generation — who stood up for rights.

  3. […] So, regardless of what a Realtor may tell you, when doing a short sale, read all of the documents your lender sends to the title/closing agent to make sure they are forgiving the remaining balance of the loan.  If the letter is blank, they have not.  Also, remember that the Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 helps a person with their primary residence only.  It does not help with investment properties, or with deficiencies. […]

  4. BSE, not if those forces decide to align with the people instead.

    Occupation is at hand. It’s the only way to clean up this mess.

    We’ve tried their way, it doesn’t work….it’s greed for 1 and lack for 99.

    No better time to break free and end the debt slavery. It’s no way to live.

    Koyaanisqatsi

    http://youtu.be/_tAd7oQVufU

  5. Soon our own Marines & Army Corp will fire upon the tax payer and home owner..They will call it their duty to shoot their own parents who protest against these Wallstreet bastards.

  6. E.Tolle

    I agree…

  7. Diane Jenkins

    File for BK — flush out the “creditor” (not Chase) — and then go back — for fraud upon court.

    And, what damages do you have? — denied the opportunity to directly negotiate with the creditor – by fraud. Denied opportunity to rectify situation via HAMP.

    People have to start turning around their arguments — This should not be happening to Diane — or anyone else.

  8. I was in the courtroom on Tuesday and watched an Orange County Judge give CHASE a free house – MINE – even though I have more than paid for the house – interest only – three times over – can’t wait for the demonstrations in Orange County California. I will be there –

  9. Where’s Anderson Cooper? I saw a promo for his daytime show. He tasted spinach for the first time. Should go down in the annals of journalism.

    The police have said they will investigate the rough treatment. They’ve also pre-stated that it was justified.

    Freedom in America = the freedom to choose between Chase, Citi, Bank of America, for whom you borrow from.

    DEBT = SLAVERY

    USURY = WALL STREET

    DEATH TO WALL STREET

  10. it’s sad that in our country, the country known for FREEDOM, freedom of speech, freedom of choice, etc., shows it’s true colors and prove it for all that it’s worth. From what I have seen however, is that when it comes down to ti, we may have been living a dream about freedom.

    We would like to think that people in other countries like EGYPT for instance would have much less freedom and much less choice, but somehow they managed to collect themselves and march on and force a change, even though, they are not there yet, but they spoke and they were heard for the entire world!

    Let’s hope that here in AMERICA, freedom proves itself for us, that what we have been told for so long about our choices rings true, time will tell. I know only one thing, that if the media down plays what’s happening in our cities right now then the our freedom is being over shadowed.

    The media is the main source of communications and look how they had so much coverage in EGYPT, but not here, not in the US of A. It’s loud and clear from the media that even they have no FREEDOM, they are told what to cover and how to cover it and when!

    Let’s face it our system is showing it’s true colors, we have been living a dream, we are not free, we have been in slaved by this corrupt system for so long and we bought into it for much too long, the lies and the deceit, all of it. If we have people dying in the streets we talk about Africa instead, if we have unemployment we send money over seas to help the Europeans, what the heck!

    So where is Anderson Cooper, and FOX and all the other media, are they waiting till things get worse, or have they been silenced too! Let’s face it we are on our own at least for now, we are the media and we need to keep on keeping on. This is all good what’s happening now, it’s going to take a while but the change is desperately needed. We need freedom in America, real FREEDOM not hug wash!

  11. From your msnbc link re. criminal abuse from the cops:

    “They do it because they know they can get away with it.”

    EXACT SAME SENTIMENTS WITH REGARDS TO WALL STREET/BANKS MBS PONZI SCHEMES AND SUBSEQUENT FRAUDULENT FORECLOSURES…

    When will they not be “allowed” to “get away with it”?

    What is the definition of a “good character”?

    When humanity figures out what that means and applies it—we may have a fighting chance at survival…

  12. Finally the Media is getting involved!!!

    Check this out: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/44679119#44679119

    ~Seeking

  13. Amazing that we need a Revolution just to demand that the government uphold the Constitution…

  14. Randy Wray: Euro Toast, Anyone? The Meltdown Picks Up Speed

    Posted: 28 Sep 2011 09:45 PM PDT

    Yves here. Readers may note that Wray cites the cost of the US bailout of the financial crisis as $29 trillion. I’ve never seen a figure like that (the highest estimate I’ve seen was from SIGTARP, which set the “theoretical maximum” at $23 trillion, and that figure was widely criticized. Barry Ritholtz has kept tab over time, and his tally has been in the $10-$11 trillion range). But this estimate is not core to his argument.
    By L. Randall Wray, a Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Senior Scholar at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. Cross posted from EconoMonitor
    Greece’s Finance Minister reportedly said that his nation cannot continue to service its debt and hinted that a fifty percent write-down is likely. Greece’s sovereign debt is 350 billion euros—so losses to holders would be 175 billion euros. That would just be the beginning, however.
    Nouriel Roubini has argued that the crisis will spread from Greece and increase the possibility that both Italy and Spain could be forced out unless European leaders greatly increase the funds available for bail-outs. The Sunday Telegraph has suggested that as much as 1.75 trillion sterling could be required. To put that in perspective, the US bailout of its financial system after 2008 came to $29 trillion. The 1.75 trillion figure will almost certainly prove to be wishful thinking if sovereign debt goes bad because that will make the US subprime crisis look like a nursery school dispute. All the major European banks will go down—and so will the $3 trillion US money market mutual funds. (That probably explains why the US has suddenly taken a keen interest in Euroland, with the Fed ramping up lending to what Americans had formerly seen as “Eurotrash” financial institutions.)
    It is becoming increasingly clear that authorities are merely trying to buy time to figure out how they can save the core French and German banks against a cascade of likely sovereign defaults. Meanwhile, they keep a stiff upper lip and demand more blood in the form of periphery austerity. They know this will do no good at all–indeed, it will increase the eventual costs of the bail-out while stoking North-South hostility. Presumably leaders like Chancellor Merkel are throwing red meat to their base for purely domestic political reasons. If the EMU is eventually saved, however, the rancor will make it very difficult to mend fences.
    There is no alternative to debt relief for Greek and other periphery nations. But, they are not likely to get it, at least on the scale needed. Certainly not before a lot more pain is inflicted, and a lot more grovelling shown to Europe’s masters.
    Indeed, the picture of the debtors that the Germans, especially, want to paint is one of profligate consumption fuelled by runaway government spending by Mediterraneans. The only solution is to tighten the screws. As Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble put it: “The main reason for the lack of demand is the lack of confidence; the main reason for the lack of confidence is the deficits and public debts which are seen as unsustainable…We won’t come to grips with economies deleveraging by having governments and central banks throwing – literally – even more money at the problem. You simply cannot fight fire with fire.” You’ve got to fight the headwinds with more glacial ice.
    While the story of fiscal excess is a stretch even in the case of the Greeks, it certainly cannot apply to Ireland and Iceland—or even to Spain. In the former cases, these nations adopted the neoliberal attitude toward banks that was pushed by policymakers in Europe and America, with disastrous results. The banks blew up in a speculative fever and then expected their governments to absorb all the losses. Further, as Ambrose Evans-Pritchard argues, even Greece’s total outstanding debt (private plus sovereign) is not high: 250% of GDP (versus nearly 500% in the US); Spain’s government debt ratio is just 65% of GDP. And while it is true that Italy’s government debt ratio is high, its household debt ratio is very low by global standards.
    But it is not at all clear that the nuclear option—dissolution–will be avoided. Even Very Serious People are providing analyses of a Euroland divorce—with resolution ranging from a complete break-up to a split between a Teutonic Union embracing fiscal rectitude with an overvalued currency and a Latin Union with a greatly devalued currency.
    A recent report from Credit Suisse dares to ask “What if?” there is a disorderly break-up of the EMU, with the narrowly defined PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain) abandoning the euro and each adopting its own currency. The report paints a bleak picture because the currencies on the periphery would depreciate, raising the cost of servicing euro debt and leading to a snowball of sovereign defaults across highly indebted euro nations.
    The report assumes Italy does not default—if it did, losses on sovereign debt would be very much higher. With the assumption that Italy remains on the euro and manages to avoid default, total losses to the core European banks would be 300 billion euros and 630 billion euros for the periphery nations’ banks (excluding Italy), while the ECB’s losses would be 150 billion. (Note that gets very close to the rumored bailout costs of 1.75 trillion euros—without including any knock-on costs.)
    Looking to previous “orderly” defaults, GDP would fall by 9%. With the weaker nations gone, the euro used by the stronger nations would appreciate, hurting their export sectors. That would increase the pressures for trade wars—and for a Great Depression 2.0. The report puts this probability at an optimistic 10%.
    In his interesting piece, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard comes very close to getting it right—in my view. The problem, he asserts, is not “sovereign” euro debt, but rather is “the euro itself”, a “machine for perpetual destruction”. He rightly points to a competitive gap between the North and South, and argues that the euro is overvalued in the South and undervalued for Germany. He also points to the German delusion that its trade surpluses are “good” but the South’s trade deficits are “bad” balances. But obviously, they are nothing but the flip side of one another. He also discounts scare talk about the catastrophic costs of a breakup, and argues that the benefits of a North-South split could be significant. If the “Latin tier” could reboot with a significantly devalued (new) currency, it could become competitive. While my take is slightly different, I believe Evans-Pritchard is certainly on the right track, and his criticism of the German center of Europe is on-target.
    An entirely different solution is offered by Jacques Delpla and Jakiob von Weizsacker, “The Blue Bond Proposal, published in May by bruegelpolicybrief. This would instead retain the union but pool a portion of each member’s government debt—equal to a Maastricht criteria 60% of GDP. This would be allocated to a “blue bond” classification, with any debt above that classified as “red bond”. The idea is that the blue bonds would be low risk, with holders serviced first; holders of red bonds would only be paid once the blue bonds are serviced. About half the current EMU members would have quite small issues of red bonds; about a quarter would not even be close to their limit on blue bond issues at current debt ratios. The proposal draws on the US experiment with “tranching” of mortgages to produce “safe” triple-A mortgage backed securities protected by “overcollateralization” since the lower-grade securities took all the risks. Well, that did not turn out so well! The idea is that markets will discipline debt issues since blue bonds will enjoy low interest rates and red bonds will pay higher rates. Again, the US experience proves that markets are far too clever for that—if anything market discipline did precisely the opposite.
    Still, I am not completely against the proposal. If the full faith and credit of the entire EMU (including most importantly that of the ECB) were put behind the blue bonds, and substantial nonmarket discipline were put on the red bonds, the scheme has some potential. More importantly, it directs us toward a real solution.
    The problem with the set-up of the EMU was the separation of nations and their currencies—as I have argued since at least 1994. It was a system designed to fail. It would be like a USA with no Washington—with each state fully responsible not only for state spending, but also for social security, health care, natural disasters, and bail-outs of financial institutions within its borders. What a stupid idea. In the US, all of those responsibilities fall under the purview of the issuers of the national currency—the Fed and the Treasury. In truth, the Fed must play a subsidiary role because like the ECB it is prohibited from directly buying Treasury debt. It can only lend to financial institutions, and purchase government debt in the open market. It can help to stabilize the financial system, but can only lend, not spend, dollars into existence. The Treasury spends them into existence. When Congress is not preoccupied with Kindergarten-level spats that works almost tolerably well—a hurricane in the gulf leads to Treasury spending to relieve the pain. A national economic disaster generates a Federal budget deficit of 5 or 10 percent of GDP to relieve pain.
    That cannot happen in Euroland, where the Euro Parliament’s budget is less than one percent of GDP. As I argued a decade and a half ago, the first serious Euro-wide financial crisis would expose the flaws. And it did.
    And things are made much worse because Euroland can neither turn to its center for help, nor can it any longer rely on the rest of the world. The economies of the West (at least) are stumbling. In addition to the residual (and growing) problems in US real estate, the commodities speculative bubble appears to have been pricked. Since fools rush in on the belief they can take advantage of sales prices, the air will not rush out quickly. But with prices at 2, 3, and even 4 standard deviations away from the mean, the general trend will be down. That leads to vicious cycle margin calls, which will have knock-on effects as those with long positions in commodities have to sell out other asset classes. The stock market will be next—and there is plenty of reason to sell bank stocks, anyway.
    And US and European banks are already insolvent. When Greece defaults and the crisis spreads to the periphery that will become more obvious. US money market mutual funds will break the buck—again—and this time they will not be rescued (Dodd-Frank makes that difficult). Further, US banks are beginning to lose civil lawsuits on their rampant fraud—securities fraud, mortgage lending fraud, foreclosure fraud, insider trading fraud. Fraud is essentially the only business that big US banks know—the only thing keeping them in business. If that line of business is taken away, they are toast. In GFC 1.0 it took $29 trillion to prop up Wall Street’s banksters. They are not going to get a second chance.
    And now even China wants to slow. The Euro toast is cooked. The question now is what Euroland will do about it, and whether the US, UK and other countries with the ability to avoid a toasting will choose a tastier outcome.

  15. Go to youtube.com, type in Anonymous and you will get a list of all the protests across the U.S. plus other valuable information.

  16. I soooo wish I could join the masses there. There is one going on in California as well. Lets have another somewhere in the mideast. I could attent that one. Wall street, too big to fail banks, have jerked us around long enough. Long live the revolution….and I am quite sure….this is just the beginning. Sadly

  17. And let’s make sure we pay attention to these psychpath police trying to extinguish the right to protest and free speech:

    http://www.sl-webs.com/custimages/dd395-Maces-site.jpg

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