VIDEO 2: Bank of America REFUSES to let #OWSers close their accounts - suits and security guards keep a group of BofA ‘customers’ outside. (Saint Louis, MO - 12 October 2011)
VIDEO 1: Bank of America REFUSES to let a group of #OWSers close their accounts - locks them out of the building and complains to the police (Santa Cruz, CA - 7 October 2011)
Here are the highlights:
- Of those who had an opinion on the occupation, 54% were favourable to the movement, with only 23% against (25% very favourable and 29% somewhat favourable, compared to 10% somewhat unfavourable and 13% very unfavourable)
- 86% agree that Wall Street has too much influence in Washington.
- 79% agree that the income gap in the United States is too large.
- An amazing 71% agree that financial executives who had a hand in the 2008 crisis should be prosecuted!
- 68% agree that the rich should pay more in taxes, and 73% agree that we should raise taxes on those who make $1 million or more a year. 74% agree that raising taxes on millionaires would NOT ‘hurt the economic recovery,’ contrary to the Republican panic.
- Unfortunately, 56% believe that the protest will have little impact on the overall situation, but 30% believe it will have a positive impact.
While we should always be careful not to put too much stock in these polls, this one at least has some good news for those who support #OWS.
KEEP IT UP! People are listening!
So, in case you’ve forgotten, it was a play in three acts.
In the first act, bankers took advantage of deregulation to run wild (and pay themselves princely sums), inflating huge bubbles through reckless lending. In the second act, the bubbles burst — but bankers were bailed out by taxpayers, with remarkably few strings attached, even as ordinary workers continued to suffer the consequences of the bankers’ sins. And, in the third act, bankers showed their gratitude by turning on the people who had saved them, throwing their support — and the wealth they still possessed thanks to the bailouts — behind politicians who promised to keep their taxes low and dismantle the mild regulations erected in the aftermath of the crisis.
Given this history, how can you not applaud the protesters for finally taking a stand?
Now, it’s true that some of the protesters are oddly dressed or have silly-sounding slogans, which is inevitable given the open character of the events. But so what? I, at least, am a lot more offended by the sight of exquisitely tailored plutocrats, who owe their continued wealth to government guarantees, whining that President Obama has said mean things about them than I am by the sight of ragtag young people denouncing consumerism.
Bear in mind, too, that experience has made it painfully clear that men in suits not only don’t have any monopoly on wisdom, they have very little wisdom to offer. When talking heads on, say, CNBC mock the protesters as unserious, remember how many serious people assured us that there was no housing bubble, that Alan Greenspan was an oracle and that budget deficits would send interest rates soaring.
Bill Maher and Van Jones discuss #OCCUPYWALLSTREET on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” (30 Sept 2011)
When asked for his thoughts of the continued occupation in lower Manhattan, Noam Chomsky responded via email:
Anyone with eyes open knows that the gangsterism of Wall Street — financial institutions generally — has caused severe damage to the people of the United States (and the world). And should also know that it has been doing so increasingly for over 30 years, as their power in the economy has radically increased, and with it their political power. That has set in motion a vicious cycle that has concentrated immense wealth, and with it political power, in a tiny sector of the population, a fraction of 1%, while the rest increasingly become what is sometimes called “a precariat” — seeking to survive in a precarious existence. They also carry out these ugly activities with almost complete impunity — not only too big to fail, but also “too big to jail.”
The courageous and honorable protests underway in Wall Street should serve to bring this calamity to public attention, and to lead to dedicated efforts to overcome it and set the society on a more healthy course.
The state continues to protect the financial industry. Noam Chomsky’s comments on “free market fantasy” come to mind:
And the principle of really existing free market theory is: free markets are fine for you, but not for me. That’s, again, near a universal. So you — whoever you may be — you have to learn responsibility, and be subjected to market discipline, it’s good for your character, it’s tough love, and so on, and so forth. But me, I need the nanny State, to protect me from market discipline, so that I’ll be able to rant and rave about the marvels of the free market, while I’m getting properly subsidized and defended by everyone else, through the nanny State. And also, this has to be risk-free. So I’m perfectly willing to make profits, but I don’t want to take risks. If anything goes wrong, you bail me out.
Three news items from the past 24 hours: