The Occupy Movement has found an unlikely ally in a senior Bank of England official, Andrew Haldane, who has praised protesters for their role in triggering an overhaul of the financial services sector.
Haldane, who oversees the City for the central bank, said Occupy acted as a lever on policymakers despite criticism that its aims were too vague. He said the protest movement was right to focus on inequality as the chief reason for the 2008 crash, following studies that showed the accumulation of huge wealth funded by debt was directly responsible for the domino-like collapse of the banking sector in 2008.
Speaking at a debate held by the Occupy Movement in central London, Haldane said regulations limiting credit use would undermine attempts by individuals to accumulate huge property and financial wealth at the expense of other members of society. Allowing banks to lend on a massive scale also drained funding from other industries, adding to the negative impact that unregulated banks had on the economy, he said.
Occupy Wall Street and their far-flung allies might as well give up on addressing their demands to the government, at least for the time being. The slogan ought to be something like “We’re tired of being pawned off on the help; from now on, we insist on dealing directly with the masters.”
And the plan should be to spend the next several months developing, articulating, and organizing toward a major national mortgage and student-loan strike. Such a loan strike would begin—provided enough people sign on in advance (and I’m talking hundreds of thousands), and unless a concrete set of intervening demands is squarely met in the meantime—on, say, October 1, 2012, right in the middle of the next presidential campaign…
The Occupy movement could enlist the advice of sympathetic economists and loan experts to craft the precise terms of the demand. In addition to the alleviation of tremendous amounts of individual and family anxiety and suffering, the more generalized goal of the reset—and incidentally, why is it that up till now in this crisis only the improvident banks and investment houses have been allowed to reset the terms of their deals, without any penalty, whereas none of the rest of us have been accorded similarly revivifying largesse?—would be to free up all sorts of spending money at the lower reaches of the economy where it might actually do some good.
Happy Bank Transfer Day!
Really, you only need a few basic resources to move your money. Here they are, via the Move Your Money Project website:
—A short primer on why you should take your money out of corporate banks.
—A tool to find community banks and credit unions near you and to check your local banks’ IRA rating, which tells you how sound an institution is.
—An easy seven-step guide to switching banks.
That’s it! That’s everything you need to know about moving your money. And it seems that this message is already getting out. Last month, some 650,000 Americans joined a credit union — that’s more than the number of people who joined a credit union in all of last year. Will you join their ranks?
Remember, every day can be Bank Transfer day — it’s not too late to move your money! Here’s a list of addresses where you can find your local credit union in several countries.
Police arrested at least 16 people, including journalist Chris Hedges and performance artist Reverend Billy Talen, during a rally Thursday outside the headquarters of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in lower Manhattan.
The rally was held after a mock trial at the nearby Occupy Wall Street encampment, in which Goldman’s alleged misdeeds were weighed in a “people’s hearing.” The event, led by author and activist Cornell West, was broadcast live on a radio station and drew hundreds of protesters and spectators, many of whom then marched down Trinity Place towards Goldman’s skyscraper.
“The banking system has been shot through with greed,” said West, a professor at Princeton University. He marched arm in arm with several protesters, whom he referred to as his “brothers and sisters.” Some protesters held signs that read “Out of Your Ivory Tower” and “Don’t Feed the Bull.”
Reverend Billy, dressed in his signature white suit, called the Occupy movement “real, physical, actual hope,” and he blamed President Barack Obama for “drain[ing] all meaning from the word ‘hope.’” Talen added: “He’s no less corrupt than George Bush. He’s been unable to regulate these people,” referring to financial institutions.
At the entrance to Goldman’s headquarters on West Street, protesters read their verdict aloud: “Guilty of felony fraud, violating security laws, perjury before a Senate commission and the theft of $78 billion in taxpayer money.”
Several people then sat down in front with the building with their arms linked. As police handcuffed each person one at a time, some used nonviolent resistance tactics such curling up on the ground. The final protester to be arrested made her body limp and was carried away by several police officers.
The Party of Wall Street has ruled unchallenged in the United States for far too long. It has totally (as opposed to partially) dominated the policies of Presidents over at least four decades (if not longer), no matter whether individual Presidents have been its willing agents or not. It has legally corrupted Congress via the craven dependency of politicians in both political parties upon its raw money power and upon access to the mainstream media that it controls. Thanks to the appointments made and approved by Presidents and Congress, the Party of Wall Street dominates much of the state apparatus as well as the judiciary, in particular the Supreme Court, whose partisan judgments increasingly favor venal money interests, in spheres as diverse as electoral, labor, environmental and contract law.
The Party of Wall Street has one universal principle of rule: that there shall be no serious challenge to the absolute power of money to rule absolutely. And that power is to be exercised with one objective. Those possessed of money power shall not only be privileged to accumulate wealth endlessly at will, but they shall have the right to inherit the earth, taking either direct or indirect dominion not only of the land and all the resources and productive capacities that reside therein, but also assume absolute command, directly or indirectly, over the labor and creative potentialities of all those others it needs. The rest of humanity shall be deemed disposable.
THE OCCUPY movement’s most powerful unifying factor has been its clear and simple identification of the key problem in American society: the divide between the vast majority of the population—the 99 percent—and the richest and most powerful 1 percent.
This 99 percent/1 percent formulation isn’t just a statement about income inequality in the U.S. today. It’s also an acknowledgement that the 1 percent largely controls the government and is therefore able to rig laws, taxes and regulations in its favor.
If you look at opinion polls on questions like taxing the rich, regulating Wall Street, spending money on jobs, prioritizing economic growth over cutting the deficit or preserving and protecting Social Security and Medicare, you’ll find popular, often lopsided, majorities opposed to austerity and in favor of “redistributionist” policies.
Yet the dysfunctional government seems incapable—and not even much interested—in doing much of anything to meet these popular demands. By contrast, Congress acted with tremendous speed—and with little regard for the deficit—to appropriate hundreds of billions of dollars for the banks and other corporations when the financial crisis struck in 2008.
In theory, we’re all equal at the ballot box, and so popular majorities should be able to force politicians to address their concerns. But the Occupy movement has caught fire because millions of Americans realize that the way Washington works in reality bears no resemblance to the political science textbook explanations.
So how does the 1 percent get away with it?
Noam Chomsky speaks at Occupy Boston (part 1 of 3)
(Note: the first video is a bit squeaky since he is using two microphones, but the others are much better.)
What a great, telling article about the pathologies of the upper class. The hysteria really is in full-swing. A few telling excerpts:
“Who do you think pays the taxes?” said one longtime money manager.
“Financial services are one of the last things we do in this country and do it well. Let’s embrace it.
“If you want to keep having jobs outsourced, keep attacking financial services. This is just disgruntled people.”
He added that he was disappointed that members of Congress from New York, especially Senator Charles E. Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, had not come out swinging for an industry that donates heavily to their campaigns. “They need to understand who their constituency is,” he said.
Their constituency is the citizenry of the state of New York, fuckwad.
And it gets better:
Mr. Paulson offered a full-throated defense of the Street, even going so far as to defend the tiny sliver of top earners attacked by the Occupy Wall Street protesters… “The top 1 percent of New Yorkers pay over 40 percent of all income taxes, providing huge benefits to everyone in our city and state,” he said in a statement.
That’s great, because they make somewhere in the neighbourhood of 30%-40% of the income. This is what we call a tiny semblance of progressive taxation. The problem is — what is the tax rate your company pays? I’m sure Mr. “I’m a Saintly Job Creator, Look at All The Taxes I Pay Neener-Neener” Paulson wouldn’t be so quick to divulge that little statistic.
“Paulson & Company and its employees have paid hundreds of millions in New York City and New York State taxes in recent years and have created over 100 high-paying jobs in New York City since its formation.”
Wow, what a wonder of free-market capitalism. He was able to create a measly 100 jobs out of billions in income. And he thinks we should be thanking him for his totally sustainable and in no way absurd line of work.
“I don’t think we see ourselves as the target,” said Steve Bartlett, president of the Financial Services Roundtable, which represents the nation’s biggest banks and insurers in Washington. “I think they’re protesting about the economy.”
Well golly gee, Mr. Bartlett, they don’t call it “Occupy WALL STREET” for nothing.
Sheesh. Remember — this is what they are saying in private, which means they are supposedly putting their “intentional misrepresentations” aside and saying what they really think. And these people are apparently our “captains of industry,” the best and brightest that think they earned their top 1% status.