So it’s N17, a day of protest against banks and Wall Street.
The Occupy Wall Street Movement says, “The occupation that began on the 17th of September in Zuccotti Park has proven that we still have a chance, as human beings, to unite and reform these corrupt structures, to cleanse our Government and restore our dignity.”
A noble goal.
But so far, the movement has failed to identify specific policy changes they’d like to see made. I addressed that in one of my most recent posts, “What are we fighting for?”
Policy changes aside right now, I’d like to address strategy and say, “Right On, Occupy Wall Streeters!” and also, “Now we’re talking!” From a strategic standpoint, the movement may have just hit on the motherlode!
Camping in parks is all well and good, and it got everyone’s attention, but what’s going to make the powers-that-be actually make concessions? INTERRUPTION OF BUSINESS. And the method is sheer genius! Every day. Stand in front of one bank after another. One brokerage firm after another. Day after day after day. In downtown Portland today, protesters entered a Wells Fargo branch and got arrested. That sure halted business for awhile. Bank of America locked its doors to avoid letting the protesters enter. Can’t do business through a locked door.
A poll on KGW (completely unscientific and too small a sample, I’m sure) asked if respondents “support the protest methods used by Occupy Portland to get their message out,” referring to this new strategy to interrupt business (which is also interrupting traffic, by the way). The response was:
- Yes, anything it takes 12% 205
- Sometimes 14% 241
- No, method is harming message 75% 1324
What do you think?
Here’s what I think. If we really want things to change, we have to change the outcome for the 1%. If the 1% are going to suffer if changes aren’t made, then the 1% will make change happen. People mistakenly believe that we must (or can) somehow bring these people down. Not at all. In fact, we neither need to nor want to. What we want, what we NEED, is to make sure that their interests are REASONABLY aligned with ours. So, if they come to understand that they cannot continue to rake in enormous profits while the majority of us are getting sucked under their tires (metaphorically speaking), they will make concessions.
This is what the movement MUST accomplish. Hey, Bank of America, don’t want to go bankrupt? Here’s an idea – start lending money again. Hey, Citibank, want to recover some of your stock value? Start approving small business loans again. Corporate America, stop hoarding your money and start spending it. You, with your slavish devotion to trickle-down economics, OPEN UP THE FAUCET! Use all that money the government (WE) gave you and start stimulating the fucking economy already! (Pardon my French).
No, sorry, you don’t get to wait until after the 2012 election – although, gotta admit, it was a great strategy: hoard your money to suppress economic recovery through Obama’s term while you get him to make TONS of concessions in the name of bipartisanship (boy did you pick him well), buy up depressed stocks, and bide your time.
And here’s the thing folks, for all of you out there waiting for that magical recovery that’s always just around the corner. You don’t have to do anything to make it happen. You can just wait until a Republican is elected in 2012. And just like that, watch that steam engine start a rollin’, picking up speed as we fly through another four to eight years of deregulation, corporate mergers and larger and larger monopolies owned by ever richer and ever fewer folks. With which will come those coveted jobs, that bullish market and that champagne bubbly feeling we have when the credit flows freely and we can all afford to remodel our kitchens again. Hallelujah and bring it on!
OR. The Occupy Wall Street Movement can demand an economic recovery on OUR terms. Terms that benefit ALL Americans, not just those at the very top. We can demand that the money start flowing again RIGHT NOW. We can tell the 1%, “we’re ALL headed in the same direction now. Either we ALL go up, or we ALL go down.”
Because as much as we keep complaining, the majority of us are still hovering on the brink, we haven’t gone over the edge yet. And this has been sustainable and they’re betting it’ll be sustainable until the election. We’re on a starvation diet and they feed us just enough to keep us alive, but not enough to let us thrive. So there’s our leverage. “We starve. You starve.” What would happen if EVERY SINGLE UNEMPLOYED PERSON in EVERY SINGLE STATE got up EVERY SINGLE DAY and stood in front of a bank, brokerage, insurance company or other large corporate entity, and their state congressional building and the governor’s mansion, and the National Mall and held up a sign. EVERY SINGLE PERSON who needed a job, EVERY SINGLE DAY. How long would it take?