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"Occupy Wall Street" is too vague, here are two specific places to camp out

beowulf's picture
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I think the Occupy Wall Street crowd would have done better to come up with a specific target and with a specific goal that could create allies across the political spectrum (transpartisan reform as Jame Hamsher would call it).
For example, don't Occupy Wall Street, Occupy 55 Water Street the home of both Standard & Poor's and DTCC and then (for reasons I'll explain below) Occupy the Eccles Buiiding in DC. Or rather ( to avoid trespassing charges), the sidewalks abutting Water Street and the Fed headquarters. The goal should be this: Tax financial economy to pay for tax relief of real economy.
First of all, what praytell is DTCC? Let's consult the oracle of wikipedia:

"The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), based primarily at 55 Water Street in New York City, is the world’s largest post-trade financial services company. DTCC was established in 1999 as a holding company to combine The Depository Trust Company (DTC) and National Securities Clearing Corporation (NSCC)... In 2007, DTCC settled the vast majority of securities transactions in the United States, more than $1.86 quadrillion in value..." [$1.66 quadrillion in 2010]

As it happens the Tea Party hates Wall Street (which they see, more as less accurately, as in bed with Obama). And I'd note that that even Grover Norquist's no new taxes pledge has an exception for new taxes used to lower existing tax rates on a revenue-neutral basis.

I'd suggest there would be all sorts of unlikely allies in support of the goal of taxing the financial economy to pay for tax relief of the real economy. A transaction tax on the $1.66 quadrillion or so that clear through DTCC could be used cut existing tax rates dollar for dollar (obviously cutting the regressive FICA rates is better, but even across the board income tax cuts would be for the good).
Conservatively assuming that last year's volume would be cut in half, a .10% transaction fee on DTCC transactions would raise $833 billion a year, even more if other clearinghouses are included (IRS collected $2.3 trillion last year),and it could be enacted without going to Congress by an organization the Tea Partiers also hate-- the Federal Reserve. The Monetary Control Act of 1980 gives the Fed governors authority to levy transaction fees on anything that moves through Fed system... and we all know where the Fed's net earnings go, the US Treasury. So Act II could be "Occupy the Eccles Building" (or abutting sidewalk thereof). After the Fed governors revise their fee schedule, Congress would still have to vote to cut existing tax rates, I think they're up to it. :o)
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/usc_se...

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MsExPat's picture
Submitted by MsExPat on

And maybe that's because I am watching it unfold from the scene. Yes, observed from the perspective of old skool organizing, #occupywallstreet seems disorganized, too loose, its objectives unclear.

But I think (as do others) they are stunningly effective because of their refusal to focus on just one narrow point. What is knocking my socks off about the movement is that they refuse to follow the old script and framework because it's been tried and it doesn't work anymore.

Yes, they have demands, but as I've been repeating in my dispatches, OWS is not about the what, it's about the how. Create a new framework from the ground up. Build it slowly. Franchise it out to other cities across the US and the world (apparently there are 66 "Occupy" collectives now--including in Sydney, Australia).

What you are talking about is a narrowcast movement with beginning, middle and end. But this struggle is going to take at least as long as the rise of the financial industry and Reaganism did. If you're planning on a 10-20 year timeframe, the OWS bottom up, spread out and replicate approach is the way to go.

Submitted by MontanaMaven on

So I hesitate to make recommendations without experiencing it. Sounds like from what you are reporting that this is part of a huge macro universal global movement against global capital and corporate rule and for a return to a more human based society; an "earth community" as David Korten calls it. This feels like the No Logo movements of the late 1990s that arose from The Shock Doctrine tactics that started its latest incarnation in earnest in the 1970s. And similar to over 100 years ago with the People's Party that started in the Midwest. They had speakers like Mary Elizabeth Lease who supposedly said to the farmers "Raise less corn and more hell". They had "Peoples Picnics" where people would come from miles away to hear and learn more about the banksters. Unfortunately they were co-opted by the Democratic Party. Let's make sure that doesn't happen here.

What the occupiers are doing seems right to me. But I also think that some other group or even the so-called Tea Party types could occupy The Fed on the specific issues of fractional reserve banking and the financial sector gone amuk. (Doubt that would happen, but a good challenge). And yes, a transactional tax is simple to understand for low info types.

Is there anywhere around there that has gift certificates that could be used for the occupiers? Grocery stores or maybe camping equipment stores?

quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

"Occupy 55 Water Street" doesn't have a ring to it, and it means nothing to nearly everybody. The reaction would be "Huh?"

Whereas "Occupy Wall Street" means something without a dictionary and without your tongue tripping over it. I disagree that it has no message. I'd say it's loud and clear: Enough with the Corporate Fat Cats.

What the media complain about in the "lack of a clear message" is the lack of Rove-supplied, Luntz-tested bullet points that make people feel vindicated.

I'd call that a positive.

nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

are suited to situations where you want narrow corrections of course. Otherwise, they're just a marvelous opportunity for the stronger party to make promises to proceed, complete with committee to formulate solutions to your narrow goals. After months of bullshit, you get a toothless bill or contract. The stonger party now announces that you got what you wanted. Protest over.

Movements should focus on the social results that we want, not the strategy to get them. The strategy should be a very secondary part of the messaging and organizing.

What's needed now is the building of a consensus on what kind of society America wants and most importantly, who should be making the decisions. (Answer: not Wall Street financiers)

beowulf's picture
Submitted by beowulf on

Narrow specific goals are suited to situations where you want narrow corrections of course. Otherwise, they're just a marvelous opportunity for the stronger party to make promises to proceed, complete with committee to formulate solutions to your narrow goals. After months of bullshit, you get a toothless bill or contract. The stonger party now announces that you got what you wanted. Protest over.

I'm sorry, this is 180 degrees out of phase with reality. Its broad goals and general statements that are easily diffused with promises, committees and toothless bills. By contrast, if there's a specific goal in mind, you won't be sidetracked by focus-group buzzwords. Like Dr. Phil says, you've got to name it to claim it. For example, Healthcare for All is a bumper sticker, Medicare for All is specific goal.

I'd also suggest that there's nothing toothless or narrow about 1. proposing to take $800B or more out of financial economy to put back in the real economy nor 2. pointing to a specific law that authorizes the 5 sitting Fed governors to do this unilaterally, with no Senate filibuster, GOP House majority or embedded bank lobbyist/President of the United States standing in the way. YMMV I guess.

beowulf's picture
Submitted by beowulf on

Matt Yglesias agrees with me. :o)

Protests Work Better With Specific Demands

when the lodestar of your movement is to say, “The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%,” it’s difficult for me to get excited. You have to have a dream scenario in mind. What if the protests are super-popular, the crowds are enormous, and the inconvenience to the high and mighty becomes intolerable? What if the bad guys decide it’s time to consider a surrender? You want them to come out, address the crowd, and do what?

jumpjet's picture
Submitted by jumpjet on

By calling themselves "the 99%," the protestors on Wall Street have created an implicit message: FUCK the 1%. That translates pretty well into a bevy of policies: sky-high taxes on million-dollar incomes, a tax on wealth in general, a financial transaction tax, a higher estate tax... lots of taxes, really, which can only be a good thing. Also, lots of heavy anti-corporate policies get roped into this.

Pick almost any good idea the dirty fucking hippies have ever had, and put it on the table. THAT is what the protestors want.

Submitted by jawbone on

;)

But, seriously, what's not to like? Better with 95%? Meh. I'm beginning to feel 99% is more inclusive and that's a good thing.

“The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%.”

beowulf's picture
Submitted by beowulf on

I complained yesterday that you can’t just occupy Wall Street, you also need some concrete demands. I think Mike Konczal and the good people of GOOD must have been thinking along the same lines, because they published his proposed three concrete demands to hold Wall Street accountable:

1. Cancel the debts

2. Investigate Wall Street

3. Create a Financial Transaction Tax
http://thinkprogress.org/yglesias/2011/0...