Here’s my top Priorities for Occupy

Cannonfire and I have been going back and forth on the primary goals for Occupy.  This video pretty much sums up my thoughts.

Number One item on the list is to put back a wall of separation between investment and commercial banking.  The countries that still have their versions of Glass-Steagall in place–including Canada, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland–aren’t having economic growth and job problems like the rest of us.  They didn’t have major banking crises in 2007-2008 either. We’re on the verge of having them again too. The shadow banking system in this country and in most of Europe is out of control.

Number Two is get rid of the idea that corporations are individuals.  They shouldn’t be allowed to interfere with political campaigns and any one who is in the senior management or the board of directors should be held personally responsible for the havoc they wreck.  Get the corporate laws out of the states and make it a federal deal.  Incorporation shouldn’t mean abdication from responsibility.  Buildings, machines and workers don’t make decisions, senior managers do.

Number Three is treat capital gains, interest and income from wages and salaries equally. Income is Income.  Then get the tax system back to being more progressive.

Number Four is to go back to enforcing the country’s Anti Trust laws.  We’ve allowed huge inefficient mega-corporations to run off all our medium and small sized business.  We don’t have healthy competition which is part of an efficient market system.  We have monopoly/oligopoly.

Number Five is to rework the old usury laws and start forgiving some debt when it’s been proven that there was negligence in lending practices.  Banks shouldn’t be charging exorbitant fees and interest rates on loans when the money they are getting from depositors and the Fed is cheap. We shouldn’t be subsidizing usury.

All this crap came from policies started during the Reagan Years and it needs to be stuffed back into the box.  That doesn’t mean all the laws have  to look exactly like they did when they were originated around 100 years ago, but completely removing all of it has led  to all kinds of instabilities. These are instabilities we had before these regulations and  laws were put in to place.  It’s ridiculous for the US taxpayer to support large scale gambling.

There you go, Joseph, that’s my list!

Have any others to add or subtract?

40 Comments on “Here’s my top Priorities for Occupy”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    I like the list, but I don’t think there is any chance that working within the system will achieve real results. I agree with Ian Welsh on this: there has to be real revolutionary action.

    I also agree with him that if the NYPD, and other police forces, continue to behavior brutally toward the protesters, some of them may be truly radicalized. We need real radicals in this country again. Right now there aren’t any.

    People are going to have to put their lives on the line in very large numbers to accomplish any real change in our broken government and insitutions.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Right now “liberal” organizations and even Democratic politicians are trying to co-opt the protests and use them for their own purposes–even Obama wants to do that. The Occupy movement will have to stay independent of established groups and elite politicians if they want to succeed.

      One model for negotiating could be Wikileaks. They worked with established media, but when the NYT fu*ked them, the NYT was cut out. But what has Wikileaks done lately?

    • dakinikat says:

      Lexington at The Economist says these folks need to just start voting.

      I nearly fell of my chair. I think they all thought they voted to do away with this stuff when the went for Obama and look where that got us. More of the same.

      Right now, both parties are beholden to corporations and especially Wall Street. The Republicans are completely worthless and hardly qualify as part of government any more. The Democrats won’t stand up for anything but their own re-election.

      How can you work through two corrupt and worthless parties when they basically have a lock on the state by state election process?

      • bostonboomer says:

        We’re in for a long, hard fight. We might have to storm the Bastille and break out the guillotines.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      I think Ian has a very good point, the protest has to hit that 1% where it hurts…

      I also feel the first thing on Dak’s list, reinstating Glass-Steagall, is something specific that can be achieved and is a good demand that would affect the banks.

    • Beata says:

      BB, I agree, but the last time we had real radicals putting their lives on the line to protest was during the Vietnam War, when we had a draft. Young men of draft age – and the people who cared about them – knew the chance of dying in Vietnam was a reality. They realized their very lives were at stake. That was a powerful motivation for radical protest against the war. I was young, but I remember it. My brother was nearing draft age during the late Vietnam years. My whole family was involved in anti-war activities. My mother sometimes took me out of elementary school to march. She was terrified my brother would be drafted. As bad as things are in the country now, I’m not sure the same impetus for radical action exists today as it did then.

      • Mr. Mike says:

        Thats because we are still comfortable, or most of us are. When a significant number of our friends and loved ones are out on the street after foreclosure the mood will change.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Hi Beata,

        That’s true, but if the economy gets as much worse as some economists are predicting, people will be radicalized. Young people in the Occupy demonstrations will be radicalized by the police brutality and government efforts to co-opt them or shut them down. As Welsh wrote, this is only the beginning. Look what happened in Egypt. The protesters got rid of the government they had and ended up with a military regime. As I said, it’ll be a long road before we see democracy in this country again.

    • Too little, too late. Progressive policies will not work in a non-progressive, non-linear, non-historical world. We are in a discontinuous world now. New strategies required. I have no answers.

      The system is constructed so as to absorb all opposition. Marcuse. DeLillo. Foucault. Baudrillard. Virilio. Nope, too late.

      The strategy is in Cosmopolis.

      Those jobs are never coming back. Forget about them. That whole infrastructure was demolished never to return. It can’t be built back up again.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Do you mean the novel by Don DeLillo? I bought a copy at Goodwill recently but haven’t read it yet.

  2. paper doll says:

    My top priority is it doesn’t turn out to be Obot part 2 the sequel. How successful or not the Dems are in co opting OWS in the coming weeks will be interesting. I hope they advoid the embrace.

  3. Peggy Sue says:

    Can we run you for POTUS, Dak? Or have you installed as a chief financial advisor, sans Obama? Why are the journalists not reporting on real solutions? Because they’re part of the problem. Last week at Obama’s press conference, the first question about the ‘why’ of not seeking prosecutions against Wall St. offenders was asked in public. Maybe I’m wrong but I don’t recall even the question coming up before. There was no answer, of course, just some tap-dancing that what happened was morally wrong but no laws were broken. Right. And this from the presumed Constitutional scholar-in-chief. If our elected officials are willing to turn a blind eye, stuff their coffers with ill-gotten gains and pretend the world is right as rain then the answer is not at the ballot box.

    The options are few. Right now OWS is the only alternative in town, short of other very unpleasant solutions. That’s why I’m pulling for the movement. If it survives these early days, the goals will come. If not, God help us all.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Oh, good point Peggy.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I’m totally rooting for them.

    • dakinikat says:

      I got enough grief from religious fanatics when I ran for unicameral in Nebraska although at least my kids aren’t small any more. I think Elizabeth Warren is a proven fighter. Hillary is too. There’s a few of them around. Unfortunately, they have to get through right wing nutjobs and people like Tester and Ben Nelson of Nebraska that only care about being re-elected. Too bad we can’t overthrow the parties.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Too bad Elizabeth Warren sided with the police against the protesters. Big mistake.

        • Minkoff Minx says:

          I agree BB…Hey OT but BB are you watching that Brain Games on National Geographic? Oh wow, if you can see the third part about eye witnesses? The parole board in Georgia should be shown that portion of the show…it makes me even more mad about the Troy Davis execution. All this scientific studies that have proven just how bad eye witness testimony is. I knew that eye witnesses had problems, but I had no idea there are specific studies and specialist that should have been brought in for expert witnesses. (Maybe they were but seeing it makes it more painful to think about Troy Davis strapped to a board and put to death with veterinary sedatives.)

          Brain Games – National Geographic Channel

    • The journalists have just been typing for so many years, they don’t know how to think of a decent question even if you were pulling their toenails out. Remember Colbert’s White House Correspondents Speech? Really we can’t expect anything from them on this. They are dumbfounded as to what to do. Nobody knows what to tell them to do, so they are frozen.

    • Cynic says:

      Because once you started prosecuting, you would have to go after Dodd & Frank.

  4. ralphb says:

    Having spent some time as an occupier here in Austin this week, I feel comfortable in saying it has not been co-opted at this point. If course being in a backwater is quite different from being in NYC so all bets are off in that regard.

    These young people are putting together something much larger than the normal political protests. This is more a movement for real cultural change. It could be an evolution or a velvet revolution but I think something is coming either way. I know I wish only the best.

    The goals ratified by the OccupyAustin general assembly look a lot like yours Dak. 😉

    This movement is about democracy. We demand that the government be truly responsive to those it represents. We demand an end to the massive corporate influence blocking the voice of the people by eliminating corporate personhood and limiting monetary contributions to political campaigns and lobbying.

    This movement is about economic security. We demand effective reforms to prevent banks and financial institutions from causing future economic crises.

    This movement is about corporate responsibility. We demand strict repercussions for corporations and institutions who cause serious financial damage to our country and its taxpayers.

    This movement is about financial fairness. We demand tax reforms to ensure that corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share in taxes.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Good for you, Ralph! Thanks for the report.

    • dakinikat says:

      That’s great!! It’s amazing to me that the press just can’t seem to grok anything that doesn’t have a USDA certified spokesmodel in front of it.

      • ralphb says:

        Oh Jeez, isn’t that the truth. I’ve never seen such a remarkable failure of imagination on the part of so many. Heard a good test for whether a corporation is a person from a guy earlier this evening. He told me, “I’ll believe a corporation is a person as soon as Texas executes one”.

      • The Dominating Discourse in action. See it now on your local TV. Hi. I miss you.

    • The corps will just go overseas. Everything is deterritorialized now. No way to hold them responsible. They will run.

      We must find a simple, safe, secure place to be. Grow our own food. It’s really easy.

      Scale down our learned greed. There is just such a stupid shopping mentality. I see it at Wal-Marts all the time. Poor people who just got their checks, with the carts filled to the top with pure junk that they could pick up in the thrift stores or yard sales for 10 cents or less o the dollar. Even the thrifts that overcharge when they get free stuff given to them are being passed by. Check the dumpsters out back, that’s where to look.

      Things are going to get really really bad. Get ready.

    • Beata says:

      Excellent report, Ralph. Sounds like the OccupyAustin group is very well-organized and focused. It’s exciting to hear about it! Please keep us updated, okay?

  5. Mr. Mike says:

    How hard would it be to tie capital gains to the length of time an investment is held?

    The longer an investment is held the lower the rate when it’s sold.