Sunday, October 23, 2011

What Should OWS Demand?

Not that anybody has been waiting breathlessly for my opinion, but I’ve finally figured out the single, key demand that OWS should make.

To understand it, consider these premisses:

1. You would have to go back a century to find a time when the financial elite had as large a share of the loot as they do today.

2. In the absence of a large, well-organized countervailing force, money is power.

3. We don’t need new ideas to fix the economy.  The policy obsessed debate the details, but the main contours in debt writedowns, regulation, public investment and related domains are well understood.  The problem is that what is good for the economy is generally not profitable for the rich, and vice versa.  Because of the gross imbalance of power in this country, we are unable to do what needs to be done.

So what’s the key demand?  OWS does not need to make any demands on the Obama administration, much less the Republican shadow government in Congress.  It does need to make a demand on us, the lower 99:

Organize yourselves!  Get rid of the fatalism, cynicism and paralysis that took over when Obama turned out to be Mr. Wrong.  It isn’t about him in any case, it’s about the fact that there is no organized democratic force in America that can challenge the plutocrats.

Not everyone can become an urban camper, so the first item on the OWS, and the Occupy-your-city-goes-here, agenda should be how to expand the movement to reach the millions who would join if they knew how.  Keep the flexibility and commitment to democracy and reflection.  Avoid actions, like political endorsements, that would divide people or channel their energies away from the organizations they can control themselves.

Reach out and scale up.


Larry Hamelin said...

Take out a few words:

No organized democratic force in America can challenge the plutocrats.


Myrtle Blackwood said...

Re: "Reach out and scale up."

How about "reach out and scale down to home production. Our labour to create our capital."

If money is power then make local money.

Bottom line could be that CULTURAL change will create our solutions rather than an organised movement.

John said...

Check out Matt Taibbi's rant. He's on a roll.

And we hate the rich? Come on. Success is the national religion, and almost everyone is a believer. Americans love winners. But that's just the problem. These guys on Wall Street are not winning – they're cheating. And as much as we love the self-made success story, we hate the cheater that much more.

We cheer for people who hit their own home runs in this country– not shortcut-chasing juicers like Bonds and McGwire, Blankfein and Dimon.

That's why it's so obnoxious when people say the protesters are just sore losers who are jealous of these smart guys in suits who beat them at the game of life. This isn't disappointment at having lost. It's anger because those other guys didn't really win. And people now want the score overturned.

"OWS's Beef: Wall Street Isn't Winning – It's Cheating"

Myrtle Blackwood said...

"Wall Street Isn't Winning – It's Cheating"

Perfect system for a select few. They get to print the money, then invest that same money. If those investments don't work out then they simply print more money to cover the losses....and start all over again.

This is 'capitalism'?

1995 was a key year:
Paul Brodsky this week: “At the heart of the matter is the run-up in overnight systemic repurchase agreements among banks that started in 1994, which goosed the ensuing credit-driven buying orgy in our economy and has left the system much more vulnerable to exogenous shocks as a result…. Along with the repurchase agreements, the practice of "sweep programs" helped the banks gain unfair advantage… what Greenspan did was he allowed banks to essentially dodge the reserve requirements by "sweeping" demand accounts. And what I mean by that is, if you have money in a checking account, that is yours to demand anytime you want; the banks have to hold a reserve against that, by law, of 10%. But banks were allowed, through this policy tweak that the Fed had done, to effectively sweep that money out of that account just before the stroke of midnight. So that at midnight when they take the snapshot and say, "How much money do you have to hold in reserve against?" they would sweep the money out of the way. The snapshot would be taken, and the bank would say, "Look, there is no money; we get to hold very light reserves here." And then the money would get swept back in at let us say, 12:01. But during the snapshot period, oops; it would have disappeared.

The G7-inspired yen carry trade (leveraged speculation) inspired a US dollar rally. August 1995

Paul Brodsky: The Seeds of Our Destruction Were - And Still Are - Sown in the Bond Markets
Friday, October 21, 2011

TheTrucker said...

I think some of the people are looking at the system much to closely and are losing any appreciation of the larger canvas. For regardless of all the detail, the financial and insurance industries have become a succubus on the body politic. Far too much "prosperity" is being imparted to this section of the populous at the expense of the rest. And within this section (FIRE???) the games played by the participants are causing further harm to the rest of the people. If the games were settled inside the FIRE sector and not allowed to affect the real economy then we would have far less of a problem. But perhaps that is not possible. My own take on an appropriate solution is pretty well set forth in a "diary" I wrote at Daily Kos.