I love that the Occupy Wall Street movement is communicating, how? With a broadsheet newspaper, The Occupied Wall Street Journal. The people there have talked of how wonderful it is, that once it’s printed it’s a record of the event. They’ve extolled the fine tactile sensation of the crinkling pages, the impression of the still photography…you’d almost think they’d never seen one before. It’s a fine way to communicate, to define a movement.
A lot has been made of the lack of goals of the protest. But that seems to be a shallow criticism. It’s very clear that the aim is to point us toward a just society, one where corruption is routed, one where government doesn’t bend to, or isn’t fully controlled by the high-moneyed interests whose drive for deregulation was so successful, culminating in the passage of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley act, that it toppled the very controls that were put in place in 1937 — the Glass-Steagall act — to preserve the capitalist system.
Yes, curbing the excesses of the financial industry is necessary to maintain a semblance of our society. You don’t have to know a credit default swap from a collateralized debt obligation to understand that powerful forces put sway to mere mortals. It’s become obvious that Wall Street and the banking system needs to be protected from itself in order to survive. The OWS movement is a sane cry to save a system that we believe can work for all its citizens, at the expense of high tech rip off artists who had no idea of what they were creating, even as they amassed obscene billions.
So I’d go along with Matt Taibbi, who enumerated five points in Rolling Stone (www.rollingstone.com) to begin the process — Break up the ‘too big to fail’ monopolies; pay for bailouts by taxing all trades of stocks and bonds; no public money for private lobbying; tax hedge fund gamblers beyond the paltry 15 percent they pay now; and change the way bankers get paid. Read his piece, he has details for each point.
And get a copy of The Occupied Wall Street Journal. It’s a treat, and preserves and highlights the value of another piece of modern life that we need — the newspaper.
Just a note to writers of political letters — as always, attack letters will not suit the pages next week, the last before the election, as they cannot be answered. So hone your rhetoric (keep ‘em short, please) and make your points in a succinct, bloodless fashion. Thanks. ++