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Who Is Winning The War on Wall Street? 

Politics / US Politics Dec 05, 2011 - 02:00 AM GMT

By: Danny_Schechter

Politics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleWall Street has become a battleground, defended by a battalion of New York Cops, and under surveillance around the clock.  There’s a war under way after months of protests and assaults by the non-violent warriors of Occupy Wall Street.

So, who’s winning?

On the surface, despite major layoffs and economic setbacks, you would have to say that the epicenter of our financial markets is alive, if not well. The exchanges and banks remain open for business, even if their costs for security are up, and their long-term optimism is way down.


Attempts by occupiers and activists to “shut it down” have so far failed, but they have slowed it down and forced its defenders on the defensive. A sharp critique of out of control capitalism that was barely heard in the media before the movement began. It is now everywhere. The Movement has changed the national conversation.

The gluttons of greed are, at least temporarily, on the defensive.

But, is the movement forcing reforms or restraint?. Not yet. Europe’s pain so far seems to be America’s gain, as bailouts there drive stock prices here higher.

Also, as we are learning, there is not much that the Federal Reserve won’t do behind the scenes to keep big banks flourishing. We just found out, 3 years after the fact, that they pumped a whopping $17.7 TRILLION in no interest money into the coffers of financial institutions whose lobbyists and media decry big government intervention and Socialism.

Down, the street, the Occupiers are winning a moral victory just by surviving. Their slogan dejure is now “It’s So Not Over,” even as they lost the Park that was their base and have suffered setbacks across the country by what seems like a coordinated Municipal counter-offensive.

Public opinion seems to turn against protesters when there’s violence or conduct considered outrageous, but the New York Times reports, “The Occupy Wall Street protests continue to spread around the country, highlighting grievances some Americans have about banks, income inequality and a sense that the poor and middle class have been disenfranchised. A recent New York Times/CBS News poll found that almost half of the public thinks the sentiments at the root of the movement generally reflect the views of most Americans.”

So, on one level, Wall Street is losing whatever positive reputation in may have enjoyed, even if the Movement challenging it still lacks a specific program.

What would winning consist of in this context?

For the financiers and the investors, it’s all about money and they are still making it, even if bonuses go down for a while. They continue to deepen inequality by transferring wealth from the rest of us into their pockets. The 1% is hardly hurting the way the 99% is
Their lobbyists and the politicians that follow their lead have managed to thwart any real financial reforms, mild as they were. Risky derivatives remain risky. The Industry has succeeded in keeping a shadowy banking system none---transparent, despite the agencies that are lowering their credit ratings and the State Attorney Generals that are beginning to summon up the courage to file lawsuits.

Critics of Occupy Wall Street want the movement to grow up, be more focused and “pragmatic” as in engaging in policy debates defined by others. In a specious denunciation of “The Decadent Left,” Russ Douthat, one of  The Times Op Ed wags.  snipes  that the “movement was dreamed up in part by flakes, and populated in part by
fantasists.”

To him, being political means moving from the outside to the inside and lose the very qualities that built the movement. It means not aligning with unions or building coalitions. It means playing the game.

In contrast, I believe the movement has to stay true to itself, but make all of these issues more personal to the American people who are suffering because of Wall Street’s manipulations.

They have to be told who is really responsible for their terrible distress:  the loss of jobs, pensions and homes.

The information is there—but the movement needs to find ways of dramatizing it and communicating it, the more specific and less rhetorical the better.

It’s time for an economic justice campaign that names and shames the reprehensible Wall Street elite, a crew that constitutes less that.1% of the 1%.

We have to demand three I’s and a P: 

  1. Investigate who stole what
  2. Indict wrong doers
  3. Prosecute the guilty
  4. And Incarcerate White Collar Criminals

That’s how to send a signal to Wall Street:  Make it personal!

Go after prosecutors in Cities, States and the Justice Department to force  them to explain why none of the big banksters responsible for our economic misery have, so far, gone to jail. (More than 1700 fraudsters were imprisoned after the far less serious S&L crisis.)

These CEO’s knew what they were doing and they are getting away with it!

This approach won’t transform the economy but it will make the targets of the campaign more concrete, visible and immediate. It raises demands for economic fairness that most Americans support.

The current system of agencies agreeing to settlements without anyone admitting responsibility has to stop.

The cover-ups by politicians and the complicit of media have to stop.

We have had bailouts. Now, its time for a “jailout!”

Talk about an issue that so many agree on but yet has been so politicized and so minimized by prosecutors seeking excuses.

Yes, the Industry has a flotilla of high priced lawyers who know how to evade and avoid justice. Yes, they rewritten the laws to make it hard to convict.

But, until now, there has been no one in the streets—with protests or pitchforks---demanding justice. Occupy Wall Street has shown that you can influence the agenda.

This issue is a no-brainer. Who will pick it up?

News Dissector Danny Schechters film and book Disinformation. For more information, Http://www.plunderhecrimeofourtime.com.

    News Dissector Danny Schechter has made a film and written a book on the “Crime Of Our Time.” (News Dissector.com/plunder.) Comments to dissector@mediachannel.org

    © 2011 Copyright Danny Schechter - All Rights Reserved
    Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors


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