Saturday, October 15, 2011

Demands, Version 1.0

1. Re-instate the Glass-Steagal Act.
This was a major protection built into the financial system during the Great Depression to protect it from overly risky financial behavior by banks. Its repeal allowed the mortgage crisis to happen. Find a brief historical overview here.

2. Disallow corporations from acting as virtual "people".
Repeal Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission by amendment. Why? Because a corporation is not an actual person, but a conglomeration of many people, therefore with a large pool of money. This creates a serious imbalance of influence that this so-called "person" can have in the use of electioneering broadcasts--with implications reaching far beyond that. A short overview is here.

3. Eliminate lobbying--or at the very least, make it fully transparent.
Lobbying does some of the greatest harm to the process of democracy by using money to influence political decision making, with great consequence to many American people. Some say the way to do this is make government smaller--my concern is that there would then be less control over business interests, and we all can see where that took us. Transparency in the process seems more viable, and a principle that would do well to be applied to nearly every other process as well. Why not simply outlaw it? Because it is protected by the 1st Amendment. So unless we can get around that (and can we? Should we?), we must change it in such a way that its harm is greatly reduced.

4. Audit the Federal Reserve, then take action on the results.
The story goes that $9 trillion is unaccounted for. So do an audit--don't ask citizens for even more money to cover it. Then make sure it never happens again, and make sure those who caused this are held accountable.

5. Stop our current wars now, and don't get into any new ones unless our country is directly attacked.
The cost of our wars since 9/11 is over $3.7 trillion--so far. Fight Al Queda in some other capacity than full-on occupation. Don't get into another new war based on scare tactics about Iran. End (and punish) war profiteering.

6. Replace Wall Street insiders that have been installed in the government's financial sector.
Both parties have done this--perhaps the most lucid descriptions of this are in the film Inside Job, truly must-see viewing for every citizen. There is no way Wall Street--or big business in general--can be kept responsible and accountable when its insiders have been put in charge of policing them--which they seem not to be doing.

7. Prosecute the guilty. 
Companies fixing oil prices. Goldman-Sachs. Lehman Brothers. W. The list can go on and on. Let's see some action on all such crimes. A few have finally been prosecuted, but many, many more have not even been charged. If our legal system lets it all slide, it is as guilty as the perpetrators.

8. Eliminate the major tax breaks on the 1%.
And as an extra safeguard, let's put in a regulation that they cannot pass this "cost" on to workers and consumers. It should come out of the windfall. Working people and those in poverty are hanging on by threads--if they are taxed even more, they could lose homes and lives. The very wealthy can afford to pay more tax without ending up on the street.

It's been said that protesters have no clear set of demands. This short list is just a quick start. Use it as a jumping-off point for your own list. Then, get out and be heard. Be articulate. Be intelligent. Be peaceable. Be insistent. Be clever, and be loud.

Be victorious.