When a small band of citizens took to the streets on September 17th of last year few knew what to make of them. What followed was an explosion of creativity and activism – first leading to thousands coming to New York City to Occupy Zuccotti Park Liberty Plaza, then to sister occupations in cities and towns throughout the country and most recently to a series of offshoot movements like Occupy Our Homes.
The latest offshoot I have become aware of is Occupy The SEC which represents a different kind of activism because rather than physically trying to stop foreclosures or occupying a specific space, Occupy the SEC offers detailed policy responses to proposed financial regulations.
From the Occupy The SEC website:
Occupy the SEC is a group of concerned citizens, activists, and financial professionals with decades of collective experience working at many of the largest financial firms in the industry.
Why is this significant? Because despite public acknowledgements by Bankster CEOs and executives that Occupy Wall Street “is right, in general” the relentless attack from the Corporate Media has been that protesters are not sophisticated enough to understand the many splendored financial markets and the firms that operate in them and subsequently Wall Street and its activities are so complex that the average American can not understand them enough to critique them. This fallacy forms much of the basis for the elite and their media’s backlash against OWS. The trotting out of Wall Street apparatchiks (who happen to be in government at the moment) to deliver a consensus view of how the economy works and why Wall Street is indispensable has been a perpetual dog and pony show to confuse the citizenry on what is actually going on.
But is there really such a consensus among those with the suitable qualifications and knowledge bases? Au contraire mes amis réactionnaires.
If nothing else Occupy The SEC offers more proof that such a consensus is not overwhelming within the financial industry (if it ever existed at all). Below two members of the Occupy The SEC working group, Alexis Goldstein and Caitlin Kline, discuss a comment letter Occupy The SEC issued on the implementation of the Volcker Rule (Start at 5 mins).
If you are anything like me, and if you are lucky you aren’t, nothing beats schadenfreude. And oh how this Up with Chris Hayes segment, complete with an exchange between Congresswoman Maloney and Goldstein, serves up the schadenfreude. The Congresswoman is caught flat footed and tries to keep pivoting to the transportation bill then says one of her FinReg bills does something different than it actually does… but no. As someone that has worked for a few legislators I will only say in fairness that few to none of them actually write the bills they sponsor and vote for – most bills are written by staff in conjunction with various interests. Which is to say it is possible that Congresswoman Maloney is not being dishonest just genuinely doesn’t know what is in her own bills (if that makes it better?).
Revenge of the technocrats! Now this does represent a real threat to the status quo’s modus operandi vis a vis Wall Street (there’s no such thing as too much Latin in one sentence etc.) because there is a standing media process to filter moralistic and partisan arguments regarding Wall Street’s greed and criminality – greed is necessary and “it’s just a few bad apples” – but there is currently no real filter for claims based on technical exactitude. So for now this seems to be a pretty effective tactic though I imagine Wall Street will resort to the tactical response conservatives use when opacity starts to fail, outright fantastic lying.
In any case, Occupy The SEC is definitely an offshoot of OWS to watch and I’m looking forward to see what they come out with next. Check out their Blog.