FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Michael Lewis Advises Occupy

by MISSY BEATTIE

The concept is somewhat egotistical.  But if you believe that what you have to offer is valuable, the published self-interview is an attention getter.

Recently, Michael Lewis, author of Liar’s Poker, used the device and cornered my vision field when he wrote an article about the Occupy Wall Street movement (OWS) and proposed suggestions for its improvement.

Lewis admitted, “I think it [OWS] is a bigger deal than I did when it first started.” He continued with an important observation–that people didn’t like the occupiers living on their streets, “but they liked what they stood for.”

Precisely.  The 99 percent not present at an occupy site, yet watching from wherever, applauded the condemnation of economic injustice created by the exploiter/capitalist class.

Many people, though, have expressed frustration and criticism that the movement lacks focus.  “It needs a concise list of demands,” a friend wrote in an email.

In cities and communities throughout the country, the young, old, and in-between have gathered to discuss grievances, cutting through a thicket of outrages to agree on an agenda that includes education reform, universal healthcare, jobs creation, immigration rights, repeal of the Patriot Act, overturning Citizens United, abolishing student debt, an end to home foreclosures, and saying no to war.  Most groups focus on broad issues as well as those impacting their particular locales.

Many tactics have been conceived to denounce Wall Street crime and the awarding of trillions of dollars in bailout money paid by taxpayers.

But what is accomplished when demonstrators prevent tourists from entering an attraction like the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum?  Answer: The tourists get really pissed.

And what is accomplished when protesters stand in front of the White House?  Answer: Nothing.

And what is accomplished when volunteers sign petitions, make phone calls to their representatives, or walk the halls of Congress to engage staffers?  Answer: A little bit of nada.

Michael Lewis’ guidance to advance OWS will deliver:

… if I were in charge I would probably reorganize the movement around a single, achievable goal: a financial boycott of the six “too big to fail ” Wall Street firms: Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo. We would encourage people who had deposits in these firms to withdraw them, and put them in smaller, not “too big to fail” banks. We would stigmatize anyone who invested, in any way, in any of these banks. I’d try to organize college students to protest on campuses. Their first goal would be to force the university endowments to divest themselves of shares in these banks.

Let’s hit where it hurts—in the bellies of the behemoths.   If all among the 99 percent withdrew their money, these financial institutions would collapse.

Who wouldn’t get behind this strategy?  Answer:  Only the too big to fail-ers.

Because the BIG GREEDERS that pulled the sod out from under so many men, women, and children, enslaving them in a vortex of despair, continue, unregulated, amassing wealth beyond belief.  Their insatiable avarice would make Beelzebub blush.

Occupy should listen to Michael Lewis.

Missy Beattie lives in Baltimore, Maryland.  missybeat@gmail.com.  

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

February 09, 2016
Brian Foley
Interview With a Bernie Broad: We Need to Start Focusing on Positions and Stop Relying on Sexism
February 08, 2016
Paul Craig Roberts – Michael Hudson
Privatization: the Atlanticist Tactic to Attack Russia
Mumia Abu-Jamal
Water War Against the Poor: Flint and the Crimes of Capital
John V. Walsh
Did Hillary’s Machine Rig Iowa? The Highly Improbable Iowa Coin Tosses
Vincent Emanuele
The Curse and Failure of Identity Politics
Eliza A. Webb
Hillary Clinton’s Populist Charade
Uri Avnery
Optimism of the Will
Roy Eidelson Trudy Bond, Stephen Soldz, Steven Reisner, Jean Maria Arrigo, Brad Olson, and Bryant Welch
Preserve Do-No-Harm for Military Psychologists: Coalition Responds to Department of Defense Letter to the APA
Patrick Cockburn
Oil Prices and ISIS Ruin Kurdish Dreams of Riches
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange, the UN and Meanings of Arbitrary Detention
Shamus Cooke
The Labor Movement’s Pearl Harbor Moment
W. T. Whitney
Cuba, War and Ana Belen Montes
Jim Goodman
Congress Must Kill the Trans Pacific Partnership
Peter White
Meeting John Ross
Colin Todhunter
Organic Agriculture, Capitalism and the Parallel World of the Pro-GMO Evangelist
Ralph Nader
They’re Just Not Answering!
Cesar Chelala
Beware of the Harm on Eyes Digital Devices Can Cause
Weekend Edition
February 5-7, 2016
Jeffrey St. Clair
When Chivalry Fails: St. Bernard and the Machine
Leonard Peltier
My 40 Years in Prison
John Pilger
Freeing Julian Assange: the Final Chapter
Garry Leech
Terrifying Ted and His Ultra-Conservative Vision for America
Andrew Levine
Smash Clintonism: Why Democrats, Not Republicans, are the Problem
William Blum
Is Bernie Sanders a “Socialist”?
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
We Can’t Afford These Billionaires
Enrique C. Ochoa
Super Bowl 50: American Inequality on Display
Jonathan Cook
The Liberal Hounding of Julian Assange: From Alex Gibney to The Guardian
George Wuerthner
How the Bundy Gang Won
Mike Whitney
Peace Talks “Paused” After Putin’s Triumph in Aleppo 
Ted Rall
Hillary Clinton: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Gary Leupp
Is a “Socialist” Really Unelectable? The Potential Significance of the Sanders Campaign
Vijay Prashad
The Fault Line of Race in America
Eoin Higgins
Please Clap: the Jeb Bush Campaign Pre-Mortem
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Invisible Epidemic: Radiation and Rising Rates of Thyroid Cancer
Andre Vltchek
Europe is Built on Corpses and Plunder
Jack Smith
Obama Readies to Fight in Libya, Again
Robert Fantina
As Goes Iowa, So Goes the Nation?
John Grant
Israel Moves to Check Its Artists
Dean Baker
Market Turmoil, the Fed and the Presidential Election
John Wight
Who Was Cecil Rhodes?
David Macaray
Will There Ever Be Anyone Better Than Bernie Sanders?
Christopher Brauchli
Suffer Little Children: From Brazil to Flint
JP Sottile
Did Fox News Help the GOP Establishment Get Its Groove Back?
Binoy Kampmark
Legalizing Cruelties: the Australian High Court and Indefinite Offshore Detention
John Feffer
Wrestling With Iran
Rob Prince – Ibrahim Kazerooni
Syria Again
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail