Today the Committee considered a slew of bills that tear down many of the Wall Street reforms passed in 2010. These reforms were already imperfect, as Wall Street sent the full force of its lobbying to the Hill in 2010 to compromise these reforms as much as possible.
Wall Street, having succeeded in 2010 in watering down the reforms meant to regulate them two years after they ruined the economy, did not rest. They have been lobbying nonstop since then to do everything they could to gut these reforms even more.
Today, nine deregulatory bills were considered, and nine were passed. The most egregious, HR 992, which we wrote about on Monday, passed 53-6. This bill is named "Swaps Regulatory Improvement Act", but it should be called, "If Banks Get Bailed Out, We'll Get Sold Out. Again." This is the bill that makes the cost of doing business for Wall Street lower by exploiting the implicit backing of the Federal Government. It allows banks to hold risky derivatives in the insured depository--that part of the bank that is insured by the FDIC. As we wrote yesterday, this is dangerous because derivatives are senior in bankruptcy--derivatives counterparties get paid out first.
Occupy the SEC works to ensure that financial regulators act in the public interest as opposed to Wall Street.
One recent incarnation of their efforts can be seen in their involvement in a fight to prevent runs on money market accounts, as reported in Reuters.
They have also been one of few voices to speak up against the appointment of Mary Jo White, a former Wall Street lawyer, to run the SEC. Not only has White worked for nearly every bank in the past 10 years, but her husband is still working for them. Read Occupy the SEC's letter to the Senate Banking Committee asking serious questions about her nomination, and Matt Taibbi’s scathing indictment, alleging that White used her government connections to get a regulator fired when he dared to investigate her client, Morgan Stanley.
Just this week, Occupy the SEC has filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of New York against six federal agencies, over those agencies' delay in promulgating a Final Rulemaking in connection with the "Volcker Rule."
We’re glad to see that Occupy the SEC’s decades of collective experience working at many of the largest financial firms in the industry is going to such good use!
Posted on occupywallstreet.net, a moving first-person account of the recent climate change rally in D.C. brings you along with protesters on a bus from the Rockaways. Take inspiration from how the residents of the Rockaways took time out from “learning to attack mold with special chemicals, navigating government bureaucracies and becoming self-taught case managers...to make an impact on activists from all over the country.”
On the blog "The Raw Story" political hip hop artist Immortal Technique, a stalwart of OWS who gave “a voice to the urgency of the causes” in the park, reminds readers that the spirit of OWS is still very much alive. “Those people are still out there,” he says, but “...helping people get food and shelter isn’t quite as attention grabbing...” as watching footage of aggressively suppressed street protests.
At The Optimist, Sophie Bloemen parses the legacy of the Occupy movement noting the mass mobilization of young people as well as the great number of successful and vibrant initiatives that came directly from the movement’s tented origins in 2011. As she says, “Occupy...may only be the first tremor.”
Occupy these Actions & Events
Saturday, March 2nd and Sunday March 3rd, 12-6pm Occupy Data Hackathon Cuny Graduate Center, 365 5th Avenue
Data mining and visualization for the 99%. At the event, we’d like to focus on a few new data sets/projects. Occupy Sandy and Aaron Swartz’s work has come up, and generated a lot of interest. Any ideas, data resources you may know of or questions, please let us know: Occupy Data listserve or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, March 4th, 11:45am-1:30pm Break Up the Megabanks...HSBC Rally HSBC 41st Street and 5th Avenue
The OWS Alternative Banking Group will have a picket on the day HSBC will release their annual report. Our picket on Valentine's day was a major success. Watch Manny Manhattan News for the TV version of the picket-This coming Wednesday night, 1:00am, channel Spirit-3 at MNN.org. Or channel 57 in Manhattan only.
Sunday, March 10th, 2pm Unorganized Workers Assembly Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South
Join the Occupy Your Workplace group for a discussion of strategy and tactics of workplace organizing. We'll have several folks present who have experience as workplace "salts" - workers who get jobs with the aim of organizing. Workers who are curious about organizing, experienced organizers and activists, union members, and all other workers and non workers welcome. RSVP for the event on Facebook.
Thursday, March 14, 2013 Defend Education Day Campus
SDS/Occupy Colleges is hosting a National Day of Action against Tuition and Fee Hikes. Join to get updates on flyers, coordination calls and other distribution materials. Message Occupy Colleges and we will help promote your campus/ organizations demonstration.
Wednesday, March 13th, 5:30 Tuesday, March 19th, 5:30pm Screening of “Earthlings” and Occupy for All Species: Social Justice in the Age of Climate Change (a talk by Mickey Z.) Hunter College 695 Park Avenue
“Earthlings” is a movie that intends to free us from a dark cave, into seeing what is hidden from most of us...the shadows of happy circus elephants by whom we are "entertained"; the “fashionable” clothes we wear; the cosmetics we wear in search of “aesthetics”, or the happy farm animals we see on children's books. Oscar Award winner Joaquin Phoenix narrates.
Come view "Earthlings" at Hunter College on March 13 and then follow-up with discussion there, less than a week later.
Save the Date: March 22nd - March 24th Organizing New York March 22-24 United Federation of Teachers, 52 Broadway
Join hundreds of leaders, organizers, techies and activists to share our wisdom, skills, and talents. We will have workshops, discussions, consulting and networking opportunities, visionary speakers and a provocative debate around strategy and practices.
Over three days right by Wall Street, we will bring together a thousand people to learn from each other, share stories and strategies and build our skills, organizations and movements.
This is an event that occupy organizers will be participating in to build and share their skills. It will assuredly build upon the success of last year’s OWS unconference that was held in collaboration with Organizing 2.0.