Below is what I've put together for the Portland Occupy protests. The below ideas aren't meant to be original, only pragmatic and effective in uniting the 99% against the forces of Wall St., the Federal Reserve and finance capital in general. If you agree with even a majority of these ideas it is in your best interest to help me further them. I've blanketed the Portland protests with my fliers and nearly everyone camped there is intimately familiar with them. So far, the 1st demand has made it on to their list of the major demands that they are calling for. This is it folks. Mass protests and perhaps strikes are on the horizon. This is your chance to make a difference. We are living what will be future history. Either join now in making that history or be damned.
Once again. Email me at "firstname.lastname@example.org
" (All email addresses associated with PDX + revolution were taken.)
1 :: Student Loan Amnesty
Today it is common for graduating seniors to carry $50,000, $75,000, or even $100,000 of debt. Add the costs of an advanced degree in teaching, law, or medicine, and the debt burden becomes astronomical. The exorbitant cost of a college education reflects the increasing immiseration of the United States over the past 40 years, as the overall standard of living has declined by two thirds or more in terms of real wages and other considerations. These debts are owed to the same bankers who cashed in on the Bush bailout of 2008, and the even larger loans issued by Ben Bernanke of the Federal Reserve over recent years. This is a system of brutal primitive accumulation against the life chances everyone who knows that they need a college degree to be employable in the 21st century. Total students loan indebtedness is now approaching $1 trillion. This grinding debt is destroying the futures, the lives, and the hopes of college students and recent graduates. When a debtor country like Greece is unable to pay its debts, it is normal to hear talk of a haircut for the bondholders and bankers. It is time for the Wall Street banks to take a haircut on student loan debt. Most of this debt cannot be paid off, but an entire generation can be ruined by a futile attempt to pay it back. A leading demand must therefore be a total cancellation of all outstanding student loan debt, meaning a total and immediate forgiveness of all payments of principal and interest coming from this category of borrowing. This is also the best stimulus program possible.
2 :: Stop Foreclosures
In the area of home foreclosures, the bankers have trampled on the law to seize millions of homes, some of which never had a mortgage, and many of which were current in their payments. The banks have used corrupt robo-signers, robo-cops, and robo-judges to carry out these fraudclosure thefts. The answer is to make foreclosure a federal crime for the duration of the economic crisis, so that anyone who throws an American family out on the street will end up in prison. Again, the bailout receiving Wall St. bankers can eat the losses, which are unavoidable in any case. This is not an impossible demand: under the New Deal, the Frazier-Lemke Act stopped all foreclosures on homes, provided only that the owners could get a minimal payment plan approved by any judge in any court. With the help of popular pressure and public opinion, foreclosures virtually came to a halt. This is what we need to be demanding today.
3 :: Defend & fund the social safety net
Wall Street and Washington elites agree that the American people ought to be subjected to genocidal austerity – cuts so draconian that they will kill people. The goal is obviously to fund bigger and better bailouts of Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Chase when they go bankrupt the next time around. Real unemployment in the United States is now about 25%, meaning that 30 million people cannot find work, and many have been looking for years. Therefore, we need to extend jobless benefits to all unemployed, including those who have been out of a job for 99 weeks and more. 46 million Americans are now surviving thanks to Food Stamps, but the reactionary Republicans are demanding savage cuts, and Obama is more than likely to cave. We also need to defend programs that specifically help children and young. These include S-CHIP, which gives health care to poor children; Head Start, which provides breakfast and preschool for poor kids; and WIC, which provides high-protein meals for pregnant women, nursing mothers, and infants. Older people have special problems, including that Wall Street speculators have destroyed the value of their 401(k) and IRA retirement plans. This means that Social Security pensions should be increased, and not cut. The best healthcare would be to open Medicare to all Americans, while making the investments needed to maintain quality. Medicaid gives healthcare to poor people of any age, and these payments must be maintained.
4 :: Pay for Healthcare and social services with a 1% Wall Street Sales Tax:
How these programs can be paid for is simple: the Tobin tax or Wall Street sales tax. Today the total financial turnover of the bankers in terms of buying, selling, and other trading comes to well over three quadrillion dollars yearly – that’s more than 3,000 trillion dollars. The rest of us pay sales tax on most purchases, often including the groceries, but Wall Street bankers and hedge funds pay absolutely zero on that colossal sum. The most unfair aspect of the entire US tax system is that Wall Street pays virtually no taxes. It is time for the bankers to cough up 1% of every stock, bond, and derivatives transaction, be it program trading, high frequency trading, or computerized flash trading at the rate of one million transactions per second. The total revenue could be split between the federal government and the states, and would amount to hundreds of billions of dollars, perhaps even trillions. There is nothing impossible about this demand: the federal government had a financial transaction tax from the time of World War I to 1967. And even today, the largely right wing governments of the European Union are about to enact their own Tobin tax. It must be done here as well.
:: 5: Nationalize the Federal Reserve:
Simply “Ending the Fed” will not break the power of Wall St. The Federal Reserve is owned and controlled by Wall St. not the other way around. The creation of credit is something that should not be done in secret at the whim of unaccountable and unelectable clique of predatory bankers; the size of the money supply, interest rates, and approved types of lending must be determined by public laws passed and debated openly, passed by the congress and signed by the President. Institute 0% federal LENDING with preferential treatment for tangible physical production and manufacturing of goods and commodities, to include industry, agriculture, construction, mining, energy production, transportation, infrastructure, public works, and scientific research, but not financial services and speculation. Issue successive tranches of $1 trillion federal loans as needed to create 30 million union-wage productive jobs and attain full employment for the first time since 1945, reversing the secular decline in the US standard of living. Provide 0% credit to reconvert idle auto and other plants and re-hire unemployed workers to build modern rail, mass transit, farm tractors, and aerospace equipment, including for export.
:: 6: End Free Trade:
30 years of “Free Trade” policies have wrecked the US economy and middle class and done nothing to raise the global standard of living where Billions survive on less than a dollar a day. Free Trade is a Race to the Bottom. Free Trade gives rise to incredibly powerful, unaccountable, trans-national corporations that have no vested interest in any given country – regardless of where they put their “Headquarters”. Set up a 10% tariff to protect domestic reindustrialization. Re-launch the US industrial sector by first rebuilding collapsing US infrastructure to modern standards. Rebuild the rail system to 21st century standards including the most advanced maglev rail possible. Stop the attempted privatization of USPS, public utilities or other state run sectors. Encourage unionization. Use our advanced technological sectors and revitalized industrial sectors to close the trade deficit. Work in building a national coalition of nations dedicated in shutting down the various international tax havens that are used as a primary means of the 1% dodging taxes, covert economic warfare and money laundering.
:: 7: End the Wars:
Empire isn’t good for the world and it’s not good for Americans. Bring the troops home. Begin selling military bases on foreign soil. In the modern age it is not only wasteful and immoral to be ‘saber rattling’, encircling and antagonizing other nations, it is plainly stupid as the escalation to nuclear war is a very real possibility. Protect and expand veteran and active-duty benefits. There will be no shortage of jobs and education for returning soldiers in helping reindustrialize the US. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq alone have cost trillions of dollars, much of which is a feeding trough for the Military Industrial Complex and privatized branches of the armed forces. Claw back money from the M.I.C. through auditing and investigations into war profiteering.
:: 8: Seize Wall St. Banks & Implement Regulations:
All the major Wall St. banks are leveraged to the hilt with off-balance sheet derivatives liabilities. The estimated total of these off-balance sheet derivatives is at 1,500 Trillion (which is over 100 times the amount of our National Debt). No amount of 0% credit from the Federal Reserve or bailout money can make these banks solvent. You can’t bail out a black hole. Make them put those liabilities on their balance sheet thus exposing their insolvency then seize them and liquidate them through chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings. This includes but is not limited to: JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Citibank, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America. Other individual banks balance sheets will speak for themselves. Reinstitute Glass-Steagall to separate savings banks, investment/speculative banks and insurance companies. Make off-balance sheet liabilities or assets illegal, markets cannot function with the value, liabilities and assets of banks and financial institutions being secretive. Set up a 15% reserve requirement for all OTC derivatives. Set a 10% maximum rate of interest on credit cards and payday loans. Re-regulate commodities markets with 100% margin requirements, position limits, and anti-speculation protections for hedgers and end users to prevent oil and gasoline price spikes. Enforce labor laws and anti-trust laws against monopolies and cartels. Restore individual chapter 11.