Wednesday, October 19, 2011

History Lesson on Occupy Wall Street

How Occupy Wall Street Really Got Started

Meet the international activists who lit the fuse for the populist protest movement that's sweeping the world.

Letter to a dead man about the occupation of hope

Dear young man who died on the fourth day of this turbulent 2011, dear Mohammed Bouazizi,

I want to write you about an astonishing year -- with three months yet to run. I want to tell you about the power of despair and the margins of hope and the bonds of civil society.
I wish you could see the way that your small life and large death became a catalyst for the fall of so many dictators in what is known as the Arab Spring.

We are now in some sort of an American Fall. Civil society here has suddenly hit the ground running, and we are all headed toward a future no one imagined when you, a young Tunisian vegetable seller capable of giving so much, who instead had so much taken from you, burned yourself to death to protest your impoverished and humiliated state.

You lit yourself on fire on December 17, 2010, exactly nine months before Occupy Wall Street began.  Your death two weeks later would be the beginning of so much. You lit yourself on fire because you were voiceless, powerless, and evidently without hope. And yet you must have had one small hope left: that your death would have an impact; that you, who had so few powers, even the power to make a decent living or protect your modest possessions or be treated fairly and decently by the police, had the power to protest. As it turned out, you had that power beyond your wildest dreams, and you had it because your hope, however diminished, was the dream of the many, the dream of what we now have started calling the 99%.

How Deregulation of the Banks Created the Mess on Wall Street


Meet William Black, author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One.  He was Director of the Institute for Fraud Prevention during the Reagan administration and blew the whistle on the scandalous Savings and Loan scandal of the 1980s and 1990s where 747 out of the 3,234 savings and loan associations in the United States failed. His book addresses the current bank crisis, which he says is 70 times worse.
Today he is now a lawyer and economist at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  He is interviewed by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, which aired on Wednesday, October 19.

Black was interviewed on April 3, 2009 by Bill Moyers.  Here is the link and accompanying transcript.

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