Advice for Occupy: Year Two

The one year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street has come and gone. More than 180 were arrested in New York, creating a wave of energy for new, possibly more focused protests. Now, the Occupy movement has to ride that wave into real political action.

The Occupy Wall Street movement needs to organize and assert its true message. That message should involves demands for opportunity equality, removing money from politics, and reinstating controls in the banking industry that would prevent private investment banks from merging with public savings institutions and separate any such entities that exist.

The Occupy Movement should first and foremost organize protesters and the message the protesters are to present. Members of the movement should also express their grievances in writing to their Representatives and Senators and demand legislative relief. Use personal experience to illustrate the need for change.

The public, Congress, and the President needs to be made aware that the Occupy movement wants equality of opportunity. To that end, we need to demand more investment in public education, public libraries, and public universities. A great education is a great equalizer. If the rich wish to dangle the carrot of fabulous wealth over the rest of society, they should not be upset if someone learns to build a set of steps to grab it.

Occupy must also make it clear that money does not equal free speech. To that end, we must demand the repeal of Citizens United v. FEC. If the Supreme Court decides that corporations and unions can spend as much cash as they want in elections because that’s the way they express their free speech, then by extension my free speech is diminished because I cannot afford to outspend a single corporation.

Free speech cannot be purchased, and if it can be limited by libel and slander laws, we should darn well be able to regulate the amount of money constitutes “free speech” in political campaigns.

Reinstating controls in the banking industry that would prevent private investment banks from merging with public savings institutions and the separation of any that exist is of course the heart of Occupy Wall Street.

The whole disaster that perpetuated Occupy was caused by private investment banks merging with public savings institutions. Private investment banks were never meant to be bailed out by the government. The FDIC was intended to protect consumers against public bank failure or robbery. Mixing private and public assets allowed billionaires to be written checks by our government which were subsequently used to pay bonuses and send people on vacation.

Americans have every right to be angry at the fraud that was perpetuated by greedy bankstsers and unscrupulous mortgage companies. They should be angry that public savings banks were allowed to combine with private investment entities to create “too big to fail” casinos designed to make the rich even richer. They should be angry that the super-wealthy who benefitted from the misery of the 99% are now writing eight and nine figure checks to prevent any of us from ever reaching their level of wealth or even enjoying a decent standard of living. They should be extremely angry that educational opportunity is being stripped from the general public to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy, wars, and just about anything else politicians can think of.

It’s time for you to stand up, Occupy.

It’s time for you to focus your strategy.’

It’s time to realize that freedom isn’t free if it has a “for sale” sign on it.

It’s time for us to take our country and our Constitution back from those who purchased it