As the organization grows without a list of specific demands, there are some serious political issues that are being discussed outside of the occupation groups, this dialog clearly inspired by the movement. These links are examples:
Note that some of the suggestions run counter to traditional “liberal” principles. If the movement is to be perceived as something other than an amalgamation of liberal special interest groups, all of those with ideas and specific proposals for legislation should have a seat at the table.
The banking industry, after all, has been the primary cause of most of the economic turmoil that has resulted in so many hardships for so many Americans. The following list of resolutions was developed by someone called GandhiKingMindset who offered them as a starting point for the list of “demands” that are still being considered by the Occupy Wall Street group and those local groups that have followed. They are ideas for legislation that is specific to the banking industry, and all of them are “mainstream” in the sense that a potential for a majority already exists.
1. Congress pass HR 1489 (“Return to Prudent Banking Act” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass-Steagall-Act). The repeal of provisions of he Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999 effectively removed the separation that previously existed between investment banking which issued securities and commercial banks which accepted deposits. The deregulation also removed conflict of interest prohibitions between investment bankers serving as officers of commercial banks. Most economists believe this repeal directly contributed to the severity of the financial crisis of 2007-2011 by allowing Wall Street investment banking firms to gamble with their depositors’ money that was held in commercial banks owned or created by the investment firms.
2. Use Congressional authority and oversight to ensure appropriate federal agencies fully investigate and prosecute the Wall Street Criminals who clearly broke the law and helped cause the 2008 financial crisis. There is broad consensus that there is a clear group of people who got away with millions/billions illegally and haven’t been brought to justice. This would be just and cathartic for many Americans who were left with the bill. (See documentary “Inside Job” narrated by Matt Damon for more on this subject).
3. Congress enact legislation to protect our democracy by reversing the effects of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision which essentially said that corporations can spend as much as they want on elections. The result is that corporations are in a better position to buy elections.
4. Congress pass the Buffet Rule on fair taxation so the rich and corporations pay their fair share and close corporate tax loopholes and enact a prohibition on hiding funds offshore. No more GE paying zero or negative taxes.
5. Congress completely revamp the Securities and Exchange Commission and staff it at all levels with proven professionals who get the job done protecting the intergrity of the marketplace so citizens and investors are both protected. This agency needs a large staff and needs to be well-funded. It currently has a minimal budget and is often a lapdog for Wall St. insiders who often find jobs with those same corporations after they leave.
6. Congress pass specific and effective laws limiting the influence of lobbyists and eliminating the practice of lobbyists writing legislation that ends up on the floor of Congress.
7. Congress pass “revolving door” legislation eliminating the ability of former government regulators going to work for corporations that they once regulated. Congress should pass specific and effective laws to enforce strict judicial standards of conduct in matters concerning conflict of interest (the root cause of much of the economic calamities we’ve recently experienced).
8. Eliminate “Personhood” legal status for corporations. The film “The Corporation” has a great section on how corporations achieved “personhood” status.
If the movement is to be taken seriously, and portrayed accurately, it must evolve into a body that can solve problems as well as protest the residual effects of the policies that have inspired it. This will require a collective process that considers all proposals, including those submitted by people who may have agendas that are inconsistent with those of other members. (I have isolated the unions as an example, not to demonize any existing groups). There are many news organizations, media professionals, attorneys, legislators, and community leaders who are not against the movement. Instead, they are looking for reasons to support it. Let us consider the view of all those who have a voice in a true democracy.