How to Boycott Wall Street

08/06/20130 Comments

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by James Corbett
August 6, 2013

It has to be regarded as one of the biggest ironies of our times that the two largest political movements of the past decade, although seemingly occupying opposite sides of the meaningless left/right political divide, actually started out from substantially the same point with their anger directed at substantially the same target. I speak of course of the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, movements that we have been conditioned to believe represent ideals in mortal opposition, coming as they do from the supposed “far left” and “far right” of the so-called political spectrum.

Sadly, as with so many other political movements, these movements did eventually morph into the caricatures that the corporate media created for them. The Tea Party became Tea Party Inc., funded by the Koch brothers and taken over by Dick Armey and Glenn Beck and the Republican Party machinery. Occupy Wall Street, meanwhile, quickly lost momentum and, ultimately, all cultural relevance as it, too, was co-opted by Soros and the Democratic Party machinery into an adjunct of the Obama re-election campaign.

But neither the latter-day form of the Tea Party nor its Occupy counterpart shed any light on the shared source of outrage that motivated both groups in their original, grassroots forms: the banksters of Wall Street.

That Occupy Wall Street was originally directed against the financiers of Wall Street does not require much explanation. From the protestors' choice of Zuccotti Park in the heart of the Manhattan financial district to the very name of the movement itself, the thousands of Occupiers who descended on Wall Street in September 2011 were clearly motivated by the outrage at the string of abuses, arrogance, and outright fraud in the financial realm that had brought the economy to its knees just three years earlier.

That the Tea Party originated from that same anger is not nearly so well known. In fact, the first Tea Party protest was organized by a Boston 9/11 Truth group in 2006 and involved throwing copies of the 9/11 Commission Report into Boston Harbor. The protest was then taken up by the End the Fed movement that had arisen in the wake of the Lehman Bros. collapse and subsequent bailout of Wall Street. This Tea Party, motivated by outrage at the financiers who had so recklessly gambled with the world's economy, and the governments (both Republican and Democrat) that had then backed them up at taxpayer expense, sought to abolish the United States' privately owned central bank, whose board members are in fact the heads of the big six Wall Street megabanks.

As we now know, these movements were quickly spun off into that cartoonish version of reality that seems specially reserved for American political debate. Instead of reflecting on the fact that vast swathes of both the left and right were in fact organizing around opposition to a common enemy, the financial vultures and their cronies in the bought-and-paid for government, the corporate media succeeded in driving the wedge between these groups until it was merely “teabaggers” versus “occutards.”

As disappointing as this is, perhaps there is a lesson to be learned from this experience: namely, that the politicians, the media, the financiers and the other supporters of the status quo are not particularly threatened by mass political movements, marches on Washington, or demands for government to do something about the situation. But what they do live in mortal fear of is that people will start taking the matters into their own hands and doing the only thing that it is within our direct and immediate power to do: to withdraw our money from the financial web that they have spun around us.

The idea of a Wall Street boycott is neither new nor radical. It has been advocated many times before, including in the wake of the bailout when, hoping to capitalize on public anger at the bankster class that was so clearly emerging as the real power in Washington, a group called Move Your Money emerged urging the public to take their money out of the Wall Street institutions and into local credit unions and savings and loans.

Just as the original Tea Party's End the Fed rallies were monitored by the United States Army Reserve and just as the FBI put Occupy Wall Street under surveillance even after identifying it as a peaceful group, so too has the Move Your Money movement had its share of unfavorable run-ins with the erstwhile “law enforcement” agencies who are ostensibly there to “protect and serve” the people's interests.

One of the most startling examples came at the height of the Move Your Money campaign in October 2011 when a St. Louis Police Department SWAT team was called in to barricade the doors of a Bank of America branch to physically stop a group of protesters from withdrawing their money from the bank.

The point of the boycott, of course, is not merely to starve the Wall Street fat cats, but to use our money to build up a viable alternative infrastructure. One of the people who has been writing and researching this topic for years is Catherine Austin Fitts, a former investment banker and Assistant Secretary of Housing who has started her own wealth management service, Solari Investment Advisory Services, that concentrates on this process of decentralization and the creation of alternative, ecologically and socially balanced wealth building. She joined me on Global Research TV last year to discuss these issues.

The potential upside of this process of divesting ourselves of our stake in the Wall Street services is nearly incalculable. The downsides mainly consist of losses of convenience that the Wall Street financial infrastructure presents. Like all boycotts, it will not happen completely or overnight, but piece by piece individuals can start moving their money away from the Big Six megabanks or their equivalents in countries around the world and into community banking, leveraging modern communications technologies to create communities of interest that allow for those networks to interact with each other.

This is only one piece of a much larger puzzle, a puzzle that consists of boycotting Big Tech and Big Food, adopting alternative and complementary currencies, the use of open source software, hardware, tools, 3D printing technologies and the like. But it is an important piece of that puzzle.

The road from here to one in which there is a viable, healthy alternative financial infrastructure that the majority of the population will feel secure in supporting is a long and arduous one, to be sure, but there is a bright side: the revolution does not have to start in the streets of Manhattan or in London or Tokyo or other financial center. This revolution begins at home, it begins with us, and, if you so choose, it begins today.

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