Friday, April 8, 2016

Bernie Sanders occupies Wall Street?

March for Bernie demonstrators
Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/
LightRocketv/Getty Images
From recent correspondence

Edited by Morris Dean

Four fairly recent articles examine Occupy Wall Street, and three of them see strong affinities between the movement and Bernie Sanders:

“What Happened to Occupy Wall Street?” [Michael Levitin, Atlantic, June 10, 2015] Excerpt:
On her first campaign stop in Iowa in April, Hillary Clinton struck a decisively populist tone, declaring that “the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top.” Later, she sharpened her rhetoric on income inequality by comparing the salaries of America’s richest hedge fund managers with kindergarten teachers.
    Clinton isn’t alone. Democratic presidential challenger Bernie Sanders has spent the spring railing against the excesses of Wall Street greed while calling for a financial transactions tax and a breakup of the big banks. Even leading Republican contenders have jumped on the inequality bandwagon: Jeb Bush, through his Right to Rise PAC, asserted that “the income gap is real,” while Ted Cruz admitted that “the top 1 percent earn a higher share of our income nationally than any year since 1928,” and Marco Rubio proposed reversing inequality by turning the earned-income tax credit into a subsidy for low-wage earners. [read more]
“Former Occupy Wall Street protesters rally around Bernie Sanders campaign” [Adam Gabbatt, The Guardian, September 17, 2015] Excerpt:
On 17 September 2011 a group of protesters occupied Wall Street. Their unpolished campaign sought to draw attention to financial inequality. To healthcare issues. And to the problem of student debt.
    If that sounds familiar, it is because four years on, Bernie Sanders’ own campaign has highlighted many of the same grievances. It is no coincidence. In 2015 many of the protesters who cut their teeth in the Occupy encampments are now campaigning for the Democratic candidate.
    “There’s 50 million people who are impoverished here in America,” said Stan Williams, an Occupy Wall Street stalwart who is now co-organiser of African Americans for Bernie.
    “He talks about the 99%. He talks about the 1%. So a lot of the things he talks about resonate with me.” [read more]
“‘March for Bernie’ Is an Occupy Wall Street Homecoming” [Shawn McCreesh, Rolling Stone, January 31, 2016] Excerpt:
Beside the woman wearing a Donald Trump mask and head-to-toe Barney the dinosaur costume, holding a sign constructed from cereal boxes that says, "FUCK YOU," a man brandishing his own sign declaring "I'M ON ACID" shouts, "Look out New York City, here we come!" And with that, Saturday's March for Bernie commences, as at least a thousand Bernie Sanders supporters pour out of Union Square, flooding Broadway on a march toward Zuccotti Park, the birthplace of Occupy Wall Street.
    Before Trump/Barney can explain her outfit, or her support for the Vermont senator, the space is overrun by people taking the day's events far more seriously. "I've been recruiting people for the revolution since my first Bernie meet-up, in July," explains Rachel Bernstein, a local teacher, drawing me away from the spectacle. "There were only four people there. Back then, hardly anyone in New York knew who he was." [read more]
“The Movement Has Found Its Leader: Bernie Sanders” [Joseph A. Palermo, Huffington Post, February 12, 2016] Excerpt:
Back in the fall of 2011, when the Occupy Wall Street movement seized Zuccotti Park and then spread at unprecedented speed across the globe the criticism we heard coming from the corporate media (when they weren’t denouncing the movement outright) was that the movement had “no direction” and had “no leaders.”
    We were lectured at. We were dismissed. We were mansplained. We were told we were “naïve” and didn’t know how the economy worked. “Your criticisms of Wall Street might be popular,” they said, “but your program is vague and your movement is rudderless.”
    Enter Senator Bernie Sanders.
    In case you haven’t noticed, the centerpiece of Senator Sanders’ campaign is the exact same critique that Occupy Wall Street offered us four and half years ago: Wall Street is functioning as a criminal enterprise that is too big to fail, too big to jail, and too corrupt to manage an economy upon which the 99 percent depend. [read more]
Grateful for correspondence, Morris Dean

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