For far too long Wall Street has been occupied by hostile forces.
For about 220 years, in fact.
In March, 1792, twenty-four of New York City’s leading merchants met secretly at Corre’s Hotel to discuss ways to bring order to the securities business and to wrest it from their competitors, the auctioneers. Two months later, on May 17, 1792, these merchants signed a document named the Buttonwood Agreement, named after their traditional meeting place, a buttonwood tree. The agreement called for the signers to trade securities only among themselves, to set trading fees, and not to participate in other auctions of securities. These twenty-four men had founded what was to become the New York Stock Exchange. The Exchange would later be located at 11 Wall Street.
Born and bred to exclusivity, raised in full view of the public, and propped up by a taxation system that relies on an affluent bourgeoisie that the system itself seeks to extinguish, it’s no wonder that when the American People exercised their Constitutionally protected freedom of assembly on sidewalks that they’d paid for and built, The System struck back.
Having its servants (I thought they were Public Servants? Silly me) net and then mace a group of peaceful women protestors:
Conducting eldritch legal seances to resurrect long-dead statutes for all the world as if their own identical suits and Goldman Sachs haircuts weren’t the ne plus ultra in depersonalization and the very basis for this:
Sooner or later, New York City will run out of cops, or perhaps the budget burden will become so steep that Billionaire Bloomberg will petition the President to bring in Erik Prince and his Band of Bloodthirsty Bros.
Some are already writing the eulogy for #OccupyWallStreet, somewhat prematurely. But all voodoo devotees know you have to write it down before you draw the pentagram and cast the spell to make it come true.
Editors at Adbusters, a Vancouver-based magazine (mission: “topple existing power structures”) wanted to see if they could spark demonstrations just by posting the idea using social media. It created a Twitter topic with the hashtag #OccupyWallStreet, asking people to come to New York’s Financial District to join what they said would be tens of thousands in a “leaderless resistance movement” objecting to banks, capitalism and other perceived evils. Egypt’s Tahrir Square was cited as precedent.
The protests last week were a bust, but perhaps the young protesters learned a lesson: Just because it’s on social media doesn’t make it true.
The article goes on to say that the reports of violence were completely overstated. Scroll up on this post. Or, if you prefer, scroll down.
Anyone with eyes open knows that the gangsterism of Wall Street — financial institutions generally — has caused severe damage to the people of the United States (and the world). And should also know that it has been doing so increasingly for over 30 years, as their power in the economy has radically increased, and with it their political power. That has set in motion a vicious cycle that has concentrated immense wealth, and with it political power, in a tiny sector of the population, a fraction of 1%, while the rest increasingly become what is sometimes called “a precariat” — seeking to survive in a precarious existence. They also carry out these ugly activities with almost complete impunity — not only too big to fail, but also “too big to jail.”
The courageous and honorable protests underway in Wall Street should serve to bring this calamity to public attention, and to lead to dedicated efforts to overcome it and set the society on a more healthy course.
And now, if you still aren’t sufficiently riled, I suggest you put this on repeat, then follow these instructions to create your own shield of relative invulnerability. And if that doesn’t work, get a haircut, a briefcase, and a blue suit, and enjoy the sight of the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave on its knees to you.
For the visual learners among us, here are some instructions from those total slackers and hippies at MIT:
In related news, the Vancouver Philospher’s Cafe this Monday is on whether or not violence is a valid form of expression.
Is violence an appropriate medium of expression?
Our city recently witnessed a display of violence as an expression of disappointment over a lost hockey game. We also have seen societies unleashing collective violence to (presumably) contain further violence. So let’s talk about the morality of violence.
As always, I am hopeful our engagement would reflect the fundamental creed of our Café: any idea worthy of conception, is worthy of reflection, of examination, of analysis, of critique (and of even being laughed at, poked at or mocked provided of course if we can manage to do it respectfully or as deliciously as the late George Carlin would do.)
Many thanks. See you TOMORROW at the CAFÉ AMICI.