Sunday, April 29, 2012

If you thought #occupy was over, consider this

occupy wall.jpg
In New York City, the tent city has been swept away (more than once, sometimes brutally). The discontented still march sporadically and perform street theater. But think about this:

As the more visible signs of the movement fade, with their encampments all but cleared from the country’s public spaces, the Occupy wonks have doubled down on their policy work behind the scenes. They’re slowly gaining attention for their efforts — not just from the news media, but also from the some of the financial rulemakers and gatekeepers they’re hoping to influence.

Most of the wonks in New York jumped into the movement like everyone else: They showed up at Zuccotti Park last fall, curious about the gathering, sympathetic to its cause and uncertain what would happen next. But as Occupy Wall Street evolved and branched off in different directions, they found themselves gravitating to the “working groups” that aimed to reform big finance from the inside out. And some saw an opportunity to make change in a very unlikely place: the regulatory process.

… Anyone is allowed to weigh in. But industry groups, lawyers and lobbyists issue an overwhelming number of formal comment letters to regulators, as they tend to have the most money, resources and technical expertise. The immense complexity of the Volcker Rule has proven daunting even to the country’s biggest banks and lobbying groups, which have devoted teams of lawyers and number-crunchers to puzzle out its impact on the industry. Occupy the SEC aims to be a counterweight to this deep-pocketed lobbying push. ...

These folks apparently are doing the drudgery of understanding the complexities of Congress' inadequate "financial reform" and influencing the process to make the new law begin to do its job. This is not everything we might want, but they've decided there's something to be done for the 99 percent by digging into the weeds. Go read the whole thing!

When I came up in progressive politics, we didn't do things like that. When we perceived injustice, we confronted the politicians and promised to keep afflicting them until they fixed it. We thought it was their job to come up with more just policies. Our job was to keep the pressure on. We were usually distrustful of any of our number who appeared to be making the transition from outsider to expert. We won some and we lost some.

Maybe I've mellowed excessively, but I'm glad some of the Occupiers have decided they have to demonstrate the same mastery of policies as their opponents. Now, if those folks can just remember that they still need the hordes outside to keep the pressure on -- and if the hordes of us who are the ordinary shock troops of progressive movements can give some of our number space to learn the ins and outs of how we get screwed, we just might get something done -- together.

1 comment:

Rain Trueax said...

My hope is they will run for office as the tea partiers did. Although obviously they were strongly funded all along by big money. The other thing is that if the occupiers run and win, then I hope they remember why they got elected. So many forget.

Related Posts with Thumbnails