Politics and the media have for the most part shown themselves impotent, indifferent, or in cahoots when it comes to confronting and rolling back the takeover of the United States by the super-rich and the super-corporations.
Since the days of Clinton, we’ve been reminding ourselves of the words of FDR to progressives pressing for the New Deal — “Make me do it.” Envying the attention and power granted the tea party. Millions march all over Europe in response to austerity measures that make the people pay for the failures of the financial class. Millions march in the Arab Awakening when hunger, poverty, corruption, and autocracy prove too much to bear and social media connects and informs the people like never before. When will Americans take to the streets?
September 17th, a small group of demonstrators camped out in a downtown New York park and Occupy Wall Street was born. Occupy Los Angeles emerged a week ago, October 1st. Both are alive and well. As of Saturday the Occupy movement has spread to 1,016 cities in the US and abroad. There has been carping in the mainstream media about the movement’s lack of focus, lack of clear message, lack of specific platform or demands. The closest thing to a brand for the movement so far is the claim that, “We are the 99%”. I think this is a wonderful opening. It’s based on cold hard facts. It is inclusive. Even a tea partier knows they are part of the 99%. Inequality is problem #1 in this country. from which all else follows, including a corrupted political system that is not able to meet the challenges we face.
I don’t think anyone knows where this goes…At some level a lot of us have grown so resigned to the dominance of money in our society that I’m not sure too many have a plan how to get from here to where we need to get.
I think we each also have to invent the role we are going to play as this story unfolds.
I’ll be joined by representatives for both Occupy Wall Street — NELINI STAMP (Working Families Party) and MELANIE BUTLER (Code Pink) — and Occupy Los Angeles — LISA CLAPIER (media, Occupy LA) and SHARIF ABDULLAH (Commonway.org). I plan to ask them to tell their individual stories, report what’s happening around them and what they think it means.
Has government of, by and for the people perished from the United States?
January 21st, a divided Supreme Court reversed precedent and law, voting 5-4 in Citizens United v. FEC to remove limits on corporate contributions to political campaigns. We'll discuss the decision in the context of money in politics, looking at potential outcomes and possible remedies.
BOB EDGAR is President and CEO of Common Cause, a grassroots advocacy organization working for democracy reform, with nearly 400,000 members and supporters and state chapters in 36 states. Edgar previously served as general secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, the leading U.S. organization in the movement for Christian unity, and before that as president of the Claremont School of Theology. He was elected to the U.S. House in 1974, the first Democrat in 82 years to represent the heavily Republican 7th Congressional District near Philadelphia.
SCOTT NELSON is an attorney at the Public Citizen Litigation Group in Washington, D.C., where he has practiced since August 2001. After graduating with honors from Harvard College, Nelson attended Harvard Law School, and was elected President of the Harvard Law Review in 1983. He then served as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Byron White. Nelson represented key Congressional sponsors of McCain-Feingold before the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.