[Marxism] Showdown in Chicago--a grassroots reform movement

Greg McDonald sabocat59 at gmail.com
Mon Oct 26 03:29:20 MDT 2009




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I'm going to Chicago next week for the American Bankers Association
meeting. Oddly, I haven't been invited to the Roaring '20's dance
party I hear they're having.

Why wouldn't they celebrate the era of wild money and hot times (which
slid into the Great Depression)? After all, the bankers are doing well
these days.

They're doing well because after financial institutions caused the
global economic crisis, we bailed them out, to the tune of some $700

Now they're in good enough shape to pay the suits $7 billion in
bonuses for driving working families and our economy to our knees --
to the verge of a second full-fledged depression.

Things might be turning around for the bankers, but for the rest of
us, unemployment heads toward 10 percent and home foreclosures
continue to devastate families and communities. Working families have
lost health care, pensions and savings--and in exchange we've gotten
predatory lending, outrageous overdraft fees and sky-high credit card
interest rates.

Meanwhile, the bankers are doing the Charleston, taking taxpayer
money, handing out bonuses for disastrous failure, becoming profitable
without lending money that could put people back to work -- and
spending billions lobbying Congress to kill financial reform.

Shameless. Absolutely shameless.

On Tuesday, about 5,000 of us will be in Chicago to tell them what we think.

It's called the Showdown in Chicago. We're gathering outside the
American Bankers Association meeting to demand financial reform and
re-regulation that will allow us to rebuild our communities, our lives
and the real economy.

We've got a lot to rebuild.

For decades, these bankers have been dealing to each other in what
amounts to their own private casino, inventing more and more exotic
financial vehicles together and basically regulating themselves. Their
Wild West capitalism allowed them to take outsized risk with no
oversight and then come hat in hand to the American taxpayers when
their house of cards collapsed.

They've become a menace. No one is safe while their private casino
bankrupts the real economy and ignores necessary investments in jobs,
health care and retirement without oversight or regulation.

This is a complicated topic, but we can break down a plan for reform
into four basic needs.

   1. The Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) that President
Obama has proposed. This agency would protect the public against
credit card and mortgage rip-offs. The agencies that were supposed to
protect us from financial meltdown failed. The CFPA would place
consumer protection authority in the hands of a single agency that
would monitor banks and other institutions and their credit products
like mortgages and credit cards -- but not your butcher, as a
ridiculous over-the-top ad by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce claimed.
   2. A council of regulators to identify and fix systemic risks that
could threaten the entire financial system -- risks such as
institutions becoming "too big to fail," too complex or too
interconnected. When the government intervenes, the purpose has to be
to protect the public, not just rescue executives and rich investors.
The past year has proven that the Federal Reserve Board is just too
close to the banks. We need either to reform and democratize the Fed
or to give this job to a true public agency. Let's do it right.
   3. Bring the "shadow markets" into the daylight. Most people
probably don't really know what hedge funds, private equity funds and
derivatives are or do. You're not supposed to -- it makes them easy to
manipulate. They've been unregulated and totally lacking in
transparency. These vehicles need serious regulation and oversight
before they suck more money into the black hole of convoluted
   4. Reform corporate governance and CEO compensation to protect the
interests of long-term investors -- people saving for retirement, not

It's time we hold banks and other financial institutions accountable
for making this mess that required trillions of our dollars to clean

It's time to hold them accountable for the pain they've inflicted on
working families.

It's time to put them back to work for working people, supporting
families and jobs.

I've been spending a lot of time on Capitol Hill, calling for reform
in meetings with committee chairs and other members of Congress. And
everywhere I go, financial industry lobbyists are there, pushing back
all out to block reform.

Congress is deciding right now how it will shape financial reform --
we need congressional support and intense presidential leadership.

Call your members of Congress. They're sure hearing from front groups
for the banks. They need to hear from you, too. Tell them to produce a
financial system that isn't set up to reward big banks at the expense
of everyone else. The money has to start flowing to regular people and
businesses that can create jobs.

And if you're in Chicago on Tuesday, join me. We'll meet up at 10:30
a.m. at Wacker Drive and Michigan Avenue to march to the Sheraton
Chicago Hotel & Towers where the bankers are meeting.

See you at the Showdown.

Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-trumka/showdown-in-chicago_b_330209.html

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