The Occupy Wall Street protest has exposed the politicians – who have always claimed to be populists – for what they really are: tools of the plutocracy. Conspicuously absent from the Wall Street occupation have been nearly all Democrats – despite their party’s efforts to portray itself as the champion of Main Street in its battle against the tyranny of the megabanks. As has always been the case, the Democrats won’t really do anything that could disrupt the flow of
bribes campaign contributions they receive from our nation’s financial elites.
The “no show” Democrats reminded me of an article which appeared at Truthdig, written by Chris Hedges, author of the book, Death of the Liberal Class. In his Truthdig essay, Chris Hedges emphasized how the liberal class “abandoned the human values that should have remained at the core of its activism”:
The liberal class, despite becoming an object of widespread public scorn, prefers the choreographed charade. It will decry the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or call for universal health care, but continue to defend and support a Democratic Party that has no intention of disrupting the corporate machine. As long as the charade is played, the liberal class can hold itself up as the conscience of the nation without having to act. It can maintain its privileged economic status. It can continue to live in an imaginary world where democratic reform and responsible government exist. It can pretend it has a voice and influence in the corridors of power. But the uselessness and irrelevancy of the liberal class are not lost on the tens of millions of Americans who suffer the indignities of the corporate state. And this is why liberals are rightly despised by the working class and the poor.
If it had not been obvious before the 2010 elections, it should be obvious now. Back in July of 2010, I was busy harping about how the Obama administration had sabotaged the financial “reform” bill:
As I pointed out on July 12, Mike Konczal of the Roosevelt Institute documented the extent to which Obama’s Treasury Department undermined the financial reform bill at every step. On the following day, Rich Miller of Bloomberg News examined the results of a Bloomberg National Poll, which measured the public’s reaction to the financial reform bill. Almost eighty percent of those who responded were of the opinion that the new bill would do little or nothing to prevent or mitigate another financial crisis. Beyond that, 47 percent shared the view that the bill would do more to protect the financial industry than consumers.
Both healthcare and financial “reform” legislation turned out to be “bait and switch” scams used by the Obama administration against its own supporters. After that double-double-cross, the liberal blogosphere was being told to “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain”.
In an earlier posting, I discussed the sordid efforts of the Democratic-controlled Senate to sabotage the financial reform bill:
The sleazy antics by the Democrats who undermined financial reform (while pretending to advance it) will not be forgotten by the voters. The real question is whether any independent candidates can step up to oppose the tools of Wall Street, relying on the nickels and dimes from “the little people” to wage a battle against the kleptocracy.
Since the Occupy Wall Street demonstration has gained momentum, a number of commentators have analyzed the complicity of hypocritical Democrats in ceding more unregulated power to the very culprits responsible for causing the financial crisis. The most important of these essays was an article written by Matt Stoller for Politico. Stoller began the piece by debunking the myth that the cancer known as “financial deregulation” was introduced to the American system by the Reagan administration:
Like President Bill Clinton before him, Obama and his team believe in deregulation and are continuing a “let them eat cake”-style social contract that solidified during Ronald Reagan’s presidency. As this contract has fallen apart, so has the strong coalition behind Obama’s presidency.
We haven’t seen a challenge to the bank-friendly Democratic orthodoxy for 40 years. The progenitor of this modern Democratic Party was Jimmy Carter. Though Reagan and Clinton helped finish the job, it was Carter who began wholesale deregulation of the banking industry – as Jeff Madrick details in his new book, “The Age of Greed.”
In signing the landmark Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act of 1980, which lifted usury caps, Carter said, “Our banks and savings institutions are hampered by a wide range of outdated, unfair and unworkable regulations.”
Stoller provided some hope for disillusioned former supporters of the Democratic Party by focusing on three Democratic state attorneys general, who have been investigating possible fraud in the securitization of trillions of dollars of mortgages. Matt Stoller referred to these officials – Eric Schneiderman of New York, Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada and Beau Biden of Delaware – as the “Justice Democrats”. As Stoller observed, a number of other officials have been influenced by the noble efforts of these Justice Democrats:
There are other politicians following this path. Jefferson Smith, an Oregon state representative now running for mayor of Portland, successfully fought legislation to make foreclosures easier in that state. Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen in North Carolina took on banking interests by fighting foreclosure fraud. Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings has been dogged in his investigations of mortgage servicers.
It should not be surprising that these officials have been getting quite a bit of pushback from their fellow Democrats – including Delaware Governor Jack Markell as well as a number of high-ranking officials from the Justice Department, led by Attorney General Eric Hold-harmless.
When the Occupy Wall Street protest began on September 17, what little coverage it received from the mainstream media was based on the “giggle factor”. With the passing of time, it becomes increasingly obvious that the news media and our venal political leaders are seriously underestimating the ability of the “little people” to fight back against the kleptocracy.