Dean Baker, a couple of days ago at Huffington Post, called on readers to go to Chicago to participate in peaceful protests during the annual meetings of the American Bankers Association on October 25 to 27. A coalition of community, labor, and consumer groups are organizing this “Showdown in Chicago.”
If you saw Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story, a disconcerting bit was his discussion of a series of research reports put out by Citigroup for some of its asset management clients in 2005 on “Plutonomy”. It argued that a world ordered to suit the whims of the top 1% was well underway. The only thing that might get in the way was that the other 99% had the force of numbers on its side.
Sometimes it takes a show of numbers to change the dynamic. As Baker pointed out:
The elites hate to acknowledge it, but when large numbers of ordinary people are moved to action, it changes the narrow political world where the elites call the shots. Inside accounts reveal the extent to which Johnson and Nixon’s conduct of the Vietnam War was constrained by the huge anti-war movement. It was the civil rights movement, not compelling arguments, that convinced members of Congress to end legal racial discrimination. More recently, the townhall meetings, dominated by people opposed to health care reform, have been a serious roadblock for those pushing reform….
A big turnout at this event can make a real difference. Just to review the scorecard, most of the country is still suffering the fallout from the bankers’ irrational exuberance of the housing bubble era. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and other forecasters expect the suffering to endure for years to come.
As we noted yesterday, ordinary people who still have jobs are often seeing their wages cut, while Wall Street, the beneficiary of rich subsidies, is expecting a banner year.
If you live in or near Chicago, see if you can organize others to join you. And dress nicely! One favorite strategy is to dismiss protestors as ruffians.