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While Wall Street Walks, We The People Get Tased

May 22, 2013

The People are not, unfortunately, too big to jail

What are We The People supposed to do when our government refuses to pursue justice? Should we turn a blind eye when the United States Department of Justice essentially declares the big banks who wrecked our economy and forever destroyed the futures of millions of Americans “too big to jail”? What should be the public response when the only ones to be held accountable for bad financial decisions are the little people? How should we react when the weak-tea ‘fixes’ put in place by a corporately-owned Congress are systematically watered down to inconsequence?

Most of us would probably say that the least we could do is protest. It’s the only tool we have in our arsenal.  And so there have been protests. The entire Occupy movement was a protest against the banks themselves. But for all the awareness Occupy raised, it did not produce change. It did not bring justice. In fact, in city after city, we saw Occupy protesters arrested, gassed, tased and beaten. The People, apparently, are not too big to jail.

Since the Occupy summer, millions of Americans have lost their homes, many of them to illegal foreclosure practices by the big banks. The government’s solution, again rather than prosecuting this malfeasance, was to sign off on a settlement which will award most victims a whopping $300.

“Lost your home? Credit destroyed? Here! Have $300.”

Even the bad ol’ Bush administration prosecuted Enron and WorldCom. Even Bush the 1st prosecuted over a 1,000 criminal cases in the wake of the S & L crisis of the 80’s. (Although they did also create the concept of “too big to fail” by bailing out Continental Illinois.) This time around? Nada.

So homeowners, organized by Home Defenders League and Occupy Our Homes, wronged by the banks and failed by the Obama administration’s Department of Justice, spent two days this week protesting the lack of Justice.

“Everyone here is fed up with Holder acknowledging big banks did really bad stuff but [saying] they’re too big to jail,” says Greg Basta, deputy director of New York Communities for Change, who helped organize the event. Holder has previously suggested that prosecuting large banks would be difficult because it could destabilize the economy. The attorney general recently tried to walk those comments back – but the conspicuous lack of criminal prosecutions of bankers tells another story…

Alexis Goldstein, a former Wall Street employee and current Occupy Wall Street activist who was also at the event on Monday, agrees. “I want Eric Holder to uphold the rule of law, regardless of how much power the criminal has,” says Goldstein. She says the lack of criminal prosecutions has created a “culture of immunity” that only gets further entrenched by the small settlements that banks now consider a cost of doing business. “There’s no risk,” she says, adding that the DOJ is effectively “incentivizing breaking the law.”

Yay! We The People fight back! Power to the people!

And what was the result of this action? Zero acknowledgement from the Department of Justice, Holder, or anyone else in the administration. (With a little police brutality thrown in for good measure.)

Activists note with dismay that the government has been significantly harder on people who stage nonviolent demonstrations against Wall Street than it has on the crooked bankers responsible for the housing crisis. Goldstein and Basta both say they witnessed law enforcement using tasers on multiple protesters this week.

So while the Wall Street elite who took down, not just the US, but the global economy are off scot-free and once again raking it in hand over fist, the few Americans willing to speak out are arrested and tasered. USA! USA!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 8, 2013 12:22 pm

    Will we ever know what’s in the Transatlantic Trade Partnership? I’m certain the big banks will play a leading role. I wonder if we are capable of even imagining the outrageous implications. What haven’t we seen yet? No wonder so many people want to arm themselves for protection against what may soon become global rebellious rage at the current rule of corruption. How tragic when many little people still believe in the decency of man and put forth small but hopeful projects such as solar electricity in an impoverished and isolated African village.

  2. May 28, 2013 1:01 am

    Reblogged this on jlp4dblog.

  3. May 23, 2013 11:49 am

    Reblogged this on Leaning Left and commented:

    Accountability. Apparently too much to ask.

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