Investigative journalist, author and documentary filmmaker Danny Schechter, who also goes by ‘The News Dissector," appeared on Democracy Now to discuss his new film called "Plunder" along with his new book on the same subject called "The Crime of our Time."
Near the end of the interview, Mr. Schechter called on progressive and liberal activists to emulate the Tea Party by hitting the streets, and begin protesting the Wall St. robbery of the country. He told Amy Goodman:
The Tea Party is not having polite seminars about economic financial mechanisms. They’re out in the streets organizing and where is the response? Come on, people, we’ve got to get out there too, and raise the flag of economic justice, because that’s the flag that is not being raised by the Tea Party.
The inaction on the part of social justice activists is puzzling to a lot of people, including me. There have been no protests in front of big banks like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and others since the start of the financial meltdown. But recent charges against Goldman Sachs could change that. People are beginning to examine the economic situation a little more critically. Currently the bullseye is on Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein.
One reason why progressives have been sitting out so far is because there are no major news organizations that are actively pushing an anti-Wall St. narrative to the public. Fox News, on the other hand, has driven the political discourse in the Tea Party protests, along with Republican strategists like Dick Armey, Newt Gingrich, and some others. Another reason is that Barack Obama and the Democrat party tried their best to capture the progressive voice in 2008, and their strategy has worked well very well up to now. But their grip is waning. More and more left-leaning individuals are starting to see through the Obama fraud, and will have to go around him to bring real justice to Wall St. If they’re smart, they would join hands with Tea Party protesters on this issue, and invite them to their Wall St. protests.
There is a rich history of street protests in America. And they usually have a big effect on the thinking of the ruling elite. Mark Kurlansky wrote briefly about non-violent street protests in the years leading up to the American Revolutionary War in his book, "Nonviolence: Twenty-Five Lessons From the History of A Dangerous Idea":
Both demonstrating and rioting for a wide range of causes were commonplace in eighteenth-century America. One historian, Paul A. Gilje, counted 150 riots and street actions in the thirteen colonies just between 1765 and 1769. Though rules of class conduct were not rigid, generally the upper classes wrote pamphlets and negotiated, while the lower classes took to the street. The lower classes would cart around effigies of officials at their demonstrations before hanging, burning, or beheading them. Even before television there was a belief that effective nonviolence needed to be visual, needed a sense of theater to attract an audience. When the British passed the Stamp Act in 1765, the colonists staged a series of demonstrations throughout the colonies. In Charleston, South Carolina, two thousand demonstrators protested taxes by burning effigies and then staging a mock funeral for the death of "American Liberty." The stamp officials were forced to resign in every colony but Georgia. The demonstrations were accompanied by a boycott of British goods. The result of all this was that within a year the act was repealed. (pg. 77)
The non-violent tactics of political antagonism that was present in those days need to be repeated now, and not just on Wall St. and in America, but across North America, Europe, and the world. The domination of criminal finance knows no borders. Nonviolent activists must keep that in mind. The problems of debt in Europe, Africa, and America, originate from the same source. The ties between firms on Wall St. and organizations like the World Bank and IMF are deep and disconcerting.
Criminal and fraudulent actions by big banks need to be punished, and new system-wide regulations on credit and finance need to be established. The Federal Reserve Bank, and other private central banks around the world must be abolished, and replaced with public banking. Usury must also be abandoned. Issues such as accountability and public financing are not restrictive to the politics of left and right. A wide political coalition needs to embrace the idea of the common good. As Orwell said, the national interest is a fact of popular politics.
Progressives and liberals can show their force by making their voices heard in public. Demeaning and denouncing Tea Party protesters is ineffective, all it does is create divisions where none should exist. So instead of taunting the active, why not become active yourself? What better way to make your voices heard than by pounding your feet in the streets? Nothing else gets as much attraction and attention. And depending on our various governments to fix the crisis and punish the banksters is a pipe dream. There is no getting away from the ugly realities that confront us. People of all political persuasions, classes, color, and creed, must face the political scandal that is emerging on Wall St.
Never forget that in political theater, the audience has the most important role to play.