IDEAS FROM THE 99 PERCENT. At the heart of the Occupy Wall Street movement is an understanding that our political system has failed to address the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression. Where our politicians and pundits have failed, Occupy Wall Street has succeeded in bringing issues like inequality, corporate ownership of politics and prolonged joblessness to the forefront of public debate. Yet, some still trivialize, criticize or attack the Occupy movement for lacking specific demands. They clearly miss the point of its message. And they aren’t paying attention.
To be sure, there’s no shortage of smart policy proposals to address the crises that beset us. As I’ve argued before, sane and humane policy solutions exist, such as those in the Congressional Progressive Caucus People’s Budget. Our special forum in this week’s issue takes stock of some of those proposals. In “Ideas From the 99 Percent,” diverse voices, including William Grieder, Rinku Sen, Tamara Draut and Sarah Anderson offer concrete policy solutions—debt relief for struggling homeowners and students , fairer taxation policy and corporate governance rules, reducing interest rates on federal student loans, and instituting a financial transactions tax on Wall Street speculation. Be sure to read more about these and other ideas here.
WE THE PEOPLE. One very specific and concrete proposal that has caught on in Occupy encampments across the country: to introduce an amendment to the Constitution that would reverse the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United and limit the pernicious influence of corporate money in our political system. This is the central goal of the We the People Campaign launched this week with colleagues Jim Hightower and Jay Harris. The Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United opened the flood gates to corporate spending in elections. But it has inspired progressive groups to resist, organize and regain control of our democracy. For more, be sure to read the Huffington Post’s report on our efforts here. I also joined Jay Harris on Thom Hartmann’s The Big Picture this week to talk about the influence of corporations on current US politics. Ending corporate personhood—along with “clean money” reform featuring small donations and public funding—will help us liberate government from the grip of corporate power. Watch that here. And be sure to watch the campaign launch video below.
PAUL RYAN: CLASS WARRIOR FOR THE WEALTHY. As colleague Ari Berman notes this week, Congressman Paul Ryan revealed himself to be a first-rate demagogue and a class warrior for the wealthy when he declared during a speech at the Heritage Foundation that President Obama is “sowing social unrest and class resentment.” In our cover story last week, Berman explained how Ryan—the architect of a draconian budget roadmap that would enact tax cuts for the wealthiest and at the same time increase the deficit—owes his rise to the so-called centrist deficit hawks in DC, who’ve helped validate his radical policy positions. I joined MSNBC’s The ED Show Thursday night at its new primetime slot at 8 pm to condemn Ryan’s inflammatory comments on Obama and his pandering to Washington’s “austerity class.” Watch that here.
AMERICA’S WILDEST SCHOOL BOARD RACE. “Big Money, Bad Media, Secret Agendas” sums up what DC correspondent John Nichols describes as America’s wildest school board race. On The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell earlier this week, Denver school board candidate Emily Sirota argued that special-interest groups are taking advantage of loopholes in Colorado election law to funnel massive amounts of campaign cash to her opponent, and stack the Denver school board with pro-voucher, pro-privatization candidates. You can read more of John’s coverage of the Denver school board campaign here.
THE OCCUPIED WALL STREET JOURNAL. If you’ve been to Zuccotti Park, you would have seen a broadsheet in circulation among occupiers and onlookers. The Occupied Wall Street Journal is no pamphlet or scrappy samizdat. It’s the official, professionally produced four-page newspaper of the occupation. And it’s now available online. The paper captures the beauty and power of Occupy Wall Street. And this piece by Jennifer Sacks offers an on-the-ground look at the indispensable People’s Library—a one-stop shop of literature for and about the occupation.
NATION CONVERSATIONS. Every week, The Nation brings you exclusive audio of Nation forums, events, seminars and salons with Nation writers and editors with in-depth discussions on hot button issues of the day. Whether you’re on-the-go or just lounging around at home, Nation Conversations is available as a podcast through iTunes or as a stand-alone MP3. Become a subscriber here or through the iTunes app store.
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