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Posts Tagged ‘Zuccotti Park’

This holiday season, buy the perfect gift for that loved one who took a stand against America’s plutocracy: a large print of the Occupy encampment at Zuccotti Park. The poster is “printed on Premium Heavy Stock Paper which captures all of the vivid…

Click on Wal-Mart Monetizes the Occupy Movement for the complete story.

Wal-Mart Monetizes the Occupy Movement (via Moyers & Company)

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New York police on Tuesday demolished the Manhattan camp of the anti-Wall Street protests in a surprise raid which threw the two-month-old movement into crisis.

Despite launching a swift legal challenge to the dismantling of their tent camp in Zuccotti Park, a judge backed a ban on pitching tents in the private area, ruling the demonstrators could gather but not camp or sleep there.

Throughout the day, protestors played a game of cat-and-mouse with authorities as they sought to re-establish their camp a stone’s throw from Wall Street, the symbolic epicenter of a movement protesting alleged corporate greed which has spawned copy-cats in other US cities and abroad.

But in the evening, police reopened the park and let the demonstrators back in one-by-one, stressing they would not be allowed to stay there for the night.

“No one will be denied entry,” a police officer said at the gate, as people began to wander back in again. Once inside, the crowd began to chant: “All day, all week, occupy Wall Street.”

Both sides were claiming a victory of sorts after judge Michael Stallman ruled that the owners of the park and the authorities were not denying protesters their constitutional right to freedom of speech by banning them from camping.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement that “the city has the ultimate responsibility to protect public health and safety and we will continue to ensure that everyone can express themselves in New York City.

“Zuccotti Park will remain open to all who want to enjoy it, as long as they abide by the park’s rules,” Bloomberg added in his statement.

The judge’s ruling “vindicates our position that First Amendment rights do not include the right to endanger the public or infringe on the rights of others by taking over a public space with tents and tarps,” Bloomberg said.

But protesters were also elated that they were allowed back into the park, owned by Brookfield Properties, which they have been occupying since mid-September.

“The police don’t have too much choice. It’s a victory even if this movement is not about sleeping here”, said Mike Reilly, 29, from Philadelphia.

“The movement will survive in one way or another,” he added.

Dallas Carter, 32, said the protestors “have to go back to court to get the tents and sleeping bags again. But it’s still a victory.”

New York police had moved in at about 1:00 am (0600 GMT) Tuesday with bright lights, overwhelming numbers of helmeted officers, and an army of sanitation workers.

About 200 people were arrested during the operation, which saw only sporadic violence and ended well before dawn, leaving cleaning crews to cart off piles of tents and other gear, then scrub the square clean.

For eight weeks, the park — a short walk from the New York Stock Exchange and the site of the World Trade Center — sheltered the birthplace of the anti-Wall Street movement.

The decision by Bloomberg to end the occupation followed crackdowns in other US cities, and spurred officials in London to resume legal action against a camp outside Saint Paul’s Cathedral.

Small business owners in the area had complained about the noise and unsanitary conditions in the camp, accusing the demonstrators of trashing their store bathrooms and driving away customers.

Pressure had been mounting on Bloomberg to resolve the situation in a neighborhood already strained by years of disruption from the World Trade Center rebuilding project.

On Monday riot police dismantled a similar protest camp in Oakland, California arresting more than 30 protesters. Some 50 protesters were arrested in Portland, also on the West Coast, on Sunday. A protest in Denver was also recently broken up.

Tuesday’s development left the Occupy DC protest in Washington as one of the last significant permanent camps created by the movement.

“I don’t think there’s any plan on leaving,” said Marc Smith, a spokesman. “There’s really not too much concern at this point.”

White House spokesman Jay Carney said President Barack Obama was “aware” of the situation but maintained that “each municipality has to make its own decisions about how to handle these issues.”

“We would hope and want that… a balance is sought between the long tradition of freedom of assembly (and) freedom of speech in this country.”

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Judge issues restraining order against Zuccotti Park evictions

From Rawstory.com

After ordering the eviction of protesters from Zuccotti Park, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday explained that the park would temporarily remain closed due to a court order that restrained the city from closing the park.

A ruling issued by Judge Lucy Billings in the hours after the park evictions said that the city is “prohibited from: “(a) Evicting protesters from Zuccotti Park and/or (b) Enforcing the “rules” published after the occupation began or otherwise preventing protesters from re-entering the park with tents and other property previously utilized.”

At a press conference Tuesday morning, Bloomberg said that protesters had only been “temporarily” asked to leave the park “to reduce the risk of confrontation and to minimize destruction in the surrounding neighborhood.”

“We are now ready to open the park but understand that there is a court order, which we have not yet actually received, enjoining us from enforcing [park owner] Brookfield’s rules,” the mayor explained. “And so the park will remain closed until we can clarify that situation. But I want to stress that our intention was to reopen the park and to let people go in and express their first amendment rights to protest.”

He added that protesters would “not be allowed to use tents, sleeping bags or tarps and going forward, must follow all park rules,” something that seems to contradict the court’s restraining order.

“The final decision to act was mine, and mine alone,” Bloomberg admitted. “Some protesters might use compliance with our laws as a pretext for violence. … There have been reports of businesses being threatened.”

He went on to insist that “no right is absolute, and every right comes with responsibility,” suggesting that the First Amendment “does not allow tents and sleeping bags to take over public space.”

The mayor estimated that there were as many as 200 arrests during the overnight police action.

***Update: National Lawyer Guild vows to fight for protesters’ rights***

“This is a victory for everyone who believes in the First Amendment,” Liberty Park Legal Working Group (LPLWG) attorney Daniel Alterman said of the judge’s restraining order. “We will continue to fight for everyone’s right to continue the occupation.”

“The LPLWG has been fighting to ensure their right to free speech from day one of the occupation. The occupiers right to free speech is based in our most core legal principles and we will be here till the end to fight for those rights.”

Watch this video from CNN, broadcast Nov. 14, 2011.

http://rawreplaymedia.com/fvp/fvp5.8/player.swf

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By Gordon Lafer

Public discussion of the Wall Street protests has focused on the movement’s indictment of the economic elite, but Occupy Wall Street marks an equally profound critique of the country’s political system. As the weeks tick by, the protests at Zuccotti Park and across the nation are driving home this profound realization: this is a fight that can’t be won by voting. The crisis that most fundamentally shapes our lives cannot be solved through the legislative process. This is not because the agenda is unpopular—54 percent of Americans support OWS, with only 23 percent opposed—but because the system is corrupted beyond repair. This slowly dawning realization is both invigorating—an invitation to engage in the kind of bold, blue-sky strategic thinking that leftists have not entertained for decades—and disturbing, a harbinger of just how nasty the future may get.

What makes OWS different from the mass marches against the Iraq War or at the 2004 GOP convention is not just that it’s an ongoing occupation rather than a one-day affair. It’s that this protest is not, at its core, voicing an appeal to lawmakers.

The OWS turn away from the political system began with the choice of location—Wall Street rather than the National Mall. It is driven home, above all, by the refusal to encapsulate the protest in policy demands aimed at Congress. I don’t know whether the absence of specific policy proposals is intentional or accidental. But I do know that it’s part of what lends such power to the occupation and renders its targets so palpably uncomfortable.

The “demand for demands,” The Nation’s Betsy Reed has noted, is misplaced. What would our rallying cry be? “The people demand a .05 percent transaction tax on stock purchases held for less than fifteen days”? Everyone knows what OWS is for. And its essential demand is powerful precisely because of its startling simplicity: “You know what you did. You have our stuff. Give it back.”

The movement comes at a time of economic crisis and unparalleled cynicism about government, particularly in the wake of the Citizens United decision. Congress’s approval rating—13 percent—is the lowest ever recorded.

The protests are also in large part a response to the disappointments of the Obama administration. Indeed, almost every policy demand that OWS might possibly voice has already been proposed, debated and defeated—at a time when Democrats controlled all branches of government. Members of Congress considered but declined to enact proposals to impose a tax on Wall Street transactions; to limit executive compensation; to fund a mass WPA-style jobs program; to allow bankruptcy judges to mark underwater mortgages to market; to make it easier for Americans to form unions and bargain for better wages; to eliminate tax benefits for companies that transfer our jobs overseas; and to forswear any more NAFTA-style trade treaties. The OWS refusal to articulate policy demands reflects the conviction that any remedies that fit the scale of the problem are impossible to pass—not only in the current Congress but in any Congress we can realistically imagine.

I say this as someone who at this time last year was working as senior staff on the House Labor Committee. I still believe in the importance of that work, because even modest accomplishments at that level can improve the lives of millions. But this crisis calls for more than modest accomplishments.

I went to Washington in 2009 because, like many others, I believed the moment was finally ripe to make progressive changes for working people. But I discovered what we all kind of knew beforehand: if the Republicans are cheerleaders for the 1 percent, most Democrats are quiet collaborationists. I met some very dedicated and hard-working people in Congress. But ultimately the Democrats are too beholden to big money. In last year’s Congressional elections, more than two-thirds of all campaign contributions came from one-quarter of 1 percent of the population. Even Democratic candidates got ten times as much money from corporations as they did from labor unions. There is simply no chance that the little people will triumph over big business in this process.

There has been much written about “disillusionment with democracy” in Latin America, as many countries replaced dictatorships with democracy only to discover that their new governments were powerless to address the most pressing problems of poverty and inequality. Democracy is measured not only by the fairness of elections but also by the scope of national life that is subject to popular control. When the dictates of foreign debt or trade treaties put core economic decisions beyond the control of elected representatives, “democracy” becomes a cruel joke or, worse, a spectacle designed to absorb popular frustration while the real deals go down elsewhere. Keep your eyes over here—don’t pay attention to that man behind the curtain!

The OWS moment seems to reflect a recognition that we have joined our neighbors to the south in being ruled by a system that, whatever its other virtues may be, is powerless to solve the most important problems plaguing the country.

It is this realization, even more than the demand for economic redistribution, that makes OWS such a radicalizing experience. Policy demands aimed at Congress implicitly affirm the legitimacy of the legislative process. The refusal to submit demands is a refusal to legitimate an illegitimate system.

In some ways, it’s the White House that pushed people to turn outside the system. The administration has long admonished the left not to expect too much. Former press secretary Robert Gibbs famously declared that “the professional left” needed to understand that things like “Canadian healthcare” are simply “not reality.” The president repeatedly asks that we appreciate his modest achievements as the high-water mark of what can come from such a limited system. For the OWS protesters to be coaxed back into the legislative game, they’d have to believe that Obama is lying when he says this is the best we can expect. The problem is that the protesters believe the president is telling the truth.

As Barack Obama and Mitt Romney hone their lines, trying to work out a position that sympathizes with the aggrieved while reassuring their donors, the OWS message to both candidates is the same: “This isn’t about you. It’s between us and them,” pointing up to the Masters of the Universe on the executive floors—not the mouthpieces of the corporate chieftains but the actual power.

OWS is clearly inspired by Tahrir Square. Yet Egyptians succeeded in toppling the Mubarak government not because they occupied the square but because their occupation exerted direct pressure on the country’s most powerful business interests. As SUNY Stonybrook sociologist Michael Schwartz has detailed, by shutting down the tourist industry, disrupting construction projects whose financing had already been committed and initiating general strike actions that threatened to shut the Suez Canal, the occupiers of Tahrir threatened the interests of the economic elite—and that is what brought down the regime.

Clearly, something similar—nonviolent action that directly challenges the economic elite—is required here if we’re to succeed in making serious change. It’s daunting, but there is a precedent. Before there were civil rights laws, people broke the back of Jim Crow by picketing, boycotting, getting beaten and arrested by the tens of thousands, in direct action against the most powerful forces of their society.

OWS has resonated with millions of normally apolitical people across the country who recognize in it the crucible of their own struggles. If the movement moves beyond the occupied squares and into foreclosure defense (as has already begun in Los Angeles and New York) and student debt strikes—if it becomes not only the voice but the arm of those resisting immiseration at the hands of the 1 percent—then it may achieve by popular action what the political system is incapable of accomplishing.

This is the nightmare scenario for those at the top, and the promise of a new day for the rest of us. This is something that could get out of hand. This is Shays’ Rebellion without the guns.

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Written by Danny Schechter. Originally published at Al Jeezer.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is talking tough again, darkly hinting that he may have to take action to shut down Occupy Wall Street. He now claims that the community in Lower Manhattan is upset by the occupation of Zuccotti Park and he must heed their wishes.

The problems: there have been cases of urination and defecation. The drumming is too loud. There is a seeming fear of violence from the street people and homeless the park seems to be attracting.

So it appears that his honour has found a new pretext to send the police in to clear the park. He has already sent his cops to arrest alleged law breakers in the encampment, accompanied by headlines urging “get tough”.

In the eyes of much of the press, the endgame is in sight because the protesters just don’t know how to act, how to be responsible. The New York Times reports in a Friday page one report: “Demonstrators Test Mayor, a Backer of Wall Street and Free Speech.” Even some Democrats have joined in calls for a crackdown in the name of keeping the upper class neighbours safe and sound.

As in many stories, however, what’s not said is often what’s most important.

First, after the last merry-go-round with a top city official who claims to support free speech – but perhaps in some other city – Occupy Wall Street met with community groups. They cleaned the park thoroughly. They cut back the hours of drumming to two. They set up a liaison to respond to complaints and enunciated a “Good Neighbour Policy”.

Sanitation issues

As for the expulsion of bodily waste, the Occupation has offered to rent “porta-potties”, those mobile toilets that are used in all public events. The City and the real estate company that owns the park has said no. Don’t you think they know what happens when people have nowhere to go, as the weather gets colder? Maybe they feel the need to encourage more waste and chaos?

The Occupation also suggested that the City Sanitation Department move some dumpsters into place in the park. Again, the answer was no.

So two of the most cited problems have solutions that officials reject.

As for homeless people, Occupy Wall Street security has reported that city correctional officials and some welfare officers have actively encouraged homeless people to go to a park where they will be fed and can sleep.

Occupy Wall Street has strict rules against drug use and alcohol use. But they can’t always enforce them against people who have been encouraged to go to the park to, among other things, cause trouble.

In other words, city officials, who are expressing so much agitation are actually exacerbating the problems, and then pointing to them as a reason the occupation must be forced to end. The cops also have spies in the park and are monitoring developments closely. They had repeatedly refused to protect the park from the presence of predators – who they now blame on the protest.

Unfortunately, many media outlets are not interested in probing for the causes of problems and just focus on the effects.

Fox News is hostile to the protests, and so can be counted on to throw out every negative they can find. Earlier efforts to stigmatise the protests as anti-Semitic failed. Now they are stoking fears of more chaos.

Politics is what is driving the increasingly hard-line opposition, not pride in civic improvement.

Forced to take drastic ‘action’

A day before the mayor indicated that he may just have to “take action”, he criticised the protesters for focusing on Wall Street. Congress is to blame, he insisted, politicians not financiers. Few media outlets noted that Bloomberg made his fortune on Wall Street and his news company serves its customers. This conflict of interest is blatant, but rarely noted.

That the one per cent which protesters are denouncing are sticking together is not surprising. The mayor is demonstrably on their side.

An earlier mayor, Ed Koch, who has turned more conservative in his later years than even the Republican Bloomberg, is not quite so willing to let Wall Street off the hook.

The NY Daily News reported him saying: “I do believe in punishment.” Koch then went on to blast the SEC for only fining Wall Street titans such as Goldman Sachs and Citigroup for their financial misconduct. “What the hell do they care? That’s the cost of doing business,” Koch said of the banks. “I want to see somebody – some CEO, some CFO – punished criminally.”

The reason Bloomberg doesn’t like Occupy Wall Street is because he likes Wall Street (especially while his police are occupying the place).

He believes in punishment too – punishing protesters.

“I want to see somebody – some CEO, some CFO – punished criminally.”

– Ed Koch, former Mayor of New York City

Fox News carried a complaint about the excessive (and expensive) police uber-presence there because a restaurant owner says it is keeping business away and forcing him to close. Fox went on, of course, to blame the occupiers for the restaurant’s decision to lay off workers.

After all, you couldn’t have so many cops, if there weren’t so many protesters.

And around and around we go

Many New Yorkers seem obsessed with the protests. As the comedy channels satirise it, a New York Times business editor noted that an article the newspaper carried on the latest financial fraud drew ten comments from readers before anyone tried to blame the problem on Occupy Wall Street – the latest whipping boy in the financial crisis.

In other cities, there have been violent attacks on the Occupy Movement. Activists in Oakland, California, called for a general strike to defend their right to peacefully and non-violently protest.

Musician Boots Riley who is part of the organising effort said: “We’re ushering in a new phase in organising. It’s a one-day general strike. It’s a warning shot. It’s beyond saying that ‘we are the 99 per cent’. This is showing that the 99 per cent can be organised, that we won’t be limited to the rules and regulations that unions have confined themselves to in the last 60 years.”

The general strike, as a tactic, has not been that successful in the United States – because it requires a major organising effort, far more than appeals on the internet or in press releases. Noam Chomsky was sympathetic but cautioned protesters “to build and educate first, strike later”.

Many in the Occupy movement are criticising violent incidents in Oakland that counteract their policies of non-violence.

If the Occupy movement had not been as successful as it has been in broadening the national conversation to include the issues of economic equality, it would not be drawing as much hostile flack from the press or politicians.

Many Democrats fear an activist movement can hurt their re-election prospects by focusing on unsolved problems. Others see it as a direct challenge to months of debate on the need to cut deficits and impose austerity.

To date, this movement has survived snowstorms and police attacks. Its tougher challenges may have just begun.

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Excerpted from a speech by Bill Moyers

During the prairie revolt that swept the Great Plains in 1890, populist orator Mary Elizabeth Lease exclaimed, “Wall Street owns the country…. Money rules…. Our laws are the output of a system which clothes rascals in robes and honesty in rags. The [political] parties lie to us and the political speakers mislead us.”

She should see us now. John Boehner calls on the bankers, holds out his cup and offers them total obeisance from the House majority if only they fill it. Barack Obama criticizes bankers as “fat cats,” then invites them to dine at a pricey New York restaurant where the tasting menu runs to $195 a person.

That’s now the norm, and they get away with it. The president has raised more money from employees of banks, hedge funds and private equity managers than any Republican candidate, including Mitt Romney. Inch by inch he has conceded ground to them while espousing populist rhetoric that his very actions betray.

Let’s name this for what it is: hypocrisy made worse, the further perversion of democracy. Our politicians are little more than money launderers in the trafficking of power and policy—fewer than six degrees of separation from the spirit and tactics of Tony Soprano.

Why New York’s Zuccotti Park is filled with people is no mystery. Reporters keep scratching their heads and asking, “Why are you here?” But it’s clear they are occupying Wall Street because Wall Street has occupied the country. And that’s why in public places across the nation workaday Americans are standing up in solidarity. Did you see the sign a woman was carrying at a fraternal march in Iowa the other day? It read, I Can’t Afford to Buy a Politician So I Bought This Sign. Americans have learned the hard way that when rich organizations and wealthy individuals shower Washington with millions in campaign contributions, they get what they want.

In his Pulitzer Prize–winning book The Radicalism of the American Revolution, historian Gordon Wood says that our nation discovered its greatness “by creating a prosperous free society belonging to obscure people with their workaday concerns and pecuniary pursuits of happiness.” This democracy, he said, changed the lives of “hitherto neglected and despised masses of common laboring people.”

Those words moved me when I read them. They moved me because Henry and Ruby Moyers were “common laboring people.” My father dropped out of the fourth grade and never returned to school because his family needed him to pick cotton to help make ends meet. Mother managed to finish the eighth grade before she followed him into the fields. They were tenant farmers when the Great Depression knocked them down and almost out. The year I was born my father was making $2 a day working on the highway to Oklahoma City. He never took home more than $100 a week in his working life, and he made that only when he joined the union in the last job he held. I was one of the poorest white kids in town, but in many respects I was the equal of my friend who was the daughter of the richest man in town. I went to good public schools, had the use of a good public library, played sandlot baseball in a good public park and traveled far on good public roads with good public facilities to a good public university. Because these public goods were there for us, I never thought of myself as poor. When I began to piece the story together years later, I came to realize that people like the Moyers had been included in the American deal. “We, the People” included us.

It’s heartbreaking to see what has become of that bargain. Nowadays it’s every man for himself. How did this happen? The rise of the money power in our time goes back forty years. We can pinpoint the date. On August 23, 1971, a corporate lawyer named Lewis Powell—a board member of the death-dealing tobacco giant Philip Morris and a future justice of the Supreme Court—released a confidential memorandum for his friends at the US Chamber of Commerce. We look back on it now as a call to arms for class war waged from the top down.

Recall the context of Powell’s memo. Big business was being forced to clean up its act. Even Republicans had signed on. In 1970 President Nixon put his signature on the National Environmental Policy Act and named a White House Council to promote environmental quality. A few months later millions of Americans turned out for Earth Day. Nixon then agreed to create the Environmental Protection Agency. Congress acted swiftly to pass tough amendments to the Clean Air Act, and the EPA announced the first air pollution standards. There were new regulations directed at lead paint and pesticides. Corporations were no longer getting away with murder.

Powell was shocked by what he called an “attack on the American free enterprise system.” Not just from a few “extremists of the left” but also from “perfectly respectable elements of society,” including the media, politicians and leading intellectuals. Fight back and fight back hard, he urged his compatriots. Build a movement. Set speakers loose across the country. Take on prominent institutions of public opinion—especially the universities, the media and the courts. Keep television programs “monitored the same way textbooks should be kept under constant surveillance.” And above all, recognize that political power must be “assiduously [sic] cultivated; and that when necessary, it must be used aggressively and with determination” and “without embarrassment.”

Powell imagined the Chamber of Commerce as a council of war. Since business executives had “little stomach for hard-nosed contest with their critics” and “little skill in effective intellectual and philosophical debate,” they should create think tanks, legal foundations and front groups of every stripe. These groups could, he said, be aligned into a united front through “careful long-range planning and implementation…consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and united organizations.”

The public wouldn’t learn of the memo until after Nixon appointed Powell to the Supreme Court that same year, 1971. By then his document had circulated widely in corporate suites. Within two years the board of the Chamber of Commerce had formed a task force of forty business executives—from US Steel, GE, GM, Phillips Petroleum, 3M, Amway, and ABC and CBS (two media companies, we should note). Their assignment was to coordinate the crusade, put Powell’s recommendations into effect and push the corporate agenda. Powell had set in motion a revolt of the rich. As historian Kim Phillips-Fein subsequently wrote, “Many who read the memo cited it afterward as inspiration for their political choices.”

They chose swiftly. The National Association of Manufacturers announced that it was moving its main offices to Washington. In 1971 only 175 firms had registered lobbyists in the capital; by 1982 nearly 2,500 did. Corporate PACs increased from fewer than 300 in 1976 to more than 1,200 by the mid-’80s. From Powell’s impetus came the Business Roundtable, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Manhattan Institute, Citizens for a Sound Economy (precursor to what we now know as Americans for Prosperity) and other organizations united in pushing back against political equality and shared prosperity. They triggered an economic transformation that would in time touch every aspect of our lives.

The Chamber of Commerce, in response to the memo, doubled its membership, tripled its budget and stepped up its lobbying efforts. It’s going stronger than ever. Most recently, it called in its agents in Congress to kill a bill to provide healthcare to 9/11 first responders for illnesses linked to their duty on that day. The bill would have paid for their medical care by ending a special tax loophole exploited by foreign corporations with business interests in America. The Chamber, along with nearly 1,300 business and trade groups, urged Congress to pass the new tax bill, signed into law just before this past Christmas and filled with all kinds of stocking stuffers, including about fifty tax breaks for businesses. The bill gave some of our biggest banks, financial companies and insurance firms another year’s exemption to shield their foreign profits from being taxed here in the United States; among the beneficiaries were giants Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, all of which survived the financial debacle of their own making because taxpayers bailed them out in 2008.

The coalition got another powerful jolt of adrenaline in the late ’70s from the wealthy right-winger who had served as Nixon’s treasury secretary, William Simon. His book A Time for Truth argued that “funds generated by business” must “rush by multimillions” into conservative causes to uproot the institutions and the “heretical strategy” of the New Deal. He called on “men of action in the capitalist world” to mount “a veritable crusade” against progressive America. BusinessWeek (October 12, 1974) somberly explained that “it will be a bitter pill for many Americans to swallow the idea of doing with less so that big business can have more.”

Those “men of action in the capitalist world” were not content with their wealth just to buy more homes, more cars, more planes, more vacations and more gizmos than anyone else. They were determined to buy more democracy than anyone else. And they succeeded beyond their expectations. After their forty-year “veritable crusade” against our institutions, laws and regulations—against the ideas, norms and beliefs that helped to create America’s iconic middle class—the Gilded Age is back with a vengeance.

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