The Occupy Wall Street movement returns to the streets this week, targeting some of the biggest corporations in America.
Dubbed the "Shut Down the Corporations" rally, protesters will chant, shout and march in unison in more than 70 cities to bring attention to corporate power and greed. The so-called "National Day of Action" zeroes in on corporations that are members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
OWS says corporations like Bank of America (BAC), BP (BP), Monsanto (MON), ExxonMobil (XOM), Pfizer (PFE) and Wal-Mart (WMT) "use ALEC to buy off legislators and craft legislation that only serves the interests of corporations and not people."
ALEC, meanwhile, describes itself as "one of the nation's largest nonpartisan individual membership associations whose mission is to promote free markets, individual liberty, and federalism," according to its Web site.
Rolling Stone magazine reporter and Wall Street critic Matt Taibbi says the goal of Wednesday's protests are to stop the government from supporting "corrupt" companies. Taibbi was invited by OWS to participate and speak at the rally in New York's Bryant Park.
"These state-supported Too-Big-To-Fail banks are a threat to national security," he writes in an email to The Daily Ticker. "What we're doing is trying to educate the public about how these banks operate, what sorts of corrupt acts they've engaged in, and how they've used bailouts, subsidies, and selective regulatory relief to survive despite consistently awful management."
Corporations Are People, Too
In the video above, The Daily Ticker's Aaron Task and Henry Blodget discuss whether OWS has misdirected its energy and attention on the wrong culprit.
"There are fundamental things to be frustrated about in this economy and the system is not working," Henry says. "The answer is not to shut down the corporations. Corporations are not the problem."
Instead, Henry and Aaron argue that corporations like Wal-Mart can increase the salaries of their employees and still realize quarterly profits, a move that would benefit not only employees but also the corporations themselves. The animosity that OWS has helped to foment against Wall Street and corporate America would subside and better relationships between the billionaire-dollar companies and the majority of Americans who work for them could develop. A win-win for worker and employer alike.
Occupy Wall Street almost certainly won't succeed in shutting down corporations this week, but the movement will likely continue its fight and is raising money to fund the effort.
A group of wealthy business leaders and OWS supporters recently gave the struggling movement a much-needed boost by announcing they were creating a nonprofit dedicated to fundraising.
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of the Ben & Jerry's ice cream empire are two backers of the nonprofit Movement Resource Group, which already has $300,000 in donations and plans to raise another $1.5 million. Other business leaders behind the Movement Resource Group include former Nirvana manager Danny Goldberg, Tweezerman founder Dal Lamagna and entertainment-industry executive Richard Foos, The Wall Street Journal reports.
- Wall Street