Dear Alt-Bank Subscribers!
Tomorrow's OWS Alt-Banking meeting is at the usual time, 3 pm hard start until 5 pm, and the usual building, the International Affairs Building of Columbia University at Amsterdam and 118th Street in Manhattan. I am informed that meetings from now on will be in Room 402 or 403. (That is the ground level if you're entering at Amsterdam or 118th Street.) There is no pre-meeting tomorrow. The post-meeting drinks will be held starting at 5 pm at the bar-restaurant called "Amsterdam," on 120th Street.
Cathy is traveling, although she's been busily sending many of the news stories listed below...
1 - From Josh: "There is the evergreen, What can we do to break up the banks?"
2 - From Linda: "Occupy (or perhaps Alt Banking) 2.0--what comes next? I feel like we have done what can be done within the existing non-structure. I think this partly because of our last two bank demonstrations (which I didn't attend). How do we decide where to go and what to do? How do we follow up? I sometimes think we are the Alt Banking Art Collective, staging Happenings across the city. . .not a bad thing, but not politics or a movement as I have understood the terms."
3 - From Julia: To discuss the return of the debt-ceiling nonsense and how, in the absence of rational fiscal policy, central banks are engaging in massive and unprecedented interventionist experimentation with QEs. For this, read the big piece by Matt Taibbi on "The Mad Science of the National Debt." (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-mad-science-of-the-national-debt-20130522)
4 - Left Forum: In two weeks our weekly meeting will be held at the Left Forum: Please see our schedule listing. (http://www.leftforum.org/content/occupy-wall-street-special-meeting-alternative-banking-group-breaking-megabanks) This is titled "Occupy Wall Street: Special Meeting of the Alternative Banking Group on Breaking Up the Megabanks," and thus has an announced topic. It is happening during Session 3 in Rm. E325 of Pace University (1 Pace Plaza), Saturday June 8, 3:40pm - 05:20pm. Linda, Josh and I would all like to discuss how to prepare, what we are doing on megabanks, and what other subjects to discuss (or to allow). Should we run it like every other meeting?
This Week's News (And Other Things We Might Discuss)
5 - Bank Protests in DC. Photo, Activists put up tents during a protest outside the U.S. Justice Department in Washington, D.C. "Homeowners Jailed for Demanding Wall Street Prosecutions," action by Home Defenders League and Occupy Our Homes, see coverage in Rolling Stone. (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-are-homeowners-being-jailed-for-demanding-wall-street-prosecutions-20130522%23ixzz2UK7bsI8h%20)
6 - Bank Protests in NYC. There were also small Occupy protests in NYC outside JPMorgan and Goldman in conjunction with their shareholder meetings (though the meetings themselves were in Tampa and Salt Lake).
7 - CFTC Reversing Dodd-Frank. Akshat Tewary of Occupy the SEC wrote in American Banker: "The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has significantly diluted a key provision in the regulation of derivatives that is required under the Dodd-Frank Act." ("CFTC Buckles Under Pressure from Swap Dealers," http://www.americanbanker.com/bankthink/cftc-buckles-under-pressure-from-swap-dealers-1059262-1.html). Read this article if you want to learn important technical stuff members of our group should be on top of. Although one fact stands out: "The derivatives market is an oligopoly, with the top five banks controlling 90% of all such contracts." And the latest de-re-regulation is aimed at keeping it that way, and preventing transparency.
9 - New Corporate Book-Cooks: "Some of the biggest U.S. companies, including Google Inc. and FedEx Corp., have quietly removed hundreds of offshore subsidiaries from their publicly disclosed financial filings over the past several years," reports the Wall Street Journal ("From Google to FedEx: The Incredible Vanishing Subsidiary," May 23). WSJ article behind paywall, see excerpt at http://www.nacdonline.org/Resources/RSSDetail.cfm?RSSID=73829
10 - Fast Food Crime Wave: "Fast Food Forward workers are fighting to end wage theft and for $15 hour and a union. Show them your solidarity! SIGN THE PETITION! To the CEOs of McDonald's, Domino's, Papa John's, Yum! Brands, Wendy's and Burger King..." (http://fastfoodcrimewave.tumblr.com/)
11 - Fannie Mae, even as lawmakers plan to liquidate it, is posting record profits, apparently at expense of the poor little Wall Street banks. Bloomberg: "The company has ramped up its purchases of home loans from lenders for cash, in the process cutting out originators from the more profitable business of creating and selling bonds backed by the debt. About 31 percent of the $305 billion in new Fannie Mae-guaranteed securities in the first four months of this year were tied to so-called cash window purchases, almost triple the share in early 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) analysts’ estimates." (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-24/fannie-mae-winning-at-the-alamo-prompts-lender-angst.html)
A Sleek Summary of Last Week's Meeting (thanks to Josh)
what the plans are, where it stands, how people can comment on it, etc.
Creating the people's lobby
a proposed tax on lobbying to fund a people's lobbying initiative
The tyranny of structurelessness
we need structure to have an impact