On Saturday, 60+ demonstrations will be held around the country, demanding structural change in the banking sector. The group organizing the demonstrations, which I'm involved in, a New Way Forward, started less than a month ago, but is already approaching 10,000 members. A New Way Forward embodies the logic of the most thoughtful economic thinkers in the country, translated into clear, direct language and action.
We/they support a Nationalize, Reorganize, Decentralize platform, pointing to Krugman on the need for temporary nationalization, Simon Johnson on the need for removing current leadership in the banking sector, and Mike Lux on the importance of creating a new, decentralized private market, with new banks run by new people. Any bank that's "too big to fail" means that it's too big to exist in a free market.
I got involved in A New Way Forward a week or so after it started, and its an amazing grassroots organization in a few ways.
The first is that it is completely unfunded. Tiffiniy Cheng, Donny Shaw, Morgan Knutson, Andrew Packer, and the 60+ local organizers who have sprung up are all working (a lot) for free: not a one is making a dime. There are no paid advertisers, media campaigns, or strategists. Every piece of this effort is unpaid.
The second is that it is intellectually serious and engaged, without being condescending. On the organizers listserv, the 60+ organizers share tips on how to get megaphones, how to make effective signs, how to get permits, who to ask for legal advice...and thoughtful opinion pieces by economists about the pros and cons of different regulations. The wisdom of particular regulations is debated.
The third is that the process is deeply democratic. Debate on the organizers listserv--and it is a listserv about highly contentious issues, so there is debate--is respectful and thoughtful. Suggestions are made, but not commands. In the "top down" vs. "bottom up" range of organizations, this one is deeply bottom up, with a fundamental attitude of respect and care--necessary features in a sustainable democratic community.
All of these things to me give me great hope that it will have an impact, and become a sustainable force demanding a complete change in the way we organize our banking structure, in both the short and long term.
The summary of demands: "Nationalize, Reorganize, Decentralize" applies to banks, but also applies to the politics of the group--everyone comes together to organize locally, in a decentralized fashion.
Raleigh activists are holding one of 60 "New Way Forward" events around the country in Bicentennial Park tomorrow, at 2 PM. Its a rally, a demonstration in support of nationalizing and reorganizing the banking sector, and includes a fun "nest egg" hunt.
Sign up here:
Stella Adams of the North Carolina Fair Housing Center and Chris Estes of the North Carolina Housing Coalition will speak about the hidden crises, and what our legislators are not doing about it, and I'll talk about the national New Way Forward movement.
I hope you can come!