Topic archive for "occupy together"

Who’s Wrecking America? Meet the 1% Nominees

The Occupy movement has drawn attention to how too many in the 1% get to play by their own rules while exploiting the 99%. But who’s doing the most to damage our economy and democracy?

You tell us.

We at Brave New Foundation have launched a website where you can vote on some of the most infamous members of the 1% — financial fraudsters, union-busters, weapons contractors, and more. Then we’ll make a series of videos exposing the ones that you rank as the very worst. As our friends at Fox News might put it: We film. You decide.

Let’s look at some examples. Lloyd Blankfein, the head of Goldman Sachs, is one of our nominees. He touted mortgage assets to clients while privately betting $10 billion they’d fail. Then he lied to Congress by claiming that Goldman Sachs had not, in fact, bet against its own clients. These actions helped spur the excessive risk-taking that led to the financial meltdown and put millions out of a job.

Or take a look at Paul Singer, who has earned the nickname “the vulture capitalist.” He exploits poor nations by buying their defaulted debt for cheap and forcing them to pay in full–plus interest. The Congo was one of Singer’s victims. That country had just gotten out of a civil war and half of its citizens live on less than a dollar a day. To Singer, that was a business opportunity. He bought the Congo’s debt for pennies on the dollar and then sued to win far, far more than he had paid for it.

Of course, simply bandying names about isn’t the point. The point is that the activists fueling social movements like Occupy need to be able to understand exactly how oppression works and which individuals are controlling the process. Where would our nation be if, in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s, activists had spoken only of the systemic issue of segregation and didn’t have George Wallace and Bull Connor to single out as perpetrators? We at Brave New Foundation are helping build a narrative so that citizens can draw a straight line between the cheats and bullies misusing their wealth and the economic predicament in which our country is now ensnared.

We aren’t alone in this effort. Our partners include progressive media truth tellers like AlterNet, TruthOut, the Nation, PoliticusUSA, CARE2, the Center for Media and Democracy, the Young Turks, Campaign for America’s Future, Free Speech TV, Thom Hartmann, and MichaelMoore.com.

So who do you think deserves to be exposed? Vote and make your voice heard. With the Occupy movement at a critical point, this is the moment to double down on illuminating our nation’s vast inequalities and–just as important–how things got this way. This is a chance to take our democracy back.

Who Are the 1%? You Tell Us.

The Occupy movement has done more than anything in decades to highlight the corrosive effects of concentrated wealth on our economy and democracy. Indeed, seeing the 99% rise up in such inspirational fashion raises a question: Who exactly are the 1%? Or more specifically, who among them are abusing their power and making life more difficult for everyone else?

That’s what Brave New Foundation will be exposing with our new campaign, Who Are the 1%? We will highlight the villains in America’s economic story, drawing a straight line between their actions and the broken economy we’re now stuck with.

And here’s the twist: We want you to tell us which people to profile.

Here’s how it works. We’ve launched a new website where you can add your suggestions on the worst of the 1%. Once we have pored through all of the names and arguments you’ve provided, we’ll narrow the field down and have you vote on the worst of the worst. Then we’ll make videos about those special one percenters that you’ve chosen to expose.

As Fox News might put it: We film. You decide.

Whom to choose? There is no shortage of villains. The deceptive, backhanded practices of the financial industry played a major part in the recent financial meltdown, and numerous defense contractors have made a killing (literally) by lobbying for more and more weapons spending. In all, the top 1% have seen their incomes rise 275% in the last three decades — a period in which the tax burden has shifted from wealth to work and financiers have exploited increasingly weak regulations and even weaker enforcement.

These problems are not natural disasters. They are man-made. And with your help, our new campaign will call out those responsible.

When you make your suggestions, our only rules are that the individuals profiled must be in the top 1%, which means a net worth of at least $9 million, and use their wealth to keep down the other 99%. We’re not talking about run-of-the-mill rich people here, and we’re not talking about those who spend their money promoting the common good. We’re talking about those who take advantage of their position to create more injustice, inequality, and corruption. The rest is up to you.

Will you participate in this effort to show Americans who’s destroying their economy and democracy? Join us and the organizations supporting this campaign: AlterNet, Care2, The Center for Media and Democracy, FreeSpeechTV, The Nation, PoliticusUSA, Thom Hartmann, Truthout, Campaign for America’s Future, and The Young Turks.

We are excited to hear your thoughts.

OCCUPY Your City and Make History

The Occupy Wall Street protest is a full bore indictment against corporate greed and dysfunctional government. It’s a demand for nation building here at home.

People young and old are taking the streets, sleeping in tents, donating pizza, even publishing their own Occupy Wall Street Journal newspaper, to let our government and corporations know that we are a democracy that’s not for sale.

The Brave New Foundation team pulled some of the most powerful images broadcasted from the Occupy movement. We hope our latest video inspires you to make your voice heard and rally with a protest in your city.

The local protests are growing more each day, with some observers estimating the Occupy movement could swell to 250,000 online activists in the coming days.

We’ve set up a user-friendly database for you to find a protest in your city and spread the word. Already, there are thousands of protesters in New York City and hundreds more in Los Angeles, Boston, Washington DC, Seattle, Miami and elsewhere.

What’s happening at symbolic sites in almost all of our cities is earning comparisons to the movement reshaping the Arab world.

May this be the beginning of an American Autumn and renewal.

The Occupy movement is deeply personal, there are so many different people taking to the streets- and for so many different reasons. Some are in high school and are anxious about the job market, others have graduated college and are drowning in student loans. Many are working longer hours for fewer dollars and workplace rights, or are unemployed.

Many more Occupying cities are veterans who’ve served abroad and cannot transition into civilian life without work. The wars abroad have had a corrosive effect on society.

What’s happening is living digitally through social media. People young and old have set up media tents, libraries, cafeterias and medical centers and they’re getting their message to the public.

We need to help them. We need to participate and make our voices heard today.

They’re truly an inspiration. Whether you were marching in the 1960s, the early 2000s or you are in high school and utilizing your First Amendment rights, we can agree a healthy democracy requires the wisdom of crowds.

Find a local protest and help make history.

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