Mother Jones reports on a former derivatives trader who may just have seen the light:
As president of the Pacific Exchange in the late 1990s, Warren Langley oversaw the West Coast’s biggest financial center, a trading floor where some 17 million shares of stock changed hands daily. Though he served at the pleasure of traders and investment banks such as Morgan Stanley, he is no longer interested in pleasing them. Yesterday, he stood on a hillside in San Francisco’s Financial District in front Morgan Stanley’s and Goldman Sachs’ regional headquarters to declare his support for Occupy Wall Street West, a coalition of 50 groups planning a slew of anti-bank protests Friday.
“From the inside, I watched Goldman Sachs, the big banks, the hedge funds bet our money and then get bailed out when they lost,” said Langley, surrounded by protesters holding images of a devious-looking Mr. Moneybags (Monopoly) character. “I saw corporations and the 1 percent buy our congressmen and senators and then pay no taxes, get subsidies, and move jobs overseas. This is our last chance to level the playing field and let you and our kids and grandkids have the opportunities that I started with.”
[...] Langely considers himself “pretty much a fiscal conservative,” but after the crisis, he was taken aback that lawmakers didn’t do more to repair the system. The Volcker Rule, part of the Dodd-Frank law that was intended to reinstate Glass-Steagall, was too watered down by lobbyists, he says. Wall Street needs a single powerful regulator, instead an alphabet soup of agencies. And he is concerned that financial firms are still so large and interconnected that the failure of any one of them could create another economy-destroying chain reaction. “The biggest obstacle is lobbying by the big investment banks,” he says. “On both sides of the aisle. I mean, Chuck Schumer is one of the biggest protectors of Wall Street in Congress, and he’s a Democrat. And then there’s the general Republican philosophy about free-market capitalism: ‘We shouldn’t have rules.’ Well, that doesn’t work.”
(I’m all for people realizing their past mistakes and making amends for them. If he’s truly sincere about changing things—and it sounds like he is—then welcome aboard, Mr. Langley. —ed.)
Here we go again with another look around the Occupy nation!
- According to the Huffington Post, over 75% of Americans think the rich have too much power. Stunningly obvious, perhaps, but it underscores what OWS is out there fighting against.
- Meanwhile, the Council of Elders, a collection of some of the leading civil rights leaders from the 20th and 21st centuries, has thrown their support behind OWS. Glad to have you aboard, guys.
- In Seattle, as reported by the World Socialist Website, five Seattle High Schools walked out of classes in protest of proposed cuts of public education.
- Also in Seattle: In a move that surprises absolutely no one that has been paying attention, the U.S. Justice Department has found that the Seattle Police Department “used excessive force and violated the Constitution.” (Courtesy the Washington Post)
- Nachumlist has a disturbing look into the current administration’s lineup, and just how many of them have connections to Goldman-Sachs.
- Finally, the BBC has a brief story on Occupy Plymouth, who have occupied an abandoned building as their new base and have pledged to renovate it.
(A link to the World Socialist Website and the deeply conservative Nachumlist in the same update! Let it not be said that the Daily Occupation plays favorites. —ed.)
Here at the Daily Occupation, we’ve reached the point where keeping you up to date on all national events would end up flooding our feed, pushing articles that deserve singular attention out of the way. To counteract this, we’ve switched to a “news roundup” format for when our queue gets particularly dense. We’d hate for these items to have less attention than they deserve, though, so make sure to check them out!
- New York: Occupiers “squidded” outside of Goldman Sachs yesterday. Essentially a combination of protest and parody of Goldman-Sachs, the name refers to Matt Taibbi’s quote from Rolling Stones that Goldman-Sachs was “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” Gothamist has the full roundup.
- Orlando: A “People’s Convention” was held to discuss resolutions on a variety of state issues, including health care, labor laws, and education funding. The proposals will be sent back to individual Occupy groups for ground-testing before they are presented to Florida Governor Rick Scott in January. According to the Orlando Sentinel, “more than half the crowd was from out of town,” and the convention was extremely well received by both protestors and local union leaders. Read the original articles here and here.
- Palm Beach: Occupiers seem to be getting on well with the city after it offered up its old city hall. The protestors were bizarrely evicted when a trapeze artist rented the space they were occupying to give classes. They (the protestors, just so we’re clear) expected the eviction for weeks and are fairly pleased with the new space, so everything seems to be going along smoothly so far. The full article is available here.
- Finally, Occupy D.C. picked up the support of Rev. Jamal Bryant and Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., who will join with clergy and civil rights leaders to start up “Occupy the Dream.” Both Bryan and Chavis have excellent bonafides—Bryant has past experience with the NAACP and Baltimore’s Empowerment Temple, and Chavis previously worked under no less than Martin Luther King, Jr. The original article is available at the Washington Post.
(The last article’s claim that OWS is a mostly white movement makes me a little uneasy, but if it does have merit, “Occupy the Dream” can only be a good thing. As the article says, African-Americans are most definitely part of the 99%. —ed.)