RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment

Taylor begins: "Unlike the Tea Party on the right, the Occupy Wall Street protests have thus far lacked any supporters in Congress. But with labor unions and the Working Families Party getting on board, that may be about to change - and with it their ability to shape the agenda on Capitol Hill."

Former Democratic National Committee chairman and former Gov. Howard Dean speaks at the Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, DC. (photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Former Democratic National Committee chairman and former Gov. Howard Dean speaks at the Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington, DC. (photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Howard Dean, Dems Back Occupy Wall Street

By Matt Taylor, The National Memo

05 October 11


nlike the Tea Party on the right, the Occupy Wall Street protests have thus far lacked any supporters in Congress. But with labor unions and the Working Families Party getting on board, that may be about to change - and with it their ability to shape the agenda on Capitol Hill.

"I think it has become a vehicle for people to vent their frustration with the economy," Senator Kirsten Gillibrand told The National Memo on Tuesday. "Everywhere I travel across New York State I meet with every day families and small businesses, and they are deeply worried about the economy. I share the frustration at how broken Washington has become in forging solutions. We must act and I hope we can rally around the bipartisan ideas I've outlined today to get people back to work."

Off-the-record conversations with other members of New York's congressional delegation suggest sympathy for the cause, though few have gone on record backing it as of yet. More on this as it develops.

But if Democratic members of Congress remain hesitant to express public backing, some party stalwarts do not.

"I've been waiting for something like this to happen," Howard Dean, former Democratic National Committee chair and governor of Vermont, told The National Memo. "Wall Street is an institution that is not serving the country well. Because of their financial practices, money's not getting invested in the long-term creation of jobs. They basically have turned Wall Street into a gambling casino. Credit default swaps, about 95 percent of that is speculation. So I'm glad to see all these young people on Wall Street."

He suggested the protesters were law-abiding citizens who deserved to be heard, and that we might see additional Democratic Party backing in the future.

"I think it depends on the tactics. This group of demonstrators is not interested in violence. But since no one knows exactly who they are, there's going to be some reticence. But the principle of standing up of for the 99 percent is a really important one."

The Wall Street protests speak to the massive and growing gap between rich and poor in this country, Dean argued, and the political class ought to take notice.

"I think this country's in a lot of trouble and I'm glad someone's finally standing up and talking about it. The danger of having a situation where the gap between the top and the bottom is so great is that people stop believing in the system. There are a lot of young people who I'm not sure believe in America anymore. That's a very dangerous place to be. This is about unfairness, about society becoming an unfair place."

He insisted this is a youth-based struggle for justice that defies traditional political typology, and is fundamentally concerned with fairness and equity.

"I don't consider it to be a political movement, which is why I think they have trouble articulating their demands. What they want is an America that's fair to everyone again, where there's really equal opportunity."

Dan Cantor, executive director of the Working Families Party (WFP), which supports progressive Democrats in New York through fusion voting (a vote for a Democrat on the Working Families line is just as useful as one on the Democratic line), expressed support in advance of a solidarity march where the WFP and unions would join the Occupy Wall Streeters.

"This is the more established progressive movement following the youth of America," he told The National Memo. "And it’s a good thing, too. I think people understand that we owe the Occupy Wall Street people a huge debt of gratitude. Because they have shined a light where it needed to be shined. We are no longer talking about whether poor people caused the subprime crisis. We’re talking about people who committed fraud and have thus far escaped responsibility. They’re changing the atmosphere. You don’t get better outcomes until you do that. You can see that in reverse. The Tea Party changed the onversation from banks are irresponsible to Obama wants to kill your grandmother." your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+29 # PGreen 2011-10-05 13:44
I've wondered when-- and to what extent-- the liberal political establishment would get on board the WS demonstrations. I'm not surprised at the support of such progressives as Kucinich and Sanders, but much of the so-called liberal wing of the Democratic party is less committed. If demands for greater economic equality emerge from this demonstration, it may be time to prod congress to support them.
-6 # nice2blucky 2011-10-05 14:53
In terms of numbers of liberal Democrats: Liberals are the hairs on Wimpy's head.
+5 # noitall 2011-10-05 17:29
You've got that right nice2b, it's hard to be 'liberal' when you've already got yours. The money that it takes to be elected and the filthy beds that one must sleeze into in order to finance their run so that they can do the "good work", puts true altruism (and great candidates) out to pasture. As with all this brand of GREED, once they've sucked the last shred of meat off of the goose (its reward for laying a beautiful gold egg) and they're hungry again, we'll hear their flowery rhetoric reciting to us our needs and how they can help us achieve a better life. We're the voters, we put them there (although Dibold is helping them to figure that out, possibly a bit to do with them dumping the post office?)and if we don't lose total faith in the system, we might pull it back, eventually, if key elements are repaired (holding breath is optional). Its all about the money. I'll pay you for that Boiga on tuesday.
-2 # nice2blucky 2011-10-05 19:28
Does Wimpy ever pay for that boiga?

By the way, wikipedia says, "Boiga is a large genus of mildly venomous, rear-fanged, colubrid snakes typically known as the cat-eyed snakes or just cat snakes. They are primarily found throughout southeast Asia, India and Australia, but due to their extremely hardy nature and adaptability have spread to many other suitable habitats around the world."

I didn't immediately get the reference, even though used Wimpy in my analogy.

I agree with most of what you said.

I do not agree that it takes all the money to get elected. Statistics heavily correlate with money and winning, but that would not be the case without vertical integration (consolidation) of the media -- thanks to Clinton's Tele-communicat ions Act of 1996 -- and other election-relate d issues; you mentioned Diebold; and another is Dem Party's hierarchical politics and corporate affiliation, which besides dispensing money to their preferred candidates -- regardless of non-progressive ideology -- includes (poor) strategy and consultant advise.

The answer, of course, is Primary Elections... getting rid of incumbents.

If Obama has a shred of decency, he'll bow out before the Democratic Primaries, which should help non-incumbent Congressional Democrats and turnout for the General Election.
+9 # nice2blucky 2011-10-05 14:23
It is ridiculous to argue that OccupyWallStree t is a light that is being shined on a problem. These problems have been perfectly clear for a long, long, long time.

The light shining is on the question... the question of fairness and equality -- in regard to prosecution rules of law and adoption of fair laws that represent the peoples' interest, accountability for greed-driven economic crimes and environmental devastation, and honest, clear -- no excuses -- political representation. .. ... ... in essence, sanity.

And the question for the light is WHEN.

... and how much? ... for the balance and peace of mind of justice.
+2 # unitedwestand 2011-10-05 23:57
Sure many of us have seen the problems for a long time, but many or at least a calcified some have not and are destroying that which they say they love.

The OccupyWallStree t movement has the potential of shaking the whole system up and making it perfectly clear that it isn't just change that is needed, but the application of the laws and justice that keep things equitable for all.
+1 # mark-in-seattle 2011-10-06 04:14
The other question is how .... to force Wall Street to serve society while still using the profit motive effectively. My modest suggestion (after much thought on the subject). Trading on WS by habit and tradition occurs M-F even though business around the world runs 24-7. In the 1960's it was approx 5% of GDP, now it is closer to 40% and primarily naked gambling not an efficient movement of financial resources to good companies and away from badly run ones. Therefore, restrict stock trading to ONE-Day-per-wee k, which computers can now handle in ways the paper system 60 years ago could not. Furthermore, traders can only sell stock they have owned for 1 week (no more naked short selling, now banned by Germany) AND for each stock owned by an investor, they are allowed to make only one trade in that stock on the designated one-day-per-wee k trading day (no more high-frequency trading aka pure gambling with no redeeming societal benefit).

more later.
+2 # nice2blucky 2011-10-06 10:39
I am not sure what you mean by "force Wall Street to serve society while still using the profit motive effectively."

While businesses and businessmen and women do have basic civic and societal responsibilitie s related to their doing business, as long as they follow the law, how they serve society with their profits is their business.

People aren't interested in being punitive, for the sake of punishment pleasure or to introduce pure socialism, it is to bring justice to those who took a chance on criminal greed.

In regard to short-selling, if you are talking about curbing insider-trading or taking away advantages that large-scale traders have over regular traders, that is fine; insider trading is all ready illegal and there are no good reasons to disadvantage smaller traders.
+15 # objectiveobserver 2011-10-05 16:03
I hope that the Obama administration will have the courage to seize the moment and not only speak out in support of the protestors but finally stop pandering to Republican bullying. If they do not, it must be because the Democrats are also completely beholden to corporate interests. I am holding my breath, hoping that Obama takes this opportunity to stand up for what he believed in before he started playing high powered dirty politics.
+3 # Al_Nava 2011-10-05 16:05
Occupy Wall Street is a (Progressive ideological) protest against Wall Street corruption and their elected puppets from the Republican Party, non-Progressive s in the Democratic Party (Blue Dog & Moderate-Dems), and President Obama. Therefore, these "liberal" Democrats better be careful because Obama is just as much the target as his Wall Street filled Administration is.

Since only the Progressive-Dem ocrats and Democratic-Soci alist Bernie Sanders (& maybe Ron Paul) are not corrupted by Wall Street, they are the only elected federal officials not being protested against.
+19 # DLT888 2011-10-05 16:14
DENNIS KUCINICH -- a long-time Congressman from Ohio came out in SUPPORT OF THE WALL STREET OCCUPATION! I'm so sick of reading "no one in Congress" so many times when Dennis Kucinich has supported so many of these things for the people. He exists, for crying out loud. He publicly stated his support for this occupation as he has publicly supported workers and union strikes before this.
+13 # lcarrier 2011-10-05 17:01
I just said "no" to the DNC in response to their plea for support. I said that I was going to vote for President Obama, but that I would withhold my contributions from Democrats who are "DINOs" voting for corporate interests. I urge others who feel the way I do to do the same.
+2 # wcandler1 2011-10-05 17:12
Again, when will someone challenge Obama in the primary?
+14 # noitall 2011-10-05 17:20
In a true democracy, such as that in Iceland, apparently, when the crisis arose, instead of their leaders running in circles lobbying for the bailout "and now" before "something bad" happens, Iceland's leaders put it to the people; the people voted 93% to hunt down the perpetrators and put them to trial (many fled the country). Our "leaders" bailed them out with no strings attached and looked away as they put the money in their bank, drew interest, and rewarded their CEOs with bonuses for being such good money managers (I guess). Noone has been brought to task among those crooks. In the meantime, citizens protesting this outrage are in the cooler. It's about the $ in politics. Its about politicians for sale (what oath?), its about a corrupt "Supreme" court that makes this slur on Democracy legal, its about owned politicians that don't hold the Supreme Court to standards of their post, its about politicians without GUTS, SPINE, BALLS who know who butters their bread and look the other way-"mums the word", its about the "noise" media whose only reports of any content are about the waning interest in the war by US and the way it makes the soldiers feel doing a job of rebuilding a foreign country that we destroyed for the corporations, its about the corporations not paying for ANYTHING that is spent with them benefiting the most. THAT is what this is about, not spoiled 'kids'!
+14 # BradFromSalem 2011-10-05 17:44
Dr. Dean's support would have meant something if the Democratic Party had kept him on board as Chairman. He only led the party into majorities in the House, the Senate, and the White House. So that shows you how much the Democratic party thinks of him. They gave him the chairmanship to keep him from running in 2008; they never expected him to actually be effective.

And because he was so effective, they just go la-la-la when he talks. We just have to hope that the mainstream corporate Clintonian Democrats, in office, out of office, and just plain folk will understand what is going on.
+2 # KittatinyHawk 2011-10-05 17:56
Do not believe this. The Democratic Party has not since before Clinton done a d))) thing to help American Families.
They didnot advise him or oppose his signature on NAFTA which benefited GOP and the Clinton Family also.

There is very little left of Democratic Party, and a shadow of Republican Party.
The only thing I see are the Puppet Masters, these tyrants were given free reign in the early 70's, now they are the Monsters we were all warned about.
Problem is our parents didnot recognize them any better than people today.

We are Marching, Protesting, signing Petitions and I believe this is just a beginning. If Democrats want to prove something, perhaps they better realign Homeland Paranoia. When they put the demons back in their place, perhaps the Corporations will see that we will either win or bury them.
When I say bury, I mean we will put our money in other Countries that do not depend on them. So Europe, perhaps this is a time to look at the Future of America,new generation of Investing.
Wall Street is hollow like an Chocolate Easter Bunny,they have nothing. They have debt, property no one pays for or can afford. Housing is down, Corporations are selling out to Asia, Middle East so Europe where does that leave you? Time we remind GOP the True Meaning of Tea Party "Let's sink their Ship'. Buy Organic. Buy American.
+5 # saigoncowboy 2011-10-05 18:35
Why should we be surprised that no Democrats in Congress, with two exceptions, have not come out in support. They all receive too much money from Wall Street for their reelection campaigns to risk irritating the money bags. This will continue until there is public financing of elections plus serious limits on campaign contributions and use of personal wealth.
+6 # CragJensen 2011-10-05 18:51
Why isn't Obama on board with these new American revolutionaries as he was on board with the Egyptian and Libyan revolutionaries only a few months ago? They are advocating and protesting for things he has based his political platform on - yet his silence on this issue comes across as a resounding explosion.
+3 # unitedwestand 2011-10-05 19:13
I'm glad that some of the braver Dems are supporting this OccupyWallStree t movement. I've attended the Los Angles one and I can assure you that this movement is not a partisan political one, it is truly grassroots with some of the brightest, most loving, inclusive young people this nation has. This is the movement that is needed now and not a minute too soon. We are at the precipice of further denigration of our Democracy, especially with the SCOTUS decision of Citizens United and what we can see that will happen with this next presidential election. Be happy about this movement and support it all you can.

Critics say they are not focused, how can a movement like this be focused on one specific thing when the problems to fix are so numerous. Wall Street is a perfect place to start.
+2 # Buddha 2011-10-05 19:34
I actually think this is terrible news, and this movement risks being "partisanized" just as the GOP hijacked the Tea Party. The Democratic Party has been just as complicit in the Corporatocracy and corruption plaguing our country. Remember repeal of Glass-Steagall? Happened during Clinton's watch. Free Trade and NAFTA shipping our jobs overseas? Need I go on? This movement has to remain non-partisan and against the SYSTEM if it has a chance of relevance and not being easily dismissed as "a bunch of Liberal Democrat Leftists". This is about changing our entire political system, not just being "the Left's Tea Party". That is what Van Jones' American Dream Movement is for.
+1 # unitedwestand 2011-10-05 23:45
At the same time, we do need out elected official to be on our side. Today in Los Angeles, at the City Council's meeting, Richard Alarcon introduced a Resolution to allow the protestors to stay on the lawn of City Hall, and I believe the mayor approved it.
Tonight they can sleep tight. There are some very brave and incredibly bright protestors here and running things very Democratically.

Interesting to see how they've had to form a mini government within. See, we do need a government, it just has represent the people.
+2 # heinzgn 2011-10-05 20:30
I hope the two political parties keep their stinking fingers off this movement. They would corrupt it in no time flat. It needs to evolve and become effective on its own. Howard Dean, go home, you are not telling us anything new.
+1 # unitedwestand 2011-10-05 23:48
You can bet that the Republican party is going to have no part of this, it's too Democratic, and real grassroots, and won't be controlled by being given shiny big busses.

At this point the movement is progressive and inclusive.
+1 # fdrdem2 2011-10-06 01:57
Soon, it will be time for the hired hoods/fbi to show up incite violence.

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.