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Galindez writes: "The best thing that could happen for America would be Wall Street divesting from the Democratic Party. The party would no longer be owned by the corporate Oligarchy and America would finally have an opposition party."

The Wall Street sign outside the New York Stock Exchange. (photo: Chip East/Reuters)
The Wall Street sign outside the New York Stock Exchange. (photo: Chip East/Reuters)

Tell Wall Street Where They Can Shove Their Money

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News

31 March 15


Divest, Divest, Divest...

he best thing that could happen for America would be Wall Street divesting from the Democratic Party. The party would no longer be owned by the corporate oligarchy. America would finally have an opposition party, a party to fight the billionaire class and represent the working class.

I hear many of you screaming, “But we have the Socialists, the Greens...” We have a two party system. Until that changes, third parties do nothing more than provide a place for a protest vote. I support major reforms to our political system, and maybe if the Democratic Party were no longer owned by corporations it could be a vehicle to implement those reforms. We need a Pro-Democracy movement in America, and Wall Street surrendering the Democratic Party back to the people would be a great first step.

If we could be sure that political contributions were just individuals or organizations giving money to candidates they support, then private financing of our political candidates could be a good thing. However, we know that most of the money that flows into a candidate’s coffers are nothing more than bribes. For example, Citibank board members likely hate some of the positions that many of the candidates they donate to advocate. They are not donating to help candidates get elected – let’s say Chuck Schumer, they know he will win – they are buying influence. They want a seat at the table, and they want the power to extort support for an issue that benefits them. Their bribery should be illegal.

According to a recent report by Reuters, “Big Wall Street banks are so upset with U.S. Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren’s call for them to be broken up that some have discussed withholding campaign donations to Senate Democrats in symbolic protest, sources familiar with the discussions said.” “Symbolic protest?” Sounds like extortion to me – but hey, they have already been shown to be above the law, so they have nothing to worry about.

In reality we are only talking about $15,000 contributions from four banks, a drop in the bucket. These contributions would go unnoticed in Washington. Too bad they were’t really talking about all of their money. Give it all to the Republicans and make them further beholden to you. Wall Street money only corrupts and then limits the ability of politicians to speak with their own voice. Free the Democrats ... Divest Now!

When I was a kid, the labor unions had a much greater influence on the Democratic Party. Some would say they owned the party the same way the corporations own the party today. So maybe it is still the lesser of two evils, but I for one would rather return to the day when labor and other “special interest” groups had a greater influence over the Democrats, and the wealthy were represented by the Republicans. The shift started in the early eighties when a panicked Democratic Party was being out-raised by the Republicans 10 to 1. A freshman congressman by the name of Tony Coelho took over the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and began to aggressively seek corporate money. Coehlo had people like Tip O’Neill rubbing elbows with traditionally Republican donors. Today you will find that most corporations give equally to Republicans and Democrats.

The result is that the groups Democrats used to count on for support are no longer as influential. Labor, women’s groups, environmental groups, peace and justice groups ... are no longer as instrumental in shaping the direction of the Democratic Party.

Ideally, we would have a more vibrant democracy in which multiple views were represented by multiple parties, but that will take serious political reform and is unrealistic today. The reality is that Wall Street and these banks are just blowing smoke. They will not give up the Democratic Party anytime soon. Oh, but imagine what we could accomplish if they did.

Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador's slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush's first stolen election. Scott will be spending a year covering the presidential election from Iowa.

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