There’s been quite a lot of snark coming from the media and more centrist-leaning pundits concerning the conspicuous lack of “material demands” from the Occupy Wall Street movement. Now, I sympathize with both sides at least a little (excluding the “they’re just punks” crowd in the news-media): one the one hand, the OWS finds itself in line with the mood of the Arab Spring, and therefore would prefer to let itself evolve organically over time as opposed to immediate specification and therefore centralization of its purpose. However, on the other hand, if the protest movement works and the Powers That Be decide to give in (hypothetically, work with me here), what would happen? Would the kids just go home, bewildered? The point is, I believe, that OWS needs to have a specificity of direction, if not demands per se. And this is where the great Rortybomb has chimed in with a piece for Good titled Three Concrete Demands to Hold Wall Street Accountable, each of which would fit nicely on a poster. They are:
1) Cancel Debts
2) Investigate Wall Street
3) Financial Transaction Tax
If you’re keep score at home, that’s one for Growth, one for Justice, and one for Prevention. In other words, increase aggregate demand by forgiving or restructuring massive amounts of household, and while we’re at it, student debt; punish those on Wall Street who sank the economy in the first place with predatory lending and fraud; and institute a financial transaction tax to curb unnecessary speculation (something originally proposed by Keynes, and which has precedent in the Tobin Tax and the several countries which have already initiated a like-minded measure).
This is a three-tiered attack that will give some wonkish legitimacy to the protesters, and yet is still indeterminate enough to evolve amidst discussion and compromise. Hopefully we’ll see some of these measures written in Sharpie soon enough.