Counterparties: Occupy Wall Street’s Second Act
Welcome to the Counterparties email. The sign-up page is here, it’s just a matter of checking a box if you’re already registered on the Reuters website. Send suggestions, story tips and complaints to Counterparties.Reuters@gmail.com
Occupy Wall Street is not calling May 1 a comeback. After bringing income inequality and economic fairness to the national conversation, the group’s organizers tell Josh Harkinson of Mother Jones that the demonstrations in 40 cities will be the “big kickoff of phase 2 of Occupy”.
In New York, Occupy will start May 1 in Bryant Park, before marching to Union Square and ending with a 5:30 p.m. march on Wall Street. Additional demonstrations could also shut down subways, tunnels, bridges and the NYSE.
But beyond greater numbers and bolder national action – like possibly attempting to shut down the Golden Gate Bridge – it’s unclear what precisely the second phase of OWS will look like. The organization has successfully focused its message at times, as its highly technical yet well-argued comment letter to the SEC on the Volcker Rule showed. But even if a bullet-pointed plan would capture short-term media credibility, this is still a movement built on the idea of protest-as-message.
If Occupy is searching for a way back into broader relevance, it’s already on the radar of their main target. Bloomberg’s Max Abelson looks at how banks are joining forces and working with police and private security firms to track OWS’s return act. Abelson gives his interviewees enough rope to hang themselves on their own tone-deaf quotes:
Banks cooperating on surveillance are like elk fending off wolves in Yellowstone National Park, [Brian McNary, director of global risk at Pinkerton Consulting & Investigations] said. While other animals try in vain to sprint away alone, elk survive attacks by forming a ring together, he said.
That concern, however poorly articulated, seems to rise to the top at financial firms. After offering to meet with OWS last October, Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit hasn’t followed through, and the movement is asking him why. New York‘s Joe Coscarelli reports that Deutsche Bank is planning to close its public atrium at 60 Wall Street.
What single issue should Occupy Wall Street focus on? Email us at Counterparties.Reuters@gmail.com and we’ll post the best responses in tomorrow’s newsletter. If we include your comment, we’ll send you a book from the pile on Felix’s desk. — Ben Walsh
And on to today’s links:
Who cares if Murdoch lobbied? – Jack Shafer
Apple and the innovation dilemma – John C. Abell
Stop blaming the statisticians – John Kemp
Can Silicon Valley fix the mortgage market? – Christopher Papagianis