If the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ (#OWS) movement is about ridding American politics and government of undue corporate influence – the corruption of the US political process and government by corporate money – then it’s emerging counterpart in Washington, D.C. – the ‘Occupy D.C.‘ (#OccupyDC) or ‘Occupy K St.’ (#OccuypKSt) campaign – should assume a rightful place as a second center around which other campaigns can draw focus and revolve.
It’s long been recognized that D.C.’s K Street is “lobbying central” for corporations, foreign governments, and others keen and eager to sway and influence member of Congress, government bureaucrats and the broad public on behalf of just about anyone who can come up with the money to buy their influence peddling and media spinning acumen.
Wall St. and K Street have become symbols the corrupting influence unfettered corporate money flows has come to have throughout the American political system and the US republican democratic form of government, an evolution that Congressional members and presidents themselves have been the agents of.
Occupy K Street March from McPherson Square – “Republic, Lost”
Occupy D.C.-K Street protestors marched on K Street yesterday and gathered round a bank branch guarded by two DC police officers as two members of the protest proceeded inside and closed their bank accounts.
Upon exiting, one said that although he was doing alright financially he acted in sympathy with the OWS and ‘We are the 99%’ movements. The other emphasized that the growing protest movement isn’t about the workers, it’s about the corporation.
Actions taken over recent decades have expanded and strengthened the corrupting influence of ‘Big Money’ from banks and big corporations on Congress and threatens the heart of the American republic, as Harvard professor, cyber-law expert and author Lawrence Lessig writes in an Oct. 5 Huffington Post column.
It’s a subject that he delves much deeper into in his recently released book, “Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress–and a Plan to Stop It.”
The next evolutionary step for the ‘Occupy’ and ‘We Are the 99%’ movement are ‘Occupy Main St.’ campaigns, Lessig writes in the Huffington Post column.
A Long, Sordid Legislative Trail; ‘Democracy is for People’
A long series of government legislation and court rulings over the past two decades has brought the US republic to this point. One recent event stands out in terms of the corrupting effects it’s had on US politics and government: the US Supreme Court upholding “Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission,” legislation that gave for-profit corporations the right to spend unlimited amounts of money to support or attack political candidates.
The decision prompted Citizens United to launch its “Money and Democracy” weekly e-newsletter. Through the “Money and Democracy” campaign, Public Citizen — founded by Ralph Nader — is monitoring and distributing news and information about how campaign finance rules and government lobbying efforts are being co-opted by corporate money to an even greater extent than has ever been the case. The ultimate goal is to get the Supreme Court to overturn its initial decision in “Citizens United v. Federal Electoral Commission.”
I've been reporting and writing on a wide range of topics at the nexus of economics, technology, ecology/environment and society for some five years now. Whether in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Americas, Africa or the Middle East, issues related to these broad topical areas pose tremendous opportunities, as well as challenges, and define the quality of our lives, as well as our relationship to the natural environment.