Matt Taibbi Joins Occupy Wall Street for Anti-Corporate Protest

MattTaibbi.jpg
Matt Taibbi speaking to Occupy Wall Street protesters today.
Occupy Wall Street protesters held their biggest march so far this year today as part of a nationwide "Shut Down the Corporations" day of action.

Several hundred occupiers gathered in Bryant Park this morning before marching east on 42nd Street to the global headquarters of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, targeted because the company is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council.

When the marchers returned to Bryant Park, Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi delivered a lecture explaining the origins of the mortgage crisis and the role played by Bank of America.

Taibbi said the financial industry sowed the seeds for the economic crisis when it began repackaging high-risk mortgages into triple-A-rated mortgage-backed securities.

"That's what these guys did," Taibbi said. "They turned a bunch of oregano into high-grade weed and they sold it all around the world."

Compounding the crisis, of course, were the credit default swaps major banks bought, essentially betting that the toxic derivatives they were selling would fail.

"It's sort of like selling a lot full of cars with no brakes and then buying life insurance on all the drivers," Taibbi said.

All the major financial institutions are implicated in these shady dealings, Taibbi said, but Bank of America is the worst. "They're like a Zelig of the white-collar crime era," he said. "They're involved in everything."

Taibbi called for criminal investigation into Bank of America's behavior, and an end to federal support for the institution. "We've got to put pressure on our elected officials to disallow any further state support of Bank of America," he said.

Given Bank of America's precarious financial situation, cutting off the taxpayer support could bring the bank crashing down, Taibbi said. "We have to figure out a way to unwind these corrupt companies in a way that doesn't destroy the rest of us."

The rest of the day's action was typical Occupy Wall Street fare: hundreds of protesters streaming through the streets, chased and herded by police on scooters and on foot attempted to divert and break up the demonstration.

A heavy police presence and metal barricades kept the occupiers away from the Bank of America tower across the intersection from Bryant Park, so instead they visited Bank of America retail branches throughout the neighborhood. The branches closed their doors when the protesters drew near, and police rushed to put themselves between the banks and the march.

At one point, a member of the OWS Direct Action working group expressed frustration at the disorganization of the march. "But it's okay," she said. "We're learning for May 1st."

Here's video of Taibbi's talk, via Tim Pool:



Video streaming by Ustream

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5 comments
Davids
Davids

Pick a poster board issue, where you can hit corporations where it counts.

My suggestion.... Pharmaceutical company advertizing.  No one I know wants Cialis and Viagra commercials on TV. Bring it to a nation wide public referendum vote this year.

Deb
Deb

I was curious to see what this guy looked like after hearing the horrible comments he made regarding Breitbart's death....He looks like an old angry gay guy that has had lip injections, so I guess it makes sense.....Why don't you leave politics to those with common sense Taibbi and just concentrate on your male encounters.....Obviously you aren't much - I had never even heard of you and I'm sure by tomorrow will have forgotten your name. 

Cm
Cm

Shame, shame on you for your comments about Breitbart's death.  Who in the world do you think you are to utter such nasty words  All you care about is your fleeting 5 seconds of "fame"...or call it what you may!!

Isabelabrown183
Isabelabrown183

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Leigh Roche
Leigh Roche

perhaps disorganized democracy can defeat organized greed. go Matt!

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