More Talk Radio on 12/12/11


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Mon, 12/12/2011 - 8:00am to 9:00am
Steve Fraser on his article "Take Our Children, Please! A Modest Proposal for Occupy Wall Street



Host Cecil Prescod speaks with Steve Fraser, historian of Wall Street and author of "Wall Street: America's Dream Palace." Steve Fraser has a current article on called "Take Our Children, Please! A Modest Proposal for Occupy Wall Street”

The article plays off of the words of satirist Jonathan Swift, who at a moment when Ireland had fallen into utter destitution at the hands of British landlords, offered a “modest proposal” that they should sell their own children to the rich as food. Steve Fraser proposes that on January 16th, Martin Luther King Day, Americans should descend on Wall Street for a “macabre gathering,” a day that would be dubbed “We Surrender” or “Restore Debtor’s Prisons” or “De-Fault Is Ours” or “Collateralize Us.”

There, he suggests, we would offer ourselves and our children as a sacrifice to Wall Street. As he describes it in part: “You’ll want to turn in your subprime mortgage documents. And do you really need that mobile home or tent? And certainly, you’ll want to offer up your children to Wall Street if they’re young enough to make a “delicious” and nourishing meal. If a bit older, haul along that creaky swing-set from your backyard, or dilapidated blackboards and outmoded computer consoles from your child’s underfunded, disintegrating school… If your children are older still, and waterlogged from the college loans that put them ‘underwater’ before they even had their first jobs, why not donate those debts as securitized gifts to the Street? Better yet: give back their college diplomas.”

Fraser means this proposal seriously in the spirit of Martin Luther King, that “lawbreaker for justice.” As he writes, “If credit-default swaps and structured investment vehicles are legal, as they are, and if marching in the streets is becoming ever less so, as it is, then on January 16th we should begin to turn that kind of preposterous world upside down. What was lawful shall become criminal and what was denied to the people shall be taken by them and made good law.”

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