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We the People vs. Wall Street

The YES! Magazine editors are planning a new issue focused on practical ways to counter the power of corporations and Wall Street. Can you help?

Wall Street Sign photo by Alex E. Proimos

Photo by Alex E. Proimos.

We started planning an issue on corporate power last summer. At the time, many were coming to see that solutions to nearly every concern—from climate change to mass foreclosures, from the health care crisis to joblessness—are stymied by the outsized power of corporations. But what could ordinary people do when faced with gigantic corporations and government officials who all too often act at their behest?

Then Occupy Wall Street erupted, and everything changed. The movement named the issue with a clarity that resonated with millions: The 1% are laying claim to the wealth of our world while impoverishing everyone else. The 1% are treating our government as a wholly owned subsidiary. And they’re defrauding investors, draining retirement funds, evading taxes, and driving people from their homes with impunity. While thousands of occupiers are arrested for peacefully assembling and millions of people of color are channeled into the criminal justice system, Wall Street executives responsible for the 2008 crash have yet to be prosecuted for their crimes.

The Occupy movement makes the issue clear and shows that the 99% are prepared to take a stand. But what can be done?

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Occupy Wall Street and the 99% Movement

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Is it possible to take on the power of Wall Street and the 1%? If so, how do we do it? A majority of people in the United States agree that corporations have too much power. But we live in a world where corporate lobbyists dominate Congress and our president appoints his top economic advisors straight from Wall Street.

The spring issue of YES! will look for the practical ways to resist corporate power. We’ll look at successes in keeping corporations from controlling our elections, our media, and our health care system, and at strategies to reverse the legal fiction of “corporate personhood.” And we’ll explore how we can have a “rule of law” that applies to big corporations and Wall Street firms, just like it applies to the rest of us.

Here’s where you come in. The Occupy movement has created a new renaissance in the evolution of powerful nonviolent direct action. What are your favorite tactics?

Perhaps it’s the Cleveland group that occupied the yard of a single mother who was about to be evicted. Or maybe it’s pitching a tent in the lobby of a Bank of America branch, or singing through an eviction hearing, creating enough disruption that the hearing and the foreclosure were postponed.

Email your stories to outreach[at]yesmagazine.org

Please send us your stories of the tactics you’ve used or that you’ve witnessed. Upload your videos on YouTube and email us the link, along with a brief description about what happened.  Or email photos (just a few, please!) and a description—or just your story—to outreach[at]yesmagazine.org. And finally, share this article with others who speaking up, acting out, or simply supporting the work of the 99% from the sidelines.

We’d like to post your ideas on our website, and some of them could become part of next issue of YES!


Sarah van Gelder newSarah van Gelder wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions for a just and sustainable world. Sarah is executive editor of YES!

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