To emphasize and highlight the diversity among the protesters, I will profile 1-2 people I meet each time I visit Occupy Austin.
Kesha Rogers (pictured below) is one of six Democratic candidates running for U.S. Congress in 2012 across the U.S. under the platform promoted by the LaRouche Political Action Committee. The LaRouche PAC is run by long-time activist and conspiracy theorist, Lyndon LaRouche. Rogers would like to represent the 22nd district in Clear Lake, Texas, a suburb of Houston and home to NASA’s Johnson Space Center. This district is significant to the LaRouche PAC, as space exploration is one piece of LaRouche’s seven part plan to create and sustain a new system of government.
The reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act is another part of the plan, and one that has gained the most traction within the Occupy Wall Street movement. The Glass-Steagall Act (aka the Banking Act of 1933) was passed by Congress and created the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), along with other financial sector regulations designed to control speculation and keep separate the corporate banks that received deposits and investment banks that issued securities. Glass-Steagall was repealed in 1999 through the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act which effectively removed said separation. This repeal is attributed as the cause of the 2008 (and ongoing) financial crisis, which was the impetus for the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Representative Maurice Hinchey of NY proposed that the restoration of Glass-Steagall be included in Dodd-Frank and then proposed the restoration as a separate bill, but both measures were refused by other House Democrats.
Because I like my political coverage mixed with humor, I’d like to share this clip from an episode of The Daily Show aired on 7.28.2011, with an update on where the Dodd-Frank Bill currently stands.
While no representative currently in office has adopted or been elected on the LaRouche platform, many have voiced support for the establishment of more stringent regulations and reforms. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) has introduced legislation (HR 1489 aka the Return to Prudent Banking Act of 2011) to restore Glass-Steagall-like regulations, which, according to the LaRouche PAC, has garnered support from 45 house representatives in addition to a large number of unions and municipalities. Rogers says that by supporting the passage of Glass-Steagall, the supporting members of Congress are indirectly and passively supporting the impeachment of the President. To put this in context, here is a brief rundown of the additional pieces of LaRouche’s plan:
1. The impeachment of President Obama before the 2012 Presidential election
2. The restructuring of the financial sector under a “Hamiltonian Credit System”
3. Using this credit system to
– Build the North American Water and Power Alliance, an investment in infrastructure and technology
– Further fund space exploration endeavors and create a space exploration alliance among the U.S., China, and Russia
– Invest in nuclear power infrastructure
4. The establishment of a Civilian Conservation Corps modeled after the one started by FDR in his New Deal to create jobs for the unemployed and to make possible the projects mentioned in item 3
HR 1489 does not include any other aspect of LaRouche’s plan, nor does it suggest or even allude to the impeachment of President Obama. As stated on Rep. Kaptur’s website, HR 1489 does, ” [repeal] certain provisions of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act and revives the separation between commercial banking and the securities business, in the manner provided in the Banking Act of 1933, the so-called ‘Glass-Steagall Act’. The affiliations currently between certain entities would be required to be dissolved.”
The LaRouche PAC is a passionate group with a plan. In spite of extreme and hostile rhetoric (likening the Obama Administration to the Nazis is just one example), it is apparent that they are frustrated with the current system and want a real solution.
Kesha Rogers is a Houston resident who ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2010 and plans to run again in 2012. She has been an activist with the LaRouche PAC for 7 years, and will marry a fellow LaRouche PAC activist in 3 weeks.