Richardson's Beef With Occupy Wall Street

Matthew Richardson Columns, Lawyer

Occupy Wall Street. I like it. In theory. Except for the “Occupy” part. Seems very passive, maybe there are some other things they can be doing other than hula-hooping and playing crappy folk music, right? Being a corporate lawyer who basically sucks from the teat of Wall Street, I’m tempted not to bite the hand that feeds me, so instead of actually joining those hippy losers, I decided to post a list of some fairly notable protests and how they would translate down to Wall Street. Maybe the protesters could use some of these pointers.

Tiananmen Square, 1989

A mass of at least 1 million people, mostly students seeking democratic reform, had peacefully occupied Beijing’s Tiananmen Square for seven weeks when the Chinese military out of nowhere rolled in to clear them out. And by clear them out I mean kill them—with tanks. At least several hundred protesters were killed in the city, drawing harsh criticism from the international community. Pretty sure NYC cops watched this on Youtube a bunch of times before they decided to pepper spray innocent women. Doubtful it will ever get that bad, but maybe a few hippies “cleared out” might be just what this protest needs.

The Storming of the Bastille

On July 14, 1789, hundreds of Parisians descended on the Bastille, beheaded its governor and overtook the prison. This act has come to symbolize the entire French Revolution and indeed was a major catalyst to the 10-year-long rebellion against the crown. So, even the French had a spine, once upon a time–once upon a long time ago. I’m definitely not advocating this at all, but if one were to behead a CEO, who would you pick? Jamie Dimon or Lloyd Blankfien? I’m partial to a bald dome when considering which CEO to behead. Not that I would ever advocate for that.

The Protestant Reformation

The Reformation began with a simple gesture: Martin Luther nailing to the door of a German church a treatise on the abuses of Catholicism, in 1517. However, the movement that followed would ultimately spill blood, destroy empires, and change the world. Hmmm, a treatise of abuses, where would we even start? I hope the $150 dinner budget they give us for summer associates isn’t on there. Maybe one of the protesters should nail a copy of “Too Big To Fail” onto Bernanke’s door? Or just print out Occupy Wall Street’s twitter feed? Ideally, this protest ends the corporate oligarchy without the bloodshed.

Boston Tea Party

Nothing like the right-wing nut jobs that exist today, this Tea party was actually a legitimate reaction to harsh new British taxation acts. More than 100 colonists secretly boarded three British ships arriving in harbor and dumped 45 tons of tea into the water. The unorthodox protest was one of the key moments that built momentum for the American Revolution. Hmm, maybe Occupy Wall Streeters could sneak onto the trading floor dressed like those dipshits and dump out all their trade tickets to confuse the hell out of them? “Oh crap, I can’t artificially inflate gas prices and drive small companies out of business because their shipping costs are too high if I can’t find my damn trading stub.”

March on Washington

Martin Luther King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech was delivered during this August 1963 rally to promote racial equality in the United States. More than 200,000 demonstrators gathered peacefully at the Lincoln Memorial in D.C. The event is credited with pressuring President John F. Kennedy to draw up firm civil rights legislation. Don’t you wish our generation had a Martin Luther King and a catchphrase that inspired us? Oh wait, that was supposed to be Obama and “Yes we Can.” Bummer.


Share this Post