Saturday, June 01, 2013

Bond Swaps and Occupy Oakland

Two really good talks over lunch going on now at the PATNet conference.

Journalist (and Sociology PhD) Darwin Bond-Graham talked about how during the Occupy time, they managed to politicize public finance by unraveling the complex mechanisms of bond swaps that had Oakland paying Goldman Sachs a billion dollars (sorry I wasn't taking notes, so I may be a bit off here).  He also related how a 1998 bond covered police and fire pensions - and most of the retired police were white and had moved out of Oakland - to the Sierra foothills, Hawaii, etc.  And the relationship between $1billion owed to the pension fund that had to come from the present, basically diverse Oakland population paying to cover the losses on the pension fund.  Here's an article he wrote that gives a lot more details.

And here's a link to his blog that has a lot more stories.

Now Laleh Behbehanian, a graduate sociology student at UC Berkeley is now talking about the experience of Occupy Oakland - how it was organized and run.  About some of the philosophical underpinnings - like taking back public space for the people.  How they used General Assemblies to decide on how and what to do. 

Rather than my trying to capture this I'm going to post a video I've found on Youtube featuring Laleh.

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