29 September 2012

Occupy the SEC Update

As I have noted here several times before, the folks at Occupy the SEC represent, I think, an impressive example of how expertise and systematic inquiry can enter in to - and thereby help democratize - the process by which 'a bill becomes law' and 'a law gets implemented.' They have posted this summary/reminder of all the hard work they have done intervening in the arcane legislative and bureaucratic processes behind the regulation of financial markets. In the past I have noted a parallel between the ways Occupy the SEC challenges 'expert authority' and ways ACT UP did so in the early 1980s. One important lesson that comes from the analogy, it seems to me, is that ACT UP succeeded in altering the process of research and policy in no small measure because they drew strength and support from direct action. Entering into the comment process at the SEC or the hearings of Congressional committees is not at odds with direct action in the form of protests in the streets and occupation/re-appropriation of public space.

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