By Lucy Komisar
Nov 20, 2016
My neighborhood: Sunday night, and the meeting room of a community center on West 13th Street in the Village was jammed with hundreds of people, standing room only, all quite passionately opposed to what President-elect Donald Trump threatens to do to the country – especially hurting various identity groups and entrenching extremists in a space for the newly powerful to which (nobody mentioned it) the Clintons and Obama had opened the door, put in plush rugs, etc.
Mayor Bill de Blasio stopped by to commit himself to the struggle. Which he defined largely in terms of identity liberalism. He predicted a national political uprising if Trump attempts to appoint a Supreme Court justice who would overturn Roe v Wade or repeal marriage equality. He said, “In New York we are not going to participate in the deportation of our fellow New Yorkers.”
He said, “If you are Latino, New York City stands with you. If you are Muslim, New York City stands with you. If you are LGBT, New York City stands with you. If you are an immigrant, New York City stands with you.”
I didn’t hear anything about poor people or income inequality or disappearing jobs. Is anyone thinking about why the Clintons lost? Sorry, Clinton, singular, but I think of them as a policy couple as Bill started the pro-Wall Street deregulation, end of Glass-Steagall separating deposit-taking banks from the casino, etc., that helped bring on the crash of ’08. And which Hillary didn’t want to reverse.
The mayor got enthusiastic applause.
As people in the audience called out what should be done, somebody wrote ideas down on large white sheets that were posted to a wall. I didn’t stay for the next hour to see how the ideas would be turned into actions.
Except that one action was announced. Somebody stood up to say that in the 60s she had gone to Washington to march against the Vietnam War, and invited people to sign up for the bus she was organizing for a demonstration on inauguration day plus one.
Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler said that New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer wanted to use corporate money repatriated by tax havens to pay for building infrastructure. That means that multinationals, who have stashed money abroad to evade taxes, can now bring it back at a minimum rate, maybe 5 or 6 percent.
Actually, they already have the money for use here (collateral for loans, etc.), so that is just a bookkeeping arrangement the government winks at. They just can’t use it openly to pay dividends to investors, buy back stock, jack up the share price and increase CEOs’ pay, as they did in the 2004 repatriation.
When I asked him about Schumer, he said, “He has expressed support over the years for repatriation and using that for infrastructure. If you’re for repatriation, using that for infrastructure is a good idea, but you shouldn’t be for repatriation.”
I asked, “Has he said this again?” Nadler said, “I don’t know when the last time he spoke about it was. He’s been in favor of it for a long time.”
OK, Schumer is the senator from Wall Street, but you need more evidence to accuse him of this ploy now, when the Trump side is talking about it.
Still, nobody at the meeting said they needed to throw the Wall Streeters, banksters and plutocrats out of
the Temple the Democratic party.
Outside, a local TV reporter, clueless as always, asked the mayor about his feud with Gov. Cuomo. Hey, don’t bother mainstream TV with real issues that concern the country, not to mention the subject of the event he just attended. Let’s look for sexy political conflict. The mayor politely deflected the question.