HOLLYWOOD, CA – Dozens of ghosts, grim reapers with bank logos on their scythes, and oversized banker puppets occupied the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Halloween Night as activists from Occupy Fights Foreclosures and Occupy Los Angeles portrayed the “Ghosts of Wall Street.” #GOWS
Friday night’s rally assembled at dusk outside the mosaic-covered Chase Bank at the corner of Sunset & Vine. Familiar icons associated with Occupy Los Angeles filled the courtyard, including Nowhere Man’s plea to “Imagine Fairness” and a black-and-glitter banner bearing the message “Fuck the Police.”
As night fell on Hollywood, dozens of white ghosts rose up over the crowd. Grim reapers in hooded cloaks and scary masks raised scythes bearing the logos off Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Chase, and Citibank. A ten-foot-tall papier-mâché version of the Monopoly banker Rich Uncle Pennybags took up residence next to a lighted sign spelling out the message “Ghosts of Wall Street.” Another banker appeared in a striped jail uniform with a sign reading “Jail the Bankers.”
A slick banker sporting a gigantic cigar declared, “Thank you, America! I want to personally thank you, America, for bailing me out! Thank you for giving me your homes,” he joked, while Pink Floyd’s “Money” played on a portable amplifier system.
Led by a wide “The Nightmares From Wall Street” banner, the ghosts, reapers, and bankers marched north on Vine St, then west on Hollywood Blvd towards the intersection of Hollywood & Highland. The crowd responded positively to the procession, shouting out remarks that the “Ghosts of Wall Street” was both creative and true.
On the sidewalk outside the Dolby Theater, across from the El Capitan theater, the activists paused for a moment of street theater. ZIRP the USA Economy Clown set down his oversized cardboard assault rifle (“This Machine Spreads Democracy”) to thank the country: “Thank you for all the wars that we’re winning! We won the last war! The world is better off and we’ve got another one going on. Thanks for spreading democracy!”
ZIRP the clown also revealed, “All outstanding private debt in the United States (including mortgages, automobile, credit cards, and student loan debt) equals 16 trillion dollars, which is the amount of money we gave to the banks to bail them out, and we got absolutely nothing for it!”
“So, let’s keep that quantitative easing spigot going. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is hitting all-time highs. We’ve got a whole new war starting. We’re very excited about Ebola. So let’s just bring on the chaos,” he concluded. “Bring on the chaos 2014!”
The sunglass-clad banker waving his cigar told the audience, “Our banks were in crisis, but thanks to America, thanks to you, we have been bailed out! You’ve been good to us! While the rest of you continue to struggle, I continue to make more money.”
“There have been over 8 million foreclosures. I have taken over 8 million homes since then, and there are about 2 million more I am going to take,” announced this wolf of Wall Street. “Students are full of debt for the rest of their lives! Thank you America! I fill my pockets with your money! I am too big to prosecute! I am too big to go to jail!”
According to Occupy Fights Foreclosures, the nightmare is real—the greed of “the 1%” continues to grow. Banks committed trillions of dollars of fraud on colossal scale that continues to have lasting repercussions long past the initial 2008 financial crisis. The government has rubber stamped mortgage fraud settlements that merely reinforce that it will be possible for bankers to pay their way out of future crimes. Wall St. has benefited from the housing crisis by snatching up properties at bargain prices and expanding the rental market. Also, a massive student debt bubble is looming over the youth of today. Tuition prices continue to rise, yet the rate of return on a college degree is decreasing, as students graduate and fail to find full employment. We are saddling an entire generation with student loan debts that may outweigh future earning power and are dischargeable only by death.
Livestreamer @PMBeers was distracted from filming the street theater when she noticed a heavily militarized Los Angeles Sheriff Department vehicle parked at the curb. She confirmed with the LASD officer that Hollywood is Los Angeles Police Department territory (indeed, groups of LAPD officers were stationed all along Hollywood Blvd). After repeated questioning, the LASD officer stated his department is responsible for the Metro, and Metro property extends all the way from the underground to the exterior sidewalk.
At the Hollywood Blvd assembly, activists also made a reminder to check out the Homeless Bill of Rights and get involved in our own neighborhoods as community organizers. Medical marijuana pioneer Richard Eastman spoke out against corporate greed (“Free the weed and end corporate greed!”) and announced that he would be giving away free cannabis for the fourth year in a row the afternoon of Tuesday, November 4th at Los Angeles City Hall, a tradition that started during the residence of the “Occupy L.A.” community in 2011.
The Ghosts of Wall Street banker concluded his speech with some tongue-in-cheek advice to America: “Continue to do exactly what you are doing, and that is nothing! Don’t get involved. Don’t educate yourself. So that you can continue to go in the same direction you are going. We are going from worse to worse.”
LAPD Police Encounter Halloween Night on Hollywood Blvd http://youtu.be/IVxTQqZh2ss
The Ghosts of Wall Street — Occupy Fights Foreclosures 10-31-14 http://youtu.be/HxttyNlmOA0
Ghosts of Wall Street #GOWS Banker on Hollywood Walk of Fame Halloween Night (October 31, 2014) http://youtu.be/c0aVIRxYhjo
Ghosts of Wall Street #GOWS Clown on Hollywood Walk of Fame Halloween Night (October 31, 2014) http://youtu.be/QNUc2mKemPY