A host of union groups and community activists are planning to one-up the anti-Wall Street sentiment commonly associated with the Tea Party movement by actually organizing a massive protest on the streets of downtown Manhattan.
The AFL-CIO is set to orchestrate a 10,000-person "march on Wall Street" on April 29, designed to push for several broad and specific actions on the financial regulatory reform front.
The union conglomerate's president, Richard Trumka, in an interview with Politico, described the event as a focal point for populist angst with the financial industry's practices.
"People will be talking, yelling, chanting, and letting America -- and letting Wall Street, particularly -- know that their brand of economics, where the financial economy overshadows the real economy, is no longer acceptable, that we want them to help pay for the jobs that they destroyed," he said.
Other officials with the union group told the Huffington Post that specific demands will be made at the event -- directed both at the surrounding Wall Street crowd and lawmakers in D.C. As part of their broader push for comprehensive financial regulation, the AFL-CIO will be calling for Congress to pass a strong and independent consumer financial protection agency. Additionally, they will call for a financial transaction tax as a way to raise money and limit speculative, excessive trading. Finally, they'll demand a tax on Wall Street bonuses, similar to legislative proposals put forth by Democrats in Congress.
The goal, in the end, is to tap into the unease that many still feel with Wall Street's practices and to display the public support that exists for Congress to move forward on regulatory reform.
"There is a lot of anger out there," said AFL-CIO spokesman Eddie Vale. "But part of what we are doing is showing that a lot of the Tea Party side is this ginned-up faux populism. The real populism, what we are showing, is a lot of people out there who are legitimately angry and that the anger is directed at the people responsible for this, the folks on Wall Street."
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