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"FedUp" Activists Identify the Source of Economic Pain -- The Federal Reserve

03/28/2014 10:26 am ET | Updated May 28, 2014

I am certain that it was the same with Goliaths when they looked down on their Davids. No problem here -- yet.

On the sidewalks of Constitution Avenue on March 22, a No-Problem-Here-Yet contingent of activists showed up to protest the European Central Bank's conference on Monetary Policy at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. They straggled in from DC suburbs as well as the streets of Chicago and NYC and they had one clear intention: to locate the stone that they could put in their sling to dispatch their enemy.

"Our ultimate goal is to take the ownership of the means of producing money in this country away from the private cartel of Wall Street banksters," declared Organizers Harrison Schultz and Lorna Shannon.

"This first event is called The People's First Grassroots Conference on Monetary Policy and we intend to put the spotlight on what is called the NEED Act," the two added.

Let me see if I understand this. It's grassroots. It's people. And, it's about monetary policy. Somehow, went my initial thinking, the first two don't seem to fit in with the latter. The Federal Reserve is not inclined to mingle with people having grass stains on their coveralls.

That thought was corrected vigorously by those I met. The very fact that they were very likely to be ignored seemed to promise more effort on their part, not less. This is America. It is to be expected.

We're FedUp

"We're FedUp with the Federal Reserve and the private cartel of Walls Street bankers who work at and control the Fed," Harrison added. "We intend to start an important conversation and see it grow across the country and in numbers that cannot be ignored."

The determination of this band fits in nicely with American history and the hate-hate relationship citizens have had with the Fed for the past 100 years (its centennial was celebrated in December).

The first attempt at creating a central bank was in 1791 when then-Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton established the First Bank of the United States. It became the largest corporation in the United States, which soured agrarian-minded Americans and its 20-year-charter ended in 1811. Congress refused to renew it by one vote.

In 1913 the Federal Reserve System came into existence and signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson. It was considered a classic example of compromise -- a decentralized central bank that balanced the competing interests of private banks and populist sentiment.

That warm legislative glow lasted, somewhat, until the market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression. From 1930 to 1933, nearly 10,000 banks failed, Roosevelt declared a bank holiday, and economists and politicians went back to the drawing board... out of which came the Banking Act of 1933 (better known as the Glass-Steagall Act).

Basically, the banks got a good spanking and were ordered to play by the (new) rules.

Time and space do not allow for a deeper history lesson, but it suffices to say that the Fed has had a checkered history. In many ways it kept a damper on inflation and provided money at times of crisis. It also allowed the greed of the banking houses to reach heights not seen since before the Great Depression.

And, we all know what happened.

We all know, as well, that the Occupy Wall Street movement came into existence three years into the Great Recession to change the conversation and the playing field itself. The national dialogue would no longer be run by bankers and politicians who urged austerity (not for themselves) on the one hand and blamed Main Street on the other.

For the first time since the '30s, the 99 percent stood up and pointed out the real culprits -- Wall Street and the politicians they own. People listened, they heard, and began to believe.

They got bailed out. We got sold out

Which brings us back to this small troupe carrying signs and using a bullhorn to bring the inequities of the Fed to the attention of passing cars and pedestrians.

Like most of the people reading this article, the onlookers are unaware that the Fed truly isn't federal. It is not a government agency, but a privately owned corporation. The audience, also like most people reading this article, do not know that this corporation is owned by America's largest banks -- whose executives also sit on its board.

There is decidedly something wrong with this picture and the effort that will be needed to change it, described by this interviewer as "The Vietnam War That We Must Win" in a conversation with protestor, Nick Egnatz.

"It is time to take the power of money creation from the Federal Reserve and private banking cartels and return it to a transparent system that is accountable to the people," one of the protestors shouted through his megaphone. (This was one, serious Occupy rant we are talking about.) The literature handed out continued that lineage:

"Our goal is no longer merely changing the conversation or urging people to quit their jobs, leave their homes to occupy the streets, or get arrested and beaten by the police. We do however recognize the value of spending time in the streets at actions, demonstrations, rallies and marches in order to help grassroots activists and organizers learn more about the Federal Reserve; and to show the public that people are organizing to create a better economy for all of us."

It continues:

"While the Fed and ECB talk more status quo economics, making insignificant policy changes and making cases for printing more and more debt backed money to further enslave and oppress the 99 percent, we will present radical alternatives that can transform the power dynamics and empower entire communities that have been completely disenfranchised from the system and alienated from the ever elusive American Dream."

And ends: "FedUp is an educational movement. Our aim is to illuminate the truth about the Federal Reserve and to spread awareness about alternatives to the centralized banking system."

Choosing the weapon...and the warrior

So, if a FedUp hero (or heroine) will be needed to serve as the David 99 percent against Goliath Fed 1 percent, and its sling is education, just exactly what is the stone that will split the forehead of one of the largest and most frightening Ogres this world has produced and bring it low?

It's the NEED Act, better known as H.R. 2990 (112th) National Emergency Employment Defense Act of 2011.

Introduced by then-congressman Dennis Kucinich, its purpose is to create a full employment economy as a matter of national economic defense; to provide for public investment; to retire public debt; to stabilize the Social Security retirement system; to restore the authority of Congress to create and regulate money, modernize and provide stability for the monetary system of the United States, and for other public purposes.

That's some stone. And, we only need to find one congressman today who will become its new sponsor, be the requisite David to pick it up and put it into the sling and start twirling.

Where is that David today? Who will be that David today?