Exclusive to STR
November 25, 2008
I returned from the 'End the Fed' rally at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta , and zapped on the news to hear the tag end of a story on enormous nationwide protests (about Prop 8).
If 30-word columns ever got published, it'd be tempting to leave it there, with the quick ironic reflection of an obvious key question-- just how memetically challenging is the eradication of a central bank?
That was already an expected theme as I approached the Atlanta Fed on 11/28/08 (End the Fed protest day), and (rather unexpectedly) started to hear demonstrators from almost two blocks away.
What would I pick, if the chant was up to me? 'Down with artificial credit created entrepreneurial error?' Or maybe, 'Hey, hey, ho, ho, negative real interest rates have got to go?'
Again, not an easy handle. Most demonstrators went with, 'End the Fed!', and sometimes optimistically, 'We Will End the Fed!'
I asked a Campaign for Liberty coordinator what organizations were represented. Other than Campaign for Liberty , he didn't seem too sure. 'We tend to be individualists here,' he concluded pleasantly.
End the Fed has a website, but apparently not a formal structure. (Restore the Republic and Campaign for Liberty appear to be providing some organization for the demonstrations.) An End the Fed pamphlet starts out, 'The Federal Reserve Bank is the Cause of our Economic Crisis.' Pithy, true, and getting remarkably little traction so far.
From demonstrator signs, the story emerges a little more: 'No fiat currencies'; 'Lawful money is only gold and silver'; 'No more banker bailouts.' And a couple of my favorites: 'Irony is Andrew Jackson on a c-note' (I think that's giving him a promotion, but either way it is ironic); and Ben Bernanke quoted saying, 'Inflation is a tax.' (The sign maker explained that Rep. Ron Paul got this admission from Fed Chairman Bernanke during congressional testimony.)
There's also a sign with a picture of Bernanke and Paulson, apparently only one sign but it seems to be everywhere, which says, 'Wanted for Treason.' (I might have found a less patriotically charged way of putting it, perhaps only, 'Wanted for first degree criminal tunnel vision,' but I may not be asked to take charge either of a future demonstration signage team, or a Bernanke/Paulson defense team.)
Georgia End the Fed organizer Michael Frisbee talked to me for a few minutes on clearly one of his favorite topics--Federal Reserve history. I get a little nervous about histories of the Fed, turning squeamish if the discussion gets too Bilderbergish. But no, just a nice conversation about history. Another demonstrator joined to note that he'd heard that President Woodrow Wilson had expressed regret that he'd enabled the 'Creature from Jekyll Island,' and we tried to figure out if, what, when. (A Woodrow Wilson quote of regret over the Fed's creation appears to be at least partly apocryphal, if I'm understanding what I see now on Wikiquote.)
(With the next pass of the Bernanke/Paulson treason sign, someone has drawn devil horns, Hitler mustaches, and dollar signs in the eyes of the principals. In my non-existent capacity as Future Imaginary Protest Sign Team Leader, the horns and mustaches seem a little over the top, and the dollar signs spot on.)
At a little after the 1 p.m. scheduled mid-point, I got a head count just shy of a hundred demonstrators.
Michael Frisbee does an interview with Atlanta Channel 5. It's the only media I see (I'm told that Atlanta Channel 2 was by earlier).
I later looked for the piece on Channel 5 News, but never saw it. (I did see a good place for it, right between the spot on another in the string of Georgia bank closures, and a piece about strapped consumers and economic malaise.) Maybe End the Fed will be on the late edition (which I intend to sleep through).
No presence or thoughts about local police, except once when a police car stops to tell pamphleteers to stick to the sidewalk, and once when Mr. Frisbee notices that the ubiquitous dollar-signs-in-their-eyes wanted poster of Bernanke and Paulson has now been propped under the eagle, well onto Atlanta Fed territory, and thus as Frisbee explains, demonstrationally incorrect as far as the police would be concerned. The wanted poster is forced to retreat.
Overall though, Atlanta Police must have been unconcerned that the Fed might be literally toppled today. A proper assessment--the demonstrators generally seem a nice (and in my biased opinion, smart) bunch of people.
Ike Hall, a state coordinator for Campaign for Liberty says, 'It may not end until people look at their dollar bills and realize it's garbage. I just hope it's peaceful, and nobody starves.'
Which seems like a good two sentence summary of everything Fed.