Chamber's "Virtual" March on Washington: Only an Avatar Can Love a Big Bank

AvatarThe U.S. Chamber of Commerce has launched what it is calling a virtual march on Washington to oppose financial reforms being considered by Congress this week. With relatively few actual Americans willing to take their summer vacation in D.C. to march in favor of the Big Banks whose gambling broke the economy and whose practices have pillaged the financial security of working people, the Chamber has resorted to urging "avatars," or computer representations of people, to march on the virtual capital of the U.S. This so-called march seems a fitting symbol of the emptiness of the whole gambit by the Chamber. With Wall Street lobbyists swarming the capitol and Wall Street spending millions of dollars to thwart the reforms most needed and wanted by actual American people, the Chamber has had to manufacture a people's protest against the reforms, but sans real people. Apparently, they could not even enlist their buddies orchestrating the Tea Party, like former Congressman Dick Armey, or their cashroots allies in astroturf over at the Orwellian-named FreedomWorks, to cajole or even hire stand-in protesters to come to the National Mall to take up pitchforks against financial reforms. But lest all this computer gamesmanship be in vain, the Chamber is taking steps to ensure that Members of Congress know how many of the avatars are their purported constituents -- residents who love the Big Banks enough to send the very best: their idealized computer images.

Hopefully the real pawns in the Chamber's multi-million dollar lobbying game have more than virtual dollars in their bank accounts. Of course, with virtual people virtually marching in favor of the virtual economy manufactured by what turned out to be basically virtual banks with virtual ledgers, it's hard to know what is real anymore. What really is real is the need for real financial reforms, not fake ones, and real leaders in Congress who can tell the difference between the people they actually represent and the Chamber's financial interests that they were not actually elected to Congress to serve. If you'd like to save actual reforms that would help stop Wall Street gambling, please help us whip the votes on the conference committee considering the reforms this week.

Lisa Graves

Lisa Graves is President of the Board of the Center for Media and Democracy and President of True North Research. She is a well-known researcher, writer, and public speaker. Her research and analysis have been cited by every major paper in the country and featured in critically acclaimed books and documentaries, including Ava Du Vernay’s award-winning film, “The 13th,” Bill Moyers’s “United States of ALEC,” and Showtime’s “Years of Living Dangerously.”



As a small business owner, it's more than a little frustrating to watch the actions of the US Chamber of Commerce in its support of pushing Congress to water down any bank and financial reform bill. -

I have run my own small business for 4 years now. I get so frustrated with Washington's default solution for many problems... "more regulation and control." It is hard to plan for the future in business when you don't know how external influences from the government will impact you. I would suggest small business owners educate themselves on what is going on here with this financial reform. I get nervous when "reform" is the solution.

The Fair Tax group also performed a virtual march on Washington to try to rally up the cause. It was interesting but seems they are lacking funds to keep going. I wonder how the march is being funded and if it will last. I'm sure it takes a lot of money to keep someone to organize it and advertise to try to attract new members.

This financial mess continues to surprise me, banks being saved by government? I wonder what’s behind the scenes. Are they responsible too? Are there any debts to be paid? And Mr. Taxpayer should pay the bill? Seems nobody saw on time that this was coming. Do we learn from past experiences. Not quite. Just man is capable of kicking the same rock twice...

The really sad thing is that many people who are members of the Chamber of Commerce don't support their ultra right activities but are trapped. I live in a small coastal town and the Chamber does a lot of good things in the community. They run a number of events like the 4th of July fireworks. They are a good place to network and get connected in the community. Consequently many small businesses join the Chamber due to local necessity. A part of the dues is then passed on to the national organization. And as we know the national apparatus has been hijacked by the right wing. I guess it's a microcosm of what is prevalent throughout our country - low information people and the unwillingness of grass roots people to organize and rebel. It strikes me as ludicrous that the Chamber of Commerce claims to be a champion of small business when their leadership is part of the far right corporatists.

I get nervous about anything the government does to add more regulation. I guess we should all do our homework and find out what is really in this proposal

It is really hard to make it as a small business owner. You get bogged down will all of the different hat you wear and all of the little things you do that seem to take more time than you expect. It seems like washington is here to bail out the big corporations, but what about the small business that create most of the jobs. I DO NOT want a bail out for small businesses, but the least Washington can do is to create an atmosphere of stability. Many small business are not hiring because they do not know what the government is going to change or tinker with. How will 2011 tax effect my business? How will health care effect my business? How will lending restriction effect my business? How will inflation effect my business. We as small business owners must unify on what we agree on and stand up for ourselves. I am not a member of the Chamber, but we need organizations like the Chamber to fight for us,

Why don't you ask Erik M. Lieberman, Chief Regulatory Counse for the Majorityl, House Committee on Small Business? He has done so much for others.