ACT UP And Occupy Wall Street Team Up To “FiST” The Finance Industry

Legendary AIDS activist group ACT UP (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) turns 25 this year, and most commemorations have included lengthy ruminations of the past: An in-depth interview with AIDS historian David France and activist Peter Staley on DemocracyNow! , a New York magazine feature (by France, natch) on the controversial group’s founding figures, a screed open letter from Larry Kramer on HuffPo.

But ACT UP is looking to the future—and getting back to its radical roots—on April 25, when members will join protestors from Occupy Wall Street for a march through New York’s financial sector. The objective is to push for  a “financial speculation tax,” which would charge banks, brokerage houses and other institutions for speculative trading. It even has a handy acronym with populist/communist/gay-sex undertones: FiST!

The march, which begins at the sane hour of 11am, starts at City Hall and ends at nearby Wall Street. A press release from ACT UP New York reads, in part:

[ACT UP and OWS] are calling on local, state, and federal legislators to “give Wall Street the FiST,” which is needed to fill AIDS funding gaps and—once and for all—provide universal healthcare in the US. It’s time for effective healthcare to be made available to everyone—to the 99%, not just the 1%…

Both ACT UP and OWS suggest the revenue from a Financial Speculation Tax would be significant—potentially in the hundreds of billions of dollars. The revenue from this tax should be used to fund the end of the AIDS pandemic, i.e. to fill in US budget gaps in the fight against HIV/AIDS at home and abroad. It should be used to provide treatment, services and prevention to thousands of Americans and millions around the world. The groups also say the tax could help pay for universal healthcare in the U.S.

You know what? As far-fetched a pipe dream as this tax is, it’s not a half-bad idea.  And you gotta love the innuendo: Wall Street robber barons fucked over the American public—now it’s our turn to double-FiST them!

Photo via Dean (leu)



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