The journalist, editor, author, and host of the highest rated non-prime time show on MSNBC, Dylan Ratigan was in Los Angeles to participate in Occupy the Dream which took place outside the Federal Reserve Bank in downtown Los Angeles on Martin Luther King Day and to promote his book ‘Greedy Bastards’ in a discussion forum at KPCC-FM in Pasadena.
A long time critic of the unhealthy alliance of big business and government, he addressed the audiences with an articulated dialogue focusing on ‘we the people’s’ awareness and engagement of investing in ourselves and in our communities in light of solving many deep seated problems. In front of the Federal Reserve Bank in downtown Los Angeles, he explained in detail how our problems are a direct result of what he called “the symptom of a lack of investment in our system” when publicly traded and privately owned companies concern themselves with profits for the stockholders before utilizing the banking system, the trade agreements and the tax codes to serve the people which is the expectation that we the people have of these institutions. The Wall Street traded industries that benefit from keeping our health care costs expensive, our energies inefficient and outdated, the educational apparatus mediocre and underfunded, and cause high unemployment, for example, fund politicians from state to national levels in order to keep the systems this way. It is for this very reason why he and many others such as the 99% and Occupy Movement’s David DeGraw who was also in attendance, are prioritizing the need to focus on taking the money out of politics in order to save an economic system on the verge of collapse.
Speaking to a live audience for the recording of a radio program at KPCC the next day, he continued that discussion with host Matthew DeBord from the DeBord Report. The conversation included a history lesson of economic transitions in the last one hundred years or so. The transition from industrial to digital produces the same kind of fear that farmers and others felt as the agricultural economy of the late 19th century was changing into the industrial era of the 20th century. Subsequently, as the industrial sector had more money to overtake the agricultural sector, it now feels threatened by the digital sector. Currently banks are exporting risk to the outside world and the U.S. continues to fund China’s workforce while China continues to finance our debts consequently not funding the needed investments in order to bolster and create a strong economy. We are feeling the tensions created by these economic transitions and irresponsible behaviors as well as what Dylan calls ‘the bribery of campaign finance.’
As we face the challenges and fears in our present world, Dylan addresses the practice of shared integrity, visibility, value and choice in aligning our interests as we restructure our global financial system. Taking risks are part of business and should force risk takers to take more personal responsibility to collaborate. We certainly must look more deeply into how, as he says, the lack of courage, compassion and resolve in the "political apparatus and its’ utter corruption at the hands of campaign finance" has led us down this path. This is forcing us to come together, engage ourselves, find solutions, and ultimately take the needed actions.
Because Dylan Ratigan is a media correspondent, the subject during a Q and A period switches to media itself. A member of our own OLA Media team discusses how most good content usually reaches small audiences while hollow content gets big audiences and then poses an interesting question for us to consider as a movement going forward.
How can we curate good contents to big audiences?
Ratigan’s answer confirmed that appealing to the front and the back of the brain is what we are all struggling with. His favorite marketer told him to think about how to market to a third grade kid while making a joke about how his own book’s cover seems to be created with that very idea in mind.
Connecting with members of the OLA Media team and other occupiers afterwards, he came across to those of us present as one team member mentioned, down-to-earth, warm and dignified while giving us words of encouragement to “Keep going. I’m counting on you.”
Dylan also gave words of encouragement to the most diverse audience of occupiers that I’ve seen yet gathered together which was on Martin Luther King Day in downtown L.A. The inspiration of continuing to occupy the dream of Dr. King always inspires us with “a narrative of justice,…fairness… and decency.”