Established in May 2016, Take On Wall Street (TOWS) is an anti-capitalist coalition of left-wing groups that favor large-scale wealth redistribution and high rates of taxation designed to fund an ever-expanding federal government and welfare state, which would represent “a better financial system.” Foremost in TOWS’s cross hairs are “big Wall Street banks,” which the coalition says “are devouring […]
Established in May 2016, Take On Wall Street (TOWS) is an anti-capitalist coalition of left-wing groups that favor large-scale wealth redistribution and high rates of taxation designed to fund an ever-expanding federal government and welfare state, which would represent “a better financial system.” Foremost in TOWS’s cross hairs are “big Wall Street banks,” which the coalition says “are devouring this country’s wealth” by “feasting on our jobs, our benefits and our pensions.” Another leading concern is the notion that America’s “corrupt campaign finance system” renders “the voices of the billionaire class … the only voices that are heard in our democracy.” Moreover, TOWS complains about state-level “anti–worker legislation” that restricts minimum-wage levels, imposes new limits on unemployment benefits, sets stricter guidelines regarding overtime pay and family leave, offers workers the right to decide whether or not to join a union, or bars employers and unions from negotiating contracts that require private-sector workers to pay labor fees or dues.
On May 24, 2016, TOWS’s member groups formally announced the launch of their new alliance at an event that featured a speech by Democratic U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren. There, TOWS articulated its plan to hold a series of direct actions and public campaigns throughout the upcoming election season, with a heavy focus on the importance of constantly imposing new financial regulations on all manner of industries.
More than 40 progressive organizations are currently part of the TOWS coalition. Among these are the AFL-CIO, the Communications Workers of America, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Public Citizen, the Working Families Party, The Nation. the Institute for Policy Studies, New York Communities for Change (a local rebranding of the defunct organization ACORN), Citizen Action New York, Friends Of The Earth, the National Education Association, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Daily Kos, The Other 98, AFSCME, MoveOn.org, People For the American Way, Credo, American Family Voices, the Economic Policy Institute, UNITE Here!, Democracy for America, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, the Campaign for America’s Future, United Food and Commercial Workers, and the Agenda Project.
Notable individual supporters of TOWS include Congressional Representatives Keith Ellison and Nydia Velazquez, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, AFT president Randi Weingarten, and U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin.
In its quest to help “re-write the rules to make the economy work for working families, not just billionaires and big banks,” TOWS enumerates the following policy priorities:
Further Reading: “Take On Wall Street Lays Out New Reform Agenda” (BillMoyers.com, 5-25-2016); “A New Coalition Aims to ‘Take On Wall Street’” (The Nation, 5-25-2016); “Our Members” (TakeOnWallSt.com); “Issues” (TakeOnWallSt.com).