As Congress considers the Democrats' unprecedented legislative assault on Wall Street, radical leftists say the bad economy gives them new opportunities to push America even farther down the road to socialism.
"The banking crisis is the next big thing," said George Goehl, executive director of the Chicago-based group National People's Action.
National People's Action has been participating in a nationwide campaign with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Jobs With Justice, Americans for Financial Reform, and other groups called the "Showdown in America," which consists largely of loud street protests. NPA and SEIU have also been using angry mobs to invade banks and terrorize bank executives in their homes.
"The banking crisis is the way to build a big economic justice movement in this country," Goehl said during a panel discussion this week at the left-wing "America's Future Now" conference in Washington, D.C. The confab was hosted by the Campaign for America's Future and its sister organization, the Institute for America's Future.
"People are questioning capitalism. People are asking, Will this economy ever work for me or will it work for my kids? This is a once in a lifetime opportunity as progressives to engage millions of Americans in a big conversation around serious economic restructuring, not around eking out some victories around the margins, not about making life a little less worse for people, but about big time transformative change."
If you build a platform for revolution, they will come, Goehl said.
"If we create a space for people to come out they want to come out. People are ready to move to the streets, some because they're angry, some because they want justice right now, and some because they're tired of hearing about the tea party coming out, and we as leaders in the progressive movement -- we're failing if we don't create that room for people."
Goehl said his comrades need to get involved in "mass political education at a different level than we've seen." A century ago during the populist movement there were tens of thousands of populist lecturers roaming the country proselytizing, he said.
In an interview, Goehl said the "Showdown" is continuing. "Nothing's nailed down yet but there should be a whole set of activities."
NPA, he explained, "came out of Chicago neighborhood organizing and then basically people kept running into the fact that they needed some kind of national power," said Goehl. "All the issues they were running into had a national angle so they would come together to try to come up with a constructive solution locally and then it'd be a federal problem."
During the same panel discussion, Heather Booth, executive director of Americans for Financial Reform, said an economy-killing "financial speculation tax" was needed to curb the incentive for people to, well, participate in capitalism.
"A big battle still needs to be waged to curb the incentive for speculation and to get our money back to fund jobs and health care, climate and more," said the practiced orator.
"This fight against Wall Street is part of an even larger fight over who matters in the society, over our values and our priorities, over whether or not we have corporate control in banking, whether BP can destroy the coast, whether the insurance companies can deny our health care, whether companies can dominate our politics saying that money is speech," Booth said.
Booth is an old hand at leftist astro-turfing operations. She's a disciple of Saul Alinsky and she founded the Midwest Academy, a training institute for radical community organizers. "Alinsky is to community organizing as Freud is to psychoanalysis," she has been quoted saying.
According to former radical David Horowitz's online encyclopedia of the left, DiscoverTheNetworks, "In the late 1960s and early 1970s, she supported the Weather Underground."
What's worrisome is that Booth has strong ties to the Obama administration: She's a former training director for the Democratic National Committee.