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Tiffiniy Cheng, 29, never imagined she’d spark a populist movement influenced by a former IMF banker. Three weeks ago Cheng and her co-founding partners launched A New Way Forward, a volunteer-run website that advocates for a new approach to bank bailouts and is organizing a nationwide protest on April 11. Cheng and her friends are not new to online organizing. In 2006, some of them launched OpenCongress.org, a nonpartisan website that lets people track the legislation in Congress, and Downhill Battle, a music activism website, but they never had a burning desire to study and reform the financial system. Then, as 350 billion of taxpayer money went to the same CEOs who helped bring the global economic system down, Cheng and her friends, as many in America, became angry. Why reward the same people who broke the system, they asked.
On February 19, the co-founders of A New Way Forward heard Simon Johnson, the former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), interviewed on PBS’s Bill Moyers Journal argue for an alternative bailout plan. Until recently, Johnson spent 20 years at the IMF working on international bank bailouts, among other things. Dissatisfied with the current bailout process, he decided…