The epic squeeze

Elijah Robinson, Secretary

“Ladies and gentlemen, we got ‘em” or something like that. What happened on the dawn of January 27 is something many will never forget, but will misunderstand. The country saw strangers on Reddit come together to light a torch on the establishment.

GameStop was at a low value on the stock market. This was due to struggling sales resulting from the rise in online distribution, the COVID-19 pandemic, and alleged undervaluing.

The former CEO of Chewy bought shares in the company in hopes of turning things around to compete with the current market. An investing firm, Melvin Capital, saw this and decided to short the stock—basically betting on the company failing so the value of the stock drops so they can buy it at a lower price.

A redditor on the subreddit Wall Street Bets saw this and coalesced with other members to buy shares of GameStop. This drove up the value of the stock price, leaving Melvin Capital, and other billionaire investors shocked and scrambling. Once valued at $20, it reached a record high of $483.

This was market manipulation. Where excitement for a stock that is otherwise valueless is built up, then the stock is sold at a high price and the value reverts back to basically nothing.

This happened before in 2007-2008 with the Subprime Mortgage Crisis. Billionaire investors bet on the housing market crashing, shorted stock and profited immensely from the collapse of the housing market.

Outside that world, unemployment rose from 5% to 10%, people in suburbia were displaced, credit approval had stricter regulations, and more people were considered living below the poverty line.

Shortly after, trading on GameStop, AMC, Blackberry, etc. was restricted by brokers such as Robinhood and TD Ameritrade. No thanks to the collusion between hedge fund managers and the brokers to shut down trading when it got too volatile.

Citadel, for example, was among the ones who wanted to short GameStop. Being that it’s a benefactor of Robinhood, that may have influenced the halt in trading shares of GameStop & AMC.

This has been the game that has been played all long, just against 80% of the U.S. population.

This historic event comes after the havoc the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated. With wage stagnation, bailouts for corporations and poor political representation, this was revenge by the working class. The common people were able to create their own hedge fund and beat the professionals at their own game.

Ultimately, this is not a game. Millions of lives are at stake whichever direction a stock goes. When a stock is shorted and value goes down, businesses are closed and people lose jobs, homes, retirement funds and it displaces a lot of people.

The few that profited immensely from this event were already privileged with an abundance of money to invest or their parents invested for them when they were kids.

It made for a great message, but what did it amount to? It’s a reminder of what happens when we remove all of our typical division among ourselves and fight the real enemy.