The Fed’s Janet Yellen says economy healthy enough for usurers to start bleeding it again

That’s essentially what the Federal Reserve does, it monitors public wealth to regulate how much surplus production can be skimmed off the top. Usually all of it. But someone has to determine how much that is to prevent the banking vampires from sucking the public to death.

Yellen, Lagarde, Merkel, & May, already give us a taste of women-led injustice.

When Hillary Clinton ascends to the US presidency, she’ll join a girls club of world leaders who’ve already shown that the feminine gender doesn’t lack for sociopaths. It may be hard to know whether IMF head Christine Lagarde or FED chair Janet Yellen are mere figureheads or cold-blooded usurers in their own right. The UK’s Theresa May hasn’t had a chance yet to flex her Thatcherism, but few dispute that Angela Merkel’s power is not as authentic as it is heartless. Those Americans campaigning for Hillary Clinton based on the assumption that women leaders could not possibly fail to restore humanity to a capitalist war-ravaged world, are ignoring the maternal instinct already disappointing on the world stage.
When the fracking industrialists came to Colorado Springs, they hired a white-haired grandmother to be their liaison to the city council. Predictably her fracking sold like hotcakes, if you’ll pardon the sexist analogy. Hillary is the frackers’ point-person to the unexploited regions of the world regardless of whether they beckon from war zones to be.

Mistakenly released DPD After Action Report reveals 27 officers on “shadow operations” at Denver 100 Mask March

DENVER, COLORADO- Hidden deep in the evidence against one of nine protesters arrested at last year’s Guy Fawkes’ Day march in Denver, was an “AFTER ACTION REPORT” never encountered before in discovery evidence available to previous Denver activism defendants. This report has provided the first public mention of “Shadow Teams” deployed on “Shadow Operations” against peaceful demonstrators. Most remarkable was that 27 officers were mobilized for shadow operations, among a total of 169, clocking a total of 1379 man hours, against a rally and march that numbered “around 100” at its peak, to quote the report.

The report was presented to Denver municipal judge Beth Faragher on Monday before the trial of one of the Anonymous arrestees. The judge was asked why discovery evidence didn’t include reports from the “Shadow Teams” detailing, for example, what their shadow operations were. Judge Faragher agreed to continue the trial until September to allow city attorneys to come up with some answers.

One defendant’s lawyer was also provided the Denver Police Department’s Crowd Management Manual, an earlier edition of which was leaked last year by Denver’s Unicorn Riot. The current manual does not differ on this subject and defines Shadow Team as: “A team of officers assigned to identify Persons of Interest as being involved in possible criminal activity based on Reasonable Suspicion.”

There is no disagreement that shadow operations involve undercover officers following targeted activists. The question is what were they doing to maintain their cover? You can’t surveil moving marches from under storefront awnings or hotel windows. To mingle with protesters who have to march with them. To ingratiate yourself with hosts you have to participate. To impress leaders you have to delegate. So what actions were the shadow offices mimicking?

The title “Million Mask March” means to aggregate all the actions across the world demonstrating on Guy Fawkes’ Day, every 5th of November. Individual marches are ridiculed for being mere fractions of a million, in Denver for example, marshalling only a hundred or so. Now, even more humiliating for Denver may be the revelation that up to a quarter of the marchers were undercover cops.

Denver activists are accustomed to infiltrators, such have been photographed and outed regularly, but 27 officers operating in “shadow teams” is news. It may rewrite the last several years of arrest incidents. Arrests of Denver protesters have appeared sporatic and haphazard. Now it seems the targeting may have been restricted to actual protesters, because their shadow companions were not arrestible, by virtue of being cops.

Although Shadow Teams are mentioned in the DPD manual, this After Action Report is the first to itemize their deployment.

Here’s the command structure which list the names of three officers whom lawyers may be able to depose: a Commander Fountain, Lieutenant Mitchell, and Lieutenant Jimenez. Defense lawyers are now considering deposing these officers to learn more about what their operations entail.

Unfortunately the narrative provided in the 4-page after action report does not detail the “shadow” activity. It does however mention the number of anonymous activists which Denver was mobilizing against. From 20 building up to 100 tops. Here’s the full narrative:

Denver Police Department AFTER ACTION REPORT

NARRATIVE OF INCIDENT (Chronological log, if applicable, to be attached)

On 11-05-2015 members of the Denver Police Department were assigned to various locations throughout downtown Denver to monitor the Million Mask March. Response personnel consisted primarily of District SCAT teams, DMU, Metro/Swat and Gang Bureau officers. The MAP Team was staged at 14th and Delaware to facilitate arrest processing. On-duty traffic resources and DPD special units assisted as well. District Six Commander Tony Lopez acted as the Operations Chief and managed activity in the field. The Command Post was maintained at the Denver Crime Lab with representatives from RTD, DSD, DFD, CSP and DHPD.

By 1130 hours about 10 protestors gathered in the 1400 block of Lincoln on the west side of the Capitol. The participants were primarily dressed in black clothing and many were wearing masks. By 1245 hours the crowd grew to over 40 people. They demonstrated peacefully by holding signs and banners. On November 4th the protest group announced a planned march between the hours of 4 – 5 pm. The morning crowds and noon marches that took place in 2013 and 2014 did not occur this year.

Afternoon March

At 1420 hours some group members were observed making signs with spray paint. By 1545 the crowd grew to around 60. At 1640 hours Sergeant Cervera 680 contacted security at the World Trade Center (1625-1675 Broadway) in anticipation of protest activity there (Ben Buthe 720-499-2292 or CP 303-595-7049). DPD was advised that the WTC Plaza closes at 1800 hours.

At approximately 1650 hours officers contacted occupants of a suspicious dark truck NY GMY4295 parked on the elevated lot just east of DPD HQ (1400 blk of Cherokee). The incident checked clear.

At 1700 hours, two individuals wearing Guy Fawkes masks were observed walking southbound in the 1300 block of Delaware and then eastbound on W. 13th Avenue past the south side of DPD HQ.

At 1704 hours the group left northbound on Lincoln from the Capitol. They turned left on the 16th Street Mall but appeared to stay on the east sidewalk. The group turned south on Court Place but quickly crossed the street and walked back toward the Mall. At 1714 hours, some members walked in the street upon being encouraged by an individual with a bullhorn. This action interrupted the RTD Shuttle Service. The entire group then continued their march by walking down the center of the Mall. The Federal Reserve Security office was notified.

At 1725 hours the group rallied a short time at Stout Street and then turned around to march back toward Broadway. They turned west on California and walked toward 15th Street, where they remained on the sidewalk. The group turned right on 15th Street and started an unpermitted march in the street shortly thereafter. DMU officers responded to encourage the protestors back on the sidewalk. Verbal orders were given as well.

The group turned east on Stout and then north on the 16th Street Mall. They rallied for a short time at the Federal Reserve Building at 16th and Arapahoe and then continued northbound on the Mall. The group appeared to number around 100 at this time.

At 1750 hours the demonstrators turned right on Lawrence and marched primarily on the sidewalk toward 17th Street. They stopped momentarily midblock in front of the Westin Hotel then continued outbound on Lawrence. The group turned south on 18th Street where some of the members walked in the street. At 1757 hours, most of the crowd began an unpermitted march in the street 1700 block of Arapahoe. Demonstrators were advised to get out of the street and back on the sidewalk. After refusals to comply, four parties were arrested for the continued violations. Traffic officers diverted vehicular traffic at 18th Street for safety and opened the street at 1805 hours. At 1803 hours a female victim contacted 724A Officer Gates and stated she was assaulted by one of the protestors. District 6 officers were dispatched for the report and an ambulance was called.

The demonstrators continued their march on the sidewalk on Arapahoe toward 16th Street, then turned left on the Mall. They turned west on Curtis and marched across 15th to 14th Street. At 1817 hours an individual wearing a grey backpack with a metal baton attached to the back appeared to be trying to incite a disturbance. The group turned south on 14th and walked toward Champa where they stopped and blocked traffic. At 1820 hours a white male wearing all black with a military-type vest and carrying a backpack with white lettering was advised by police to get out of the street at 14th and Champa.

At 1825 hours the group continued to march south on 14th Street. They crossed California, Welton and Glenarm and then turned east on Tremont. At 1835 hours some members attempted to march in the streets again at 15th and Tremont. DMU officers once again responded to order and marshal the violators back on the sidewalk. The group continued south on 15th Street toward Colfax Avenue. The group marched unpermitted in the streets again on Colfax Avenue eastbound toward Broadway.

At 1844 hours a protestor pushed over DPD Lieutenant Mike Wyatt and bicycle officer Tab Davis at Colfax and Broadway. The suspect was arrested shortly thereafter. A second arrest was made after an individual attempted to “unarrest” the first suspect. At 1858 hours Sergeant Horton reported a felony drug arrest. Once again, traffic and DMU personnel assisted with traffic control in order to maintain a safe environment. Two additional protestors were arrested for disobedience. The protestors ultimately gathered back at the State Capitol and dissipated by around 1930 hours.

Throughout the afternoon and evening, multiple announcements were made by police for the demonstrators to get out of the street. Three Use of Force reports were completed in association with the arrests and three officers suffered injuries. One of the three officers (Cash) was transported to DHMC with a knee injury related to an arrest. Except for those officers involved in an arrest, all units were released by 2000 hours.

Osama bin Laden’s books. They could do you more good than they did him.

Last week the CIA decided
Crossing the Rubicon, The New Pearl Harbor, Imperial Hubris, Obama's Wars, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy... to declassify the list of books found in Osama bin Laden’s last hideout when Seal Team Six made their raid. There were 39 titles, which the press has categorized as heavy on conspiracy theory. That’s true, untrue, and unsurprising if you consider the official White House line is that the US does not support illegal coups. These authors beg to differ, including the unimpeachable Noam Chomski. Other investigative standouts include William Blum, Greg Palast, John Perkins. The list did not include publication dates or editions, just author and title. A closer inspection of the list is revealing.
(This is part one of a continuing series.)

It would be more accurate to describe Osama bin Laden’s bookshelf as history, mostly contemporary with notable exceptions. For example, bin Laden’s reference on Christianity and Islam in Spain 756-1031 was published in 1889 with the full title “The Relations and Mutual Influences of Christianity and Mohammedanism During the Khalifate of Cordova.” In 1889 European perspectives on the Moorish occupation appear dramatically antisemitic.

The history of The US and Vietnam 1787-1941 begins with Thomas Jefferson’s first interests in trading for rice with “Cochinchina”. Written by a former ambassador, it was published in 1990 by the National Defense University Press. The Best Enemy Money Can Buy is about the symbiotic relationship between the US military industrial complex and Russia’s.

Some of bin Laden’s “books” such as Michael O’Hanlon’s Unfinished Business were staple-bound publications from US policy think tanks. I’ll review those and the various intelligence agency exposés in subsequent posts.

Here are the 39 titles listed alphabetically:
The 2030 Spike by Colin Mason; A Brief Guide to Understanding Islam by I. A. Ibrahim; America’s Strategic Blunders by Willard Matthias; America’s ‘War on Terrorism’ by Michel Chossudovsky; Al-Qaeda’s Online Media Strategies: From Abu Reuter to Irhabi 007 by Hanna Rogan; The Best Democracy Money Can Buy by Greg Palast; The Best Enemy Money Can Buy by Anthony Sutton; Black Box Voting: Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century by Bev Harris; Bloodlines of the Illuminati by Fritz Springmeier; Bounding the Global War on Terror by Jeffrey Record; Checking Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions by Henry Sokolski and Patrick Clawson; Christianity and Islam in Spain 756-1031 A.D. by C. R. Haines; Civil Democratic Islam: Partners, Resources, and Strategies by Cheryl Benard; Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins; Conspirators’ Hierarchy: The Committee of 300 by John Coleman; Crossing the Rubicon by Michael Ruppert; Fortifying Pakistan: The Role of U.S. Internal Security Assistance (only the book’s introduction) by C. Christine Fair and Peter Chalk; Guerrilla Air Defense: Antiaircraft Weapons and Techniques for Guerrilla Forces by James Crabtree; Handbook of International Law by Anthony Aust; Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance by Noam Chomsky; Imperial Hubris by Michael Scheuer; In Pursuit of Allah’s Pleasure by Asim Abdul Maajid, Esaam-ud-Deen and Dr. Naahah Ibrahim; International Relations Theory and the Asia-Pacific by John Ikenberry and Michael Mastandano; Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II by William Blum; Military Intelligence Blunders by John Hughes-Wilson; Project MKULTRA, the CIA’s program of research in behavioral modification. Joint hearing before the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research of the Committee on Human Resources, United States Senate, Ninety-fifth Congress, first session, August 3, 1977. United States Congress Senate Select Committee on Intelligence; Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies by Noam Chomsky; New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11 by David Ray Griffin; New Political Religions, or Analysis of Modern Terrorism by Barry Cooper; Obama’s Wars by Bob Woodward; Oxford History of Modern War by Charles Townsend; The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers by Paul Kennedy; Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower by William Blum; The Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly Hall (1928); Secrets of the Federal Reserve by Eustace Mullins; The Taking of America 1-2-3 by Richard Sprague; Unfinished Business: U.S. Overseas Military Presence in the 21stCentury by Michael O’Hanlon; The U.S. and Vietnam 1787-1941 by Robert Hopkins Miller; “Website Claims Steve Jackson Games Foretold 9/11,” article posted on


Apparently it’s not enough to decry the illegitimate hegemony of the Federal Reserve, we have to fear that we wear its brand. Specifically it’s being alleged our birth certificates –the originals, not our copies– carry a mysterious red number that corresponds to a fixed portion of the national debt, our true personal credit status, irrevocable insolvency as it were. Umm. Indentured servitude I get, ours is an open-air debtor’s prison, but thinking the FED has some inalienable paper claim on each of us jumps the shark. Recently a friend was so excited to tell me that birth certificate numbers are imbued with the legal authority of some maritime act which issues registration numbers to ships when they’re berthed. He enunciated “berthed” all wide-eyed, I’m guessing he thought it was spelled the same. Want to wager he also believes some naval registry holds the secret of Obama’s berth?

The Great American Hero

America lives in the heart of every man everywhere who wishes to find a region where he will be free to work out his destiny as he chooses. –Woodrow Wilson

Our understanding of history shapes our perception of the present, and informs our actions in the moment. This post, for example, is given additional flesh by the eviction of Occupiers from Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan last night by forces directed by 4.0 × 10-8 percenter Michael Bloomberg, one of the richest guys in the USA, and probably in accord with Federal direction. Zuccotti Park is a “Privately Owned Public Space,” (POPS), and that odd status has no doubt been notable in current discourse. Across the USA and elsewhere, including here in Colorado Springs, governments at various levels have utilized no-camping ordinances and public park hours to harrass Occupiers, often to such extremes as to soundly demonstrate some of the protesters’ most salient points. So what is the history of “property,” and how does it pertain to the Occupy Movement?

We citizens of the USA are virtually without foundation where historical discussion is concered, unless we educate ourselves beyond the standard drivel so ineptly foisted in our direction by teachers bound by our disastrously faltering public indoctrination system, mislabeled “education.” We learn a sanitized verion of our own history, and the European history from which ours so largely derives, focused on patriotic and Euro-centric hero-worship rather than on the genuine and controversial currents that have effected societal changes at various junctures in world history. We often become enraged when these inane presumptions are questioned, as i have personally witnessed when service veterans have come unglued when protesters suggested they ought not to have been engaged in foriegn adventurism for resources, or when Occupiers have come near to blows over rights or priveleges the foundations for which they often demonstrate but scanty comprehension.

The story of Christopher Columbus and his noble and brave explorations of a frightening unknown quantity for the lofty purpose of betterment of the human condition, followed immediately by even more noble American colonists’ successful efforts to throw off the shackles of monarchical tyranny culminating in the sacrosanct US Constitution is ingrained in our collective psyche like a Freudian complex. The quote from the nearly deified US President Woodrow Wilson at the top of this page is meant to illustrate this phenomenon. Wilson said some things that seemed to spring from a font of humanity, but he was demonstrably a heinous racist and an elitist, encouraging reestablishment of the KKK, turning US finances over to the Federal Reserve, propagating celebrated treaties he subsequently ignored, and intrepidly belittling any expressor of opinion contrary to his own, among other public sins. Columbus filled his own journals with tales of religiously inspired avarice as he gleefully reported his intent, and execution of his plan to conquer the lands and subjugate the peoples he encountered. The US Constitution, while serving to codify some dignified and egalitarian principles, was still seen as some as an instrument of avarice in its formative days, as has proven to be the case with Adam Smith’s doctrines when handed over to naturally acaricious men. Even the highest-minded of US founders–St. Jefferson springs to apperception–firmly established racist, misogynistic doctrine and elitism by excluding all but white, male land owners from the earliest US political process. Those Founders also knew themselves to be limited and allowed the mechanisms for change to exist within the document.

The land owners so favored by the Founders above had been granted holdings either by monarchical fiat, or by purchase from those granted such holdings. Subsequent years were full of similarly motivated action, wh en”pioneers” once again ennobled by our propagandist history strode across North America claiming everything in sight by perfectly legal Homestead acts and the like, and killing or subjugating anyone not European, male, and white, assuaging their consciences with the absurd “moral” doctrine of Manifest Destiny. Many US citizens, usually white and of European descent, have blithely sloughed off Native American claims to the land here as anachronistic, habituating themselves to the notion that a couple of generations represent a lengthy historical stretch. “Indians,” many of whom don’t experience the epoch between, say, the gleeful rape and resettlement of their great-grandmothers as very lengthy at all, advocate for the removal of white Europe from “their” lands. This may not be anachronistic after all, but it has indeed become impractical, and it is no more nobly motivated than the insistence on Americans, or anyone else, to scarf up resources, such as but not limited to land, to which no human being enjoys a more legitimate claim than any other.

The uproar in Zuccotti Park last night is based on laws that derive from the notion of public versus private property. The Banks we Occupiers have been railing against hold the threat of eviction from private property over the specious doctrines of land ownership in this and other countries. The spats in Colorado Springs over tents, where they belong, and who belongs in them derive from the same set of doctrines, which i hearby proclaim to be bogus, in my opinion. The bad habit of human beings to either grovel or dominate is yet another matter.
One can follow the tendency to dominate and conquer, along with the development of Divinely appointed land control in western culture at least as far back as the dubitable stories of Hebrew escapades in the Levant, supposedly ordered by a loving god to kill, pillage, and rape in order to spread their doctrine of light. Ahem.

While the recalcitrant problems of aggression and slithery competitve spirits, as well as our quickness to condemn one another’s mere habits lead us deeper and deeper into an environmental cul de sac, we continue to pursue failed doctrine. The USA has, in apparently actual fact, presented the world with a still viable political framework within which to effect the sort of massive changes necessary for everyone involved, and it may well be our saving grace, if we acknowlege and rectify its initial errors and subequent abuses. Lots of thinking will be necessary. It’s awfully difficult to conclude that genuine unfettered Anarchism is likely to produce a civil society. Laws are not intrinsically bad unless they’re bad laws. Few really believe Libertarian suggestions that unregulated exploitation of natural resources can lead to anything but irredeemable destruction akin to the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, or the impending collapse of our fisheries.

Did you notice how comfortable my use of the term “our” felt, applied to a natural resource in that last sentence?
Capitalism and the American Constitution found themselves on private property ownership. Some things belong intrinsically to individuals and groups. Marxism denies any right to private property at all and kills innovation, in the argument of McCarthy’s legacy. Marx and Lenin were motivated by historical factors as well, even if their doctrines were no more effective at legislating kindness than ours have been. Most of us will agree that our bodies ought naturally belong to ourselves–the person whose consciousness centers in that particular body–and yet many of our laws belie that acceptance even now that we’ve abolished open slavery. We’ve built a gigantic and Byzantine body of law here in the US, and in countries all over the world, based on principles of subjugation and rapine that are in actual fact now fully anachronistic, using justifications that are fully mythological. The conquering of neighboring lands and their parceling for sale for personal enrichment, using armies fed a long and patriotic line of shyte about motives is simply not sustainable any longer. We can continue to fight over detritus after we, (by which i mean everyone and not just Europeans or Americans), collapse the entire playing field, or we can recognize our errors and take on the extraordinarily difficult prospect of admitting fault and rectifying our relationships with one another both here in the US, and everywhere else. Some things belong to everyone.

This post is largely about bad history, and partly about the failure of both Capitalism and Communism. I’ll be putting it up lacking a certain amount of flesh in order to have it in place. The natural aggression inherent in confronting some of the subject matter contained requires some additional referenceing, which i’ll add later. The characterization of both systems as failures could be entirely specious if i were unprepared to offer alternatives. This is not the case, and i’ll be addressing the whole kit and caboodle, whatever that means, at greater length in the future. The best suggetion i’ve come across thus far is from Henry George, and i hope you’ll investigate. But even if you don’t i hope you’ll give this the thought it warrants. My ideas are unlikely to be the best out there. Look around, though. The one’s we’re working with now are bullshit.

More links are forthcoming, but the take on history expressed here is largely indebted to Howard Zinn’s “Peoples’ History of the United States,” and James E. Lowen’s critique of history as taught in public schools, “Lies My Teacher Told Me.”

Denver Daze

Occupy Colorado Springs is and has been a relatively staid affair. Our biggest marches have drawn maybe 200 participants, and the street corner has been generally host to small crowds and mostly friendly or indifferent passers by. Visits from police have been just that–visits, rather than assaults, even when the HOTT Team came to arrest me early in the morning on 18 October, and the intrepid Camping Jack on two more recent occasions. We had to take steps to force them to make my arrest. Many of the core participants at Acacia Park have never been involved in any sort of political processes at all, let alone public protestations. So when several of our number traveled to Denver last Saturday to join a boisterous crowd of around 3,000 souls emotions were high, mixed, and complex.

There can be no denying the nervous air among one van load during the trip to Civic Center Park, directly in front of the State Capitol building, on the western side. Shana expressed open fear, bless her heart, and i suspect she wasn’t the only of our number of like mind. Fear was generally dispelled by the excitement of the much larger Denver crowd, though, and as we marched around downtown under clear blue unseasonably warm Colorado skies, past the Mint, the Federal Reserve Building, down the 16th St. Mall where city employees took an unscheduled break to let us pass and bewildered shoppers either stared aghast or waved and grinned in support, up 17th St. past all the towering bank centers, and finally mounting the steps at the Capitol Building in defiance of specific instruction from city and police. Throughout the march, spirits were exuberant as cooperative bullhorn operators traded various, sometimes conflicting perspectives while our horde danced and prated along the sidewalks and streets, and we arrived at the Capitol in high, expectant spirits.

There had been quite a lot of friendly cops along for the march, but shortly after our arrival at the Capitol the armored legion showed up and began tactical operations to expel the somewhat rowdy crowd from its perch. I was there with my 15 year old son, so we pulled back from the danger zone when the announcement was made waving off the “unarrestable.” Adin and i observed the obscure scuffling, complete with clouds of gas, from the Park as we waited for the valiant crew of absurdly comical drag queens “manning” the field kitchen to finish the “pimp-ass risotto” we later had for lunch, flavored by tear gas. The cops cleared the Capitol steps and formed a double-lined phalanx at the eastern face of the Park, at the street edge of the sidewalk directly across from the kitchen and the hastily erected camps. The kitchen crew struggled to put a specifically verboten makeshift canopy over their operation, so the police could be sure and find them.

The police blocked Broadway for several blocks and pushed protesters off the street into the Park and stayed in a threatening stance for some 6 hours or so, waiting for the appointed hour of 7:00p when they razed the camps, apparently according to specific orders. The clearing of the street was punctuated by violence , at least some of which was beyond the pale. Photographer and protest participant Andrew Cleres was ruthlessly shot down from his tree-stand while obviously not a threat. Frankie Roper of our OCS group was transported to a local hospital after taking a “non-lethal” round to the chest, though he was not arrested and refused treatment so he could rush back to the proceedings. Cops pulled back to the street after their initial assault and held a line for several hours while listening to protesters preaching various words ranging between, “We love you; you are US,” to “Fuck off and die, Pigs!” while awaiting word to move on the camps, which they did at the appointed hour, throwing tents, food, and kitchen equipment into a city trash truck.

The police surrounded the empty camping areas afterward, and maintained their line at the street for some time, continuing to endure some very angry expressions by riled protesters. Around 8:00p they abruptly and rather anticlimactically just left, allowing protesters to claim a victory, of sorts.

Though my observations to follow may well clash somewhat with some attitudes expressed during much subsequent conversation, much of what i witnessed at as close a range as could be was very encouraging indeed. Protesters were extraordinarily courageous in the face of a volatile situation. At odds with some other observers, i suggest cops exercised pretty fair restraint. Frankie and Andrew were both rather overworked in the incidents linked above. Frankie’s foot had been rolled over by the motorcycle he then knocked to the ground when the cops jumped him, and police had no way to know that when they got him. He was not arrested. Throughout the day, during which there were only 20 arrests reported, i witnessed numerous instances of very angry protesters attempting to engage police violently. These incidents were mostly handled by the crowd by their moving in to separate the overwrought form the line of cops, and the few moments where things escalated to actual physical levels were marked by a lack of brutality by police, and an apparently strong reluctance to arrest anyone. And again, after executing announced plans to raze the camps the cops simply left the scene.

Among the most exceptionally poignant vignettes of the day was the scene at the kitchen between the clearing of the Capitol steps and its ultimate destruction. The queer high antics persisted in good humor through the entirety of the very tense day, and the line of grateful hungry continued steadily within shoulder-brushing distance of the armored squads; life, joy, and loving community on display under duress. Many protesters repeated the suggestion to police that they are fully welcome to lay down armor and join us for a sandwich and a bowl of soup, and some cops actually did so, braving the incredulous stares of their fellows before rejoining the line. All day, though more so during the march while still in a conversational mood, police expressed support for us protesters, and reluctance to be antagonistic on their own. When they returned at the close of Park hours in much smaller numbers to match the dwindling of our own, remaining protesters knew to clear to the sidewalk and no further incidents took place. By then, new supplies had been delivered by random donors, and a new kitchen was already turning out coffee and chili dogs from an adjusted position at the park’s edge.

There remains aroused spirits from many of the variously positioned players in this conflict of Ideas. Many U.S. armed forces veterans are very angry indeed at police seen as traitorous after the incident with Scott Olsen in Oakland, (don’t forget to continue to hold Scott in your prayers, if you do that sort of thing); however I, for one, am encouraged by the dramatic differences between what i saw in Denver Saturday and the stuff from my childhood where police would just wade through crowds swinging nightsticks with brutal efficiency at whomever was within range. Further encouragement came from the shift in mood the following day when much of the tension between holders of opposing opinion among our OCS core appeared to simply diffuse on its own in the face of the sheer size and intensity of the action in D-town.

My take: I am immensely proud of all the Occupiers that participated, (including perhaps most especially my son Adin, who chose to stay right up in the thick of things with us all day long), and steadfastly protected those of our own motivated beyond restraint from overstepping propriety. We are ALL one. The human race makes up a group of 100%, even if some of us need to catch up with the notion. We have a long way to go, but we’re learning. This thing will continue to be lumpy and chaotic, but we’re getting there. Because we have to, no matter what.

Report from the Right Front

I will be the first to point out, right now here in this forum, that I have a Texas-sized ego. I think I’m a reasonably smart guy, and not unlike any writer, that I have some things to say that are so danged important that I’m gonna say them. I’ll also point out that some others in the conversation, possibly including you, gentle reader, have the same handicap. The entire discussion ought to be undertaken with a salt shaker within easy reach ’cause everything anyone has to say ought to be taken with a liberal helping.
This post is an attempt to unravel a bit of a Gordian knot that has tied itself around the politics of “Occupy” movements around the world, and particularly here in Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S.A. without hacking at it with f-bombs directed at the many possessors of equally large egos as mine, while openly acknowledging strong disagreements between some of us. Believe me, this is a difficult bit of unraveling and though I mean to avoid ad hominem attacks, I’ll not promise to eschew strong language. It’s also a bit of a news update, straight from the horse’s ass, so to speak. Sorry if it runs long or gets complicated; it’s a big hairy knot.

I am the guy that picked up the first no-camping ordinance violation in the city of Colorado Springs. I did this while participating in protests falling under the ill-defined aegis of a group called “Occupy Colorado Springs,” in solidarity with another ill-defined group called “Occupy Wall Street,” and other Occupiers all over the world. In case it’s unclear: there’s no such thing as Occupy Colorado Springs, (OCS). What happened is a few guys, boldly named at the top of the eponymous Facebook page like John Hancock at the bottom of that one famous page, finally got bent enough out of shape to do something about it so they set up a page, and a small camp down at Bijou and Tejon–Acacia Park. They were behind the Wall Street guys and liking what they were about, I came behind them.

There is no club membership, no charter, no bylaws, no nothing to define the Colorado Springs group that might in any way be construed to suggest the thing we are doing at Acacia Park is anything other than a gathering of a bunch of fully leaderless sovereign individuals that happen to share a common distaste at the state of human affairs extant in the world today. Anyone who has known me for any length of time, or has read any of the pages preceding this post will know that this is nothing new for me. I was and remain ecstatic at the development of public expression, both here and globally. I am a free actor in the business of protesting in general, and that involving the city’s no-camping ordinance in particular. I act as a sovereign, as a member of OCS whatever that means, as a citizen of the U.S.A., as a citizen of the World–a member of the human race, possessor of certain unalienable rights, whether those derive from God or not.

I decided to deliberately violate the city ordinance because I believe it exemplifies an aspect of the overall erosion of human rights here and across the globe that has precipitated such widespread uproar. I believe it directly attacks individuals’ right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that it is both superfluous and fully unnecessary. It’s just a mean-spirited dig at the weakest among us, a tactic akin to schoolyard bullying, which I maintain is motivated by the same spirit that allows the holders of power at the Federal Reserve and other powerful international and national bodies to gleefully grind the majority of the world’s citizenry to dust for no more than sport. I meant all along from well before the advent of any Occupations to have this conversation at a level previously unattainable to me, and now we will–that is, I and whomever cares to jump in during the proceedings. I control only my own actions and expressions.

There are some protesters at Acacia Park that have strenuously objected to my camping as I did. They are pleased to maintain the fine relationship with CSPD and with the Mayor’s office that has developed, and happy to have avoided the head-bashing, tear-gassing removals that have troubled some other Occupy outposts. Fearing a narrowing of focus from the general Occupy platforms, they asked me, and truly in some instances pleaded with me to abandon my course. Some attempted to tell me. They are happy to compromise, capitulate, appease, to utilize terms previously utilized by those members opposed to my individual action. I am not. I promise, I love every one of the crazy fools involved with the action at our little street corner whether we agree on this matter or not. I’ll mention this one more time: I am just one dude. Anyone that agrees with me here is also behaving of his or her own accord.

Our Mayor Bach is an asshole. I promised to avoid ad hominem here, and I’ll point out that this is not an attack but an observation, and only my opinion. Publicly, falsely and slanderously maligning the very civilized protesters of OCS for urinating on sidewalks while simultaneously locking park rest rooms which had previously been available to all manner of dope-shooting freaks, and possibly authorizing the operation of park sprinkler systems to douse protesters in below freezing temperatures are asshole moves. In my opinion. Mayor Bach is in error, but he’s only acting as seems best to him in each moment, now also capitulating, and allowing protesters a right to their freedom of speech.

We already have a freedom to speak in our country. My violation of the camping ordinance addresses a deeper, more fundamental set of freedoms mentioned so briefly in Mr. Jefferson’s Declaration, and to be found in all the keening of literature throughout all of history–blowin’ in the wind, one might say. This is not a narrowing of focus, but rather a telescopic lens by which I hope we can examine questions of such grand scale and difficulty that centuries after a bunch of homeless guys floated across the Atlantic to Plymouth, we still haven’t grasped them. failing to address the camping ordinance presenting itself so conveniently will flippantly sidestep the most essential key to all of this whole set of global protesting. We’ve all seen protesters on the street corner a million times. We’ve always compromised. It’s never worked.

Anecdotally speaking, it appears the major objection raised by detractors of the Occupy movement is that there has been no firm expression of goals, manifestos, or demands. It seems to me that this is the natural outcome of the complexity of the problems at hand. Although there are certainly individuals involved in skulduggery at, say, the FED, my view is that we face the necessity to alter a fundamental flaw in our very basis for human interaction. I’ll leave you to read my thoughts on that elsewhere in this blog, if you desire, both previous to this post and to come. Right now the Occupy movement is just an acknowledgement of discomfort with the extraordinarily stubborn status quo across all political and national lines, and a frame work within which discussion may take place. Planning and legal definitions will have to wait for some 7 billion Occupiers to chime in. The difficulty of hashing out the minor disagreements among players here in Colorado Springs may be an indication of how much work is involved with the big picture. Be patient. Unless you like the status quo. Most of us don’t.

For anyone out of the loop, including friends across the U.S. and abroad, here’s a bit of fact: I was arrested 18 October, around 2am MST for deliberately violating a city no-camping ordinance. The arrest was executed by my friends, the extra-fine members of the “HOTT” team of the CSPD, as we had previously discussed, (those guys are just as much in jeopardy from “Wall Street” as any of us; they are our brothers). I was simply driven, sans violence of any kind, or even cuffs or hard feelings, to the Gold Hills police station. We did a little paperwork and the fellas drove me to a friend’s place where I claimed a bit of much-needed rest. The HOTT team and I were completely cooperative with one another, and remain so. They did their jobs, I did mine. I had to wrestle with the question until some family matters came up, but I will not be camping under that no-camping sign again until at least my court date, 8 Nov at 1:30p MST. I can not, nor will I attempt to speak to the actions of any other sovereign actors who may follow my example, other than to toss out my opinion should it seem germane to me.

I hope we can all have this conversation in a civilized manner. I hope the whole world shows up at the courthouse that day. I hope all my friends known and unknown that can’t make it will pray, or chant, or beam love on fairy wings–whatever their fancy. I’m gonna need it. I think we all need it, that day and every other.

Reprinted from Hipgnosis

Every dollar wants to be free of the Fed

US one dollar bill, circa 1963-presentIt might stretch credulity that the US Bureau of Engraving encrypted prophetic images of the Pentagon –and the not yet built WTC twin towers– in their iconic Reichstag Fire infamy, unto dollar bills folded just so. But who knows, they might have chosen to encode Thomas Jefferson’s oft-quoted but unheeded chiding to the American people: “Every generation needs a new revolution.” And don’t we especially want to ignore this one? “When injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty.”

Yer in the Army Now….

So much has been happening lately I’m afraid this will be a big confused mess, but what th’ hey, right?
The world is in a Meltdown. Hell that’s the reason I have time for this crap, ya know? This is NOT a surprise. We’ve all known it’s been coming for a looong time now, though it’s hard to nail down that specific moment when we knew. Maybe we always did. I’ll get to how I think we’ve known, and how we didn’t know we’ve know a different time. For now, a somewhat more imminent thought. Here’s one place to find a buncha bone-chilling stats . The numbers are everywhere. This is only one source, and far more officious, (don’t mess with me, I used that word on purpose), sources are available. YOU look ’em up. Anyone wanting to look fuckin’ stupid can tapdance around them til–well, til the Apocalypse–and they’re not gonna change, cause tapdancin’ won’t change it. If it was gonna, it woulda! I already put it more or less in a nutshell: WE’RE FUCK-ED!!

But we’re not. We’re still breathing, still eating, drinking, fucking, pumping out babies, and so on. I have two accidental children whom I love without bounds. I genuinely thought it would be rude, at best, to sire a new Person and foist all this bullshit upon him16 years ago when the pertinent romantic interlude took place. Maybe it is, in way, but in plenty of other ways life is as always a thing of such great, broad, deep beauty that I think all potential for its fulfillment ought to be pursued. (Don’t imagine I’ve converted to Catholicism or something–that though was rather more metaphysically driven, and you should put on a raincoat if it looks like rain. Or waders if it looks like–you know ;)) Look around, though. We’re ALIVE!! More than we know. And life shows us in every discrete packet of light entering our retinas that it will rise, no matter what. We can’t kill the Earth. I rather think she’d prefer us to work this out, but she’ll be fine. We can certainly destroy our ability to live here as Humans, though.

In Consider the Lilies, I started to explain what I’m up to here. Every time I approach that question, the answers that come to me sound more and more absurdly grandiose. Save the world? I mean, reeealy! when I was a young child, like in the 3rd grade or something, (no shit–ask Mom), I was politicized and set in a frame of mind opposed to fascism, oppression, and unkindness, for lack of a better term. Everyone knows this is the course of idealism, though, right? I got out in the “real” world and it struck me that one must make some pragmatic concessions to get by. Right? We all learn this, don’t we? Usually when it “strikes” us it’s like a brick in the head. It’s usually thrown at us by some cog in the Fascist machine.

If you’ve read the earlier posts, or caught my live rant, you’ve likely been puzzled by my carryings on about money being a bad metaphor. It’s outdated poetry, good for a time, now hopelessly outdated like that ridiculous, overwrought Victorian romance shyte you may have read in college or high school. (Leave them kids alone, teacher!). “All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling, ” wrote Oscar Wilde, and the old thing has gotten us a long way, in fact, it’s gotten us right here. Fucked. Or on the cusp of some spectacular event(s).

We live in a competitive world. Whichever doctrinal approach one embraces, whether scientifically mechanistic or holding out for divine fiat, it’s the scrabbling over game pieces that has us in this sinking boat. Everyone has to have a buncha shit they don’t need, in order to display for all the other poor losers how dominant they or their team has been in the Game. This isn’t a fuckin’ game anymore, though. Look at those numbers again. Do you really think a little half-assed reduction in increase in greenhouse gas emissions over the next 100 years or whatever is going to save the human race? Get real! Do you really think we might someday pay off our $23 trillion debt, or whatever it is? What’s that shit, anyways? To whom do we owe it? When did we sign that contract? Didn’t someone steal that from us last month? Do we really think we can survive a collapse of the oceans, the food chain, the watersheds, etc, etc, and so on?

I may be grandiose and ridiculous, but I can read the writing on the wall, in the sky, on the face of the Moon. We’re gonna need to stop fiddle-fuckin’ around and wrestle this shit to the ground, or we’re all gonna die. Our kids are gonna die. Our grandkids, if we live to see them, will be mutant freaks like Goldbloom’s fly monster, just like the poor fucked up three-eyed fish around Chernobyl and downstream of a BHP Billiton mine , (BHP: Broken Hill Properties. It’s only a secret if you close your eyes, kids). They’ll die miserably, and the Earth will breathe a sigh of relief, having fought off a pestilent Virus. Or we can CHANGE EVERYTHING.

I saw a panel discussion at the community college yesterday, (PPCC). A Bahai, a Buddhist, a Pagan, and a Christian philosopher walked into a bar and the bartender said, “What is this, a fuckin’ joke?” Oh–sorry. They actually sat behind a table and spoke as cogently as they were able, and we all took them fairly seriously, if with the standard portion of salt–you know it’s still all bullshit, right? A thematic keystone was the notion that we’re all One, that it’s all All-One. You’ll notice me playing that riff for all I can wring from it. It’s got a lot of Soul, and it sounds good. When I say we’re all gonna die, I don’t mean all us minor league players. The whole stadium is collapsing. It’s already collapsed in a lot of ways. Check out my friend Skip’s posts about the Federal Reserve. Don’t be tapdancing when you read. The Fascists will die with us. Their secret bunkers won’t do. Competition is over; the game pieces are reduced to Parker Bros. parts. Cooperative living is at hand.

Only LOVE will save us. That’s right, y’all.Think that’s hokey? Sure. It is. But that’s a view from the old game. I put this shit up because I believe it. I’m just as much like water as anyone else. I’d stay comfortably here at the lowest level if it seemed for one second to me like that might be an option. It does not. It is not. Change or die. Right now. Today. Look me up. I have a couple ideas, and I bet you do too, if you were to stop concentrating on that tapdance.

There are many, many more things to say about all this. Come back and see us, eh?

Viva la rivoluzione!
Viva l’Esercito dell’Amore!

(Reprinted from Hipgnosis)

Ground Zero for The Empire’s Collapse- Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation?

DTCCThe Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation or DTCC is possibly Ground Zero for the US Empire’s potential coming economic collapse, because it is the primary and dominant insuring company that guarantees pay outs for those who hold junk stocks, if they go belly up.

‘DTCC’s DTC depository provides custody and asset servicing for 3.5 million securities issues, comprised mostly of stocks and bonds, from the United States and 110 other countries and territories, valued at $40 trillion, more than any other depository in the world. In 2007, DTCC settled the vast majority of securities transactions in the United States, more than $1.86 quadrillion in value.’ Taken from wikipedia’s DTCC entry

Looking to see who is in charge at DTCC? Nice group of pics, right? Nice people I’m sure… lol… Good patriotic Americans and what all.

The DTCC history show 2 events that pushed this corporate outfit to the head. One was Bill Clinton’s deregulation of securities signed into law in 2000 at the end of his presidency, and the other was 9/11.

9/11 effectively was the death blow to paper securities, and DTCC was right there offering electronic securities instead. Here at DTCC’s site one finds this brief explanation of No More Paper: The Problems with Paper …see below

Q. I have heard that many securities were lost on 9/11. Is that true?

A. Yes, although they were eventually all replaced. Some $16 billion worth of certificates disappeared in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers on 9/11, and it took many months and nearly $300 million in industry costs to replace them. During this period, electronic records were used to ensure the owners of the securities could be identified. Meanwhile, shares held electronically were not harmed at all on 9/11.

OK, that’s nice…. And here, written in 1999 about the Clinton Administration’s proposed financial deregulation of that year that then later allowed the rise of even more speculative securities and the eventual domination of DTCC over the securities market, is the following…

***Threat to financial stability***

The proposed deregulation will increase the degree of monopolization in finance and worsen the position of consumers in relation to creditors. Even more significant is its impact on the overall stability of US and world capitalism. The bill ties the banking system and the insurance industry even more directly to the volatile US stock market, virtually guaranteeing that any significant plunge on Wall Street will have an immediate and catastrophic impact throughout the US financial system.

The Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, which the deregulation bill would repeal, was not adopted to protect consumers, although one of its most celebrated provisions was the establishment of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which guarantees bank deposits of up to $100,000. The law was enacted during the first 100 days of the Roosevelt administration to rescue a banking system which had collapsed, wiping out the life savings of millions of working people, and threatening to bring the profit system to a complete standstill.

As a recent history of that era notes: “The more than five thousand bank failures between the Crash and the New Deal’s rescue operation in March 1933 wiped out some $7 billion in depositors’ money. Accelerating foreclosures on defaulted home mortgages—150,000 homeowners lost their property in 1930, 200,000 in 1931, 250,000 in 1932—stripped millions of people of both shelter and life savings at a single stroke and menaced the balance sheets of thousands of surviving banks” (David Kennedy, Freedom from Fear, Oxford University Press, 1999, pp. 162-63).

The separation of banking and the stock exchange was ordered in response to revelations of the gross corruption and manipulation of the market by giant banking houses, above all the House of Morgan, which organized huge corporate mergers for its own profit and awarded preferential access to share issues to favored politicians and businessmen. Such insider trading played a major role in the speculative boom which preceded the 1929 crash.

Over the past 20 years the restrictions imposed by Glass-Steagall have been gradually relaxed under pressure from the banks, which sought more profitable outlets for their capital, especially in the booming stock market, and which complained that foreign competitors suffered no such limitations to their financial operations. In 1990 the Federal Reserve Board first permitted a bank (J.P. Morgan) to sell stock through a subsidiary, although stock market operations were limited to 10 percent of the company’s total revenue. In 1996 this ceiling was lifted to 25 percent. Now it will be abolished.

The Wall Street Journal celebrated the agreement to end such restrictions with an editorial declaring that the banks had been unfairly scapegoated for the Great Depression. The headline of one Journal article detailing the impact of the proposed law declared, “Finally, 1929 Begins to Fade.”

This comment underscores the greatest irony in the banking deregulation bill. Legislation first adopted to save American capitalism from the consequences of the 1929 Wall Street Crash is being abolished just at the point where the conditions are emerging for an even greater speculative financial collapse. The enormous volatility in the stock exchange in recent months has been accompanied by repeated warnings that stocks are grossly overvalued, with some computer and Internet stocks selling at prices 100 times earnings or even greater.

And there is a much more recent experience than 1929 to serve as a cautionary tale. A financial deregulation bill was passed in the early 1980s under the Reagan administration, lifting many restrictions on the activities of savings and loan associations, which had previously been limited primarily to the home-loan market. The result was an orgy of speculation, profiteering and outright plundering of assets, culminating in collapse and the biggest financial bailout in US history, costing the federal government more than $500 billion. The repetition of such events in the much larger banking and securities markets would be beyond the scope of any federal bailout.

The complete article published back in 1999 at Clinton, Republicans agree to deregulation of US financial system Almost a totally prophetic article, as it turns out. So now we wait and see if all the government money thrown at these financial pirates…YES, financial pirates…’works’? Will it be capable of floating all this junk held insured by DTCC?

Alan is shocked!!!!!

Alan Greenspan represents more than any individual anywhere, the bipartisan fact that there is no real difference between the 2 chosen parties of our corporate dictatorship here in America. Let’s fact, it… Greenspan has been the darling of both the Democratic and Republican Parties for a very long time now. He’s The Man!

He has been running the economic show that has now put the world capitalist economies in tail spin, you and I on board. Poor Alan is shocked!!!!!! Poor Old Alan… He’s shocked!!!!!! He says he just doesn’t know any more. He’s shocked!!!!!!

This guy really takes the cake, now doesn’t he. He was held up to the level of Jesus Christ in the eyes of the American monied class who held him high above our heads as some great genius know-it-all, and now his temple is shaking in its foundations. Remember these slime balls celebrating when their Cold War spending crashed the ex Soviet Union? Remember them not giving a damn about what they did to the Russian people? Remember smug old Alan?

In spite of all these croc tears and croc shock by the like ilk of Alan Greenspan, they will give about as much a damn about you as they did about the Russians. They don’t give a damn about you and the rest of Working Class America anymore than they cared about the Gooks and Ragheads (their words for them, not mine) they screwed over to make their super profits. I take that back, they are actually worried more about you and how you might soon grow to hate them passionately. Got it? Alan is shocked!!!!!

But he’s 82, damn him, and now there’s not much justice we can do for him… He wants forgiveness does he? Who knows? He simply has no god beyond money…. just our money that is now just so much trashed out planet. Alan is shocked!!!!!!! And so is the planet.

Money As Debt video

moneytrapThere is a short 45 minute video called Money As Debt that gives a great explanation of the current Financial Crisis. It is thoughtful, easy to understand, and a well done video with illustrations and quotes from insiders used as references.

Thanks to David V. for sending it my way! He’s been doing a lot of thinking about the real estate bubble in the South Florida region over the last 2 years. It is a bad situation in that area of the country.

How a ‘credit crunch’ can help kick an economic depression into place

jenny_and_marx.jpg In a system…where the entire continuity of the…process rests upon credit, a crisis must obviously occur — a tremendous rush for means of payment — when credit suddenly ceases and only cash payments have validity. At first glance, therefore, the whole crisis seems to be merely a credit and money crisis. And in fact it is only a question of the convertibility of bills of exchange into money.

But the majority of these bills represent actual sales and purchases, whose extension far beyond the needs of society is, after all, the basis of the whole crisis. At the same time, an enormous quantity of these bills of exchange represents plain swindle, which now reaches the light of day and collapses; furthermore, unsuccessful speculation with the capital of other people; finally, commodity-capital which has depreciated or is completely unsaleable, or returns that can never more be realized again.

The entire artificial system of forced expansion of the [ecomony] cannot, of course, be remedied by having some bank, like the [Federal Reserve], give to all the swindlers the deficient capital by means of its paper and having it buy up all the depreciated commodities at their old nominal values.

Incidentally, everything here appears distorted, since in this paper world, the real price and its real basis appear nowhere, but only bullion, metal coin, notes, bills of exchange, securities. Particularly in centers where the entire money business of the country is concentrated, like London [or New York]…the entire process becomes incomprehensible.

Not Sons of Bitches, Dems are bitches

When the Democrats were the minority they seemed so weak. Now in the Majority they’re positively wimps. Pundits tell us it’s a lack of leadership. Why would the corporate media overlook who’s at the whip? It would seem clear that the corporations writing the legislation, funding the campaigns, and paying for the free lunch, are driving the agenda. The GOP is paid to play the white hats, and when a bill is unpopular, the Dems are pushed forward to play the creeps.

On the proposed bailout ripoff, the Dems were not the sons of bitches, they’re just the bitches. I heard a Dem scare-mongeree explain that in spite of loathing the idea of a solution which benefited the wrong people, the bailout was our only option. “All economists agree we have to do this” he said, ignoring quite a few who have urged the opposite. The interviewer interrupted to announce, this just in, the vote had failed and as a result the DOW had plunged by 700 points. She wanted his response: “Oh. My. God.”

As Bush and his GOP team stand in the shadows, the Democrats are thrust forward to “lead” the support for this criminal legislation. Whether the bill won or lost, either way the Democrats would come out looking like shits.

I’m reminded about how an invading army flushes out defenders still hiding. Send your captives into the buildings to spring the booby-traps. Make them open the doors to draw the fire. Among thugs in prison the dirty work is done by the bitches.

Except for Democracy Now, the media won’t report the authentic Democratic efforts to lead. Here’s Dennis Kucinich on the floor of Congress speaking against the bailout and asking: why, why why:

“The $700 billion bailout for Wall Street, is driven by fear not fact. This is too much money in too a short a time going to too few people while too many questions remain unanswered.

Why aren’t we having hearings on the plan we have just received? Why aren’t we questioning the underlying premise of the need for a bailout with taxpayers’ money?

Why have we not considered any alternatives other than to give $700 billion to Wall Street? Why aren’t we asking Wall Street to clean up its own mess?

Why aren’t we passing new laws to stop the speculation, which triggered this? Why aren’t we putting up new regulatory structures to protect investors? How do we even value the $700 billion in toxic assets?

“Why aren’t we helping homeowners directly with their debt burden? Why aren’t we helping American families faced with bankruptcy. Why aren’t we reducing debt for Main Street instead of Wall Street?

Isn’t it time for fundamental change in our debt based monetary system, so we can free ourselves from the manipulation of the Federal Reserve and the banks?

Is this the United States Congress or the board of directors of Goldman Sachs? Wall Street is a place of bears and bulls. It is not smart to force taxpayers to dance with bears or to follow closely behind the bulls.”

Michael Moore is more charitable about the Democrats’ actions yesterday. Here’s his update:


Everyone said the bill would pass. The masters of the universe were already making celebratory dinner reservations at Manhattan’s finest restaurants. Personal shoppers in Dallas and Atlanta were dispatched to do the early Christmas gifting. Mad Men of Chicago and Miami were popping corks and toasting each other long before the morning latte run.

But what they didn’t know was that hundreds of thousands of Americans woke up yesterday morning and decided it was time for revolt. The politicians never saw it coming. Millions of phone calls and emails hit Congress so hard it was as if Marshall Dillon, Elliot Ness and Dog the Bounty Hunter had descended on D.C. to stop the looting and arrest the thieves.

The Corporate Crime of the Century was halted by a vote of 228 to 205. It was rare and historic; no one could remember a time when a bill supported by the president and the leadership of both parties went down in defeat. That just never happens.

A lot of people are wondering why the right wing of the Republican Party joined with the left wing of the Democratic Party in voting down the thievery. Forty percent of Democrats and two-thirds of Republicans voted against the bill.

Here’s what happened:

The presidential race may still be close in the polls, but the Congressional races are pointing toward a landslide for the Democrats. Few dispute the prediction that the Republicans are in for a whoopin’ on November 4th. Up to 30 Republican House seats could be lost in what would be a stunning repudiation of their agenda.

The Republican reps are so scared of losing their seats, when this “financial crisis” reared its head two weeks ago, they realized they had just been handed their one and only chance to separate themselves from Bush before the election, while doing something that would make them look like they were on the side of “the people.”

Watching C-Span yesterday morning was one of the best comedy shows I’d seen in ages. There they were, one Republican after another who had backed the war and sunk the country into record debt, who had voted to kill every regulation that would have kept Wall Street in check — there they were, now crying foul and standing up for the little guy! One after another, they stood at the microphone on the House floor and threw Bush under the bus, under the train (even though they had voted to kill off our nation’s trains, too), heck, they would’ve thrown him under the rising waters of the Lower Ninth Ward if they could’ve conjured up another hurricane. You know how your dog acts when sprayed by a skunk? He howls and runs around trying to shake it off, rubbing and rolling himself on every piece of your carpet, trying to get rid of the stench. That’s what it looked like on the Republican side of the aisle yesterday, and it was a sight to behold.

The 95 brave Dems who broke with Barney Frank and Chris Dodd were the real heroes, just like those few who stood up and voted against the war in October of 2002. Watch the remarks from yesterday of Reps. Marcy Kaptur, Sheila Jackson Lee, and Dennis Kucinich. They spoke the truth.

The Dems who voted for the giveaway did so mostly because they were scared by the threats of Wall Street, that if the rich didn’t get their handout, the market would go nuts and then it’s bye-bye stock-based pension and retirement funds.

And guess what? That’s exactly what Wall Street did! The largest, single-day drop in the Dow in the history of the New York Stock exchange. The news anchors last night screamed it out: Americans just lost 1.2 trillion dollars in the stock market!! It’s a financial Pearl Harbor! The sky is falling! Bird flu! Killer Bees!

Of course, sane people know that nobody “lost” anything yesterday, that stocks go up and down and this too shall pass because the rich will now buy low, hold, then sell off, then buy low again.

But for now, Wall Street and its propaganda arm (the networks and media it owns) will continue to try and scare the bejesus out of you. It will be harder to get a loan. Some people will lose their jobs. A weak nation of wimps won’t last long under this torture. Or will we? Is this our line in the sand?

Here’s my guess: The Democratic leadership in the House secretly hoped all along that this lousy bill would go down. With Bush’s proposals shredded, the Dems knew they could then write their own bill that favors the average American, not the upper 10% who were hoping for another kegger of gold.

So the ball is in the Democrats’ hands. The gun from Wall Street remains at their head. Before they make their next move, let me tell you what the media kept silent about while this bill was being debated:

1. The bailout bill had NO enforcement provisions for the so-called oversight group that was going to monitor Wall Street’s spending of the $700 billion;

2. It had NO penalties, fines or imprisonment for any executive who might steal any of the people’s money;

3. It did NOTHING to force banks and lenders to rewrite people’s mortgages to avoid foreclosures — this bill would not have stopped ONE foreclosure!;

4. It had NO teeth anywhere in the entire piece of legislation, using words like “suggested” when referring to the government being paid back for the bailout;

5. Over 200 economists wrote to Congress and said this bill might actually WORSEN the “financial crisis” and cause even MORE of a meltdown.

Put a fork in this slab of pork. It’s over. Now it is time for our side to state very clearly the laws WE want passed. I will send you my proposals later today. We’ve bought ourselves less than 72 hours.

Michael Moore

Let the greedy bastards eat cake

Class struggle posterThe tax break for the rich wasn’t enough, the GWOT siphon on the US treasury isn’t flowing fast enough, CEO bonuses aren’t enough, usury is not unregulated enough, bankruptcy laws to ruin small borrowers aren’t predatory enough, the disparity between rich and poor is not obscene enough.

It’s not enough that the parasitic rich contribute only smoke and mirrors to the economy. Now the [investment] bank robbers are dropping even that pretext to demand that US taxpayers simply fork over the money. And don’t anyone try to follow them out.

Michael Hudson on paying for the bailout AND the fallout:

It is bad enough for the government to buy $700 billion of bad bank investments at prices that no private-sector investor has been willing to approach. This itself is an undeserved giveaway to the financial institutions that caused the problem by living recklessly in the short run. But making them – and indeed, helping them – pay back this gift with the aid of favorable tax and deregulatory policies will simply shift the cost off their shoulders onto those of bank depositors, credit-card users, mortgage borrowers and hapless pension-fund contributors to the money managers who have taken most of the current income in the form of commissions, salaries and bonuses to themselves. This will sharply add to the price of doing business in the United States, and specifically to the economy’s debt overhead by the banks making even more predatory loans.

It gets worse. In order for the existing junk mortgages to be “made good,” real estate prices must be raised further above the ability to pay for this year’s five million homeowners in arrears and facing default. Is this a good thing? Is it good to raise access prices for housing even more, forcing new homebuyers to go further into debt than ever before to gain access to housing? Mr. Paulson has directed the Federal Reserve, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHA (Federal Housing Authority) to re-inflate the real estate market. They are to pump nearly a trillion dollars into the mortgage market.

Fiscal policy is also to be brought to bear to turn the real estate market around by pressuring cities and states to “help homeowners pay their mortgage debts” by cutting property taxes. The idea is to leave more revenue available for property owners to pay mortgage bankers. Unfortunately, this will oblige cities to make up these cuts by taxing labor and sales, running deeper into debt than they already are, or cutting back their spending on basic infrastructure, education and public services and continue shortchanging their pension funds. This is the price to be exacted to “protect the taxpayer’s interest” by bailing out irresponsible banks. The solution is to let them make even more money by acting in a yet more predatory way.


The most egregious pretense is that the problem is only temporary, not structural. We are merely “freeing up” the market for new loans. This is precisely the opposite of what the classical economists meant by “free markets.” What America has is a bad debt problem, not a “liquidity” problem. There is no “illiquidity” when people refuse to buy a junk mortgage on a property worth only a fraction of the mortgage’s face value. Many of these bad mortgage loans are fraudulent. The Treasury bailout seeks to make $700 billion of fictitious financial claims “real” – that is, way overvalued as compared to their actual worth(lessness).

Sliming the tire to fix the flat

flatWatching the US Big Business government try to fix their economic flat is a lot like watching a driver sliming a car tire on the side of the road. It may or not work, depending quite a bit on the nature of the flat itself.

On Wednesday over $90 billion dollars left the value of US stocks, the largest amount in one day ever. That’s a lot of air lost through an economic puncture and lost very fast. The Federal Government is pumping slime in almost as fast as the air went out! ‘Slime’ being our collective national savings still calculated in increasingly devalued dollars.

None of this is too likely to work. If you look across that American economic tire you will see that it has been deeply slashed by a knife. I wonder who did it and why, don’t you? Beware! The people who did it may soon want you to buy them a new tire, even though the tire they made flat is actually yours!

AIG and Washington Mutual soon to follow Lehman Brothers down the drain?

while-you-were-outTo put things in perspective, it helps to know that Lehman Brothers holdings were 10 times the value of Enron’s, a company that also fell into bankruptcy amidst scandal. But the collapse of the American economy is not over yet, as other companies, such as Washington Mutual and AIG also appear to be on their way to going under. Here is what wikipedia has to say about AIG, the 18th largest company in the world, and one that in 2006 was fined over 1.5 billion dollars for fraud.

‘On June 15, 2008, under intense pressure due to financial losses and a falling stock price, Martin Sullivan resigned from the CEO position. He was replaced by Robert B. Willumstad who has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Company since 2006.

In 2008, AIG’s share prices fell over 95% to less than $3 in September and the company reported over $13.2 billion in losses in the first six months of that year. As Lehman Brothers suffered a major decline in value and share price, potential investors began to compare the types of securities held by AIG to those held by Lehman, and found that AIG had valued their Alt-A and sub-prime mortgage-backed securities at rates 1.7 to 2.0 times those Lehman had used for what Lehman officials called similar securities. On September 14, 2008, AIG announced it was considering selling its aircraft leasing division, International Lease Finance Corporation, in an effort to raise necessary capital for the company. The Federal Reserve has hired Morgan Stanley to determine if there are systemic risks to a failing AIG, and has asked private entities to supply short-term “bridge” loans to the company. In the meantime, New York regulators have approved AIG for $20 billion in borrowing from its subsidiaries.

On September 16, AIG’s stock dropped 60 percent at the market’s opening. The Federal Reserve continued to meet that day with major Wall Street investment firms to broker a deal to create a $75 billion line of credit to the company. Rating agencies Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s, meanwhile, downgraded their ratings on AIG’s credit on concerns over continuing losses to mortgage-backed securities. The New York Times later reported that talks on Wall Street had broken down and AIG may file for bankruptcy protection on Wednesday, September 17.’

Will this company in fact file for bankruptcy tomorrow as the NYT reports? And what about Washington Mutual and the others? It’s beginning to look like the 30’s once again, and all doubt about ‘recessions’ or not is now over. The word is DEPRESSION. Hang onto your job, house, and pension if you can, for it looks grim.

Global economic rapists are at it again

G8 protest
Why protest the G8 Summit July 7-9? Those hoodlums always look so determined. Here’s the rationale by the Emergency Exit Collective:

The 2008 G8 on Hokkaido, a Strategic Assessment
Emergency Exit Collective
Bristol, Mayday, 2008

The authors of this document are a collection of activists, scholars, and writers currently based in the United States and Western Europe who have gotten to know and work with each other in the movement against capitalist globalization. We’re writing this at the request of some members of No! G8 Action Japan, who asked us for a broad strategic analysis of the state of struggle as we see it, and particularly, of the role of the G8, what it represents, the dangers and opportunities that may lie hidden in the moment. It is in no sense programmatic. Mainly, it is an attempt to develop tools that we hope will be helpful for organizers, or for anyone engaged in the struggle against global capital.

It is our condition as human beings that we produce our lives in common.

Let us then try to see the world from the perspective of the planet’s commoners, taking the word in that sense: those whose most essential tradition is cooperation in the making and maintenance of human social life, yet who have had to do so under conditions of suffering and separation; deprived, ignored, devalued, divided into hierarchies, pitted against each other for our very physical survival. In one sense we are all commoners. But it’s equally true that just about everyone, at least in some ways, at some points, plays the role of the rulers—of those who expropriate, devalue and divide—or at the very least benefits from such divisions.

Obviously some do more than others. It is at the peak of this pyramid that we encounter groups like the G8.

The G8’s perspective is that of the aristocrats, the rulers: those who command and maintain that global machinery of violence that defends existing borders and lines of separation: whether national borders with their detention camps for migrants, or property regimes, with their prisons for the poor. They live by constantly claiming title to the products of others collective creativity and labour, and in thus doing they create the poor; they create scarcity in the midst of plenty, and divide us on a daily basis; they create financial districts that loot resources from across the world, and in thus doing they turn the spirit of human creativity into a spiritual desert; close or privatize parks, public water taps and libraries, hospitals, youth centers, universities, schools, public swimming pools, and instead endlessly build shopping malls that channels convivial life into a means of commodity circulation; work toward turning global ecological catastrophe into business opportunities.

These are the people who presume to speak in the name of the “international community” even as they hide in their gated communities or meet protected by phalanxes of riot cops. It is critical to bear in mind that the ultimate aim of their policies is never to create community but to introduce and maintain divisions that set common people at each other’s throats. The neoliberal project, which has been their main instrument for doing so for the last three decades, is premised on a constant effort either to uproot or destroy any communal or democratic system whereby ordinary people govern their own affairs or maintain common resources for the common good, or, to reorganize each tiny remaining commons as an isolated node in a market system in which livelihood is never guaranteed, where the gain of one community must necessarily be at the expense of others. Insofar as they are willing to appeal to high-minded principles of common humanity, and encourage global cooperation, only and exactly to the extent that is required to maintain this system of universal competition.

At the present time, the G8—the annual summit of the leaders of “industrial democracies”—is the key coordinative institution charged with the task of maintaining this neoliberal project, or of reforming it, revising it, adapting it to the changing condition of planetary class relations. The role of the G8 has always been to define the broad strategic horizons through which the next wave of planetary capital accumulation can occur. This means that its main task is to answer the question of how 3?4 in the present conditions of multiple crises and struggles 3?4 to subordinate social relations among the producing commoners of the planet to capital’s supreme value: profit.

Originally founded as the G7 in 1975 as a means of coordinating financial strategies for dealing with the ‘70s energy crisis, then expanded after the end of the Cold War to include Russia, its currently face a moment of profound impasse in the governance of planetary class relations: the greatest since the ‘70s energy crisis itself.

The ‘70s energy crisis represented the final death-pangs of what might be termed the Cold War settlement, shattered by a quarter century of popular struggle. It’s worth returning briefly to this history.

The geopolitical arrangements put in place after World War II were above all designed to forestall the threat of revolution. In the immediate wake of the war, not only did much of the world lie in ruins, most of world’s population had abandoned any assumption about the inevitability of existing social arrangements. The advent of the Cold War had the effect of boxing movements for social change into a bipolar straightjacket. On the one hand, the former Allied and Axis powers that were later to unite in the G7 (the US, Canada, UK, France, Italy, Germany, Japan)—the “industrialized democracies”, as they like to call themselves—engaged in a massive project of co-optation. Their governments continued the process, begun in the ‘30s, of taking over social welfare institutions that had originally been created by popular movements (from insurance schemes to public libraries), even to expand them, on condition that they now be managed by state-appointed bureaucracies rather than by those who used them, buying off unions and the working classes more generally with policies meant to guarantee high wages, job security and the promise of educational advance—all in exchange for political loyalty, productivity increases and wage divisions within national and planetary working class itself. The Sino-Soviet bloc—which effectively became a kind of junior partner within the overall power structure, and its allies remained to trap revolutionary energies into the task of reproducing similar bureaucracies elsewhere. Both the US and USSR secured their dominance after the war by refusing to demobilize, instead locking the planet in a permanent threat of nuclear annihilation, a terrible vision of absolute cosmic power.

Almost immediately, though, this arrangement was challenged by a series of revolts from those whose work was required to maintain the system, but who were, effectively, left outside the deal: first, peasants and the urban poor in the colonies and former colonies of the Global South, next, disenfranchised minorities in the home countries (in the US, the Civil Rights movement, then Black Power), and finally and most significantly, by the explosion of the women’s movement of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s—the revolt of that majority of humanity whose largely unremunerated labor made the very existence “the economy” possible. This appears to have been the tipping point.

The problem was that the Cold War settlement was never meant to include everyone. It by definition couldn’t. Once matters reached tipping point, then, the rulers scotched the settlement. All deals were off. The oil shock was first edge of the counter-offensive, breaking the back of existing working class organizations, driving home the message that there was nothing guaranteed about prosperity. Under the aegis of the newly hatched G7, this counter-offensive involved a series of interwoven strategies that were later to give rise to what is known as neoliberalism.

These strategies resulted in what came to be known as “Structural Adjustment” both in the North and in the South, accompanied by trade and financial liberalization. This, in turn, made possible crucial structural changes in our planetary production in common extending the role of the market to discipline our lives and divide us into more and more polarized wage hierarchy. This involved:

· In the immediate wake of ‘70s oil shock, petrodollars were recycled from OPEC into Northern banks that then lent them, at extortionate rates of interest, to developing countries of the Global South. This was the origin of the famous “Third World Debt Crisis.” The existence of this debt allowed institutions like the IMF to impose its monetarist orthodoxy on most of the planet for roughly twenty years, in the process, stripping away most of even those modest social protections that had been won by the world’s poor—large numbers of whom were plunged into a situation of absolute desperation.

· It also opened a period of new enclosures through the capitalist imposition of structural adjustment policies, manipulation of environmental and social catastrophes like war, or for that matter through the authoritarian dictates of “socialist” regimes. Through such means, large sections of the world’s population have over the past thirty years been dispossessed from resources previously held in common, either by dint of long traditions, or as the fruits of past struggles and past settlements.

· Through financial deregulation and trade liberalization, neoliberal capital, which emerged from the G7 strategies to deal with the 1970s crisis aimed thus at turning the “class war” in communities, factories, offices, streets and fields against the engine of competition, into a planetary “civil war”, pitting each community of commoners against every other community of commoners.

· Neoliberal capital has done this by imposing an ethos of “efficiency” and rhetoric of “lowering the costs of production” applied so broadly that mechanisms of competition have come to pervade every sphere of life. In fact these terms are euphemisms, for a more fundamental demand: that capital be exempt from taking any reduction in profit to finance the costs of reproduction of human bodies and their social and natural environments (which it does not count as costs) and which are, effectively, “exernalized” onto communities and nature.

· The enclosure of resources and entitlements won in previous generations of struggles both in the North and the South, in turn, created the conditions for increasing the wage hierarchies (both global and local), by which commoners work for capital—wage hierarchies reproduced economically through pervasive competition, but culturally, through male dominance, xenophobia and racism. These wage gaps, in turn, made it possible to reduce the value of Northern workers’ labour power, by introducing commodities that enter in their wage basket at a fraction of what their cost might otherwise have been. The planetary expansion of sweatshops means that American workers (for example) can buy cargo pants or lawn-mowers made in Cambodia at Walmart, or buy tomatoes grown by undocumented Mexican workers in California, or even, in many cases, hire Jamaican or Filipina nurses to take care of children and aged grandparents at such low prices, that their employers have been able to lower real wages without pushing most of them into penury. In the South, meanwhile, this situation has made it possible to discipline new masses of workers into factories and assembly lines, fields and offices, thus extending enormously capital’s reach in defining the terms—the what, the how, the how much—of social production.

· These different forms of enclosures, both North and South, mean that commoners have become increasingly dependent on the market to reproduce their livelihoods, with less power to resist the violence and arrogance of those whose priorities is only to seek profit, less power to set a limit to the market discipline running their lives, more prone to turn against one another in wars with other commoners who share the same pressures of having to run the same competitive race, but not the same rights and the same access to the wage. All this has meant a generalized state of precarity, where nothing can be taken for granted.

In turn, this manipulation of currency and commodity flows constituting neoliberal globalization became the basis for the creation of the planet’s first genuine global bureaucracy.

· This was multi-tiered, with finance capital at the peak, then the ever-expanding trade bureaucracies (IMF, WTO, EU, World Bank, etc), then transnational corporations, and finally, the endless varieties of NGOs that proliferated throughout the period—almost all of which shared the same neoliberal orthodoxy, even as they substituted themselves for social welfare functions once reserved for states.

· The existence of this overarching apparatus, in turn, allowed poorer countries previously under the control of authoritarian regimes beholden to one or another side in the Cold War to adopt “democratic” forms of government. This did allow a restoration of formal civil liberties, but very little that could really merit the name of democracy (the rule of the “demos”, i.e., of the commoners). They were in fact constitutional republics, and the overwhelming trend during the period was to strip legislatures, that branch of government most open to popular pressure, of most of their powers, which were increasingly shifted to the executive and judicial branches, even as these latter, in turn, largely ended up enacting policies developed overseas, by global bureaucrats.

· This entire bureaucratic arrangement was justified, paradoxically enough, by an ideology of extreme individualism. On the level of ideas, neoliberalism relied on a systematic cooptation of the themes of popular struggle of the ‘60s: autonomy, pleasure, personal liberation, the rejection of all forms of bureaucratic control and authority. All these were repackaged as the very essence of capitalism, and the market reframed as a revolutionary force of liberation.

· The entire arrangement, in turn, was made possible by a preemptive attitude towards popular struggle. The breaking of unions and retreat of mass social movements from the late ‘70s onwards was only made possible by a massive shift of state resources into the machinery of violence: armies, prisons and police (secret and otherwise) and an endless variety of private “security services”, all with their attendant propaganda machines, which tended to increase even as other forms of social spending were cut back, among other things absorbing increasing portions of the former proletariat, making the security apparatus an increasingly large proportion of total social spending. This approach has been very successful in holding back mass opposition to capital in much of the world (especially West Europe and North America), and above all, in making it possible to argue there are no viable alternatives. But in doing so, has created strains on the system so profound it threatens to undermine it entirely.

The latter point deserves elaboration. The element of force is, on any number of levels, the weak point of the system. This is not only on the constitutional level, where the question of how to integrate the emerging global bureaucratic apparatus, and existing military arrangements, has never been resolved. It is above all an economic problem. It is quite clear that the maintenance of elaborate security machinery is an absolute imperative of neoliberalism. One need only observe what happened with the collapse of the Soviet bloc in Eastern Europe: where one might have expected the Cold War victors to demand the dismantling of the army, secret police and secret prisons, and to maintain and develop the existing industrial base, in fact, what they did was absolutely the opposite: in fact, the only part of the industrial base that has managed fully to maintain itself has been the parts required to maintained the security apparatus itself! Critical too is the element of preemption: the governing classes in North America, for example, are willing to go to almost unimaginable lengths to ensure social movements never feel they are accomplishing anything. The current Gulf War is an excellent example: US military operations appear to be organized first and foremost to be protest-proof, to ensure that what happened in Vietnam (mass mobilization at home, widespread revolt within the army overseas) could never be repeated. This means above all that US casualties must always be kept to a minimum. The result are rules of engagement, and practices like the use of air power within cities ostensibly already controlled by occupation forces, so obviously guaranteed to maximize the killing of innocents and galvanizing hatred against the occupiers that they ensure the war itself cannot be won. Yet this approach can be taken as the very paradigm for neoliberal security regimes. Consider security arrangements around trade summits, where police are so determined prevent protestors from achieving tactical victories that they are often willing to effectively shut down the summits themselves. So too in overall strategy. In North America, such enormous resources are poured into the apparatus of repression, militarization, and propaganda that class struggle, labor action, mass movements seem to disappear entirely. It is thus possible to claim we have entered a new age where old conflicts are irrelevant. This is tremendously demoralizing of course for opponents of the system; but those running the system seem to find that demoralization so essential they don’t seem to care that the resultant apparatus (police, prisons, military, etc) is, effectively, sinking the entire US economy under its dead weight.

The current crisis is not primarily geopolitical in nature. It is a crisis of neoliberalism itself. But it takes place against the backdrop of profound geopolitical realignments. The decline of North American power, both economic and geopolitical has been accompanied by the rise of Northeast Asia (and to a increasing extent, South Asia as well). While the Northeast Asian region is still divided by painful Cold War cleavages—the fortified lines across the Taiwan straits and at the 38th parallel in Korea…—the sheer realities of economic entanglement can be expected to lead to a gradual easing of tensions and a rise to global hegemony, as the region becomes the new center of gravity of the global economy, of the creation of new science and technology, ultimately, of political and military power. This may, quite likely, be a gradual and lengthy process. But in the meantime, very old patterns are rapidly reemerging: China reestablishing relations with ancient tributary states from Korea to Vietnam, radical Islamists attempting to reestablish their ancient role as the guardians of finance and piety at the in the Central Asian caravan routes and across Indian Ocean, every sort of Medieval trade diaspora reemerging… In the process, old political models remerge as well: the Chinese principle of the state transcending law, the Islamic principle of a legal order transcending any state. Everywhere, we see the revival too of ancient forms of exploitation—feudalism, slavery, debt peonage—often entangled in the newest forms of technology, but still echoing all the worst abuses of the Middle Ages. A scramble for resources has begun, with US occupation of Iraq and saber-rattling throughout the surrounding region clearly meant (at least in part) to place a potential stranglehold the energy supply of China; Chinese attempts to outflank with its own scramble for Africa, with increasing forays into South America and even Eastern Europe. The Chinese invasion into Africa (not as of yet at least a military invasion, but already involving the movement of hundreds of thousands of people), is changing the world in ways that will probably be felt for centuries. Meanwhile, the nations of South America, the first victims of the “Washington consensus” have managed to largely wriggle free from the US colonial orbit, while the US, its forces tied down in the Middle East, has for the moment at least abandoned it, is desperately struggling to keep its grip Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean—its own “near abroad”.

In another age all this might have led to war—that is, not just colonial occupations, police actions, or proxy wars (which are obviously already taking place), but direct military confrontations between the armies of major powers. It still could; accidents happen; but there is reason to believe that, when it comes to moments of critical decision, the loyalties of the global elites are increasingly to each other, and not to the national entities for whom they claim to speak. There is some compelling evidence for this.

Take for example when the US elites panicked at the prospect of the massive budget surpluses of the late 1990s. As Alan Greenspan, head of the Federal Reserve at the time warned, if these were allowed to stand they would have flooded government coffers with so many trillions of dollars that it could only have lead to some form of creeping socialism, even, he predicted, to the government acquiring “equity stakes” in key US corporations. The more excitable of capitalism’s managers actually began contemplating scenarios where the capitalist system itself would be imperiled. The only possible solution was massive tax cuts; these were duly enacted, and did indeed manage to turn surpluses into enormous deficits, financed by the sale of treasury bonds to Japan and China. Conditions have thus now reached a point where it is beginning to look as if the most likely long term outcome for the US (its technological and industrial base decaying, sinking under the burden of its enormous security spending) will be to end up serve as junior partner and military enforcer for East Asia capital. Its rulers, or at least a significant proportion of them, would prefer to hand global hegemony to the rulers of China (provided the latter abandon Communism) than to return to any sort of New Deal compromise with their “own” working classes.

A second example lies in the origins of what has been called the current “Bretton Woods II” system of currency arrangements, which underline a close working together of some “surplus” and “deficit” countries within global circuits. The macroeconomic manifestation of the planetary restructuring outlined in XIX underlines both the huge US trade deficit that so much seem to worry many commentators, and the possibility to continually generate new debt instruments like the one that has recently resulted in the sub-prime crisis. The ongoing recycling of accumulated surplus of countries exporting to the USA such as China and oil producing countries is what has allowed financiers to create new credit instruments in the USA. Hence, the “deal” offered by the masters in the United States to its commoners has been this: ‘you, give us a relative social peace and accept capitalist markets as the main means through which you reproduce your own livelihoods, and we will give you access to cheaper consumption goods, access to credit for buying cars and homes, and access to education, health, pensions and social security through the speculative means of stock markets and housing prices.’ Similar compromises were reached in all the G8 countries.

Meanwhile, there is the problem of maintaining any sort of social peace with the hundreds of millions of unemployed, underemployed, dispossessed commoners currently swelling the shanty-towns of Asia, Africa, and Latin America as a result of ongoing enclosures (which have speeded up within China and India in particular, even as “structural adjustment policies” in Africa and Latin America have been derailed). Any prospect of maintaining peace in these circumstances would ordinarily require either extremely high rates of economic growth—which globally have not been forthcoming, since outside of China, growth rates in the developing world have been much lower than they were in the ‘50s, ‘60s, or even ‘70s—or extremely high levels of repression, lest matters descend into rebellion or generalized civil war. The latter has of course occurred in many parts of the world currently neglected by capital, but in favored regions, such as the coastal provinces of China, or “free trade” zones of India, Egypt, or Mexico, commoners are being offered a different sort of deal: industrial employment at wages that, while very low by international standards, are still substantially higher than anything currently obtainable in the impoverished countryside; and above all the promise, through the intervention of Western markets and (privatized) knowledge, of gradually improving conditions of living. While over the least few years wages in many such areas seem to be growing, thanks to the intensification of popular struggles, such gains are inherently vulnerable: the effect of recent food inflation has been to cut real wages back dramatically—and threaten millions with starvation.

What we really want to stress here, though, is that the long-term promise being offered to the South is just as untenable as the idea that US or European consumers can indefinitely expand their conditions of life through the use of mortgages and credit cards.

What’s being offered the new dispossessed is a transposition of the American dream. The idea is that the lifestyle and consumption patterns of existing Chinese, Indian, or Brazilian or Zambian urban middle classes (already modeled on Northern ones) will eventually become available to the children of today’s miners, maquila or plantation laborers, until, ultimately, everyone on earth is brought up to roughly the same level of consumption. Put in these terms, the argument is absurd. The idea that all six billion of us can become “middle class” is obviously impossible. First of all there is a simple problem of resources. It doesn’t matter how many bottles we recycle or how energy efficient are the light bulbs we use, there’s just no way the earth’s ecosystem can accommodate six billion people driving in private cars to work in air-conditioned cubicles before periodically flying off to vacation in Acapulco or Tahiti. To maintain the style of living and producing in common we now identify with “middle classness” on a planetary scale would require several additional planets.

This much has been pointed out repeatedly. But the second point is no less important. What this vision of betterment ultimately proposes is that it would be possible to build universal prosperity and human dignity on a system of wage labor. This is fantasy. Historically, wages are always the contractual face for system of command and degradation, and a means of disguising exploitation: expressing value for work only on condition of stealing value without work— and there is no reason to believe they could ever be anything else. This is why, as history has also shown, human beings will always avoid working for wages if they have any other viable option. For a system based on wage labor to come into being, such options must therefore be made unavailable. This in turn means that such systems are always premised on structures of exclusion: on the prior existence of borders and property regimes maintained by violence. Finally, historically, it has always proved impossible to maintain any sizeable class of wage-earners in relative prosperity without basing that prosperity, directly or indirectly, on the unwaged labor of others—on slave-labor, women’s domestic labor, the forced labor of colonial subjects, the work of women and men in peasant communities halfway around the world—by people who are even more systematically exploited, degraded, and immiserated. For that reason, such systems have always depended not only on setting wage-earners against each other by inciting bigotry, prejudice, hostility, resentment, violence, but also by inciting the same between men and women, between the people of different continents (“race”), between the generations.

From the perspective of the whole, then, the dream of universal middle class “betterment” must necessarily be an illusion constructed in between the Scylla of ecological disaster, and the Charybdis of poverty, detritus, and hatred: precisely, the two pillars of today’s strategic impasse faced by the G8.

How then do we describe the current impasse of capitalist governance?

To a large degree, it is the effect of a sudden and extremely effective upswing of popular resistance—one all the more extraordinary considering the huge resources that had been invested in preventing such movements from breaking out.

On the one hand, the turn of the millennium saw a vast and sudden flowering of new anti-capitalist movements, a veritable planetary uprising against neoliberalism by commoners in Latin America, India, Africa, Asia, across the North Atlantic world’s former colonies and ultimately, within the cities of the former colonial powers themselves. As a result, the neoliberal project lies shattered. What came to be called the “anti-globalization” movement took aim at the trade bureaucracies—the obvious weak link in the emerging institutions of global administration—but it was merely the most visible aspect of this uprising. It was however an extraordinarily successful one. Not only was the WTO halted in its tracks, but all major trade initiatives (MAI, FTAA…) scuttled. The World Bank was hobbled and the power of the IMF over most of the world’s population, effectively, destroyed. The latter, once the terror of the Global South, is now a shattered remnant of its former self, reduced to selling off its gold reserves and desperately searching for a new global mission.

In many ways though spectacular street actions were merely the most visible aspects of much broader changes: the resurgence of labor unions, in certain parts of the world, the flowering of economic and social alternatives on the grassroots levels in every part of the world, from new forms of direct democracy of indigenous communities like El Alto in Bolivia or self-managed factories in Paraguay, to township movements in South Africa, farming cooperatives in India, squatters’ movements in Korea, experiments in permaculture in Europe or “Islamic economics” among the urban poor in the Middle East. We have seen the development of thousands of forms of mutual aid association, most of which have not even made it onto the radar of the global media, often have almost no ideological unity and which may not even be aware of each other’s existence, but nonetheless share a common desire to mark a practical break with capitalism, and which, most importantly, hold out the prospect of creating new forms of planetary commons that can—and in some cases are—beginning to knit together to provide the outlines of genuine alternative vision of what a non-capitalist future might look like.

The reaction of the world’s rulers was predictable. The planetary uprising had occurred during a time when the global security apparatus was beginning to look like it lacked a purpose, when the world threatened to return to a state of peace. The response—aided of course, by the intervention of some of the US’ former Cold War allies, reorganized now under the name of Al Qaeda—was a return to global warfare. But this too failed. The “war on terror”—as an attempt to impose US military power as the ultimate enforcer of the neoliberal model—has collapsed as well in the face of almost universal popular resistance. This is the nature of their “impasse”.

At the same time, the top-heavy, inefficient US model of military capitalism—a model created in large part to prevent the dangers of social movements, but which the US has also sought to export to some degree simply because of its profligacy and inefficiency, to prevent the rest of the world from too rapidly overtaking them—has proved so wasteful of resources that it threatens to plunge the entire planet into ecological and social crisis. Drought, disaster, famines, combine with endless campaigns of enclosure, foreclosure, to cast the very means of survival—food, water, shelter—into question for the bulk of the world’s population.

In the rulers’ language the crisis understood, first and foremost, as a problem of regulating cash flows, of reestablishing, as they like to put it, a new “financial architecture”. Obviously they are aware of the broader problems. Their promotional literature has always been full of it. From the earliest days of the G7, through to the days after the Cold War, when Russia was added as a reward for embracing capitalism, they have always claimed that their chief concerns include

· the reduction of global poverty

· sustainable environmental policies

· sustainable global energy policies

· stable financial institutions governing global trade and currency transactions

If one were to take such claims seriously, it’s hard to see their overall performance as anything but a catastrophic failure. At the present moment, all of these are in crisis mode: there are food riots, global warming, peak oil, and the threat of financial meltdown, bursting of credit bubbles, currency crises, a global credit crunch. [**Failure on this scale however, opens opportunities for the G8 themselves, as summit of the global bureaucracy, to reconfigure the strategic horizon. Therefore, it’s always with the last of these that they are especially concerned. ]The real problem, from the perspective of the G8, is one of reinvestment: particularly, of the profits of the energy sector, but also, now, of emerging industrial powers outside the circle of the G8 itself. The neoliberal solution in the ‘70s had been to recycle OPEC’s petrodollars into banks that would use it much of the world into debt bondage, imposing regimes of fiscal austerity that, for the most part, stopped development (and hence, the emergence potential rivals) in its tracks. By the ‘90s, however, much East Asia in particular had broken free of this regime. Attempts to reimpose IMF-style discipline during the Asian financial crisis of 1997 largely backfired. So a new compromise was found, the so-called Bretton Woods II: to recycle the profits from the rapidly expanding industrial economies of East Asia into US treasury debt, artificially supporting the value of the dollar and allowing a continual stream of cheap exports that, aided by the US housing bubble, kept North Atlantic economies afloat and buy off workers there with cheap oil and even cheaper consumer goods even as real wages shrank. This solution however soon proved a temporary expedient. Bush regime’s attempt to lock it in by the invasion of Iraq, which was meant to lead to the forced privatization of Iraqi oil fields, and, ultimately, of the global oil industry as a whole, collapsed in the face of massive popular resistance (just as Saddam Hussein’s attempt to introduce neoliberal reforms in Iraq had failed when he was still acting as American deputy in the ‘90s). Instead, the simultaneous demand for petroleum for both Chinese manufacturers and American consumers caused a dramatic spike in the price of oil. What’s more, rents from oil and gas production are now being used to pay off the old debts from the ‘80s (especially in Asia and Latin America, which have by now paid back their IMF debts entirely), and—increasingly—to create state-managed Sovereign Wealth Funds that have largely replaced institutions like the IMF as the institutions capable of making long-term strategic investments. The IMF, purposeless, tottering on the brink of insolvency, has been reduced to trying to come up with “best practices” guidelines for fund managers working for governments in Singapore, Seoul, and Abu Dhabi.

There can be no question this time around of freezing out countries like China, India, or even Brazil. The question for capital’s planners, rather, is how to channel these new concentrations of capital in such a way that they reinforce the logic of the system instead of undermining it.

How can this be done? This is where appeals to universal human values, to common membership in an “international community” come in to play. “We all must pull together for the good of the planet,” we will be told. The money must be reinvested “to save the earth.”

To some degree this was always the G8 line: this is a group has been making an issue of climate change since 1983. Doing so was in one sense a response to the environmental movements of the ‘70s and ‘80s. The resultant emphasis on biofuels and “green energy” was from their point of view, the perfect strategy, seizing on an issue that seemed to transcend class, appropriating ideas and issues that emerged from social movements (and hence coopting and undermining especially their radical wings), and finally, ensuring such initiatives are pursued not through any form of democratic self-organization but “market mechanisms”—to effective make the sense of public interest productive for capitalism.

What we can expect now is a two-pronged attack. On the one hand, they will use the crisis to attempt to reverse the gains of past social movements: to put nuclear energy back on the table to deal with the energy crisis and global warming, or genetically modified foods to deal with the food crisis. Prime Minister Fukuda, the host of the current summit, for example, is already proposing the nuclear power is the “solution” to the global warming crisis, even as the German delegation resists. On the other, and even more insidiously, they will try once again to co-opt the ideas and solutions that have emerged from our struggles as a way of ultimately undermining them. Appropriating such ideas is simply what rulers do: the bosses brain is always under the workers’ hat. But the ultimate aim is to answer the intensification of class struggle, of the danger of new forms of democracy, with another wave of enclosures, to restore a situation where commoners’ attempts to create broader regimes of cooperation are stymied, and people are plunged back into mutual competition.

We can already see the outlines of how this might be done. There are already suggestions that Sovereign Wealth Funds put aside a certain (miniscule) proportion of their money for food aid, but only as tied to a larger project of global financial restructuring. The World Bank, largely bereft of its earlier role organizing dams and pipe-lines across the world, has been funding development in China’s poorer provinces, freeing the Chinese government to carry out similar projects in Southeast Asia, Africa, and even Latin America (where, of course, they cannot effectively be held to any sort of labor or environmental standards). There is the possibility of a new class deal in China itself, whose workers can be allowed higher standards of living if new low wage zones are created elsewhere—for instance, Africa (the continent where struggles over maintaining the commons have been most intense in current decades)—with the help of Chinese infrastructural projects. Above of all, money will be channeled into addressing climate change, into the development of alternative energy, which will require enormous investments, in such a way as to ensure that whatever energy resources do become important in this millennium, they can never be democratized—that the emerging notion of a petroleum commons, that energy resources are to some degree a common patrimony meant primarily to serve the community as a whole, that is beginning to develop in parts of the Middle East and South America—not be reproduced in whatever comes next.

Since this will ultimately have to be backed up by the threat of violence, the G8 will inevitably have to struggle with how to (yet again) rethink enforcement mechanisms. The latest move , now that the US “war on terror” paradigm has obviously failed, would appear to be a return to NATO, part of a reinvention of the “European security architecture” being proposed at the upcoming G8 meetings in Italy in 2009 on the 60th anniversary of NATO’s foundation—but part of a much broader movement of the militarization of social conflict, projecting potential resource wars, demographic upheavals resulting from climate change, and radical social movements as potential military problems to be resolved by military means. Opposition to this new project is already shaping up as the major new European mobilization for the year following the current G-8.

While the G-8 sit at the pinnacle of a system of violence, their preferred idiom is monetary. Their impulse whenever possible is to translate all problems into money, financial structures, currency flows—a substance whose movements they carefully monitor and control.

Money, on might say, is their poetry—a poetry whose letters are written in our blood. It is their highest and most abstract form of expression, their way of making statements about the ultimate truth of the world, even if it operates in large part by making things disappear. How else could it be possible to argue—no, to assume as a matter of common sense—that the love, care, and concern of a person who tends to the needs of children, teaching, minding, helping them to become decent , thoughtful, human beings, or who grows and prepares food, is worth ten thousand times less than someone who spends the same time designing a brand logo, moving abstract blips across a globe, or denying others health care.

The role of money however has changed profoundly since 1971 when the dollar was delinked from gold. This has created a profound realignment of temporal horizons. Once money could be said to be primarily congealed results of past profit and exploitation. As capital, it was dead labor. Millions of indigenous Americans and Africans had their lives pillaged and destroyed in the gold mines in order to be rendered into value. The logic of finance capital, of credit structures, certainly always existed as well (it is at least as old as industrial capital; possibly older), but in recent decades these logic of financial capital has come to echo and re-echo on every level of our lives. In the UK 97% of money in circulation is debt, in the US, 98%. Governments run on deficit financing, wealthy economies on consumer debt, the poor are enticed with microcredit schemes, debts are packaged and repackaged in complex financial derivatives and traded back and forth. Debt however is simply a promise, the expectation of future profit; capital thus increasingly brings the future into the present—a future that, it insists, must always be the same in nature, even if must also be greater in magnitude, since of course the entire system is premised on continual growth. Where once financiers calculated and traded in the precise measure of our degradation, having taken everything from us and turned it into money, now money has flipped, to become the measure of our future degradation—at the same time as it binds us to endlessly working in the present.

The result is a strange moral paradox. Love, loyalty, honor, commitment—to our families, for example, which means to our shared homes, which means to the payment of monthly mortgage debts—becomes a matter of maintaining loyalty to a system which ultimately tells us that such commitments are not a value in themselves. This organization of imaginative horizons, which ultimately come down to a colonization of the very principle of hope, has come to supplement the traditional evocation of fear (of penury, homelessness, joblessness, disease and death). This colonization paralyzes any thought of opposition to a system that almost everyone ultimately knows is not only an insult to everything they really cherish, but a travesty of genuine hope, since, because no system can really expand forever on a finite planet, everyone is aware on some level that in the final analysis they are dealing with a kind of global pyramid scheme, what we are ultimately buying and selling is the real promise of global social and environmental apocalypse.

Finally then we come to the really difficult, strategic questions. Where are the vulnerabilities? Where is hope? Obviously we have no certain answers here. No one could. But perhaps the proceeding analysis opens up some possibilities that anti-capitalist organizers might find useful to explore.

One thing that might be helpful is to rethink our initial terms. Consider communism. We are used to thinking of it as a total system that perhaps existed long ago, and to the desire to bring about an analogous system at some point in the future—usually, at whatever cost. It seems to us that dreams of communist futures were never purely fantasies; they were simply projections of existing forms of cooperation, of commoning, by which we already make the world in the present. Communism in this sense is already the basis of almost everything, what brings people and societies into being, what maintains them, the elemental ground of all human thought and action. There is absolutely nothing utopian here. What is utopian, really, is the notion that any form of social organization, especially capitalism, could ever exist that was not entirely premised on the prior existence of communism. If this is true, the most pressing question is simply how to make that power visible, to burst forth, to become the basis for strategic visions, in the face of a tremendous and antagonistic power committed to destroying it—but at the same time, ensuring that despite the challenge they face, they never again become entangled with forms of violence of their own that make them the basis for yet another tawdry elite. After all, the solidarity we extend to one another, is it not itself a form of communism? And is it not so above because it is not coerced?

Another thing that might be helpful is to rethink our notion of crisis. There was a time when simply describing the fact that capitalism was in a state of crisis, driven by irreconcilable contradictions, was taken to suggest that it was heading for a cliff. By now, it seems abundantly clear that this is not the case. Capitalism is always in a crisis. The crisis never goes away. Financial markets are always producing bubbles of one sort or another; those bubbles always burst, sometimes catastrophically; often entire national economies collapse, sometimes the global markets system itself begins to come apart. But every time the structure is reassembled. Slowly, painfully, dutifully, the pieces always end up being put back together once again.

Perhaps we should be asking: why?

In searching for an answer, it seems to us, we might also do well to put aside another familiar habit of radical thought: the tendency to sort the world into separate levels—material realities, the domain of ideas or “consciousness”, the level of technologies and organizations of violence—treating these as if these were separate domains that each work according to separate logics, and then arguing which “determines” which. In fact they cannot be disentangled. A factory may be a physical thing, but the ownership of a factory is a social relation, a legal fantasy that is based partly on the belief that law exists, and partly on the existence of armies and police. Armies and police on the other hand exist partly because of factories providing them with guns, vehicles, and equipment, but also, because those carrying the guns and riding in the vehicles believe they are working for an abstract entity they call “the government”, which they love, fear, and ultimately, whose existence they take for granted by a kind of faith, since historically, those armed organizations tend to melt away immediately the moment they lose faith that the government actually exists. Obviously exactly the same can be said of money. It’s value is constantly being produced by eminently material practices involving time clocks, bank machines, mints, and transatlantic computer cables, not to mention love, greed, and fear, but at the same time, all this too rests on a kind of faith that all these things will continue to interact in more or less the same way. It is all very material, but it also reflects a certain assumption of eternity: the reason that the machine can always be placed back together is, simply, because everyone assumes it must. This is because they cannot realistically imagine plausible alternatives; they cannot imagine plausible alternatives because of the extraordinarily sophisticated machinery of preemptive violence that ensure any such alternatives are uprooted or contained (even if that violence is itself organized around a fear that itself rests on a similar form of faith.) One cannot even say it’s circular. It’s more a kind of endless, unstable spiral. To subvert the system is then, to intervene in such a way that the whole apparatus begins to spin apart.

It appears to us that one key element here—one often neglected in revolutionary strategy—is the role of the global middle classes. This is a class that, much though it varies from country (in places like the US and Japan, overwhelming majorities consider themselves middle class; in, say, Cambodia or Zambia, only very small percentages), almost everywhere provides the key constituency of the G8 outside of the ruling elite themselves. It has become a truism, an article of faith in itself in global policy circles, that national middle class is everywhere the necessary basis for democracy. In fact, middle classes are rarely much interested in democracy in any meaningful sense of that word (that is, of the self-organization or self-governance of communities). They tend to be quite suspicious of it. Historically, middle classes have tended to encourage the establishment of constitutional republics with only limited democratic elements (sometimes, none at all). This is because their real passion is for a “betterment”, for the prosperity and advance of conditions of life for their children—and this betterment, since it is as noted above entirely premised on structures of exclusion, requires “security”. Actually the middle classes depend on security on every level: personal security, social security (various forms of government support, which even when it is withdrawn from the poor tends to be maintained for the middle classes), security against any sudden or dramatic changes in the nature of existing institutions. Thus, politically, the middle classes are attached not to democracy (which, especially in its radical forms, might disrupt all this), but to the rule of law. In the political sense, then, being “middle class” means existing outside the notorious “state of exception” to which the majority of the world’s people are relegated. It means being able to see a policeman and feel safer, not even more insecure. This would help explain why within the richest countries, the overwhelming majority of the population will claim to be “middle class” when speaking in the abstract, even if most will also instantly switch back to calling themselves “working class” when talking about their relation to their boss.

That rule of law, in turn, allows them to live in that temporal horizon where the market and other existing institutions (schools, governments, law firms, real estate brokerages…) can be imagined as lasting forever in more or less the same form. The middle classes can thus be defined as those who live in the eternity of capitalism. (The elites don’t; they live in history, they don’t assume things will always be the same. The disenfranchized don’t; they don’t have the luxury; they live in a state of precarity where little or nothing can safely be assumed.) Their entire lives are based on assuming that the institutional forms they are accustomed to will always be the same, for themselves and their grandchildren, and their “betterment” will be proportional to the increase in the level of monetary wealth and consumption. This is why every time global capital enters one of its periodic crises, every time banks collapse, factories close, and markets prove unworkable, or even, when the world collapses in war, the managers and dentists will tend to support any program that guarantees the fragments will be dutifully pieced back together in roughly the same form—even if all are, at the same time, burdened by at least a vague sense that the whole system is unfair and probably heading for catastrophe.

The strategic question then is, how to shatter this sense of inevitability? History provides one obvious suggestion. The last time the system really neared self-destruction was in the 1930s, when what might have otherwise been an ordinary turn of the boom-bust cycle turned into a depression so profound that it took a world war to pull out of it. What was different? The existence of an alternative: a Soviet economy that, whatever its obvious brutalities, was expanding at breakneck pace at the very moment market systems were undergoing collapse. Alternatives shatter the sense of inevitability, that the system must, necessarily, be patched together in the same form; this is why it becomes an absolute imperative of global governance that even small viable experiments in other ways of organizing communities be wiped out, or, if that is not possible, that no one knows about them.

If nothing else, this explains the extraordinary importance attached to the security services and preemption of popular struggle. Commoning, where it already exists, must be made invisible. Alternatives— Zapatistas in Chiapas, APPO in Oaxaca, worker-managed factories in Argentina or Paraguay, community-run water systems in South Africa or Bolivia, living alternatives of farming or fishing communities in India or Indonesia, or a thousand other examples—must be made to disappear, if not squelched or destroyed, then marginalized to the point they seem irrelevant, ridiculous. If the managers of the global system are so determined to do this they are willing to invest such enormous resources into security apparatus that it threatens to sink the system entirely, it is because they are aware that they are working with a house of cards. That the principle of hope and expectation on which capitalism rests would evaporate instantly if almost any other principle of hope or expectation seemed viable.

The knowledge of alternatives, then, is itself a material force.

Without them, of course, the shattering of any sense of certainty has exactly the opposite effect. It becomes pure precarity, an insecurity so profound that it becomes impossible to project oneself in history in any form, so that the one-time certainties of middle class life itself becomes a kind of utopian horizon, a desperate dream, the only possible principle of hope beyond which one cannot really imagine anything. At the moment, this seems the favorite weapon of neoliberalism: whether promulgated through economic violence, or the more direct, traditional kind.

One form of resistance that might prove quite useful here – and is already being discussed in some quarters – are campaigns against debt itself. Not demands for debt forgiveness, but campaigns of debt resistance.

In this sense the great slogan of the global justice movement, “another world is possible”, represents the ultimate threat to existing power structures. But in another sense we can even say we have already begun to move beyond that. Another world is not merely possible. It is inevitable. On the one hand, as we have pointed out, such a world is already in existence in the innumerable circuits of social cooperation and production in common based on different values than those of profit and accumulation through which we already create our lives, and without which capitalism itself would be impossible. On the other, a different world is inevitable because capitalism—a system based on infinite material expansion—simply cannot continue forever on a finite world. At some point, if humanity is to survive at all, we will be living in a system that is not based on infinite material expansion. That is, something other than capitalism.

The problem is there is no absolute guarantee that ‘something’ will be any better. It’s pretty easy to imagine “other worlds” that would be even worse. We really don’t have any idea what might happen. To what extent will the new world still organized around commoditization of life, profit, and pervasive competition? Or a reemergence of even older forms of hierarchy and degradation? How, if we do overcome capitalism directly, by the building and interweaving of new forms of global commons, do we protect ourselves against the reemergence of new forms of hierarchy and division that we might not now even be able to imagine?

It seems to us that the decisive battles that will decide the contours of this new world will necessarily be battles around values. First and foremost are values of solidarity among commoners. Since after all, every rape of a woman by a man or the racist murder of an African immigrant by a European worker is worth a division in capital’s army.

Similarly, imagining our struggles as value struggles might allow us to see current struggles over global energy policies and over the role of money and finance today as just an opening salvo of an even larger social conflict to come. For instance, there’s no need to demonize petroleum, for example, as a thing in itself. Energy products have always tended to play the role of a “basic good”, in the sense that their production and distribution becomes the physical basis for all other forms of human cooperation, at the same time as its control tends to organize social and even international relations. Forests and wood played such a role from the time of the Magna Carta to the American Revolution, sugar did so during the rise of European colonial empires in the 17th and 18th centuries, fossil fuels do so today. There is nothing intrinsically good or bad about fossil fuel. Oil is simply solar radiation, once processed by living beings, now stored in fossil form. The question is of control and distribution. This is the real flaw in the rhetoric over “peak oil”: the entire argument is premised on the assumption that, for the next century at least, global markets will be the only means of distribution. Otherwise the use of oil would depend on needs, which would be impossible to predict precisely because they depend on the form of production in common we adopt. The question thus should be: how does the anti-capitalist movement peak the oil? How does it become the crisis for a system of unlimited expansion?

It is the view of the authors of this text that the most radical planetary movements that have emerged to challenge the G8 are those that direct us towards exactly these kind of questions. Those which go beyond merely asking how to explode the role money plays in framing our horizons, or even challenging the assumption of the endless expansion of “the economy”, to ask why we assume something called “the economy” even exists, and what other ways we can begin imagining our material relations with one another. The planetary women’s movement, in its many manifestations, has and continues to play perhaps the most important role of all here, in calling for us to reimagine our most basic assumptions about work, to remember that the basic business of human life is not actually the production of communities but the production, the mutual shaping of human beings. The most inspiring of these movements are those that call for us to move beyond a mere challenge to the role of money to reimagine value: to ask ourselves how can we best create a situation where everyone is secure enough in their basic needs to be able to pursue those forms of value they decide are ultimately important to them. To move beyond a mere challenge to the tyranny of debt to ask ourselves what we ultimately owe to one another and to our environment. That recognize that none this needs to invented from whole cloth. It’s all already there, immanent in the way everyone, as commoners, create the world together on a daily basis. And that asking these questions is never, and can never be, an abstract exercise, but is necessarily part of a process by which we are already beginning to knit these forms of commons together into new forms of global commons that will allow entirely new conceptions of our place in history.

It is to those already engaged in such a project that we offer these initial thoughts on our current strategic situation.

An American Socialism?

In the current housing bankruptcy “crisis” which was in fact created by the privately owned Fed through interest rates that reached 1% in 2003 combined with lax oversight of the banks, the bail out now being talked about in Congress will help… no surprise… the banks by and large. It is meant to deceive the public again by using words such as “helping” the homeowners, or “saving” peoples homes. NOTE: When you save a mortgage you save the bank’s payments by insuring they keep coming in. Besides the fact that people don’t own their homes, the banks do!

Regardless, in a socialist system this kind of gross manipulation would never have happened in the first place. And the half honest sensible solution by these charlatans in Congress should be to refi these homes to these homebuyers at the new lesser value. Because the value is lost anyway. And these homes were wildly overvalued by an out of control speculatory financial cabal. Besides, the bundled debt obligations and structured investment vehicles are worthless. Adding misery, the value of these homes will keep crashing. The rub? The banks and Investors made millions off these paper schemes and walked away… and probably paid little or no taxes. And now, the home buyers who were preyed upon by these lenders, owe money on a devalued home that was used only as a commodity by the “gentlemen” on Wall St. to manipulate, through the creation of CDO’s and SIVs? Sure! That’s capitalism. Systemic political and corporate corruption. And it’s going to get worse.

Congress desperately needs this property tax, interest payment, revenue stream to keep flowing to the banks and the states. But the reason this is a problem for Congress of “what is the best poison” to cure this, is that to bail out the home buyer who got screwed, is using tax money to keep receiving tax money. It’s double taxation!! And a zero sum game… besides rewarding the crooks. More deficit spending. But the Fed doesn’t care about homeowners and thusly told Congress as much by introducing Paulson’s new scheme to have the Fed take over the duties of the SEC and oversight of the big investment banks and their financial debauchery and chicanery. To keep the graft and secret deals going. The “dark trades” as they’re called. And spineless Congress cannot protest. They are owned by the Fed. In fact they are linked in responsibility by their repealing of the Glass-Steagall act with Greenspan’s urging (which Clinton didn’t veto) and attaching the Commodities Reauthorization Act attached to an appropriations bill in 2000. Ahhh the rewards for the capitalist elite are sweet indeed. No accountability, no worries, no chance of getting the blame. The yellow press at their beckon call.

Socialism would put all properties under the ownership of the people with all rents going to the citizens public fund and distributed to each social association for necessary services, loans, needs. There is no reason for housing or land to have any kind of increased value over the years. NONE. Ask yourself why your car then, doesn’t appreciate in value? Or your furniture? Real estate has been another way to oppress and exploit people by putting them into massive debt and making them pay banks twice the value of the home over the term of the loan. Besides the fleecing by the middlemen realtors and speculators using homes as commodities,(thus the current death spiral in housing). Have you ever looked at your amortization schedule? On a fixed rate 30 year loan? You pay twice or more of purchase price, if you paid off your loan! And you’re paying the bank first. We are insane for agreeing to this but that’s why the banks are the most powerful sector of capitalism. Which include the privately owned Federal Reserve. Oh you say, I made thousands when the market was good! No, you made the banks richer and more powerful by putting the next person into new debt for 30 years at 1 1/2 to 2 times the mortgage payment. Now your house increasing in value, puts upward pricing pressure on all homes and finally drives them out of reach of buyers. Thus the 1% housing bubble. For every person who “wins” in the capitalist system, 8 people lose (and those who depend on them). Otherwise you wouldn’t have a system where 10% of the population own 85% of the household wealth and property. The trick is to keep you thinking you’re winning when you’re really just up to your neck in debt in this American Casino Land.

Capitalism is a constant barrage of fairy tales and propaganda aimed at deluding the masses into believing there is no other way a social/economic system can be run. And that to be rich (or at least have the opportunity-possibility to be) is the ultimate goal because that is the genuine expression of self freedom and self worth! Or the lie that mercantilism and worker owned production could not work alone… without the corporate structure or Wall St. But the facts on the ground show us the truth, that capitalism is a fascist system designed to concentrate wealth at the top, steal our productive gains, and by doing so, makes those at the top the most powerful, privileged members of a society. It’s Monarchical. A plutocracy. Oligarchs rule. Fascism! Congress, the court system and state/city regulatory systems are subservient in every way to maintaining the fascist construct. Question: Ever taken part in an organization by volunteering to help change one of the many injustices in this country? You know what I’m talking about then. Wall after wall after obstacle after pot hole after bought off politician …all lined up to trip you, slip you and flip you upside down. New rules to increase petition signatures required for public ballots. Electronic vote stealing and manipulation. Redistricting. Third parties crushed. City council and board meetings held during weekdays. Hundreds of fees and licenses required to run business. Lobbyists at every turn. Zoning codes that dis-allow creative housing solutions and energy use. State insurance commissions. Mineral rights sold for pennies on the dollar… On and on and on… Unless of course your organization/church is involved in taking up the slack for capitalisms failures… then you’re a Mother Theresa! What’s that saying? “I work to feed the poor, they call me a saint. I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”

Many people I talk to, on all fronts, are frustrated. And many realize that it is the corporate structure, their power to manipulate policy, to move jobs overseas, encourage wars, and the massive deregulated profit taking and currency manipulation that is at the center core of this American milieu. Besides the fact that no one I talk to has make a thin dime or dollar on Wall St. But the thing I keep running into are differences on how to solve the problem without changing the system drastically. A hypothesis that can be presented is that there is much delusion and neurosis in this land. The idea that we can somehow keep the system we have and make it work for the masses of productive working people, is the delusion as repeatedly, the corrupt one party system consistently proves otherwise. The neurosis is contained within this same idea that is the crux of the delusion. Knowing that something needs to change drastically and on the other hand knowing (by experience or observation) that it is irrational and impossible within the corrupt fascist matrix that will not allow drastic change that is needed. This creates neurosis. The constant tension of this negative psychic entrapment, is energy that has to be released and is finally. Usually negatively in some way. But it could be positive and productive IF there were a real alternative to work toward. Democratic socialism.

Socialists are realists. They are objective creative intelligent humanitarians who know that this delusion and neurosis is not healthy and requires a clean break from the causation. Often I am scoffed at by others for this view. Where? Where would – could this happen? I think that if it’s possible anywhere it would be in a state that seceded from the nation. Vermont’s trying and testing the water. Though even then, there would be no consensus for a socialist form of citizen led, decentralized government. No, until the public is re-educated as to the true intent and purpose of democratic socialism and its platform, and can be persuaded that exploitation of man by man is unacceptable, they will forever bicker and fight among themselves, as children who fight for a place in the lunch line or over possessions. Seemingly without the skills to reassess, re-strategise, and break away from the malignancy present all around us. Socialism takes a deep commitment and concentration to assess the situation on the ground (objectivism) and rationalize, then actualize the alternatives that will then benefit the real producers of capital (us) and replace the owners of the means of production and pushers of propaganda. It’s time to consider socialism as the correct answer to our dilemma.

Corrupt Fed wants control

These bastards are brazen thieves and agents of disinformation. Has the entire fricking country gone stupid? We are witnessing the transfer of vast sums of our money… not theirs, ours… to them!! And a Fed who wants to get the SEC out of the way so they can do it! Paulson, Bernake, Greenspan, Volker, Rubin… all wall street thieves and crooks, liars and scum. This is the fascist business model in full head long dive to the bottom with the Fed cleaning up the mess and divvying up the bailout money to their wall street buddies. For the next 6 months.

This had to be planned. No concerned economic professional in their right mind would have let this happen. The Fed is responsible for the housing bubble, the subprime crime, the weak dollar and now for looting the U.S. citizen treasury!! JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Bank America… they’re all going down. They’ve all got the CDO-SIV-Hedge Fund cancer bad. Why is the Fed taking on all this worthless paper and risk? All for show. They create and destroy money all the time.

Regardless, they will bail them all out… on our tab. Bear Stearns was sacrificed to keep JP Morgan on life support. But you can bet the Bear Stearns management got out before the crash of stock price. I think the SEC would investigate that right? And how is it that the Fed can act alone on these things, and the Congress (many of whom voted to repeal the Glass-Steagal act with Clinton) [there’s a question for Hillary] in the aftermath asks their sniveling little questions of how the deal was structured? Because the Fed runs the show. It is a private banking system… not a government agency! We are witnessing the power of the central banking system that was set up in Europe by the Bauers (Rothchilds), the Greens, the Schifts, the Warburgs…all German banking Zionists. Then brought to the U.S. (The Money Masters -dvd). Talmudist Jews by the way. Sold out Germany with the British to bring U.S. into WWI. Even though Germany was offering England a return to peace with no reparations or conditions.

Now, what happened to that 2.4 trillion that went missing from the Pentagon… just before 9-11? Hmmmm Dov Zakhiem might know. Another Zionist and dual Israeli/U.S. citizen who was in charge of the Pentagons budget as comptroller. Funny how that “plane” hit the accounting area of the Pentagon, destroying all evidence and records of misplaced funds. Darn the luck. Who’d have thought?

911 Truth is Ground Zero for change

9/11 Truth is Ground Zero for change
If you cannot see the big lie, what can you be expected to comprehend in its true light? You cannot see the Federal Reserve, you cannot see the National Security State, you cannot see your lost rights or the national treasury sacked; but you can see, on your TV, two towers fall with the aid of detonations, WTC-7 fall all of its own by demolition, and every last bastard on TV telling you twas terrorism that done it. What can you change if you don’t see that you’re not up against al-Qaeda, you’re up against the Carlyle Group?

Say’s Law and undemocratic monetarism

Richard C. Cook has written an excellent synthesis of C. H. Douglas, Keynes and Galbraith in Global Research repudiating the orthodox economics used to legitimate the Federal Reserve under which the world’s capitalist economies are enslaved.
Cook writes: “Overall, banks have served four main purposes—one legitimate, one dubious, one puzzling, and one deeply flawed.

1. Legitimate
“The first purpose—a legitimate one—is to facilitate commerce. It is often cheaper for a business to borrow capital from a bank than to stockpile cash itself. This was the purpose of the state banking system in the U.S. prior to the Civil War. The state-chartered banks existed to provide working capital for commercial transactions, such as stocking inventory, or for business expansion. Use of banking for these purposes was tied to specific commercial activities—the “real bills” doctrine. Of course credit used for this purpose has a cost which is factored into prices. When these loans are repaid, they are canceled at the bank which thus removes purchasing power from the economy. This is another area, besides retained corporate earnings, that contributes to the gap between prices and purchasing power identified by C.H. Douglas. But lending for commerce itself remains a legitimate activity.

2. Dubious
“The second use of banking—the dubious one—is for capital formation in the creation of new businesses, a function which overlaps with capital markets such as the stock exchanges. But this use very easily turns into lending for speculation by permitting investors to borrow money in order to buy stock on margin or to “leverage” investing by borrowing money in order to purchase whole companies. The costs of this borrowing also show up in consumer prices without introducing any new purchasing power into the system.

“This practice has mushroomed in recent decades starting with the buyout/merger/acquisition mania of the 1980s and has reached disastrous proportions through the creation and growth of equity and hedge funds. The use of bank borrowing for such speculative purposes is an obvious abuse that should not even be legal. It is actually a form of theft from the nation’s natural and normal store of credit that should be carefully administered by competent public authorities as a utility as critical to social health as the water supply.

3. Puzzling
“The third use of banking—the puzzling one—is for consumer credit. This includes borrowing for big purchases such as buying houses and automobiles, or small ones such as items bought with credit cards. Increasingly it includes purchasing even the necessities of life such groceries.

“Buying an object with a credit card often means that a person cannot afford to buy it at the present moment. So the person is gambling that he or she will be able to pay off this loan—including interest—at some point in the future. What is puzzling is that in the midst of what is claimed to be the most productive economy in the history of the world, why are most people so poor that they cannot buy what they need to live with the proceeds of their present earnings? This is the ultimate repudiation of Say’s Law and its derivatives—Libertarianism, supply-side economics, and the like.

4. Flawed
“The fourth use of banking—the one that is deeply flawed—is the financing of government inflation through purchase of public debt instruments which allow deficit financing of public activities, most particularly the waging of war. Banking for the purpose of financing war has a long pedigree, going back to the medieval times where kings were perpetually in hock to the money-lenders. Today we have the national debt, which has been used primarily for war, as well as for the Keynesian pump-priming described previously. A classic case of the use of banking for deficit financing of war is the borrowing by the federal government under the Bush/Cheney administration to raise the trillion dollars already spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.”

Parasitical capitalism exposed

Got Real Player?
Two hours of excellent deconstruction of the big financial parasites and how 2008 will see a depression and a transfer of tax burden (bail out) onto the working and what’s left of the middle class. Banks are calling in loans on hedge funds and hedge funds don’t have the money (lost it gambling) so they are selling their assets (any assets) which include stocks. That’s why we see the big drops in the stock market. And the writing off of billions by the banks …large and small. And their stock price declining.

If the Fed keeps lowering interest rates (printing money to save their banking and wall street buddies) we’re screwed and it won’t help. That’s the same as me giving someone more money who is already in deep debt and has no way to repay me. They, the Fed, has screwed things up so bad we’d still be f__ked if they raised interest rates. It’s a liquidity fix one way and a credit tightening the other. But either way credit is cut off due to all the debt.

And all of this due to the subprime and criminal mortgage lending practices of the banks the Fed is supposed to be watching. Greenspan is a crook of magnificent proportion! He should be behind bars!! But it’s a systemic problem of corrupt fascist business model since the Fed took over the management, value and issuing of our currency in 1913. And largely amplified after the 1971 de-coupling of gold from the dollar. Dr Hudson explains how it’s all working to our demise.

This was in August before we see now Kucinich, like Paul, is being kept out of the debates and marginalized by the media. Hudson is Kucinich’s financial adviser. Some of you may not agree with his tax solutions but regardless, this is a scathing indictment of the current globalist capitalist financial/economic system. Deeply corrupt and terminal.

Dr. Michael Hudson on Financial corruption and collapse
Part 1 – Aug 15
Part 2 – Aug 22

Links on this site to the Aug 15 and 22 interviews.