Thursday, November 3, 2011

They Pay No Taxes! (They Think) Idiot Americans Love Phony News? Romney Ponzi Scheme Exposed! Americans Sooo Misinformed? Or Lied To? Occupy ECB! (OCCUPY KOCH BROS.!)

It hasn't gone far enough, has it? Hang on, kiddos. It's picking up speed.

Occupy the European Central Bank!
Occupy the Koch Brothers!
Bill Black, Dylan Ratigan & David DeGraw: Prosecute the Banksters, Get Money Out of Politics
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The SuperCommittee! It has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

Kind of like the clique you couldn't join in high school. And they still won't let you in.

Supercommittee of the One Percent Won’t Even Think of Taxing Wall Street

Dean Baker

If anyone still questioned who owns Washington, the Congressional Supercommittee charged with reducing projected deficits by $1.2 trillion seems determined to end any doubts.

According to press accounts, both the Republicans and Democrats on the committee support a plan to reduce average Social Security benefits by 3 percent.
While whacking our parents and grandparents with a big cut in Social Security benefits apparently draws bipartisan support, the Supercommittee will not even score a plan to tax Wall Street financial speculation No committee member from either party is prepared to make a simple request to the Joint Tax Committee of Congress that would allow a speculation tax to be one of the items considered in the mix.
It’s hard to know which part of this picture is worse. The plan to cut Social Security benefits at a time when seniors are more dependent than ever on them is incredibly pernicious. The people who would see their benefits cuts under this proposal paid for their benefits contributing to Social Security over their entire working career.
Most retirees have little other than Social Security to support them in their retirement. In large part, this is due to the economic mismanagement of the supercommittee types. If they or their friends, like former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan, actually had been doing their jobs, we would not have had the huge housing bubble that wrecked the economy.
The collapse of this bubble caused most of the wealth that retirees and near-retirees had accumulated in their home to disappear, leaving them with nothing other than Social Security to sustain them in retirement. Now, they want to cut Social Security as well.
This particular cut is especially pernicious since it will hit the oldest and poorest beneficiaries hardest. A person who is in their 90s and has been getting benefits for 30 years would see a reduction in benefits of close to 9 percent under the new cost-of-living adjustment formula apparently supported by members of the committee.
The benefit cut is being justified by claiming that the current cost-of-living adjustment exceeds the true rate of inflation. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics index that measures the cost of living of the elderly indicates that the current adjustment understates the rate of inflation experienced by retirees. There should be no doubt, this is a proposal for cutting Social Security benefits; it has nothing to do with making the cost-of-living adjustments accurate.
While the supercommittee has plenty of time to think of ways to make life more miserable for seniors, it won’t even countenance the idea of taxing Wall Street speculation. In spite of the repeated pledges that everything is on the table, taxing Wall Street speculation is absolutely off the table.
In order for a tax bill to be considered by Congress, it must be scored by the Joint Tax Committee (JTC). While many members, including some very senior members from both houses, have requested a score from the JTC of a bill taxing financial speculation, the supercommittee has the JTC completely tied up meeting its requests. By refusing to include a financial speculation tax in its scoring request, the supercommittee is preventing this idea from even being included in the discussion.
Given the role of Wall Street in both creating the conditions for the crash and prospering at the expense of the other 99 percent, it might seem reasonable to include a tax on speculation in the mix of items to consider. This is not a radical proposal. The European Commission is currently on the edge of approving a financial speculation tax. Its leading proponents are the conservative leaders of Germany and France.
It is easy to see that this could be a very substantial source of revenue. The United Kingdom already has a FST. It raises the equivalent of 0.2 to 0.3 percent of GDP ($30-$40 billion a year in the United States), by just taxing stock. If options, futures, credit default swaps and other derivative instruments were also taxed, it is easy to believe that we could raise three to four times as much money in the United States.

But the supercommittee doesn’t want to think about a proposal that would impose serious costs on Wall Street. It is more interested in taking away Social Security and Medicare benefits from the old and disabled.

This contempt for the 99 percent coupled with protection for the 1 percent is the reason Congress has an approval rating of 9 percent.  When both parties in Congress work against the interest of the overwhelming majority in order to protect a tiny elite, it is not surprising that most of the country would return the contempt.

Do you still care whether Romney is a Christian or not? Pharisee, perhaps?

I think the Bible is pretty clear about those who use religious and political connections to enrich themselves. Wonder how the Mormons interpret that text? Or if they just ignore it as "burdensome."

Mitt Rom­ney, his son Tagg, and Rom­ney’s chief fundraiser, Spencer Zwick, have ex­ten­sive fi­nan­cial and po­lit­i­cal ties to three men who al­legedly par­tic­i­pated in an $8.5 bil­lion Ponzi scheme. A few months after the Ponzi scheme col­lapsed, a firm fi­nanced by Mitt Rom­ney and run by his son and chief fundraiser part­nered with the three men and cre­ated a new “wealth man­age­ment busi­ness” as a sub­sidiary.
In an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with ThinkProgress, Tagg Rom­ney con­firmed their busi­ness re­la­tion­ship, but falsely claimed that the men were cleared of any wrong­do­ing as­so­ci­ated with the Ponzi scheme. Tagg Rom­ney told ThinkProgress that his three part­ners col­lected about $15,000 from their in­volve­ment in the Ponzi scheme. Court doc­u­ments ob­tained by ThinkProgress show that the legal pro­ceed­ings are on­go­ing and the men made over $1.6 mil­lion sell­ing fraud­u­lent CDs to in­vestors.
. . .The rev­e­la­tion about Rom­ney’s ties to the Stan­ford ponzi scheme un­mask the risks as­so­ci­ated with re­mov­ing new in­vestor pro­tec­tions. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Re­form law, a re­form Rom­ney says he will re­peal if he wins the pres­i­dency, at­tempts to ad­dress fu­ture Ponzi schemes by en­act­ing new pro­tec­tions for whistle­blow­ers to alert au­thor­i­ties when they find ev­i­dence of fraud. The law also cre­ates a new In­vestor Ad­vo­cate and In­vestor Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee within the Se­cu­ri­ties and Ex­change Com­mis­sion to de­tect and in­ves­ti­gate fu­ture Ponzi schemes.
Mike Hud­son, a re­porter with iWatch News and au­thor of a new book about how preda­tory Wall Street prac­tices cre­ated the fi­nan­cial cri­sis, told ThinkProgress that Dodd-Frank “could be a game changer that helps the SEC iden­tify and shut down Ponzis and Ponzi-like schemes.” But on the cam­paign trail, Rom­ney, a fierce critic of ef­forts to reign in Wall Street prac­tices, has called new in­vestor pro­tec­tions like Dodd-Frank “ex­tra­or­di­nar­ily bur­den­some.”

Do you know how many companies pay NO taxes?

You should.

Dozens of US corporations paid no federal taxes in recent years, and many received government subsidies despite earning healthy profits, a new study showed Thursday.

The report by Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, which examined 280 US firms, found 78 of them paid no federal income tax in at least one of the last three years.

It found 30 companies enjoyed a negative income tax rate — which in some cases means getting tax rebates — over the three-year period, despite combined pre-tax profits of $160 billion.
“These 280 corporations received a total of nearly $223 billion in tax subsidies,” said the report’s lead author, Robert McIntyre, director at Citizens for Tax Justice.

“This is wasted money that could have gone to protect Medicare, create jobs and cut the deficit.”

The study looked at 280 corporations from the Fortune 500 list, all of which were profitable in each of the last three years and provided sufficient data to analyst profits and taxes.

It found the average effective tax rate for the 280 companies in the study over the three years period was 18.5 percent, well below the statutory rate of 35 percent.

What's happening in Greece? You think anyone cares here? You betcha!!!

Europe Crisis Plans At Risk After Greek Vote Call

And much closer to home?

For facts one has to turn to serious people, not to the presstitute media. Among those who give us real facts is John Williams of  In his October 27 report, Williams exposes the happy second quarter 2011 economic growth figure of 2.5% as nonsense. Every other economic indicator contradicts the spin. 

For example, personal consumption is reported to have increased 1.7%, but this surge in consumption took place despite a 1.7% collapse in consumer disposable income!  In other words, if there was an increase in personal consumption, it come from drawing down savings or from incurring higher consumer debt. 

A country’s consumers cannot forever draw down savings or go deeper into debt. For an economy to recover, there must be growth in consumer income.  That growth is nowhere to be seen in the US.  A large percentage of the goods and services sold to Americans by American corporations are now produced abroad by foreign labor. Thus, Americans no longer received incomes from the production of the goods and services that they consume. The American consumer market is on its way out.
The Dow Jones rose 339.51 points on the phony good news, but consumer sentiment is in the basement. John Williams reports that “consumer confidence hit the lowest levels ever recorded in 2008 and 2009” and that consumer confidence has now “fallen back to that 2008 level.”  But the stock market boomed.  Somehow a population 23% unemployed with debt up to its eyeballs is going to spark an economic recovery.
Recovery can only happen in the delusional world created for us by the concentrated media. No longer permitted to utter one world of truth, the presstitutes proclaim non-existent recoveries and weapons of mass destruction and demonize Washington’s chosen opponents.

Paul Craig Roberts provides us some inside info that really isn't that "inside" It's really not a mystery how money works. (You gotta be glad he's still reporting for US now.)

Americans: Awash In Spin
I have come to the conclusion that Big Brother’s subjects in George Orwell’s 1984 are better informed than Americans.
Americans have no idea why they have been at war in the Middle East, Asia and Africa for a decade.  They don’t realize that their liberties have been supplanted by a Gestapo Police State.  Few understand that hard economic times are here to stay.

On October 27, 2011, the US government announced some routine economic statistics, and the president of the European Council announced a new approach to the Greek sovereign debt crisis.  The result of these funny numbers and mere words sent the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to its largest monthly rally since 1974, erasing its 2011 yearly loss. The euro rose, putting the European currency again 40% above its initial parity with the US dollar when the euro was introduced.

On National Public Radio a half-wit analyst declared, emphatically, that the latest US government statistics proved that the recovery was in place and that there was no danger whatsoever of a double-dip recession. And half-brain economists predicted a better tomorrow.

Europe is happy because the European private banks, the creditors of the European governments, have agreed to eat 50% of Greece’s sovereign debt and to be recapitalized by public money handed to them by the European Financial Stability Facility rescue fund.  The President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, thinks that Greece’s debt is the only sovereign debt to be written down and that the debt of Italy, Spain, and Portugal will somehow be bailed out through other means, including a Chinese contribution to the EFSF rescue fund. Obviously, if all EU sovereign debt has to be cut by 50% as well, the rescue fund would not be up to the job.

For our corrupt financial markets, any news that can be spun as good news can send stocks up. But what are the facts?

For facts one has to turn to serious people, not to the presstitute media. Among those who give us real facts is John Williams of  In his October 27 report, Williams exposes the happy second quarter 2011 economic growth figure of 2.5% as nonsense. Every other economic indicator contradicts the spin. 
For example, personal consumption is reported to have increased 1.7%, but this surge in consumption took place despite a 1.7% collapse in consumer disposable income!  In other words, if there was an increase in personal consumption, it come from drawing down savings or from incurring higher consumer debt. 
A country’s consumers cannot forever draw down savings or go deeper into debt. For an economy to recover, there must be growth in consumer income.  That growth is nowhere to be seen in the US.  A large percentage of the goods and services sold to Americans by American corporations are now produced abroad by foreign labor. Thus, Americans no longer received incomes from the production of the goods and services that they consume. The American consumer market is on its way out.

The Dow Jones rose 339.51 points on the phony good news, but consumer sentiment is in the basement. John Williams reports that “consumer confidence hit the lowest levels ever recorded in 2008 and 2009” and that consumer confidence has now “fallen back to that 2008 level.”  But the stock market boomed.  Somehow a population 23% unemployed with debt up to its eyeballs is going to spark an economic recovery.

Recovery can only happen in the delusional world created for us by the concentrated media. No longer permitted to utter one world of truth, the presstitutes proclaim non-existent recoveries and weapons of mass destruction and demonize Washington’s chosen opponents.

The sovereign debt crisis in Europe has distracted Americans from the much worst crisis in their country. After two decades of exporting US manufacturing and middle class jobs, and after a decade of consumer debt growth that has resulted in millions of foreclosed homeowners and massive credit card and student loan debt that cannot be paid, consumers have no income growth or borrowing capacity with which to fuel an economy based on consumer demand. 

European banks, already ruined by purchases of Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s AAA ratings of junk derivatives, now find themselves threatened by sovereign debt. Greece’s debt crisis, caused with Goldman Sachs’ help in hiding the true debt of the country as was done for Enron, has brought to light that Portugal, Ireland, Italy, and Spain, in addition to Greece, have more debt than the governments can service. 

In the EU, unlike the US and UK which have their own central banks that can create new money to bail out the over-indebted governments, the EU central bank is prohibited by treaty from printing money in order to purchase bonds from member states that cannot be redeemed.

Regardless of the treaty prohibition, the EU central bank has been lending Greece the money to pay its bond holders. The imposed austerity that is part of the deal created political instability in Greece.

Now that European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has announced a 50% write-off by private banks of Greek sovereign debt, can the same treatment be denied Portugal, Italy, and Spain?  

The European Central Bank is following the lead of the Federal Reserve and creating new money to bail out debt.  The cost will be paid in inflation and flight from the euro and the dollar. As an indication of the future, despite the positive spin on the news and the rise in US stocks, on October 27 the Japanese yen rose to a new high against the US dollar.

(Paul Craig Roberts is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by Paul Craig Roberts)

How about a little bit more positive negativity? Pat Buchanan's much-maligned book steps into the spotlight. Give Dr. Roberts another few moments of your valuable time. You won't regret it.

The Suicide of Liberty: The Transformation of the US into a Police State 
Review of Pat Buchanan’s latest book

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
Pat Buchanan’s latest book, Suicide of a Superpower, raises the question whether America will survive to 2025. The question might strike some readers as unduly pessimistic and others as optimistic. It is unclear whether the US, as we have known it, will survive its next presidential election.
Consider the candidates. Liberal law professor Jonathan Turley, who was likely to have been an early Obama supporter, now wonders if Obama is “the most disastrous president in our history.” Despite Obama’s failure, the Republicans can’t come up with anyone any better. One Republican candidate admires Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve chairman who gave us financial deregulation and the financial crisis. Another is ready for a preemptive strike on Iran. Yet another thinks the Soviet Union is a grave threat to the United States. None of these clueless dopes are capable of presiding over a government.
Anyone who has been paying attention knows that the “superpower” is over-extended financially and militarily. The US is currently involved in six conflicts with Syria, Lebanon, Iran, and Pakistan on the waiting list for full fledged military attacks and perhaps invasions. Russia is being encircled with missile bases, and war plans are being drawn up for China.
Where is the money going to come from when the country’s debt is bursting at the seams, the economy is in decline, and unemployment on the rise?
Washington thinks that the money can simply be printed. However, enough has already been printed that the rest of the world is already suspicious of the dollar and its role as reserve currency.
As John Williams has said, the world could begin dumping dollar assets at any time.
I don’t think we can dismiss Buchanan’s concern as pessimistic.
Buchanan documents his concern across a wide front. For example, the combination of mass immigration and its consequent demographics together with the “diversity cult” means the end of “white America” and the transformation of what once was the dominant population into a disadvantaged underclass.
Buchanan cites a Wall Street Journal article by Ron Unz published 12 years ago. Unz found that white American gentiles who would be considered Christian are dramatically under-represented in America’s elite universities, which provide the elites who dominate government, business, and the professions.
Unz reported that white Americans who comprised 70% of the US population made up only 25% of Harvard’s enrollment and that the composition of the student bodies at Yale Princeton Columbia, Berkeley, and Stanford was much the same.
Asians who comprised 3% of the US population comprised one-fifth of Harvard’s enrollment, and Jews, who comprised 2.5% of the population comprised between one-fourth and one-third of Harvard’s student body.
As Buchanan puts it, the country’s native-born majority has relegated its own progeny to the trash bin of history.
Buchanan doesn’t address the question whether the rest of the world will miss white America. Considering the endless wars and astounding hypocrisy and immorality associated with white America since the collapse of the Soviet Union two decades ago, the world is likely to cheer when power slips from the hands of what Leonard Jeffries termed the “ice people,” that is, people without souls or feelings for others.
Americans are so wrapped up in the myth of their “exceptionalism” that they are oblivious to the world’s opinion.
American soft power, once a foundation of US influence, has been squandered, another reason the “superpower” status is crumbling.
Financial deregulation and the consequent financial crisis, collapse of the real estate market, and evictions of millions of Americans from their homes have greatly dimmed America’s economic prospects. However, as Buchanan points out, the offshoring of US jobs and industry under the guise of “free trade” has damaged the middle class, halted the growth in consumer purchasing power and left many college graduates without careers.
In the first decade of the 21st century, the Bush/Cheney years, America lost one-third of its manufacturing jobs. During this decade, Michigan lost 48% of its manufacturing jobs, New Jersey lost 39%, and New York and Ohio lost 38%.
During this decade, the US incurred trade deficits totaling $6.2 trillion, of which $3.8 trillion is in manufactured goods. In other words, imports of manufactured goods are a larger cause of the trade deficit than oil imports. Early in the decade the US lost its trade surplus in advanced technology products.
In recent years the US has run up $300 billion in trade deficits in advanced technology products with China alone. As Macy Block’s site, Economy in Crisis, documents, foreigners have used their huge dollar earnings to buy up American companies, with the consequence that foreign earnings on US investments now exceed US earnings abroad, thus worsening the current account deficit.
Although Buchanan makes many points, this is not his best book. He becomes lost in old arguments that no longer make sense, such as the claim that the poor vote away the property of the rich, and he ignores the destruction of the US Constitution in the name of “the war on terror,” which has transformed the US into a police state.
Conservatives are stuck in the canard that democracy is a tool used by the poor to provide themselves with benefits at the expense of the rich. Buchanan cites statistics of those on welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, and so on as evidence that the rich are being plundered. Yet, the facts are the opposite. The distribution of income has completely reversed since the 1960s.
In the 1960s, the top 1 percent received 11% of the income gains, and the bottom 90% received 65%, leaving 24% of income gains for the 9% of richest Americans just below the top 1%. In the first decade of the 21st century, these figures have reversed. The top 1% receive 65% of the income gains and the bottom 90% receive 12%, leaving 23% for those rich Americans in the 91-99 percentile.
If recent history (Yugoslavia, Soviet Empire) is a guide, Buchanan is probably correct that a country whose population consists of diverse ethnic and racial groups is less likely to share a common interest and enjoy political stability. However real this threat, it is not comparable to the threat to American identity of a destroyed Constitution.
The Bush/Cheney/Obama regimes have shredded the constitutional protections that gave American citizens their liberty. By dictate alone, the executive branch has acquired the power, prohibited by the Constitution, to incarcerate citizens indefinitely without presenting evidence and obtaining conviction.
According to the US government, a secret executive branch panel now exists that has acquired from somewhere the unaccountable power to put citizens on a list to be assassinated without due process of law merely on the basis of an unproven government assertion. How does this differ from Stalinist Russia and Gestapo Germany?
The transformation of the US into a police state has been achieved quickly and with scant protest. Congress and the courts are silent. The media is silent, as are the law schools and bar associations. Out of 535 US Senators and Representatives, only Ron Paul has protested the destruction of liberty.
Buchanan is concerned that America might not survive until 2025. Instead, shouldn’t we be concerned that the American police state could last that long? Shouldn’t we be worried that the police state will survive yet another presidential election, or even one more day?

Having been a participant/sometime organizer in OccupyGreensboro, I am quite interested in how they achieved their social network success in OccupyWallStreet. Chris Hedges has an interview with one man, Jon Friesen, who has become an integral part to that effort that enlightens us further.

“What I saw in the Za­p­atis­tas was a peo­ple pushed to the brink of ex­tinc­tion and for­get­ting,” he says. “Their phrases ring true: Lib­erty! Dig­nity! Democ­racy! Every­thing for Every­one! Noth­ing for Our­selves! The masks the Za­p­atis­tas wear check egos. Peo­ple should be united in their face­less­ness. This pre­vents cults of per­son­al­ity.”
“I have no in­ter­est in par­tic­i­pat­ing in the tra­di­tional po­lit­i­cal process,” he says. “It’s bu­reau­cratic. It’s ver­ti­cal. It’s ex­clu­sive. It’s ruled by money. It’s cum­ber­some. This is cum­ber­some too, what we’re doing here, but the prin­ci­ples that I’m push­ing and that many peo­ple are push­ing to up­hold here are in di­rect op­po­si­tion to the ex­ist­ing struc­ture.
This is a coun­ter­point. This is an ac­knowl­edge­ment of all those things that we hate, or that I hate, which are closed and ex­clu­sive. It is about de­fy­ing sta­tus and power, cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and le­git­i­macy, in­sti­tu­tional val­i­da­tion to par­tic­i­pate. This process has in­fected our con­scious­ness as far as peo­ple being al­lowed [to par­tic­i­pate] or even being given cred­i­bil­ity. The wider so­ci­ety cre­ates a sit­u­a­tion where peo­ple are ex­cluded, peo­ple feel like they’re not worth any­thing. They’re not ac­cepted.
The prin­ci­ples here are hor­i­zon­tal in terms of de­ci­sion-mak­ing, trans­parency, open­ness, in­clu­sive­ness, ac­ces­si­bil­ity. There are peo­ple doing sign lan­guage at the gen­eral as­sem­bly now. There are clus­ters of deaf peo­ple that come to­gether and do sign lan­guage to­gether. This is an ex­am­ple of the in­clu­sive na­ture that we want to cre­ate here. And as far as re­defin­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion and the de­mo­c­ra­tic process, my un­der­stand­ing of Amer­i­can his­tory is that it was a bunch of white males in power, mostly. This is rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent. If you’re a home­less per­son, if you’re a street per­son, you can be here. There’s a rad­i­cal in­clu­sion that’s going on. And if it’s not that, then I’m not going to par­tic­i­pate.”

Article image
“The park, es­pe­cially at night, is a mag­net for the city’s street pop­u­la­tion. The move­ment pro­vides food along with basic se­cu­rity, over­seen by des­ig­nated “peace­keep­ers” and a “de-es­ca­la­tion team” that de­fuses con­flicts. Those like Friesen who span the two cul­tures serve as the in­ter­locu­tors. “It draws every­one, ex­cept maybe the su­per­rich,” he says of the park. “You’re deal­ing with every­one’s con­di­tion­ing, every­one’s fucked-up con­di­tion­ing, the kind of I’m-out-for-me-and-my­self, that kind of in­stinct. Peo­ple are un­ruly. Peo­ple are vi­o­lent. Peo­ple make threats.”
“We are try­ing to sort this out, how to work to­gether in a more holis­tic ap­proach ver­sus just se­cu­rity-check­ing some­one — you know like tack­ling them,” he says. “Where else do these peo­ple have to go, these street peo­ple? They’re going to come to a place where they feel cared for, es­pe­cially in im­me­di­ate needs like food and shel­ter. We have a com­fort com­mit­tee. I’ve never been to a place where there’s a com­fort com­mit­tee. This is where you can get a blan­ket and a sleep­ing bag, if we have them. We don’t al­ways have the re­sources. But every­one is being taken care of here. As long as you’re non­vi­o­lent, you’re taken care of. And when you do that you draw all sorts of peo­ple, in­clud­ing those peo­ple who have prob­lem­atic be­hav­ior.

If we scale up big enough we might be able to take care of the whole street pop­u­la­tion of Man­hat­tan.”
The park, like other Oc­cu­pied sites across the coun­try, is a point of in­te­gra­tion, a place where mid­dle-class men and women, many highly ed­u­cated but un­schooled in the tech­niques of re­sis­tance, are taught by those who have been car­ry­ing out acts of re­bel­lion for the last few years. These rev­o­lu­tion­ists bridge the world of the streets with the world of the mid­dle class.
“They’re like for­eign coun­tries al­most, the street cul­ture and the sub­ur­ban cul­ture,” Friesen says. “They don’t un­der­stand each other. They don’t share their ex­pe­ri­ences. They’re iso­lated from each other. It’s like Irvine and Or­ange County [home of the city of Irvine]; the hearsay is that they de­port the home­less. They pick them up and move them out.

There’s no try­ing to en­gage. And it speaks to the larger issue, I feel, of the iso­la­tion of the in­di­vid­ual. The in­di­vid­ual going after their in­di­vid­ual pur­suits, and this fa­cade of in­di­vid­u­al­ity, of con­sumeris­tic ma­te­ri­al­ism. This ma­te­ri­al­ism is about an in­di­vid­u­al­ity that is sur­face-deep. It has no depth. That’s trans­lated into com­mu­ni­ties through­out the coun­try that don’t want any­thing to do with each other, that are so for­eign to each other that there is hardly a drop of em­pa­thy be­tween them.”

“This is a de­mand to be heard,” he says of the move­ment. “It’s a de­mand to have a voice. Peo­ple feel voice­less. They want a voice and par­tic­i­pa­tion, a re­newed sense of self-de­ter­mi­na­tion, but not self-de­ter­mi­na­tion in the in­di­vid­u­al­is­tic need of just-for-me-self. But as in ‘I rec­og­nize that my ac­tions have ef­fects on the peo­ple around me.’ I ac­knowl­edge that, so let’s work to­gether so that we can ac­com­mo­date every­one.”
Friesen says that dig­i­tal sys­tems of com­mu­ni­ca­tion helped in­form new struc­tures of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and new sys­tems of self-gov­er­nance.
Open source started out in the ’50s and ’60s over how soft­ware is used and what rights the user has over the pro­grams and tools they use,” he says. “What free­doms do you have to use, mod­ify and share soft­ware? That’s trans­lated into things like Wikipedia. We’re mov­ing even more vis­i­bly and more tan­gi­bly into a real, tan­gi­ble, human or­ga­ni­za­tion. We mod­ify tech­niques. We use them. We share them. We de­cen­tral­ize them. You see the de­cen­tral­iza­tion of a move­ment like this.”
Rev­o­lu­tions need their the­o­rists, but such up­heavals are im­pos­si­ble with­out hard­ened rev­o­lu­tion­ists like Friesen who haul the­ory out of books and shove it into the face of re­al­ity. The an­ar­chist Michael Bakunin by the end of the 19th cen­tury was as revered among rad­i­cals as Karl Marx. Bakunin, how­ever, un­like Marx, was a rev­o­lu­tion­ist. He did not, like Marx, re­treat into the British Li­brary to write vo­lu­mi­nous texts on pre­or­dained rev­o­lu­tions.
Bakunin’s en­tire adult life was one of fierce phys­i­cal strug­gle, from his role in the up­ris­ings of 1848, where, with his mas­sive phys­i­cal bulk and iron de­ter­mi­na­tion, he manned bar­ri­cades in Paris, Aus­tria and Ger­many, to his years in the pris­ons of czarist Rus­sia and his dra­matic es­cape from exile in Siberia.
Bakunin had lit­tle time for Marx’s dis­dain for the peas­antry and the lumpen­pro­le­tariat of the urban slums. Marx, for all his in­sight into the self-de­struc­tive ma­chine of un­fet­tered cap­i­tal­ism, viewed the poor as coun­ter­rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies, those least ca­pa­ble of rev­o­lu­tion­ary ac­tion. 
Bakunin, how­ever, saw in the “un­civ­i­lized, dis­in­her­ited, and il­lit­er­ate” a pool of rev­o­lu­tion­ists who would join the work­ing class and turn on the elites who prof­ited from their mis­ery and en­slave­ment. Bakunin proved to be the more prophetic. The suc­cess­ful rev­o­lu­tions that swept through the Slavic re­publics and later Rus­sia, Spain and China, and fi­nally those move­ments that bat­tled colo­nial­ism in Africa and the Mid­dle East as well as mil­i­tary regimes in Latin Amer­ica, were largely spon­ta­neous up­ris­ings fu­eled by the rage of a dis­en­fran­chised rural and urban work­ing class, and that of dis­pos­sessed in­tel­lec­tu­als. 
Rev­o­lu­tion­ary ac­tiv­ity, Bakunin cor­rectly ob­served, was best en­trusted to those who had no prop­erty, no reg­u­lar em­ploy­ment and no stake in the sta­tus quo. Fi­nally, Bakunin’s vi­sion of rev­o­lu­tion, which chal­lenged Marx’s rigid bi­fur­ca­tion be­tween the pro­le­tariat and the bour­geoisie, carved out a vital role for these root­less in­tel­lec­tu­als, the tal­ented sons and daugh­ters of the mid­dle class who had been ed­u­cated to serve within elit­ist in­sti­tu­tions, or ex­pected a place in the mid­dle class, but who had been cast aside by so­ci­ety. 
The dis­carded in­tel­lec­tu­als — un­em­ployed jour­nal­ists, so­cial work­ers, teach­ers, artists, lawyers and stu­dents — were for Bakunin a valu­able rev­o­lu­tion­ary force: “fer­vent, en­er­getic youths, to­tally déclassé, with no ca­reer or way out.” These déclassé in­tel­lec­tu­als, like the dis­pos­sessed work­ing class, had no stake in the sys­tem and no pos­si­bil­ity for ad­vance­ment. The al­liance of an es­tranged class of in­tel­lec­tu­als with dis­pos­sessed masses cre­ates the tin­der, Bakunin ar­gued, for suc­cess­ful re­volt. This al­liance al­lows a rev­o­lu­tion­ary move­ment to skill­fully ar­tic­u­late griev­ances while ex­pos­ing and ex­ploit­ing, be­cause of a fa­mil­iar­ity with priv­i­lege and power, the weak­nesses of au­to­cratic, tyran­ni­cal rule.

The Oc­cupy move­ment is con­stantly evolv­ing as it finds what works and dis­cards what does not. At any point in the day, knots of im­pas­sioned pro­test­ers can be found in dis­cus­sions that in­volve self-crit­i­cism and self-re­flec­tion. This makes the move­ment rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent from lib­eral re­formist move­ments that work within the con­fines of es­tab­lished sys­tems of cor­po­rate power, some­thing Marx un­der­stood very well.
It means that the move­ment’s war of at­tri­tion will be long and dif­fi­cult, that it will face re­verses and set­backs, but will, if suc­cess­ful, ul­ti­mately tear down the de­cayed ed­i­fices of the cor­po­rate state.
Marx wrote: “Bour­geois rev­o­lu­tions, like those of the eigh­teenth cen­tury, storm more swiftly from suc­cess to suc­cess, their dra­matic ef­fects outdo each other, men and things seem set in sparkling di­a­monds, ec­stasy is the order of the day — but they are short-lived, soon they have reached their zenith, and a long Katzen­jam­mer [hang­over] takes hold of so­ci­ety be­fore it learns to as­sim­i­late the re­sults of its storm-and-stress pe­riod soberly.

On the other hand, pro­le­tar­ian rev­o­lu­tions, like those of the nine­teenth cen­tury, con­stantly crit­i­cize them­selves, con­stantly in­ter­rupt them­selves in their own course, re­turn to the ap­par­ently ac­com­plished, in order to begin anew; they de­ride with cruel thor­ough­ness the half-mea­sures, weak­nesses, and pal­tri­ness of their first at­tempts, seem to throw down their op­po­nents only so the lat­ter may draw new strength from the earth and rise be­fore them again more gi­gan­tic than ever, re­coil con­stantly from the in­def­i­nite colos­sal­ness of their own goals — until a sit­u­a­tion is cre­ated which makes all turn­ing back im­pos­si­ble, and the con­di­tions them­selves call out:‘Hier ist die Rose, hier tanze’ [Here is the rose, here the dance].”

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