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Matt Stoller: More Embers Striking Up Against the Global Liquidation

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By Matt Stoller, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. His Twitter feed is:
http://www.twitter.com/matthewstoller.

The youth in Spain are very very angry, with unemployment at Depression-levels of roughly 21%, and they are rocking the nation with protests. What is less clear is how this plays out. The echoes of Wisconsin are obvious.

Protesters have set up an infirmary, a computer tent and a “guerrilla garden” of vegetables with the help of donations from supporters. The tents and tarps were still in place on Monday morning. But the crowd was smaller and analysts said the momentum of the movement will be hard to maintain.

“The big problem is that (the movement) has no path into formal politics. There is no party legitimately speaking on their behalf… no Green party as in other European countries which would back them,” said David Bach, Professor of Strategy and Economic Environment at IE Business School in Madrid.

The elite consensus is basically the same in both countries. There are differences, I suppose; in Spain, protesters eat vegetables, while in American, protesters eat pizza.

Domestic actors representing popular interests are in a bind. American labor officials are frustrated but impotent, with a few officials claiming that they will no longer give money to Democrats. I find this hard to believe; in the latest nationally consequential special Congressional election, labor mostly backed neoliberal Democrat Janice Hahn. For whatever reason, organized leaders running large amounts of capital and/or official in charge of representing labor simply cannot break away from the elite consensus. We saw this during the bipartisan consensus in favor of TARP, and in fact now, every single Democratic successor to Nancy Pelosi as Speaker voted for TARP.

The embers of breakdown are everywhere. In China, the company that makes iPads and iPhones has installed suicide nets to keep its employees from killing themselves in an especially embarrassing manner. But you can’t really force exploding buildings to do what you want, if what you want is more iPads to sell.

This increasing rigidity of the global economic order is frightening, and dangerous. It is the consequence of the new normal, Spanish and Wisconsin-colored flames licking up at the system be damned. One day, these protests won’t be leaderless, rudderless, and directionless. Perhaps the popular energy on that date will be channeled through an electoral system, perhaps not. Perhaps figures like New York AG Eric Schneiderman represent a new generation of leaders bent on restructuring our cultural obligations into a social contract that is stable and somewhat just.

One day a chunk of the elites will break away from this consensus, as the system experiences a breakdown that is so severe it threatens the interests of a powerful constituency group. For now, we will be watching the embers.

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65 comments

  1. attempter

    The big problem is that (the movement) has no path into formal politics. There is no party legitimately speaking on their behalf… no Green party as in other European countries which would back them.

    It certainly is a big problem if they’re still trapped in the mental and spiritual box of thinking they need a “path into formal politics” and to find “leaders” to “speak on their behalf”. What, does democracy have laryngitis?

    For whatever reason, organized leaders running large amounts of capital and/or official in charge of representing labor simply cannot break away from the elite consensus.

    The reason would be that capitalist unions are there to uphold the prerogatives of capitalism. Business unionists “represent” and “bargain” and sign a “contract”, and from there their job is to police the workers on behalf of the employer. Kind of like the Jewish police during the Holocaust. I especially liked what I read about the faux-general strike in Wisconsin: “But a real general strike would be illegal, so we’re not advocating that.”

    Illegal, of all things! My heroes.

    1. Max424

      “..I especially liked what I read about the faux-general strike in Wisconsin: “But a real general strike would be illegal, so we’re not advocating that.” ..”

      Good point; the whole thing was pretty lame, wasn’t it?

      In other more violent eras and realms, chemistry teachers would illustrate for history teachers the proper mix for a Molotov Cocktail, and history teachers would instruct chemistry teachers as to when and where to properly use them.

      (And gym teachers would loudly demonstrate, for all the teachers, the proper method for tossing them).

      “We band of brothers (and sisters) with summers off, my pampered, overpaid comrades, on my command, throw for effect!”

    2. Goin' South

      And poor Matt, stuck in the hierarchical paradigm:

      “One day, these protests won’t be leaderless, rudderless, and directionless.”

      Quick! Get them a LEADER! There must be somebody to tell them what to do! And if you don’t have a LEADER, that means you must be “directionless.”

      Maybe Matt can offer his old boss, Alan Grayson, who is now relegated to writing hack fund-raising letters for the Democrats. Talk about directionless.

      1. Francois T

        In case you haven’t noticed, no human group of more than one person can function without a leader.

        Amazing, no?

        1. Goin' South

          Before you make such sweeping and dismissive statements, I’d encourage you to read some alternative views. One place to start is David Graeber’s Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology available in PDF here:

          http://abahlali.org/files/Graeber.pdf

          The section where he includes a dialog between the anarchist and the skeptic is especially applicable.

          You might also consider counter-examples like Athens’ (unfortunately limited) democracy, the Paris Commune, Orwell’s beloved Catalonia after the Anarchist Revolution, and even such common and prosaic examples as New England town meetings.

          Hierarchical social structures are not part of the definition of being human.

        2. craazyman

          there’s at least 9 of me and we just take turns. somehow we hold it together :)

          gotta wonder whether we’re in the Summer of Love phase now (except Syria and Libya) and the 1968 is heading our way. What are those Spanish kids going to do when the love ember dies? I wonder when this starts getting hard and sharp. And Egypt too. Look where Spain was in the 1930s. It’s like a person, when they start to go crazy they regress to the most stable pyschological state, even if that state is totally nutso. How can their be a stable state when 45% of them don’t have anything to do?

          You can see this in Goya’s Los Desastres de la Guerra and in Durer’s Portrait of Oswald Krell. The After and the Before. And if you think the average German is Oswald Krell with a sausage and a beer or four then it’s trouble for the Spanish kids.

          They all need something to break the group psychosis. And then we have the Captain de’Love. It’s looking worse for him, now that we know the mermaid’s side of the story.

          If only contemporary thought had a better vocabulary for individual and group psychosis all this would be easier to parse and vette. if you’re the mermaid and someone says ship captaiin violated you, you want justice. if you’re the mermaid and someone says a crazy dude who should have been on meds and in therapy had an attack and you were there, and he has an illness, then you’d be likely to take 3 million and forget the whole thing. People puke when they’re sick, right? So the Captain puked on the mermaid. And when groups of people get sick they puke too? The problem is that when they puke on you so much that you have to drink it. Man that thought alone makes me gag.

          The world needs a pyschoanalyst who understands what money is and what it isn’t. It isn’t a medium of exchange or a method of payment or store of value anymore than a bird is a tail and a wing and an eye. So much for lucidity. Sometimes you just need a dream and it all becomes clearer, like it always was when you were wide awake and couldn’t see a thing.

          1. ajax

            A day ago, I browsed through a document called
            “British Policy on Iran 1974-1978″, a report by the
            Foreign and Commonwealth Office (U.K.).

            In searching through related material, I learnt that
            the British Ambassador to Iran from about 1974-79,
            Anthony Parsons, hadn’t seen the coming of
            the Iranian Revolution of 1979, even as late as
            early to mid-1978.

            How could such as a sweeping change within a
            year have been that unpredictable? I don’t know,
            but that’s what the British are now saying.

        3. attempter

          In case you haven’t noticed, no human group of more than one person can function without a leader.

          Really. Then how do the vast majority of people function in the vast majority of situations? If working people and citizens ceased from all anarchist actions and engaged only on the egoist/capitalist level, the economy and society would collapse immediately. That’s the concept of Work to Rule, which we the people ought to initiate. Watch everyone refuse to act except insofar as a formally legitimated Leader has Authority to issue an Order, and see how far anyone can get.

          Not to mention all the innumerable groups throughout history without coercive hierarchies who function and have functioned perfectly well.

          Just to give a personal example, my relocalization group is “anarchist”. There’s no substantive hierarchy, no Leadership. So how do we function?

          Amazing, no?

          Your ignorance? Yes.

          1. Anonymous Jones

            Your denial of hierarchy will require much more elaborate machinations as you delve deeper into the structure and examine it at a more granular level. You did grow up in a family, right? Or at least you know people who did?

            Most people who think these subtle shifts in power differential don’t exist even for any randomly constructed couple are, despite protestations and made-up-bravado on an anonymous chat-board, *habitual avoiders of confrontation* in the real world. Conflicts exist. Resolution is difficult. The only way to avoid conflicts is to space out and give as wide a berth as possible. Thing is, some people don’t want to live that way. Surely, you’re not suggesting genocide for those who disagree with you? What’s the alternate path to your utopia? Pray tell. Your amazing power of persuasion?

          2. attempter

            For the sake of non-trolls who may be new to anarchist ideas, we refer to the abolition of coercive hierarchy and authority. (And without coercion, “hierarchy” itself becomes a pointless word.)

            The anonymous troll, of course, knows that perfectly well.

    3. Externality

      In 2001, the person who coined the term “meritocracy” wrote the following in the Guardian regarding the poor and working classes in the West:

      They have been deprived by educational selection of many of those who would have been their natural leaders, the able spokesmen and spokeswomen from the working class who continued to identify with the class from which they came.

      Their leaders [until the 1960s] were a standing opposition to the rich and the powerful in the never-ending competition in parliament and industry between the haves and the have-nots.

      With the coming of the meritocracy, the now leaderless masses were partially disfranchised; as time has gone by, more and more of them have been disengaged, and disaffected to the extent of not even bothering to vote. They no longer have their own people to represent them.

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2001/jun/29/comment

      His point was that large institutions that purport to represent the poor and working classes are now, almost invariably, led by the upper-middle and upper classes.

      Union leaders, labor secretaries, etc. used to come from the ranks of the working classes, having worked their way up from menial jobs, and held working-class values. (He lists some examples) Over time, however, holding the requisite elite credentials have increasingly become a sin qua non for these positions as well.

      Now, “labor” is increasingly represented by well-off, certificated technocrats who (privately) look down the working classes and believe that their responsibility is to the broader system, not domestic workers. Robert Reich, a noted economist and Clinton labor secretary, has repeatedly argued that American job losses are the necessary cost of promoting growth and stability in China. (He also argues that government should help soften the landing for American workers through social services.) The modern Labor Party in the UK takes a similar view; British workers must accept a lower standard of living to help the banks and developing countries.

      Unless and until labor leaders come from the working class, and maintain a working class lifestyle, they will never identify with the people they purport to represent. The labor union that represents the maid Strauss-Kahn victimized, for example, is led by a former hotel maid. Her main concern was the victim, not whether Strauss-Kahn’s arrest destabilize the macroeconomic system, hurt developing countries, promote racism, etc.

      1. F. Beard

        Robert Reich, a noted economist and Clinton labor secretary, has repeatedly argued that American job losses are the necessary cost of promoting growth and stability in China. (He also argues that government should help soften the landing for American workers through social services.) Externality

        Who needs social services? Instead every American adult should receive restitution checks to compensate them for the theft by and debt slavery to the government enforced counterfeiting cartel, the banking system.

      2. Francois T

        The whole atrocity of replacing education by credentialization, as Jane Jacobs warned in Dark Age Ahead One of the five factors that is destroying the cultural pillars of the Western World.

        Boy! Was she prophetic, or what?

        1. ambrit

          Francois T;
          Yes indeed she was, as the example of “modern unionism” shows. Once a union finds its’ footing, its’ aim switches from solidarity and progress to maintaining the in groups favoured status through restrictive credentialing schemes. The same old story.

    4. Parvaneh Ferhadi

      Good point. If the movement is indeed a revolutionary one, it doesn’t need a path into ‘formal politics’. It will just do away with the failed system altogether and start from scratch.
      Besides, the idea of a leader and of true democracy do not easily go together. Maybe they don’t need one.

  2. Max424

    Mr. Stoller, I am a disagreeable man, and as such, I would very much like to disagree with some aspect of your post, but unfortunately, this is an impossibility, because I can find nothing in it to disagree with.

    Well done sir, you have ruined my day.

  3. doom

    No path into formal politics, So what? First you get together and define what you want. And not with anal, outlined, technocratic platforms – overarching principles are enough. Treaty law gives you a state-of-the-art template (that’s why the Federalist Society hates it so much.) Formal politics is a second-order problem. Look at the Bolivians, they took over an old fascist party and won in a landslide.

  4. kares

    Yeah, one day they won’t be rudderless, leaderless, etc. Yeah, one day! Yeah, one day, and we will have Obama as king, and then we will have “change…. change, change, etc. The Spanish PM accomplished quite a bit on the social and political fronts, but what can you do, when the global economic consensus (actually, diktat) is for the “free markets.” Yeah, free to sell your soul/mother for a tuppence. Except for a few, no one voted for Ralph Nader.

  5. Greenguy

    I say this as a chair of a state Green Party here in the US – I am glad that the protesters in Spain are mostly acting in a spontaneous manner. It’s a natural product of class struggle – look at the old mass strike debate between Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Kautsky for echoes of this. They will find their way, and it may be in a far more radical political movement that can sweep away the old order with something far more just and democratic. Steering them into old political parties and organizations would only serve to curtail the movement in its infancy.

  6. KnotRP

    There is always a path to ground.
    If the current doesn’t flow through democratic voting,
    it will flow through something unplanned, and probably
    destroy it in the process.

  7. i

    There’s not enough discomfort yet. In the developed world, there is still enough cheap food, cheap psychoactive drugs, cheap entertainment and just enough safety net to keep most people pacified.

    This ends as the oil starts running out and suddenly the word “cheap” disappears from everyone’s lexicon. When enough people are cold enough, and hungry enough, and broke enough, the “global economic order” will begin its inevitable rapid phase change, and probably not in a manner envisioned by the Koch brothers and their ilk.

    1. Francois T

      Yup!
      Long live District of Columbia v Heller.
      Some could bitterly regret this decision.

  8. Francois T

    Mahatma Ghandi did not have a path to “formal politics”.

    Time to think different: Letting the embers of discontent come in contact with the fuel of social despair and pent-up frustration can only result in social explosion.

    The most ironic aspect of this situation is that those who could diffuse the whole package are the least inclined to do so, and for all the wrong reasons.

      1. ambrit

        illusionist;
        Through the salt marches and local cottage industry movement Ghandi proved that the root of the European dominance of the Third World, now the Second World and soon to be the First World, was economic imperialism. Who can really complain if the Chineese, Indians, Indonesians etc. repay us in the same coin?

        1. illusionist

          Yes it was about economics. My point is that the Mahatma also espoused and practiced good prudence on economic matters in keeping with his Bania heritage.

          If you look at say Fiji, West Indies or indeed South Africa (where Gandhi went to ply his trade for a bit but returned found he had higher callings) all had large numbers of Indians sent to work there as indentured labor. (essentially marginal farmers who had borrowed and were unable to repay to the local money lender)

          That was India’s subprime moment long ago. The take away of prudence is inescapable to anyone who has seen any of this close up.

          Kind of makes you appreciates the poem “Miller of the Dee” a lot.

        2. illusionist

          Ambrit,

          In 1947/48 as India and Pakistan were involved in hostilities, the Mahatma was willing to go on hunger strike if India his country withheld money owed to Pakistan.

          He won’t welch no one similar to the Miller of the Dee. He was an excellent example of principle. Now he was also merciful and compassionate.
          Requesting compassion by the borrower is another matter but the tone here seems to be one of defaulting as a matter of right.
          The primacy of the principle needs to be established else principal (capital) will never feel safe and provide bounty.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The issue is we are talking about dealing with banks and the IMF in fairly short time frames by historical standards. That implies having impact on the current power structure. It may be a destructive impact but the sort of changes the protestors want to see happen needs to map into the current power structure.

  9. Ralph Aguila

    Honestly, all the reforms will just delay the inevitable. Roosevelt tried to make capitalism work for the average person but that experiment ended with Reagan in 1980. We really do need the state owning all major industries like banks, transportation, health care, and education. Call it communism if it makes you happy.

    People who demand a return to Glass-Steagall don’t understand that even if you get that back, it will only be repealed after a couple of decades when the capitalists take back full control of the government.

    1. F. Beard

      People who demand a return to Glass-Steagall don’t understand that even if you get that back, it will only be repealed after a couple of decades when the capitalists take back full control of the government. Ralph Aguila

      True. That’s why we need genuine capitalism, not our current system of banker fascism.

      1. skippy

        Yes! Yes! More *Genuine* isms, ologys, ocracys, enics, et al, we’ll get it right some day!

        Mean while the planet is looking like a kids playpen after a trip to Macas, defiantly need more of every thing, always fixes stuff for today.

        Skippy…I want a creator DNA test please.

        1. F. Beard

          we’ll get it right some day! skippy

          Well, maybe you are content with a money system that is rooted in fraud and based on theft but I am not.

          1. Skippy

            All stores of value are corrupt[able, whilst individuals or groups can weld it over others, for their gain.

            Skippy…you do realize that you can only time travel backwards, the future as a derivative of time and space has not occurred yet…how convenient for the alphabet soup thought[s gang, the solution is always behind us…sigh.

            We will repeat, snicker….Jocko Homo

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUrT0M_XGZE

  10. Externality

    Yes, and the same corrupt elites will run things for their own benefit under communism. Within a decade of our capitalistic plutocracy going communist, it will devolve into bureaucratic collectivism.

    Read the book Animal Farm to see how this works.

    A bureaucratic collectivist state owns the means of production, while the surplus (“profit”) is distributed among an elite party bureaucracy (“nomenklatura”), rather than among the working class. Also, most importantly, it is the bureaucracy—not the workers or the people in general—who controls the economy and the state. Thus, the system is not truly capitalist, but it is not socialist either. In Trotskyist theory, it is a new form of class society which exploits workers through new mechanisms. Theorists, such as Yvan Craipeau, who hold this view believe that bureaucratic collectivism does not represent progress beyond capitalism—that is, that it is no closer to being a workers’ state than a capitalist state would be, and is considerably less efficient. Some[who?] even believe that certain kinds of capitalism, such as social democratic capitalism, are more progressive than a bureaucratic collectivist society.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bureaucratic_collectivism

    1. Externality

      The above was a reply to Ralph Aguila @ 6:54 p.m. Not sure why it was placed here.

    2. Lyle

      Indeed the problem with revolutions is they just change the elite but don’t solve the problem. The two historical revolutions that killed off the elites the French and the Russian/Soviet did just that, the old elite were killed off in the French and either killed off or exiled in the Russian/Soviet revolution. All that got folks was a different elite, but an elite none the less. (For example its not clear that Napoleon was better for the French people than Louis XVI).

      1. Robert Dudek

        All complex societies are inherently hierarchical. Since the first complex societies arose, there have always been elites and there always will be. The key question is how those elites interact with the rest of society.

        Diamond claimed in “Guns, Germs and Steel” that all states are a form of institutionalized kleptocracy: the powerful take the labor and resources from the less powerful. But there have been many relatively egalitarian states, both in the present and the past. We can become more egalitarian by a series of small steps, but only if we desire it.

        Pragmatism works better than ideology or revolution.

        1. Toby

          I think that rather depends on how you define society. Certainly not all complex systems are hierarchical. Ecology shows us that complexity can increase, say in a jungle ecosystem, and remain anarchical. Open source projects are not hierarchical but are certainly complex. Both jungle ecosystems and open source projects can be defined as societies. And humans are just as much a part of the natural world as trees and monkeys.

          The challenge we face–about which we must be pragmatic in our reaction to it–is to mature to steady state growth. Perpetual Growth is impossible. Human social hierarchies like nation states and corporations select for growth evolutionary speaking, simply because size benefits them as they compete with rival hierarchies, but also because they are about the accelerating transformation of so-called idle resources into goods and services, as a process which feeds the elite. Pragmatically speaking, and forgetting ideology and revolution for a moment, this is a core problem.

          Is the solution anarchy? Must mature, steady state systems be anarchical? I believe so. As such, for me at least, if we want to deal with this challenge pragmatically, that is, if we want civilization to survive, we must confront the dangerous negatives of hierarchy and explore the alternatives. We are doing this, in Spain, in the Arabic world, with alternative currencies, with Open Source Software, with the Internet, and so on. Will we succeed? I don’t know, but I want us to. And it will take revolution of one form or another. And it begins with one or more ideologies, visions of how the alternative might look.

  11. Richard

    The PIGS story will not end well. Spanish competitiveness versus Germany is too low to justify the difference between Spanish and German wages. Thus, unemployment.

    There are 3 possible exits from a high-debt scenario:
    1. Default. This is what Argentina did. It’s generally a good way to spread the pain across all parties involved in causing the crisis. Being unable to borrow from the bond markets will also put a clamp on deficit spending in the future. Taxpayers pay a comparatively low price, minimizing overall suffering. Keynes saw that Germany’s war reparations were unpayable, so he advocated lowering them (a restructuring, in essence).

    2. Devaluation. Steal from your neighbours by devaluing your currency to gain an advantage in exports. The resulting boom will allow payoff of debts. This is the same as wage deflation but easier to implement as wages are sticky. However, the eurozone countries are unable to do this as the ECB is controlled by Germans who adhere to the Austrian school of sound money.

    3. Inflation. Reduce the value of debt. Again, PIGS are unable to do this as they do not control their own monetary policy. The US is currently attempting this, in addition to 2.

    Of all of these, default is the best option, followed by resumption of regional currencies (Euro-Nord and Euro-Sud perhaps?). There’s no way it will happen though as German banks are insolvent with their holdings of PIGS debt. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in the next few years as the can is still being kicked along. In the meantime, stay away from Eurozone investments until EURUSD reaches parity, at least.

    1. illusionist

      How is the state of affairs any different on the other side of the Atlantic?
      The States are up to their eyeballs in debt. A lot of Cities and Municipalities are broke and dependent on RE taxes which if raised further will crash the RE markets some more. None of the States or Municipalities can issue currencies either. Is there not a wage diff between say Florida and NY?

      1. ambrit

        illusionist;
        A lot of the states and some municipalities have enacted their own income tax systems to try to tap wages even further. This ends up being completely regressive as the wealthy “offshore” their sources of incone and “official” addresses. The less than wealthy have to grin and bear it. We can’t aford lawyers and multiple representatives to establish the fictions necessary to “protect” our assets.
        “Things fall apart, The centre cannot hold.”

        1. illusionist

          That is why I wonder what this Eur reaching parity stuff is all about? Economically the smell is as putrid either side of the Atlantic with the exception the EMs at least want to buy German machinery, cars besides indulging in Italian designer stuff etc.

          My comment was prompted by “In the meantime, stay away from Eurozone investments until EURUSD reaches parity, at least.”

  12. Psychoanalystus

    If I may, I would like to suggest a political leader for these young people: Karl Marx.

    Psychoanalystus

      1. Psychoanalystus

        And, after Marx, a good list of contemporary authors would be:

        Noam Chomsky
        Chris Hedges
        Noemi Klein
        Howard Zinn
        Chalmers Johnson

        That should keep them busy at least until all revolutions are over… :)

  13. charles 2

    In the eighties in Russia, the system experienced a breakdown and a powerful constituency (the KGB and its satellites) saw its interests thoroughly threatened. A kind of revolution occurred, unseating Mikhail Gorbatchev, a “let’s-not-rock-the-boat” well intentioned leader, to replace him by Yeltsin, then Putin. Having witnessed it first hand, it was definitely no fun for the masses, but great fun (with great risk) for aspiring plutocrats.

    Those who want revolution should be careful of what they wish for.

  14. Hugh

    “One day a chunk of the elites will break away from this consensus, as the system experiences a breakdown that is so severe it threatens the interests of a powerful constituency group.”

    Who? The Krugmans, the Brad DeLongs? Other occasional critics of policies here and there, but otherwise rock solid defenders of a totally corrupt Establishment to which they owe their positions and careers? What credibility do the elites have now? What credibility will they have in the future if the only reason they make a belated break is to save their asses, and their privileges? What part of totally corrupt does Stoller not understand?

    His prescription can best be described as rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic: Get rid of our old elites and replace them with new members of our old elites. Our elites have stolen from us, they have impoverished us, they have thrown us out of our jobs and our houses, they force us to accept no healthcare, bad healthcare, or over-priced healthcare. They see our education system is underfunded and that a university education is unaffordable or worthwhile, except for the rich. They have decimated pensions, and they continue to dream, and plot, to do the same to Social Security.

    And we are still supposed to believe them when they say, “But, but you still need us!”? No, we don’t. We are precisely in the mess we are because our elites gave up on governance in order to devote themselves to looting us. They now serve no useful societal function at all and are, in fact, incredibly destructive of society in general. Once having gotten rid of them, why in the world would we ever want them back?

    1. taunger

      The elite are a much larger group than that. I consider everyone on this site an elite, at least in terms of education, if not wealth.

      But the central question you present is important: why should we be allowed to stick around? I try to find ways to answer that question as often as possible.

  15. Paul Tioxon

    Once again, the shocking ignorance of Americans, even the most educated and even the most daring green guys have no idea, maybe even less than Matt Stoller, about working class oppression and successful empowerment in the face of a real fascist police state. The Basque People, semi autonomous in local matters and economically powerfully, formed THE MONDRAGON COOPERATIVES, A FORM OF BUSINESS, THAT IS A BUSINESS, NOT A FORM OF POLITICAL ENSLAVEMENT AND EXPLOITATION. Here is their web site, I am sure you can google the rest. Please try to believe that something can be accomplished even by people who did not have perfect sat scores. There is plenty of leadership in Spain, but of course, it is terms that is not culturally comprehensible to certain biases.

    http://www.mondragon-corporation.com/language/en-US/ENG.aspx

    1. Psychoanalystus

      Indeed, when we lived in Spain it was clear that the Basque country was the main economic engine of Spain (but you never heard that from the coffee-drinking do-nothing Spaniards down in Madrid).

      Psychoanalystus

      1. illusionist

        “Indeed, when we lived in Spain it was clear that the Basque country was the main economic engine of Spain”

        Did you live there before, during or after the Basque groups were busy creating mayhem?

  16. francis

    Well, whatever happens, looks like we’ll be around to see. I’m fairly optimistic, I guess.

  17. Psychoanalystus

    If things continue to deteriorate, I think there is a good chance for Greece and even Spain to soon turn toward communism as an alternative. Or, if not outright communism, at least massive across-the-board nationalizations of industry and banks. That would immediately scare the neoliberals in the US and force them to allow a New Deal for the American people.

    Psychoanalystus

  18. BILL

    Although from the 60′s this song is pertinent today

    Creedence Clearwater Revival – Effigy – Willy and the Poorboys Album

    Last night
    I saw a fire burning on
    The palace lawn.
    O’er the land
    The humble subjects watched in mixed
    Emotion.

    CHORUS:
    Who is burnin’?
    Who is burnin’?
    Effigy.
    Who is burnin’?
    Who is burnin’?
    Effigy.

    Last night
    I saw the fire spreadin’ to
    The palace door.
    Silent majority
    Weren’t keepin’ quiet
    Anymore.

    CHORUS

    Last night
    I saw the fire spreadin’ to
    The country side.
    In the mornin’
    Few were left to watch
    The ashes die.

    CHORUS

    Why?
    Why?
    Why?
    Effigy.

  19. Chaos

    Hi there,

    I’m spanish, and I can tell you this movement is not really homogeneous. The development was interesting, it started months ago on the net with an increasing exposure of several civil platforms which their main campaing was against major political parties.

    It all materialized in 15 May in a big demonstration along the country (in 60 cities) demanding “real democracy now”. The movement allways leaned to the left more than the right, but as it was not really centralized and not single message it got manipulated by mass media (allways seeking the leader). Then after that the protests materialized in permanent camps specially strong in Madrid and Barcelona, but then there is a strong and small core, of probably more radical left people who unfortunatlly monopolized the movement. And the support of a lot of people who were there casually protesting, speaking, having popular assemblies (in a very inneficient way), etc.

    The experience was interesting but due to the lack of consense in minimal demands, radicalization, etc. it’s losing steam pretty fast.

    But it’s good overall, because people is starting to realize the system is pretty corrupt and is not a real democracy, but a particracy (in almost all Europe, but it gets specially bad in Spain). On the left specially (the right still blaming it all on central government while the corrupted autonomous governments on their hands are looting and destroying the country just like the socialist counterpart). Also specially important in Spain is that people has movilized without the main political parties and syndicates, there is a distint lack of major civil movements due to our history.

    The effects of this will be seen on the long run, as the situation gets worse and worse. While unemployemnt and economical situation it’s pretty bad and probably were the main triggers though, it wasn’t government cuts per se or unemployment that movilized a part of the population (and even raised sympaties until radicalized in a big, big part of the population even if they still vote the main parties), buit the realization of the lack of democracy and strong corruption on the system.

    1. illusionist

      “Also specially important in Spain is that people has movilized without the main political parties and syndicates, there is a distint lack of major civil movements due to our history.”

      Let us just say it is “montezuma’s revenge” and call it a day.

  20. F. Beard

    you do realize that you can only time travel backwards, Skippy

    From what I understand only forward time travel is possible (by slowing one’s local clock).

    …how convenient for the alphabet soup thought[s gang, the solution is always behind us…sigh. Skippy

    Truth is timeless. “Thou shall not steal” shall always be relevant. Try building an economy without it. Ooops! We already did and we still can’t make it work even after 317 years.

    1. skippy

      Nope, only modeling can take you forward. Hence the need for greater computational power and mathematics (see atomic valve/quantum comps, Newtonian, Brownian etc Laws of motion).

      Truth…is meta double speak, Hindu, Buddha, Dreamtime, Abraham, Truth[?], only truthy difference I can see (historically) on a linear scale is a propensity of violence and self awarded greatness slash fear equals love paradigm.

      Steal…as living organisms we steal every day from others to live, as Iontheballpatriot used to say “we are all cannibals” so it behooves us to take smaller bites from each other (all things). I offer myself up to others that reciprocate in the spirit of this idea, its the greedy I steer clear of, they consume for their pleasure, some black holes are never filled….eh.

      Skippy…i.e. models…financial risk models, observer / observed problem, they *seek* the answer they want, need. Ummm now where else have I seen this phenomenon.

      Be well beardy.

  21. rps

    “If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.” Thomas Jefferson

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