Archive for the ‘Off Blog’ Category

What is behind the economic crisis (Part 1)

November 9, 2012 Leave a comment

Ross Wolfe has posed four questions on his blog on the nature of economic crisis that I found very interesting. I want to offer my thought on them. Today I will address the first two questions.

1. Do we live in a crisis today? If so, what sort of crisis — political? economic? social?

If several simultaneously, how do these crises interrelate?

In other words, what effect does the present global economic downturn have on prospects for politicization? If it results in political radicalization, does it tend toward the Right or toward the Left?

Oppositely, does the absence of a viable leftist alternative today change the character of the social or economic crisis?

What sort of social consequences has the economic crisis generated, in terms of classes? Why the discourse (ideology) of “the disappearing middle class”? At a political level, has this social upheaval led to anything in the way of a renewed “class consciousness”? Is class still even important?

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Categories: Off Blog

Reply to HettGutt_MRMarxist on my previous post, “Clueless”

October 26, 2012 Leave a comment

The redittor, HettGutt_MRMarxist, took exception with my argument in my last post on Bernanke’s monetarist theory of deflation. Since the writer raised several important points critiquing my argument, I thought it important  to reproduce comments here in their full form, along with my responses.

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Review: Marx’s Economics for Anarchists, by Wayne Price

November 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Wayne Price

Wayne Price’s “Marx’s Economics for Anarchists” makes the fatal error of treating Marx’s Capital as a description of how the economy works. This mistake Price makes is on the order of treating Einstein’s Theory as a description of how H-Bombs work. I suppose, in some limited fashion, Marx does give something approaching a description of “how capitalism works.” But, this was neither his project, nor even the most significant aspect of his life works. Even from the point of view of an anarchist like Price and his audience, what Marx explains in Capital of economic interest is insignificant.

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Declaration of the Occupation of New York City

October 2, 2011 6 comments

Declaration of the Occupation of New York City

This document was accepted by the NYC General Assembly on september 29, 2011

As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.

As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.
They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.
They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.
They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.
They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices.
They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.
They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.
They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.
They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.
They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.
They have sold our privacy as a commodity.
They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press. They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.
They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.
They have donated large sums of money to politicians, who are responsible for regulating them.
They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.
They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives or provide relief in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantial profit.
They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.
They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.
They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.
They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad. They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.
They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts. *

To the people of the world,

We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.

Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.

To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.

Join us and make your voices heard!

*These grievances are not all-inclusive.

Categories: Off Blog, Uncategorized

Voices from Occupy Wall Street posted to Gonzo Times

October 2, 2011 2 comments

I am posting a series of interviews I did last weekend at the Occupy Wall Street event in New York City. I want to present these interviews to folks not because I think the folks I interviewed have profound insight into this event, but because I think they are authentic voices of the event itself.

I went down to New York City with a desire to see the action for myself, unfiltered — to understand, based on the opinions of the participants themselves, just what they were trying to accomplish with their action. My questions were simple and direct: Why are you here? What do you do? Why did you choose to protest on Wall Street and not in Washington? How do you think Wall Street effects it control over American politics? How did you get to the point where you decided to take action? Who are the influential voices in political development, e.g., who do you read?

I had hoped to understand both the strengths and limitations of the event without inserting myself into the discussion. Therefore, I had no agenda, no goal beyond listening, no opinion on the topics the participant spoke to. I think the result can be very enlightening both for similar events now planned or in progress in various cities around the country.

You find the interviews here

“None of us know what triggered this attack”: How President Obama revised history

January 13, 2011 Leave a comment

President Obama speaking at the memorial service for the victims of the outrage in Tucson, Arizona. Having lulled us all by detailing the accomplishments and lives of the victims, he then proceeds to erase from our memory, and from history itself, two years of deliberate effort by the Party of Washington and the Party of Wall Street to whip their respective supporters into a frenzy of hatred and vitriol for purely partisan purposes, and as a means of exploiting the divisions of society to rule over society:

For the truth is none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack. None of us can know with any certainty what might have stopped these shots from being fired, or what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of a violent man’s mind. Yes, we have to examine all the facts behind this tragedy. We cannot and will not be passive in the face of such violence. We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of such violence in the future. (Applause.) But what we cannot do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on each other. (Applause.) That we cannot do. (Applause.) That we cannot do. As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let’s use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy and remind ourselves of all the ways that our hopes and dreams are bound together.

Richard Wolff: Unemployment I: The Cost of Economic Crisis (Video)

January 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Richard Wolff gives his take on the pressing problem of unemployment.

Unfortunately, he could have phoned this lazy lecture in and stayed at home. Despite being a Marxist, he adds nothing to our understanding of the problem in any fashion. He even goes so far to identify exactly the wrong problem: which he identifies as a lack of jobs; when it clearly is not a jobs problem but the overworking of one portion of the population even as the other can find no work.

The result is a painful, predictable, and uncomfortably embarrassing performance. Brace yourself.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

A Typical Day for PFC Bradley Manning

December 20, 2010 Leave a comment

From here

PFC Manning is currently being held in maximum custody. Since arriving at the Quantico Confinement Facility in July of 2010, he has been held under Prevention of Injury (POI) watch.

His cell is approximately six feet wide and twelve feet in length. 

The cell has a bed, a drinking fountain, and a toilet.

The guards at the confinement facility are professional. At no time have they tried to bully, harass, or embarrass PFC Manning. Given the nature of their job, however, they do not engage in conversation with PFC Manning.

At 5:00 a.m. he is woken up (on weekends, he is allowed to sleep until 7:00 a.m.). Under the rules for the confinement facility, he is not allowed to sleep at anytime between 5:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. If he attempts to sleep during those hours, he will be made to sit up or stand by the guards.

He is allowed to watch television during the day. The television stations are limited to the basic local stations. His access to the television ranges from 1 to 3 hours on weekdays to 3 to 6 hours on weekends.

He cannot see other inmates from his cell. He can occasionally hear other inmates talk. Due to being a pretrial confinement facility, inmates rarely stay at the facility for any length of time. Currently, there are no other inmates near his cell.

From 7:00 p.m. to 9:20 p.m., he is given correspondence time. He is given access to a pen and paper. He is allowed to write letters to family, friends, and his attorneys.

Each night, during his correspondence time, he is allowed to take a 15 to 20 minute shower.

On weekends and holidays, he is allowed to have approved visitors see him from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m.

He is allowed to receive letters from those on his approved list and from his legal counsel. If he receives a letter from someone not on his approved list, he must sign a rejection form. The letter is then either returned to the sender or destroyed.

He is allowed to have any combination of up to 15 books or magazines. He must request the book or magazine by name. Once the book or magazine has been reviewed by the literary board at the confinement facility, and approved, he is allowed to have someone on his approved list send it to him. The person sending the book or magazine to him must do so through a publisher or an approved distributor such as Amazon. They are not allowed to mail the book or magazine directly to PFC Manning.

Due to being held on Prevention of Injury (POI) watch:

PFC Manning is held in his cell for approximately 23 hours a day.

The guards are required to check on PFC Manning every five minutes by asking him if he is okay. PFC Manning is required to respond in some affirmative manner. At night, if the guards cannot see PFC Manning clearly, because he has a blanket over his head or is curled up towards the wall, they will wake him in order to ensure he is okay.

He receives each of his meals in his cell.

He is not allowed to have a pillow or sheets. However, he is given access to two blankets and has recently been given a new mattress that has a built-in pillow.

He is not allowed to have any personal items in his cell.

He is only allowed to have one book or one magazine at any given time to read in his cell. The book or magazine is taken away from him at the end of the day before he goes to sleep.

He is prevented from exercising in his cell. If he attempts to do push-ups, sit-ups, or any other form of exercise he will be forced to stop.

He does receive one hour of “exercise” outside of his cell daily. He is taken to an empty room and only allowed to walk. PFC Manning normally just walks figure eights in the room for the entire hour. If he indicates that he no long feels like walking, he is immediately returned to his cell.

When PFC Manning goes to sleep, he is required to strip down to his boxer shorts and surrender his clothing to the guards. His clothing is returned to him the next morning.

The full story by Glenn Greenwald

Categories: Off Blog, Uncategorized

The vegetative State

December 13, 2010 1 comment

If anyone was wondering if the economy is completely brain-dead and continuing to function solely on Washington’s extraordinary intervention, just have a look at these charts provided by The Global Macro Monitor blog, via Barry Ritholtz. According to the research of Steve Keen and others, employment growth has a .67 correlation with the rate of debt expansion. Private employment growth is unlikely unless we see clear signs of private debt expansion, but the source of debt expansion at present is that of the wholly unproductive national government sector.

The author of the post writes,

If, as the President says, ‘the flow of credit is the lifeblood of our economy”, the country would have died in 2009 had not the policymakers taken the extraordinary measures they did. These charts illustrate how close we were to the abyss and should give a clearer perspective on what Bernanke & Co. were/are up against. They are heroes, in our book, for stabilizing the situation and pulling us back from the abyss. The jury is still out, however, on long-term structural adjustment and preventing a global sovereign debt crisis.

We disagree with the author’s characterization of the 2009 intervention by Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve Bank — and the intervention by Washington generally. Of course, this disagreement stems from our differences over whether stabilization and “long-term structural adjustment” is preferable to the “abyss”. The only card Washington has in its hands right now is the constant, coordinated, relentless repetition from every “credible” source that the collapse of the bloated financial sector must lead to chaos and social breakdown.

Make no mistake, Washington and its supporters and paid hacks want you to believe that the economic security of the nation rests on these action, but the Too Big To Fail are being rescued in order to buy time for them to pass the “structural adjustment” of this crisis on to you. All the actions of Washington thus far has been aimed at this effort and none other.

This effort to spread panic and terror among the population — to cut off discussion and dissent — is no different than that which has you taking off your shoes and submitting to the impersonal gropes of would-be employees of McDonald’s just to board a plane — as well as that designed to make you acquiesce to the murder of thousands of Iraqi civilians and Afghanistan villagers.

Operation BufferZone?

December 12, 2010 3 comments

Reposted from here

I would ask something of you. I would ask that you join with Anonymous in fighting the companies, industries, and individuals that would like to control the information available to you. That IS what the Anonymous attacks are all about. There really IS a concerted effort taking place to censor the Internet, and decide what YOU are allowed to know and experience. How does that make you feel? Personally, it makes me retch.

I understand the fear you may have in opening your computer to being part of the (DDoS attack). It is an understandable fear. I get it. However, there are other ways that you can participate in this fight without relinquishing control of your computer. This is a fight that concerns you, as both a consumer, and a self-determining individual. The world, since the inception of the Internet, has become a much larger one for all of us. Would you stand aside and let a small group of men, women, and inhuman corporations dictate to you how much of that world you are allowed to experience? I would think not; and, rest assured that their intentions are to do exactly that.

“We’ve got to disconnect the American Internet from all traffic coming in from this country.” – Joe Lieberman

Senator Lieberman then went on to cite China as an example of this procedure already being in practice. Do we want America to follow in the foot-steps of China?

In a statement about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Sarah Palin had this to say,

“He is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands. His past posting of classified documents revealed the identity of more than 100 Afghan sources to the Taliban. Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders?”

In Palin’s mind information appears to be dangerous. Would she have us begin rounding-up librarians next? Yes, she probably would. Especially if those librarians were promoting information that exposes the full-truth, and not the shadow of truth that the “establishment” likes to perpetuate. A perfect example of this shadow truth is the blatant lie, being stated by every American news company, that Anonymous is composed of “1000 members world-wide”. The real truth is that Anonymous is 9000 strong, and with the rapid increase in downloads of the XerXes software (the DDoS attacker), and Anonymous Friend (IP blocker), there is a clear indication that their numbers are expanding at an exponential rate.

Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, and Amazon have all either blocked accounts of Julian Assange, or canceled accounts pertaining to WikiLeaks. This is an absurdity, since they continue to let websites supporting the KKK still link with them. That’s right folks! If they have their way, you will not be able to learn the truth about your government’s actions, but, you can still donate to a racist organization. Funny. I thought transparency of government was required within the U.S. Constitution, and that discrimination was against the law. Apparently not where the Internet is concerned, or through the eyes of Visa or MasterCard.

The method I would suggest, if you choose not to be part of the front-line of attack, would be to USE YOUR VOICE, and indicate your support for Anonymous. The following is a list of companies, or individuals, with links to their Facebook accounts, that have supported the closure of WikiLeaks, and are lobbying heavily for Internet censorship:

Now is the time for you to speak out, as loud as you can, against these machiavellian would be deciders of your information. Here’s how you can use your voice as an effective weapon:

1) Email or call your Representative and Senators and let them know that you want an OPEN and UNCONTROLLED/MANIPULATED INTERNET

2) Use your existing social networking sites to locate the business pages for these individuals and companies and FLAG THEM as “Abusive”, “Spam” and then “Block” them. I reported the business pages as “Spam or Scam”, and the individual’s pages as “Hate Speech” targeting “Me or a friend”.

3) Create new pages on your social networking sites just so you can block these information controllers. This would be the most time consuming activation of your voice of them all, but, it will be very effective, especially if you use Anonymous Friend to block your IP first, so that the webmaster does not know you are effectively spamming your dislike.

4) Tell your friends to do the same. Use your Internet to spread the word. Use your phone to spread the word. Get everyone you know on-board, and we can reassert our right to learn.

If we stand together now, we can win this war before the fight becomes more difficult!


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