Above, Richard Wolff discusses the crash of 2008 and the attempts by the ruling class to shore up the economy in the following year and tells a story about the economics that led to the crisis.
Do you think such a crash can never happen again? It will happen. How prepared will you be when it comes, and I’m not talking about your water filter or K-rations. I’m asking, how prepared are you and yours to organize to take over and operate industry not to serve our would-be masters’ insatiable hunger for profit and power, but to meet human need?
Chances are, the answer is “not very.” However, we working people must organize now, not just to survive, but for a future free of wage slavery. There’s no need for a return — ever again — to the industrial dark ages in which we are cut off from the fruits of our own labor, if we organize right.
Our labor has built the world we know today, but because we followed the 1%’s blueprint, we, under their direction, and under the duress of the threat of termination — exclusion from access to the commodified essentials of life — created a monster, their monster, a social structure of massive injustice and inequality. We must change directions, and it will require mass action. It’s a tricky proposition to be sure, but a very necessary way to go. [END] Permalink: Richard Wolff – Capitalism Hits the Fan
…is the GOP digging its own political grave as they lead the US back into a hugely unpopular “Atlas Shrugged” scenario. A few thoughts:
1) The Two-Party System Isn’t Working If a democracy’s health can be measured in part by the number of ideologically coherent and socially relevant political parties it contains (i. e. if its parties more or less accurately represent the diverse views and interests of the of larger society), the USA is not doing so well. That’s something to remember here as the branches of the US government teeter between being controlled by the center-right Democrats, who mostly don’t do what the working people of the US want, and the extreme-right Republicans, who are now strongly influenced by a faction willing to plunge the country into chaos, possibly for its own sake, but especially for the purpose of preventing the “undeserving poor” (especially, continuing a centuries-old tradition of highly institutionalized racism in the US, the non-white “undeserving poor”) from receiving social benefits. With more parties from which to choose (including, hopefully, some representing views outside of the neoliberal consensus), all parties would be further away from controlling enough seats on their own to be able to dictate legislative outcomes unilaterally unless those parties and their ideas happened to be (for at least one election cycle, anyway) overwhelmingly popular.
2) There Should Be No Doubt About Blame Polls are now showing that people in the US “mostly” blame Republicans for the shutdown. We could call that a start, but since there is absolutely no one else who could conceivably be blamed for it, we could also give it an “F.” The shutdown originated in the House of Representatives, which is populated by a majority of Republicans, over an established law that they (some, literally) consider to be the work of the “Antichrist,” but which has already been upheld as Constitutional by the (right-leaning!) Supreme Court. The GOP’s demand is that the President “negotiate” over this law, which again, has already been passed and tested via established processes, or else the government, excepting “essential services,” will remain at a standstill.*
3) The GOP Is Extremely Concerned that US Voters Will Like More Than Dislike Obamacare Why is the GOP making such a stand on the ACA, a. k. a. Obamacare? A look back to the last Federal shutdown may provide answers. As you may recall, the previous shutdown (in the 1990s) also had to do with a GOP/Dem dispute over health/medical reform, and, if neocon William Kristol’s now infamous memo on the subject was any indication, it’s because Republicans view the success of such a reform effort as a probable death knell for their party. Conservatives believe that if the Dems’ plan works, it will fatally impact the Republicans’ image by casting extreme doubt on their most basic principles in voters’ minds. Personally, although I would strongly prefer a public option to compulsory private insurance (with nearly uselessly high deductibles in many cases), I think they’re basically right about that, but there is a time when you just have to let go and not try to bring everyone else down with you. Taking the working people of the US hostage is not a solution and can only hurt the GOP in the long run, possibly even more than the US citizenry’s hypothetical love of the benefits of the ACA itself. (Complicating this situation is that the ACA as enacted is much more akin to the GOP’s compromise plan from the 90s than, say, a single-payer system, so possibly this entire spectacle is a charade intended to camouflage both parties’ march to the right, but that is a discussion for another time.)
4) The Tea Party Is a Monstrosity For additional background, below is a video of Senate proceedings from May 2013 in which you can see some of the dynamics of the current impasse forming. Rand Paul, who has all the presence and charm of a wind-up toy, gives speeches that seem more appropriate to a Tea Party rally (or a GOP Presidential primary campaign), as they appear to address his ignorant, class-confused base directly (rather than the other Senators). Meanwhile, Ted Cruz repeatedly refuses to submit to established process because he rightfully fears that if the Senate considers a vote based on a simple majority, his side will lose out. (Note to Cruz: that is how voting works. If your party had won more seats, maybe you wouldn’t have to worry about it, but they didn’t, so stop obstructing.) Some other Republican Senators offer nominal opposition, but in the end, their actions will speak louder than their words.
*A note on striking and shutdowns: there are times when it can be considered acceptable to act out strategies that defy established processes. For instance, when workers want more from their relatively wealthy and powerful employers, their only recourse may be a work stoppage (which is still a risky proposition, as employers tend to have far greater economic reserves on which to draw to survive such a standoff). The key element differentiating such a scenario from the GOP-led shutdown, however, is social justice. In other words, does the established process have an inherent bias toward one party or another, and if so, does such a bias have a socially equalizing effect, balancing out some other power imbalance, or does it actually exacerbate existing imbalances? If it’s the latter, it may be time to shut it down and recalibrate the process to prevent the compounding of injustices. In no way can the current shutdown, which is led by representatives of the wealthy elite for their own class interests, be considered to be a fight for social justice, but for the preservation of privilege and inequality. [END] Permalink: The US Government Shutdown of 2013: That Giant Scraping Sound…
(Footage compiled by BuildingWhat.org, music by Slothy (“Professor Jones and Building Seven”))
In case you’re entirely new to the information behind the now twelve-year-old slogan, “9/11 was an inside job,” you might begin by noting that not just two but three World Trade Center buildings (out of seven) fell on the day of the September 11th attacks. You should remember this always, because if the emphasis of the capitalist media is any indication, you are not supposed to know this.
World Trade Center 7, a part of the World Trade Center complex, was a roughly fifty-story skyscraper, fifty stories being about five times the height of the largest building in most counties of the United States. At about 5:30 PM on September 11th, 2001, this giant high-rise, having never been hit by a plane, imploded at nearly free-fall speed almost straight down, accompanied by large clouds of finely pulverized concrete. The building had sustained damage from falling debris earlier in the day, but the sudden and catastrophic nature of its collapse as well as characteristics such as sequenced puffs of smoke running down the sides of it as it fell strongly suggest the detonation of explosives inside the building just prior to and during its final moments. Please see numerous other 9/11-related videos on this site for more information about the technical details of this and others of the events of 9/11, or view the full lecture by physicist Steven Jones* which was sampled in the music track above further down in this post. Below are some questions to get you started from someone who has looked at this information critically for a number of years (me).
First, if the collapse of World Trade Center 7 was the work of Osama bin Laden, why, despite the saturation of all capitalist news media for months with inordinate amounts of other footage of the attacks on New York City, was the first time that you ever heard about Building Seven probably on a quote-unquote “conspiracy” video like this one? Similarly, why did the 9/11 Commission, which was tasked with providing a full explanation of the events of 9/11, not mention a major event like the collapse of Building Seven even one time in their final report? Why has the “official” hypothesis that fire caused its collapse continued to be upheld by government officials in the face of glaringly contradictory data, and even after a majority of Federal experts who had been tasked with studying it concluded that fire was unlikely to be an accurate explanation of its collapse? Are there somethings that the rulers of the U. S. are trying to hide about this event, and is the collapse of Building Seven a window into those secrets?
Furthermore, Building Seven was a highly secure facility which housed the offices of top-level businesses as well as Federal agencies such as the CIA and IRS. If the collapse of Building Seven was due to a controlled demolition, who would have had the means, motive, and opportunity to pull it off? If not Osama bin Laden and his ragtag band of accomplices, who, in contravention of the basic principles of terrorism, denied any involvement in the 9/11 attacks, then who?
Cui bono? (Who benefits?)
*Steven Jones, like not an insignificant number of others in the 9/11 Truth movement (or more than one might expect, anyway), is (or at least was at the time of the above conference) a Reaganite conservative. This goes to show, in my opinion, that people at all levels of socio-political consciousness, including the very naive, can be attracted to the radicalizing inquiry that is the 9/11 Skeptics or 9/11 Truth movement (which, in my opinion, should be understood not as the movement that has the truth about 9/11, but the one that is searching for it after having rejected the official version). This is primarily because, like a layoff that just doesn’t let you pay the bills anymore, physics is physics, and data are data. Where you go with that information, how you interpret it and incorporate that interpretation into your understanding of the socio-political world, whatever that might be when you first encounter it, is another story.
As I mentioned in my last post, I’ll be preparing a lengthier statement on my observations of the successes and failures of what could be called contemporary “conspiracy” research and related social movements and theories as time allows, but I anticipate that it won’t be too far away. For the time being, I will write that although I can’t help but feel disappointed that the more than five years of fairly intense “underground” 9/11 Truth activism from tens of thousands of participants who helped to spread questions and data about 9/11 between 2001 and about 2006, which is when it started getting onto the radar of the capitalist media, despite the general socio-political wake-up call that it gave to millions of individual citizens, did not more quickly give rise to a sustained movement for social justice, I also can’t help but feel encouraged that it contributed to some measure of positive social upheavals. In any case, the lessons of the post-Tea Party, post-Occupy era speak to numerous obstacles which must still be overcome by those of us who are concerned with developing and putting into practice an effective and sustained response to the overwhelming class defeat, mounting austerity policies, and general social counter-revolution which have been burying U. S. workers since the 1970s.
Welcome (or welcome again) to EvanLong.net. This site went live three years ago today, and this summer, I’m planning to update it and make some changes to it. By fall, I’m also planning to release a follow-up of sorts to 2007′s “The Columbine Cause.” Unfortunately, there have not been major recent advances with the Columbine mystery. Rather, the follow-up will serve primarily as a commentary on the history and current state of alternative politics and social movements in the US, where I believe various camps of the “conspiracy” movement have made positive contributions to people’s struggles, and where I believe some not-so-positive groups have used “conspiracy” arguments to advance socially oppressive agendas, among other topics. [END] Permalink: Three Year Anniversary of EvanLong.net
In 1905, industrial unionists met in Chicago to found a labor union aimed at organizing all workers, and the Industrial Workers of the World, or IWW, was the result. Aiming for the creation of a directly democratic, worker-owned economy within the shell of the old, hierarchical capitalist system, they succeeded in mobilizing workers from all walks of life into some of the most successful labor actions in U. S. history. Bypass the broken political system, say the Wobblies, and organize on the job — where you are robbed! [END] Permalink: The Wobblies
Metanoia’s “Human Resources,” a follow-up to “Psywar,” concerns those social systems currently in effect which tend to induce a transformation in the free-born, natural human beings who enter them into spiritually broken worker-consumer drones and the behaviorist psychological theories which contributed directly to their development. (Contrary to widespread misconception, the corporate jargon term in question, “human resources,” does not refer to “resources for humans” but rather, “those resources which are human.”) As the gears of this terrible machine turn, a certain type of “progress” is made, one which leads directly toward the total enslavement of mankind. “Human Resources” is a fairly direct confrontation of the non-recognition of the intrinsic value of life which lies at the heart of psychopathy. [END] Permalink: Human Resources: Social Engineering in the 20th Century
United Church Minister Reverend Kevin Annett stars in this feature about the mass murder, torture and cultural annihilation which have been committed by European colonial interests since their invasion of the land which is widely known today as North America. No matter how much you may think you know about the atrocities committed against American Indians, this video will probably open your eyes to an darker side of the quote-unquote “civilizing” of the New World than even the most cynical among us might expect to find. [END] Permalink: Unrepentant: Kevin Annett and Canada’s Genocide
This documentary video about the Palestinian-Zionist conflict serves as a potent aid to reflection on the Nazi-style police state which has been inflicted upon the long-peaceful Arabs dwelling in what various religions have referred to as the “holy land.” The Zionist government in the Middle East has built an enormous wall of separation throughout Palestine as part of a brutal terror campaign against the Palestinians. The Zionist program of full-spectrum dominance includes rewarding its citizens for helping to conquer the occupied territories via generous subsidies on brand-new housing within them as well as less subtle tactics such as military curfews and murder. To what incredible shame the Zionists must be host beneath their murderous zealotry as the world looks upon their crimes in horror and contempt! [END] Permalink: The Iron Wall
Although much more conservative and restrained than, say, “Psywar,” this presentation, which builds upon the research of David Robb, raises some important questions about the relationship between Hollywood and the Pentagon. [END] Permalink: Operation Hollywood