From:   Charles <chcreinhardt@gmail.com>
Sent time:   Sunday, October 16, 2011 1:21:07 PM
To:   september17 <september17@googlegroups.com>
Subject:   [september17discuss] Re: Occupy Wall St/Occupy Everything
 

In response to acpollack, it is one my fond hopes that someday, worker

control of the means of production could actually make investment into

different kinds of manufacturing profitable again. There are many

examples from all over the world of different iterations of this idea:

ie. Worker-owned BMW factories in Germany, Mondragon Corporation in

Spain (the largest worker-owned cooperative in the world), etc.

 

I think we can learn from the historical mistakes of the former

empires of Genoa, the Netherlands and England, and come up with a new

modern solution for the tendency of the rate of profit to fall.

 

On Oct 16, 2:54 pm, "acpolla...@juno.com" <acpolla...@juno.com> wrote:

> First, we may need a separate list for these kinds of discussions; the traffic is unbearable.Second, re this insistence that we focus on the banks and only the banks:I sent a friend of mine who's a militant autoworker at Ford the article on how the vote for their new contract was going aganist ratification, in part because of resentment at concessions demands while Ford execs are making boocoup bucks. She replied that one group of her coworkers has started at an "Occupy the Gate" picket at an assembly plant threatened with closure.Does anyone think a shift of power away from Wall Street toward manufacturing bosses would make life any better for autoworkers and the devastated, often people of color neighborhods, around the plants?Plus the notion that workers can or should work to shift power from one section of capital to another is a utopian fantasy, whether propagated by liberal politician charlatans, or by right-wing  libertarians (or fascist demagogues before them).This isn't new or rocket science. Lenin long ago established the supremacy of monopolized finance capital -- but situated it within the crisis of the system as a whole. Finance capital is running the show now, and speculation runs rampant, because in a period of crisis, capital can't be invested as profitably in manufacturing. But believe you me, "our" ruling class would LOVE to be able to get back to a position where they can put that capital back into manufacturing and outcompete the Chinese, the Germans, whoever.And to get to that stage they need war and savage repression of workers a la the 30s to 50s.We, in contrast, need democratic workers' control over capital precisely so we can see where the money is, and decide democratically how to finance the goods and services we need.  

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> ---------- Original Message ----------

> From: Gabriel Johnson <gabj...@gmail.com>

> To: september17@googlegroups.com

> Subject: Re: [september17discuss] Occupy Wall St/Occupy Everything

> Date: Sun, 16 Oct 2011 14:38:16 -0400

>

> Lots of twinkly fingers on this one; even if you don't think reforms are the solution and we need to eliminate all finance and capitalism or whatever, at least know how the stuff works. However, I don't necessarily know if everyone in the square knows about these things; maybe we could pass out some sort of non-ideological information sheets on a few of these topics? (oh god that's going to be impossible for a group of us to agree on, but maybe we can try?)

> Also, I'd really like it if we need to expand, we pick a location more closely interlinked to the financial crisis than Washington Square Park.

> --glj

>

> On Sun, Oct 16, 2011 at 2:13 PM, Charles <chcreinha...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi everyone,

>

> I want to make a few succinct points about my experience at the

> General Assembly in Washington Square last night.

>

> During the debate about whether to occupy Washington Square Park, it

> was plain to see that there are some currents developing in the

> movement that seek to, in some ways, change its character. I applaud

> some of the sentiments behind these currents. However, I believe that

> some aspects of this evolution of the movement are counter-productive

> and could diminish some of the potential strength and symbolic weight

> of the movement's message as we go forward. Here are my opinions

> (shared by many others) about some of these developments:

>

> The strength of this movement and the source of a great deal of its

> popular appeal derives from its name: Occupy Wall Street. The reason

> why people across the country and around the world have so

> resoundingly thrown in their lot with us is because they all

> fundamentally understand that Wall Street is the source of an

> unimaginable amount of suffering around the world, and essentially has

> bought our government.

>

> Furthermore, the reason why so many influential figures in the world

> of finance and economics support this movement (a fact that seems

> counter-intuitive at first), is because anyone with a rudimentary

> understanding of finance knows that what Wall Street has done to the

> global economy over the last thirty years, culminating in the crash of

> 2008, is simply stunning in its nihilism, irresponsibility and greed.

> Never before has such a small amount of people benefited themselves so

> massively from the suffering, impoverishment and deaths of so many

> people around the world. We need to keep the focus on Wall Street and

> the fraud, speculation and and market manipulation they engage in.

>

> Because of this, I worry that this concept of "Occupy Everything"

> means that the movement could be slowly losing focus as time goes on,

> not gaining focus as many of us had hoped. I understand the symmetry

> of "Occupy Everything" when we already have "Occupy San Francisco",

> "Occupy Austin" and "Occupy the Bronx". However, while those movements

> across the country are trying to draw attention to social issues in

> their communities (mostly economic issues), all of those issues are

> powerfully affected by decisions made by money managers on Wall Street

> and Times Square. All of those protesters in these other solidarity

> demonstrations across the country would be occupying Wall Street if

> they could!

>

> The concept of Occupy Everything threatens to turn the focus away from

> the crimes of Wall Street and the international dictatorship of

> finance and turn the lens on ourselves. We are great, but we're not

> that great. Do not turn the movement into an inward-looking,

> amorphous, self-congratulatory carnival focused primarily on the non-

> hierarchical democratic process we are using to organize the movement

> itself. This, in my view, is a form of nihilism. It is a form of

> retreat from a complex economic reality that some have decided that

> they don't even want to try to understand, a retreat into a comforting

> social construct. How can our critique rise above an inarticulate howl

> of pain if we are unable to even describe what happened to us?

>

> May I suggest that if you have been participating in this movement for

> a whole month and you still don't know what a credit default swap is,

> or what the Glass-Steagall Act was, then it is incumbent upon you to

> educate yourself about those things. This movement is and should be

> about what the financial sector has done to this country and the

> world. This movement is about the 99% and it's partially about us and

> our suffering. But the metanym "the 99%" is meant to draw focus to the

> 1%, specifically Wall Street financial institutions and hedge funds,

> who profit off of our suffering and are the world's biggest threat to

> global stability and prosperity.

>

> There is a story behind that story, which is the slow starvation of

> the American economy since the 1970's through outsourcing and the

> refusal of policy-makers since Reagan to invest in making our country

> and workers more competitive through infrastructure investment,

> investment in education and the enactment of policies to make our job

> market flexible and yet safe for workers and families (flexicurity in

> Denmark is an example).

>

> Data show that median family income declined by 6.7 percent over the

> past two years, and the reported unemployment rate is at 9.1 percent

> in the October report and 46.2 million Americans are living in

> poverty, which is the worst in 50 years.

>

> The United States has been in a recession really for ten years, and

> that recession was masked by artificially low interest rates, which

> made Wall Street more fabulously wealthy than it's ever been, and

> simultaneously prevented policy-makers from realizing that the only

> real solution was to invest in the real productive economy of the

> country.

>

> The collapse of this artificial prosperity is a direct result of the

> prioritization of Wall Street over every other sector of the economy,

> including those sectors (renewable or sustainable energy) that we need

> for our long-term survival. Now the debt has moved to the sovereign

> level, and when Greece defaults on its debt, there is a distinct

> possibility that we will have another massive stock market crash,

> impoverishing even more of the 99% and wildly enriching well-

> positioned Wall Street firms even more.

>

> For the above reasons, I plead with you to keep the focus of this

> movement on Wall Street and not on ourselves. If we don't keep finance

> and its control over government paramount in our minds, we will slowly

> but surely become irrelevant.

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