Sent time:   Tuesday, October 18, 2011 10:59:33 AM
Subject:   Re: [september17discuss] Demands Discussion [was MoveOn Execs Now...]

I will be at the demands meeting tonight at 7pm near the red cube and

also the GA

for the record althought my picture is in the times i think demands at

this point are a tactical error

feel free to call me about i

914 391 1010


-----Original Message-----

From: gail zawacki <>

To: september17 <>

Sent: Tue, Oct 18, 2011 12:30 pm

Subject: Re: [september17discuss] Demands Discussion [was MoveOn Execs



Excellent points, Shaista!  And let's throw in privatization of the

prisons and the sick, phony "war on drugs", which has been infuriating

me for years.  If drug abuse is a health issue, why are people put in

prison for it?  If drugs were legal, and taxed, you'd have enough

revenue to fund rehab programs for people who want them!  And you'd get

rid of so much violence, and the need for so many police!




On Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 12:05 PM, shaista husain

&lt;; wrote:

That is great Gail, a tax on carbon yes yes, let's speak more about

taxes... more than 75% of our TAXES --go to war machine supporting

apartheid and whole scale war on my peoples.


Total Defense Spending – Between 2001 and 2011 the United States spent

$7.2 trillion dollars (in constant FY2012 dollars) on defense, including

the Pentagon’s annual base budget, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and

nuclear weapons-related activities of the Department of Energy (Function

050). See below for a breakout of the base budget, nuclear weapons, and

war costs.  The Pentagon’s “base” budget – The Pentagon’s annual budget

(Function 051) – not including war costs or DoE’s nuclear weapons

activities – grew from $290.5 billion in FY2000, to $526.1 billion in

FY2011. That’s a nominal increase of $235.6 billion (or 81 percent) and

a “real” (inflation-adjusted) increase of $160.3 billion, or 43 percent. 


Department of Energy – Annual funding for the nuclear weapons activities

rose more slowly between FY2000 and FY2011, from $12.4 billion to $19.0

billion. That’s a nominal increase of $6.6 billion (or 53 percent) and a

“real” increase of $3.3 billion, or 21 percent. 

War Costs – The total costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,

including the Department of Defense and all other federal agencies

(Department of State, USAID, etc.) will reach $1.26 trillion by the end

of the current fiscal year (FY 2011) on September 30, 2011. Of this,

$797.3 billion is for Iraq, and $459.8 billion is for Afghanistan. In

constant FY2012 dollars, the totals through FY2011 are $1.36 trillion,

$869 billion for Iraq and $487.6 billion for Afghanistan.



These figures, or ones like them, are well known and fairly simple to

track. Both the Department of Defense and the Office of Management and

Budget (OMB) provide data on Pentagon and other military-related

spending as part of the annual federal budget request released in

February each year. The Congressional Research Service does an excellent

job of analyzing the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. NPP also

does its own war cost analysis on its “Cost of War” website.


Homeland Security – One security spending figure that isn’t well known

is the amount the U.S. government has spent to date on “homeland

security.”  This is because homeland security funding flows through

literally dozens of federal agencies and not just through the Department

of Homeland Security (DHS). For example, of the $71.6 billion requested

for “homeland security” in FY2012, only $37 billion is funded through

DHS. A substantial part is funded through the Department of Defense –

$18.1 billion in FY2012 – and others, including Health and Human

Services ($4.6 billion) and the Department of Justice ($4.1 billion).


Because tracking homeland security funding is so difficult, starting

back in FY2003 OMB began looking across the entire budget and providing

summary tables of the annual request by agency. This analysis does not,

however, provide historical data nor any cumulative funding figures. By

going back and reviewing each annual request, however, NPP has been able

to determine total government homeland security funding since the

September 11 attacks.


Funding for homeland security has risen from $16 billion in FY2001 to

$71.6 billion requested for FY2012. Adjusted for inflation, the United

States has spent $635.9 billion on homeland security since FY2001. Of

this $163.8 billion has been funded within the Pentagon’s annual budget.

The remaining $472.1 billion has been funded through other federal

agencies. For full details of the FY2012 homeland security request, see

the “Homeland Security Mission Funding by Agency and Budget Account”

appendix to the FY2012






On Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 11:56 AM, gail zawacki

&lt;; wrote:

Aside from tackling climate change and creating good jobs, a tax on

carbon can be structured to benefit the poor, who can least afford it.  

Given the huge role of energy in our economy, a tax has the potential to

really transform society, as well as reduce, if not eliminate,




On Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 11:46 AM, Ashley Anderson

&lt;; wrote:

Gail's idea could be financed by a heavy price (tax) on carbon, which is

regarded by climate activists as the only real way to reduce greenhouse

gas emissions at the scale demanded by the laws of physics. It doesn't

create another BS market either, the way the abominable cap and trade

would have. The rebuilding of our energy infrastructure with a focus on

supporting localized (and thus more democratically-controlled) energy

production would produce a great deal of jobs. 




On Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 9:36 AM, gail zawacki

&lt;; wrote:

If jobs are a demand, let's demand that government invest in clean

energy, and rebuilding the grid to modernize it and make it friendly to

solar, wind and other alternatives.  Let's have the government STOP

subsidizing coal, oil, and "natural" gas, and instead support high speed



Plenty of jobs in that!



On Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 11:28 AM,

&lt;; wrote:

Rule of thumb, shared by socialists and the best of the

anarchosyndicalists: control is vested in the lowest level possible. So

although we have to seize the resources (sit down! sit down! --

channeling the old CIO song) of national banks and governments, and

we'll have to agree democratically on what are fair shares across the

nation (and globe), actual management of a neighborhood's schools,

clinics, etc., including how to divvy up public funds, can be done to a

great extent at that neighborhood (or at worst regional) level.


---------- Original Message ----------

From: David DeGraw &lt;;




Subject: Re: [september17discuss] Demands Discussion [was MoveOn Execs


Date: Tue, 18 Oct 2011 11:23:30 -0400



if we open w/ a demand pushing for "big government" we will be labeled

and dismissed as by many people within the movement.� imo, this would be

a critical error.� as i understand it, a major uniting theme is breaking

up concentrated, oligarchic power, hence many are unified under a banner

of decentralized power.� with this in mind, it may be more appealing to

people if we pushed for community-based employment projects run outside

of Federal / big government bureaucracy.


On 10/18/2011 10:44 AM, Snafu wrote:



I am changing the subject of this thread to split it from the discussion

on cooptation, otherwise it is too messy.


Andy, I am in total agreement. I think the positions on this listserv

are closer than we think. However, the Demands Committee met on Monday

and I think it agreed to pass as a first demand a "National Jobs Program

with direct government employment." I had to leave at a certain point

but it seems to me that this point has been approved, am I right?


Using similar arguments I have been using in this discussion, I

explained why I disagreed with a neo-Keynesian approach. A demand of

this kind has two major flaws imho:


1. It keeps laying the emphasis on labor and quantitative growth,

downplaying the environmental crisis and the limitedness of natural

resources. Let's not forget that capitalism cannot grow without living

labor so labor under capitalism is part of the problem (as much as of

the solution).

2. It centralizes this growth by expanding the reach and power of the

federal government.


This means that internally this demand will meet the opposition of the

environmental, anarchist, and libertarian wings of this movement.


Rearticulating a program of demands by rooting it in a strategic vision

of a society built upon the commons-- a society concerned with�

"reproduction" and "repair" rather than growth and expansion--will allow

us to keep many of these differences together.


It will take time to articulate this program in a realistic way, but I

think it is worth giving it a try.


Love you all,




On 10/18/11 8:15 AM, wrote:



I think snafu's very crucial points can be�made to fit a program of


While we certainly need many new jobs for much needed infrastructure,

what we need far more are more service jobs: teachers, childcare

workers, homecare workers, paid maternity/paternity and care for the

elderly�leave, etc., etc. Even -- or rather especially -- a new Civilian

Conservation Corps to repair the environment. AND paid cultural workers.

Capitalism, because of its crisis of profitability, can't make a buck in

making things. So the money got funneled into speculative (financial)

investments. One reason it can't make a buck is we're TOO productive:

too many factories turning out too many things chasing the same

underpaid consumers. Ergo, crisis and trillions traded every day at the

punch of a button with no productive result.

But that's not our problem. We say, Jobs for ALL! And if you claim you

don't have the money, let us see your (electronic) accounting�books. And

WE'LL decide how to allocate that money to pay for the jobs listed above

at union wages and benefits.

(Notice that nowhere in the above do I pander to the "end the Fed"

right-wing libertarian demagogy. Or the liberal "revive Glass-Steagall"








---------- Original Message ----------

From: Doug Singsen &lt;;


Subject: Re: [september17discuss] MoveOn Execs Now Official Spokespeople

For OWS, According to MSM Execs

Date: Mon, 17 Oct 2011 20:58:23 -0400


I've said this before on this list, but it's an error to assume that

reforms act as brakes on movements. Often, reforms only increase the

militancy of movements. The passage of civil rights legislation in the

mid-sixties didn't lead to the demobilization of the civil rights

movement. The legislation basically granted all of the reforms that the

movement had previously demanded, but that didn't mean that it was over

or out of steam. Instead, it actually escalated, transitioning into the

Black Power movement. When the demands of the civil rights movement were

met, the movement didn't stop, it just led to the realization that the

needs the movement was trying to address actually went much deeper than

just formal legal equality, but actually encompassed material inequality

and structural racism and power relations, which the movement then went

on to challenge.


In Egypt, Mubarak and then the army repeatedly made concessions to the

movement, but that did not stop it from continuing either. (It's still

very much ongoing, although you wouldn't know it from the MSM.) When FDR

passed the Wagner Act, that didn't calm the labor movement down, it set

off a massive wave of strikes, occupations and insurrections. And so on

and so on.


A lot of people at OWS have said that we shouldn't have demands because

if they grant our demands, we won't be able to continue the movement.

This has always struck me as incredibly silly. Demands are not set in

stone. There is no rule that says that you can only come up with demands

once, and that you can never raise more demands later. That's not how

movements work and never has been.





On Mon, Oct 17, 2011 at 4:05 PM, Snafu &lt;; wrote:

Right, but I do not want to have a new New Deal. Even admitting that

this would be feasible nowadays, in the 1930s they did not face the

massive ecological crisis we are facing today. If we keep laying the

emphasis on creating "good jobs" or sustainable capitalism we keep

missing the point--i.e. that capitalism proved to be an unsustainable

system and it will make human life impossible on this planet in the

matter of few decades. *Capitalism is the crisis* so it is time to take

the bull by the horns, rather than trying to patch it up once again.


Shaista, you ask, what is to be done. My suggestion is why don't we

begin to think of water, food, energy, health care, education, the

communication infrastructure, and transportation as commons? The commons

is a *limited* resource that can be managed beginning from the local

level according to rules that have to be determined by the community of

its users. It takes nature and creative production as departure points

(rather than just the latter) and moves from there all the way up.


If we assume that water is a commons, the question is why is it

privatized? And what is to be done so as to make it common again? The

same could be asked of education and health care.


In this context demands acquire a tactical significance. We demand to

reinstate Glass-Steagall to demonstrate that they cannot reinstate it

without bankrupting the banks that are gambling our money on the stock

market. We demand a living wage or a universal income (rather than a

national jobs program) to make the case that everyone has a right to

have a decent life regardless of his/her productivity. Once you begin

taking care of these common resources from below, labor acquires a new

significance, it becomes an activity that is detached from the wage and

becomes attached to tasks that are socially necessary in order to

reproduce society and the commons.


On 10/17/11 3:24 PM, Doug Singsen wrote: I basically agree with Aaron's

formulation, except that I would add that financial power and state

power are both structures of capitalist power. They are not two rival

forces, they are heavily coordinated with each other and serve the same

ultimate ends, yet at the same time there is a nominal and structural

separation between the two. Finance capital is the dominant form of

capital today, but that does not mean that states are irrelevant. States

perform all kinds of functions (military, economic, social, political)

that finance capital and capital as a whole do not and can not perform

directly and which they desperately need, now more than ever. States may

not be able to contain the economic crisis, but neither can any other

power center, including finance capital. This crisis escaped anyone's

control from the moment it began. The appearance of control was restored

for a few years, but the crisis was just festering under the surface

until it exploded again.


While the state ultimately serves the interests of capital, which

effectively means the interests of finance capital since that is the

strongest sector of capital today, in order for the state to perform its

functions in the service of capital, it must maintain both the illusion

of autonomy (which is now cracking) and at least a small sliver of real

autonomy. If the state were seen to be totally in the service of

capital, if it was seen as having absolutely no possibility of reform or

action outside of finance capital, it would no longer be able to pacify

people and keep them plugged into the system. That illusion is beginning

to break down today, but we are still at the very beginning of that

process. Most people still believe the state is capable of granting

reforms in the interests of the majority of people. And there is

actually some truth to this. In periods of extreme social upheaval, the

state can act to rein in the most egregious forms of capitalist

exploitation, in order to prevent even further upheavals from occurring.

In fact, this is how all major reforms under capitalism happen. This is

how we got the New Deal and civil rights for African-Americans. This is

one of the state's key functions, and it requires that states be able to

separate their interests at least temporarily from their capitalist






On Mon, Oct 17, 2011 at 10:44 AM, Aaron Gemmill

&lt;; wrote:

in general i don't think you can peg one as subordinate to the other

(tho i don't know of any banks with aircraft carriers). financial power

is an instrument of state power and vice versa.�


On Mon, Oct 17, 2011 at 10:27 AM, Snafu &lt;; wrote:


Doug, on the question of national debt and economic growth, state power

is clearly subordinated to financial power. It is the markets that

decide whether it is safe to invest in state bonds or in any other

financial asset in a given country. National governments and central

banks have now the primary function of reassuring the markets by

slashing the debt, propping up the banks (which increases in turn the

debt exposure) or through quantitative easing. The mass of circulating

financial assets is roughly 10 fold the global GDP. In 2010, the US GDP

was estimated at $14.7 trillions whereas US financial assets at $131

trillions. It is financial capital that leads the game and it should be

the primary target of this movement. You are right, Standard&Poor is a

corporation. But it expresses the "collective interests" of financial

capital, which needs to have arbiters that (pretend) to set the rules of

the game. In this respect, it is a new form of sovereign power. The

downgrading of the US debt was the first time in history in which you

saw an entire political class having to justify itself before a

financial institution.


(The alter-globalization movement did not ebb in Europe and other

countries right after September 11, but much later--i.e. around 2005,

when activists begun getting tired of chasing G8 summits. The European

Social Forum in Florence was attended by 1 million people in 2003).


On 10/16/11 10:47 PM, Doug Singsen wrote: But rating agencies and all

the other players in the financial industry are themselves corporations,

so they are part of the system that is described under the rubric of

"corporate power." And I don't think that states are irrelevant or

powerless at all. That argument was a mainstay of the global justice

movement of the late nineties, but 9/11 and the events that followed

blew that argument to bits, along with the global justice movement

itself, which was not prepared to deal with either the massive wave of

reactionary patriotism or the aggression of a suped-up, militarized US

state. At a time when the US is occupying Iraq and Afghanistan, holding

"terrorists" with no legal rights in Guantanamo Bay, bombing targets in

Pakistan, trying to install a puppet regime in Libya, and green-lighting

repression in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, state power seems far from





On Sun, Oct 16, 2011 at 10:20 PM, Snafu &lt;; wrote:

You are right Doug, and I thank you for this observation. It was not my

intention inserting any reference to the obsolescence of past struggle

in the declaration. I was just noting that most statements produced and

approved by the GA so far are focusing on either corporate power or

(now) the two-party system, whereas none of the two are to me the

hegemonic forces in contemporary capitalism.


�Financial capitalism is a tough beast to fight because it is at the

same time abstract and diffused at a molecular level. Yet if

Standard&Poor's downgrading of the US debt has such massive effects, it

means that we have entered a new phase, one in which the power of rating

agencies stands above that of national governments. Hence my hesitation

on supporting statements that keep focusing on the traditional enemies

and seem to be oblivious to the new forms of sovereignty that are

emerging. The more you claim that the state is useless and powerless the

more you will have to confront financial power directly. But who will

regulate the stock market as the system keeps melting, the GA?


On 10/16/11 7:08 PM, Doug Singsen wrote:

It's not true that market volatility is mainly the result of the

automation of financial transactions. Markets were highly volatile long

before automation. The biggest financial collapse in history took place

before the invention of the microchip. Rather, market volatility is an

inherent part of capitalism. We also need to beware of declarations that

all previous resistance is obsolete and that we need to invent new tools

 from scratch. The lessons of past struggles are still very much relevant

today, and ignoring them is a quick recipe for repeating their errors