|Sent time:||Tuesday, October 18, 2011 12:58:00 PM|
|Subject:||SPAM-LOW: Re: [september17discuss] Demands Discussion [was MoveOn Execs Now...]|
me me ! tottlay cynicism right away!
From: Jon Good <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: september17 <email@example.com>
Sent: Tue, Oct 18, 2011 12:49 pm
Subject: Re: [september17discuss] Demands Discussion [was MoveOn Execs
Is there anyone else here for whom the word "green" in these contexts
induces only cynicism and nausea?
On Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 12:31 PM, Ashley Anderson
David, regarding the tax on carbon in a corrupt government: I agree. I
have been saying to the climate movement for a long time that until we
get the corporate money out of politics or "un-overthrow" our
corptocracy, a price on carbon (at the source--not on individuals) is a
laughable proposition. People are starting to get it. This is why, as a
climate activist, I am 100% dedicated to this movement and not wasting
time lobbying for this kind of realistic reform.
I was presenting the option earlier in the thread assuming that our
demands, including the end of corporate personhood, had been met. Which
I am confident they will be!
On Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 10:19 AM, shaista husain
wence the guilt David? who asked you to shut up? this movement is
growing and expanding, if it is regrouping of activists horizontally,
the different demands begin to swim with one another fluidly--i see no
opposition in what you are doing with my point on anti-war
anti-apartheid--just look at the numbers objectively, 75% of our taxes
are spent on military. almost 50% of that goes to Israel. so if you want
to talk about which issues are more important than others, it is a waste
of time. they are all related on COMMON GROUND.
On Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 12:14 PM, David DeGraw
i essentially agree with this position, but when we ask for taxes
intoa corrupted government what makes you think the money will get where
itneeds to go? when we developed the 99% platform, which is now of
coursenull n void becuase it has evolved into something much more
dynamic, weheard from thousands of people and had all these debates over
thecourse of a year and a half. after all that time, we kept coming
backto two things that underlies all the problems. 1) money has to
beremoved from politics before you can do anything constructive
andmeaningful, 2, you need to break up the "too big to fail" banks
becausethey concentrate wealth and power beyond anyones control.
i'm sure i make people upset by always weighing in on these topics,
butwe've been doing this same exact work for just about 2 years now,
sameexact conversations and debates. that being said, you can tell me
toshut up at any time. ;-)
On 10/18/2011 12:05 PM, shaista husain wrote:That is great Gail, a tax
on carbon yes yes, let's speakmore about taxes... more than 75% of our
TAXES --go to war machinesupporting apartheid and whole scale war on my
Total Defense Spending – Between 2001 and 2011 the UnitedStates spent
$7.2 trillion dollars (in constant FY2012 dollars) ondefense, including
the Pentagon’s annual base budget, the wars in Iraqand Afghanistan, and
nuclear weapons-related activities of theDepartment of Energy (Function
050). See below for a breakout of thebase budget, nuclear weapons, and
war costs. The Pentagon’s “base” budget – The Pentagon’sannual
budget (Function 051) – not including war costs or DoE’s nuclearweapons
activities – grew from $290.5 billion in FY2000, to $526.1billion in
FY2011. That’s a nominal increase of $235.6 billion (or 81percent) and a
“real” (inflation-adjusted) increase of $160.3 billion,or 43 percent.
Department of Energy – Annual funding for thenuclear weapons
activities rose more slowly between FY2000 and FY2011,from $12.4 billion
to $19.0 billion. That’s a nominal increase of $6.6billion (or 53
percent) and a “real” increase of $3.3 billion, or 21percent.
War Costs – The total costs of the wars inIraq and Afghanistan,
including the Department of Defense and all otherfederal agencies
(Department of State, USAID, etc.) will reach $1.26trillion by the end
of the current fiscal year (FY 2011) on September30, 2011. Of this,
$797.3 billion is for Iraq, and $459.8 billion isfor Afghanistan. In
constant FY2012 dollars, the totals through FY2011are $1.36 trillion,
$869 billion for Iraq and $487.6 billion forAfghanistan.
These figures, or ones like them, are well known and fairly simple
totrack. Both the Department of Defense and the Office of Management
andBudget (OMB) provide data on Pentagon and other
military-relatedspending as part of the annual federal budget request
released inFebruary each year. TheCongressional Research Service does an
excellent job of analyzingthe costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
NPP also does its ownwar cost analysis on its “Cost of War”website.
Homeland Security – One security spending figurethat isn’t well known
is the amount the U.S. government has spent todate on “homeland
security.” This is because homeland security fundingflows through
literally dozens of federal agencies and not just throughthe Department
of Homeland Security (DHS). For example, of the $71.6billion requested
for “homeland security” in FY2012, only $37 billionis funded through
DHS. A substantial part is funded through theDepartment of Defense –
$18.1 billion in FY2012 – and others, includingHealth and Human Services
($4.6 billion) and the Department of Justice($4.1 billion).
Because tracking homeland security funding is so difficult, startingback
in FY2003 OMB began looking across the entire budget and
providingsummary tables of the annual request by agency. This analysis
does not,however, provide historical data nor any cumulative funding
figures. Bygoing back and reviewing each annual request, however, NPP
has beenable to determine total government homeland security funding
since theSeptember 11 attacks.
Funding for homeland security has risen from $16 billion in FY2001
to$71.6 billion requested for FY2012. Adjusted for inflation, the
UnitedStates has spent $635.9 billion on homeland security since FY2001.
Ofthis $163.8 billion has been funded within the Pentagon’s
annualbudget. The remaining $472.1 billion has been funded through
otherfederal agencies. For full details of the FY2012 homeland
securityrequest, see the “Homeland Security Mission Funding by Agency
andBudget Account” appendix to the FY2012 budget.
On Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 11:56 AM, gailzawacki
Asidefrom tackling climate change and creating good jobs, a tax on
carboncan be structured to benefit the poor, who can least afford it.
Giventhe huge role of energy in our economy, a tax has the potential
toreally transform society, as well as reduce, if not
On Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 11:46 AM, AshleyAnderson
Gail's idea could befinanced by a heavy price (tax) on carbon, which
is regarded by climateactivists as the only real way to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions atthe scale demanded by the laws of physics. It
doesn't create another BSmarket either, the way the abominable cap and
trade would have. The rebuilding ofour energy infrastructure with
a focus on supporting localized (andthus more democratically-controlled)
energy production would produce agreat deal of jobs.
On Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 9:36 AM, gailzawacki
Ifjobs 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
STOPsubsidizing coal, oil, and "natural" gas, and instead support
Plenty of jobs in that!
On Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 11:28 AM, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rule of thumb, shared by socialists and the best of
theanarchosyndicalists: control is vested in the lowest level possible.
Soalthough we have to seize the resources (sit down! sit down!
--channeling the old CIO song) of national banks and governments,
andwe'll have to agree democratically on what are fair shares across
thenation (and globe), actual management of a neighborhood's
schools,clinics, etc., including how to divvy up public funds, can be
done to agreat extent at that neighborhood (or at worst regional) level.
---------- Original Message ----------
From: David DeGraw <David@AmpedStatus.com>
Subject: Re: [september17discuss] Demands
Discussion[was MoveOn Execs Now...]
Date: Tue, 18 Oct 2011 11:23:30 -0400
if we open w/ a demand pushing for "big government" wewill be labeled
and dismissed as by many people within the movement.�imo, this would be
a critical error.� as i understand it, a majoruniting theme is breaking
up concentrated, oligarchic power, hence manyare unified under a banner
of decentralized power.� with this in mind,it may be more appealing to
people if we pushed for community-basedemployment 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 itfrom the discussion on cooptation, otherwise it is too
Andy, I am in total agreement. I think the positions on this listservare
closer than we think. However, the Demands Committee met on Mondayand I
think it agreed to pass as a first demand a "National JobsProgram with
direct government employment." I had to leave at a certainpoint but it
seems to me that this point has been approved, am I right?
Using similar arguments I have been using in this discussion, Iexplained
why I disagreed with a neo-Keynesian approach. A demand ofthis 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
naturalresources. Let's not forget that capitalism cannot grow without
livinglabor so labor under capitalism is part of the problem (as much as
2. It centralizes this growth by expanding the reach and power of
This means that internally this demand will meet the opposition of
theenvironmental, anarchist, and libertarian wings of this movement.
Rearticulating a program of demands by rooting it in a strategic
visionof a society built upon the commons-- a society concerned with�
"reproduction" and "repair" rather than growth and expansion--willallow
us to keep many of these differences together.
It will take time to articulate this program in a realistic way, but
Ithink it is worth giving it a try.
Love you all,
On 10/18/11 8:15 AM, email@example.com:
I think snafu's
very crucial points can be�made tofit a program of demands.�
While we certainly need many new jobs for muchneeded
infrastructure, what we need far more are more service jobs:teachers,
childcare workers, homecare workers, paid maternity/paternityand care
for the elderly�leave, etc., etc. Even -- or rather especially-- a new
Civilian Conservation Corps to repair the environment. ANDpaid cultural
Capitalism, because of its crisis of profitability,can't
make a buck in making things. So the money got funneled intospeculative
(financial) investments. One reason it can't make a buck iswe're TOO
productive: too many factories turning out too many thingschasing the
same underpaid consumers. Ergo, crisis and trillions tradedevery 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 payfor 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
---------- Original Message ----------
From: Doug Singsen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: [september17discuss] MoveOn Execs Now OfficialSpokespeople
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
thatreforms act as brakes on movements. Often, reforms only increase
themilitancy of movements. The passage of civil rights legislation in
themid-sixties didn't lead to the demobilization of the civil
rightsmovement. The legislation basically granted all of the reforms
that themovement had previously demanded, but that didn't mean that it
was overor out of steam. Instead, it actually escalated, transitioning
into theBlack Power movement. When the demands of the civil rights
movementwere met, the movement didn't stop, it just led to the
realization thatthe needs the movement was trying to address actually
went much deeperthan just formal legal equality, but actually
encompassed materialinequality and structural racism and power
relations, which themovement then went on to challenge.
In Egypt, Mubarak and then the army repeatedly made concessions to
themovement, but that did not stop it from continuing either. (It's
stillvery much ongoing, although you wouldn't know it from the MSM.)
WhenFDR passed the Wagner Act, that didn't calm the labor movement down,
itset off a massive wave of strikes, occupations and insurrections.
Andso on and so on.
A lot of people at OWS have said that we shouldn't have demands
becauseif 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 instone. There is no rule that says that you can only come up
withdemands once, and that you can never raise more demands later.
That'snot how movements work and never has been.
On Mon, Oct 17, 2011 at 4:05 PM,Snafu
Right, but I do not want to have a new New
Deal.Even admitting that this would be feasible nowadays, in the 1930s
theydid not face the massive ecological crisis we are facing today. If
wekeep laying the emphasis on creating "good jobs" or
sustainablecapitalism we keep missing the point--i.e. that capitalism
proved to bean unsustainable system and it will make human life
impossible on thisplanet in the matter of few decades. *Capitalism is
the crisis* so itis time to take the bull by the horns, rather than
trying to patch itup once again.
Shaista, you ask, what is to be done. My suggestion is why don't webegin
to think of water, food, energy, health care, education,
thecommunication infrastructure, and transportation as commons?
Thecommons is a *limited* resource that can be managed beginning from
thelocal level according to rules that have to be determined by
thecommunity of its users. It takes nature and creative production
asdeparture points (rather than just the latter) and moves from there
allthe way up.
If we assume that water is a commons, the question is why is
itprivatized? And what is to be done so as to make it common again?
Thesame could be asked of education and health care.
In this context demands acquire a tactical significance. We demand
toreinstate Glass-Steagall to demonstrate that they cannot reinstate
itwithout bankrupting the banks that are gambling our money on the
stockmarket. We demand a living wage or a universal income (rather than
anational jobs program) to make the case that everyone has a right
tohave a decent life regardless of his/her productivity. Once you
begintaking care of these common resources from below, labor acquires a
newsignificance, it becomes an activity that is detached from the wage
andbecomes attached to tasks that are socially necessary in order
toreproduce 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 bothstructures of capitalist power. They are
not two rival forces, they areheavily coordinated with each other and
serve the same ultimate ends,yet at the same time there is a nominal and
structural separationbetween the two. Finance capital is the dominant
form of capital today,but that does not mean that states are irrelevant.
States perform allkinds of functions (military, economic, social,
political) that financecapital and capital as a whole do not and can not
perform directly andwhich they desperately need, now more than ever.
States may not be ableto contain the economic crisis, but neither can
any other power center,including finance capital. This crisis escaped
anyone's control fromthe moment it began. The appearance of control was
restored for a fewyears, but the crisis was just festering under the
surface until itexploded again.
While the state ultimately serves the interests of capital,
whicheffectively means the interests of finance capital since that is
thestrongest sector of capital today, in order for the state to
performits functions in the service of capital, it must maintain both
theillusion of autonomy (which is now cracking) and at least a
smallsliver of real autonomy. If the state were seen to be totally in
theservice of capital, if it was seen as having absolutely no
possibilityof reform or action outside of finance capital, it would no
longer beable to pacify people and keep them plugged into the system.
Thatillusion is beginning to break down today, but we are still at the
verybeginning of that process. Most people still believe the state
iscapable of granting reforms in the interests of the majority of
people.And there is actually some truth to this. In periods of extreme
socialupheaval, the state can act to rein in the most egregious forms
ofcapitalist exploitation, in order to prevent even further
upheavalsfrom occurring. In fact, this is how all major reforms under
capitalismhappen. This is how we got the New Deal and civil rights
forAfrican-Americans. This is one of the state's key functions, and
itrequires that states be able to separate their interests at
leasttemporarily from their capitalist masters.
On Mon, Oct 17, 2011 at10:44 AM, Aaron Gemmill
in general i don't think you can
peg one assubordinate to the other (tho i don't know of any banks with
aircraftcarriers). financial power is an instrument of state power and
On Mon, Oct
17, 2011 at 10:27 AM, Snafu <email@example.com> wrote:
Doug, on the question of national debt andeconomic growth, state power
is clearly subordinated to financialpower. It is the markets that decide
whether it is safe to invest instate bonds or in any other financial
asset in a given country.National governments and central banks have now
the primary function ofreassuring the markets by slashing the debt,
propping up the banks(which increases in turn the debt exposure) or
through quantitativeeasing. The mass of circulating financial assets is
roughly 10 fold theglobal GDP. In 2010, the US GDP was estimated at
$14.7 trillionswhereas US financial assets at $131 trillions. It is
financial capitalthat leads the game and it should be the primary target
of thismovement. You are right, Standard&Poor is a corporation. But
itexpresses the "collective interests" of financial capital, which
needsto have arbiters that (pretend) to set the rules of the game. In
thisrespect, it is a new form of sovereign power. The downgrading of the
USdebt was the first time in history in which you saw an entire
politicalclass having to justify itself before a financial institution.
(The alter-globalization movement did not ebb in Europe and
othercountries right after September 11, but much later--i.e. around
2005,when activists begun getting tired of chasing G8 summits. The
EuropeanSocial Forum in Florence was attended by 1 million people in
On 10/16/11 10:47 PM, Doug Singsen wrote: But
rating agencies and all the otherplayers in the financial industry are
themselves corporations, so theyare part of the system that is described
under the rubric of "corporatepower." And I don't think that states are
irrelevant or powerless atall. That argument was a mainstay of the
global justice movement of thelate nineties, but 9/11 and the events
that followed blew that argumentto bits, along with the global justice
movement itself, which was notprepared to deal with either the massive
wave of reactionary patriotismor the aggression of a suped-up,
militarized US state. At a time whenthe US is occupying Iraq and
Afghanistan, holding "terrorists" with nolegal rights in Guantanamo Bay,
bombing targets in Pakistan, trying toinstall a puppet regime in Libya,
and green-lighting repression inBahrain and Saudi Arabia, state power
seems far from irrelevant.
On Sun, Oct 16, 2011at 10:20 PM, Snafu
Youare right Doug, and I thank you for this
observation. It was not myintention inserting any reference to the
obsolescence of past strugglein the declaration. I was just noting that
most statements produced andapproved 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 thehegemonic forces in contemporary capitalism.
�Financial capitalism is a tough beast to fight because it is at thesame
time abstract and diffused at a molecular level. Yet ifStandard&Poor's
downgrading of the US debt has such massiveeffects, it means that we
have entered a new phase, one in which thepower of rating agencies
stands above that of national governments.Hence my hesitation on
supporting statements that keep focusing on thetraditional enemies and
seem to be oblivious to the new forms ofsovereignty that are emerging.
The more you claim that the state isuseless and powerless the more you
will have to confront financialpower directly. But who will regulate the
stock market as the systemkeeps melting, the GA?
On 10/16/11 7:08 PM, Doug Singsen wrote:
It'snot true that market volatility is mainly
the result of the automationof financial transactions. Markets were
highly volatile long beforeautomation. The biggest financial collapse in
history took place beforethe invention of the microchip. Rather, market
volatility is aninherent part of capitalism. We also need to beware of
declarationsthat all previous resistance is obsolete and that we need to
invent newtools from scratch. The lessons of past struggles are still
very muchrelevant today, and ignoring them is a quick recipe for
repeating theirerrors today.
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