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!


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

From: Jon Good <>

To: september17 <>

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

&lt;; wrote:

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

&lt;; wrote:

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

&lt;; wrote:

   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

highspeed rail.


        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

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 &lt;;



                     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

ofthe solution).

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

thefederal government.


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, acpollack2@juno.comwrote:


                                                       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

"reviveGlass-Steagall" fantasy.)







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

From: Doug Singsen &lt;;


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 &lt;; 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.