Sent time:   Tuesday, October 18, 2011 7:05:53 PM
Subject:   SPAM-LOW: Re: Re: [september17discuss] Demands Discussion [was MoveOn Execs Now...]

Maybe you have better sources than me, but I'm pretty sure that the military is a little less than half of government expenditures, and 50% of foreign aid (which is less than 2% of spending) goes to Israel, although much of our military is poised to protect Israel at any given moment. 
On 10/18/11, shaista husain<> 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 <> 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 peoples.

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 <>wrote:
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 eliminate,pollution. 

On Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 11:46 AM, AshleyAnderson <>wrote:
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 <>wrote:
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, <> 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 <>
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 messy.

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 workers.
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 <>
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 <>wrote:
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 <>wrote:
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 viceversa.�

On Mon, Oct 17, 2011 at 10:27 AM, Snafu <> 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 2003).

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 <>wrote:
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.