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Merry Christmas and a happy new year

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  1. Fred Zaman
    December 23, 2013 at 12:53 pm | #1

    America’s Economic Crisis of the 99%:
    Thomas Paine for the 21st Century

    Thomas Paine’s pamphlet “The American Crisis” was crucial in shoring up the American people in 1776 in their – at the time seemingly lost – revolt against British oppression. Here, as a paradigm for America’s economic crisis today, we equate the elitist mindset of “Toryism” in America’s colonial era to the underlying theme of an economic and political apartheid of the “haves” (ruling British) and “have nots” (subservient colonials); in which historically in America, after the War for Independence, elite wealth, power, and privilege de facto has through stealth transformed itself into what in essence today is an economic and political apartheid of the wealthiest 1%. Thus understood and here defined, “Tories” are those that, whether in their economic or political life, generally support and personally favor, de facto in thought and action, the interests of the haves over the have nots, the rich over the poor, the wealthiest 1% over the 99% generally; the collective result thus in essence being stealth warfare waged against the have nots, the poor, and the 99% generally.

    America today thus needs much the same kind of revolutionary literature as Thomas Paine’s in 1776, for basically the same reason: to shore up the people, that of the have nots, the poor and disempowered of the 99% (in the US and other nations as well) in their fight against the wealthiest 1%; whose economic and political oppression of the 99% hides behind the – in the US largely Republican – Janus-face of “freedom” and “democracy.” What the 99% movement is up against in essence, today in the 21st century, is a virulently anti-democratic, stealth apartheid of Wall Street. The “Tories” of which are the economic and political sympathizers of Wall Street’s wealthiest 1%. This paradigm of “Wall Street Tories” thus can be a social narrative for the 99% today, perhaps even a strategic intellectual storyline in the 21st century, that explains what in principle “The American Crisis” is today, how it came to be, and how the 99% can resolve this crisis by openly defending against, and gaining ultimate victory over, the rapidly increasing economic and political tyranny of Wall Street’s wealthiest 1%.

    Who generally are the Tories of Wall Street today? In the US they demographically are the Republican sympathizers of corporate elite special interests, whose politics are very elitist and demonstrably anti-democratic. In the US today they are predominately the (secretly elitist) Republican party, particularly those making up the corporate elite (secretly) funded “Tea Party”; whose leaders either have publically stated, or otherwise notably failed to disavow, that they intend to “shrink the government” down to such a size that it (the US government) can be “drowned in the bathtub.” These are the predominately Republican Tories above defined, who now in America are stealthily working to accomplish this very thing. Republican Tories clearly intend that the United States of America shall be ruled covertly by a shadow government, behind the scenes both economically and politically; the governance of which will be through a Republican, corporate elite, preferably white, 21st century “King George” whose throne is on Wall Street.

    What then must be the essential character of social narratives or intellectual storylines that can successfully justify and support movements of the 99% working, now in a 21st century War of Independence, to free itself from the tyranny of Wall Street’s now heavily Republican, and politically quite mad, “King George”? The struggle of the 99% against the current economic and political onslaught of Wall Street, if the 99% movement is to ultimately succeed, must draw on the vision of Edward Fullbrook forcefully articulated in his editorial review of the RWER essay “Nash dynamics of the wealthy, powerful, and privileged…” (Zaman 2012): “Social movements unsupported by strong intellectual storylines rarely prove successful… [They] become marooned at the tactical level… [Giving one example] The 99% movement has not yet begun to fester, but it will if it does not begin now to integrate its gritty street-level narrative with a strategic intellectual one.”

    Continuing on: “The 99% Movement has emerged out of the street-level fallout from the stark reversal of the primary societal trends that for generations characterized the US. Canada and other countries: the now rapid and accelerating movement of wealth, income, opportunity and power away from the middle classes and into the hands of the wealthiest 1%, especially the 0.1%. It is as if when no one was looking the socio-economics hourglass has been turned upside down. And why was no one looking? Because there was no theory or social narrative through which to view it. It is not just science that needs theories to be able to see empirical reality… They are just as crucial if not more so to societies. That is why, for example, Thomas Paine was so important to the success of the American Revolution.”

    It might be possible, even probable perhaps, that the revolutionary rhetoric of Thomas Paine in 1776, supporting America’s War of Independence from British rule, can become equally significant to the 99% movement’s imperative War of Independence today, fighting to cast off the shackles of economic and political tyranny by the wealthiest 1% on Wall Street.

  2. davetaylor1
    December 24, 2013 at 5:40 pm | #2

    Dear Fred

    Its Christmas! A time for remembering the wonder and hopefulness and survival of precarious new life, despite the vicious slaughter of the innocents by one of year zero’s top dogs. A time not for justice but for joy that there is a God to survive us, make good our inadequacies and put right the injustices we suffer and perpetuate; who so loved the world that he became one of us so we could see his love and accept an invitation to join his family:

    “[whose] faithful love extends, age after age, to those who fear him;
    who has used the power of his arm to route the arrogant of heart,
    pull down princes from their thrones and raise high the lowly,
    fill the starving with good things and send the rich away empty”.

    It is our turn to fulfil the prophecy of his mother, that “from now onwards all generations will call me blessed, for the Almighty has done great things for me”. (Luke 1: 45-55].

    It is not, Fred, a time to be contemplating the next war. It is a time to be reminding ourselves that two wrongs don’t make a right, reminding the Scrooges of our time of Dickens’s ghosts of Past, Present and what is To Come, perhaps, but above all reminding each other that with God as our Father the right way of living together is as one big happy family, wherein the differing needs of the young, the reproductive and the old are not set against each other but reconciled by challenging, understanding and loving forbearance.

    There is a time and a place for everything, and this is a time for exploring reconciliation: for looking at how present, past and future expectations in families and economies can be reconciled in light of the logic of steering, as theorised in the concept of a PID servo and not merely experimentally but technologically demonstrated as logical hardware. Over the last few years I’ve used different examples to try and initiate discussion of this concept of a system performing different but related functions: in some depth at http://rwer.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/individual-rationality-is-the-wrong-starting-point/#comments beginning #25. However, here’s the example of such a system from
    my comment at http://rwer.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/such-an-economy-kills/ #32:

    “In any case, I have felt it necessary to work out for myself what a Distributive money system would have to consist of, and discovered the need to understand the meaning of both ‘system’ and ‘money’.

    “The best analogy seems to be the human system, in which the role of money is played by the blood. The blood is automatically distributed to where it is needed by a system with four subsystems: a digestive system, an aerating system, a muscular system and a brain. The digestive system loads the blood with energy, the lungs with oxygen and the muscles (starting with the heart pump) use the oxygen to release such power as they need. The bigger the difference between the oxygen rate out of and back to the heart, the harder the heart pumps; if that tends not to be sufficient for some jobs the brain is likely to suggest practicing, i.e. investment in body building.

    “The important point, which has not yet sunk into brains taught to economise on thinking, is that systems go wrong. The function of blood in the system as a whole is more than the sum of its subsystems. It carries white blood cells which recognise damaging organisms and generate antibodies to neutralise them. Computer systems likewise, no matter what they are programmed to do, operate successfully largely by dint of the inclusion of functionally redundant check digits, which enable errors to be detected and corrected if and as they occur.

    “Functionally, then, the economy uses money to distribute the fruits of the earth to producers, distributors, consumers and developers. It is not the blood-equivalent of money not being paid back to the bank which signals the need to increase or decrease the rate of investment, however; it is the information carried by it (price as blood-pressure) being above or below the flow when the system is at rest, “retired”, merely “ticking over”. The Distributive system supplies not what you have earned but what you need, so the more you need to perform your function the more you are entitled to. However, when illness leaves the system racing in a fight against foreign bodies, the need is not for more money or bleeding the system of government, but for a period of rest (the Sabbatical of Leviticus 25) and medicine intelligently directed at helping government eliminate the problem. The problem is money-lenders claiming fictitious money to be more valuable than people and the earth itself. The solution is for governments to define money and ownership honestly: as personal and functional credit limits covering what one needs to live decently and work together effectively; which insofar as they are called on amount to debts which need to be repaid by doing so”.

  3. Fred Zaman
    December 24, 2013 at 9:38 pm | #3

    I wonder if George Washington would have followed your advice, and lost the War for Independence in doing so. No, I really don’t. Read up on Thomas Paine’s seminal literary contributions to the Colonial War for Independence, which was hanging by a thread.. Neither he nor George Washington would have taken your advice seriously. Christmas day was key in American resistance against the British. Nor should anyone believe that corporate America takes Christmas seriously, except as a time to become ever more rich. What we are talking about is not the next war, but the war now in progress.

    • davetaylor1
      December 26, 2013 at 11:32 am | #4

      I can agree with your talking about “the war now in progress”, Fred, (it’s being going on since Cain slew Abel) while still maintaining that that “there is a time and place for everything”. As an old man, I also commendd to you Dorothy L Sayers’ advice to non-combatants at the beginning of the Hitler war: “whoever wins the war, the peace will be won by those who throughout the struggle, remained alert and ready, with a clear idea of what they wanted and an active plan for bringing it about”. After Hitler, that involved magnanimity and intra-European cooperation, not the futile and damaging retribution sought after the first world war.

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