Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Greece is the WORD - or is the WORD "DEFAULT" - Coming Soon to a Nation Near You

...the next groundswell of popular protest—and there will be one—will be labeled as “unexpected,” a “shock” and a “surprise.”
 ...the next groundswell of popular protest—and there will be one—will be labeled as “unexpected,” a “shock” and a “surprise.”
---Under a rational ruling class, one that responds to the demands of the citizenry, the energy in the street can be channeled back into the mainstream. But once the system calcifies as a servant of the interests of the corporate elites, as has happened in the United States, formal political power thwarts justice rather than advances it. --- Chris Hedges
It's clear. We no longer have a rational ruling class. They're trying to sell Obama as the rational one. Have you checked a public school near you lately, especially if you live in an urban area?

I had a discussion with a Faux FOX supporter the other day in which he glowed about our democratic ability to vote. I pointed out that our "choices" are chosen by the ruling class. He didn't get it. So I gave him a "choice" of cereals. Rice krispies or cheerios. "But I want something else," he said. "Too bad." I have dictated your choices.
We DO NOT live in a democracy but a plutocracy or oligarchy -- I forget my terms.

All we hear is how we have to work the politicians. Like lobbying for tiny laws will get us somewhere. So call your assembly person and tell them you don't want mayoral control while the charter/edu-industrial complex lobby throws big bucks at them. I'm sick of hearing it. The only way to lobby these clowns is to throw thousands of bodies in front of their offices. Then we have something to talk about.

I'm increasingly in favor of default in Greece given the phony debt servicing scam that is forcing people to eat cat food. Maybe I don't say this often enough but I am in favor of capitalism. But not rapacious capitalism. At the very least I am a left-wing social democrat. But events are moving me further to the left. I have been focused on the education scene but as in my morning post, there is also a bigger picture. And here is the even bigger picture.

Paul Krugman had a piece on Greece as victim
So, about those Greek failings: Greece does indeed have a lot of corruption and a lot of tax evasion, and the Greek government has had a habit of living beyond its means. Beyond that, Greek labor productivity is low by European standards — about 25 percent below the European Union average. It’s worth noting, however, that labor productivity in, say, Mississippi is similarly low by American standards — and by about the same margin.
On the other hand, many things you hear about Greece just aren’t true. The Greeks aren’t lazy — on the contrary, they work longer hours than almost anyone else in Europe, and much longer hours than the Germans in particular. Nor does Greece have a runaway welfare state, as conservatives like to claim; social expenditure as a percentage of G.D.P., the standard measure of the size of the welfare state, is substantially lower in Greece than in, say, Sweden or Germany, countries that have so far weathered the European crisis pretty well. So how did Greece get into so much trouble? Blame the euro.
I think it we have a lot more than the euro to blame. The entire crisis is about debt servicing and the workers are the ones who have to pay. A recent piece in the Times (I can't remember by whom) made this point by the Greek leftist leader: It wasn't us who weren't paying taxes, it was the elite -- the 1% -- or the 10%.

Just think of it. Debt is manufactured by investors and they get paid first at the expense of the rest of the population. I say screw them. Put your money in a bank at 1% interest like I have to do. Or a mattress, which might be the best bet --- as long as you don't have bed bugs. Or maybe bed bugs are a good bet to guard your money.

RBE had a great quote from Chris Hedges on his blog: Hedges
Words of wisdom:
In every conflict, insurgency, uprising and revolution I have covered as a foreign correspondent, the power elite used periods of dormancy, lulls and setbacks to write off the opposition. This is why obituaries for the Occupy movement are in vogue. And this is why the next groundswell of popular protest—and there will be one—will be labeled as “unexpected,” a “shock” and a “surprise.” The television pundits and talking heads, the columnists and academics who declare the movement dead are as out of touch with reality now as they were on Sept. 17 when New York City’s Zuccotti Park was occupied. Nothing this movement does will ever be seen by them as a success. Nothing it does will ever be good enough. Nothing, short of its dissolution and the funneling of its energy back into the political system, will be considered beneficial.
Those who have the largest megaphones in our corporate state serve the very systems of power we are seeking to topple. They encourage us, whether on Fox or MSNBC, to debate inanities, trivia, gossip or the personal narratives of candidates. They seek to channel legitimate outrage and direct it into the black hole of corporate politics. They spin these silly, useless stories from the “left” or the “right” while ignoring the egregious assault by corporate power on the citizenry, an assault enabled by the Democrats and the Republicans. Don’t waste time watching or listening. They exist to confuse and demoralize you.
The engine of all protest movements rests, finally, not in the hands of the protesters but the ruling class. If the ruling class responds rationally to the grievances and injustices that drive people into the streets, as it did during the New Deal, if it institutes jobs programs for the poor and the young, a prolongation of unemployment benefits (which hundreds of thousands of Americans have just lost), improved Medicare for all, infrastructure projects, a moratorium on foreclosures and bank repossessions, and a forgiveness of student debt, then a mass movement can be diluted. Under a rational ruling class, one that responds to the demands of the citizenry, the energy in the street can be channeled back into the mainstream. But once the system calcifies as a servant of the interests of the corporate elites, as has happened in the United States, formal political power thwarts justice rather than advances it.
The physical eradication of the encampments and efforts by the corporate state to disrupt the movement through surveillance, entrapment, intimidation and infiltration have knocked many off balance. That was the intent. But there continue to be important pockets of resistance. These enclaves will provide fertile ground and direction once mass protests return. It is imperative that, no matter how dispirited we may become, we resist being lured into the dead game of electoral politics.

RBE says: The Wisconsin recall debacle is the final stamp on the "dead game of electoral politics."
I left this comment that indicates some rethinking on my part of where our union leaders will land.
The power is in the streets. We have to learn from the police tactics to disrupt OWS. It will not be as easy if the unions are in the hands of the rank and file. The leadership will fight like hell to preserve their power but even they are in danger. In the past they were partners with the ruling class which saw them as very useful and gave them stuff as part of the deal. But the current situation will lead even sell-out union leadership to move but all very slowly. Chicago will be the test case for the new movement if the strike hits in September.
The ruling class will try to stamp out the union bit if it can't it will offer crumbs and then vilify them for not taking them. If the CTU truly has grassroots support it will withstand the assault. Even Randi and the AFT will be forced to support them though she will try to broker a deal like she did when the transit workers were on strike and she helped get them to back down.
I've been trying to get a discussion going in MORE over how to view the current leadership and their vassals New Action (but even they are getting restless), especially given that MORE will run against Unity and New Action --- unless New Action has had enough and decides to renounce its alliance with Unity and rejoin the Movement. I'm not proposing this but in fact if New Action and MORE ran a joint campaign for the 6 high school exec bd positions they could actually win them. And maybe the middle schools too. But with Unity guaranteeing New Action 8 seats on the board, jobs at the union and other frills (meeting space, etc) it is hard to believe New Action would chose to join the land of the living.

In fact we are all moving left, or should be. 

The opinions expressed on EdNotesOnline are solely those of Norm Scott and are not to be taken as official positions (though Unity Caucus/New Action slugs will try to paint them that way) of any of the groups or organizations Norm works with: ICE, GEM, MORE, Change the Stakes, NYCORE, FIRST Lego League NYC, Rockaway Theatre Co., Active Aging, The Wave, Aliens on Earth, etc.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ten or more years ago I was a "Foxite" watched Fox all the time...connect the dots? Now...? A complete 180-I think Chris Hedges is a great hero now. Being subjected to the mile high sized bag of dirty tricks fromBloomberg/Klein; endless war, a Predator Wall St, outsourcing of middle class life, and much more, I sound like someone attending Berkely in the 60s. Yeah, I'd say I'm moving left....