Wall Street: Needed—a new old economic primer

The gathering momentum of protest in the US is charting new old territory – Linked on our blogs with Eric Walberg, Canada. – Published on Intrepid Report, by Eric Walberg, October 14, 2011.

The current crisis of capitalism is textbook Marx. Greedy capitalists, craven politicians, scheming bankers, dispossessed masses. It is also textbook Lenin. Imperial wars awakening the masses to revolt—though the days of Lenin’s competing empires are over. Rather, we are all one big happy family, with the exception of a few blaggards who will soon be “wiped off the map” to misquote a particularly blag blaggard … //

… Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong:  

The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, taking their inspiration from the Arab Spring, erupted after it became clear that the entire edifice pasted together by Carter-Reagan-Bush I-Clinton-Bush II-Obama is a fraud. These politicians cover the entire spectrum of US politics today, from liberal and neoliberal to neoconservative, and they are all equally helpless to change the trajectory of a system out of control.

Perhaps the fatal step that sealed the its fate was a seemingly innocuous reform bill signed by Bill Clinton in 2000, the Commodities Futures Modernization Act, deregulating the derivatives markets and credit-default swaps, a parting gift to his banker friends. But, we can dust off Lenin’s Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalist and read there that international banks naturally become a supranational force under imperialism, and strive to control all politics.

Fast forward a century, and Enron would go on to become the largest corporate fraud in history. Washington would become unashamedly captive to Wall Street. The era of casino capitalism and the new old war against Islam unfolded, with no effective voice of opposition, despite all the democratic claptrap. The banks made their grab for total economic (and political) control, moving from 2.4% of the 1950 GNP, when Truman campaigned against them as bloodsuckers, to 8.5% by 2010, when Obama bailed them out to the tune of trillions of dollars. Remember, they essentially produce nothing, and if nationalised, would get 0.01% of GNP.

The result was that by 2010 America’s richest 20% had amassed 87 percent of the nation’s wealth. Imagine five people; one gets almost 90% of the pie, three get about 3% each, and one gets 1%. How big is one percent of a pie? How long can that unfortunate 20%-guy survive on a crumb?

Young people speaking their minds.
A thousand people in the street singin’ songs and carrying signs

Hence, Occupy Wall Street, which has spread like wildfire to 1,400 cities across the US and hundreds more around the world, and still counting. On 15 October, millions of newly energised citizens around the world will be out on the streets. After all, in the era of globalisation, we are all Americans now, or rather all shafted now. While Obama is surely the brightest of the presidential lot since Stills wrote his classic, whatever textbook he is reading from belongs in the shredder.

It’s time we stop (Buffalo Springfield – For What It’s Worth 1967), 2.38 minutes.
(full text).

(Eric Walberg writes for Al-Ahram Weekly). You can reach him at ericwalberg.com. His book, Postmodern Imperialism: Geopolitics and the Great Games, is available at Clarity Press).

Link: Occupy Wall Street wins labor’s love, by Michael Winship, October 14, 2011.

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