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Another Velcrow Ripper film -- thanks for the heads-up. (Haven't seen any of his yet, but I'm always meaning to.)

Along the lines of the Lerner exchange above, here's another really good article posted on Common Dreams on the power of nonviolent resistance for movements such as Occupy Wall Street.

Here are the first three paragraphs:

"Violence is what the police use. It’s what the state uses. If we want a revolution, it’s because we want a better world, because we think we have a bigger imagination, a more beautiful vision. So we’re not violent; we’re not like them in crucial ways. When I see a New York City policeman pepper-spray already captive young women in the face, I am disgusted; I want things to be different. And that pepperspraying incident, terrible though it was for the individuals, did not succeed in any larger way.

In fact, seen on Youtube (704,737 times for one posted version) and widely spread, it helped make Occupy Wall Street visible and sympathetic to mainstream viewers. The movement grew tremendously after that. The incident demonstrated the moral failure of the police and demonstrated that violence is also weak. It can injure, damage, destroy, kill, but it can’t coerce the will of the people, whether it’s a policeman assaulting unarmed young women or the US Army in Vietnam or Iraq.

Imagine that some Occupy activists had then beaten up the cop. That would have seemed to justify him in the eyes of many; it would’ve undermined the moral standing of our side. And then what? Moral authority was also that young Marine veteran, Shamar Thomas, chewing out thirty or so New York cops in what became a Youtube clip viewed 2,652,037 times so far. He didn’t fight them; he told them that what they were doing is wrong and dishonorable. And brought the nation along with him. Which violence wouldn’t do. . . ."

Here's the rest of the article

That is pretty amazing, Tom. 


In other (financial) news: Every Province in China is Greece?

Is this from Berkeley?  What and where is this?


I wonder, who is "us," really?  I saw some Occupy writings this weekend, and they left me feeling ambivalent about the movement.  There was talk about wrestling the wealth away from the 1% and giving it to the 99%.  This is both simplistic and ethically problematic, in my view.  I believe I'm in alignment with the general mood of dissatisfaction with the status quo, with concern about corruption at the top, with recognition that corporation and state have become problematically fused (as church and state once were), with the desire to see those whose irresponsible practices have led to the crises we face brought to account, and so on, but I am not on board with the idea that the wealth of the few needs to be wrestled away from them in principle (regardless of whether such individuals have committed any crimes in its accumulation).  I wonder how many in the Occupy movement hold such views.  I think there are several (likely incommensurate) strands of political thought opportunistically joining forces in this movement at the moment, and that's going to need to be clarified and dealt with at some point.

Is there a point to the Occupy movement?  I'm not so sure.  It appears to me to be the confluence of many points, many frustrations, many concerns, some well-informed, some likely not, with probably a mix of ideological and political agendas (not all of which I would agree with).  Does the endemic corruption of the present system need to be challenged?  Yes.  Is the US deeply complicit in it?  Yes.  I agree with that, and I think there is broad consensus in the movement regarding that.  But I also have noted a mix of agendas in the Occupy rhetoric, and Oakland (among other places) has experienced internal conflicts as violent anarchists have contended with peaceful progressives (whose ultimate aims are likely as incommensurate as their preferred tactics).  I don't think the movement itself is well served by ignoring or downplaying the v-Memetic, political, ideological, and other tensions that are present within it.




P.S.  FYI, I don't appreciate being lectured (as a projected ignorant American?) about how to get myself even minimally up to speed with regard to America's complicity in corruption.  I've read a great deal of Chomsky on this, for instance, and have listened for years to progressive reporting on these issues. 

I'm on board with that "awareness raising" effort.  But that is not the point articulated in the Occupy literature I read over the weekend, which was to "wrestle the wealth away from the 1%."  That goes beyond raising awareness.

 I think "the wealthy" who actually participated in these frauds need to be held accountable.  I'm not in favor, though, of scapegoating or targeting or punishing a whole class of people simply for their membership in that class.  Punish those who are accountable, and seek to repair -- or even radically reform -- the dysfunctional and imbalanced system (by reinstating Glass-Steagall and/or the uptick rule, or writing newer and more robust legislation (or maybe just picking up the pieces and starting again after the whole thing implodes)).


I am not against it.

If the only thing meant by "wresting the wealth away from the wealthy" is the institution of new, more equitable tax laws, or the closing of some loopholes which are presently allowing the wealthy to avoid paying their fair share in taxes, then I don't have any objections to that in principle (though I'd want to see and have a chance to vote on the actual laws). 

Thomas said:

A wealth transfer tax operates much like anti-trust laws to prevent power consolidation.  Such tax, functionally speaking, wrestles wealth away from the wealthy.  But that is unethical?

Someone forwarded me this apt quote by Honest Abe:

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and cause me to tremble for safety of my country; corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in High Places will follow, and the Money Power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the People, until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic destroyed."

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, letter to Col. William F. Elkins, Nov. 21, 1864

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