Sat Nov 10, 2012, 10:50 PM
Fire Walk With Me (38,893 posts)
Can Debt Spark a Revolution?
http://www.thenation.com/article/169759/can-debt-spark-revolution … via #OccupyCalgary
The idea of the “99 percent” managed to do something that no one has done in the United States since the Great Depression: revive the concept of social class as a political issue. What made this possible was a subtle change in the very nature of class power in this country, which, I have come to realize, has everything to do with debt.
As a member of the team that came up with the slogan “We Are the 99 Percent,” I can attest that we weren’t thinking of inequality or even simply class but specifically of class power. It’s now clear that the 1 percent are the creditors: those who are able to turn their wealth into political influence and their political influence back into wealth again. The overriding imperative of government policy is to do whatever it takes, using all available tools—fiscal, monetary, political, even military—to keep stock prices from falling. The most powerful empire on earth seems to exist first and foremost to guarantee the stream of wealth flowing into the hands of that tiny proportion of its population who hold financial assets. This allows an ever-increasing amount of wealth to flow back into the system of legalized bribery that American politics has effectively become.
When we were organizing the Wall Street occupation in August of 2011, we really didn’t have any clear idea who, if anyone, would actually show up. But almost immediately we noticed a pattern. The overwhelming majority of Occupiers were, in one way or another, refugees of the American debt system. At first, that meant student debt: the typical complaint was “I worked hard and played by the rules, and now I can’t find a job to pay my student loans—while the financial criminals who trashed the economy got themselves bailed out.”
(More at the link.)
2 replies, 497 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Response to Fire Walk With Me (Original post)
Sun Nov 11, 2012, 10:18 AM
antiquie (3,632 posts)
1. More from the link
The power of Occupy was always that of delegitimation: an appeal to the profound feeling, shared by so many Americans, that our political class is so corrupted that it’s no longer capable of addressing the problems faced by ordinary citizens, let alone the world. To create a genuinely democratic system could only mean starting over entirely.
The financial system isn’t really any different. The first step is to state the problem clearly: our current economic arrangements can barely even be called “capitalism,” unless it’s some form of Mafia capitalism based on loan-sharking, extortion and fixed casino games. The second is to hammer home just how much the system’s illegitimacy undermines the moral force that debt still holds over so many Americans, thus fostering a gradual withdrawal of consent from the system. Increasing numbers of us are already doing this by refusing to pay our debts, whether out of necessity or by choice.
Even those at the top are increasingly willing to admit in private that the current situation is untenable. Debt cancel-lation of some sort is going to take place (as we’ve already seen with the bailout of the big banks). The real struggle will be over the form it takes—above all, whether it’s a last-ditch attempt to salvage the system of Mafia capitalism or an effort to move us sharply in the direction of something else (perhaps taking a cue from Iceland’s forgiveness of loans held by more than a quarter of its population). A debt jubilee, after all, affords the possibility not just of economic renewal, but of intellectual and spiritual renewal as well.