Friday, November 18, 2011

This is how reformations begin

Probably because I once had to write a paper on the subject, I am convinced that Luther's Protestant Reformation was the first large-scale social transformation powered by that wonderful new invention—the printing press.  Without the printers, it is highly unlikely the Reformation would have happened.  And the first relevant thing they printed was Luther's 95 Thesis.  This act had major historical implications even though the content of those 95 Thesis is rarely discussed.

I keep wondering what the modern equivalent of the 95 Thesis will be.  The invention of the Internet is at least as significant as the printing press.  So I believe it is almost certain we will see something game-changing as the Reformation powered by the Internet.  #OWS may be it.  It's too early to tell.  But it is interesting to see Italian students come up with a new 95 Thesis.  They're pretty good too.

The Ninety-Five Theses on the Ills of Europe
By Jérôme E. Roos On November 11, 2011

A group of researchers interrupted a lecture by EU President Van Rompuy and tagged 95 theses onto the door of the Church where he was speaking.
This list of theses was pinned to the door of the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, while EU President Herman Van Rompuy was delivering a lecture on the political and economic crisis. It was prepared by a group of concerned PhD researchers associated with with the Collettivo Prezzemolo.  These are just some issues we came up with — the list is obviously not meant to be exhaustive. For more theses, consult the peoples of Europe! 
1. No to austerity!
2. Forgive the debt!
3. Strengthen the welfare state!
4. Redistribute wealth – tax the rich!
5. Defend social rights!
6. End labor market precarity!
7. Combat wage stagnation!
8. Establish a minimum income scheme!
9. Invest in free, high-quality public health!
10. This is not a clash of generations – defend pension rights!
11. End the privatization of public goods and state assets!
12. No to bankocracy – too big to fail is too big to exist!
13. People before profits – bail out the people not the banks!
14. No to the rule of the rating agency oligopoly!
15. End the ECB’s obsession with inflation control!
16. Troika out of Greece!
17. IMF and ECB out of Italy, Ireland and Portugal!
18. Institute a common European debt!
19. Institute capital controls!
20. Institute a financial transaction tax!
21. Regulate the financial sector!
22. Outlaw over-the-counter commodity speculation!
23. Nationalize failing banks and restructure them into cooperatives! more
Chris Hedges had a theological education so he is interested in the sociological and historical implications of #OWS.
#OccupyWallStreet – This Is What Revolution Looks Like 
November 16, 2011

Chris Hedges lays out the progression of Occupy Wall Street and makes clear that we are now entering into the final phase of the start of a revolution against the elite.

Welcome to the revolution. Our elites have exposed their hand. They have nothing to offer. They can destroy but they cannot build. They can repress but they cannot lead. They can steal but they cannot share. They can talk but they cannot speak. They are as dead and useless to us as the water-soaked books, tents, sleeping bags, suitcases, food boxes and clothes that were tossed by sanitation workers Tuesday morning into garbage trucks in New York City. They have no ideas, no plans and no vision for the future.

Our decaying corporate regime has strutted in Portland, Oakland and New York with their baton-wielding cops into a fool’s paradise. They think they can clean up “the mess”—always employing the language of personal hygiene and public security—by making us disappear. They think we will all go home and accept their corporate nation, a nation where crime and government policy have become indistinguishable, where nothing in America, including the ordinary citizen, is deemed by those in power worth protecting or preserving, where corporate oligarchs awash in hundreds of millions of dollars are permitted to loot and pillage the last shreds of collective wealth, human capital and natural resources, a nation where the poor do not eat and workers do not work, a nation where the sick die and children go hungry, a nation where the consent of the governed and the voice of the people is a cruel joke.

Get back into your cages, they are telling us. Return to watching the lies, absurdities, trivia and celebrity gossip we feed you in 24-hour cycles on television. Invest your emotional energy in the vast system of popular entertainment. Run up your credit card debt. Pay your loans. Be thankful for the scraps we toss. Chant back to us our phrases about democracy, greatness and freedom. Vote in our rigged political theater. Send your young men and women to fight and die in useless, unwinnable wars that provide corporations with huge profits. Stand by mutely as our bipartisan congressional super committee, either through consensus or cynical dysfunction, plunges you into a society without basic social services including unemployment benefits. Pay for the crimes of Wall Street.

The rogues’ gallery of Wall Street crooks, such as Lloyd Blankfein at Goldman Sachs, Howard Milstein at New York Private Bank & Trust, the media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, the Koch brothers and Jamie Dimon at JPMorgan Chase & Co., no doubt think it’s over. They think it is back to the business of harvesting what is left of America to swell their personal and corporate fortunes. But they no longer have any concept of what is happening around them. They are as mystified and clueless about these uprisings as the courtiers at Versailles or in the Forbidden City who never understood until the very end that their world was collapsing. The billionaire mayor of New York, enriched by a deregulated Wall Street, is unable to grasp why people would spend two months sleeping in an open park and marching on banks. He says he understands that the Occupy protests are “cathartic” and “entertaining,” as if demonstrating against the pain of being homeless and unemployed is a form of therapy or diversion, but that it is time to let the adults handle the affairs of state. Democratic and Republican mayors, along with their parties, have sold us out. But for them this is the beginning of the end. more
Ms. Roy has an interesting take on #OWS from the perspective of an Indian intellectual.
We are all Occupiers
People the world over salute the Occupy movement for standing up to injustice and fighting for equality at the heart of empire
Arundhati Roy, Thursday 17 November 2011

Arundhati Roy speaking at the People's University in Washington Square Park, New York, held at Judson Memorial Church, 16 November 2011. Video: (Warning, this thing is mic checked)
Tuesday morning, the police cleared Zuccotti Park, but today the people are back. The police should know that this protest is not a battle for territory. We're not fighting for the right to occupy a park here or there. We are fighting for justice. Justice, not just for the people of the United States, but for everybody. 
What you have achieved since 17 September, when the Occupy movement began in the United States, is to introduce a new imagination, a new political language into the heart of empire. You have reintroduced the right to dream into a system that tried to turn everybody into zombies mesmerised into equating mindless consumerism with happiness and fulfilment. 
As a writer, let me tell you, this is an immense achievement. I cannot thank you enough. 
We were talking about justice. Today, as we speak, the army of the United States is waging a war of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan. US drones are killing civilians in Pakistan and beyond. Tens of thousands of US troops and death squads are moving into Africa. If spending trillions of dollars of your money to administer occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan is not enough, a war against Iran is being talked up. 
Ever since the Great Depression, the manufacture of weapons and the export of war have been key ways in which the United States has stimulated its economy. Just recently, under President Obama, the United States made a $60bn arms deal with Saudi Arabia. It hopes sell thousands of bunker busters to the UAE. It has sold $5bn-worth of military aircraft to my country, India, my country, which has more poor people than all the poorest countries of Africa put together. All these wars, from the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to Vietnam, Korea, Latin America, have claimed millions of lives – all of them fought to secure the "American way of life". 
Today, we know that the "American way of life" – the model that the rest of the world is meant to aspire towards – has resulted in 400 people owning the wealth of half of the population of the United States. It has meant thousands of people being turned out of their homes and jobs while the US government bailed out banks and corporations – American International Group (AIG) alone was given $182bn. more

No comments:

Post a Comment