Friday, November 4th, 2011 at 7:10 pm
The People v. Goldman Sachs, a personal account (photo by Adam Lempel):
What a day. It started with a hearing at Liberty Square—the people vs. Goldman Sachs. Victims came to tell of the suffering they have endured at the hands of this criminal firm. And after the verdict was reached, the victims were arrested while the guilty were protected by the police. Hours later, I found that the New York Post is calling for further arrests and an end to free speech, part of a broader misinformation blitz launched by the mass media intended to set the stage for the state to break up Occupy Wall Street.
One woman came to the mock trial at Liberty Square to express her grievances over how Goldman Sachs has ruined her life. The organization she works for had invested money in Goldman, and most of it got wiped out by the sub-prime mortgage bubble. She has seen her paycheck, which had already been paltry, cut in half, and it will likely evaporate entirely in a few months because of Goldman’s fraud—the firm played both sides of the game by packaging worthless mortgages as collateralized debt obligations (CDO) and selling them to pension funds, banks and other institutions under the guise that they were secure all the while betting against these very securities through credit default swaps (CDS). As Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibi reports, they knew they were selling shit, and “Goldman’s mortgage department accounted for 54 percent of the bank’s risk.” The object was to maximize profits at everyone else’s expense. And they wiped out millions of people, from small investors to pensioners to ordinary workers. Read the rest of this entry
Monday, October 31st, 2011 at 9:26 pm
Feel the moment, forget about where this is heading (photo by Adam Lempel):
It doesn’t matter if Occupy Wall Street brings no practical changes to the world. It doesn’t matter if it fails to halt the onslaught of global corporate capitalism. If humanity does indeed annihilate itself through nuclear holocaust or climate collapse or the next boom-bust cycle—which will likely be even bigger and worse than the sub-prime mortgage crisis, as power is now more concentrated than before— we’ll at least know that we spoke the truth when it mattered. That we took a stand for what was right. Even against all odds. Even in the face of ridicule and state sanctioned brutality.
We live in a world ruled not by Orwell’s Big Brother, but by the forces of “free markets,” a euphemism right out of 1984’s Ministry of Truth, a misnomer in a sea of big lies pushed by the corporate state. For it is not a world of genuinely free markets described by Adam Smith that today’s corporate capitalists have imposed on the world. It is the antithesis. It is a system of concentrated power, carefully crafted to enrich the privileged few beyond comprehension, at everyone else’s expense. Read the rest of this entry
Saturday, October 15th, 2011 at 3:53 pm
(Photo by Adam Lempel)
A Huge Victory for Occupy Wall Street:
When it was announced at 6 AM last Friday that the NYPD would not go through with evicting Occupy Wall Street I experienced one of those moments that make life transcendent. The crowd erupted in cheers. People hugged, high-fived, clapped, jumped up and down, pumped their fists in resistance, chanting “the people, united, will never be defeated.” Chills went down my spine. It was a significant victory, providing an acute sense of jubilation. The state desperately wants to crush Occupy Wall Street. They thought their opportunity had come. But they failed. We proved that strength does indeed lie in numbers.
The two thousand plus people who showed up at Liberty Square at 6:00 AM yesterday were determined. We all knew what we were up against. We were prepared to get arrested. We were willing to sacrifice for a supremely just cause. And we refused to surrender. The corporate state will not be able to silence us. Bloomberg and his cohorts in the NYPD didn’t call off the eviction because they value free speech. They abstained from their campaign of mass arrests and brutality because they knew it would be a disaster. The media would be all over it, and Occupy Wall Street would only double in size, judging by the public’s reaction to the mass arrests at Union Square and the Brooklyn Bridge. Read the rest of this entry
Tuesday, October 11th, 2011 at 6:28 pm
(Photo by Adam Lempel)
Humanity faces a daunting battle against corporate forces that have historically proved willing to employ any means necessary to preserve an evil system. The police brutality and corporate funding aimed at crushing Occupy Wall Street hint of the savagery unleashed by corporations in countries around the world over the past 150 years. Yet the recent crackdown has provided our rebellion with an extraordinary public relations weapon by demonstrating the veracity of our charges against a ruthless system that despises democracy and justice.
The movement sweeping America is our link to a world-wide chain of rebellion. The majority of the world’s population, which for half a century has borne the brunt of neoliberal policies, is finally determined to stop the onslaught of global capitalism, which is the force sustaining most brutal systems on the planet, from the military dictatorships in the Middle East to the neo-feudalist societies now permeating industrial nations.
Since World War II the United States has expanded its ever-present imperial quest to entail global domination. Our government has used nearly every method imaginable to ensure a world order that benefits big multi-national corporations. It dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, even though officials such as General Eisenhower knew Japan was about to surrender, to send a message. That message was the same as the one sent in Vietnam—do as we say or suffer a holocaust. Read the rest of this entry
Tuesday, October 4th, 2011 at 11:53 pm
(Photo by Adam Lempel)
We Don’t Live In a Free Society:
I wrote an article over a month ago exposing the Obama administration’s crackdown on civil liberties. The piece begins with the assertion that “the United States is still the freest country in the world.” I was curious to see how readers would react. A number of people commented that such a statement is so delusional that they had to stop reading. At the time I thought they were perhaps overreacting. But after witnessing the state’s crackdown on Occupy Wall Street it has become clear that they were right. We do not live in a free society.
Perhaps the most basic right in a democracy is, to quote the Constitution, “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” If we cannot do this we don’t live in a real democracy. I’ve been aware that our democracy is a sham for some time. Prior to Occupy Wall Street I understood that our government has been completely hijacked by corporate interests, rendering the political process pure theatre. I had also been familiar with the fact that the state has cracked down on demonstrators on many occasions.
But my experience at Occupy Wall Street has served as a serious reality check about just how free our society is. Read the rest of this entry