Monthly Archives: December 2011
With a reported 25,000 ‘Occupy’ events on-going around the world, this edition attends to the question: It may be global, but is it planetarian? Is ‘occupy’ a word with a history and might ‘decolonize’ be a better watchword?
It also looks at how the transnational ‘banking class’ is continuing its attempt to colonize the world’s economies and remaining dwindling resources, AND how the consciousness raising effects of the OWC movements are spreading to impact environmental issues like the Keystone Tar Sands pipeline.
Is ‘Occupy’ a Dirty Word? Can it be Redefined and Rebranded?
Its an inconvenient truth in the current political atmosphere, but for many – Iraqis, Native Americans, Hawaiians and indigenous peoples worldwide – the term ‘occupy’ has too bitter a karmic history to serve well as the label of a movement for equality, justice, peace and sustainability.
In Oakland this Sunday, the encampment’s General Assembly will consider a motion lodged by Native American activists and others to rename itself ‘Decolonize’ instead. You can hear eloquent discussion of this issue by several key activists on KPFA FM’s Bay Native Circle, for November 30, 2011. [Available until Wednesday, December 14th 2011]
This dissenting view is shared by at least one African American commentator, BlackAgendaReport.com’s Jared Ball in his editorial Decolonizing Our Occupations. Says Ball, “White privilege, the legacy of 500 years of European military and economic suppression of the rest of the planet, is manifest even in movements that purport to be transformational, like Occupy Wall Street. Beneath the politics of economic reordering lie notions that the “new” and overwhelmingly white movement somehow supersedes the centuries-old aspirations of Europe’s primary victims.”
For reference, some key Planetarian transition values are these:
From Control to Cooperation
From Exclusion to Inclusion
From Possession to Liberation
From Exploitation to Compassion
From Short-Term-Profit to Long Term Sustainability
These are the values and consciousness transformation principles we have the good fortune and responsibility to look to as we live our lives in ‘interesting times.’
In this Digest
First, a preliminary report from the Moana Nui Conference in Hawaii. Then new revelations about what the bankers for the 1% have been up to as Paul Craig Roberts shows how Goldman Sachs is taking over the EU; Bernie Sanders and the GAO reveal secret Fed loans of $7.7 trillion to the Too-Big-to-Fail banks; Bloomberg News reports it was actually $13 trillion; Dennis Kucinich charges that the Federal Reserve has captured control of our government; and Rainforest Action Network fingers the top ten Climate Killer Banks.
Finally, excerpts from a recent Democracy Now Special – “Occupy Everywhere: On the New Politics and Possibilities of the Movement Against Corporate Power,” a panel discussion hosted by The Nation magazine and The New School in New York City, features Oscar-winning filmmaker and author Michael Moore; Naomi Klein, best-selling author of the “Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism”; Rinku Sen of the Applied Research Center and publisher of ColorLines; Occupy Wall Street organizer Patrick Bruner; and veteran journalist William Greider, author of “Come Home, America: The Rise and Fall (and Redeeming Promise) of Our Country.”
Resistance is Fertile.
Occupying Asia-Pacific…Pacifically – A Planetarian Evolution
As the growing Occupy Movement was evoking panicky, cruel and illegal excessive force responses from authorities across the U.S., the debt crisis and popular resistance to ‘austerity measures’ were engulfing the E.U., and the Second Revolution was taking shape in post-Mubarak Egypt despite American-supplied tear gas, an unprecedented international gathering of indigenous spokespeople, scholars, legislators and activists from around the world was taking place in Honolulu, Hawaii November 9-11, 2011.
Organized and co-sponsored by the International Forum on Globalization (IFG) and Pua Mohala I Ka Po, Hawai’i MoanaNui2011.org, , it was the ‘counter-conference’ to a simultaneous gathering of ‘world leaders’ to discuss APEC and the TPP.
Never heard of APEC and the TPP? That’s the way the ‘world leaders’ want it, and the Moana Nui counter conference was organized to shine some Hawaiian public sunlight on these secret backroom deals being crafted by 21 countries, the details of which are not to be released publicly for four years.
APEC stands for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, which bills itself as ‘APEC is the premier Asia-Pacific economic forum.’ TPP stands for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement, is a multilateral free trade agreement that aims to further ‘liberalise’ the economies of the Asia-Pacific region.
Here’s how a leaflet entitled ‘APEC Sucks’ prepared by World Can’t Wait HI decodes what it calls ‘APEC’s Real Agenda:’
“Using ‘free trade’ as a codeword, APEC proposes policies that give inperialist powers and multinational corporations the ‘right’ to go into oppressed countries and take out whatever they want, with as few restrictions as possible.
“The positions adopted at the APEC meeting are then taken to the World Trade Organization (WTO), where the APEC economies lobby for trade policies to enforce them.
“APEC, like the IMF, the WTO, and NAFTA, is against the interest of the majority of the people in the Asia-Pacific Region and the Planet.”
For two information packed days, star-studded panels of authoritative presenters covered the following topics:
Native Rights, Economies, Governance – Resisting Global Powers
Militarization and Resistance in the Pacific
Globalization, Development and Geopolitics
Pacific Resources, Lands, Economies
APEC & TPP: What We Must Know; What Should We do?
You can see the full program roster here, at IFG.org.
The EON video team was there and we will be posting our blog and video reports soon.
Meanwhile, you can access our Moana Nui Counter-APEC Conference Photo Gallery here and MoanaNui2011.org video posts here.
The Moana Nui Conference climaxed with the issuing of a public statement and a well-attended march through Waikiki.
In related events, here are two wonderful videos from OWS that illustrate the planetarian impulse uniting all these grassroots, 99%, worldwide awakenings.
Occupy Anthem – chloecornelius
“I’ll Occupy” Recruitment Song: The 99 is Pissed and We Will Not Be Dismissed!
The People’s Library of Occupy Wall Street Lives On
William Scott – Nation Mag – November 22, 2011
The People’s Library at Zuccotti Park—a collection of more than 5,000 donated books of every genre and subject, all free for the taking—was created not only to serve the Occupy Wall Street protesters; it was meant to provide knowledge and reading pleasure for the wider public as well, including residents of Lower Manhattan. It was also a library to the world at large, since many visitors to the park stopped by the library to browse our collection, to donate books of their own and to take books for themselves.
At about 2:30 am on November 15, the People’s Library was destroyed by the NYPD, acting on the authority of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. With no advance notice, an army of police in riot gear raided the park, seized everything in it and threw it all into garbage trucks and dumpsters. Despite Mayor Bloomberg’s Twitter promise that the library was safely stored and could be retrieved, only about 1,100 books were recovered, and some of those are in unreadable condition. Four library laptops were also destroyed, as well as all the bookshelves, storage bins, stamps and cataloging supplies and the large tent that housed the library.
For the past six weeks I have been living and working as a librarian in the People’s Library, camping out on the ground next to it. I’m an English professor at the University of Pittsburgh, and I’ve chosen to spend my sabbatical at Occupy Wall Street to participate in the movement and to build and maintain the collection of books at the People’s Library. I love books—reading them, writing in them, arranging them, holding them, even smelling them. I also love having access to books for free. I love libraries and everything they represent. To see an entire collection of donated books, including many titles I would have liked to read, thoughtlessly ransacked and destroyed by the forces of law and order was one of the most disturbing experiences of my life. My students in Pittsburgh struggle to afford to buy the books they need for their courses. Our extensive collection of scholarly books and journals alone would have sufficed to provide reading materials for dozens of college classrooms. With public libraries around the country fighting to survive in the face of budget cuts, layoffs and closings, the People’s Library has served as a model of what a public library can be: operated for the people and by the people. (click above for full article)
Kucinich: Federal Reserve has captured control of our government
A Revelation- The Fed Grants $7.77 Trillion in Secret Bank Loans
Bankers have seized Europe: Goldman Sachs Has Taken Over
by Paul Craig Roberts
….In my opinion, the failed German bond auction was orchestrated by the US Treasury, by the European Central Bank and EU authorities, and by the private banks that own the troubled sovereign debt.
My opinion is based on the following facts. Goldman Sachs and US banks have guaranteed perhaps one trillion dollars or more of European sovereign debt by selling swaps or insurance against which they have not reserved. The fees the US banks received for guaranteeing the values of European sovereign debt instruments simply went into profits and executive bonuses. This, of course, is what ruined the American insurance giant, AIG, leading to the TARP bailout at US taxpayer expense and Goldman Sachs’ enormous profits.
If any of the European sovereign debt fails, US financial institutions that issued swaps or unfunded guarantees against the debt are on the hook for large sums that they do not have.
Secret Fed Loans Helped Banks Net $13 Billion
The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was missing.
The amount of money the central bank parceled out was surprising even to Gary H. Stern, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis from 1985 to 2009, who says he “wasn’t aware of the magnitude.” It dwarfed the Treasury Department’s better-known $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Add up guarantees and lending limits, and the Fed had committed $7.77 trillion as of March 2009 to rescuing the financial system, more than half the value of everything produced in the U.S. that year.
First Federal Reserve Audit Reveals Trillions in Secret Bailouts
by Matthew Cardinale
ATLANTA, Aug 28, 2011 (IPS) – The first-ever audit of the U.S. Federal Reserve has revealed 16 trillion dollars in secret bank bailouts and has raised more questions about the quasi-private agency’s opaque operations.
“This is a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you’re-on-your-own individualism for everyone else,” U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont, said in a statement.
The majority of loans were issues by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY).
“From late 2007 through mid-2010, Reserve Banks provided more than a trillion dollars… in emergency loans to the financial sector to address strains in credit markets and to avert failures of individual institutions believed to be a threat to the stability of the financial system,” the audit report states.
“The scale and nature of this assistance amounted to an unprecedented expansion of the Federal Reserve System’s traditional role as lender-of-last-resort to depository institutions,” according to the report.
The report notes that all the short-term, emergency loans were repaid, or are expected to be repaid.
Overall, the greatest borrowing was done by a small number of institutions. Over the three years, Citigroup borrowed a total of 2.5 trillion dollars, Morgan Stanley borrowed two trillion; Merryll Lynch, which was acquired by Bank of America, borrowed 1.9 trillion; and Bank of America borrowed 1.3 trillion.
Banks based in counties other than the U.S. also received money from the Fed, including Barclays of the United Kingdom, the Royal Bank of Scotland Group (UK), Deutsche Bank (Germany), UBS (Switzerland), Credit Suisse Group (Switzerland), Bank of Scotland (UK), BNP Paribas (France), Dexia (Belgium), Dresdner Bank (Germany), and Societe General (France).
“No agency of the United States government should be allowed to bailout a foreign bank or corporation without the direct approval of Congress and the President,” Sanders wrote.
In recent days, ‘Bloomberg News’ obtained 29,346 pages of documentation from the Federal Reserve about some of these secret loans, after months of fighting in court for access to the records under the Freedom of Information Act.
Some of the financial institutions secretly receiving loans were meanwhile claiming in their public reports to have ample cash reserves, Bloomberg noted.
The Federal Reserve has neither explained how they legally justified several of the emergency loans, nor how they decided to provide assistance to certain firms but not others.
“The main problem is the lack of Congressional oversight, and the way the Fed seemed to pick winners who would be protected at any cost,” Randall Wray, professor of economics at University of Missouri-Kansas City, told IPS.
“If such lending is not illegal, it should be. Our nation really did go through a liquidity crisis – a run on the short-term liabilities of financial institutions. There is only one way to stop a run: lend reserves without limit to all qualifying institutions. The Fed bumbled around before it finally sort of did that,” Wray said.
Bankrolling Climate Change: New Study Ranks Top 20 Climate Killer Banks
Rainforest Action Network (RAN)
DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA – November 30 – Today, as world leaders gather in Durban to discuss solutions to global climate change, an international coalition of civil society and environmental organizations released a new study, “Bankrolling Climate Change,” highlighting the top 20 banks that finance the coal industry. The study examines commercial banks’ lending for the coal industry and provides the first comprehensive climate ranking for financial institutions. The study finds JPMorgan Chase, Citi and Bank of America to be the top three banks in the world financing climate change.
A full copy of the study with a ranking of all the researched banks can be downloaded at www.banktrack.org.
How does the Occupy Wall Street movement move from “the outrage phase” to the “hope phase,” and imagine a new economic model? In a Democracy Now! special broadcast, we bring you excerpts from a recent event that examined this question and much more. “Occupy Everywhere: On the New Politics and Possibilities of the Movement Against Corporate Power,” a panel discussion hosted by The Nation magazine and The New School in New York City, features Oscar-winning filmmaker and author Michael Moore; Naomi Klein, best-selling author of the “Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism”; Rinku Sen of the Applied Research Center and publisher of ColorLines; Occupy Wall Street organizer Patrick Bruner; and veteran journalist William Greider, author of “Come Home, America: The Rise and Fall (and Redeeming Promise) of Our Country.” [includes rush transcript]
Richard Wolff: Eurozone Woes Result From Mating of Our “Dysfunctional” Political, Economic Systems
Richard D. Wolff, Emeritus Professor of Economics at University of Massachusetts, Amherst and visiting professor at New School University. He is the author of several books including, “Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It.”
European leaders are preparing to unveil their plans for addressing the sovereign debt crisis that’s threatened to tear apart the Eurozone. Both France and Germany are expected to push for changes to the Eurozone treaty, including centralized oversight of national budgets and tighter reins on debt. In a speech on Thursday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said radical changes are needed in order to save the Euro. Sarkozy’s address came after central banks — including the U.S. Federal Reserve and European Central Bank — took coordinated action to prevent a credit crunch among European banks. For more on the developing crisis in Europe and its implications worldwide, we are joined by economist and professor Richard Wolff. He is the author of several books including “Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It.” “The Fed is recognizing that another bailout is needed,” Wolff says. “All the steps taken over the last two years to try to cope with this crisis of our capitalist system haven’t worked, and so we’re now we are again on the brink of a crisis, and again, public money and public institutions are bailing out a private banking system and a private enterprise system that is not working and is not solving its own problems.” Wolff continues, “The fundamental question is you’ve gotta deal with an economic system that is not working. … You’ve gotta take big steps to change the way this economic system works, or find a new system. … It’s as though we have a dysfunctional economic system coupled to a now dysfunctional political system and instead of fixing each other, these two systems are making each other in a kind of spiral downturn…”
Fed Boosts Flow of Dollars to EU
By NEIL IRWIN and MICHAEL BIRNBAUM, The Washington Post
September 16, 2011 – Fiscal Times
Worried that a mounting debt crisis in Europe could trip up the global economy, the Federal Reserve opened its vault Thursday to the central banks of other countries in an effort to head off a crippling shortage of dollars.
The main recipient of the Fed’s money is the European Central Bank, which will in turn extend dollar loans to banks in the nations that use the euro currency. Those banks do significant business in dollars, for instance making loans to customers operating around the world, and have been finding it harder to raise dollars from anxious investors.
The initiative, which entails temporarily swapping dollars for foreign currencies, also involves the central banks of Britain, Switzerland and Japan, underlining the extent of international concern about Europe’s deteriorating financial system.
Naomi Wolf Versus Joshua Holland: Was There a Coordinated Federal Crackdown on Occupy Wall Street?
Naomi Wolf responds to Joshua Holland’s criticisms of her piece alleging a coordinated federal crackdown on Occupy Wall Street.
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