Saturday, June 25, 2011
On What Works
The Ruling Class and their tireless agents in the Republican Party have it made it very clear that they do not retreat, they do not surrender; neither do they negotiate in good faith, nor do they compromise. They are the Ruling Class, after all. They declare, they command, they order, they rule.
Everyone else has the choice to submit. That is their only rational choice. Should they choose to do otherwise, they will pay a heavy price for their insolence.
This behavior of the rentiers and their tireless agents has been going on for so long now that it seems to be the normal state of affairs. Orders and commands are issued and by and bye they are obeyed.
Of course, it means that ordinary people are sacrificing practically everything they have on the command of the Ruling Class and their tireless agents. If they can manage to keep a job at all, ordinary people are working harder than ever and they are earning less, sometimes 75% less, than they did just two or three years ago.
They are paying more and ever more for necessities.
Their retirement security is being stolen from them piece by piece: first their pensions, then the value of their retirement accounts, then the value of their homes and property, then their Social Security and Medicare benefits.
More and more overseas wars of aggression are started in their names, others are continued into the indefinite future.
We see in the protests in Europe that the Ruling Class is not just unmoved by popular unrest, they in fact have doubled down on their demands for austerity, imposing even harsher conditions on the hapless populations than previously thought.
The nominally Socialist governments yield, without any fight at all. They believe they have no other rational choice than to yield and by yielding, they seal their own political fates, but maybe that doesn't matter. Perhaps they are rewarded by their Owners and Sponsors for "doing the right thing," ie: putting the entire burden of the financial and economic collapse on the masses, putting none of the burden on the financiers and rentiers.
That is, after all, the point of "austerity," no matter where it is imposed, and no matter the precipitating cause. The masses, the People, must and will be made to pay for the recklessness of their financial Overlords.
Street protest, which has roiled Greece and the other countries being squeezed dry by the Financial Interests, has had no positive effect at all. Governments ignore the Street in "Peripheral Europe" just as they once did in the Arab World. Oh, but that changed, didn't it?
In the Euro-Core -- ie: France and Germany -- which is ostensibly being "protected" by the austerity measures being imposed on Peripheral Europe, the public is being propagandized to believe that they are being "forced" to work harder and longer to bail out Greece and the other Peripheral countries, and they are steaming mad about it.
But they're being lied to. "Greece" as a nation, and the People of Greece are not being bailed out. National sovereignty is being extinguished, and the People of Greece are being forced to pay off the gambling debts of the financial class, in full. With interest. The People of Germany and France are being forced to pay off those same debts, not Greece's debts, the gambling debts of the Euro-Banksters, just like here in the United States, where the Banksters have been paid off for the same losses over and over and over again. Once the cycle starts it is almost impossible to stop.
Governments are so completely in thrall to their financiers and Banksters, they cannot imagine saying "No!" to the extortion demands they face, and when Iceland, alone, said "No!", the propaganda went into full cry insisting that's not what the People and their government said at all. It's astonishing to witness.
But as usual, peoples are being set against one another in these trying times.
Iceland said "No!" Years ago Argentina said "No!" All over Latin America, governments came to the conclusion that the austerity measures that were being demanded of them for more loans simply weren't in the national or popular interest, and more and more they said "No!"
Surprisingly, the world did not end.
Nor did these nations collapse. Saying "No!" was what these governments needed to do then, and it is what the governments of Peripheral Europe need to do now, but they are paralyzed with fear of the consequences to them, personally, of saying "No!"
They cannot do it. Not yet.
The plug has to be pulled on the financial class once and for all.
The way that's done is the way it's always been done: by effectively nationalizing the banks, strictly regulating currency and financial transactions, prohibiting and punishing speculation, and seizing assets of the hyper wealthy. The financial class may try to fight back, by freezing credit, but they can only go so far in that direction before they are face to face with their own intrinsic vulnerability. As we have seen whenever the demands of the financier class are refused and rejected, the financiers rather quickly back off and seek out other marks for predation.
The class is highly vulnerable because they don't deal in either a product or a service, they deal in fantasy. Most of the bubble wealth and the extortion they thrive on is simply phantom wealth; but it's all they know.
Convincing governments to do what's necessary to free the People from the predation of the financiers is no simple task, though. We see that the pleading of the People -- such as has been taking place in Spain and Portugal -- doesn't work. Anarchist riots (as in Greece) don't work. Replacing governments (as in Ireland) doesn't work.
What does work are sustained General Strikes. Surrounding and shaming the wealthy can be very effective. Making their lives miserable, and making it impossible for their companies to function are the key ways of bringing about necessary liberation from their thrall, but it is necessary to shut down the operations of the complicit governments as well, and all of this involves greater or lesser physical and financial risks in the short term that, for the most part, ordinary people are not particularly willing to endure -- unless they are relatively certain of success.
Ian Welsh posted an outline of strategies for resistance and change that's worth considering. There is more, much more, to effective resistance. The key is to shut down the operations of the Overclass -- which is probably easier in this technological age than many of us realize -- and hamstring their governmental servants. Make it impossible for them to function. Suddenly, their tune changes, and what was once implacable is suddenly yielding.
Right now, of course, they are yielding nothing because they don't think they have to. In fact, they are redoubling their demands. Governments are yielding en masse.
But that can change in a twinkling.