Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Is Somebody Getting Very Rich From All The Tumult In The Streets, Too?
The Market Plunge on the news of the Standard and Poor's downgrade of US Government debt was of course obviously a short selling bonanza for those who were properly set up to profit from the Plunge. The notion of deliberate market manipulation to produce said Bonanza is hardly far-fetched. The Gods Who Walk Among Us wanted another injection of cash-dollars to momentarily sate their insatiable financial demands, and so they "manufactured" another Crisis Bubble, and we were once again on that E-Ticket Roller Coaster Ride with no way to get off.
The Crisis -- repeated over and over again -- is the New Bubble Economy, a game only played at the top.
Which of course brings me to a consideration of the tumult in the streets all over Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and from time to time the United States (in muted form), tumult that has devolved into civil war in more than one state experiencing street protests and battles between the People and Authority. Are these Crises, too, aspects of the New Bubble Economy? Is somebody getting rich off them?
I don't have an answer. I don't think this aspect of Tumult, Popular OUTRAGE!!!™, has been explored in the literature, and I doubt that anyone participating in the demonstrations, civil disturbances, riots, and civil wars that are wracking so much of the West and Middle East are counting the shekels involved, if they are counting much of anything at all -- apart from the dead and injured or the number of useless cell-phones they can cart away from the shops.
But the Money? Could there be Money, indeed handsome profits, involved in the uproars?
Some of this tumult is similar to, if not modeled on, the protests and demonstrations, the riots and civil disturbances of the '60's, and while in those days it was all very horrifying to the Silent Majority, especially the riots in the Ghettos (it's hard to imagine just how much fear those riots inspired in the white suburbs), there were plenty of people making money off of them, off of the Student Movements that were underlying much of the tumult, and off of the security measures necessary to protect the White Women from the Rampaging Hippies and Negroes. Fear of Nuclear Annihilation was nothing compared to fear of Hippies and Negroes. Of course the drug dealers ("God Damn the Pusher Man!") were making out like bandits. Which some of them were.
Commercialization of the Movements of the Era was taken for granted and was criticized in lengthy screeds published in obscure periodicals like Ramparts and The Realist.
The Death of the Hippie was famously celebrated in the Haight in October, 1967, in part due to the hyper commercialization of the Summer of Love.
Of course one of the most famous activists of the era, Jerry Rubin, famously became a multi-level marketer and toured the country with Yippie co-founder Abbie Hoffman presenting a staged debate between "Yippie versus Yuppie."
But that kind of commercialization of a Movement -- which most of us at the time took for granted, even if it was criticized intellectually as more evidence of the oppression of the system -- is quite a different thing from the kind of money that is possibly being made from all the tumult in the streets these days.
From a cultural and political standpoint, what's going on now is on a different plane. Those raising a ruckus now are no longer motivated by their belief that they could make a better world. Instead, in Europe and America at any rate, they're trying to hold on to what little they have before it is taken away by a handful of hyper-rich and not very bright economic predators.
That's a key difference, in my view, and the transformation happened before our eyes in Seattle at the WTO conference in 1999. It seems so long ago now. Though I wasn't in Seattle for the WTO protests themselves, I was on the phone with people who were there while the action in the streets was taking place. They could recognize right away that there were provocateurs among the crowds who were trying to precipitate violence among the protestors and who were committing most, if not all, of the acts of vandalism that were used as the pretext for the excessive police crackdown on the protests. This was obvious to people who were there at the time, and it has been pointed out many times that many protest actions are peppered with undercover police and provocateurs as a matter of course. Exposing them has become a protest action sport.
The heavy-handed repression of the WTO protest in Seattle in 1999 became the model for such actions, and we see it repeated over and over again. Protestors get injured and sometimes die in these events. It has become an almost ritualized process, though, with heavily armed paramilitary police on one side, masked Black Bloc Anarchists (who may or may not be provocateurs) on the other, and the masses in between. The police and the Black Blocs are the ones who get the attention. What the protestors are agitated about is almost never discussed.
The repression, however, is. It is discussed and widely celebrated.
But are these events set up to make money for speculators?
The mind boggles at the thought.
I'm not going to get into it too much more because I don't have enough information, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least.