Sunday, October 18, 2009
You know that the government and the giant banks are not being responsive to the needs of the economy and the American people when even PhD economists and economics professors are calling for protests.
Indeed, many top experts and even politicians say that the American political system has suffered almost total regulatory capture, where Wall Street calls the shots. See this, this, this, this, and this.
As respected financial commentator Yves Smith points out, PhD economist Dean Baker, economics professor William K. Black and others are helping to organize peaceful protests outside of the annual meeting of the American Association of Bankers.
If you saw Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story, a disconcerting bit was his discussion of a series of research reports put out by Citigroup for some of its asset management client in 2005 on “Plutonomy”. It argued that a world ordered to suit the whims of the top 1% was well underway. The only thing that might get in the way was that the other 99% had the force of numbers on its side.
Sometimes it takes a show of numbers to change the dynamic. As Baker pointed out:
The elites hate to acknowledge it, but when large numbers of ordinary people are moved to action, it changes the narrow political world where the elites call the shots. Inside accounts reveal the extent to which Johnson and Nixon’s conduct of the Vietnam War was constrained by the huge anti-war movement. It was the civil rights movement, not compelling arguments, that convinced members of Congress to end legal racial discrimination. More recently, the townhall meetings, dominated by people opposed to health care reform, have been a serious roadblock for those pushing reform….
A big turnout at this event can make a real difference.
Baker is correct about Vietnam.
Specifically, in a little known fact, Nixon was considering using nuclear weapons in Vietnam (and see this).
At that time, Nixon was also repeatedly publicly saying that he didn't care what the American people thought about Vietnam, and that he was going to escalate the war anyway. However, according to a biography by a well-known historian, when Nixon saw hundreds of thousands of protesters on TV, he dropped his secret plan for nuking Vietnam. Remember, Nixon dropped those plans even though he said he didn't care what people thought.
Indeed, this has happened repeatedly throughout history whenever people have been willing to stand up. The Ukranian people stood up to tyranny and won. The East German people stood up to tyranny and won. The people of the Philippines, Serbia, Czechoslovakia, Indonesia and other countries around the world have won against tyranny whenever ordinary people have poured into the streets in massive numbers and demanded freedom.
Note: Any websites publicizing this or any other protest should have web readers click an "I Agree" button promising to be peaceful before they are taken to the web page giving specifics about when and where the protest will occur.
Everyone attending a protest should sign written pledges in advance to be peaceful and not use any violence under any circumstance.
Everyone should dress nicely for protests. As Yves Smith says: "Dress nicely! One favorite strategy is to dismiss protestors as ruffians.".
Everyone should also bring cellphone cameras or videocameras. If police turn violent or use agents provocateur to incite violence, we film it all, and broadcast it worldwide on the web. That would make the government look really, really bad.
If you see anyone trying to incite violence, have a group of people escort them away from the protest.