News & Analysis
Breathing Life Into Phony Wall Street Meme
Wall Street: From Protest to Politics ... When elected leaders largely ignore a disgrace like the financial collapse of 2008, sooner or later popular protest fills the vacuum. The Wall Street protests are heartening – but also a measure of the utter failure of the usual machinery of democracy to remedy the worst pillaging of regular Americans by financial elites since the 1920s. For three years, we have been wondering, where is the outrage? For a time, it was co-opted by the Tea Parties – a faux populism, attacking government, financed by billionaires, delivering nothing to the 99 percent of Americans not represented by Wall Street. Now authentic protest directed against the real villains is finally here. The ingenuity of occupywallst.org, its spread to other cities, its blending of Internet-organizing with on-the-ground protest, is inspiring. – Huffington Post/The American Prospect
Dominant Social Theme: The tide is rising. Popular indignation and outrage will give way to political reconfigurations.
Free-Market Analysis: This article by Robert Kuttner, co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, is in our view a perfect example of the way the Occupy Wall Street meme was supposed to play out. The positioning (see excerpt above) of the protests is likely intended to replace the Tea Party and to create credibility for the current faux-populism now playing out.
Who is Kuttner? He is a "Distinguished Senior Fellow at the think tank Demos, and a longtime columnist for Business Week, who continues to write columns in the Boston Globe." In this column, he claims that the Tea Party was "financed by billionaires" and delivered nothing "to the 99 percent of Americans not represented by Wall Street."
In fact, this is a rewriting of history. The Tea Party, as we understand it, was an authentic libertarian movement founded in large part by supporters of libertarian Congressman Ron Paul who is again running for US president. Whatever else it has become, the Tea Party initially stood for limited government, reduced military expenditures and the primacy of free markets.
Kuttner is evidently and obviously an apologist for the media elites that voice the Anglosphere's dominant social themes. The Occupy Wall Street movement is supposed to represent the voice of true populism and its rising anger. According to Kuttner, such anger is now supposed to trigger substantive political action. Regulatory Democracy, the plague of modern man, is now seen to be working as it should. Here's some more:
The New York protests, in which more than 700 people were arrested over the weekend, are likely to draw more activists, especially if police keep bungling the choreography of peaceful protest and deliberately leading demonstrators into traps. But sooner or later, protest will need to turn to politics. And God knows, we missed the rendezvous we were supposed to have with democratic politics in January 2009.
With a newly-elected president who inspired great hope for change, politics failed us in that first phase of the crisis. Barack Obama installed a Wall Street-friendly team that resisted fundamental changes in the financial model that caused the collapse and the deep recession that followed. The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, despite heroic efforts by progressives, stopped just short of separating financial speculation from ordinary banking. Most of its pro-consumer measures were added by relatively junior legislators over the objection of the Federal Reserve and the Treasury.
... The depth of the continuing recession can be traced back to the failure to radically reform the banks in the spring of 2009. Interest rates today are at record lows, but Wall Street banks still make their money from merger deals, complex securitization packages, and trading for their own accounts, while community banks are too traumatized to make loans to any but blue-chip customers. Meanwhile, nobody has gone to prison for the systematic frauds that brought down the economy, consumers are getting gouged by new fees that the banks dream up to compensate for their own losses.
This is an extremely important article. Kuttner is contemptuous enough to let the proverbial "cat out of the bag." In his editorial he seems to explain the way things were SUPPOSED to work but have not. He doesn't understand quite why, or at least he feigns puzzlement. He probably understands quite well, in fact, just as we do. The Internet has seemingly short-circuited this particular episode of directed history.
Of course, Wall Street is PART of the problem, but it's a much larger problem, and Wall Street is ultimately, for the most part, a transactional mechanism. The issues of failing Western regulatory democracies and their eroding money stuff cannot simply be laid at the feet of the securities business, no matter how powerful it seems. The real controllers are to be seen elsewhere.
In the past these controllers have been able to effectively disguise their presence and influence. They do it by misdirection and by using money power to blame the private sector for the depredations of the West's central banking economy. The mainstream media is extremely important to this effort and Kuttner is puzzled that the system has misfired.
By now the "masses" were supposed to have been furious at Wall Street, he implies. President Barack Obama was supposed to be able to use this fury to establish himself as rightful heir to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. A whole spectrum of increasingly authoritarian measures were supposed to have been rammed through by a Congress alight with indignation over the "banksters'" depredations.
But In the era of the Internet Reformation, all this is hard to accomplish. There is too much contradictory information available and too many voices that are not scripted (see other article, this issue). Instead of being able to direct indignation at the private sector, the Anglosphere power elite is staggering, trying its best to resuscitate the "blame Wall Street" meme, which has not yet delivered the hoped-for results.
Now Occupy Wall Street – evidently and obviously a dialectical enterprise funded by these same elites (at least in part) – is giving them a moment of hope. Kuttner himself is upbeat as he joins with his chosen task. "Wall Street protestors have plenty to be angry about," he writes. "In many ways, these demonstrations have a lot in common with events around the globe, from the protests that toppled dictators in Egypt and Libya to the spontaneous street protests in Tel Aviv, Madrid, and Athens."
In fact, this is another meme, given that the "youth protesters," inspired and funded by AYM were at least in part an American intelligence operation. Look closely and the pattern of directed history becomes evident. Not for Kuttner, though.
Kuttner "can't help comparing today's situation with the two great causes of that tumultuous decade – ending the Vietnam War and delivering civil rights." But the Vietnam era also benefited from directed history. And the changes that were supposed to take place – whatever they were – petered out. Today people in the West and America are more divided and impoverished than ever. We would argue this is by design.
History doesn't guarantee happy endings, Kuttner writes, but he wants us to know that he's encouraged. Wall Street, he explains, has "finally engendered the kind of outrage that it so thoroughly deserves." It's a start. Kuttner is energetically blowing on the ember and trying to coax a flame ...
Democratically-elected officials are still light years away from embracing the kinds of drastic reforms that the system so desperately needs ... Bankers have immense power, until public opinion turns decisively against them and democratically-elected leaders decide to lead. These protests were a long time coming; I fear that it will take far longer for the system to deliver the drastic reforms that we need.
No, no, Mr. Kuttner! It is not bankers who have immense power, but central bankers and their controllers, the elite Anglosphere families that run central banking and distribute its tens of trillions of "money created from nothing." Why don't you mention them?
Conclusion: The central revelation of the 21st century is that people are beginning to understand this mechanism. The Internet Reformation is spreading real information about the way the world works and no matter what Kuttner hopes – ignorance about this issue may never again be as strong as it was before the turn of the century.
Posted by David_Robertson on 10/03/11 10:39 AM
Strictly speaking it was Ron Paul supporters who organised the Tea Party money bomb, December 16, 2007. I forget the name of the young man who was responsible for this and the Blimp but he was very inventive and went on to create another media related organisation so that the movement could continue. I lost track of what happened to it but it must still be around.
The Campaign for Liberty was definitely a Ron Paul initiative in 2008 when he gave up his run for the presidency and gave the $4.7 million left in his campaign funds to kick start the Campaign. This may have been the libertarian core of the Tea Party movement. The Tea Party movement has I believe been co-opted by the establishment at least to some degree.
Posted by RF on 10/03/11 09:39 AM
Some of us remember the Democratic convention in 1968,where the word "freedom" lost a lot of meaning and the "Democrats" lost a lot of credibility.. Whenever there has been "economy", since the Romans and before- ther have been wealthy and poor and somewhere in the middle, many strive to survive.. He who has the gold rules , the bankers may answer to the central banking system, but they still hold the money, distribute it , and keep as much as they can...
Posted by John Danforth on 10/03/11 09:06 AM
Kuttner unwittingly draws a common thread between all these protests, going back to the '60's. All of them are displays of stampeding the herd from the frying pan into the fire.
All of which helps to promote an 'inevitable' quality to the course of events. (Dominant Social Theme: It's bad now, but when the riots start, you're going to get totalitarian government for your trouble, and a good thing, too.) Which, as always, effectively draws attention away from the real alternative and keeps people busy in the pie-fight between the two versions of left/right statism that are supposed to be our only choices.
False choices presented for public consumption. Again.
The murderous crowd lusts for the blood of those who got rich and lorded triumphantly over their impoverishment. When it gets that blood, it will be satisfied. It knows what it is AGAINST. But what it is FOR, is blood. It will be ruled over accordingly. The useful idiots will be discarded once the principle has been decided, acted upon, and the power seized.
It will be interesting to see whether another Abraham Lincoln arises from the tumult, someone who can effectively grab the reins and make the whole conflict about something other than what started it, and effectively boxing the opposition into defending an untenable principle. War fought for all the wrong reasons. (If you're against unconstitutional federal power, you're in favor of slavery. Like it or not.)
This is appropos, if the link comes through:
Click to view link
Posted by Ichabod on 10/03/11 07:10 AM
It was a simple, but brilliant move by Ron Paul who gave us the "Tea Party" event in Boston throwing tea into Boston Harbor to commemorate the event that sparked the colonists protest again the "taxation without representation."
It's the same today as Obama, Pelosi and Reid disappeared behind the doors of the oval office with their public union boss to create and ram bills through Congress without debate, without amendments to hear the voice of the people. Every congressional district was disenfranchised by this action.
Ron Paul didn't set out to create a Tea Party candidacy. It just grew as the spark of hope was ignited in a disenfranchised people. They aren't stupid as the elite think. They understand generally what's happening.
Saturday I attended a Republican congressional candidate debate in Missouri and the question on Federal Reserve I had sent forward wasn't asked of the candidates. Afterward I spoke with one of the moderators who said it was the next question. Guess it didn't merit attention like immigration, abortion and Israel. So sound money didn't rate a mention. Seems to me like everyone, including Republicans, are deathly afraid of Ron Paul even though the presence of those Tea Party candidates who won seats and have given American a chance.
At the Iowa Straw Poll the media engaged in Perception Management by not mentioning Ron Paul's name even once in their recap. That includes Fox News to their shame. Now Missouri has changed to caucus for this year's primary. They hear the footsteps of Ron Paul. The more that comes out from Helicopter Ben and Tiny Tim, the better Ron looks.
Here's the link to a congressional subcommittee staff report from 1976 showing the families and corporations that own the private Fed Reserve Banks:
Click to view link
What the Congress has set up, the Congress can change. In 1970 they changed the Currency Act to allow the Sec. of the Treasury to do anything at all he wants with the currency and is not required to tell anyone about it. And so we see the results of offering unlimited money to the EU for the current 90 days of crisis. But we will owe the bill for it. Hand it to the banks. We're already broke.