Archive for November, 2016

#ThingsTheDogLickedNext is a return to my 2013 street art museum Project “a Fecal Matter”

The subject matter was dog shit and the transfer of the parasite Toxicara Canis into the human food chain and eventually, children. See link:

December is here, along with the dark nights I’m sure all of you have experience of our neighbourhood dog walkers leaving “secret Santa” packages dotted around our pedestrian walkways?

So, I’d love to reciprocate and give our secret Santas something back in the way of our suggestions to the question; What are the Things The Dog Licked Next?

Please add your “thing the dog licked next” to the Twitter hashtag.

Depending on how this goes I may set myself further goals such as building an artwork from #ThingsTheDogLickedNext



Posted: November 25, 2016 in Uncategorized

A great radical read. All author’s rights reserved.



Imagine that you live in a room with just one window.  It looks out onto a rather normal scene:  a bit of lawn, a strip of flowers alongside the road, a maple tree in the middle.  The scene changes a bit with the seasons, of course.  In winter, there are no flowers, no leaves on the tree, and snow covers the grass.  In autumn, the tree turns a brilliant orange, the sun casts long shadows, Queen Anne’s lace blooms at the edge.  In spite of these small variations, whenever you look out the window, you see essentially the same scene and that’s what’s “normal” to you and to everyone who lives with you.

One night, without your even really noticing, someone comes and moves the window a  few inches to the right.  When you wake up and look out, things look pretty much the same as they did yesterday:  spring…

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Whistleblower claims: Blair used military dressed as Policemen to spy on Firemen, private individuals and Royals.



Over recent weeks, the SKWAWKBOX has been privileged to provide explosive eyewitness testimony showing the involvement of military personnel impersonating police officers against striking miners at The Battle of Orgreave in 1984.

As a result of that series of articles, this writer was contacted by a former army officer who confirmed that soldiers ‘routinely’ masqueraded as police officers in operations against what both the Blair and Major governments considered ‘extremist groups’ – but with a mind-blowing stretching of any definition of ‘extremist’. A ‘trailer’ of this testimony was published last weekend, pending a full account from the ex-military whistleblower.

I had no inkling just how explosive that full account would – if true – prove to be.

If proven, this testimony shows army personnel dressing in police uniform to act not only against groups that are anything but extreme – but against the most surprising and controversial ‘extremists’ imaginable –…

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Posted November 2014

Looking back at the years of fury and carnage, Colonel Angelo Gatti, staff officer of the Italian Army (Austrian front), wrote in his diary: “This whole war has been a pile of lies. We came into war because a few men in authority, the dreamers, flung us into it.”

No, Gatti, caro mio, those few men are not dreamers; they are schemers. They perch above us. See how their armament contracts are turned into private fortunes—while the young men are turned into dust: more blood, more money; good for business this war.

It is the rich old men, i pauci, “the few,” as Cicero called the Senate oligarchs whom he faithfully served in ancient Rome. It is the few, who together constitute a bloc of industrialists and landlords, who think war will bring bigger markets abroad and civic discipline at home. One of i pauci in 1914 saw war as a way of promoting compliance and obedience on the labor front and—as he himself said—war, “would permit the hierarchal reorganization of class relations.”

Just awhile ago the heresies of Karl Marx were spreading among Europe’s lower ranks. The proletariats of each country, growing in numbers and strength, are made to wage war against each other. What better way to confine and misdirect them than with the swirl of mutual destruction.

Then there are the generals and other militarists who started plotting this war as early as 1906, eight years before the first shots were fired. War for them means glory, medals, promotions, financial rewards, inside favours, and dining with ministers, bankers, and diplomats: the whole prosperity of death. When the war finally comes, it is greeted with quiet satisfaction by the generals.

But the young men are ripped by waves of machine-gun fire or blown apart by exploding shells. War comes with gas attacks and sniper shots: grenades, mortars, and artillery barrages; the roar of a great inferno and the sickening smell of rotting corpses. Torn bodies hang sadly on the barbed wire, and trench rats try to eat away at us, even while we are still alive.

Farewell, my loving hearts at home, those who send us their precious tears wrapped in crumpled letters. And farewell my comrades. When the people’s wisdom fails, moguls and monarchs prevail and there seems to be no way out.

Fools dance and the pit sinks deeper as if bottomless. No one can see the sky, or hear the music, or deflect the swarms of lies that cloud our minds like the countless lice that torture our flesh. Crusted with blood and filth, regiments of lost souls drag themselves to the devil’s pit. “Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’entrate.” (Abandon all hope, ye who enter).

Meanwhile from above the Vatican wall, the pope himself begs the world leaders to put an end to hostilities, “lest there be no young men left alive in Europe.”
But the war industry pays him no heed.

Finally the casualties are more than we can bear. There are mutinies in the French trenches! Agitators in the Czar’s army cry out for “Peace, Land, and Bread!” At home, our families grow bitter. There comes a breaking point as the oligarchs seem to be losing their grip.

At last the guns are mute in the morning air. A strange almost pious silence takes over. The fog and rain seem to wash our wounds and cool our fever. “Still alive,” the sergeant grins, “still alive.” He cups a cigarette in his hand. “Stack those rifles, you lazy bastards.” He grins again, two teeth missing. Never did his ugly face look so good as on this day in November 1918. Armistice embraces us like a quiet rapture.

A big piece of the encrusted aristocratic world breaks off.
The Romanovs, Czar and family, are all executed in 1918 in Revolutionary Russia.
That same year, the House of Hohenzollern collapses as Kaiser Wilhelm II flees Germany.
Also in 1918, the Ottoman empire is shattered.
And on Armistice Day, November 11th, 1918, at 11:00 a.m.—the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month—we mark the end of the war and with it the dissolution of the Habsburg dynasty.

Four indestructible monarchies: Russian, German, Turkish, and Austro-Hungarian, four great empires, each with millions of bayonets and cannon at the ready, now twisting in the dim shadows of history.

Will our children ever forgive us for our dismal confusion?
Will they ever understand what we went through?
Will we?
By 1918, four aristocratic autocracies fade away, leaving so many victims mangled in their wake, and so many bereaved crying through the night.

Back in the trenches, the agitators among us prove right. The mutinous Reds standing before the firing squad last year were right. Their truths must not be buried with them. Why are impoverished workers and peasants killing other impoverished workers and peasants?
Now we know that our real foe is not in the weave of trenches; not at Ypres, nor at the Somme, or Verdun or Caporetto. Closer to home, closer to the deceptive peace that follows a deceptive war.

Now comes a different conflict. We have enemies at home: the schemers who trade our blood for sacks of gold, who make the world safe for hypocrisy, safe for themselves, readying themselves for the next “humanitarian war.” See how sleek and self-satisfied they look, riding our backs, distracting our minds, filling us with fright about wicked foes. Important things keep happening, but not enough to finish them off. Not yet enough.


Michael Parenti’s most recent books are The Face of Imperialism (2011); Waiting for Yesterday: Pages from a Street Kid’s Life (2013); and Profit Pathology and Other Indecencies (forthcoming January 2015).

In the Tony Palmer film Bird On A Wire, 1972, Leonard Cohen reads from a poem in his book “The Energy of Slaves”.

Poem #92 (simplified lineation):

The killers that run
the other countries
are trying to get us
to overthrow the killers
that run our own
I for one
prefer the rule
of our native killers
I am convinced
the foreign killer
will kill more of us
than the old familiar killer does

Frankly I don’t believe
anyone out there
really wants us to solve
our social problems
I base this all on how I feel
about the man next door
I just hope he doesn’t
get any uglier

Therefore I am a patriot
I don’t like to see
a burning flag
because it excites
the killers on either side
to unfortunate excess
which goes on gaily
quite unchecked
until everyone is dead.

Leonard Cohen (in poem #92) resolutely refuses to take sides.
Today it would be more accurate to invert the poem’s neutrality.
Today, the killers that run our countries, U.S. / NATO, are more eagerly trying to overthrow the killers that run the other countries (Assad, Putin, etc, etc…) than they are trying to overthrow ours.
I suppose that was actually true also 1972, but it was too novel an idea to be useful in a poem and we are blinkered or cognitively dissonant to what our Military is doing in “our” name, or more accurately the goals of the Corporate masters.


“The sense of something lacking or failing arises from the realization that we inhabit a violently unjust world, a world defined by the horror of war, a world where, as Dostoevsky says; blood is being spilt in the merriest way, as if it were champagne.

Such an experience of disappointment is acutely tangible at the present time, with the corrosion of established political structures and an unending war on terror where the moods of Western populations are controlled through a politics of fear managed by the constant threat of external attack. This situation is far from novel and might be said to be definitional of politics from antiquity to early and considerably later modernity. My point is that if the present time is defined by a state of war, then this experience of political disappointment provokes the question of justice: what might justice be in a violently unjust world? It is this question that provokes the need for an ethics or what others might call normative principles that might enable us to face and face down the present political situation. Our main task is to respond to that need by offering a theory of ethical experience and subjectivity that will lead to an infinitely demanding ethics of commitment and politics of resistance.”

— Simon Critchley, Infinitely Demanding: Ethics of Commitment, Politics of Resistance(Verso, 2007)

“In disoriented times, we cannot accept the return of the old, deadly figure of religious sacrifice; but neither can we accept the complete lack of any figure, and the complete disappearance of any idea of heroism. In both cases, the consequences will be the end of any dialectical relationship between humanity and its element of inhumanity, in a creative mode. So the result will be the sad success of what Nietzsche named ‘the last man.’ ‘The last man’ is the exhausted figure of a man devoid of any figure. It is the nihilistic image of the fixed nature of the human animal, devoid of all creative possibility. Our task is: How can we find a new heroic figure, which is neither the return of the old figure of religious or national sacrifice, nor the nihilistic figure of the last man? Is there a place, in a disoriented world, for a new style of heroism?”

— Alain Badiou, The Contemporary Figure of the Soldier in Politics and Poetry (UCLA, 2007)

So long #LeonardCohen, he will be sadly missed.

“The great troubadours who accompanied our fraught youth and fragile romantic hopes are now preparing us for death with their final works. It seemed to start with Johnny Cash’s later American Recordings, then this year with Bowie’s Blackstar, and now Leonard Cohen’s final, beautiful record “You Want It Darker”. A great artist moves on and moves us with them, they are not stuck still singing about the things that were in their teenage pocketbook. This is why I listen to Nick Cave …”

Robinince's Blog

(I wrote this rather late. Like lots of these blog posts, it is just mumbling really and likely to be error strewn)

“I no longer have the voice that says ‘you’re fucking up’, that’s a tremendous blessing really”
(from a New Yorker profile piece on Leonard Cohen in late October)

The great troubadours who accompanied our fraught youth and fragile romantic hopes are now preparing us for death with their final works. It seemed to start with Johnny Cash’s later American Recordings, then this year with Bowie’s Blackstar, and now Leonard Cohen’s final, beautiful record “You Want It Darker”. A great artist moves on and moves us with them, they are not stuck still singing about the things that were in their teenage pocketbook. This is why I listen to Nick Cave a lot more now than I listen to Morrissey. Much as I enjoyed Life is a Pigsty, it…

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We Are Without Excuse.

Ghosts Of The Future | A film (by my comrade) Kelvin Mason.

The consent of the masses can at all times be controlled.
R.I.P to every human who has died in all conflict.


(They trusted the picture in their heads.)

“There is an island in the ocean where in 1914 a few Englishmen, Frenchmen, and Germans lived. No cable reaches that island, and the British mail steamer comes but once in sixty days. In September it had not yet come, and the islanders were still talking about the latest newspaper which told about the approaching trial of Madame Caillaux for the shooting of Gaston Calmette.

It was, therefore, with more than usual eagerness that the whole colony assembled at the quay on a day in mid-September to hear from the captain what the verdict had been. They learned that for over six weeks now those of them who were English and those of them who were French had been fighting in behalf of the sanctity of treaties against those of them who were Germans.
For six strange weeks they had acted as if they were friends, when in fact they were enemies.

But their plight was not so different from that of most of the population of Europe. They had been mistaken for six weeks, on the continent the interval may have been only six days or six hours.
There was an interval.
There was a moment when the picture of Europe on which men were conducting their business as usual, did not in any way correspond to the Europe which was about to make a jumble of their lives.
There was a time for each man when he was still adjusted to an environment that no longer existed.

All over the world as late as July 25th men were making goods that they would not be able to ship, buying goods they would not be able to import, careers were being planned, enterprises contemplated, hopes and expectations entertained, all in the belief that the world as known was the world as it was.
Men were writing books describing that world.

They trusted the picture in their heads.

And then over four years later, 1918, on a Thursday morning, came the news of an armistice, and people gave vent to their unutterable relief that the slaughter was over.

Yet in the five days before the real Armistice came, though the end of the war had been celebrated, several thousands of young men continued to be slaughtered on the battlefields.

Looking back we can see how indirectly we know the environment in which nevertheless we live.
We can see that the news of it comes to us now fast, now slowly; but that whatever we believe to be a true picture, we treat as if it were the environment itself.

It is harder to remember that about the beliefs upon which we are now acting, but in respect to other peoples and other ages we flatter ourselves that it is easy to see when they were in deadly earnest about ludicrous pictures of the world.
We insist, because of our superior hindsight, that the world as they needed to know it, and the world as they did know it, were often two quite contradictory things.” – Walter Lippman.

“Behold! human beings living in a sort of underground den, which has a mouth open towards the light and reaching all across the den; they have been here from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them; for the chains are arranged in such a manner as to prevent them from turning round their heads.
At a distance above and behind them the light of a fire is blazing, and between the fire and the prisoners there is a raised way; and you will see, if you look, a low wall built along the way, like the screen which marionette players have before them, over which they show the puppets.
I see, he said.
And do you see, I said, men passing along the wall carrying vessels, which appear over the wall; also figures of men and animals, made of wood and stone and various materials; and some of the prisoners, as you would expect, are talking, and some of them are silent?
This is a strange image, he said, and they are strange prisoners.
Like ourselves, I replied; and they see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave?
True, he said: how could they see anything but the shadows if they were never allowed to move their heads?
And of the objects which are being carried in like manner they would see only the shadows?
Yes, he said.

And if they were able to talk with one another, would they not suppose that they were naming what was actually before them?” –The Cave Analogy, The Republic, Plato, Book Seven. (Jowett Translation.)

There are Nosferatu’s shadows on the walls of Plato’s cave – Robin Ince, author/comedian.



…Walter Lippmann, The major progressive intellectual of the 20th century. He wrote famous progressive essays on democracy in which his view was exactly that.
“the public must be put in their place,”
So that the responsible men can make decisions, Without interference from the “bewildered herd.”
They’re to be spectators, not participants. Then you get a properly functioning democracy,
Straight back to madison and on to Powell’s memorandum, and so on. And the advertising industry just exploded with this as its goal…
Fabricating consumers. – (56 mins in) Noam Chomsky, Requiem for the American Dream, 2015

Anarchism is “the ultimate ideal to which society should approximate.” Structures of hierarchy and domination are fundamentally illegitimate. They can be defended only on grounds of contingent need, an argument that rarely stands up to analysis. – Bertrand Russell on Anarchism.



(Q&A of the movie held at Rochester University with the Directors:–61s66BqZ_x7UEv3A_ )

subtitles transcript for the documentary:

Noam Chomsky – Requiem for the American Dream, 2015.

00:00:48,714 –> 00:00:52,450
During the great depression,
which I’m old enough
to remember there was–

00:00:52,452 –> 00:00:55,619
And most of my family
were unemployed working class…

00:00:55,621 –> 00:00:57,354
There wasn’t– it was bad,

00:00:57,356 –> 00:00:59,756
Much worse
subjectively than today.

00:00:59,758 –> 00:01:02,725
But there was an expectation
that things were going to get

00:01:04,360 –> 00:01:06,494
There was a real sense
of hopefulness.

00:01:06,496 –> 00:01:07,795
There isn’t today.

00:01:17,638 –> 00:01:21,407
Inequality is really

00:01:21,409 –> 00:01:25,611
If you look at total inequality,
it’s like the worst periods
of american history.

00:01:31,651 –> 00:01:40,156
The inequality comes from
the extreme wealth in a tiny
sector of the population,

00:01:40,158 –> 00:01:41,390
A fraction of one percent.

00:01:44,827 –> 00:01:48,162
There were periods like
the gilded age in the ’20s

00:01:48,164 –> 00:01:50,197
And the roaring ’90s and so on,

00:01:50,199 –> 00:01:52,732
When a situation developed
rather similar to this.

00:01:53,800 –> 00:01:56,168
Now, this period’s extreme…

00:01:56,170 –> 00:01:58,770
Because if you look
at the wealth distribution,

00:01:58,772 –> 00:02:03,307
The inequality mostly
comes from super wealth.

00:02:07,211 –> 00:02:11,246
Literally, the top
1/10th of a percent
are just super wealthy.

00:02:12,781 –> 00:02:16,316
Not only is it extremely
unjust in itself…

00:02:16,318 –> 00:02:20,419
Inequality has highly negative
consequences on the society
as a whole…

00:02:22,722 –> 00:02:28,393
Because the very fact
of inequality has a corrosive,
harmful effect on democracy.

00:02:34,232 –> 00:02:36,833
You open by talking about
the american dream.

00:02:36,835 –> 00:02:39,268
Part of the american dream
is class mobility.

00:02:39,270 –> 00:02:47,142
You get rich. It was possible
for a worker to get a decent
job, buy a home…

00:02:47,144 –> 00:02:49,877
Get a car, have his
children go to school.

00:02:52,213 –> 00:02:53,279
It’s all collapsed.

00:03:07,860 –> 00:03:12,830
Imagine yourself in an outside
position, looking from mars.

00:03:13,765 –> 00:03:14,798
What do you see?

00:03:40,657 –> 00:03:44,793
In the United States,
there are professed
values like democracy.

00:03:51,566 –> 00:03:56,202
In a democracy, public opinion
is going to have some influence
on policy.

00:04:00,840 –> 00:04:05,543
And then, the government
carries out actions determined
by the population.

00:04:05,545 –> 00:04:07,311
That’s what democracy means.

00:04:11,849 –> 00:04:15,985
It’s important to understand
that privileged and powerful

00:04:15,987 –> 00:04:21,223
Have never liked democracy
and for very good reasons.

00:04:21,225 –> 00:04:24,993
Democracy puts power
into the hands of
the general population

00:04:24,995 –> 00:04:26,627
And takes it away from them.

00:04:28,830 –> 00:04:32,632
It’s kind of a principle
of concentration of wealth
and power.

00:04:48,348 –> 00:04:52,384
Concentration of wealth
yields concentration of power…

00:04:52,386 –> 00:04:57,021
Particularly so as the cost
of elections skyrockets,

00:04:57,023 –> 00:05:03,627
Which kind of forces
the political parties into the
pockets of major corporations.

00:05:03,629 –> 00:05:08,465
And this political power quickly
translates into legislation

00:05:08,467 –> 00:05:11,401
That increases
the concentration of wealth.

00:05:11,403 –> 00:05:14,937
So fiscal policy
like tax policy…

00:05:14,939 –> 00:05:17,906

00:05:17,908 –> 00:05:22,644
Rules of corporate
governance and a whole
variety of measures…

00:05:22,646 –> 00:05:27,782
Political measures, designed
to increase the concentration
of wealth and power,

00:05:27,784 –> 00:05:31,618
Which, in turn,
yields more political power
to do the same thing.

00:05:33,721 –> 00:05:35,521
And that’s what
we’ve been seeing.

00:05:39,592 –> 00:05:42,460
So we have this kind of
vicious cycle in progress.

00:05:47,766 –> 00:05:54,338
You know, actually,
it is so traditional that it was
described by adam smith in 1776.

00:05:54,340 –> 00:05:56,506
You read the famous
“wealth of nations.”

00:06:00,544 –> 00:06:04,013
He says in England,
the principal architects
of policy

00:06:04,015 –> 00:06:06,015
Are the people
who own the society.

00:06:06,017 –> 00:06:09,818
In his day, merchants
and manufacturers.

00:06:09,820 –> 00:06:14,989
And they make sure
that their own interests
are very well cared for,

00:06:14,991 –> 00:06:19,560
However grievous
the impact on the people
of England or others.

00:06:21,829 –> 00:06:24,530
Now, it’s not merchants
and manufacturers,

00:06:24,532 –> 00:06:27,432
It’s financial institutions
and multinational corporations.

00:06:28,767 –> 00:06:33,570
The people who adam smith
called the “masters of mankind,”

00:06:33,572 –> 00:06:38,808
And they’re following the vile
maxim, “all for ourselves
and nothing for anyone else.”

00:06:41,845 –> 00:06:46,815
They’re just going to pursue
policies that benefit them
and harm everyone else.

00:06:46,817 –> 00:06:52,720
And in the absence of a general
popular reaction, that’s pretty
much what you’d expect.

00:07:03,631 –> 00:07:08,401
Right through american history,
there’s been an ongoing clash…

00:07:08,403 –> 00:07:14,472
Between pressure for more
freedom and democracy coming
from below,

00:07:14,474 –> 00:07:19,643
And efforts at elite control
and domination coming from

00:07:24,415 –> 00:07:26,148
It goes back to
the founding of the country.

00:07:29,852 –> 00:07:31,953
James madison, the main framer,

00:07:31,955 –> 00:07:37,124
Who was as much of a believer
in democracy as anybody
in the world in that day,

00:07:37,126 –> 00:07:41,128
Nevertheless felt that
the United States system
should be designed,

00:07:41,130 –> 00:07:44,898
And indeed with his
initiative was designed,

00:07:44,900 –> 00:07:48,835
So that power should be
in the hands of the wealthy…

00:07:48,837 –> 00:07:52,872
Because the wealthy
are the more responsible
set of men.

00:07:52,874 –> 00:07:56,742
And, therefore,
the structure of the formal
constitutional system

00:07:56,744 –> 00:07:59,611
Placed most power
in the hands of the senate.

00:07:59,613 –> 00:08:02,614
Remember, the senate was
not elected in those days.

00:08:02,616 –> 00:08:04,849
It was selected
from the wealthy.

00:08:04,851 –> 00:08:09,753
Men, as madison put it,
“had sympathy for property
owners and their rights.”

00:08:12,490 –> 00:08:14,958
If you read the debates
at the constitutional

00:08:16,727 –> 00:08:20,496
Madison said, “the major concern
of the society has to be

00:08:20,498 –> 00:08:23,799
To protect the minority
of the opulent against
the majority.”

00:08:27,670 –> 00:08:29,470
And he had arguments.

00:08:29,472 –> 00:08:32,039
Suppose everyone
had a vote freely.

00:08:32,041 –> 00:08:35,742
He said, “well, the majority
of the poor would get together

00:08:35,744 –> 00:08:38,978
And they would organize
to take away the property
of the rich.”

00:08:38,980 –> 00:08:42,781
And, he said, “that would
obviously be unjust,
so you can’t have that.”

00:08:42,783 –> 00:08:46,117
So, therefore the constitutional
system has to be set up
to prevent democracy.

00:08:57,928 –> 00:09:02,965
It’s of some interest that this
debate has a hoary tradition.

00:09:02,967 –> 00:09:07,736
Goes back to the first major
book on political systems,
aristotle’s “politics.”

00:09:09,872 –> 00:09:13,140
He says, “of all of them,
the best is democracy,”

00:09:13,142 –> 00:09:17,143
But then he points out
exactly the flaw that
madison pointed out.

00:09:20,714 –> 00:09:23,515
If athens were a democracy
for free men,

00:09:23,517 –> 00:09:26,150
The poor would get together
and take away the property
of the rich.

00:09:27,986 –> 00:09:31,655
Well, same dilemma,
they had opposite solutions.

00:09:31,657 –> 00:09:35,659
Aristotle proposed what we would
nowadays call a welfare state.

00:09:35,661 –> 00:09:37,494
He said,
“try to reduce inequality.”

00:09:42,599 –> 00:09:45,500
So, same problem,
opposite solutions.

00:09:45,502 –> 00:09:48,903
One is reduce inequality,
you won’t have this problem.

00:09:48,905 –> 00:09:50,704
The other is reduce democracy.

00:09:57,678 –> 00:09:59,779
If you look at the history
of the United States…

00:09:59,781 –> 00:10:03,015
It’s a constant struggle
between these two tendencies.

00:10:03,017 –> 00:10:07,152
A democratizing tendency
that’s mostly coming from
the population,

00:10:07,154 –> 00:10:13,258
And you get this constant battle
going on, periods of regression,
periods of progress.

00:10:13,260 –> 00:10:18,630
The 1960s for example,
were a period of significant

00:10:23,668 –> 00:10:25,068
[crowd clamoring]

00:10:33,076 –> 00:10:37,112
Sectors of the population
that were usually passive

00:10:37,114 –> 00:10:41,883
And apathetic became organized,
active, started pressing their

00:10:46,955 –> 00:10:52,825
And they became more and more
involved in decision-making,
activism and so on.

00:10:54,093 –> 00:10:56,861
It just changed consciousness
in a lot of ways.

00:11:03,969 –> 00:11:08,037
If democracy means freedom,
why aren’t our people free?

00:11:08,039 –> 00:11:11,340
If democracy means justice,
why don’t we have justice?

00:11:11,342 –> 00:11:15,711
If democracy means equality,
why don’t we have equality?

00:11:15,713 –> 00:11:20,949
This inhuman system
of exploitation will change,

00:11:20,951 –> 00:11:24,986
But only if we force it to
change, and force it together.

00:11:24,988 –> 00:11:26,721
Concern for the environment.

00:11:26,723 –> 00:11:29,023
[walter cronkite] a unique day
in american history is ending,

00:11:29,025 –> 00:11:34,594
A day set aside for a nationwide
outpouring of mankind seeking
its own survival.

00:11:34,596 –> 00:11:39,899
[dr. Benjamin spock] I say
to those who criticize us
for the militancy of our dissent

00:11:39,901 –> 00:11:42,234
That if they are serious
about law and order,

00:11:42,236 –> 00:11:45,003
They should first provide it
for the vietnamese people,

00:11:45,005 –> 00:11:48,206
For our own black people
and for our own poor people.

00:11:48,208 –> 00:11:49,907
Concern for other people.

00:11:49,909 –> 00:11:51,976
[dr. Martin luther king]
one day we must ask
the question,

00:11:51,978 –> 00:11:54,712
“why are there 40 million
poor people in america?”

00:11:54,714 –> 00:11:57,715
When you begin
to ask that question,

00:11:57,717 –> 00:12:00,718
You’re raising a question
about the economic system,

00:12:00,720 –> 00:12:02,953
About a broader
distribution of wealth,

00:12:02,955 –> 00:12:07,490
The question of restructuring
the whole of american society.

00:12:07,492 –> 00:12:09,291
These are all
civilizing effects…

00:12:12,728 –> 00:12:14,161
And that caused great fear.

00:12:29,810 –> 00:12:34,780
I hadn’t anticipated
the power–

00:12:34,782 –> 00:12:38,483
I should’ve, but I didn’t
anticipate the power
of the reaction

00:12:38,485 –> 00:12:40,952
To these civilizing
effects of the ’60s.

00:12:40,954 –> 00:12:46,256
I did not anticipate
the strength of
the reaction to it.

00:12:49,827 –> 00:12:51,127
The backlash.

00:12:59,902 –> 00:13:04,205
There has been an enormous
concentrated, coordinated…

00:13:04,207 –> 00:13:06,941
Business offensive
beginning in the ’70s

00:13:06,943 –> 00:13:10,544
To try to beat back
the egalitarian efforts

00:13:10,546 –> 00:13:12,779
That went right
through the nixon years.

00:13:12,781 –> 00:13:20,119
Over on the right, you see it
in things like the famous
powell memorandum…

00:13:22,255 –> 00:13:25,156
Sent to the chamber of commerce,
the major business lobby,

00:13:25,158 –> 00:13:28,159
By later supreme court
justice powell…

00:13:28,161 –> 00:13:32,229
Warning them that business
is losing control
over the society…

00:13:35,266 –> 00:13:38,434
And something has to be done
to counter these forces.

00:13:38,436 –> 00:13:41,036
Of course, he puts it
in terms of defense,

00:13:41,038 –> 00:13:43,471
“defending ourselves
against an outside power.”

00:13:49,377 –> 00:13:54,180
But if you look at it,
it’s a call for business to use
its control over resources

00:13:54,182 –> 00:13:58,250
To carry out a major offensive
to beat back this democratizing

00:14:08,360 –> 00:14:12,162
Over on the liberal side,
there’s something exactly

00:14:12,164 –> 00:14:17,934
The first major report of
the trilateral commission

00:14:17,936 –> 00:14:21,470
Is concerned with this.
It’s called “the crisis
of democracy.”

00:14:23,372 –> 00:14:26,240
Trilateral commission
is liberal internationalists…

00:14:26,242 –> 00:14:29,343
Their flavor is indicated
by the fact that

00:14:29,345 –> 00:14:31,545
They pretty much staffed
the carter administration.

00:14:35,917 –> 00:14:40,520
They were also appalled by
the democratizing tendencies
of the ’60s,

00:14:40,522 –> 00:14:43,923
And thought
we have to react to it.

00:14:43,925 –> 00:14:47,593
They were concerned that
there was an “excess of
democracy” developing.

00:14:51,164 –> 00:14:56,334
Previously passive and obedient
parts of the population,

00:14:56,336 –> 00:14:58,502
What are sometimes called,
“the special interests,”

00:14:58,504 –> 00:15:02,506
Were beginning to organize
and try to enter the political

00:15:02,508 –> 00:15:06,409
And they said, “that imposes
too much pressure on the state.

00:15:06,411 –> 00:15:08,878
It can’t deal with all
these pressures.”

00:15:08,880 –> 00:15:14,082
So, therefore, they have
to return to passivity
and become depoliticized.

00:15:14,084 –> 00:15:15,950

00:15:15,952 –> 00:15:18,919
They were particularly concerned
with what was happening
to young people.

00:15:18,921 –> 00:15:20,987
“the young people are getting
too free and independent.”

00:15:20,989 –> 00:15:23,122
[young man] none of us will
beget any violence.

00:15:23,124 –> 00:15:27,326
If there’s any violence,
it will be because
of the police.

00:15:27,328 –> 00:15:31,330
[noam chomsky] the way they
put it, there’s failure on
the part of the schools,

00:15:31,332 –> 00:15:33,665
The universities,
the churches…

00:15:33,667 –> 00:15:37,969
The institutions responsible
for the “indoctrination
of the young.”

00:15:37,971 –> 00:15:39,403
Their phrase, not mine.

00:15:44,509 –> 00:15:47,911
If you look at their study,
there’s one interest they
never mention…

00:15:47,913 –> 00:15:53,216
And that makes sense, they’re
not special interest, they’re
the national interest,

00:15:53,218 –> 00:15:55,585
Kind of by definition.
So they’re okay.

00:15:55,587 –> 00:16:00,089
They’re allowed to, you know,
have lobbyists, buy campaigns,

00:16:00,091 –> 00:16:03,092
Staff the executive,
make decisions, that’s fine.

00:16:03,094 –> 00:16:06,662
But it’s the rest,
the special interests,
the general population,

00:16:06,664 –> 00:16:08,163
Who have to be subdued.

00:16:08,165 –> 00:16:09,397

00:16:15,670 –> 00:16:17,237
Well, that’s the spectrum.

00:16:17,239 –> 00:16:21,241
It’s the kind of ideological
level of the backlash.

00:16:21,243 –> 00:16:25,178
But the major backlash,
which was in parallel to this…

00:16:25,180 –> 00:16:27,480
Was just redesigning
the economy.

00:16:41,694 –> 00:16:48,599
Since the 1970s, there’s been
a concerted effort on the part
of the masters of mankind,

00:16:48,601 –> 00:16:50,567
The owners of the society,

00:16:50,569 –> 00:16:54,237
To shift the economy
in two crucial respects.

00:16:54,239 –> 00:16:59,641
One, to increase the role
of financial institutions,

00:16:59,643 –> 00:17:03,411
Banks, investment firms,
so on…

00:17:03,413 –> 00:17:05,579
Insurance companies.

00:17:05,581 –> 00:17:09,749
By 2007, right before
the latest crash,

00:17:09,751 –> 00:17:13,252
They had literally 40%
of corporate profits…

00:17:16,389 –> 00:17:18,289
Far beyond
anything in the past.

00:17:26,697 –> 00:17:30,433
Back in the 1950s,
as for many years before,

00:17:30,435 –> 00:17:34,236
The United States economy
was based largely on production.

00:17:34,238 –> 00:17:38,473
The United States was
the great manufacturing
center of the world.

00:17:45,346 –> 00:17:49,716
Financial institutions used
to be a relatively small part
of the economy

00:17:49,718 –> 00:17:54,686
And their task was
to distribute
unused assets like,

00:17:54,688 –> 00:17:58,389
Say, bank savings
to productive activity.

00:17:58,391 –> 00:18:01,258
[man] the bank always has
on hand a reserve of money

00:18:01,260 –> 00:18:03,760
Received from
the stockholders
and depositors.

00:18:03,762 –> 00:18:06,295
On the basis of
these cash reserves,

00:18:06,297 –> 00:18:11,433
A bank can create credit.
So besides providing a safe
place for depositing money,

00:18:11,435 –> 00:18:16,471
A bank serves a community
by making additional credit
available for many purposes.

00:18:16,473 –> 00:18:20,107
For a manufacturer to meet
his payroll during slack
selling periods,

00:18:20,109 –> 00:18:23,110
For a merchant to enlarge
and remodel his store,

00:18:23,112 –> 00:18:27,347
And for many other good reasons
why people are always needing
more credit

00:18:27,349 –> 00:18:29,782
Than they have
immediately available.

00:18:29,784 –> 00:18:31,817
that’s a contribution
to the economy.

00:18:33,286 –> 00:18:35,353
Regulatory system
was established.

00:18:35,355 –> 00:18:37,555
Banks were regulated.

00:18:37,557 –> 00:18:40,291
The commercial and investment
banks were separated,

00:18:40,293 –> 00:18:46,596
Cut back their risky investment
practices that could harm
private people.

00:18:46,598 –> 00:18:51,701
There had been, remember,
no financial crashes during
the period of regulation.

00:18:51,703 –> 00:18:54,437
By the 1970s, that changed.

00:19:03,646 –> 00:19:08,349
You started getting that huge
increase in the flows of
speculative capital,

00:19:08,351 –> 00:19:10,651
Just astronomically increase,

00:19:10,653 –> 00:19:13,253
Enormous changes
in the financial sector

00:19:13,255 –> 00:19:17,490
From traditional banks
to risky investments,

00:19:17,492 –> 00:19:22,394
Complex financial instruments,
money manipulations and so on.

00:19:22,396 –> 00:19:27,865
Increasingly, the business
of the country isn’t production,
at least not here.

00:19:29,601 –> 00:19:32,869
The primary business
here is business.

00:19:32,871 –> 00:19:36,172
You can even see it
in the choice of directors.

00:19:36,174 –> 00:19:41,544
A director of a major
american corporation
back in the ’50s and ’60s

00:19:41,546 –> 00:19:46,482
Was very likely to be
an engineer, somebody who
graduated from a place like mit,

00:19:46,484 –> 00:19:48,550
Maybe industrial management.

00:19:48,552 –> 00:19:52,787
More recently, the directorship
and the top managerial positions

00:19:52,789 –> 00:19:54,889
Are people who came out
of business schools,

00:19:54,891 –> 00:19:58,392
Learned the financial trickery
of various kinds, and so on.

00:20:00,228 –> 00:20:04,397
By the 1970s,
say general electric
could make more profit

00:20:04,399 –> 00:20:08,801
Playing games with money
than you could by producing
in the United States.

00:20:12,639 –> 00:20:14,873
You have to remember
that general electric

00:20:14,875 –> 00:20:18,443
Is substantially
a financial institution today.

00:20:18,445 –> 00:20:23,748
It makes half its profits just
by moving money around
in complicated ways.

00:20:23,750 –> 00:20:28,819
And it’s very unclear that
they’re doing anything that’s
of value to the economy.

00:20:28,821 –> 00:20:32,789
So that’s one phenomenon,
what’s called financialization
of the economy.

00:20:35,793 –> 00:20:38,728
Going along with that
is the off-shoring
of production.

00:20:56,379 –> 00:20:59,280
The trade system
was reconstructed

00:20:59,282 –> 00:21:02,883
With a very explicit
design of putting

00:21:02,885 –> 00:21:06,486
Working people
in competition with one
another all over the world.

00:21:08,455 –> 00:21:13,425
And what it’s lead to
is a reduction
in the share of income

00:21:13,427 –> 00:21:16,895
On the part of working people.

00:21:16,897 –> 00:21:20,531
It’s been particularly striking
in the United States,
but it’s happening worldwide.

00:21:20,533 –> 00:21:23,467
It means that an american
worker’s in competition

00:21:23,469 –> 00:21:25,835
With the super-exploited
worker in china.

00:21:29,372 –> 00:21:32,841
Meanwhile, highly paid
professionals are protected.

00:21:32,843 –> 00:21:37,512
They’re not placed
in competition with the rest
of the world. Far from it.

00:21:37,514 –> 00:21:40,581
And, of course,
the capital is free to move.

00:21:40,583 –> 00:21:44,985
Workers aren’t free to move,
labor can’t move,
but capital can.

00:21:44,987 –> 00:21:48,755
Well, again, going back
to the classics like adam smith,

00:21:48,757 –> 00:21:52,325
As he pointed out,
free circulation of labor

00:21:52,327 –> 00:21:55,895
Is the foundation of
any free trade system,

00:21:55,897 –> 00:21:58,764
But workers are
pretty much stuck.

00:21:58,766 –> 00:22:01,633
The wealthy
and the privileged
are protected,

00:22:01,635 –> 00:22:03,801
So you get obvious consequences.

00:22:03,803 –> 00:22:06,002
And they’re recognized
and, in fact, praised.

00:22:09,673 –> 00:22:12,574
Policy is designed
to increase insecurity.

00:22:13,909 –> 00:22:16,844
Alan greenspan.
When he testified to congress,

00:22:16,846 –> 00:22:21,481
He explained his success
in running the economy

00:22:21,483 –> 00:22:26,752
As based on what he called,
“greater worker insecurity.”

00:22:26,754 –> 00:22:32,023
A typical restraint on
compensation increases has been
evident for a few years now,

00:22:32,025 –> 00:22:35,926
But as I outlined in some detail
in testimony last month,

00:22:35,928 –> 00:22:39,796
I believe that job insecurity
has played the dominant role.

00:22:39,798 –> 00:22:44,433
Keep workers insecure,
they’re going to be
under control.

00:22:44,435 –> 00:22:48,603
They are not going to ask for,
say, decent wages…

00:22:48,605 –> 00:22:50,905
Or decent working conditions…

00:22:50,907 –> 00:22:55,643
Or the opportunity of free
association, meaning unionize.

00:22:55,645 –> 00:23:00,514
Now, for the masters
of mankind, that’s fine.
They make their profits.

00:23:00,516 –> 00:23:02,949
But for the population,
it’s devastating.

00:23:05,018 –> 00:23:08,854
These two processes,
financialization and off-shoring

00:23:08,856 –> 00:23:13,491
Are part of what lead
to the vicious cycle

00:23:13,493 –> 00:23:16,760
Of concentration of wealth
and concentration of power.

00:23:25,669 –> 00:23:29,471
I’m noam chomsky
and I’m on the faculty at mit,

00:23:29,473 –> 00:23:32,574
And I’ve been getting more
and more heavily involved in

00:23:32,576 –> 00:23:34,876
Anti-war activities
for the last few years.

00:23:41,616 –> 00:23:45,118
Noam chomsky has made
two international reputations.

00:23:45,120 –> 00:23:50,123
The widest is as one of the
national leaders of american
resistance to the vietnam war.

00:23:50,125 –> 00:23:52,925
The deepest is as a professor
of linguistics,

00:23:52,927 –> 00:23:57,195
Who, before he was 40 years old,
had transformed the nature
of his subject.

00:23:59,798 –> 00:24:02,533
You are identified
with the new left,
whatever that is.

00:24:02,535 –> 00:24:05,501
You certainly have been
an activist as well as a writer.

00:24:08,204 –> 00:24:10,905
Professor noam chomsky…

00:24:10,907 –> 00:24:17,010
Is listed in anybody’s catalog
as among the half-dozen top
heroes of the new left.

00:24:17,012 –> 00:24:21,447
The standing he achieved
by adopting over the past
two or three years

00:24:21,449 –> 00:24:23,816
A series of adamant positions

00:24:23,818 –> 00:24:29,188
Rejecting at least american
foreign policy, at most
america itself.

00:24:36,562 –> 00:24:41,032
Actually this notion
anti-american is quite
an interesting one.

00:24:41,034 –> 00:24:43,768
It’s actually
a totalitarian notion.

00:24:43,770 –> 00:24:46,570
It isn’t used in free societies.

00:24:46,572 –> 00:24:52,008
So, if someone in, say,
Italy is criticizing berlusconi

00:24:52,010 –> 00:24:57,713
Or the corruption of the italian
state and so on, they’re not
called anti-italian.

00:24:57,715 –> 00:25:01,883
In fact, if they were called
anti-italian, people would
collapse in laughter

00:25:01,885 –> 00:25:04,218
In the streets
of rome or milan.

00:25:05,553 –> 00:25:08,688
In totalitarian states
the notion’s used,

00:25:08,690 –> 00:25:13,492
So in the old soviet union
dissidents were called

00:25:13,494 –> 00:25:15,660
That was the worst condemnation.

00:25:15,662 –> 00:25:20,965
In the brazilian military
dictatorship, they were
called anti-brazilian.

00:25:23,201 –> 00:25:26,203
Now, it’s true that in just
about every society,

00:25:26,205 –> 00:25:29,940
The critics are maligned
or mistreated…

00:25:29,942 –> 00:25:33,643
Different ways depending on
the nature of the society.

00:25:33,645 –> 00:25:37,679
Like in the soviet union,
say vaclav havel would be

00:25:39,181 –> 00:25:43,117
In a u.S. Dependency like
el salvador, at the same time,

00:25:43,119 –> 00:25:49,155
His counterparts would have
their brains blown out by
u.S.-Run state terrorist forces.

00:25:49,157 –> 00:25:52,791
In other societies, they’re just
condemned or vilified and so on.

00:25:52,793 –> 00:25:58,629
In the United States, one of
the terms of abuse
is “anti-american.”

00:25:58,631 –> 00:26:01,231
There’s a couple of
others, like “marxist.”

00:26:01,233 –> 00:26:04,601
There’s an array
of terms of abuse.

00:26:04,603 –> 00:26:07,704
But in the United States,
you have a very high degree
of freedom.

00:26:07,706 –> 00:26:11,307
So, if you’re vilified by some
commissars, then who cares?

00:26:11,309 –> 00:26:13,642
You go on,
you do your work anyway.

00:26:13,644 –> 00:26:18,947
These concepts only arise
in a culture where, if you

00:26:18,949 –> 00:26:22,717
State power,
and by state, I mean…

00:26:22,719 –> 00:26:26,287
More generally not just
government but state
corporate power,

00:26:26,289 –> 00:26:29,823
If you criticize
concentrated power,
you’re against the society,

00:26:29,825 –> 00:26:34,894
That’s quite striking that
it’s used in the United States.

00:26:34,896 –> 00:26:38,264
In fact, as far as I know,
it’s the only democratic society

00:26:38,266 –> 00:26:41,133
Where the concept
isn’t just ridiculed.

00:26:41,135 –> 00:26:47,906
It’s a sign of elements
of the elite culture,
which are quite ugly.

00:27:29,247 –> 00:27:35,317
The american dream, like many
ideals, was partly symbolic,
but partly real.

00:27:35,319 –> 00:27:41,255
So in the 1950s and 60s,
say, there was the biggest
growth period

00:27:41,257 –> 00:27:44,157
In american economic history.

00:27:47,361 –> 00:27:48,894
The golden age.

00:27:52,665 –> 00:27:55,967
It was pretty
egalitarian growth,

00:27:55,969 –> 00:28:00,704
So the lowest fifth of the
population was improving about
as much as the upper fifth.

00:28:02,339 –> 00:28:04,840
And there were some
welfare state measures,

00:28:04,842 –> 00:28:08,710
Which improved life
for much the population.

00:28:08,712 –> 00:28:13,281
It was, for example,
possible for a black worker

00:28:13,283 –> 00:28:16,817
To get a decent job
in an auto plant,

00:28:16,819 –> 00:28:21,687
Buy a home, get a car,
have his children go
to school and so on.

00:28:21,689 –> 00:28:23,221
And the same across the board.

00:28:26,692 –> 00:28:31,429
When the u.S. Was primarily
a manufacturing center,

00:28:31,431 –> 00:28:36,267
It had to be concerned
with its own consumers… Here.

00:28:36,269 –> 00:28:43,173
Famously, henry ford raised
the salary of his workers
so they’d be able to buy cars.

00:28:46,210 –> 00:28:50,813
When you’re moving into
an international “plutonomy,”

00:28:50,815 –> 00:28:52,981
As the banks like to call it…

00:28:52,983 –> 00:28:59,053
The small percentage
of the world’s population that’s
gathering increasing wealth…

00:28:59,055 –> 00:29:02,890
What happens to american
consumers is much less
a concern,

00:29:02,892 –> 00:29:05,792
Because most of them aren’t
going to be consuming your
products anyway,

00:29:05,794 –> 00:29:08,194
At least not on a major basis.

00:29:08,196 –> 00:29:11,163
Your goals are,
profit in the next quarter,

00:29:11,165 –> 00:29:15,300
Even if it’s based on
financial manipulations…

00:29:15,302 –> 00:29:17,101
High salary, high bonuses,

00:29:17,103 –> 00:29:19,436
Produce overseas
if you have to,

00:29:19,438 –> 00:29:24,907
And produce for the wealthy
classes here and their
counterparts abroad.

00:29:24,909 –> 00:29:26,241
What about the rest?

00:29:26,243 –> 00:29:29,210
Well, there’s a term coming
into use for them, too.

00:29:29,212 –> 00:29:31,979
They’re called
the “precariat”…

00:29:31,981 –> 00:29:34,481
Precarious proletariat…

00:29:34,483 –> 00:29:38,818
The working people
of the world who live
increasingly precarious lives.

00:29:41,021 –> 00:29:43,822
And it’s related to the attitude
toward the country altogether.

00:29:48,994 –> 00:29:53,197
During the period of great
growth of the economy…

00:29:53,199 –> 00:29:55,866
The ’50s and the ’60s,
but in fact, earlier…

00:29:55,868 –> 00:29:59,870
Taxes on the wealthy
were far higher.

00:29:59,872 –> 00:30:02,372
Corporate taxes
were much higher,

00:30:02,374 –> 00:30:04,941
Taxes on dividends
were much higher…

00:30:04,943 –> 00:30:07,810
Simply taxes on wealth
were much higher.

00:30:07,812 –> 00:30:10,746
The tax system has
been redesigned,

00:30:10,748 –> 00:30:16,118
So that the taxes that are paid
by the very wealthy are reduced

00:30:16,120 –> 00:30:20,755
And, correspondingly,
the tax burden on the rest of
the population’s increased.

00:30:34,135 –> 00:30:37,837
Now the shift is
towards trying to keep taxes

00:30:37,839 –> 00:30:40,339
Just on wages
and on consumption…

00:30:40,341 –> 00:30:44,309
Which everyone has to do,
not, say, on dividends,
which only go to the rich.

00:30:48,814 –> 00:30:50,381
The numbers are pretty striking.

00:30:59,190 –> 00:31:02,425
Now, there’s a pretext–
of course, there’s always
a pretext.

00:31:02,427 –> 00:31:07,296
The pretext in this case is,
well, that increases investment
and increases jobs,

00:31:07,298 –> 00:31:09,398
But there isn’t
any evidence for that.

00:31:09,400 –> 00:31:12,567
If you want to increase
investment, give money to the
poor and the working people.

00:31:12,569 –> 00:31:15,202
They have to keep alive,
so they spend their incomes.

00:31:15,204 –> 00:31:19,906
That stimulates productions,
stimulates investment, leads
to job growth and so on.

00:31:22,976 –> 00:31:26,445
If you’re an ideologist
for the masters,
you have a different line.

00:31:26,447 –> 00:31:28,914
And in fact, right now,
it’s almost absurd.

00:31:28,916 –> 00:31:33,485
Corporations have money
coming out of their pockets.

00:31:33,487 –> 00:31:38,022
So, in fact, general electric,
are paying zero taxes and they
have enormous profits.

00:31:38,024 –> 00:31:42,326
Let’s them take the profit
somewhere else, or defer it,
but not pay taxes,

00:31:42,328 –> 00:31:43,460
And this is common.

00:31:46,964 –> 00:31:51,367
The major american corporations
shifted the burden of sustaining
the society

00:31:51,369 –> 00:31:53,369
Onto the rest
of the population.

00:32:16,926 –> 00:32:19,093
Solidarity is quite dangerous.

00:32:19,095 –> 00:32:22,463
From the point of view of
the masters, you’re only
supposed to care about yourself,

00:32:22,465 –> 00:32:24,598
Not about other people.

00:32:24,600 –> 00:32:29,603
This is quite different from
the people they claim are their
heroes like adam smith,

00:32:29,605 –> 00:32:34,240
Who based his whole approach
to the economy on the principle
that sympathy

00:32:34,242 –> 00:32:39,245
Is a fundamental human trait,
but that has to be driven out
of people’s heads.

00:32:39,247 –> 00:32:43,949
You’ve got to be for yourself,
follow the vile maxim,
“don’t care about others,”

00:32:43,951 –> 00:32:46,418
Which is okay for
the rich and powerful,

00:32:46,420 –> 00:32:49,187
But is devastating
for everyone else.

00:32:52,157 –> 00:32:59,196
It’s taken a lot of effort
to drive these basic human
emotions out of people’s heads.

00:33:02,466 –> 00:33:06,268
And we see it today
in policy formation.

00:33:06,270 –> 00:33:08,369
For example,
in the attack on
social security.

00:33:11,373 –> 00:33:15,142
Social security is
based on a principle.

00:33:15,144 –> 00:33:17,944
It’s based on a principle
of solidarity.

00:33:17,946 –> 00:33:20,345
Solidarity, caring for others.

00:33:22,981 –> 00:33:27,150
Social security means,
“I pay payroll taxes…

00:33:27,152 –> 00:33:32,622
So that the widow across town
can get something to live on.”

00:33:32,624 –> 00:33:35,257
For much of the population,
that’s what they survive on.

00:33:36,492 –> 00:33:38,593
It’s of no use to the very rich,

00:33:38,595 –> 00:33:41,595
So therefore,
there’s a concerted
attempt to destroy it.

00:33:44,131 –> 00:33:46,232
One of the ways is defunding it.

00:33:46,234 –> 00:33:50,169
You want to destroy
some system? First defund it.

00:33:50,171 –> 00:33:53,205
Then, it won’t work.
People will be angry.
They want something else.

00:33:53,207 –> 00:33:57,575
It’s a standard technique
for privatizing some system.

00:34:01,279 –> 00:34:04,347
We see it in the attack
on public schools.

00:34:04,349 –> 00:34:09,251
Public schools are based
on the principle of solidarity.

00:34:09,253 –> 00:34:12,254
I no longer
have children in school.
They’re grown up…

00:34:12,256 –> 00:34:14,956
But the principle
of solidarity says,

00:34:14,958 –> 00:34:20,193
“I happily pay taxes so that
the kid across the street
can go to school.”

00:34:20,195 –> 00:34:23,362
Now, that’s normal
human emotion.

00:34:23,364 –> 00:34:25,364
You have to drive that
out of people’s heads.

00:34:25,366 –> 00:34:31,002
“I don’t have kids in school.
Why should I pay taxes?
Privatize it,” so on.

00:34:34,406 –> 00:34:39,410
The public education system,
all the way from kindergarten
to higher education,

00:34:39,412 –> 00:34:44,247
Is under severe attack.
That’s one of the jewels
of american society.

00:34:47,584 –> 00:34:49,318

00:34:54,423 –> 00:34:57,124
You go back to the
golden age again…

00:34:57,126 –> 00:34:59,693
The great growth period
in the ’50s and ’60s.

00:34:59,695 –> 00:35:03,663
A lot of that is based
on free public education.

00:35:03,665 –> 00:35:08,100
One of the results
of the second world war
was the gi bill of rights,

00:35:08,102 –> 00:35:12,704
Which enabled veterans,
and remember, that’s a large
part of the population then,

00:35:12,706 –> 00:35:15,606
To go to college. They wouldn’t
have been able to, otherwise.

00:35:15,608 –> 00:35:17,341
They essentially
got free education.

00:35:17,343 –> 00:35:19,676
[man] where a community,
state or nation…

00:35:19,678 –> 00:35:24,881
Courageously invests
a substantial share of its
resources in education,

00:35:24,883 –> 00:35:30,119
The investment invariable
returned in better business and
the higher standard of living.

00:35:30,121 –> 00:35:35,290
U.S. Was way in the lead
in developing extensive mass
public education at every level.

00:35:37,226 –> 00:35:40,761
By now, in more than half
the states, most of the funding

00:35:40,763 –> 00:35:43,497
For the colleges comes from
tuition, not from the state.

00:35:43,499 –> 00:35:45,699
That’s a radical change,

00:35:45,701 –> 00:35:48,368
And that’s a terrible
burden on students.

00:35:48,370 –> 00:35:52,872
It means that students,
if they don’t come from
very wealthy families,

00:35:52,874 –> 00:35:55,374
They’re going to leave
college with big debts.

00:35:55,376 –> 00:35:57,843
And if you have a big debt,
you’re trapped.

00:35:57,845 –> 00:36:01,646
I mean, maybe you wanted
to become a public interest

00:36:01,648 –> 00:36:04,281
But you’re going to have
to go into a corporate law firm

00:36:04,283 –> 00:36:07,250
To pay off those debts,
and by the time you’re
part of the culture,

00:36:07,252 –> 00:36:09,252
You’re not going
to get out of it again.

00:36:09,254 –> 00:36:11,287
And that’s true
across the board.

00:36:14,591 –> 00:36:18,460
In the 1950s, it was a much
poorer society than it is today,

00:36:18,462 –> 00:36:25,199
But, nevertheless, could easily
handle essentially free mass
higher education.

00:36:25,201 –> 00:36:29,236
Today, a much richer society
claims it doesn’t have
the resources for it.

00:36:31,472 –> 00:36:34,507
That’s just what’s going
on right before our eyes.

00:36:34,509 –> 00:36:39,544
That’s the general
attack on principles that,

00:36:39,546 –> 00:36:42,780
Not only are they humane,
they are the basis

00:36:42,782 –> 00:36:47,551
Of the prosperity
and health of this society.

00:37:15,912 –> 00:37:18,880
If you look over
the history of regulation,

00:37:18,882 –> 00:37:23,284
Say, railroad regulation,
financial regulation and so on,

00:37:23,286 –> 00:37:25,986
You find that quite commonly

00:37:25,988 –> 00:37:31,558
It’s either initiated
by the economic…

00:37:31,560 –> 00:37:35,895
that are being regulated,
or it’s supported by them.

00:37:35,897 –> 00:37:42,234
And the reason is because they
know that, sooner or later, they
can take over the regulators.

00:37:46,272 –> 00:37:50,241
And it ends up with what’s
called “regulatory capture.”

00:37:50,243 –> 00:37:53,444
The business being
regulated is in fact
running the regulators.

00:38:02,319 –> 00:38:06,754
Bank lobbyists are actually
writing the laws of financial

00:38:06,756 –> 00:38:08,889
It gets to that extreme.

00:38:08,891 –> 00:38:11,758
That’s been happening through
history and, again,

00:38:11,760 –> 00:38:15,928
It’s a pretty natural tendency
when you just look at
the distribution of power.

00:38:20,633 –> 00:38:25,970
One of the things that
expanded enormously
in the 1970s is lobbying,

00:38:25,972 –> 00:38:31,809
As the business world
moved sharply to try
to control legislation.

00:38:31,811 –> 00:38:36,780
The business world was pretty
upset by the advances in public
welfare in the ’60s,

00:38:36,782 –> 00:38:39,382
In particular by richard nixon.

00:38:39,384 –> 00:38:43,052
It’s not too well understood,
but he was the last new deal

00:38:43,054 –> 00:38:46,488
And they regarded
that as class treachery.

00:38:46,490 –> 00:38:51,359
In nixon’s administration,
you get the consumer safety

00:38:51,361 –> 00:38:54,695
Safety and health
regulations in the workplace,

00:38:54,697 –> 00:38:56,997
The epa, the environmental
protection agency.

00:38:58,899 –> 00:39:01,033
Business didn’t like it,
of course.

00:39:01,035 –> 00:39:03,935
They didn’t like the high taxes.
They didn’t like the regulation.

00:39:03,937 –> 00:39:07,872
And they began a coordinated
effort to try to overcome it.

00:39:07,874 –> 00:39:13,076
Lobbying sharply increased.
Deregulation began with a real

00:39:15,946 –> 00:39:18,781
There were no financial crashes
in the ’50s and the ’60s,

00:39:18,783 –> 00:39:23,018
Because the regulatory
apparatus of the new deal
was still in place.

00:39:27,556 –> 00:39:32,492
As it began to be dismantled
under business pressure
and political pressure,

00:39:32,494 –> 00:39:35,328
You get more and more crashes.

00:39:43,904 –> 00:39:46,105
And it goes on
right through the years.

00:39:47,474 –> 00:39:50,676
’70s it starts to begin.

00:39:50,678 –> 00:39:52,811
’80s really takes off.

00:39:52,813 –> 00:39:56,347
[announcer] congress was asked
to approve federal loan
guarantees to the auto company

00:39:56,349 –> 00:39:58,782
Of up to one and one half
billion dollars.

00:39:58,784 –> 00:40:00,784
Now, all of this
is quite safe

00:40:00,786 –> 00:40:03,887
As long as you know
the government’s going
to come to your rescue.

00:40:03,889 –> 00:40:07,357
Take, say, reagan.
Instead of letting
them pay the cost,

00:40:07,359 –> 00:40:10,660
Reagan bailed out the banks
like continental illinois,

00:40:10,662 –> 00:40:13,929
The biggest bailout
of american history at the time.

00:40:13,931 –> 00:40:18,867
He actually ended his term
with a huge financial crisis,
the savings and loan crisis,

00:40:18,869 –> 00:40:25,907
[announcer] president bush today
signed the 300 billion-dollar
savings and loan bailout bill.

00:40:25,909 –> 00:40:30,611
In 1999, regulation was
dismantled to separate

00:40:30,613 –> 00:40:33,113
Commercial banks
from investment banks.

00:40:35,015 –> 00:40:38,017
Then comes the bush
and obama bailout.

00:40:38,019 –> 00:40:40,786
[male announcer] bear stearns
is running to the feds
to stay afloat–

00:40:40,788 –> 00:40:44,689
[female announcer] president
bush today defended the decision
to bail out citigroup…

00:40:44,691 –> 00:40:49,460
Fannie mae and freddie mac
have asked for a total of three
billion dollars more…

00:40:49,462 –> 00:40:54,031
The bailout could get much
bigger, signaling deepening
troubles for the u.S. Economy.

00:40:57,902 –> 00:40:59,836
and they’re building
up the next one.

00:41:14,517 –> 00:41:20,087
Each time, the taxpayer is
called on to bail out those
who created the crisis,

00:41:20,089 –> 00:41:24,825
Increasingly the major
financial institutions.

00:41:24,827 –> 00:41:27,160
In a capitalist economy,
you wouldn’t do that.

00:41:27,162 –> 00:41:32,798
That would wipe out
the investors who made
risky investments.

00:41:32,800 –> 00:41:36,101
But the rich and powerful,
they don’t want a capitalist

00:41:36,103 –> 00:41:39,003
They want to be able to run
to the nanny state

00:41:39,005 –> 00:41:41,905
As soon as they’re in trouble,
and get bailed out
by the taxpayer.

00:41:41,907 –> 00:41:43,907
That’s called “too big to fail.”

00:41:45,709 –> 00:41:48,043
There are nobel
laureates in economics

00:41:48,045 –> 00:41:51,146
Who significantly disagree
with the course that we’re

00:41:51,148 –> 00:41:54,482
People like joe stiglitz,
paul krugman and others,

00:41:54,484 –> 00:41:57,751
And none of them
were even approached.

00:41:57,753 –> 00:42:01,121
The people picked to fix
the crisis were those who
created it,

00:42:01,123 –> 00:42:04,691
The robert rubin crowd,
the goldman sachs crowd.

00:42:04,693 –> 00:42:09,095
They created the crisis…
Are now more powerful
than before.

00:42:09,097 –> 00:42:10,830
Is that accident?

00:42:10,832 –> 00:42:15,668
Not when you pick those people
to create an economic plan.

00:42:15,670 –> 00:42:17,536
I mean, what do you
expect to happen?

00:42:21,974 –> 00:42:25,776
Meanwhile, for the poor,
let market principles prevail.

00:42:25,778 –> 00:42:27,978
Don’t expect any help
from the government.

00:42:27,980 –> 00:42:30,714
The government’s the problem,
not the solution, and so on.

00:42:30,716 –> 00:42:33,216
That’s, essentially,

00:42:33,218 –> 00:42:38,954
It has this dual character
which goes right back
in economic history.

00:42:38,956 –> 00:42:41,122
One set of rules for the rich.

00:42:41,124 –> 00:42:42,756
Opposite set
of rules for the poor.

00:42:45,793 –> 00:42:47,927
Nothing surprising about this.

00:42:47,929 –> 00:42:50,229
It’s exactly
the dynamics you expect.

00:42:50,231 –> 00:42:52,931
If the population
allows it to proceed,

00:42:52,933 –> 00:43:00,605
Until the next crash,
which is so much expected
that credit agencies,

00:43:00,607 –> 00:43:03,574
Which evaluate
the status of firms,

00:43:03,576 –> 00:43:06,643
Are now counting
into their calculations

00:43:06,645 –> 00:43:11,914
The taxpayer bailout that
they expect to come after
the next crash.

00:43:11,916 –> 00:43:16,785
Which means that the
beneficiaries of these credit
ratings like the big banks,

00:43:16,787 –> 00:43:21,656
They can borrow money more
cheaply, they can push out
smaller competitors,

00:43:21,658 –> 00:43:23,658
And you get more
and more concentration.

00:43:23,660 –> 00:43:25,826
Everywhere you look,
policies are designed this way,

00:43:25,828 –> 00:43:29,696
Which should come
as absolutely no surprise
to anyone.

00:43:29,698 –> 00:43:36,068
That’s what happens when you put
power into the hands of a narrow
sector of wealth,

00:43:36,070 –> 00:43:40,539
Which is dedicated
to increasing power for itself,
just as you’d expect.

00:43:59,558 –> 00:44:04,228
Concentration of wealth
yields concentration
of political power,

00:44:04,230 –> 00:44:09,633
Particularly so as the cost
of elections skyrockets,

00:44:09,635 –> 00:44:14,804
Which forces the political
parties into the pockets
of major corporations.

00:44:17,841 –> 00:44:22,644
The citizens united,
this was January 2009, I guess,

00:44:22,646 –> 00:44:26,581
That’s a very important
supreme court decision,

00:44:26,583 –> 00:44:29,283
But it has a history
and you got to think
about the history.

00:44:30,685 –> 00:44:34,187
The 14th amendment
has a provision that says,

00:44:34,189 –> 00:44:39,792
“no person’s rights can be
infringed without due process
of law.”

00:44:39,794 –> 00:44:43,662
And the intent, clearly,
was to protect freed slaves.

00:44:43,664 –> 00:44:46,898
Says, “okay, they’ve got
the protection of the law.”

00:44:46,900 –> 00:44:51,068
I don’t think it’s ever been
used for freed slaves,
if ever, marginally.

00:44:51,070 –> 00:44:55,639
Almost immediately, it was used
for businesses, corporations.

00:44:55,641 –> 00:44:59,009
Their rights can’t be infringed
without due process of law.

00:44:59,011 –> 00:45:02,379
So they gradually became
persons under the law.

00:45:08,318 –> 00:45:11,887
Corporations are
state-created legal fictions.

00:45:14,857 –> 00:45:16,324
Maybe they’re good,
maybe they’re bad,

00:45:16,326 –> 00:45:19,327
But to call them persons
is kind of outrageous.

00:45:19,329 –> 00:45:23,064
So they got personal rights
back about a century ago,

00:45:23,066 –> 00:45:25,166
And that extended
through the 20th century.

00:45:27,669 –> 00:45:31,204
They gave corporations rights
way beyond what persons have.

00:45:32,406 –> 00:45:35,674
So if, say,
general motors
invests in mexico,

00:45:35,676 –> 00:45:39,310
They get national rights,
the rights of the mexican

00:45:39,312 –> 00:45:44,213
While the notion of person
was expanded to include

00:45:44,215 –> 00:45:46,415
It was also restricted.

00:45:46,417 –> 00:45:49,117
If you take the
14th amendment literally,

00:45:49,119 –> 00:45:54,688
Then no undocumented alien
can be deprived of rights,
if they’re persons.

00:45:57,725 –> 00:46:01,060
Undocumented aliens
who are living here
and building your buildings,

00:46:01,062 –> 00:46:04,028
Cleaning your lawns, and so on,
they’re not persons…

00:46:06,831 –> 00:46:12,235
But general electric
is a person, an immortal
super-powerful person.

00:46:12,237 –> 00:46:18,274
This perversion of
the elementary morality,

00:46:18,276 –> 00:46:20,943
And the obvious meaning
of the law, is quite incredible.

00:46:23,346 –> 00:46:28,315
In the 1970s, the courts decided
that money is a form of speech.

00:46:30,551 –> 00:46:34,554
Buckley vs. Valeo.
Then you go on through
the years to citizens united,

00:46:34,556 –> 00:46:37,557
Which says that, the right
of free speech of corporations,

00:46:37,559 –> 00:46:41,227
Mainly to spend
as much money as they want,
that can’t be curtailed.

00:46:45,166 –> 00:46:50,836
It means that corporations,
which anyway have been
pretty much buying elections,

00:46:50,838 –> 00:46:54,039
Are now free to do it with
virtually no constraint.

00:46:54,041 –> 00:46:58,276
That’s a tremendous attack
on the residue of democracy.

00:47:02,848 –> 00:47:06,817
It’s very interesting to read
the rulings, like justice
kennedy’s swing vote.

00:47:06,819 –> 00:47:09,452
His ruling said,
“well, look, after all,

00:47:09,454 –> 00:47:14,423
“cbs is given freedom of speech,
they’re a corporation,
why shouldn’t general electric

00:47:14,425 –> 00:47:16,491
Be free to spend as much
money as they want?”

00:47:18,293 –> 00:47:21,328
I mean, it’s true that cbs
is given freedom of speech,

00:47:21,330 –> 00:47:25,498
But they’re supposed to be
performing a public service.
That’s why.

00:47:25,500 –> 00:47:27,199
That’s what the press
is supposed to be,

00:47:27,201 –> 00:47:29,301
And general electric
is trying to make money

00:47:29,303 –> 00:47:31,569
For the chief executive
and some of the shareholders.

00:47:34,172 –> 00:47:38,375
It’s an incredible decision,
and it puts the country
in a position where

00:47:38,377 –> 00:47:43,980
Business power is greatly
extended beyond what it always

00:47:43,982 –> 00:47:45,614
This is part of
that vicious cycle.

00:47:45,616 –> 00:47:49,884
The supreme court justices
are put in by reactionary

00:47:49,886 –> 00:47:53,053
Who get in there because
they’re funded by business.

00:47:53,055 –> 00:47:54,521
It’s the way the cycle works.

00:48:20,213 –> 00:48:23,949
There is one organized
force which traditionally,

00:48:23,951 –> 00:48:29,553
Plenty of flaws,
but with all its flaws,
it’s been in the forefront of…

00:48:29,555 –> 00:48:33,323
Efforts to improve the lives
of the general population.

00:48:33,325 –> 00:48:34,924
That’s organized labor.

00:48:34,926 –> 00:48:37,359
It’s also a barrier
to corporate tyranny.

00:48:37,361 –> 00:48:44,065
So, it’s the one barrier to this
vicious cycle going on, which
does lead to corporate tyranny.

00:48:53,441 –> 00:48:57,310
A major reason
for the concentrated,

00:48:57,312 –> 00:49:01,047
Almost fanatic attack on unions,
on organized labor,

00:49:01,049 –> 00:49:03,282
Is they are
a democratizing force.

00:49:05,018 –> 00:49:08,353
They provide a barrier that
defends workers’ rights,

00:49:08,355 –> 00:49:10,221
But also popular
rights generally.

00:49:17,662 –> 00:49:22,966
That interferes with
the prerogatives and power
of those who own

00:49:22,968 –> 00:49:24,934
And manage the society.

00:49:26,202 –> 00:49:29,470
I should say that anti-union

00:49:29,472 –> 00:49:33,674
Sentiment in the United States
among elites is so strong

00:49:33,676 –> 00:49:37,310
That the fundamental
core of labor rights,

00:49:37,312 –> 00:49:41,480
The basic principle
in the international
labor organization,

00:49:41,482 –> 00:49:44,216
Is the right of
free association,

00:49:44,218 –> 00:49:46,418
Which would mean
the right to form unions.

00:49:46,420 –> 00:49:49,053
The u.S. Has never
ratified that,

00:49:49,055 –> 00:49:54,624
So I think the u.S. May be
alone among major societies
in that respect.

00:49:54,626 –> 00:49:58,728
It’s considered so far out
of the spectrum of american

00:49:58,730 –> 00:50:00,362
It literally has never
been considered.

00:50:00,364 –> 00:50:03,098

00:50:03,100 –> 00:50:07,735
Remember, the u.S. Has a long
and very violent labor history

00:50:07,737 –> 00:50:10,070
As compared with
comparable societies…

00:50:12,640 –> 00:50:15,308
But the labor movement
had been very strong.

00:50:15,310 –> 00:50:21,414
By the 1920s, in a period
not unlike today, it was
virtually crushed.

00:50:21,416 –> 00:50:27,119
[man] a truck drivers strike
was climaxed by severe riots
with many casualties.

00:50:27,121 –> 00:50:33,290
Open warfare rages through
the streets of the city as 3,000
union pickets battle 700 police.

00:50:33,292 –> 00:50:36,192
Guns, tear gas, clubs
and fists bring injuries

00:50:36,194 –> 00:50:39,328
To more than 80 persons
and caused the death of two.

00:50:44,133 –> 00:50:46,233
By the mid ’30s,
it began to reconstruct.

00:50:49,738 –> 00:50:55,475
He himself was rather
sympathetic to progressive

00:50:55,477 –> 00:50:58,244
That would be in the benefit
of the general population,

00:50:58,246 –> 00:51:00,713
But he had to somehow
get it passed.

00:51:00,715 –> 00:51:06,718
So he informed labor leaders
and others, “force me to do it.”

00:51:06,720 –> 00:51:13,024
What he meant is, go out
and demonstrate, organize,

00:51:13,026 –> 00:51:15,326
Develop the labor movement.

00:51:15,328 –> 00:51:17,494
When the popular
pressure is sufficient,

00:51:17,496 –> 00:51:19,662
I’ll be able to put through
the legislation you want.

00:51:19,664 –> 00:51:25,033
I am not for a return
to that definition of liberty,

00:51:25,035 –> 00:51:29,070
Under which for many
years a free people

00:51:29,072 –> 00:51:36,076
Were being gradually
regimented into the service
of a privileged few.

00:51:36,078 –> 00:51:41,147
I prefer that broader
definition of liberty.

00:51:41,149 –> 00:51:45,117
[chomsky] so, there was kind of
a combination of sympathetic

00:51:45,119 –> 00:51:48,786
And by the mid-’30s,
very substantial popular

00:51:50,488 –> 00:51:54,791
There were industrial actions.
There were sit-down strikes,

00:51:54,793 –> 00:51:59,228
Which were very
frightening to ownership.

00:51:59,230 –> 00:52:04,199
You have to recognize
the sit-down strike is just
one step before saying,

00:52:04,201 –> 00:52:06,568
“we don’t need bosses.
We can run this by ourselves.”

00:52:13,708 –> 00:52:15,408
And business was appalled.

00:52:15,410 –> 00:52:19,378
You read the business press,
say, in the late ’30s,

00:52:19,380 –> 00:52:23,382
They were talking
about the “hazard
facing industrialists”

00:52:23,384 –> 00:52:26,818
And the “rising political
power of the masses,”

00:52:26,820 –> 00:52:28,486
Which has to be repressed.

00:52:28,488 –> 00:52:31,388
Things were on hold
during the second world war,

00:52:31,390 –> 00:52:34,457
But immediately after
the second world war,
the business offensive

00:52:34,459 –> 00:52:38,494
Began in force.
The taft-hartley act.

00:52:38,496 –> 00:52:41,864
The taft-hartley act was written
for only one purpose,

00:52:41,866 –> 00:52:47,836
To restore justice and equality
in labor-management relations.

00:52:47,838 –> 00:52:53,107
Then mccarthyism was used for
massive corporate propaganda
offensives to attack unions.

00:52:54,409 –> 00:52:56,576
It increased sharply
during the reagan years.

00:52:56,578 –> 00:52:59,712
I mean, reagan pretty much told
the business world,

00:52:59,714 –> 00:53:04,483
“if you want to illegally break
organizing efforts and strikes,
go ahead.”

00:53:04,485 –> 00:53:07,118
They are in violation
of the law,

00:53:07,120 –> 00:53:10,488
And if they do not report
for work within 48 hours,

00:53:10,490 –> 00:53:14,825
They have forfeited their jobs
and will be terminated.

00:53:14,827 –> 00:53:19,696
It continued in the ’90s and,
of course with george w. Bush,
it went through the roof.

00:53:19,698 –> 00:53:25,268
By now, less than 7% of private
sector workers have unions.

00:53:30,640 –> 00:53:35,810
The effect is that the usual
counter-force to an offensive

00:53:35,812 –> 00:53:40,414
By our highly class-conscious
business class has dissolved.

00:53:43,918 –> 00:53:47,186
Now, if you’re in
a position of power,

00:53:47,188 –> 00:53:50,556
You want to maintain
for yourself,

00:53:50,558 –> 00:53:52,424
But eliminate it
everywhere else.

00:53:52,426 –> 00:53:55,627
You go back
to the 19th century,

00:53:55,629 –> 00:53:59,263
In the early days of
the industrial revolution
in the United States,

00:53:59,265 –> 00:54:02,866
Working people were
very conscious of this.

00:54:02,868 –> 00:54:06,636
They, in fact,
overwhelmingly regarded

00:54:06,638 –> 00:54:10,706
Wage labor as not
very different
from slavery,

00:54:10,708 –> 00:54:13,508
Different only in that
it was temporary.

00:54:13,510 –> 00:54:17,244
In fact, it was such a popular
idea that it was the slogan
of the republican party.

00:54:18,546 –> 00:54:22,348
That was a very sharp

00:54:22,350 –> 00:54:24,883
In the interest of power
and privilege,

00:54:24,885 –> 00:54:28,519
It’s good to drive those ideas
out of people’s heads.

00:54:28,521 –> 00:54:31,755
You don’t want them to know
that they’re an oppressed class.

00:54:31,757 –> 00:54:35,525
So, this is one of the few
societies in which you just
don’t talk about class.

00:54:35,527 –> 00:54:39,195
In fact, the notion
of class is very simple.

00:54:39,197 –> 00:54:41,430
Who gives the orders?
Who follows them?

00:54:41,432 –> 00:54:43,598
That basically defines class.

00:54:43,600 –> 00:54:47,268
It’s more nuanced and complex,
but that’s basically it.

00:55:05,653 –> 00:55:09,255
The public relations industry,
the advertising industry,

00:55:09,257 –> 00:55:11,490
Which is dedicated
to creating consumers,

00:55:11,492 –> 00:55:14,860
It’s a phenomena that developed
in the freest countries,

00:55:14,862 –> 00:55:19,598
In britain
and the United States,
and the reason is pretty clear.

00:55:19,600 –> 00:55:22,968
It became clear by,
say, a century ago

00:55:22,970 –> 00:55:27,305
That it was not going to be
so easy to control
the population by force.

00:55:27,307 –> 00:55:28,472
Too much freedom had been won.

00:55:30,241 –> 00:55:33,676
Labor organizing, parliamentary
labor parties in many countries,

00:55:33,678 –> 00:55:36,578
Women starting to get
the franchise, and so on.

00:55:36,580 –> 00:55:38,880
So, you had to have other
means of controlling people.

00:55:38,882 –> 00:55:41,449
And it was understood
and expressed

00:55:41,451 –> 00:55:47,587
That you have to control
them by control of beliefs
and attitudes.

00:55:47,589 –> 00:55:51,724
Well, one of the best
ways to control people
in terms of attitudes

00:55:51,726 –> 00:55:58,363
Is what the great political
economist thorstein veblen
called “fabricating consumers.”

00:56:04,602 –> 00:56:07,637
If you can fabricate wants…

00:56:07,639 –> 00:56:12,975
Make obtaining things that are
just about within your reach
the essence of life,

00:56:12,977 –> 00:56:16,344
They’re going to be trapped
into becoming consumers.

00:56:18,714 –> 00:56:21,549
You read the business
press in say, 1920s,

00:56:21,551 –> 00:56:27,487
It talks about the need
to direct people to
the superficial things of life,

00:56:27,489 –> 00:56:30,623
Like “fashionable consumption”
and that’ll keep them
out of our hair.

00:56:32,559 –> 00:56:36,762
You find this doctrine
all through progressive
intellectual thought,

00:56:36,764 –> 00:56:38,430
Like walter lippmann,

00:56:38,432 –> 00:56:41,332
The major progressive
intellectual of
the 20th century.

00:56:43,702 –> 00:56:49,439
He wrote famous progressive
essays on democracy in which
his view was exactly that.

00:56:49,441 –> 00:56:51,908
“the public must be
put in their place,”

00:56:51,910 –> 00:56:54,810
So that the responsible
men can make decisions

00:56:54,812 –> 00:56:57,612
Without interference
from the “bewildered herd.”

00:57:00,449 –> 00:57:02,583
They’re to be spectators,
not participants.

00:57:02,585 –> 00:57:05,419
Then you get a properly
functioning democracy,

00:57:05,421 –> 00:57:10,824
Straight back to madison
and on to powell’s memorandum,
and so on.

00:57:10,826 –> 00:57:17,830
And the advertising industry
just exploded with this
as its goal…

00:57:17,832 –> 00:57:19,064
Fabricating consumers.

00:57:25,571 –> 00:57:28,539
And it’s done with
great sophistication.

00:57:28,541 –> 00:57:30,741
[announcer] you don’t see many
wild stallions anymore.

00:57:30,743 –> 00:57:35,111
He’s one of the last of a wild
and very singular breed.

00:57:35,912 –> 00:57:39,147
Come to marlboro country.

00:57:39,149 –> 00:57:41,582
The ideal is what you
actually see today…

00:57:43,718 –> 00:57:47,921
Where, let’s say,
teenage girls, if they have
a free Saturday afternoon,

00:57:47,923 –> 00:57:50,623
Will go walking
in the shopping mall,

00:57:50,625 –> 00:57:52,791
Not to the library
or somewhere else.

00:57:53,926 –> 00:57:57,628
The idea is to try
to control everyone,

00:57:57,630 –> 00:58:01,097
To turn the whole society
into the perfect system.

00:58:03,967 –> 00:58:09,104
Perfect system would be
a society based on a dyad,
a pair.

00:58:09,106 –> 00:58:12,507
The pair is you
and your television set,

00:58:12,509 –> 00:58:15,009
Or maybe now you
and the internet,

00:58:15,011 –> 00:58:19,713
In which that presents you
with what the proper life
would be,

00:58:19,715 –> 00:58:21,915
What kind of gadgets
you should have.

00:58:21,917 –> 00:58:24,651
And you spend your time
and effort gaining those things,

00:58:24,653 –> 00:58:27,520
Which you don’t need,
and you don’t want, and maybe
you’ll throw them away…

00:58:29,256 –> 00:58:32,023
But that’s the measure
of a decent life.

00:58:34,860 –> 00:58:38,729
What we see is in, say,
advertising on television,

00:58:38,731 –> 00:58:42,666
If you’ve ever taken
an economics course,
you know that

00:58:42,668 –> 00:58:48,805
Markets are supposed to be based
on “informed consumers making
rational choices.”

00:58:48,807 –> 00:58:52,608
Well, if we had a system
like that, a market system,

00:58:52,610 –> 00:58:57,245
Then a television ad would
consist of, say, general motors

00:58:57,247 –> 00:59:01,215
Putting up information, saying,
“here’s what we have for sale.”

00:59:01,217 –> 00:59:03,917
That’s not what
an ad for a car is.

00:59:03,919 –> 00:59:06,619
And ad for a car
is a football hero…

00:59:06,621 –> 00:59:11,690
An actress, the car doing
some crazy thing like,

00:59:11,692 –> 00:59:13,692
Going up a mountain
or something.

00:59:13,694 –> 00:59:19,897
The point is to create
uninformed consumers who
will make irrational choices.

00:59:19,899 –> 00:59:22,566
That’s what advertising
is all about,

00:59:22,568 –> 00:59:28,004
And when the same institution,
the pr system,

00:59:28,006 –> 00:59:30,272
Runs elections,
they do it the same way.

00:59:36,545 –> 00:59:39,146
They want to create
an uniformed electorate,

00:59:39,148 –> 00:59:43,617
Which will make irrational
choices, often against their
own interests,

00:59:43,619 –> 00:59:47,820
And we see it every time
one of these extravaganzas
take place.

00:59:49,856 –> 00:59:51,957
Right after the election,

00:59:51,959 –> 00:59:57,095
President obama won an award
from the advertising industry

00:59:57,097 –> 00:59:59,097
For the best marketing campaign.

00:59:59,099 –> 01:00:01,966
It wasn’t reported here,
but if you go to the
international business press,

01:00:01,968 –> 01:00:05,069
Executives were euphoric.

01:00:05,071 –> 01:00:11,808
They said, “we’ve been selling
candidates, marketing candidates
like toothpaste

01:00:11,810 –> 01:00:15,611
Ever since reagan,
and this is the greatest
achievement we have.”

01:00:15,613 –> 01:00:18,947
I don’t usually agree
with sarah palin,

01:00:18,949 –> 01:00:24,718
But when she mocks what she
calls the “hopey-changey” stuff,
she’s right.

01:00:24,720 –> 01:00:29,322
First of all, obama didn’t
really promise anything.
That’s mostly illusion.

01:00:29,324 –> 01:00:32,091
You go back to the campaign
rhetoric and take a look at it.

01:00:32,093 –> 01:00:36,795
There’s very little discussion
of policy issues, and for very
good reason,

01:00:36,797 –> 01:00:42,133
Because public opinion on policy
is sharply disconnected

01:00:42,135 –> 01:00:46,670
From what the two-party
leadership and their
financial backers want.

01:00:48,607 –> 01:00:54,744
Is focused on the private
interests that fund
the campaigns…

01:00:56,179 –> 01:00:58,146
With the public
being marginalized.

01:01:21,636 –> 01:01:26,239
One of the leading political
scientists, martin gilens,
came out with a study

01:01:26,241 –> 01:01:29,175
Of the relation between
public attitudes
and public policy.

01:01:29,177 –> 01:01:36,014
What he shows is that about 70%
of the population has no way
of influencing policy.

01:01:36,016 –> 01:01:38,249
They might as well be
in some other country…

01:01:39,651 –> 01:01:40,884
And the population knows it.

01:01:43,954 –> 01:01:50,225
What it’s led to is
a population that’s angry,
frustrated, hates institutions.

01:01:51,927 –> 01:01:56,029
It’s not acting
constructively to try
to respond to this.

01:01:58,098 –> 01:02:01,033
There is popular
mobilization and activism,

01:02:01,035 –> 01:02:03,101
But in very self-destructive

01:02:04,903 –> 01:02:08,405
It’s taking the form
of unfocused anger,

01:02:08,407 –> 01:02:11,841
Attacks on one another,
and on vulnerable targets.

01:02:11,843 –> 01:02:13,842
That’s what happens
in cases like this.

01:02:17,413 –> 01:02:21,816
It is corrosive of social
relations, but that’s the point.

01:02:21,818 –> 01:02:26,120
The point is to make people
hate and fear each other,

01:02:26,122 –> 01:02:28,122
And look out only
for themselves,

01:02:28,124 –> 01:02:29,790
And don’t do anything
for anyone else.

01:02:34,061 –> 01:02:38,831
One place you see it
strikingly is on April 15th.

01:02:38,833 –> 01:02:42,167
April 15th is kind of a measure,
the day you pay your taxes,

01:02:42,169 –> 01:02:45,370
Of how democratic
the society is.

01:02:45,372 –> 01:02:49,140
If a society is
really democratic,

01:02:49,142 –> 01:02:52,243
April 15th would be
a day of celebration.

01:02:52,245 –> 01:02:55,045
It’s a day when
the population gets together,

01:02:55,047 –> 01:03:01,751
Decides to fund the programs
and activities that they have
formulated and agreed upon.

01:03:01,753 –> 01:03:04,820
What could be better than that?
So, you should celebrate it.

01:03:04,822 –> 01:03:06,221
It’s not the way it is
in the United States.

01:03:06,223 –> 01:03:09,023
It’s a day of mourning.

01:03:09,025 –> 01:03:13,994
It’s a day in which some alien
power that has nothing to do
with you,

01:03:13,996 –> 01:03:17,197
Is coming down to steal
our hard-earned money,

01:03:17,199 –> 01:03:19,499
And you do everything you can
to keep them from doing it.

01:03:21,168 –> 01:03:24,170
That is a kind of measure
of the extent to which,

01:03:24,172 –> 01:03:27,839
At least in popular
consciousness, democracy
is actually functioning.

01:03:29,007 –> 01:03:30,340
Not a very attractive picture.

01:03:48,458 –> 01:03:52,327
The tendencies that we’ve
been describing within
american society,

01:03:52,329 –> 01:03:57,065
Unless they’re reversed,
it’s going to be an extremely
ugly society.

01:03:57,067 –> 01:04:00,101
I mean, a society
that’s based on

01:04:00,103 –> 01:04:05,072
Adam smith’s vile maxim,
“all for myself,
nothing for anyone else.”

01:04:10,311 –> 01:04:14,314
A society in which
normal human instincts
and emotion

01:04:14,316 –> 01:04:18,551
Of sympathy, solidarity,
mutual support, in which
they’re driven out…

01:04:22,122 –> 01:04:25,157
That’s a society so ugly,
I don’t even want to know
who’d live in it.

01:04:25,159 –> 01:04:27,325
I wouldn’t want my children to.

01:04:32,064 –> 01:04:36,934
[chomsky on tape]
if the society is based on
control by private wealth,

01:04:36,936 –> 01:04:40,570
It will reflect the values
that it, in fact, does reflect.

01:04:43,373 –> 01:04:47,309
The value that is greed,
and the desire to maximize
personal gain,

01:04:47,311 –> 01:04:54,949
Now, any society, a small
society based on that principle
is ugly, but it can survive.

01:04:54,951 –> 01:04:58,852
A global society based
on that principle is headed
for massive destruction.

01:05:04,190 –> 01:05:09,260
I don’t think we’re smart
enough to design,

01:05:09,262 –> 01:05:14,597
In any detail what
a perfectly just and free
society would be like.

01:05:14,599 –> 01:05:17,199
I think we can give
some guidelines

01:05:17,201 –> 01:05:22,404
And, more significant,
we can ask how we can
progress in that direction.

01:05:26,876 –> 01:05:31,446
John dewey, the leading
social philosopher in
the late 20th century,

01:05:31,448 –> 01:05:34,882
He argued that until
all institutions,

01:05:34,884 –> 01:05:38,919
Production, commerce, media,

01:05:38,921 –> 01:05:43,089
Unless they’re all under
participatory democratic

01:05:43,091 –> 01:05:47,092
We will not have
a functioning
democratic society.

01:05:49,061 –> 01:05:52,930
As he put it, “policy will be
the shadow cast by business
over society.”

01:05:57,402 –> 01:05:59,069
Well, it’s essentially true.

01:06:10,180 –> 01:06:14,316
Where there are structures
of authority, domination
and hierarchy,

01:06:14,318 –> 01:06:19,454
Somebody gives the orders,
somebody takes them,
they are not self-justifying.

01:06:19,456 –> 01:06:23,424
They have to justify themselves.
They have a burden of proof
to meet.

01:06:30,531 –> 01:06:34,634
Well, if you take a close look,
usually you find they can’t
justify themselves.

01:06:34,636 –> 01:06:37,169
If they can’t, we ought
to be dismantling them.

01:06:38,938 –> 01:06:42,006
Trying to expand the domain
of freedom and justice

01:06:42,008 –> 01:06:46,076
By dismantling that form
of illegitimate authority.

01:06:46,078 –> 01:06:49,079
And, in fact,
progress over the years,

01:06:49,081 –> 01:06:53,216
What we all thankfully
recognized as progress,
has been just that.

01:06:53,218 –> 01:06:57,687
[chomsky on tape] the way things
change is because lots of people
are working all the time.

01:06:57,689 –> 01:07:02,091
They’re working in their
communities, in their workplace,
or wherever they happen to be,

01:07:02,093 –> 01:07:08,430
And they’re building up
the basis for popular movements,
which are going to make changes.

01:07:08,432 –> 01:07:11,065
That’s the way everything
has ever happened in history.

01:07:12,934 –> 01:07:15,602
Take, say,
freedom of speech…

01:07:15,604 –> 01:07:18,705
One of the real achievements
of american society,

01:07:18,707 –> 01:07:22,141
It’s first in the world in that.
It’s not in the bill of rights.

01:07:22,143 –> 01:07:24,510
It’s not in the constitution.

01:07:24,512 –> 01:07:30,048
Freedom of speech issues began
to come to the supreme court
in the early 20th century.

01:07:31,383 –> 01:07:34,718
The major contributions
came in the 1960s.

01:07:34,720 –> 01:07:38,488
One of the leading ones
was a case in the civil
rights movement.

01:07:38,490 –> 01:07:41,557
Well, by then,
you had a mass
popular movement,

01:07:41,559 –> 01:07:44,359
Which was demanding rights,

01:07:44,361 –> 01:07:47,562
Refusing to back down.
And in that context,

01:07:47,564 –> 01:07:51,632
The supreme court did establish
a pretty high standard
for freedom of speech.

01:07:51,634 –> 01:07:54,335
Or take, say, women’s rights.

01:07:54,337 –> 01:07:57,838
Women also began identifying
oppressive structures,

01:07:57,840 –> 01:08:02,642
Refusing to accept them,
bringing other people
to join with them.

01:08:02,644 –> 01:08:06,145
Well, that’s how rights are won.

01:08:06,147 –> 01:08:10,149
To a non-trivial extent,
I’ve also spent a lot
of my life in activism.

01:08:10,151 –> 01:08:15,320
That doesn’t show up publicly,
but, actually, I’m not terribly
good at it…

01:08:15,322 –> 01:08:21,726
[chomsky on tape] I think that
we can see quite clearly some
very, very serious defects

01:08:21,728 –> 01:08:25,362
And flaws in our society,
our level of culture,
our institutions,

01:08:25,364 –> 01:08:29,599
Which are going to have to be
corrected by operating outside
of the framework

01:08:29,601 –> 01:08:31,434
That is commonly accepted.

01:08:31,436 –> 01:08:34,203
I think we’re going to have
to find new ways of political

01:08:37,140 –> 01:08:40,641
But the activists are the people
who have created the rights that
we enjoy.

01:08:42,176 –> 01:08:44,477
They’re not only carrying out…

01:08:44,479 –> 01:08:47,646
Policies based on information
that they’re receiving,

01:08:47,648 –> 01:08:49,714
But also contributing
to the understanding.

01:08:49,716 –> 01:08:51,682
it’s a reciprocal process.

01:08:54,252 –> 01:08:56,419
You try to do things.
You learn.

01:08:56,421 –> 01:08:58,187
You learn about what
the world is like,

01:08:58,189 –> 01:09:02,124
That feeds back
to the understanding
of how to go on.

01:09:05,495 –> 01:09:07,596
There’s huge opportunities.

01:09:07,598 –> 01:09:11,465
It is a very free society,
still the freest in the world.

01:09:12,900 –> 01:09:16,435
Government has very
limited capacity to coerce.

01:09:16,437 –> 01:09:20,906
Corporate business may try
to coerce, but they don’t
have the mechanisms.

01:09:20,908 –> 01:09:25,243
So, there’s a lot that can be
done if people organize,
struggle for their rights

01:09:25,245 –> 01:09:28,445
As they’ve done in the past,
and can win many victories.

01:09:29,747 –> 01:09:31,280
[audience applauding]

01:09:41,290 –> 01:09:46,694
Well, my close friend
for many years,
the late howard zinn…

01:09:49,330 –> 01:09:51,230
To put it in his words that,

01:09:51,232 –> 01:09:56,935
“what matters is the countless
small deeds of unknown people,

01:09:56,937 –> 01:10:02,306
Who lay the basis
for the significant events
that enter history.”

01:10:04,475 –> 01:10:07,210
They’re the ones who’ve
done things in the past.

01:10:07,212 –> 01:10:09,278
They’re the ones who’ll
have to do it in the future.

Force and Opinion

Noam Chomsky

Z Magazine, July-August, 1991

people are born free but are everywhere in chains, seduced by the illusions of the civil society that is created by the rich to guarantee their plunder.- Rousseau




“The United States is the most successfully repressed country in the world ” – Stokely Carmichael, Black power activist.

“Repression is when you can get 90% of the students in the U.S to name you all the Three Stooges but can’t tell you what the WTO is.” – Michael Parenti

“The People are the very substance of Power. We have to organise.” – Michael Parenti

A classic talk from 1999 by political scientist Michael Parenti.
It’s just as illuminating today as it was then–and often funny, too.

Parenti shows how the Western colonial powers un-developed the “Third-World”–increasing poverty there in order to enrich private corporations at home.
Indeed (Parenti argues), almost all U.S. foreign policy seems aimed at increasing the profits of the Fortune 500.

This is the real purpose of the hundreds of U.S. military interventions abroad–many of which overthrew democratically elected governments, replacing them with dictatorships friendly to U.S. corporate interests. Boosting corporate profits likewise is the reason behind “humanitarian” military interventions.

Parenti shows that imperialism’s current form is “multilateral free-trade agreements” such as NAFTA and GATT.
These draconian, anti-democratic treaties give corporations the power to veto any national laws that might interfere with their profits.

Parenti’s brilliant, passionate, and funny talk is as relevant today as it was in 1999.

Globalization And Democracy: 

Some Basics

By Michael Parenti

26 May, 2007

The goal of the transnational corporation is to become truly transnational, poised above the sovereign power of any particu­lar nation, while being served by the sovereign powers of all nations.

Cyril Siewert, chief financial officer of Colgate Palmol­ive Company, could have been speaking for all transnationals when he remarked, “The United States doesn’t have an automatic call on our [corporation’s] resources. There is no mindset that puts this country first.”[i]

With international “free trade” agreements such as NAFTA, GATT, and FTAA, the giant transnationals have been elevated above the sovereign powers of nation states. These agreements endow anonymous international trade committees with the authority to prevent, over-­rule, or dilute any laws of any nation deemed to burden the investment and market prerogatives of transnational corporations. These trade committees–of which the World Trade Organization (WTO) is a prime example—set up panels composed of “trade special­ists” who act as judges over economic issues, placing themselves above the rule and popular control of any nation, thereby insuring the supremacy of international finance capital. This process, called globalization, is treated as an inevitable natural “growth” development beneficial to all. It is in fact a global coup d’état by the giant business interests of the world.

Elected by no one and drawn from the corporate world, these panelists meet in secret and often have investment stakes in the very issues they adjudicate, being bound by no con­flict-of-interest provisions. Not one of GATT’s five hundred pages of rules and restrictions are directed against private corporations; all are against govern­ments.
Signatory governments must lower tariffs, end farm subsidi­es, treat foreign companies the same as domestic ones, honour all corporate patent claims, and obey the rulings of a permanent elite bureaucracy, the WTO. Should a country refuse to change its laws when a WTO panel so dictates, the WTO can impose fines or international trade sanctions, depriving the resistant country of needed markets and materials.[ii]

Acting as the supreme global adjudicator, the WTO has ruled against laws deemed “barriers to free trade.” It has forced Japan to accept greater pesticide residues in imported food. It has kept Guatemala from outlawing deceptive advertising of baby food. It has eliminated the ban in various countries on asbestos, and on fuel-economy and emission stan­dards for motor vehicles. And it has ruled against marine-life protection laws and the ban on endangered-species products. The European Union’s prohibition on the importation of hormone-ridden U.S. beef had overwhelming popular support throughout Europe, but a three-member WTO panel decided the ban was an illegal restraint on trade. The decision on beef put in jeopardy a host of other food import regulations based on health concerns. The WTO overturned a portion of the U.S. Clean Air Act banning certain additives in gasoline because it interfered with imports from foreign refineries. And the WTO overturned that portion of the U.S. Endangered Species Act forbidding the import of shrimp caught with nets that failed to protect sea turtles.[iii]

Free trade is not fair trade; it benefits strong nations at the expense of weaker ones, and rich interests at the expense of the rest of us. Globalization means turning the clock back on many twentieth-century reforms: no freedom to boycott products, no prohibitions against child labor, no guaranteed living wage or benefits, no public services that might conceivably compete with private services, no health and safety protections that might cut into corporate profits.[iv]

GATT and subsequent free trade agreements allow multinationals to impose monopoly property rights on indigenous and communal agriculture.
In this way agribusiness can better penetrate locally self-sufficient communities and monopolize their resources.
Ralph Nader gives the example of the neem tree, whose extracts contain natural pesti­cidal and medicinal proper­ties.
Cultivat­ed for centuries in India, the tree attracted the attention of vari­ous pharmaceutical companies, who filed monopoly patents, causing mass protests by Indian farmers. As dictated by the WTO, the pharmaceuticals now have exclusive control over the marketing of neem tree products, a ruling that is being reluctantly enforced in India.
Tens of thousands of erstwhile independent farmers must now work for the powerful pharmaceuticals on profit-gorging terms set by the companies.

A trade agreement between India and the United States, the Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture (KIA), backed by Monsanto and other transnational corporate giants, allows for the grab of India’s seed sector by Monsanto, its trade sector by Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill, and its retail sector by Wal-Mart. (Wal-Mart announced plans to open 500 stores in India, starting in August 2007.)
This amounts to a war against India’s independent farmers and small businesses, and a threat to India’s food security.
Farmers are organizing to protect themselves against this economic invasion by maintaining traditional seed-banks and setting up systems of communal agrarian support.
One farmer says, “We do not buy seeds from the market because we suspect they may be contaminated with genetically engineered or terminator seeds.”[v]

In a similar vein, the WTO ruled that the U.S. corporation RiceTec has the patent rights to all the many varieties of basmati rice, grown for centuries by India’s farmers.
It also ruled that a Japanese corporation had exclusive rights in the world to grow and produce curry powder. As these instances demonstrate, what is called “free trade” amounts to international corporate monopoly control.
Such developments caused Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad to observe:

We now have a situation where theft of genetic resources by western biotech TNCs [transnational corporations] enables them to make huge profits by producing patented genetic mutations of these same materials. What depths have we sunk to in the global marketplace when nature’s gifts to the poor may not be protected but their modifications by the rich become exclusive property?

If the current behaviour of the rich countries is anything to go by, globalization simply means the breaking down of the borders of countries so that those with the capital and the goods will be free to dominate the markets.[vi]

Under free-trade agreements like General Agreements on Trade and Services (GATS) and Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), all public services are put at risk. A public service can be charged with causing “lost market opportunities” for business, or creating an unfair subsidy.

To offer one in­stance: the single-payer automobile insurance program proposed by the province of Ontario, Canada, was declared “unfair competi­tion.” Ontario could have its public auto insurance only if it paid U.S. insurance companies what they estimated would be their present and future losses in Ontario auto insurance sales, a prohibitive cost for the province.
Thus the citizens of Ontario were not allowed to exercise their democratic sovereign right to institute an alterna­tive not-for-profit auto insurance system. In another case, United Postal Service charged the Canadian Post Office for “lost market opportunities,” which means that under free trade accords, the Canadian Post Office would have to compensate UPS for all the business that UPS thinks it would have had if there were no public postal service. The Canadian postal workers union has challenged the case in court, arguing that the agreement violates the Canadian Constitution.

Under NAFTA, the U.S.-based Ethyl Corporation sued the Canadian government for $250 million in “lost business opportunities” and “interference with trade” because Canada banned MMT, an Ethyl-produced gasoline additive considered carcinogenic by Canadian officials. Fearing they would lose the case, Canadian officials caved in, agreeing to lift the ban on MMT, pay Ethyl $10 million compensation, and issue a public statement calling MMT “safe,” even though they had scientific findings showing otherwise. California also banned the unhealthy additive; this time a Canadian based Ethyl company sued California under NAFTA for placing an unfair burden on free trade.[vii]

International free trade agreements like GATT and NAFTA have hastened the corporate acquisition of local markets, squeezing out smaller businesses and worker collectives. Under NAFTA better-paying U.S. jobs were lost as firms closed shop and contracted out to the cheaper Mexican labor market. At the same time thousands of Mexican small companies were forced out of business. Mexico was flooded with cheap, high-tech, mass produced corn and dairy products from giant U.S. agribusiness firms (themselves heavily subsidized by the U.S. government), driving small Mexican farmers and distributors into bankruptcy, displacing large numbers of poor peasants. The lately arrived U.S. companies in Mexico have offered extremely low-paying jobs, and unsafe work conditions. Generally free trade has brought a dramatic increase in poverty south of the border.[viii]

We North Americans are told that to remain competitive in the new era of globalization, we will have to increase our output while reducing our labor and production costs, in other words, work harder for less. This in fact is happening as the work-week has lengthened by as much as twenty percent (from forty hours to forty-six and even forty-eight hours) and real wages have flattened or declined during the reign of George W. Bush. Less is being spent on social services, and we are enduring more wage conces­sions, more restructuring, deregula­tion, and privat­ization. Only with such “adjustments,” one hears, can we hope to cope with the impersonal forces of globalization that are sweeping us along.

In fact, there is nothing impersonal about these forces. Free trade agreements, including new ones that have not yet been submitted to the U.S. Congress have been consciously planned by big business and its government minions over a period of years in pursuit of a deregulated world economy that undermines all democratic checks upon business practices. The people of any one province, state, or nation are now finding it increasingly difficult to get their govern­ments to impose protective regulations or develop new forms of public sector production out of fear of being overruled by some self-appointed international free-trade panel.[ix]

Usually it is large nations demanding that poorer smaller ones relinquish the protections and subsidies they provide for their local producers. But occasionally things may take a different turn. Thus in late 2006 Canada launched a dispute at the World Trade Organization over the use of “trade-distorting” agricultural subsidies by the United States, specifically the enormous sums dished out by the federal government to U.S. agribusiness corn farmers. The case also challenged the entire multibillion-dollar structure of U.S. agricultural subsidies. It followed the landmark WTO ruling of 2005 which condemned “trade-distorting” aid to U.S. cotton farmers. A report by Oxfam International revealed that at least thirty-eight developing countries were suffering severely as a result of trade distorting subsidies by both the United States and the European Union. Meanwhile, the U.S. government was manoeuvring to insert a special clause into trade negotiations that would place its illegal use of farm subsidies above challenge by WTO member countries and make the subsidies immune from adjudication through the WTO dispute settlement process.[x]

What is seldom remarked upon is that NAFTA and GATT are in violation of the U.S. Constitution, the preamble of which makes clear that sovereign power rests with the people: “We the People of the United States . . . do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution reads; “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States.” Article I, Section 7 gives the president (not some trade council) the power to veto a law, subject to being overridden by a two-thirds vote in Congress. And Article III gives adjudication and review powers to a Supreme Court and other federal courts as ordained by Congress.

The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution states:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

There is nothing in the entire Constitution that allows an international trade panel to preside as final arbiter exercising supreme review powers undermining the constitutionally mandated decisions of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches.

True, Article VII says that the Constitution, federal laws, and treaties “shall be the supreme Law of the land,” but certainly this was not intended to include treaties that overrode the laws themselves and the sovereign democratic power of the people and their representatives.

To exclude the Senate from deliberations, NAFTA and GATT were called “agreements” instead of treaties, a semantic ploy that enabled President Clinton to bypass the two-third treaty ratification vote in the Senate and avoid any treaty amendment process. The World Trade Organization was approved by a lame-duck session of Congress held after the 1994 elections. No one running in that election uttered a word to voters about putting the U.S. government under a perpetual obligation to insure that national laws do not conflict with international free trade rulings.

What is being undermined is not only a lot of good laws dealing with environment, public services, labor standards, and consumer protection, but also the very right to legislate such laws. Our democratic sovereignty itself is being surrendered to a secretive plutocratic trade organization that presumes to exercise a power greater than that of the people and their courts and legislatures. What we have is an international coup d’état by big capital over the nations of the world.

Globalization is a logical extension of imperialism, a victory of empire over republic, international finance capital over local productivity and nation-state democracy (such as it is). In recent times however, given popular protests, several multilateral trade agreements have been stalled or voted down. In 1999, militant protests against free trade took place in forty-one nations from Britain and France to Thailand and India.[xi] In 2000-01, there were demonstrations in Seattle, Washington, Sydney, Prague, Genoa, and various other locales. In 2003-04 we saw the poorer nations catching wise to the free trade scams and refusing to sign away what shreds of sovereignty they still had. Along with the popular resistance, more national leaders are thinking twice before signing on to new trade agreements.

The discussion of globalization by some Marxists (but not all) has focused on the question of whether the new “internationalization” of capital will undermine national sovereignty and the nation state. They dwell on this question while leaving unmentioned such things as free trade agreements and the WTO. Invariably these observers (for instance Ellen Wood and William Taab in Monthly Review, Ian Jasper in Nature, Society and Thought, Erwin Marquit in Political Affairs) conclude that the nation state still plays a key role in capitalist imperialism, that capital-while global in its scope–is not international but bound to particular nations, and that globalization is little more than another name for overseas monopoly capital investment.

They repeatedly remind us that Marx had described globalization, this process of international financial expansion, as early as 1848, when he and Engels in the Communist Manifesto wrote about how capitalism moves into all corners of the world, reshaping all things into its own image. Therefore, there is no cause for the present uproar. Globalization, these writers conclude, is not a new development but a longstanding one that Marxist theory uncovered long ago.

The problem with this position is that it misses the whole central point of the current struggle. It is not only national sovereignty that is at stake, it is democratic sovereignty. Millions, of people all over the world have taken to the streets to protest free trade agreements. Among them are farmers, workers, students and intellectuals (including many Marxists who see things more clearly than the aforementioned ones), all of whom are keenly aware that something new is afoot and they want no part of it. As used today, the term globalization refers to a new stage of international expropriation, designed not to put an end to the nation-state but to undermine whatever democratic right exists to protect the social wage and restrain the power of transnational corporations.

The free trade agreements, in effect, make unlawful all statutes and regulations that restrict private capital in any way. Carried to full realization, this means the end of whatever imperfect democratic protections the populace has been able to muster after generations of struggle in the realm of public policy. Under the free trade agreements any and all public services can be ruled out of existence because they cause “lost market opportunities” for private capital. So too public hospitals can be charged with taking away markets from private hospitals; and public water supply systems, public schools, public libraries, public housing and public transportation are guilty of depriving their private counterparts of market opportunities, likewise public health insurance, public mail delivery, and public auto insurance systems.

Laws that try to protect the environment or labor standards or consumer health already have been overthrown for “creating barriers” to free trade.

What also is overthrown is the right to have such laws. This is the most important point of all and the one most frequently overlooked by persons from across the political spectrum. Under the free trade accords, property rights have been elevated to international supremacy, able to take precedent over all other rights, including the right to a clean livable environment, the right to affordable public services, and the right to any morsel of economic democracy. Instead a new right has been accorded absolutist status, the right to corporate private profit. It has been used to stifle the voice of working people and their ability to develop a public sector that serves their interests.

Free speech itself is undermined as when “product disparagement” is treated as an interference with free trade. And nature itself is being monopolized and privatized by transnational corporations.

So the fight against free trade is a fight for the right to politico-economic democracy, public services, and a social wage, the right not to be completely at the mercy of big capital. It is a new and drastic phase of the class struggle that some Marxists–so immersed in classical theory and so ill-informed about present-day public policy–seem to have missed. As embodied in the free trade accords, globalization has little to do with trade and is anything but free. It benefits the rich nations over poor ones, and the rich classes within all nations at the expense of ordinary citizens. It is the new specter that haunts the same old world.

Michael Parenti’s recent books include The Assassination of Julius Caesar (New Press), Superpatriotism (City Lights), and The Culture Struggle (Seven Stories Press). For more information visit:

© 2007 Michael Parenti

[i] Quoted in New York Times, May 21, 1989.[ii] See Lori Wallach and Michelle Sforza, The WTO (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2000); and John R. MacArthur, The Selling of Free Trade: Nafta, Washington, and the Subversion of American Democracy (New York: Hill and Wang, 2000).

[iii] New York Times, April 30, 1996 and May 9, 1997;Washington Post, October 13, 1998.

[iv] See the report by the United Nations Development Program referenced in New York Times, July 13, 1999.

[v] Project Censored, “Real News,” April 2007; also Arun Shrivastava, “Genetically Modified Seeds: Women in India take on Monsanto,” Global Research, October 9, 2006.

[vi] Quoted in People’s Weekly World, December 7, 1996.

[vii] John R. MacArthur, The Selling of “Free Trade”: NAFTA, Washington, and the Subversion of American Democracy (New York: Hill & Wang, 2000; and Sarah Anderson and John Cavanagh, “Nafta’s Unhappy Anniversary,” New York Times, February 7, 1995.

[viii] John Ross, “Tortilla Wars,” Progressive, June 1999

[ix] For a concise but thorough treatment, see Steven Shrybman, A Citizen’s Guide

to the World Trade Organization (Ottawa/Toronto: Canadian Center for Policy

Alternatives and James Lorimer & Co., 1999).

[x] “US seeks “get-out clause” for illegal farm payments” Oxfam, June 29, 2006,

[xi] San Francisco Chronicle, June 19, 1999.



Trump shocked many but for his own supporters today as his racist, xenophobic, authoritarian, climate-science-denying, misogynistic, “grab-them-by-the-pussy” candidacy somehow carried him to victory, President Elect Of The United States Of America, Donald Trump. How does that sound?

Larger than expected turnout among rural and working-class, white, voters led Trump to outperform polling expectations in almost every battleground state winning; Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which put him over the required 270 electoral votes by early Wednesday morning.

Trump and the “birther movement” accusations were not true in 2011, when he mischievously began to question President Obama’s birthplace aloud in television interviews. “I’m starting to think that he was not born here,” he said at the time.
It was not true in 2012, when he took to Twitter to declare that “an ‘extremely credible source’” had called his office to inform him that Obama’s birth certificate was “a fraud.”
It was not true in 2014, when Trump invited hackers to “please hack Obama’s college records (destroyed?) and check ‘place of birth.’”
It was never true, any of it.
Obama’s citizenship was never in question.
No credible evidence ever suggested otherwise.

Yet it took Trump five years of dodging, winking and joking to surrender to reality finally, in September 2016, after a remarkable campaign of relentless deception that tried to undermine the legitimacy of the nation’s first black president.

In fact, it took Trump much longer than that: Obama released his short-form birth certificate from the Hawaii Department of Health in 2008. Most of the world moved on. But not Trump.

He nurtured the conspiracy like a poisonous flower, watering and feeding it with an ardor that still embarrasses many around him. Trump called up like-minded sowers of the same corrosive rumour, asking them for advice on how to take a falsehood and make it mainstream in 2011, as he weighed up his own run for the White House.

What could he do — what he did do — was talk about it, uninhibitedly, on social media, where dark rumours flourish in 140 characters and, inevitably, find a home with those who have no need for facts and whose suspicions can never be allayed. Trumped mused about it on TV at any opportunity, where bright lights and sparse editing ensure that tens of millions can hear unchallenged falsehoods.

“Why doesn’t he show his birth certificate?” Mr. Trump asked on ABC’s “The View.” “I want to see his birth certificate,” he told Fox News’ “On the Record.”

And so it went.

Much has been made of Trump’s casual elasticity with the truth; he has exhausted an army of fact-checkers with his mischaracterisations, exaggerations and fabrications. But this lie was different from the start, an insidious, calculated calumny that sought to undo the embrace of an African-American president by the 69 million voters who elected him in 2008.

Trump, the one-time leader of this racist “birther” movement entered the race calling Mexicans “rapists” and repeatedly refusing to condemn white supremacists

Trump refused to condemn a KKK endorsement or say he didn’t want the support of white supremacists — four times.”I don’t know anything about David Duke. I don’t know what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacist. I don’t know. I don’t know, did he endorse me, or what’s going on?” he said.

and issued policy proposals that seemed unbound by the limits of executive power or basic human decency.

  • Trump promised to;
  • “bomb the shit” out of Middle Eastern countries,
  • kill terrorist’s innocent families,
  • do “a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding,”
  • and suggested that dipping bullets in pigs’ blood may be sound counterterrorism policy.

Donald Trump repeated his debunked story about General John Pershing shooting Muslims with pig’s blood at a large California rally in April.  The rally preceded violence in Orange County. According to Trump, around the time of the Philippine-American War of 1899-1902, Pershing killed 49 Muslims with bullets dipped in pigs blood, and “the fiftieth person, they said, ‘Take this bullet and bring to back to all of the people causing the problem,’” said Trump in Costa Mesa, CA. “And for 42 years they didn’t have a problem.”

The Real Story Behind Donald Trump’s Pig’s Blood Slander – IT IS NOT TRUE!

Trump has a long history of misogyny and belittling women, but after a decade-old tape surfaced of Trump saying he could; “grab [women] by the pussy,” and “if you’re a star, they let you do it,” many were horrified, and numerous women came forward with stories of being victimised by Trump. (“grab-them-pussy-you-can-do-anything”)

Trump discusses a failed attempt to seduce a woman, whose full name is not given in the video.

“I moved on her and I failed. I’ll admit it,” Trump is heard saying. It was unclear when the events he was describing took place….“I did try and fuck her. She was married,” Trump says….“I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married,” Trump says. At that point in the audio, Trump and Bush appear to notice Arianne Zucker, the actress who is waiting to escort them into the soap opera set. “Your girl’s hot as shit, in the purple,” says Bush, who’s now a co-host of NBC’s “Today” show….“I’ve gotta use some tic tacs, just in case I start kissing her,” Trump says….“And when you’re a star they let you do it,” Trump says….“Grab them by the pussy,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”
Trump’s excuse is that he’s heard Bill Clinton say a lot worse. Or something…

Trump’s election is a particular nightmare-come-alive for American Muslims, his campaign already having incited hundreds of anti-Muslim hate crimes and started a new wave of anti-Muslim bullying in schools.

Trump’s promises to spy on mosques and ban Muslims from entering the country have electrified his base, and served as consistent applause lines throughout his campaign.  Trump’s circle of advisors, surrogates, and political allies include people who brag about spying on mosques and call for “sharia tests” of all American Muslims, under penalty of deportation.

General Michael Flynn, a top national security adviser to Donald Trump and possible Defense Secretary, has tweeted that; “fear of muslims is rational.”

Wide open questions remain as to how Trump would staff his administration, or govern? Trump has flip flopped on hundreds of policy positions, and despite his promise to break the control of Washington by political insiders, his transition team is full of corporate lobbyists and Republican power brokers.
Two places he’s been consistent:

  • His convictions to build a wall on the southern border,
  • and to stand by police when they kill unarmed black men.
America has 5% of the world’s population but has incarcerates 25% of the world’s prisoners. That’s 1 in every 4 prisoners in the World is locked up in an American prison.
This statistic was delivered by Obama at the start of the Award winning documentary 13th (a 2016 multi-award winning documentary by director Ava DuVernay about the American Constitution 13th Amendment which outlawed slavery except as a form of punishment for crime – The full Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution reads as follows: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.).
They had declined sharply after Obama’s Justice Department announced it would stop using private prisons.

Political scientists, pollsters and pundits will likely debate for many years how media elites could have been so wrong in predicting an overwhelming Clinton victory.
Political punditry and polls are officially dead.
But in the short term, many communities and minorities groups, from undocumented immigrants to Muslims, suddenly face grave concerns for their rights, safety and security.


The Real Story Behind Donald Trump’s Pig’s Blood Slander“grab-them-pussy-you-can-do-anything”


Jeremy Corbyn · 12 hrs ·

Many in Britain and elsewhere will be understandably shocked by Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election, the rhetoric around it and what the election result means for the rest of the world, as well as America.

Trump’s election is an unmistakable rejection of a political establishment and an economic system that simply isn’t working for most people. It is one that has delivered escalating inequality and stagnating or falling living standards for the majority, both in the US and Britain

This is a rejection of a failed economic consensus and a governing elite that has been seen not to have listened. And the public anger that has propelled Donald Trump to office has been reflected in political upheavals across the world.

But some of Trump’s answers to the big questions facing America, and the divisive rhetoric around them, are clearly wrong.

I have no doubt, however, that the decency and common sense of the American people will prevail, and we send our solidarity to a nation of migrants, innovators and democrats.

After this latest global wake up call, the need for a real alternative to a failed economic and political system could not be clearer.

That alternative must be based on working together, social justice and economic renewal, rather than sowing fear and division. And the solutions we offer have to improve the lives of everyone, not pit one group of people against another.

Americans have made their choice. The urgent necessity is now for us all to work across continents to tackle our common global challenges: to secure peace, take action on climate change and deliver economic prosperity and justice.