Posts Tagged ‘Activism’

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.



“Common sense is a chaotic aggregate of disparate conceptions, and one can find there anything that one like.”

“The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born”

“All men are intellectuals, but not all men have in society the function of intellectuals”

“I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will.”

“Ideas and opinions are not spontaneously “born” in each individual brain: they have had a centre of formation, or irradiation, of dissemination, of persuasion-a group of men, or a single individual even, which has developed them and presented them in the political form of current reality.”

“The crisis creates situations which are dangerous in the short run, since the various strata of the population are not all capable of orienting themselves equally swiftly, or of reorganising with the same rhythm. The traditional ruling class, which has numerous trained cadres, changes men and programmes and, with greater speed than is achieved by the subordinate classes, reabsorbs the control that was slipping from its grasp. Perhaps it may make sacrifices, and expose itself to an uncertain future by demagogic promises; but it retains power, reinforces it for the time being, and uses it to crush its adversary and disperse his leading cadres, who cannot be be very numerous or highly trained.”

― Antonio Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks.


“I hate the indifferent. I believe that living means taking sides. Those who really live cannot help being a citizen and a partisan. Indifference and apathy are parasitism, perversion, not life. That is why I hate the indifferent.

The indifference is the deadweight of history. The indifference operates with great power on history. The indifference operates passively, but it operates. It is fate, that which cannot be counted on. It twists programs and ruins the best-conceived plans. It is the raw material that ruins intelligence. That what happens, the evil that weighs upon all, happens because the human mass abdicates to their will; allows laws to be promulgated that only the revolt could nullify, and leaves men that only a mutiny will be able to overthrow to achieve the power. The mass ignores because it is careless and then it seems like it is the product of fate that runs over everything and everyone: the one who consents as well as the one who dissents; the one who knew as well as the one who didn’t know; the active as well as the indifferent. Some whimper piously, others curse obscenely, but nobody, or very few ask themselves: If I had tried to impose my will, would this have happened?

I also hate the indifferent because of that: because their whimpering of eternally innocent ones annoys me. I make each one liable: how they have tackled with the task that life has given and gives them every day, what have they done, and especially, what they have not done. And I feel I have the right to be inexorable and not squander my compassion, of not sharing my tears with them.

I am a partisan, I am alive, I feel the pulse of the activity of the future city that those on my side are building is alive in their conscience. And in it, the social chain does not rest on a few; nothing of what happens in it is a matter of luck, nor the product of fate, but the intelligent work of the citizens. Nobody in it is looking from the window of the sacrifice and the drain of a few. Alive, I am a partisan. That is why I hate the ones that don’t take sides, I hate the indifferent.”
― Antonio Gramsci




Prison Notebooks

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Antonio Gramsci, depicted in 1922

The Prison Notebooks (Italian: Quaderni del carcere [kwaˈdɛrni del ˈkartʃere]) were a series of essays written by the Italian MarxistAntonio Gramsci. Gramsci was imprisoned by the Italian Fascist regime in 1926. The notebooks were written between 1929 and 1935, when Gramsci was released from prison on grounds of ill-health. He died in April 1937.

He wrote more than 30 notebooks and 3,000 pages of history and analysis during his imprisonment. Although written unsystematically, the Prison Notebooks are considered a highly original contribution to 20th century political theory. Gramsci drew insights from varying sources – not only other Marxists but also thinkers such as Niccolò Machiavelli, Vilfredo Pareto, Georges Sorel and Benedetto Croce. His notebooks cover a wide range of topics, including Italian history and nationalism, the French Revolution, Fascism, Fordism, civil society,folklore, religion and high and popular culture,

The notebooks were smuggled out of prison in the 1930s. They were not published until the 1950s and were first translated into English in the 1970s.

Some ideas in Marxist theory, critical theory and educational theory that are associated with Gramsci’s name:

  • Cultural hegemony as a means of maintaining the capitalist state.
  • The need for popular workers’ education to encourage development of intellectuals from the working class.
  • The distinction between political society (the police, the army, legal system, etc.) which dominates directly and coercively, and civil society (the family, the education system, trade unions, etc.) where leadership is constituted through ideology or by means of consent.
  • “Absolute historicism“.
  • A critique of economic determinism that opposes fatalistic interpretations of Marxism.
  • A critique of philosophical materialism.


For more details on this topic, see Cultural hegemony.

Hegemony was a concept previously used by Marxists such as Vladimir Ilyich Lenin to indicate the political leadership of the working-class in a democratic revolution, but developed by Gramsci into an acute analysis to explain why the ‘inevitable’ socialist revolution predicted by orthodox Marxism had not occurred by the early 20th century. Capitalism, it seemed, was even more entrenched than ever. Capitalism, Gramsci suggested, maintained control not just through violence and political and economic coercion, but also ideologically, through a hegemonic culture in which the values of the bourgeoisie became the ‘common sense‘ values of all. Thus a consensus culture developed in which people in the working-class identified their own good with the good of the bourgeoisie, and helped to maintain the status quo rather than revolting.

The working class needed to develop a culture of its own, which would overthrow the notion that bourgeois values represented ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ values for society, and would attract the oppressed and intellectual classes to the cause of the proletariat. Lenin held that culture was ‘ancillary’ to political objectives but for Gramsci it was fundamental to the attainment of power that cultural hegemony be achieved first. In Gramsci’s view, any class that wishes to dominate in modern conditions has to move beyond its own narrow ‘economic-corporate’ interests, to exert intellectual and moral leadership, and to make alliances and compromises with a variety of forces. Gramsci calls this union of social forces a ‘historic bloc’, taking a term from Georges Sorel. This bloc forms the basis of consent to a certain social order, which produces and re-produces the hegemony of the dominant class through a nexus of institutions, social relations and ideas. In this manner, Gramsci developed a theory that emphasised the importance of the superstructure in both maintaining and fracturing relations of the base.

Gramsci stated that, in the West, bourgeois cultural values were tied to religion, and therefore much of his polemic against hegemonic culture is aimed at religious norms and values. He was impressed by the power Roman Catholicism had over men’s minds and the care the Church had taken to prevent an excessive gap developing between the religion of the learned and that of the less educated. Gramsci believed that it was Marxism’s task to marry the purely intellectual critique of religion found inRenaissance humanism to the elements of the Reformation that had appealed to the masses. For Gramsci, Marxism could supersede religion only if it met people’s spiritual needs, and to do so people would have to recognise it as an expression of their own experience.

For Gramsci, hegemonic dominance ultimately relied on coercion, and in a “crisis of authority” the “masks of consent” slip away, revealing the fist of force.

Intellectuals and education

Gramsci gave much thought to the question of the role of intellectuals in society. Famously, he stated that all men are intellectuals, in that all have intellectual and rational faculties, but not all men have the social function of intellectuals. He claimed that modern intellectuals were not simply talkers, but directors and organisers who helped build society and produce hegemony by means of ideological apparatuses such as education and the media. Furthermore, he distinguished between a ‘traditional’ intelligentsia which sees itself (wrongly) as a class apart from society, and the thinking groups which every class produces from its own ranks ‘organically’. Such ‘organic’ intellectuals do not simply describe social life in accordance with scientific rules, but rather articulate, through the language of culture, the feelings and experiences which the masses could not express for themselves. The need to create a working-class culture relates to Gramsci’s call for a kind of education that could develop working-class intellectuals, who would not simply introduce Marxist ideology from outside the proletariat, but rather renovate and make critical of the status quo the already existing intellectual activity of the masses. His ideas about an education system for this purpose correspond with the notion of critical pedagogy and popular education as theorised and practised in later decades by Paulo Freire in Brazil, and have much in common with the thought of Frantz Fanon. For this reason, partisans of adult and popular education consider Gramsci an important voice to this day. (For the results of this kind of thought in education, see the latests reports of PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) on the education in Brazil).

State and civil society

Gramsci’s theory of hegemony is tied to his conception of the capitalist state, which he claims rules through force plus consent. The state is not to be understood in the narrow sense of the government; instead, Gramsci divides it between ‘political society’, which is the arena of political institutions and legal constitutional control, and ‘civil society‘, which is commonly seen as the ‘private’ or ‘non-state’ sphere, differentiated from both the state and the economy. The former is the realm of force and the latter of consent. He stresses, however, that the division is purely conceptual and that the two, in reality, often overlap.

Gramsci claims that hegemony lies under modern capitalism and that the bourgeoisie can maintain its economic control by allowing certain demands made by trade unions and mass political parties within civil society to be met by the political sphere.

Thus, the bourgeoisie engages in Passive Revolution by going beyond its immediate economic interests and allowing the forms of its hegemony to change. Gramsci posits that movements such as reformism and fascism, as well as the ‘scientific management‘ and assembly line methods of Frederick Taylor and Henry Ford respectively, are examples of this.

Drawing from Machiavelli, he argues that ‘The Modern Prince’ – the revolutionary party – is the force that will allow the working-class to develop organic intellectuals and an alternative hegemony within civil society. For Gramsci, the complex nature of modern civil society means that the only tactic capable of undermining bourgeois hegemony and leading to socialism is a ‘war of position’ (analogous to trench warfare); this war of position would then give way to a ‘war of movement’ (or frontal attack). Gramsci saw ‘war of movement’ as being exemplified by the storming of the Winter Palace during the Russian Revolution.

Despite his claim that the lines between the two may be blurred, Gramsci rejects the state-worship that results from identifying political society with civil society, as was done by the Jacobins and Fascists. He believes the proletariat’s historical task is to create a ‘regulated society’ and defines the ‘withering away of the state‘ as the full development of civil society’s ability to regulate itself.


Gramsci, like the early Marx, was an emphatic proponent of historicism. In Gramsci’s view, all meaning derives from the relation between human practical activity (or “praxis“) and the “objective” historical and social processes of which it is a part. Ideas cannot be understood outside their social and historical context, apart from their function and origin. The concepts by which we organise our knowledge of the world do not derive primarily from our relation to things, but rather from the social relations between the users of those concepts. As a result, there is no such thing as an unchanging “human nature“, but only an idea of such which varies historically. Furthermore, philosophy and science do not “reflect” a reality independent of man, but rather are only “true” in that they express the real developmental trend of a given historical situation.

For the majority of Marxists, truth was truth no matter when and where it is known, and scientific knowledge (which included Marxism) accumulated historically as the advance of truth in this everyday sense. On this view, Marxism could not be said to not belong to the illusory realm of the superstructure because it is a science. In contrast, Gramsci believed Marxism was “true” in the socially pragmatic sense, in that by articulating the class consciousness of the proletariat, it expressed the “truth” of its times better than any other theory. This anti-scientistic and anti-positivist stance was indebted to the influence of Benedetto Croce. However, it should be underlined that Gramsci’s was an “absolute historicism” that broke with the Hegelian and idealist tenor of Croce’s thinking and its tendency to secure a metaphysical synthesis in historical “destiny”.

Though Gramsci repudiates the charge, his historical account of truth has been criticised as a form of relativism.

Critique of “economism”

In a famous pre-prison article entitled “The Revolution against Das Kapital“, Gramsci claimed that the October Revolution in Russia had invalidated the idea that socialist revolution had to await the full development of capitalist forces of production. This reflected his view that Marxism was not a determinist philosophy. The principle of the causal “primacy” of the forces of production, he held, was a misconception of Marxism. Both economic changes and cultural changes are expressions of a “basic historical process”, and it is difficult to say which sphere has primacy over the other. The fatalistic belief, widespread within the workers’ movement in its earliest years, that it would inevitably triumph due to “historical laws”, was, in Gramsci’s view, a product of the historical circumstances of an oppressed class restricted mainly to defensive action, and was to be abandoned as a hindrance once the working-class became able to take the initiative. Because Marxism is a “philosophy of praxis”, it cannot rely on unseen “historical laws” as the agents of social change. History is defined by human praxis and therefore includes human will. Nonetheless, will-power cannot achieve anything it likes in any given situation: when the consciousness of the working-class reaches the stage of development necessary for action, historical circumstances will be encountered which cannot be arbitrarily altered. It is not, however, predetermined by historical inevitability as to which of several possible developments will take place as a result.

His critique of economism also extended to that practised by the syndicalists of the Italian trade unions. He believed that many trade unionists had settled for a reformist, gradualist approach in that they had refused to struggle on the political front in addition to the economic front. While Gramsci envisioned the trade unions as one organ of a counter-hegemonic force in capitalist society, the trade union leaders simply saw these organizations as a means to improve conditions within the existing structure. Gramsci referred to the views of these trade unionists as “vulgar economism”, which he equated to covert reformism and even liberalism.

Critique of Materialism

By virtue of his belief that human history and collective praxis determine whether any philosophical question is meaningful or not, Gramsci’s views run contrary to the metaphysical materialism and ‘copy’ theory of perception advanced by Engels and Lenin, though he does not explicitly state this. For Gramsci, Marxism does not deal with a reality that exists in and for itself, independent of humanity. The concept of an objective universe outside of human history and human praxis was, in his view, analogous to belief in God; there could be no objectivity, but only a universal intersubjectivity to be established in a future communist society. Natural history was thus only meaningful in relation to human history. On his view philosophical materialism, like primitive common sense, resulted from a lack of critical thought, and could not, as Lenin[1] claimed, be said to oppose religious superstition. Despite this, Gramsci resigned himself to the existence of this arguably cruder form of Marxism: the proletariat’s status as a dependent class meant that Marxism, as its philosophy, could often only be expressed in the form of popular superstition and common sense. Nonetheless, it was necessary to effectively challenge the ideologies of the educated classes, and to do so Marxists must present their philosophy in a more sophisticated guise, and attempt to genuinely understand their opponents’ views.


External links

Further reading

Milieu control

From Wikipedia:

Milieu control is a term popularized by psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton to describe tactics that control environment and human communication through the use of social pressure and group language; such tactics may include;
and pronunciation,

which enables group members to identify other members, or to promote cognitive changes in individuals.

Lifton originally used “milieu control” to describe brainwashing and mind control, but the term has since been applied to other contexts.[1]


Milieu control involves the control of communication within a group environment, that also may (or may not) result in a significant degree of isolation from surrounding society. When non-group members, or outsiders, are considered or potentially labeled as less valuable without basis for stated group-supported and group-reinforced prejudice, group members may have a tendency to then consider themselves as intellectually superior, which can limit alternate points of view, thus becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy in which group members automatically begin to devalue others and the intellect of others that are separate from their group, without logical rationale for doing so. Additionally, Milieu control “includes other techniques to restrict members’ contact with the outside world and to be able to make critical, rational, judgments about information.”[2]





See also


  1. A Bandura. 1982. The psychology of chance encounters and life paths. American Psychologist, Vol. 37 No. 7, July 1982
  2. Dr. Lifton, Robert J.Thought Reform: Milieu Control. Retrieved on August 24, 2008.

External links – Dr. Lifton, Robert J.Thought Reform: Milieu Control.



His Observations on the Famous Novel (1937)

Written: 1937
First Published: Joan London, Jack London and His Times,
Source: The New International, Vol. XI No. 3, April 1945, p. 95.
Transcription/Mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan.
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive ( 2016. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0.

Trotsky’s commentary on Jack London’s great classic, The Iron Heel, was written in Mexico some time in 1937. Originally, it was published as part of the biography, Jack London and His Times, written by his daughter, Joan London, to whose courtesy we are obliged for its reproduction in these pages. Joan London writes us that an earlier letter from Trotsky explained why The Iron Heel struck him so forcibly, due to the fact that he had been unaware of its existence until she sent him a copy. It is not necessary to add anything else to what we print here by Trotsky, except to note that the abruptness of its opening sentence is due to the omission from the original published text of the first paragraph. – Editor

… The book produced upon me – I speak without exaggeration – a deep impression. Not because of its artistic qualities: the form of the novel here represents only an armor for social analysis and prognosis. The author is intentionally sparing in his use of artistic means. He is himself interested not so much in the individual fate of his heroes as in the fate of mankind. By this, however, I don’t want at all to belittle the artistic value of the work, especially in its last chapters beginning with the Chicago commune. The pictures of civil war develop in powerful frescoes. Nevertheless, this is not the main feature. The book surprised me with the audacity and independence of its historical foresight.

The world workers’ movement at the end of the last and the beginning of the present century stood under the sign of reformism. The perspective of peaceful and uninterrupted world progress, of the prosperity of democracy and social reforms, seemed to be assured once and for all. The first Russian revolution, it is true, revived the radical flank of the German social-democracy and gave for a certain time dynamic force to anarcho-syndicalism in France. The Iron Heel bears the undoubted imprint of the year 1905. But at the time when this remarkable book appeared, the domination of counterrevolution was already consolidating itself in Russia. In the world arena the defeat of the Russian proletariat gave to reformism the possibility not only of regaining its temporarily lost positions but also of subjecting to itself completely the organized workers’ movement. It is sufficient to recall that precisely in the following seven years (1907–14) the international social-democracy ripened definitely for its base and shameful role during the World War.

Jack London not only absorbed creatively the impetus given by the first Russian revolution but also courageously thought over again in its light the fate of capitalist society as a whole. Precisely those problems which the official socialism of this time considered to be definitely buried: the growth of wealth and power at one pole, of misery and destitution at the other pole; the accumulation of social bitterness and hatred; the unalterable preparation of bloody cataclysms – all those questions Jack London felt with an intrepidity which forces one to ask himself again and again with astonishment: when was this written? Really before the war?

One must accentuate especially the role which Jack London attributes to the labor bureaucracy and to the labor aristocracy in the further fate of mankind. Thanks to their support, the American plutocracy not only succeeds in defeating the workers’ insurrection but also in keeping its iron dictatorship during the following three centuries. We will not dispute with the poet the delay which can but seem to us too long. However, it is not a question of Jack London’s pessimism, but of his passionate effort to shake those who are lulled by routine, to force them to open their eyes and to see what is and what approaches. The artist is audaciously utilizing the methods of hyperbole. He is bringing the tendencies rooted in capitalism: of oppression, cruelty, bestiality, betrayal, to their extreme expression. He is operating with centuries in order to measure the tyrannical will of the exploiters and the treacherous rôle of the labor bureaucracy. But his most “romantic” hyperboles are finally much more realistic than the bookkeeper-like calculations of the so-called “sober politicians.”

It is easy to imagine with what a condescending perplexity the official socialist thinking of that time met Jack London’s menacing prophecies. If one took the trouble to look over the reviews of The Iron Heel at that time in the German Neue Zeit and Vorwärts, in the Austrian Kampf and Arbeiterzeitung, as well as in the other socialist publications of Europe and America, he could easily convince himself that the thirty-year-old “romanticist” saw incomparably more clearly and farther than all the social-democratic leaders of that time taken together. But Jack London bears comparison in this domain not only with the reformists. One can say with assurance that in 1907 not one of the revolutionary Marxists, not excluding Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg, imagined so fully the ominous perspective of the alliance between finance capital and labor aristocracy. This suffices in itself to determine the specific weight of the novel.

The chapter, The Roaring Abysmal Beast, undoubtedly constitutes the focus of the book. At the time when the novel appeared this apocalyptical chapter must have seemed to be the boundary of hyperbolism. However, the consequent happenings have almost surpassed it. And the last word of class struggle has not yet been said by far! The “Abysmal Beast” is to the extreme degree oppressed, humiliated, and degenerated people. Who would now dare to speak for this reason about the artist’s pessimism? No, London is an optimist, only a penetrating and farsighted one. “Look into what kind of abyss the bourgeoisie will hurl you down, if you don’t finish with them!” This is his thought.

Today it sounds incomparably more real and sharp than thirty years ago. But still more astonishing is the genuinely prophetic vision of the methods by which the Iron Heel will sustain its domination over crushed mankind. London manifests remarkable freedom from reformistic pacifist illusions. In this picture of the future there remains not a trace of democracy and peaceful progress. Over the mass of the deprived rise the castes of labor aristocracy, of praetorian army, of an all-penetrating police, with the financial oligarchy at the top. In reading it one does not believe his own eyes: it is precisely the picture of fascism, of its economy, of its governmental technique, its political psychology! The fact is incontestable: in 1907 Jack London already foresaw and described the fascist regime as the inevitable result of the defeat of the proletarian revolution. Whatever may be the single “errors” of the novel – and they exist – we cannot help inclining before the powerful intuition of the revolutionary artist.

DWP forced to reveal firms using benefit claimants for unpaid work after 4-year legal fight

Here’s the (very long) list of companies that took advantage of taxpayer-funded workers courtesy of the DWP.

Feel free to use the information in whatever way you see fit.

1. African Childrens Fund

2. Abacus Children’s Wear


4. Ability

5. Ace of Clubs Charity Shop

6. Acorns

7. Action for Disability

8. Action Housing

9. Active Community Team

10. Advocacy Support

11. Afro Caribbean Centre

12. Age Concern

13. Age UK

14. Agnew Community Centre

15. Air Ambulance

16. Aire Valley Recycling Ltd

17. Airedale Computers,

18. Al-Khair Foundation

19. All Aboard

20. Allied Healthcare

21. Almadene Care Home

22. AMF Torquay Bowling Alley

23. Amicus Horizon Housing Association

24. Animal Krackers

25. ARAS German Shepherd Inn

26. ARC

27. Archer Project

28. Arthritis Research UK

29. Arthur Rank

30. Arts Factory

31. ASAN

32. Asda

33. Asha Charity Shop

34. Ashgate Hospice

35. Aspire Community Enterprise Ltd

36. Auchinleck Talbot F.C.

37. Autism Plus

38. Aylestone Park Boys Football Club

39. Babygear

40. Back2Earth

41. Bangladesh People

42. Bangladeshi ass sangag centre

43. Barnardos

44. Basic Life Charity

45. B’Dwe

46. Beaumaris Hostel

47. Bedfordshire Education Academy

48. Belgrave Hall Museum

49. Bernicia Group (Social housing provider)

50. BHF

51. Blaby & Whetstone Boys Club

52. Blue Cross

53. Bluebell Wood

54. Bookers

55. Boots

56. Botanical Gardens

57. Bottle Rescue Aireworth Mill

58. BR Environmental

59. Bradford Autism Centre

60. Bradford Community repaint

61. Breaking Free

62. Brian Jackson House

63. Briardale Community Centre

64. Bright House

65. Brighton and hove wood recycling

66. Britannia College

67. British Heart Foundation

68. British Red Cross

69. British Waterways

70. Brockhurst Community Centre

71. Bryncynon Strategy

72. Bryncynon Strategy

73. Butterwick Hospice

74. Cancer Research

75. Cancer Uk

76. Capability Scotland

77. Care & Repair

78. Carers Centre

79. Caribbean Centre

80. Caribbean Restaurant (Streatham)

81. Carlisle Park

82. Carr Vale Allotments

83. Cash Convertors

84. Castle Gresley Community Centre

85. Cat Haven

86. Cats Protection League

87. Cauwood day services

88. CCA Furniture Outlet

89. Cerebal Palsey Care

90. Changing Lives in Clevedon

91. chapletown youth community centre

92. Chesterfield FC Community Trust

93. Chestnut Tree House Shop

94. Children in Distress

95. Children Scrapstore Reuse Centre

96. Children Trust

97. Childrens Society

98. Chopsticks North Yorkshire

99. Circulate

100. Citizen Advice Bureau

101. Claire House

102. Clic Sargent

103. Comfort Kids

104. Community Association – Trefechan

105. Community Re-Paint

106. Community Resource Centre

107. Community Voice

108. Complete Professional Care

109. Compton Hospice

110. Congburn Nurseries

111. Cooke Computers

112. Cooke E – Learning Foundation

113. Co-op

114. Corby Boating Lake

115. Cornerstone

116. Cornwall Hospice Care

117. County Durham Furniture Help Scheme

118. Croydon animal samaritans

119. CSV Media

120. Cusworth Hall

121. CVS Furniture

122. Dan’s Den Colwyn Bay

123. Dapp UK

124. DC Cleaning

125. Deans

126. Debra

127. Demzela

128. Derbyshire Timber Scheme

129. DHL

130. Dial Intake

131. Didcot Railyway Museum

132. Disabled Childrens Services

133. Discovery Community Cafe

134. Dogs Trust Glasgow

135. Dogsthorpe Recycling Centre

136. Doncaster College

137. Doncaster Community Centre

138. Dorothy House Hospice

139. Dorset Reclaim

140. Dovehouse Hospice Shop

141. Dragon Bands

142. Durham Wildlife Trust

143. E Waste Solutions

144. Earl Mountbatten Hospice

145. East Anglia Childrens Hospice Shop

146. East Cleveland Wildlife Trust

147. East Durham Partnership

148. East Midlands Islamic Relief Project

149. East West Community Project

150. Ecclesbourne Valley Railway

151. eco Innovation Centre

152. Elleanor Lion Hospice

153. ELVON

154. Encephalitis society

155. English Landscapes

156. Enhanced Care Training

157. Enterprise UK

158. Environmental Resource Centre

159. Essex County Council

160. Extra care Charitable Trust

161. Fable

162. Family Support

163. Fara

164. Fare share Malmo Food Park

165. Featherstone Rovers

166. Fenland District Council

167. First Fruits

168. FN! Eastbourne

169. Foal Farm

170. Food Cycle

171. Fops Shop

172. forget me not childrens hospice

173. Foundation for Paediatric Osteopathy

174. Fountain Abbey

175. Fox Rush Farm

176. FRADE

177. Frame


179. Fresh water christian charity

180. Friends of St Nicholas Fields

181. Furnish

182. Furniture for You

183. Furniture Project

184. FurnitureLink

185. Gateway funiture

186. Genesis Trust

187. George Thomas Hospice – Barry

188. Geranium Shop For The Blind

189. Glasgow Furniture Initative

190. Glen Street Play Provision

191. Goodwin Development Trust

192. Govanhill Baths Community Trust

193. Greenacres Animal Rescue Shop

194. Greenfingers

195. Greenscape

196. Greenstreams Huddersfield/ environmental alliance

197. Grimsby District Health care charity

198. Ground Work

199. Hadston House

200. Happy Staffie

201. Harlington Hospice

202. Hart Wildlife Rescue

203. Hartlepool Council

204. Hartlepool Hospice

205. Hartlepool Prop (Mental Health)

206. Hartlepool Trust Opening Doors

207. Hastings & Bexhill Wood Recycling Project

208. Havens Childrens Hospice Shop

209. Havering Country Park

210. headway

211. Healthy Living Centre

212. Hebburn Community Centre

213. Help the Aged

214. Helping Hands

215. High Beech Care Home

216. High Wycombe Central Aid

217. Hillam Nurseries

218. Hinsley Hall Headingley

219. Hobbit Hotel

220. Holmescarr Community Centre

221. Home Start

222. Homemakers

223. Hope central

224. Hospice of hope

225. Hounslow Community Transport Furniture Project

226. Hull Animal Welfare Trust Hull

227. Humanity at Heart

228. I Trust

229. Indoamerican Refugee and Migrant Organisation (IRMO)

230. Intraining Employers

231. Ipswich Furniture Project

232. Iranian Association

233. Islamic Relief

234. Jacabs Well Care Center

235. Jesus Army Centre

236. JHP

237. Julian House Charity Shop

238. K.T. Performing Arts

239. Kagyu Samye Dzong London

240. Keech Hospice Care Shop

241. Keighley & District Disabled

242. Kier Services – Corby

243. Kilbryde Hospice

244. Killie Can Cycle

245. Kingston Community Furniture Project

246. Kiveton Park & Wales Community Development Trust

247. LAMH

248. Leeds & Moortown Furniture Store

249. Leicester City Council

250. Leicester Riders

251. Leicester Shopmobility

252. Leicestershire Aids Support Services

253. Leicestershire Cares

254. Lifework

255. Lighthouse

256. Linacre Reservoir

257. London Borough of Havering

258. London College of Engineering & Management Woolwich

259. Longley Organised Community Association

260. Lyme Trust

261. Lynemouth Resource Centre

262. Mackworth Comm. Charity Shop

263. Making a Difference

264. Marie Curie

265. Mark2 (marc)

266. Martin House Hospice

267. Mary Stevens Hospice

268. Matalan

269. Matchbox

270. Matthew25 Mission

271. Mayflower Sanctuary

272. MDJ Lightbrothers

273. Meadow Well Connected

274. MEC

275. Mental Health Support

276. Midland Railway Trust

277. MIND

278. Miners Welfare community centre

279. Mistley Place Park

280. Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal Regeneration Partnership Scheme

281. Moore Cleaning

282. Morrisons

283. Muslim Aid

284. Myton Hospice

285. Nandos

286. Naomi Hospice

287. National Railway Museum

288. National Trust

289. NDDT

290. Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council

291. Necessary Furniture

292. Neighbourhood funiture

293. Neterlands Dog Rescue

294. New Life Church

295. Newham Volenteers Group

296. Newport City Council

297. Nightingale House

298. NOAH enterprise

299. North East Lincs Motor Project

300. North London Hospice Shop

301. North Ormesby Community Shop

302. Northumberland County Council

303. Norwood

304. Old Nick Theatre

305. One 0 One

306. Open Secret

307. Overgate Hospice

308. Oxfam

309. Papworth Trust

310. Partner Shop

311. Paul Sartori Warehouse

312. Paws Animal Welfare Shop

313. PDSA

314. Pegswood Community Centre

315. Pennywell Community Association

316. Peterborough Streets

317. Pheonix Community Furniture

318. Pilgrim Hospice

319. Placement Furniture Project

320. Platform 51 Doncaster Womens Centre

321. Playworks

322. Plymouth Food Bank

323. Plymouth Play Association

324. Plymouth Volunteer Centre

325. Pound stretcher

326. POW Shop

327. Powys Animal Welfare Shop

328. PPE Paving

329. Preen Community Interest Company

330. Primrose


332. Prince of Wales Sherburn in elmet

333. Princess Trust

334. Queen Elizabeth Foundation

335. Queens Walk Community

336. Queensland Multi-Media Arts Centre

337. Rainbow Centre

338. Rainbows End Burngreave

339. Real Time Music

340. Recycling unlimited

341. Red Cross

342. Refurnish

343. Regenerate Community Enterprise

344. Remploy

345. Restore

346. Rhyl Adventure Playground Association

347. Right Time Foundation

348. RNID

349. Rochford Council

350. Rosalie Ryrie Foundation

351. Rosliston Foresty

352. Royal Society for Blind.

353. Royal Wotton Bassett Town Council

354. RSPB

355. RSPCA

356. Rudenotto

357. Rudyard Lake

358. S & S Services

359. Saffcare

360. Sainsburys

361. Salvation Army

362. Santosh Community Centre

363. Sara

364. Save the children

365. Savera Resource Centre

366. Scallywags

367. Scarborough Council

368. SCD Fabrications

369. School of English Studies

370. Scope

371. Scottish Cancer Support

372. Scottish International Relief

373. Scunthorpe Central Community Centre

374. Seagull Recycling

375. Seahouses Development Trust

376. Second Chance

377. Second Opportunities

378. Sedgemoor Furniture Store

379. Sense

380. Sesku Acadamy Centre

381. Shaw Trust

382. Sheffield Reclamation Ltd – Reclaim

383. Shelter

384. Shooting Stars

385. Shopmobility & Community Transport – Access

386. Slough Furniture Project

387. Smythe

388. Sneyd Green

389. Somali Community Parents Association

390. Somerfields

391. Somerset Wood Re-Cycling

392. South Ayrshire Council

393. South Bucks Hospice Warehouse

394. South Wales Boarders Museum

395. Southend United Football Club

396. Spaghetti House

397. Spitafields Crypt Trust

398. Splash fit

399. St Barnabas

400. St Catherines Hospice Trading

401. St Chads Community Centre

402. St Clare’s Hospice

403. St Davids Foundation

404. St Elizabeth Hospice Charity Shop

405. St Francis Hospice Shops Ltd

406. St Gemma’s Hospice

407. St Georges Crypt

408. St Giles

409. St Helens House

410. St Hughs Community Centre

411. St Lukes Hospice

412. St Margarets Hospice Scotland

413. St Oswald’s Hospice

414. St Peters Church

415. St Peters Hospice

416. St Raphaels hospice

417. St Vincents

418. St. Catherines Hospice

419. St.Theresa’s Charity Shop

420. Stages Café

421. Stannah Stair Lifts

422. Stef’s Farm (Education Farm)

423. Step Forward

424. Stocking Farm Healthy Living Centre ( Sure Start)

425. Stockton Council

426. Stone Pillow


428. Strood Community Project

429. Strut Lincoln

430. Sudbury Town Council

431. Sue Ryder

432. Sunderland Community Furniture

433. Sunderland North Community Business Centre

434. Superdrug

435. Swindon 105.5

436. Sycamore Lodge

437. sydney bridge furniture shop

438. Sypha

439. T&M Kiddy’s Kingdom

440. Tara Handicrafts

441. Teamwork

442. Teesside Hospice

443. Tendring Furniture Scheme

444. Tendring Reuse & Employment Enterprise

445. Tenovus

446. Tesco

447. Thames Hospicecare

448. Thames Valley Hospice

449. Thanet District Council

450. The Ark Shop

451. The Art Organisation

452. The Charity Shop

453. The Childrens Society

454. The Childrens trust

455. The Crossing

456. The Good Neighbour Project

457. The Greenhouse

458. The Harrow Club

459. The Hinge Centre Ltd

460. The Isabella Community Centre

461. The Island Partnership

462. The Kiln Cafe

463. The learning community

464. The Linskill Centre

465. The Listening Company

466. The Octagon Centre Hull

467. The Old Manor House Riding Stables

468. The Princess Alice Hospice

469. The Range

470. The Reuse Centre

471. The Rising Sun Art Centre

472. The Rock Foundation Ice House

473. The Shores Centre

474. The Spurriergate Centre

475. The Undercliffe cemetary charity

476. The Vine Project

477. The Welcoming Project

478. The Woodworks (Genesis Trust)

479. Think 3E,

480. Thirsk Clock

481. Thurrock Council

482. Thurrock Reuse Partnership (TRUP)

483. TLC

484. TooGoodtoWaste

485. Top Draw

486. Traid

487. Trinity Furniture Store

488. Troed Y Rhiw Day Project

489. True Volunteer Foundation

490. Tukes

491. Twice as Nice Furniture Project

492. Twirls and Curls

493. Ty Hafan

494. Tylorstown Communities First

495. United Churches Healing Ministry

496. United Play Day Centre

497. Unity in the Community

498. UNMAH

499. Untapped Resource

500. Urban Recycling

501. Vale of Aylesbury Vineyard Church Project

502. Vista Blind

503. Walpole Water Gardens

504. Walsall Hospice

505. Wandsworth Oasis trading Company Limited

506. Wat Tyler Centre

507. WEC

508. Weldmar

509. Well Cafe

510. Wellgate Community Farm

511. Wellingborough District Hindu Centre

512. Western Mill Cemetary

513. WH Smith

514. Wheelbase

515. Whitby Council

516. Wildlife Trust

517. Wilkinsons

518. Willen Care Furniture Shop

519. Willington Community Resource Centre

520. Windhill Furniture Store Shipley

521. Woking Community Furniture Project

522. Womens Aid

523. Womens Centre

524. Woodlands Camp

525. Worsbrough Mill & County Park

526. Xgames

527. YMCA

528. York Archaeological Trust

529. York Bike Rescue

530. York Carers centre

531. Yorkshire Trust

532. Yozz Yard

533. Zest

534. Zues Gym


The Tory government has been forced to reveal a vast list of firms that hoovered up free labour from benefit claimants after spending four years trying to keep it a secret.

Poundstretcher, Tesco, Asda and Morrisons are among more than 500 companies, charities and councils named as having used Mandatory Work Activity.

Others on the list from 2011 included payday loans firm Cash Converters, chicken diner Nando’s, WH Smith, Superdrug and DHL.

More than 100,000 jobseekers were put on the hated ‘workfare’ scheme, which forced them to work 30-hour weeks unpaid for a month each or have their benefits docked.

Yet the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) mounted an astonishing and costly legal battle to keep the firms’ names a secret.

Officials claimed revealing those involved would hurt their “commercial interests” because protesters would boycott them.

The DWP stood its ground for nearly four years despite being overruled by the Information Commissioner (ICO) watchdog in August 2012.

The saga finally ended at the Court of Appeal on Wednesday – where a trio of top judges threw out the DWP’s argument by a 2-1 vote.

Campaigners and Labour condemned the vast cost of the cover-up – in which taxpayers had to fund lawyers for both the DWP and ICO.




Not my research.

Full Acknowledgment to the author. Miles Goslett | 11:52 am, July 20, 2016

Labour leadership challenger Owen Smith accepted a £60,000 donation from an accountancy firm which has been accused of promoting tax avoidance on an “industrial scale”.

Smith received the gift from City firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers in November 2011 while serving as a shadow Treasury minister.
He said the benefit –  in total worth £58,530 – was a “donation in kind” for “ad hoc advice” provided to Labour during the passage of the Finance (No. 4) Bill.
Smith received this advice for a period of six months, until May 2012.Links between the Labour Party and PwC were particularly strong at the time, with shadow cabinet ministers during the last parliament including Ed Balls, Chuka Umunna and Rachel Reeves also accepting free advice worth hundreds of thousands of pounds from the company.

However, some of their colleagues were always suspicious of the cosy relationship and last February Public Accounts Committee chairman and Labour MP Margaret Hodge declared this sort of help from PwC was “inappropriate”.

Hodge’s committee also – produced a report – at that time which accused PwC of “the promotion of tax avoidance on an industrial scale”.

Hodge wrote in February 2015 that evidence PwC had provided to her committee two years earlier – in January 2013 – was “misleading” – in particular its assertions that “we are not in the business of selling schemes” and “we do not mass-market tax products, we do not produce tax products, we do not promote tax products”.

News that Smith was happy to accept such a significant gift from so controversial a source, albeit prior to publication of Hodge’s report, sits uncomfortably with his claims to be a socialist and promise to close the gap between the –  “haves and have nots”.

It also highlights a key difference between him and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. lthough Corbyn raised about £220,000 in cash and gifts during last summer’s Labour leadership contest, almost all of that cash came from trade unions. None of it was from big business.

Smith has already come under fire for his previous job as an £80,000 a year lobbyist for pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, triggering a row with Corbyn’s allies who regard having held such a post as Blairite.

Before working for Pfizer, Smith worked for BBC Wales.

Unusually, he secured his full time job for the broadcaster at around the same time as his father took up a senior management post there. Smith Jnr’s CV states that he began working for the BBC in 1992 months after leaving the University of Sussex, but it is understood he did so on a freelance basis initially before becoming a fully fledged producer. He later worked for the BBC in London.

His father, Prof David Smith, confirmed to Heat Street that he and his son were employed by BBC Wales simultaneously, with Smith Snr being appointed head of radio at BBC Wales in 1993.

In 1994 Smith Snr became Head of Programmes at BBC Wales.

Smith Snr told us: “I didn’t appoint Owen and I wasn’t Owen’s boss.” He also said that they didn’t work on any programmes together, ruling out any suggestion of nepotism.

However, Owen Smith has been able to make some use of his BBC connections. In 2013 he was given two tickets worth £781 to watch Ireland play Wales at rugby. His benefactor? BBC Wales.

A spokesman for Owen Smith said he would get a comment from the MP regarding the PwC donation and the specific circumstances of his BBC employment. He said it was important to note that Margaret Hodge’s PAC report was published more than two years after Smith’s receipt of advice from PwC had lapsed.


Tonight a Ward within Nick Smith’s Blaenau Gwent constituency, Nye Bevan’s ward of Sirhowy in Tredegar was said to have voted support for Smith with just 4 voting for Corbyn. Those that attended said “it was a foregone conclusion”. When a very good friend of mine, who is a committed activist for the homeless in the constituency, spoke to me after the vote, she told me:
“Not one of the Borough or Tredegar town Cllrs even KNEW Nick Smith and his wife Jenny were directors(sic) of Progress. Both Him, Owen and Angela Eagle and Stephen Kinnock were ALL parachuted into their “safe” Labour seats with the support of Progress, and none disclosed their connection to the organisation (to their CLPs).”

Nick Smith is V-C of Progress. His wife Jenny Chapman MP is also a V-C of Progress. She appeared on George Galloway’s TalkRadio talk show as a surrogate for Owen Smith last friday and made a disgusting connection between Jeremy Corbyn, his supporters and the appalling death of Jo Cox MP by a man in her constituency! – this isn’t gone to trial yet so I can’t write any further on the subject other than is common knowledge.

The distortions the media and anti-Corbyn MPs provides – often at the behest of affiliated business interests – means that popular conversation and perspective is at best skewed or fact is obscured completely, there must be a fight to directly disrupt and challenge this narrative with FACTS.

Big-Pharma, Pfizer & Amgen, professional PR Lobbyist Owen “Man of the People” Smith is a figure firmly of the neoliberal establishment. 

My support goes to Jeremy Corbyn the last remaining hope to reclaim a party for it’s roots in SOCIALISM & the WORKING CLASSES.

Please share.



From The Guardian:

Labour was formed as the party of the worker. But we’ve forgotten who that is


Yvette Cooper MP:
“Labour needs to keep up. We are losing our traditional support as the working class fragments and people’s sense of identity changes. Trade unions aren’t reaching those in insecure work, including those who need workplace representation and protection most. The Labour party is neither inspiring those who want to get on, nor empowering those who feel angry at the lack of control they have over their lives.”

Hehehehe… OMG… Irony overload from Mrs Ed Balls!

Let’s just remind ourselves who she is…
Yvette, you are an Oxbridge educated career politician speaking on behalf of a cabal of other Oxbridge educated career politicians that form the bulk of the anti-Corbyn PLP plot.
You stood as a “heavy weight” leadership candidate 10 months ago and got trounced by the membership!
The Labour party was indeed formed to ensure that for every banker, aristocrat and boss sitting on the green benches, there would be a docker, a miner, factory worker and a steelworker sitting opposite.
Since that time our economy has changed, but where are the MPs from the call centres, care homes and warehouses?
Oh! They’ve been elbowed out by the likes YOU and your permanent political class.
Big-Pharma Pfizer & Amgen professional PR Lobbyist Owen “Man of the People” Smith, the poor man’s Sgt Bilko, is a figure firmly of YOUR establishment.

My support goes to Jeremy Corbyn the last remaining hope to reclaim a party for it’s roots in SOCIALISM & the WORKING CLASSES.

Only Greece (out of developed nations) has seen a wage collapse as dramatic as the UK

While most of the rest of Europe have experienced some wage growth since 2007, including crisis devastated economies like Spain (+2.8%) Ireland (+1.6%) and Italy (+0.9%), UK workers have seen a catastrophic decline in earning power only matched by workers in the economic catastrophe zone that is Greece (-10.4%).

Ordinary British workers have seen the deliberate decimation of their wages since the Lib-Dems enabled the Tories back into power in 2010. Meanwhile the super wealthy minority have literally doubled their wealth since the economic crisis. 

Aside from overseeing the longest sustained decline in wages in economic history, a reduction in earning power only matched by the crisis stricken Greek economy, a huge upwards redistribution of wealth, and the slowest economic recovery on record, the Tories have also been savagely attacking working rights too.

Just look at the furious way the French have reacted to attacks on their employment rights with continued riots (mostly unreported by UK MSM), and consider that they’ve enjoyed a 10% increase in their earning power since the pre-crisis period.

In Britain we’ve had a 10.4% decrease in our earning power and most people have sat back compliantly as the Tories have repeatedly snatched our employment rights away.

What will it take for the Sheeple of the UK to wake up from their torpor?


Credit to the TUC report below:

UK real wages decline of over 10% is the most severe in the OECD (equal to Greece)

27 Jul 2016, by  in Economics

The decline in UK real wages since the pre-crisis peak is the most severe in the OECD, equal only to Greece. Both countries saw declines of 10.4% per cent between 2007 Q4 and 2015Q4. Apart from Portugal, all other OECD countries saw real wage increases, albeit mostly modest ones.


(NB strictly the Greek decline is 10.41% and the UK 10.37%, but no way are the figures accurate beyond one decimal place.)

These results are derived from figures in the 2016 edition of the OECD’s Employment Outlook (released a couple of weeks ago, but it has taken me some time to get hold of the figures – see endnote for details of calculation). Even though most countries have seen real wages rise, growth rates are generally disappointing – under normal condition you might expect around 2% a year, and so 16% over eight years.

At the time their UK release contrasted a strong employment performance with weak earnings growth. The employment rate is at a record level, some 5 percentage points above the OECD average. On the other hand real wages “fell by more than 10% after 2007”. See the left and rightmost charts below:


The comparison of figures for individual countries therefore gives a fuller context for the wage decline shown on the OECD chart. To be balanced, the same should be done for employment – the OECD also provides figures for the ‘employment gap’ – defined at the top of the next chart:


(The figures are extracted from chart 1.2 in the Employment Outlook.)

The government’s argument is that flexibility on wages has permitted the employment gains. Whatever your view of the theory, the data show this is not obviously the case. In spite of the largest falls in wages, the UK ranks sixteenth (of 42) in terms of job gains (though the employment chart includes some non-OECD countries that have performed well). Any flexibility in Greece was completely pointless. Moreover the countries with the highest gains in real wages were also among those with the highest employment gains.

Plainly the relationship between wages and employment is not as straightforward as notions of flexibility might suggest. The following chart compares outcomes on employment with those on wages (the underlying data by country is in the annex).

The UK is very much an outlier – the only country where a good jobs performance is associated with a bad (terrible) real wages performance.

Employment v earnings, change over 2007Q4 to 2015Q4


Thankfully the UK is not Greece or Portugal in the bottom left quadrant. Taking the low wage road may have helped to keep jobs afloat in the UK; in contrast, in the majority of countries (in this sample) the employment gap was still negative but wages rose (bottom right quadrant). It is possible to think that economies/policymakers face a choice between these two options.  But this would be wrong – other countries have managed to have it both ways (top right quadrant).

These are mainly central European countries: Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Switzerland along with Japan and Israel. All these countries have benefited from strong aggregate demand in recent years, in particular through exports and/or government spending.

Plainly this is not a decisive measure of performance, if such a thing exists. My sense is that outcomes in the post-crisis period should be assessed alongside a comparison of performance relative to the pre-crisis period (see for example my examination of the effect of spending cuts cross the OECD – here). On this basis of the countries above, those ‘A8’ countries (that joined the EU from 2004) may have performed strongly over the post-crisis period, but have seen a significant reduction since the pre-crisis days.

Nonetheless the above results offer a valuable perspective on labour market outcomes overall.

We knew already that the UK had endured the longest and steepest decline in real wages since at least 1830. We now know that this decline is matched by no other country apart from Greece. Gains in employment are not adequate compensation.

Endnote: the total wage decline is derived from Figure 1.6, by compounding the separate growth rates for 07Q4-09Q1, 09Q1-12Q4 and 12Q4-15Q4. Note that the OECD derive real wages from national accounts information, dividing total wages by hours worked and putting into real terms with the household consumption deflator. These can differ from those based on average weekly earnings and CPI inflation that tend to be used in the UK.

ANNEX: change over 2007Q4 to 2015Q4