Monday, November 14, 2011

Catherine Austin Fitts: The Black Budget And The Leveraged Buyout Of The World Using Stolen Money

From Video Rebel's Blog:

Catherine Austin Fitts said we are witnessing a Leveraged Buyout of the world that will permanently end democracy. The elite has bought all the politicians and the media. They have stolen enough money to earn 2 trillion dollars a year from their investments. She said 2 trillion dollars a year is sufficient to fund a world government.

Wall Street and the City of London have been given more money in Bailouts than the total amount of money the United States spent on all of its wars. Wall Street was also allowed to steal 4 trillion dollars from federal spending that we are not allowed to audit. When she was Housing Commissioner in the first Bush administration, she once saw on one city block ten government guaranteed loans on buildings that never existed.

Separately from that Jim Willie has said when the Federal Reserve sells Treasury bonds, they sell more than the deficit. This fraud has added trillions more to the LBO Buyout fund.

As I have said previously, the banks are allowed to launder a trillion dollars a year in drugs, 400 billion dollars a year in illegal weapons and 500 billion dollars in political bribes.

Catherine has written and spoken often of mortgage fraud. The bankers were allowed to sell each mortgage ten times. The Federal Reserve has been busy buying fraudulent mortgage backed securities to keep the bankers out of jail.

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Former Assistant Secretary of Housing under George H.W. Bush Catherine Austin Fitts blows the whistle on how the financial terrorists have deliberately imploded the US economy and transferred gargantuan amounts of wealth offshore as a means of sacrificing the American middle class. Fitts documents how trillions of dollars went missing from government coffers in the 90's and how she was personally targeted for exposing the fraud.

Fitts explains how every dollar of debt issued to service every war, building project, and government program since the American Revolution up to around 2 years ago - around $12 trillion - has been doubled again in just the last 18 months alone with the bank bailouts. "We're literally witnessing the leveraged buyout of a country and that's why I call it a financial coup d'état, and that's what the bailout is for," states Fitts.

Massive amounts of financial capital have been sucked out the United States and moved abroad, explains Fitts, ensuring that corporations have become more powerful than governments, changing the very structure of governance on the planet and ensuring we are ruled by private corporations. Pension and social security funds have also been stolen and moved offshore, leading to the end of fiscal responsibility and sovereignty as we know it.

Fitts explained how when she was in government she tried to encourage the creation of small businesses, new jobs and new skills to compete in a globalized world otherwise the American middle class was toast, only to be forced out by the feds using dirty tricks. The elite instead wanted Americans to take on more credit card, mortgage and auto debt that corporations and insurers knew they couldn't afford, while quietly moving their jobs abroad in the meantime.

Max Keiser: Gold & silver stake for Wall St. zombie bankers!

Italy's new prime minister, Mario Monti, has began work on forming a new 'technocrat' government to tackle the country's towering debt. An economist and former EU-commissioner, he now has to implement structural economic reforms to pull Italy out of its financial chaos. For more on this, RT talks to Max Keiser, financial analyst and host of the Keiser Report.

Occupy Wall Street Declares Goldman Sachs Guilty

General Assembly holds mock trial and journalist Chris Hedges reads indictment accusing Goldman Sachs of financial crimes against humanity.

Wall Street Greed

Wall Street Fails to Deliver.

Naked Short Selling

Statement by Comrades from Cairo in Response to OWS Proposal to Send Election Monitors

by Jadaliyya Reports

[Image from unknown archive.] [Image from unknown archive.]

[The following statement was issued by Comrades from Cairo on 13 November 2011.]

To our kindred occupiers in Zuccotti park,

When we called out to you, requesting you join us on 12 November in defending our revolution and in our campaign against the military trial of civilians in Egypt, your solidarity—pictures from marches, videos, and statements of support—added to our strength.

However, we recently received news that your General Assembly passed a proposal authorizing $29,000 dollars to send twenty of your number to Egypt as election monitors. Truth be told, the news rather shocked us; we spent the better part of the day simply trying to figure out who could have asked for such assistance on our behalf.

We have some concerns with the idea, and we wanted to join your conversation.

It seems to us that you have taken to the streets and occupied your parks and cities out of a dissatisfaction with the false promises of the game of electoral politics, and so did our comrades in Spain, Greece and Britain. Regardless of how one stands on the efficacy of elections or elected representatives, the Occupy movement seems outside the scope of this; your choice to occupy is, if nothing else, bigger than any election. Why then, should our elections be any cause for celebration, when even in the best of all possible worlds they will be just another supposedly “representative” body ruling in the interest of the 1% over the remaining 99% of us? This new Egyptian parliament will have effectively no powers whatsoever, and—as many of us see it—its election is just a means of legitimating the ruling junta’s seizure of the revolutionary process. Is this something you wish to monitor?

We have, all of us around the world, been learning new ways to represent ourselves, to speak, to live our politics directly and immediately, and in Egypt we did not set out to the streets in revolution simply to gain a parliament. Our struggle—which we think we share with you—is greater and grander than a neatly functioning parliamentary democracy; we demanded the fall of the regime, we demanded dignity, freedom and social justice, and we are still fighting for these goals. We do not see elections of a puppet parliament as the means to achieve them.

But even though the idea of election monitoring doesn’t really do it for us, we want your solidarity, we want your support and your visits. We want to know you, talk with you, learn one another’s lessons, compare strategies and share plans for the future. We think that activists or as people committed to serious change in the systems we live in, there is so much more that we can do together than legitimizing electoral processes (leave that boring job to the Carter Foundation) that seem so impoverished next to the new forms of democracy and social life we are building. It should be neither our job nor our desire to play the game of elections; we are occupying and we should build our spaces and our networks because they themselves are the basis on which we will build the new. Let us deepen our lines of communication and process and discover out what these new ways of working together and supporting one another could be.

Any time you do want to come over, we’ve got plenty of comfy couches available. It won’t be fancy, but it will be fun.

Yours, as always, in solidarity,

Comrades from Cairo
13 November, 2011

P.S. We finally got an email address:

Police Violently Clashed with 1000's of Peaceful Students at Occupy UC Berkeley - Abc 7 reports

'There is an alternative to this misery'

From Italy and Greece: Rule by the Bankers - "Technocratic governments" ruling on behalf of financial markets by Michael Roberts:

"...I have outlined it in previous posts (see “An alternative programme for Europe”, 11 September 2011). Democratically elected governments in both countries should announce together that they are defaulting on all public sector debt held by the private sector. If that busts their banks (as it would), they should be taken over with customer deposits protected and then run as public enterprises directed to lend to industry and households to boost investment and consumption. Instead of slipping into a debt spiral that leads to economic recession (or continued depression as much of Europe is already in), recovery could be kickstarted by state-led investment. Of course, this is anathema to Europe's capitalist leaders and capitalist sectors because it would threaten the profit-based economy they preside over. So instead, we shall have the bankers rule..."

Greece sees new class of homeless

According to Klimaka, a Greek non-governmental organization, the number of homeless people has soared by 25 percent since 2009, with people from all social classes ending up without a roof over their heads.

While the drug addicts and mentally challenged people had comprise the majority of the Greek homeless in the past, now a new generation of jobless people with middle or higher educational backgrounds have ended up living on the streets, euronews reported.

In May, the unemployment rate hit a record 16.5 percent, and Greek NGO's foresee a sharper rise in the number of the homeless.

Since May 2010, Greece's economic crisis has caused sweeping turmoil across the country, forcing the government of former Prime Minister George Papandreou to resign.

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The Crises Of Democratic Capitalism

Wolfgang Streek, New Left Review

The collapse of the American financial system that occurred in 2008 has since turned into an economic and political crisis of global dimensions. How should this world-shaking event be conceptualized? Mainstream economics has tended to conceive society as governed by a general tendency toward equilibrium, where crises and change are no more than temporary deviations from the steady state of a normally well-integrated system. A sociologist, however, is under no such compunction. Rather than construe our present affliction as a one-off disturbance to a fundamental condition of stability, I will consider the ‘Great Recession’ and the subsequent near-collapse of public finances as a manifestation of a basic underlying tension in the political-economic configuration of advanced-capitalist societies; a tension which makes disequilibrium and instability the rule rather than the exception, and which has found expression in a historical succession of disturbances within the socio-economic order. More specifically, I will argue that the present crisis can only be fully understood in terms of the ongoing, inherently conflictual transformation of the social formation we call ‘democratic capitalism’.

Democratic capitalism was fully established only after the Second World War and then only in the ‘Western’ parts of the world, North America and Western Europe. There it functioned extraordinarily well for the next two decades—so well, in fact, that this period of uninterrupted economic growth still dominates our ideas and expectations of what modern capitalism is, or could and should be. This is in spite of the fact that, in the light of the turbulence that followed, the quarter century immediately after the war should be recognizable as truly exceptional. Indeed I suggest that it is not the trente glorieuses but the series of crises which followed that represents the normal condition of democratic capitalism—a condition ruled by an endemic conflict between capitalist markets and democratic politics, which forcefully reasserted itself when high economic growth came to an end in the 1970s. In what follows I will first discuss the nature of that conflict and then turn to the sequence of political-economic disturbances that it produced, which both preceded and shaped the present global crisis.

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[ Thanks Theo! ]

Occupy Sydney: Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky gives a statement of support and answers a couple of questions for Occupy Sydney.
Please note that the audio problems at the beginning clear up after 55 seconds.
Thanks to purplelf audio for their help in recovering the audio to a level where we could create a transcript for subtitles. We owe you beer!

'Wall Street elites fund US-led wars'

The "biggest occupiers in the world" are the Wall Street class of bankers occupying Iraq and Afghanistan and giving millions of dollars to Israel to occupy Palestine, Caleb Maupin from International Action Center told Press TV.

The US has the richest ruling class in the world, Caleb said, "yet all the money that could be used to help people goes to bomb people in other countries, goes to fund wars and just lie in the pockets of the rich."

The US Congress is "just a cast of hired actors, hired by the one percent to trick us into thinking we actually have power in this country," he noted.

"Power lies with the bankers who own the banks and factories."

"The trick has been exposed," he said, "People are done playing this game they have been playing for so long of walking into the ballot box and voting for a Democrat or a Republican and thinking that is going to win them a better future."

"Now they are voting with their feet... by occupying and taking over squares and they are going to continue to fight" until they get the long-awaited justice they want," he went on to say.

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Occupy Reichstag: Thousands march in Germany

More than ten thousand people have joined the demonstrations in Germany - seeking to draw attention to rampant corporate greed and the increasing poverty of the masses. The German Occupy movement has also made significant steps in legitimising itself - having earned the support of two major political factions. RT talks to one of the organizers of the event, Jutta Sundermann of the pro-equality 'Attac Germany' group.

US pharm industry creates diseases to cure them

US pharmaceutical companies get creative when it comes to disorders and drugs to treat almost anything, from canine depression to female sexual dysfunction.

The American drug trade is a multi-billion-dollar business, and is only getting bigger. Meanwhile the industry has been accused of illegally pushing medicine onto the market, often endangering the lives of patients.

In the US, the most common medication prescribed for dogs is to treat aggression and anxiety disorders. Pharmacists admit that Prozac works terrifically on dogs.

Yes, there is such a thing as doggy Prozac, a beef-flavored version of the well-known "human" anti-depressant, government-approved and being proscribed by veterinarians for canines in crisis.

"There is a significant population of dogs which is really suffering from separation anxiety," reveals veterinary behaviorist E'Lise Christensen, from NYC Vet Specialists.

The drug company, one of the largest, is banking on that. They believe up to 17 per cent of US dogs are suffering from this mental affliction. It is an idea some would scoff at, and as Christensen says "I definitely understand being skeptical."

"Companies are desperate to keep up their profit margin, and do things to keep the margin up, even though the number of new drugs that are important in the pipeline has diminished," argues Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen's Health Research.

It turns out those companies do not need doggy drugs in order for critics to make that case. Medical researchers have crunched the numbers and found the pharmaceutical industry now tops the defense industry as the number one defrauder of the US government.

"That was a finding that I didn't expect. No one had really ever looked at it before and it shows you how out-of-control really the pharmaceutical industry really is," Dr. Sidney Wolfe said.

In some cases it is criminally out of control, perhaps helping this industry go from selling US$40 billion to $234 billion a year in prescription drugs. Over the last two decades, companies have been cheating and endangering patients. Their biggest violations are overcharging the government by billions and illegally marketing their drugs to treat conditions for which they have not proven safe or effective.

One of the largest criminal penalties ever levied against an American corporation involved the drugs giant Pfizer. The illegal practices included essentially hiring positions despite the buzz about the drug, telling their colleagues to prescribe it for a condition it was not approved for.

And when it comes to the drug companies, disease-pushers may not be an unfair way of describing them, as well as drug pushers -- that is what one filmmaker found when tracing a newly-minted disorder.

"Female sexual dysfunction itself is something the pharm industry really pushed for and had a hand in creating," believes Liz Canner, filmmaker of Orgasm Inc.

That is the conclusion Canner came to after following the process of a drug company developing female Viagra. She says only a small number of women need it, but the company has other plans.

"Their marketing and the amount of money they're pouring into it really says they're trying to sell this to the whole population," insists Liz Canner.

And with commercials for prescription drugs airing on TV in the US, companies are in a position to do just that.

With billions being made and not much to lose, critics say even in the case of crime, for this industry nothing is likely to change.

"Unless people go to jail unless the fines are much larger than they have been the companies will find that it's cheaper to cheat" Dr. Sidney Wolfe said.

Companies that stop short of nothing to find some-syndrome, someone or something new to medicate.

From Russia Today:
Published: 14 February, 2011

What is the British Crown?

From The Journal of History - Fall 2011:

... The government and legal system of the United States is totally controlled by the Crown. I have also stated that the British Monarch is not the Crown. The Crown is the Inner City of London, which is an independent State in London belonging to the Vatican system. It is a banking cartel which has a massive system around and beneath, which hides its true power. The City is in fact the Knights Templar Church, also known as the Crown Temple or Crown Templar, and is located between Fleet Street and Victoria Embankment. The Temple grounds are also home to the Crown Offices at Crown Office Row.

The CrownTemple controls the Global ‘Legal’ system, including those in the United States, Canada, Australia, and much more; this is because all Bar Associations are franchises of the International Bar Association at the Inns of Court at CrownTemple based at Chancery Lane in London. All Bar Associations are franchises of the Crown and all Bar Attorneys/ Barristers throughout the world pledge a solemn oath to the Temple, even though many may not be aware that this is what they are doing. Bar Association ‘licensed’ Solicitors / Barristers must keep to their Oath, Pledge and terms of allegiance to the CrownTemple if they are to be “called to the Bar” and work in the legal profession. The ruling Monarch is also subordinate to the Crown Temple, this has been so since the reign of King John in the 13th century when Royal Sovereignty was transferred to the Crown Temple and, through this, to the Roman Church. King John 1167-1216 is the key to this deception.

It was at the Chancel, or Chancery, of the Crown Inner Temple Court in January 1215 that King John was faced with the demands of the French/English Barons in England (mainly French), to confirm the rights enshrined in the Magna Carta. When he signed the Magna Carta in 1215 history records this as an event that extended human freedom, but the real effect was very different as we shall see. The governments of the USA, Canada, Australia and more are subsidiaries of the Crown Temple and so is the US Central Bank, the Federal Reserve, as are all Central Banks on the Planet and including the IMF` World Bank.

Bar Associations are awarded their franchises by the Four Inns of Court at Temple Bar. These are the InnerTemple, MiddleTemple, Lincolns Inn, and Greys Inn, and they are nothing less than elite secret societies without charters or statutes. They are the law unto themselves. The InnerTemple controls the legal system franchise for Canada and Britain while the MiddleTemple does the same for the United States. Queen Elizabeth II is a member of both Temples. At least five signatories to the American Declaration of Independence were Temple Bar Attorneys who had pledged allegiance to the Crown! Another MiddleTemple operative during the formation of the USA was Alexander Hamilton who structured the American Banking system to fulfil the Crown Temple's agenda for total control of the United States. So in truth a State wherever it is on this planet, is a legal entity of the TempleCrown, or a Crown Colony. A man named Michael Edwards wrote:

“Americans were fooled into believing that the legal Crown Colonies comprising New England were independent nation states, but they never were nor are today. They were and still are Colonies of the CrownTemple, through letters patent and charters, who have no legal authority to be independent from the rule and order of the CrownTemple. A legal state is a CrownTemple Colony.”

“Neither the American people nor the Queen of Britain own America. The CrownTemple owns America through the deception of those who have sworn their allegiance by oath to the Middle Temple Bar. The Crown Bankers and their Middle Templar Attorneys rule America through unlawful contracts, unlawful Taxes, and contract documents of false equity through debt deceit, all strictly enforced by their completely unlawful, but ’legal’, orders, rules and codes of the Crown Temple Courts, or so called ‘Judiciary’ in America. This is because the CrownTemple holds the land titles and estate deeds to all of North America.”

Seven Middle Inn Templars who had pledged an oath of allegiance to the CrownTemple (including Alexander Hamilton) were among the members of the Constitutional Convention who signed the completed ‘American Constitution’. How symbolic it is that copies of the American Constitution and the Declaration of Independence hang on the wall of the MiddleTemple in London. It’s not that surprising when you consider this Temple controlled both sides in these shenanigans.

So while the Middle Bar Templars were orchestrating the illusion of freedom from the perceived rule by King George III, the King too, was a sworn member of the same Temple. Michael Edwards continues:

“1776 is the year that will truly live in infamy for all Americans. It is the year that the Crown Colonies became legal Crown States. The Declaration of Independence was a legal, not lawful, document. It was signed on both sides by representatives of the CrownTemple. Legally, it announced the status quo of the Crown Colonies to that of the new legal name called ‘States’ as direct possessive estates of the Crown.

“The American people were hoodwinked into thinking they were declaring lawful independence from the Crown. Proof that the colonies are still in Crown possession is the use of the word ‘State’ to signify a ‘legal estate of possession.’ Had this been a document of and by the people, both the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution would have been written using the word ‘States’. By the use of ‘State’, the significance of government of estate possessions was legally established. All of the North American States are Crown Templar possessions through their legal document, signed by their representation of both parties to the contract, known as the Constitution of the United States of America.

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“Then with the tanks, now with the banks” – anarchists gear up preparation for November 17th commemoration

From the Greek Streets blog:

'Then with tanks, now with banks - uprising now' anarchist poster calling for a local demonstration in the Athenian neighbourhoods of Ano Glifada, Elliniko and Argyroupoli on November 17th, commemorating the 1973 student uprising against the Junta of the Colonels (1967-1974)


From American Bull Moose:
"...This year’s remembrances could become especially “boisterous,” given the current sentiment among the Greek people, the ongoing austerity and financial crisis, the recent instability within the elected government of Greece, and the pressure from Europe at large to institute quickly still more harsh spending cuts, layoffs, and tax increases..."

Anonymous The End of the New World Order, Phase 1

Update 11/10/11: Military prepares for Bradley’s trial, Congress threatens whistle-blower protections, others show creative support

The U.S. Army announced last week that it had embarked on preparations for Bradley Manning’s pre-trial hearing. Manning, who has been held first at Quantico and then at Fort Leavenworth for a year and half, has consistently seen his hearing postponed. This delay can be explained, says an Army spokesperson, by disagreements between the prosecution and intelligence agencies about which kinds of evidence are admissible, as well as assurances that members of the defense team achieve proper security clearance to examine the classified documents pertinent to the case. Read more here…

What role do whistleblowers like Bradley Manning play in society? According to Robert Taylor, an invaluable and revolutionary one. In this article, Taylor eloquently explains how whistleblowers provide more than a glimpse at what governments are really doing behind closed doors; they in fact implicitly question why governments are often exempt from the laws they pass and enforce upon their own citizens. When people realize that the people and institutions in power are actually guilty of murder and other crimes, Taylor explains, the system is inherently challenged, and the possibility for fundamental change opens up. (link.)

Socially conscious theater to perform piece about Bradley Manning. The Bread & Puppet Theater, a non-profit, politically engaged, puppet troop, will be performing “Man of Flesh & Cardboard”, a show about PFC Bradley Manning. The show, created by Peter Schumann and performed by the Bread & Puppet company and many volunteers, will take place at the Theater for the New City, and it will mark the 40th anniversary of the troop performing there. The show plays December 1st – 18, and tickets are $12. Read more…

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Protesters Have the Right to Protest … and to Resist Unlawful Arrest

Top Military Commander and Courts Support Right to Protest

In response to comments from those supporting the police crackdowns on peaceful protesters exercising their constitutional rights but violating local ordinances (see comments here), reader Purplemuse writes:

The Constitution supersedes local ordinances that are being used to OBSTRUCT 1st Amendment Rights. The camping ITSELF is in order to MAKE A STATEMENT – a First Amendment Right. Protesters are not camping because it is fun to expose yourself to the elements and hardship and you want to roast wienies and marshmallows and drink beer while swapping ghost stories.

Would you listen to Colin Powell, retired four-star general in the United States Army, Powell also served as National Security Advisor (1987–1989), as Commander of the U.S. Army Forces Command (1989) and as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989–1993) when he says, “It isn’t enough just to scream at the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. We need our political system to start reflecting this anger back into, ‘How do we fix it? How do we get the economy going again?’” He also states that the Occupy Wall Street Protests are “As American as Apple Pie.”

Does he go on to qualify his statement by saying, “as long as they obey local (misdemeanor) ordinances. No, he does not. He actually goes on to say that he “gets” it.

If a man, well above your rank, that you’d likely drop everything to stand up in a room to honor, “gets” that peaceful protests, by design (that’s why they are referred to as ‘civil disobedience’) infringe on ordinances and make the public uncomfortable in order to be heard, are as American as Apple Pie; do you think you could set your fear of disobedience aside long enough to defend those protesters against physical harm for exercising those American as Apple Pie Rights? If you can’t than I think you need to join the ranks of officers who simply “do as they are told” and jab petite women in the spleen with billy clubs (as in Berkeley) in order to incite a riot. (BTW: They did not succeed, Berkeley stood firm in determined peace).

(Watch Powell’s statement here).

Of course, it’s not just Powell. Veterans from every branch of the military – and across 3 generations – are coming out to support the “occupy” protests.

And in response to the Berkeley police saying that linking arms and resisting attempts to clear a space is an act of “violence”, reader David writes:

It is every citizen’s duty to resist false arrest.

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Poland riots video: Clashes with police on Independence Day in Warsaw

Polish riot police used batons, teargas and water cannon against thousands of right-wing and left-wing demonstrators after Independence Day observances Friday turned into clashes in which police were attacked by leftist and right-wing marchers.

The November 11 celebration marked the day in 1918 when Poland regained its independence after having been carved up for 123 years by Prussia, Austria, and Russia.

The State Terror and Repression of Epizentrum

On Tuesday November 8, Epizentrum was evicted by an overwhelming show of force. The Vienna police deployed more than 100 officers, plus an armoured assault vehicle and a helicopter against 26 unarmed occupants of Epizentrum. The absurdity of this mass show of force was further punctuated by the peaceful manner that the occupants voluntarily left. Did the police and authorities really believe they were facing a reincarnation of the Rote Armee Fraktion (RAF). No one in 21st Century Western Europe will ever attempt to repeat the fıasco of the RAF. Had not the Staatspolizei (Secret Police) spies reported there wern't any weapons stashed in the building and that there was never once any discussion of violent confrontation with the authorities? The Austrian media had also antıcıpated and giddy for a violent conflict. The right wing media complained that the occupiers were "softies". That the occupiers didn't put up a fight. Of course, had the occupiers violently resisted, then the media would have denounced them as "violent terrorists". In the event, the police and media looked liked fools.

Immediately after the last occupants were evicted, they and their supporters went to Amerlinghaus to regroup. Weeks ago it was agreed upon to hold a demo at 18:00 the day of the eviction at
Urban-Loritz Platz not far from Epizentrum.

The Battle of The Gürtel
Between 18:00 and 18:30 around 250 people gathered at the bottom of the steps leading up to the Vienna City Library. The atmosphere was tense and there was a definite sense that the evening would be explosive. Shortly after 18:30, the demonstration was started when some people ignited fireworks and flares from the steps above. There were a series of explosions. The initial cheers and shouts from the crowd assembled below gave way to confusion and mutterıngs when the flares rained down on the protesters sending people scattering for cover.

It had been determined that the demonstration would move South along The Gürtel to Westbahnhof (West Railway Station). From Westbahnhof, the demo would turn on Mariahilfestrasse towards downtown and stop at Museums Qaurtier. The police had plainclothes among the protesters who promptly reported the route to their superiors.

The demonstaters poured onto the lanes of the The Gürtel southbound. As The Gürtel is the main traffic thoroughfare of Vienna and it was during the end of the Rush Hour, traffic was disrupted. Eight more police vans that had been sent to control the demonstration were stuck in traffic in the Northern direction. The police were in a combative mood. At the junction of The Gürtel and Felberstrasse, a line of riot cops formed a cordon. Immediately the demonstrators moved on to the tram tracks and the green island which serves as a bike and pedestrian path between the main lanes of The Gürtel. The riot police swooped in quickly. The demonstrators then went the opposite direction heading North still blocking traffic. Suddenly the sound of breaking glass was heard. Someone smashed the windows of a small shop. Many of the demonstrators were angry and wondered who was the asshole that smashed the windows. The demonstration continued with one person carrying an ignited red flare. The Gürtel had turned into a surreal scene with red flares and smoke.

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Epizentrum eviction video

US Moves to Overturn Ban on Cluster Bombs

By John Glaser,

The U.S. is leading an effort to water down an international ban on cluster bombs, weapons that are widely considered to be inherently indiscriminate.

Ahmed Kamel, 12-year old Iraqi, victim of US cluster bomb

The Convention on Cluster Munitions prohibits cluster munitions, requires the destruction of stockpiles within eight years, and has been signed by 111 countries, while the U.S. has steadfastly refused to sign it. In a proposal that meant to neuter the convention, Washington now is pushing to permit the use of cluster bombs as long as they were manufactured after 1980 and had a failure rate of less than one per cent.

The Convention began to take effect in June 2010, just after a U.S.cluster bomb killed 35 women and children in Yemen, with the Pentagon stubbornly refusing to admit to the wrongdoing despite damning evidence compiled by Amnesty International, which was later corroborated by classified diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.

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UK backs bid to overturn ban on cluster bombs
Campaigners say US-led proposals to water down global ban give a 'green light' to use the weapons

U.S. takes the lead on behalf of cluster bombs

Slightly more than two months after he was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, President Obama secretly ordered a cruise missile attack on Yemen, using cluster bombs, which killed 44 innocent civilians, including 14 women and 21 children, as well as 14 people alleged to be “militants.” It goes without saying that — unless you want Rick Perry to win in 2012 — this act should in no way be seen as marring Obama’s presidency or his character: what’s a couple dozen children blown up as a part of a covert, undeclared air war? If anything, as numerous Democrats have ecstatically celebrated, such acts show how Tough and Strong the Democrats are: after all, ponder the massive amounts of nobility and courage it takes to sit in the Oval Office and order this type of aggression on defenseless tribal regions in Yemen. As R.W. Appel put it on the front page of The New York Times back in 1989 when glorifying George H.W. Bush’s equally courageous invasion of Panama: “most American leaders since World War II have felt a need to demonstrate their willingness to shed blood” and doing so has become “a Presidential initiation rite.”

APEC World Leaders Dinner Gets Occupied

Within secure zone, musician sings on behalf of the many

Honolulu - A change in the programmed entertainment at last night's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) gala left a few world leaders slack-jawed, though most seemed not to notice that anything was amiss.

During the gala dinner, renowned Hawaiian guitarist Makana, who performed at the White House in 2009, opened his suit jacket to reveal a home-made “Occupy with Aloha” T-shirt. Then, instead of playing the expected instrumental background music, he spent almost 45 minutes repeatedly singing his protest ballad released earlier that day. The ballad, called “We Are the Many,” includes lines such as “The lobbyists at Washington do gnaw.... And until they are purged, we won't withdraw,” and ends with the refrain: “We'll occupy the streets, we'll occupy the courts, we'll occupy the offices of you, till you do the bidding of the many, not the few.”

Those who could hear Makana’s message included Presidents Barack Obama of the United States of America, Hu Jintao of China, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada, and over a dozen other heads of state.

“At first, I was worried about playing ‘We Are The Many,’” said Makana. “But I found it odd that I was afraid to sing a song I’d written, especially since I'd written it with these people in mind.”

The gala was the most secure event of the summit. It was held inside the Hale Koa hotel, a 72-acre facility owned and controlled by the US Defense Department; the site was fortified with an additional three miles of fencing constructed solely for the APEC summit.

Makana was surprised that no one objected to him playing the overtly critical song. “I just kept doing different versions,” he said. “I must’ve repeated ‘the bidding of the many, not the few’ at least 50 times, like a mantra. It was surreal and sobering.”

Makana’s new song is inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has taken root in cities worldwide. Last Saturday, eight protesters were arrested when they refused to leave the Occupy Honolulu encampment at Thomas Square Park. Occupy Honolulu has joined other groups, including Moana Nui, to protest the APEC meeting, and while Makana performed, hundreds of people protested outside.

After facing large-scale protests in South Korea, Australia, Peru, and Japan, APEC moved this year's event to Hawaii, the most isolated piece of land on earth. In preparation for the meeting, homeless families were moved out of sight and millions of taxpayer dollars were spent on security—including over $700,000 on non-lLinkethal weapons for crowd control. In a bitter twist, the multi-million dollar security plans backfired when a local Hawaiian man was shot and killed by a 27-year-old DC-based federal agent providing security for dignitaries.

>> more... >>

Interview: 'Carlos the Jackal' trial in Paris

Christian Malard a correspondent from France 3 talks to Al Jazeera about Venezuelan 'Carlos the Jackal' real name Illich Ramirez Sanchez, already convicted of a triple murder, charged over four deadly attacks in 1982-1983.

Respect "Carlos the Jackal": Venezuela's Chavez
(Reuters) - Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez urged respect for the legal rights of "Carlos the Jackal" during his trial in France and saluted him as a "worthy" fighter for revolutionary causes.
Born in Venezuela to a communist father, Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, 62, went on trial this week for deadly Paris bombings he is accused of carrying out at the height of his "anti-imperialist" activity in the 1970s and 1980s.
The socialist Chavez has run into controversy in the past by praising a man regarded as a terrorist killer by Western governments, though imbued with revolutionary allure for a small coterie of admirers.
"Back then he was a worthy promoter of the greatest struggles that came out of here for the causes and justice of the (world's) peoples," Chavez said, referring to Ramirez's departure from Venezuela to support Palestinian militants.
"I say this to the whole world without any anxiety," Chavez added in comments carried by state media on Tuesday.
Ramirez faces a second life sentence in prison if convicted for four bomb attacks in 1982 and 1983 that killed 11 people and wounded nearly 200. He was sentenced to life in 1997 by a French court for killing two police officers and an informant. ...

World War 3 Warning from Anonymous We Are Eternal

Zen and the Art of Occupy Wall Street

Richard Schiffman writes at Huffington Post:

They may be the first mass movement in history that has been able to bypass the press and frame their own message in their own terms.

Chris told me that OWS has deliberately chosen not to come out with a list of fixed positions

and proposals. "It's a Zen kind of thing, we don't want to give them an easy target," he said referring to how martial artists wear their opponents out by weaving and eluding their blows. Compared to the protest movements of the nineteen sixties and seventies, Chris said, OWS is far less dogmatic and more open-ended. "

"Young people today are more comfortable with uncertainty, with not preaching, with presenting people with the facts and letting them arrive at their own conclusions."

What Does Occupy Wall Street Mean For Art?
... Liberty Plaza, however, became a kind of art object: a living installation or social sculpture made of bodies, animals, alternative barter stations for food, clothes, and books, a kitchen with composting, literature tables, public lectures, assemblies, a "community sacred space," drum circles, protesters, media center, press team, visiting journalists, walkways taped off for tourists, and lots and lots of text—painted, written, scrawled, and printed on every conceivable surface.
How could art—that is, the stuff made in the art world—compare with this? ...

Occupy Art: Protesters Captured on Newsprint
Using the very newspapers where stories of the Occupy movement are being printed, self-trained
UK artist Guy Denning has been doing frequent drawings of members of the 99%. Capturing the
spirit of the movement, from sadness to strength and rage, his pieces on newsprint and boxes capture the uniquely global protest which continues to garner attention and raise questions about the roll of corporations in world politics. See more of this excellent artists work (including a host of non-Occupy related pieces) at Flickr or on his Facebook page...

The Situationists and the Occupation Movements (1968/2011)

By Ken Knabb, Bureau of Public Secrets

One of the most notable characteristics of the “Occupy” movement is that it is just what it claims to be: leaderless and antihierarchical. Certain people have of course played significant roles in laying the groundwork for Occupy Wall Street and the other occupations, and others may have ended up playing significant roles in dealing with various tasks in committees or in coming up with ideas that are good enough to be adopted by the assemblies. But as far as I can tell, none of these people have claimed that such slightly disproportionate contributions mean that they should have any greater say than anyone else. Certain famous people have rallied to the movement and some of them have been invited to speak to the assemblies, but they have generally been quite aware that the participants are in charge and that nobody is telling them what to do.

This puts the media in an awkward and unaccustomed position. They are used to relating with leaders. Since they have not been able to find any, they are forced to look a little deeper, to investigate for themselves and see if they can discover who or what may be behind all this. Since the initial concept and publicity for Occupy Wall Street came from the Canadian group and magazine Adbusters, the following passage from an interview with Adbusters editor and co-founder Kalle Lasn (, October 4) has been widely noticed:

We are not just inspired by what happened in the Arab Spring recently, we are students of the Situationist movement. Those are the people who gave birth to what many people think was the first global revolution back in 1968 when some uprisings in Paris suddenly inspired uprisings all over the world. All of a sudden universities and cities were exploding. This was done by a small group of people, the Situationists, who were like the philosophical backbone of the movement. One of the key guys was Guy Debord, who wrote The Society of the Spectacle. The idea is that if you have a very powerful meme — a very powerful idea — and the moment is ripe, then that is enough to ignite a revolution. This is the background that we come out of.
Lasn’s description is a rather over-simplified version of what the situationists were about, but the Adbusters at least have the merit of adopting or adapting some of the situationist methods for active subversive use (which is of course what those methods were designed for), in contrast to those who relate to the situationists as passive spectators.

Another example of this quest for influences can be found in Michael Greenberg’s In Zuccotti Park (New York Review of Books, November 10):

The antic, Dadaist tone [of the Adbusters] . . . sounds more like something that was cooked up in a university linguistics class than by conventional grassroots populists. But when combined with anarchism, the hacktivism of the WikiLeaks phenomenon, and the arcane theories of Guy Debord and the so-called Situationists on the May 1968 student demonstrations in Paris, a potently popular recipe appears to have emerged.

If the situationists’ theories were really all that “arcane,” it is hard to see how they managed to inspire such an immense popular movement. But Greenberg’s article is at least a fairly decent and objective attempt to understand what is going on. This cannot be said of a more extensive article by Gary Kamiya, The Original Mad Men: What Can OWS Learn from a Defunct French Avant-Garde Group? (, October 21), which attempts to account for what he sees as “the peculiar liaison between Occupy Wall Street and the Situationists.”

Actually, there is nothing peculiar about the connection. If Mr. Kamiya thinks there is, it is because his limited and confused knowledge of the situationists is derived primarily from second-hand sources that are themselves very limited and confused:

I first heard of the Situationists in 1989, when I was doing research for a review of Greil Marcus’ weird and wonderful book Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the 20th Century, in which they play a leading role. They also popped up as one of the inspirations behind a zanily creative San Francisco-based group called the Cacophony Society, several of whose odd urban expeditions I took part in during the 1980s. Founding members of the Cacophony Society, in turn, helped create Burning Man, the most rockin’ Saturnalia since Nero fiddled. There is thus a strong connection between the Situationists and various counter-cultural carnivals, provocations and eruptions — a fact that holds both promise and peril for any political movement influenced by them.
Marcus’s book, though not without interest, is very one-sided, focusing on the early situationists’ avant-garde cultural adventures and almost totally ignoring their revolutionary goals and methods. The two countercultural “eruptions” mentioned have even less connection with them, whatever their participants may have imagined. But having thus pigeonholed the situationists as playful “cultural pranksters,” Mr. Kamiya then comes upon a puzzling inconsistency:
That playfulness should be the most lasting legacy of the Situationists is ironic, for it’s hard to imagine anything less playful than The Society of the Spectacle, the 1967 book by Situationist founder Guy Debord that is the movement’s bible. Grim, pedantic, hectoring and, not to put too fine a point on it, mad as a hatter, it is one of those works of Grand Theory that clank along like an ideological tank, crushing everything, including logic and common sense, in their path.
The supposed “irony” is only in Mr. Kamiya’s head. One might suppose that if the most important book by the most influential member of the group had all these grim and serious and heavy qualities, it would cause Mr. Kamiya to rethink his initial opinion that the situationists were merely zany pranksters. Instead, he launches into a weird and crazy diatribe about how weird and crazy Debord’s book is. The Society of the Spectacle is admittedly difficult, hardly to be well understood without careful study. (For those of you who are new to the situationists, I recommend that you start instead with some of the articles from the situationists’ journal, where you can see how the group evolved and how their theories played out in specific concrete contexts.) I suppose it might seem grim to someone looking for something light and cheery, but there is nothing pedantic or hectoring about it, let alone insane. It is a coldly calculated elucidation of the nature of the social system in which we find ourselves and of the advantages and drawbacks of various methods that have been tried in the endeavor to change it. There is indeed a certain relentlessness in its systematic critique on every form of hierarchy and alienation; but if Mr. Kamiya feels that it “crushes everything” in its path, that says more about his own (shocked and fearful) state of mind than about Debord’s.
Debord’s theory is psychotically simple: “Everything that was directly lived has receded into a representation.” Yes, you heard right — reality itself has been taken over, emptied out, by capitalist society, which has converted it into what Debord called “an immense accumulation of spectacles,” mere images at which people can only gape like stupefied slaves.
I’m surprised that Mr. Kamiya finds such an elementary observation “psychotic.” Debord’s thesis is far more frequently criticized for the opposite reason: for being so obvious as to be old-hat. To give just one example, more than twenty years ago France’s leading newspaper stated: “The fact that modern society is a society of the spectacle now goes without saying. . . . Countless books continue to appear that describe this phenomenon, which now marks not only all the industrialized nations but even all of the developing ones” (Le Monde, September 19, 1987). As I noted in the introduction to my translation of Debord’s film scripts, “Statements by Debord that used to be dismissed as extravagant or incomprehensible are now with equal superficiality dismissed as trite and obvious; people who used to claim that the obscurity of situationist ideas proved their insignificance now claim that their notoriety demonstrates their obsolescence.”

The situationists are of course best known for their role in inspiring the May 1968 revolt in France. Mr. Kamiya acknowledges their impact on the “rhetoric” of that revolt, but then immediately reverts to his disdainful dismissal:

They did have an outsize impact on the rhetoric — expressed on posters, publications and most famously in graffiti — of the 1968 French protests that almost toppled Charles de Gaulle’s Fifth Republic. “Never work,” “Boredom is counterrevolutionary,” “Under the paving stones, the beach” — these and dozens of other provocatively poetic pronouncements were written by or inspired by the Situationists. But their claim to have been the driving force behind the student revolt was overblown . . . and Situationism itself as a movement barely outlasted those delirious days in May.

The situationists never claimed any such thing, first of all because they had the greatest contempt for the student milieu in general (see the notorious Strasbourg pamphlet On the Poverty of Student Life) and secondly because, as they noted, “the May movement was not a student movement” (though triggered by a small situationist-inspired group in the Paris universities, it was carried out primarily by thousands of nonstudent youth and by millions of workers). The Situationist International did indeed dissolve itself in 1972, four years after the May revolt, but it did so primarily because it had become too popular and it wished to force its thousands of admirers and would-be followers back on their own, so that they would have to form their own groups and carry out their own actions rather than anxiously waiting to see what the SI would do next.

By any real-world measure except for providing grist for countless future Ph.D. theses, the Situationists were a complete failure. . . . By refusing to bring their ideas down into the real world — it’s hard to see how they could, since they considered the “real world” to be an empty fraud — the Situationists ensured that their influence would remain purely intellectual, not tangible. . . . Because they remained snootily above the fray, the Situationists ended up as a cultural hood ornament, another flashy appendage of the “society of the spectacle” they were at such pains to decry.
Let’s see. In the late 1950s and early 1960s a tiny group quietly lays the groundwork for a new type of radical contestation of modern society. Though at first almost totally ignored, the group’s new tactics and new perspectives gradually begin to resonate with more and more people, particularly after the 1966 Strasbourg scandal makes headlines all over Europe. In early 1968, a small group directly inspired by them (the Enragés) begins agitation in the Parisian universities, which leads to demonstrations, expulsions, and then several days of street fighting (in which all the situationists take part). The police brutality and hundreds of arrests arouse sympathy from all over the country, forcing the government to back down and pull back the police. Students and other young people occupy the Sorbonne and invite everyone else to join them, to come together in a democratic general assembly to address the many problems they face and see what solutions they might come up with. (Does a lot of this sound familiar?) The situationists take part in the initial stages of the Sorbonne general assembly, where they advocate two main policies: maintaining direct democracy in the assembly, and appealing to the workers of the entire country to occupy their factories and form workers councils — i.e. direct-democratic workers’ assemblies that would bypass the labor-union bureaucracies. Within two weeks (in one of the few movements in history to spread even faster than the current OWS movement) virtually all the factories of France are occupied by over 10,000,000 workers. The situationists and Enragés and others organized into a “Council for Maintaining the Occupations” (CMDO) undertake a massive effort to urge the workers to bypass the union bureaucrats and carry on the occupations in order to realize the radical possibilities that their spontaneous action has already opened up, noting that if they do so they will soon be confronted with the task of restarting the social functions that are actually necessary, under their own control. Here, finally, the situationists’ desires are not fulfilled — the workers, understandably unsure of what to do in this strange and unaccustomed situation, allow the union bureaucracies (which had resisted the occupation movement from the beginning) to insinuate themselves back into the movement in order to deflate and dismantle it. (For detailed accounts of the May 1968 revolt, see René Viénet’s book Enragés and Situationists in the Occupation Movement (Autonomedia), Debord’s article The Beginning of an Era, and the leaflets and other documents issued by the CMDO.)

In short, a tiny group manages to trigger an unprecedented mass movement — the first wildcat general strike in history, which in the space of a month brings a modern industrial country to a standstill; but because that movement did not go on to achieve a total victory and bring about a definitive global revolution, Mr. Kamiya believes that it represents a “complete failure.” He apparently has unusually high standards. I would be curious to hear an example of some social movement or radical group that manages to meet with his approval. But stranger still, he attributes this “failure” to the fact that the situationists “remained snootily above the fray.” They supposedly refused to “bring their ideas down into the real world” and thus their influence remained “purely intellectual, not tangible.” The university agitation, the street fighting, the Sorbonne assembly, the factory occupations apparently were not “tangible”; they did not happen in the real world, but in some “purely intellectual” realm. It seems to me that if anyone is remaining “snootily above the fray” here, it is Mr. Kamiya.

Despite the many social and cultural differences between 1968 France and 2011 America, anyone who has been paying attention to the current Occupy movement will see a number of obvious analogies between the initial stages of the two movements. And with the recent call for a general strike by Occupy Oakland (which included the blocking of the Port of Oakland and the attempted takeover of a vacant building), even the notion of factory occupations no longer seems quite so distant and unrealistic as it did even a week ago. We may still have a long way to go for that, but such ideas are now clearly in the air.

Another interesting similarity: Just as May 1968 was characterized by an incredible richness of personal creativity expressed in thousands of graffiti, the Occupy movement has already been characterized by a similar creativity expressed in thousands of homemade signs. The tone may be a bit different — perhaps a bit more wicked and incisive in France, more naïve and earnest in America — but in both cases there is a rich mix of joy and humor, insight and irony, poetry and poignancy, camaraderie and community. Like the graffiti, the signs are of course only a modest, visible expression of the movement, but they tend to express its nature, what is really going on in the participants’ hearts and minds, better than any official declarations or political programs.

But Mr. Kamiya hardly seems to notice any of this. He is almost as demanding and demeaning when it comes to the Occupy movement as he is about the situationists:

A nascent popular movement has sprung up in protest, but to be effective it must grow exponentially.

Isn’t that what it’s been doing? How else do you describe a movement that spontaneously spreads to autonomous occupations and assemblies in over a thousand cities in the space of a month?

On Oct. 15, when hundreds of thousands of protesters turned out in cities across Europe, an estimated 100,000 turned out in America — a decent showing, but not enough to shake the system.
Well, gosh, sorry about that. We’ll try to do better next time. Apparently nothing is good enough for Mr. Kamiya unless it “shakes the system.”
In particular, the movement needs to reach beyond its base, which is currently — at least in San Francisco, which may not be a fair sample — made up overwhelmingly of the young and culturally disgruntled, those who have not even been able to get a foot in the American door.
Well, as a matter of fact, it isn’t a fair sample. The race and class demography of the occupations varies considerably in different cities and different regions of the country. In any case, it is obvious that occupiers, especially the initial ones, will tend to be those who are younger, because young people will be readier to rough it than people who are middle-aged or older, and also because many young people are among those hit hardest by lack of employment and are seeing their whole future sold out, whereas older and more white-collar or “middle-class” people are more likely to be caught up in struggling to keep their jobs and their homes and raise their families. This doesn’t mean that they too are not participating, even if simply by contributing to help those who are literally on the ground.
When I went down to the protesters’ camp in Justin Herman Plaza this week, I talked to several highly intelligent young people with articulate grievances . . . but there was nary a middle-class-looking person to be seen. This is not a judgment, and the vanguard of a movement are never the mainstream. But it is going to be extremely difficult for Occupy Wall Street to be effective unless this changes.
And what is Mr. Kamiya’s prescription for dealing with this problem?
It’s all about advertising. And this is where the Situationists come in.
He then goes into a lengthy and rather confused argument to the effect that while the situationists were totally weird and insane in just about every other respect, they did have a certain knack for catchy slogans and publicity.
But if the Situationists’ ideology offers no guidance to the Occupy Wall Street movement, they still have something to offer it. Their ideas are good: The problem was that they elevated them into crackpot dogmas. . . . One does the Situationists no favors by taking their ravings literally. Strip away the crazy-Marxist, quasi-religious claim that under capitalism “spectacle” has completely replaced reality . . . and what is left is a smaller, but legitimate, insight about the insidious power of media to shape consciousness in the modern age. . . . Their demented worldview, in which we’re all trapped forever inside a gigantic Reality Commercial, led them to devise escape routes that utilized some of modern advertising’s favorite techniques — irony, collage and pastiche. Moreover, their interventions exuded a silly lightheartedness that, if used right, can move product.
In other words, the Occupy movement may want to incorporate a few of the more superficial and catchy aspects of the situationists in order to “move product.” But it should beware of paying any attention to anything else about them.

Readers who rely on Mr. Kamiya for their information will in fact learn almost nothing else about them. In his article there is no mention of the other major situationist book, Raoul Vaneigem’s The Revolution of Everyday Life, which can be seen as a more subjective and lyrical complement to Debord’s book. . . . No mention of Debord’s films, among the most innovative in the history of the cinema. . . . No mention of the numerous articles in which the situationists examine all sorts of different topics, from architecture and urbanism, to art and cinema, to poetry and revolution. . . . No mention of their lucid analyses of the Watts riot, the Vietnam and Arab-Israel wars, the Prague Spring, the Chinese Cultural Revolution and other crises and upheavals of the sixties. . . . No mention of their affinities and differences with dadaism and surrealism. . . . No mention of their innovative organizational forms and agitational tactics. . . . No mention of the lessons they drew from the revolutions and radical movements of the past, including their critical analyses of anarchism and Marxism and their rejection of Stalinist “Communism” in all its forms. No mention of their advocacy of workers councils as a crucial means of struggle or of their vision of total self-management as the ultimate goal. . . . Instead of examining any of these things, Mr. Kamiya offers his readers a hodgepodge of snide, would-be clever quips: “Basically, Situationism is cultural Marxism on acid.” “It’s a weird explosion of lucid paranoia.” “It would seem the last place progressives should look for ways to build an effective movement would be a tiny, extinct priesthood of jargon-spouting frogs.”

Just as I was finishing this examination of Mr. Kamiya’s article, I discovered another somewhat similar article that is equally snide and equally silly, Ben Davis’s What Occupy Wall Street Can Learn from the Situationists (A Cautionary Tale) (, October 17). Mr. Davis’s article might seem at first glance to present more information on the situationists than Mr. Kamiya’s, but in a way this is even worse since his information is almost all wrong or at best severely distorted. There is also a similar glib hostility:

Situationism does have some lessons for the present. But they are mainly negative ones, because, as a political project, Situationism was a dud. . . . What Situationism’s history shows are the limits of certain strategies — a commitment to a purely propagandistic politics, avowed leaderlessness — that still have currency because movements like Situationism are blindly glamorized by professors and cultural types. Offering the Situationist playbook as an alternative guide for political engagement today would be like offering alcohol as an alternative for mother’s milk.

I could just as easily have demolished Mr. Davis’s article, but luckily for him I only discovered it after I had already spent all the time I wish to devote to this topic focusing on Mr. Kamiya.

I have examined Mr. Kamiya’s article here not because what he says about the situationists has any particular significance, but simply because it happens to be among the first examples of the sort of thing we can expect to see in the coming months as media commentators attempt to get their tiny minds around this strange phenomenon in order to reassure their readers and viewers: “Don’t worry, we’ve got this covered, we’ve already read this stuff so you don’t have to and we can assure you that these situationists are of no significance, they’re just some sort of zany cultural pranksters, or ivory-tower theorists, or grim radical dogmatists, or stuffy academic propagandists, or loony utopian dreamers, or irresponsible vandals, or something . . . . Anyway, whatever they are, there’s nothing to see here. Move on.”

Just as a police reaction to an occupation may convey more about what is at stake than any number of speeches and declarations, the fury with which people like Mr. Kamiya and Mr. Davis react is an indication of how the situationists have touched some sensitive points. If they really were nothing but “a tiny, extinct priesthood of jargon-spouting frogs,” it is hard to understand how they could still be provoking heated debates half a century later.

They have in fact been engendering these kinds of panic-stricken reactions from the very beginning. For a selection of some of the more amusing and often mutually contradictory ones, see The Blind Man and the Elephant. If you had to, I suppose you might be able to deduce a fair amount about the situationists just by figuring out what strange type of entity could have provoked such diverse reactions. But it is really much simpler and more sensible to read their original texts. Despite the situationists’ reputation for difficulty, they are not really all that hard to understand once you begin to experiment for yourself. Which is why people who are now taking part in the occupations will understand them far better than those remaining on the sidelines.

November 7, 2011

P.S. I’m happy to report that Mr. Kamiya is not such a twit as I had initially assumed. Subsequent developments in Oakland and elsewhere seem to have jarred him out of his glib condescension, at least with respect to the Occupy movement. When I was nearly done with the above piece I discovered a more recent article by him (, October 29) in which he castigates the San Francisco city government for its pretext of “cleaning up” Occupy San Francisco due to its alleged sanitary code violations, etc., and then concludes:

The crazies and dropouts and street people who are part of the movement deserve to be there, deserve to be seen. For they bear inarticulate witness to the inequities the movement is protesting. . . . They, too, are part of the America that the movement is trying to make better. They, too, are our brothers. . . . There is an inevitable tension in this nascent movement between the homeless and the middle-class, between the hardcore types who welcome confrontation and the moderate types who don’t. But the tents at the foot of Market Street are literally big enough for all of them. And San Francisco, of all cities, should welcome those tents. They may be ugly, but there is something beautiful about them. Saint Francis, for whom this city is named and who began his saintly career when he gave his clothes to a poor man, would have understood that.

Well put, Mr. Kamiya! You see, it is possible for you to say fine, meaningful, informative things without throwing in a lot of snide insults. Why don’t you try doing the same with the situationists? I know that will be more difficult; it will require some serious study as well as some serious self-examination. But since you seem to be a decent enough guy and reasonably intelligent, I think you can do it if you really put your heart and mind to it.

~ ~ ~

Other articles on the Occupy movement:
The Awakening in America
Yesterday in Oakland
Welcome to the Oakland General Strike


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