Monthly Archives: September 2008

YOU did not




This is from After watching about 8 hours of CNN yesterday and the debate preceeding the vote in the House on C-SPAN I can tell you that I was mostly right. Its all about power politics. Not only do we have a “failure of leadership” in the Whitehouse but the same in the Democratic and Republican leadership in the House of Representatives.

Now granted this bill is hugely unpopular on the ground, but this was nowhere near a victory for the antibailout protest movement. If anything it was an awkward coalition between neoliberals and populist progressives dodging left and right at the same time. It will be interesting to see how they put the pieces back together in the next week.

It was amazing how the whole collapse seemed to take everyone by surprise, leading to frustrated articles and opinion pieces all over the place. BUT we at the same time did not see barely any of the rationals for defeating the bill on the air or in mainstream print. Don’t know if this means that House Republican Leadership kept a tight lid on vocalized dissent or what. Dissent on the Democrats’ side has been deemed irrelevant as they delivered their fair share of the votes. Or the entire news media is “in the tank” for Wall Street.

I predict that the Republican Leadership gets the Dems to make further concessions to appeal to their folks who dodged to the right. Their talking points seem to be pointing towards a plan that eliminates the capital gains tax and the mark-to-market rules which is already in the bill. Maybe they were just stalling so that they would have more time to read the thing.

Brief Analysis of the Bailout Plan So Far


Sooo.. here we are after a week of waiting, on the edges of our seats, to see what Congress was going to do with the incredible three page Paulson Plan. I was grinding my teeth as I didn’t see what was going to be done to counter the 700 billion dollar giveaway or Paulson’s Power Grab.

Later in the week rancor from both parties, but more powerfully by the Republicans, derailed the attempts to railroad it through Congress. This was affected by ideological scorn for interfering in the free market on the part of congressfolks and people being just plain pissed off and calling congress people.

So now what do we see? Somehow a three page proposal giving utlimate authority to one person has been transformed into a 110 page document giving power to what maybe 12 people, tops? Moreover, it has been negotiated in secrecy with aides being forced to put their Blackberries in a trashcan when too much information we getting leaked out. It still includes the 700 billion (only this time in three easy installments). It includes a “cap” on CEO pay, which I’ve already heard on CNN is non-effective for gloden parachutes already in contracts. There is nothing for homeowners or other everyday type folk.

EXCEPT!!! Except this one really super cool thing about how this injection of capital into the market is going to make it easier for people to get credit to grow their businesses, to ship their goods, to buy homes. Now, taking this at face value aren’t we going back to phase one one: easy credit, people not having enough money in their pockets to actually stimulate the economy like a gloved finger massaging a prostate?

Sooo, the economy is going to saved (at least for the next week, maybe til November) in two simple steps:

1. Ensure confidence in the viability of the financial markets by injecting large amounts of cash about 12 steps short of unilaterally.

2. Buy shitty mortgages (for cheap?), allow them to implode in the governments hands.

Sooo.. not only are people being told they have access to cheap credit again, but the government doesn’t have any concrete plan to help people pay their mortgages and stay in their homes, planning to let them implode (but cheaply).

What else have we learned from this week? The whole stunt was a series of power plays by various members of Congress, most effectively to wrest control of the economy out of the hands of Paulson. We have also learned that possibly the largest single transfer of wealth in US history is going to occur on Wednesday when the Senate is supposed to pass the bill. There were also protests, organized hastily around the country to demand, I say, DEMAND no bailout. We have seen the true organizing capacity of the US Left. They lost.

In sum, this past week was more about internal power plays than it was about “saving the economic system”.

UPDATE:12:19 AM 9/29/08 The NYTimes has just published this on the website, more insight into the failry weak strings attatched to the new bill. Also, the picture of Pelosi, Paulson and Reid looks earily similar to the picture in the banner.

Tent Cities Rise

In hard times, tent cities rise across the country

By EVELYN NIEVES Associated Press Writer

RENO, Nev.—A few tents cropped up hard by the railroad tracks, pitched by men left with nowhere to go once the emergency winter shelter closed for the summer.

Then others appeared—people who had lost their jobs to the ailing economy, or newcomers who had moved to Reno for work and discovered no one was hiring.

Within weeks, more than 150 people were living in tents big and small, barely a foot apart in a patch of dirt slated to be a parking lot for a campus of shelters Reno is building for its homeless population. Like many other cities, Reno has found itself with a “tent city”—an encampment of people who had nowhere else to go.

From Seattle to Athens, Ga., homeless advocacy groups and city agencies are reporting the most visible rise in homeless encampments in a generation.

Continue reading

Movement Appears, Disappears

So I’m looking for resources on the early anti-Iraq War movement, spefically why it flared up so quick on the eve and the day the war started, and why it went out so quickly. If anybody has access to good articles or other resources i would be glad to be made aware of them.

Internal Immigration Checkpoints

from, semi-libertarian but useful

Agitators and Clowns

“This apparent marginality is a trick of perspective, because as every geographer knows, edges are also interfaces.”

Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Golden Gulag

“Invisibility, let me explain, gives one a slightly different sense of time, you’re never quite on the beat. Sometimes you’re ahead and sometimes your behind. Instead of the swift and imperceptible flowing of time, you’re aware of its nodes, those points where time stands still or from which it leaps ahead. And you slip into the breaks and look around.”

“A hibernation is a covert preparation for a more overt action”

Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

Hanging out on the Northwestern College Campus recently I have had time to hibernate and think. Not only processing the summers events but also contemplating possibilities for the present.

I have been encountering the expected groups of college liberals. I have spoken about my experiences in the police state of St Paul as well as the conditions of life in poverty in Minnesota and around the country. In speaking about these things, sometimes I have chosen to identify myself overtly as an anarchist, other times choosing to keep specific political ideology out of the picture.

In these times of growing tension about the war, the economy, the presidential election, the environment and the general and pervasive feelings of hopelessness that Mr Obama in particular has found great success running on, it is crucial that radicals form strategies for political education in everyday life.

It is crucial that these strategies for education help bring feelings of agency to the front in a world where horrible things are happening seemingly invisibly, whether across the world, in the neighborhood you never enter, or in the lives of people around you who are to embarrassed to speak of them. It is crucial that the disillusionment have plenty of rage and plenty of love.

Many of the young liberals and progressives I mentioned above are unaware or dismissive of marginal politicized groups. In the community where I come from, liberal is a bad word, connotating a conditioned ignorance of how truly huge the problems of the world are and a corresponding limited array of political options for change.

Accordingly many young radicals easiliy dismiss the liberals, choosing to mock them, rather than engage in dialogue which would expand the consciousness of our peers. At Evergreen most political education outside of the classroom occurred in somewhat closed spaces, the same familiar faces at every event. There was no perceptible, successful strategy for engaging the minds of the other 90 percent of the student body and pushing them to action or even outrage.

I believe that a strategy must be put forth to do away with the alienation of our peers. I do not mean that people should not be put in positions where they are made uncomfortable, precisely the opposite! We in the margins, in the in-between-places must use our gifts to push and prod and provoke the minds of those around us, in our immediate vicinity and across the country. The time is truly ripe for mass public education projects, which happen in our interactions with networks of friends and acquaintances and programmatically. We must pull them into our projects and conversations.

The clown and the agitator inhabit similar spaces, neither specifically overt or covert. They make people uncomfortable by making (a) theater out of our everyday lives where people are pushed, prodded, provoked, and tickled into uncomfortable spaces. The clown seeks to be the node, making time stand still playing with and absorbing the apprehension of the audience. The agitator seeks to be the node, from which time and action leap ahead.

It is with this in mind that we must take advantage of our marginality and invisibility.