Category Archives: Occupy

GEORGE CAFFENTZIS PUBLIC LECTURE Thursday 31 Jan 2013 (note new time and date)

The making of a debt resistors’ movement: From Occupy Wall Street to Strike Debt //

The financial crisis in the US officially began in September 2008, but the
first mass street response arose in September 2011 with the Occupy Wall
Street movement. Since then Strike Debt, a debt resistors’ organization,
emerged out of Occupy. George Caffentzis will discuss debt resistance as a
working class project and the prospects of Strike Debt in the context of
previous debt resistance movements.

// TIME AND DATE CHANGE // 


Apologies for any inconvenience (please forward and share to help spread the word) – due to circumstances beyond our control and very much in the control of multi-national airlines, please be advised of
 
- NEW TIME AND DATE FOR GEORGE CAFFENTZIS PUBLIC LECTURE – 
 
THURSDAY 31st JAN
TIME: 6:30pm
VENUE: NEW ACADEMIC BUILDING, LG01
GOLDSMITHS COLLEGE

*This event is organised in collaboration with the Centre for Cultural
Studies <http://www.gold.ac.uk/cultural-studies/>, PM
Press<http://www.pmpress.org>and Common
Notions <http://commonnotions.org/>. *

*George Caffentzis* is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of
Southern Maine. He was a founding member of the Midnight Notes
Collective<http://www.midnightnotes.org/> and
coordinator of the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa. He is the
author and editor of many books and articles, his latest is *In Letters of
Blood and Fire**: Work, Machines and the Crisis of Capitalism* (PM Press:
Feb 2013)

*Special Offer at the Public Lecture*: pre-order your copy of *In Letters
of Blood and Fire: Work, Machines, and
Value<https://secure.pmpress.org/index.php?l=product_detail&p=424>(Feb
2013, PM Press)
*by* *George Caffentzis and receive 20 % off and free postage.

*In Letters of Blood and Fire:*
Karl Marx remarked that the only way to write about the origins of
capitalism is in the letters of blood and fire used to drive workers from
the common lands, forests, and waters in the sixteenth century. In this
collection of essays, George Caffentzis argues that the same is true for
the annals of twenty-first-century capitalism. Information technology,
immaterial production, financialization, and globalization have been
trumpeted as inaugurating a new phase of capitalism that puts it beyond its
violent origins. Instead of being a period of major social and economic
novelty, however, the course of recent decades has been a return to the
fire and blood of struggles at the advent of capitalism.

For media, review copies or event enquires please contact Camille
Barbagallo camille [at] pmpress.org


Camille Barbagallo

PM Press
BM Box 5239
London WC1N 3XX
+44 (0)7981070417 | +44 (0) 203 222 5130
www.pmpress.org


PO Box 23912
Oakland CA 94623
+ 1 510 – 658 – 3906
info[at]pmpress.org

SURVEILLANCE CHESS Hijacking CCTV Cameras in London #goforgold #London2012

I have always said Chess would be my Olympic Sport. Here is how I want to play. #goforgold #London2012

SURVEILLANCE CHESS
Hijacking CCTV Cameras in London
___________________________________________________________

Equipped with an interfering transmitter !Mediengruppe
Bitnik hacks surveillance cameras in pre-Olympic London and
assumes control. The artist collective replaces real-time
surveillance images with an invitation to play a game of
chess. The security staff’s surveillance monitor located in
the control room becomes a game console.

HTTP://CHESS.BITNIK.ORG
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

London. On the brink of the Olympic Games. A tube station
in one of the most surveilled public spaces in the world.
!Mediengruppe Bitnik intercepts the signal of a surveillance
camera: Business people making their way to the Underground,
a man in a suit looking for the right exit. From the left,
a woman with a yellow suitcase walks into the frame of the
surveillance camera. She opens her suitcase and activates a
switch. This is the moment when Bitnik takes over. The CCTV
operator experiences total loss of control. The surveillance
image drops out, a chess board appears on the surveillance
monitor and a voice from the loudspeakers says: «I am
controlling your CCTV camera now. I am the one with the
yellow suitcase.» The image jumps back to the woman with
the yellow suitcase. Then the image switches to the chess
board.«How about a game of chess?», the voice asks. «You
are white. I am black. Call me or text me to make your move.
This is my number: 07582460851.»
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

SURVEILLANCE CHESS – THE VIDEO
http://chess.bitnik.org

ABOUT
http://chess.bitnik.org/about.html

EXHIBITION
Zürich, Helmhaus – from 28 July to 9 September 2012

WITH LOVE FROM ZURICH.
!Mediengruppe Bitnik

Newspeak – Ken Fero

Watch Newspeak: http://vimeo.com/34527445

Newspeak (25minutes/2011/Ken Fero/Migrant Media)

Truth is the first casualty of war and ‘Newspeak’ explores just how media is currently controlled in the UK through power structures like Ofcom. Using poetry and experimental visual techniques the film is a personal journey with filmmaker Ken Fero reflecting on how the radical content of certain images – deaths in police custody, Occupy London the invasion of Iraq, workers uprisings – remain hidden from UK audiences.

The film uses strong political statements to expose the forces seeking to censor the media. The challenging style of ‘Newspeak’ offers a visual essay that unites the mothers of those killed by the British police with the Palestinian children who were victims of Operation Cast Lead, exposes the bloodlust for oil that lead to British interference in Iran and shows how, in all these areas, there is always resistance, always survivors always a memory.

A Migrant media Production for News Anew.

Watch Newspeak: http://vimeo.com/34527445

We are 99% amazed

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/10/david-graeber-on-playing-by-the-rules-%E2%80%93-the-strange-success-of-occupy-wall-street.html

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2011

David Graeber: On Playing By The Rules – The Strange Success Of #OccupyWallStreet

By David Graeber, who is currently a Reader in Social Anthropology at Goldsmiths University London. Prior to that he was an associate professor of anthropology at Yale University. He is the author of ‘Debt: The First 5,000 Years’ which is available from Amazon.

Just a few months ago, I wrote a piece for Adbusters that started with a conversation I’d had with an Egyptian activist friend named Dina:

All these years,” she said, “we’ve been organizing marches, rallies… And if only 45 people show up, you’re depressed, if you get 300, you’re happy. Then one day, 200,000 people show up. And you’re incredulous: on some level, even though you didn’t realize it, you’d given up thinking that you could actually win.

As the Occupy Wall Street movement spreads across America, and even the world, I am suddenly beginning to understand a little of how she felt.

On August 2, I showed up at a 7 PM meeting at Bowling Green, that a Greek anarchist friend, who I’d met at a recent activist get together at 16 Beaver Street, had told me was meant to plan some kind of action on Wall Street in mid-September. At the time I was only vaguely aware of the background: that a month before, the Canadian magazine Adbusters had put out the call to “Occupy Wall Street”, but had really just floated the idea on the internet, along with some very compelling graphics, to see if it would take hold; that a local anti-budget cut coalition top-heavy with NGOs, unions, and socialist groups had tried to take possession of the process and called for a “General Assembly” at Bowling Green. The title proved extremely misleading. When I arrived, I found the event had been effectively taken over by a veteran protest group called the Worker’s World Party, most famous for having patched together ANSWER one of the two great anti-war coalitions, back in 2003. They had already set up their banners, megaphones, and were making speeches—after which, someone explained, they were planning on leading the 80-odd assembled people in a march past the Stock Exchange itself.

The usual reaction to this sort of thing is a kind of cynical, bitter resignation. “I wish they at least wouldn’t advertise a ‘General Assembly’ if they’re not actually going to hold one.” Actually, I think I actually said that, or something slightly less polite, to one of the organizers, a disturbingly large man, who immediately remarked, “well, fine. Why don’t you leave?”

But as I paced about the Green, I noticed something. To adopt activist parlance: this wasn’t really a crowds of verticals—that is, the sort of people whose idea of political action is to march around with signs under the control of one or another top-down protest movement. They were mostly pretty obviously horizontals: people more sympathetic with anarchist principles of organization, non-hierarchical forms of direct democracy, and direct action. I quickly spotted at least one Wobbly, a young Korean activist I remembered from some Food Not Bomb event, some college students wearing Zapatista paraphernalia, a Spanish couple who’d been involved with the indignados in Madrid… I found my Greek friends, an American I knew from street battles in Quebec during the Summit of the Americas in 2001, now turned labor organizer in Manhattan, a Japanese activist intellectual I’d known for years… My Greek friend looked at me and I looked at her and we both instantly realized the other was thinking the same thing: “Why are we so complacent? Why is it that every time we see something like this happening, we just mutter things and go home?” – though I think the way we put it was more like, “You know something? Fuck this shit. They advertised a general assembly. Let’s hold one.”

So we gathered up a few obvious horizontals and formed a circle, and tried to get everyone else to join us. Almost immediately people appeared from the main rally to disrupt it, calling us back with promises that a real democratic forum would soon break out on the podium. We complied. It didn’t happen. My Greek friend made an impassioned speech and was effectively shooed off the stage. There were insults and vituperations. After about an hour of drama, we formed the circle again, and this time, almost everyone abandoned the rally and come over to our side. We created a decision-making process (we would operate by modified consensus) broke out into working groups (outreach, action, facilitation) and then reassembled to allow each group to report its collective decisions, and set up times for new meetings of both the smaller and larger groups. It was difficult to figure out what to do since we only had six weeks, not nearly enough time to plan a major action, let alone bus in the thousands of people that would be required to actually shut down Wall Street—and anyway we couldn’t shut down Wall Street on the appointed day, since September 17, the day Adbusters had been advertising, was a Saturday. We also had no money of any kind.

Two days later, at the Outreach meeting we were brainstorming what to put on our first flyer. Adbusters’ idea had been that we focus on “one key demand.” This was a brilliant idea from a marketing perspective, but from an organizing perspective, it made no sense at all. We put that one aside almost immediately. There were much more fundamental questions to be hashed out. Like: who were we? Who did want to appeal to? Who did we represent? Someone—this time I remember quite clearly it was me, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a half dozen others had equally strong memories of being the first to come up with it—suggested, “well, why not call ourselves ‘the 99%’? If 1% of the population have ended up with all the benefits of the last 10 years of economic growth, control the wealth, own the politicians… why not just say we’re everybody else?” The Spanish couple quickly began to lay out a “We Are the 99%” pamphlet, and we started brainstorming ways to print and distribute it for free.

Follow this link to read the full article and the huge – sometimes car-crash – comments discussion is absolutely worth a look too.

#occupy Dataran: Mask up for Malaysian New Year

 

This just popped up on you tube and I’d like a ticket. If you have a mask, and you are in KL, this is the new year party to ring in something special. (Londoners, see you at Holloway)

I do, like many of you, enjoy lepakking at home and watching TV.

I appreciate the comforts of every day routine, the security of familiar things, the tranquillity of repetition.
But in the spirit of celebrating the New Year, with much partying and revelry, I thought we could mark this December 31 with something special.
There are, of course, those who don’t want us to speak. I suspect even now orders are being shouted into telephones and men with guns will soon be on their way.
Why?
Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power.
Words… offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen…the enunciation of truth.
And the truth is…there is… something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there?
Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression.
And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission.
How did this happen? Who’s to blame?
Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable.
But again truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror.
I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be?
MAY 13, RACE RIOTS, FEAR OF COMMUNISTS, OPERASI LALANG.
There are a myriad of problems which conspire to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense.
Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to Barisan Nasional.
BN promised you order, BN promised you peace and all they demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent.
Today, I seek to end that silence.
2011 will go down in history as the Year of Peaceful, Non-Violent Revolutions. It began in Tunisia, culminating in Tahrir Square, Egypt.
Tahrir Square is now the symbol of human freedom and liberation in the 21st century.
We also saw the uprising of the Indignados, which occupied Puerta del Sol in Madrid, Spain, giving inspiration to the Occupy Wall Street movement.
This democratic wave, driven by ordinary peoples on the street – as opposed to leadership by elites the world over – is a major turning point in our time.
As the year draws to a close, dark clouds still hang over the Malaysian sky, no different from the previous years.
Repression of human rights continue unabated. Malaysians suffer these abuses in different forms and at different levels. It is often hard for the ordinary Malaysian to articulate and give voice to their suffering and plight.
We want every person to find his or her own voice, formulating his or her own demands.
Some of these demands may spring from a litany of injustices:
the repression of street protests (for example Bersih 2.0),
the passing of the Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011,
the Lynas debacle,
the continuous land-grab of Orang Asli & indigenous land in Sabah & Sarawak,
corruption in government,
exploitation and repression of local and migrant workers’ welfare & rights,
deaths in the custody of the MACC and THE POLICE,
the suppression of academic and student freedoms by the UUCA.
And the list goes on!
So if you’ve seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain insignificant to you, then I would suggest that you allow the 31st of December to past unmarked.
But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me and wear you V Mask on New Years Eve at the stroke of midnight, at Dataran Merdeka, and give them a New Year that shall never, ever be forgotten.

#goldsmirk

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003200589474

Goldsmiths Occupiers say: ‘We are an open heterogeneous group including Goldsmiths staff, students and many others who believe the university is a public resource that should be open to all. We stand with all those affected by the privatisation agenda and against those who profit from its misery. Goldsmiths is now occupied in solidarity with the UK-wide strike on November 30th and the global occupy movement. We are here because we reject the privatisation of the university, symptomatic of the neo-liberal agenda that permeates all aspects of life. For this reason we have strategically occupied the building housing Goldsmiths’ finance offices, responsible for executing the cuts and the privatisation agenda.. All groups on and off-campus are encouraged to use this space to host meetings, events, and planning sessions for actions on November 30th. Where the current government agenda not only encourages, but enforces the transfer of public resources to private hands we join people worldwide in taking them back!’

More #Goldsmirk HERE and below:

 

Jodi Dean on What Now #ows

November 22, 2011

What now? #occupywallstreet

Suggestions are appearing for the next phase of #OWS. On the one hand, this isn’t new. Suggestions and advice have accompanied the movement from its inception. On the other, with the eviction of protesters from Zuccotti Park, fierce police repression all over the country, and the holiday weekend coming up, it feels like things are changing, like the momentum of the past two months is shifting.

Even as I write this, though, I am skeptical of this description–I’m not sure whether it’s too NYC-centric, insufficiently attuned to the multiplicity of movement, the differences from occupation to occupation, the valences of local issues. These valences are significant–different cities have different codes (no camping after dark; no sleeping on sidewalks; no open flames), which means that occupiers have different relations with police, local governments, campuses. These different relations to law also occasion different relations to violence, that is, the effectiveness of  non-violence as a tactic and the amount of violence part of the daily experience of the occupiers.

What now? The occupation form, the common fact and symbol of the tent, the slogan (we are the 99%), the consensus based practice with the twinkle fingers, and the insistence on no leaders have created a vocabulary, maybe even a discourse, where there wasn’t one before. They have carved out or produced a space, rupturing everyday practices, the previous sense of what was possible.

Will this discourse, vocabulary, and sense persist in the absence of physical occupations? Will the multiplicity of occupations–the fact that occupations, big and small, pop in and out, appear and reappear, are shut down and reestablished–amplify and link them in their singularity, making them be and appear as the something larger than themselves that they instantiate? Can they continue to feel like the movement of the 99%?

Maybe these are the wrong questions. Maybe what matters are the multiplicity of different practices, the real existing experiences of occupiers, protesters, supporters. Maybe what’s at stake is the creation of new practices, people forging new ways of communicating, getting things done, being together. It’s about remaking the world one marathon discussion at a time, changing the world through changing ourselves as we changing the world.

I think there is probably some truth to this. We can’t keep doing the same things and thinking that we will get different results (so, all the internet petitions and lol-pepper spray cops in the world won’t bring down Goldman Sachs). But the practices associated with occupation–the long deliberations and living in tents–don’t scale enough to be the change. So for those involved, the movement is a change and a possibility and for the everybody else it’s content, stuff on FB and YouTube, the opportunity for a petition. It maybe sorta new (but haven’t there always been these protests, like the anti-globalization movement and the anti-war movement? –someone said this to me the other night). But even if it is, what can it really accomplish? Protests don’t work (someone said this to me last week).

The issue around scale and the connection between the practice of occupation and the politics of occupation have been around since the beginning. For the last two months it’s been the case that there are occupations and that there are the politicizations they effect: primarily the politicization of inequality, the making visible and undeniable the wrong that is the 1%. This politicization has been a first major political achievement of the first phase.

Now, because the movement, no one can deny that the capitalist system is broken, that the last thirty years have been a project for the restoration of the class power of the capitalist class  (especially but not exclusively via finacialization), and that the state has been a crucial weapon of class war (tax policy, police and prison, etc). In the last 10 days, the occupations have been especially effective at eliciting the brutal, repressive, para-military side of the side–a side that people on the lower part of the food chain already encounter more than the rest of us (so it’s news when cops hit college students; it’s reality television when they hit poor people.

It’s possible that eliciting the violence of state and campus police will be continue to be a crucial element of this next phase. I don’t think it’s likely for two reasons: first, Christmas break is coming up and campuses go into  a lull during the break; second, not every college administrator is an idiot, so the smart ones will tolerate occupations and teach-ins and all the rest, confident that the activists will remain a campus minority and that eventually something else will attract their attention.  A better alternative: building alliances and creating occupations that span from students to others, including staff and workers on campuses, and those off-campus, those for whom college hasn’t been an option. These occupations could be on campuses–and they raise opportunities for conflict because of the presence on campus of “those who don’t belong there.” And they could be off-campus–in bank and hotel lobbies, in the offices of mortgage brokers, in empty buildings.

At this point, if the next phase of the movement relies on college campuses, I think it will be to the detriment of the movement. Its concerns and audience will narrow. It will become disarticulated from inequality and a politics of the 99%. It will become a student movement, which is still something, but it is not a movement that by itself can keep the politics of inequality alive–most of the people going to college already have better odds of an economically better future than those they left behind in high school. The odds for college grads are getting worse, sure, and their debts doom them to wage-slavery, but that’s not sufficient for a movement that will produce a positive, egalitarian alternative to capitalism–and I don’t say bring down capitalism because that is already in the works; it’s already clear that it’s broken–no one denies this. The argument is over what to do next.

Other alternatives that are emerging include legislation and fragmentation. These are connected. Legislative battles (whether in the form of constitutional amendments or tax policies) are technical and specific. They require people with legal knowledge and full-time lobbyists.  These requirements in turn require focus, on a specific issue or proposal to the exclusion (even if just momentarily) of other issues. Given the multiple issues, proposals, and even demands circulating within #OWS, this fragmentation seems very likely, a devolution into affinity groups and issue politics. Especially in a milieu that privileges autonomy, this “do you own thing” or “if you think it’s a good idea, go for it” could well be the next phase of the movement.

This will also be a bad development–it will sacrifice the collectivity that the movement has been creating, the very collectivity and common pursuit that are the second major achievement of the movement in its first phase.

Collectivity rather than fragmentation has been the difference between #OWS and the last thirty years of left politics. It’s what feels fresh, vital, essential. It’s what we’ve been missing and what we’ve gotten back–a common front, a shared struggle (even when we disagree). Maybe more than anything else, we have to use this new phase to strengthen collectivity, to cohere and grow in discipline. The video from UC Davis is powerful not just because of the blatant violence–we’ve seen lots of violence. It’s powerful because of the extraordinary solidarity and discipline demonstrated by the students–those linking arms and sitting together and those who encircle the police. How do we foster and extend that sort of solidarity?

Maybe by occupations–whether tents or buildings, whether ones that endure or ones that are short–that share skills, instill trust, take risks. Already the occupations have common kitchens, medical tents, libraries, mediations, yoga, lectures, civil disobedience training, and legal services. What more can they provide so as to bring more people into the movement and create new loci of political and economic power? How can they take the place of local governments, boards, and institutions?

And how can these new loci build the solidarity that will inspire security guards, data processors, programmers, bank tellers, insurance claims adjusters, and office personnel to undertake risky acts of sabotage and refusal–imagine how inspiring would be the refusal of hundred office workers charged with collecting on debts or processing foreclosures, and how that could lead to a variety of copycat actions in a Fight Club that breaks its own first rule: everybody talks about Fight Club, or about taking not just parks but all the industries, companies, and enterprises that are already ours, we already occupy them. Taking them, making them ours, is just paperwork–the refusal to acknowledge any claim to private property.

All of these ideas are already circulating. Which ones are we and should we link, amplify, and extend?

Echo-casting

Mike check
   <mike check>
.
We are not going to stand still for this
  <We are not going to stand still for this>
.
Capitalism is moribund, its crisis is permanent,
<Capitalism is moribund, its crisis is permanent,>
         <<Capitalism is moribund, its crisis is permanent,>>
.
We must kick it while it is down, Kick it hard.
   <We must kick it while it is down, Kick it hard.>
      <<We must kick it while it is down, Kick it hard.>>
.
Starting with that Bank over there…
   <Starting with that Bank over there…>
      <<Starting with that Bank over there…>>
.
Starting now…
.
[A sly repost from 7 Nov]

Letter on the UC Davis mobilization

More on the UC Davis Pepper Spray Surprise posted here yesterday.

This letter by ‘anonymous’ was sent from a discussion list [sent, not written, by GCS] and says it all:

It has now been covered in the NY Times, USA Today, Time Magazine, CBS, CNN, and across the entire mediasphere.  The various UC Davis police assault videos have been watched hundreds of thousands of times.  Various searches related to UC Davis and pepper spraying were the *top searches on Google* in the US today — think of what that means.  By mid-afternoon, UC Davis had already backed down and the Chancellor had released a damage-controlling and mealy-mouthed promise to investigate.  But it was too late.
By monday, millions will know about Lt. Pike and his chemical assault squad, and the $400K per year (plus free housing, travel, and vehicle) Chancellor who gave the order to cut the protesters down to the point that some were hospitalized, and including forcing open students’ mouths and spraying directly into them.  I kid you not.

And something remarkable happened at Davis tonight.  I’ve been watching the live streams and following the blogs since late this afternoon.  It was a very important moment.

Chancellor Katehi was preparing to give a news conference to take another crack at spinning this story and controlling the growing, viral character it has acquired.
UC Davis students showed up in large numbers to this conference,  and were kept out of the small building (Surge 2, for those who know the campus) for lack of press passes (ha ha).  They surrounded the building and their numbers grew over several hours to over 1000 student protesters.  Reports came that Chancellor Katehi was afraid to leave and go through the student protesters, or even that she was being kept from leaving, as if it were a hostage situation.  Cops were *not* summoned, however — or at least they were kept back.  UC Davis appears to have learned at least a tactical  lesson already.
Through patient OWS style organizing, worked out over dozens of mic checks, they arranged to clear a wide path, determined that they would be silent and respectful when she came out, and sent word that they were not keeping her hostage in the building, just there to call for her resignation.  Hours went by as the situation got more and more tense, but the students showed remarkable discipline and organization as their numbers kept growing.   Finally, they negotiated with Chancellor Katehi’s people and she left the building to walk to her taxpayer-paid $70,000 Lexus SUV [buick] with one aide.  The students maintained *absolute, total order and silence* — really, not a word —  and stood aside,  except for the couple of journalists asking her questions on the livestream feed.  It was eerie and powerful and  Chancellor Pepper Spray was clearly feeling the shame of a thousands of eyes on her around the nation (the livestreams were overloaded as they were joined by students across California and then the nation).
Here is the moment of triumph, posted moments ago and already with several hundred views:

http://youtu.be/8775ZmNGFY8

Only once she began to pull away did the crowd erupt into a roar: WHOSE UNIVERSITY? OUR UNIVERSITY! dozens of times as they marched off to consume the pizza ordered for them by people around the nation.
It was so powerful — and remember this all happened on a day when virtually no news (except Demi and Ashton’s divorce or the 30 year old Natalie Wood death investigation) gets reported on mainstream outlets.  This *all* happened online, and drew a huge national audience in the process, enough so to force a major university into damage control freakout.

update:

Last night’s video now has nearly 25,000 views.  A better one has now
been released of Katehi’s “Walk of Shame.”  Turns out that was not
just any “aide” — it was the UC Davis police chief (Spicuzzi) walking
with her [disputed, Spicuzzi was at the press conference].  This new video shows the final mic check to get everyone to
be silent and stand back before Katehi leave the
building.  If you are sending this story around, this video is better
in that it shows how deliberate and well orchestrated the silence was:

.

.

Occupy Wall Street!  #ows #ucdavis

.

Goldsmiths Meet on 23.11.11 to Build for 30 Nov General Strike.http://t.co/cAuSdWUG

.

UC Davis Pepper Spray Surprise.

If you are gonna pull out your weapon, you gotta use it. For me, this means that there should not have been anyone arrested – those dragged off should have been retrieved. They let them off lightly – my meaning will become clear if you watch this all the way through, not just the first few outrageous frames.

If it will not show as an embedded frame, try: http://youtu.be/WmJmmnMkuEM

Arundhati Roy @ #ows

They (the 1%) say that we don’t have demands … they don’t know, perhaps, that our anger alone would be enough to destroy them. But here are some things – a few “pre-revolutionary” thoughts I had – for us to think about together:

We want to put a lid on this system that manufactures inequality. We want to put a cap on the unfettered accumulation of wealth and property by individuals as well as corporations. As “cap-ists” and “lid-ites”, we demand:

• An end to cross-ownership in businesses. For example, weapons manufacturers cannot own TV stations; mining corporations cannot run newspapers; business houses cannot fund universities; drug companies cannot control public health funds.

• Natural resources and essential infrastructure – water supply, electricity, health, and education – cannot be privatised.

• Everybody must have the right to shelter, education and healthcare.

• The children of the rich cannot inherit their parents’ wealth.

This struggle has re-awakened our imagination. Somewhere along the way, capitalism reduced the idea of justice to mean just “human rights”, and the idea of dreaming of equality became blasphemous. We are not fighting to tinker with reforming a system that needs to be replaced.

As a cap-ist and a lid-ite, I salute your struggle.

 

[Also fun to see them trying to mouth the words Lal Salaam and Zindabaad]

Occupy London ‘repossesses’ multi-million pound bank offices [first in a series I expect]

Posted on November 18, 2011 by 

- First building for the economic justice campaigners as they occupy third space in borough of Hackney, alongside existing spaces in the City of London and borough of Islington
– New ‘Bank of Ideas’ open to public this Saturday. Offices and meeting rooms will be available for those that have lost their nurseries, community centres and youth clubs due to savage Government spending cuts

Occupy London has taken over a huge abandoned office block in the borough of Hackney belonging to the investment bank UBS in a move it describes as a ‘public repossession.’ [1]

Overnight on Thursday, a dozen activists from the Occupy London, campaigners for social and economic justice as part of the global fight for real democracy, gained access to the building and secured it, giving them a legal claim on the space.

The multimillion pound complex, which has been empty for several years, is the group’s third space and its first building, adding to its two camps at St Paul’s Courtyard – near the London Stock Exchange in the heart of the City – and at Finsbury Square (borough of Islington).

Occupy London supporters Jack Holburn said: “Whilst over 9,000 families were kicked out of their homes in the last three months for failing to keep up mortgage payments – mostly due to the recession caused by the banks – UBS and others financial giants are sitting on massive abandoned properties.

“As banks repossess families’ homes, empty bank property needs to be repossessed by the public. Yesterday we learned that the Government has failed to create public value out of banking failure. We can do better. We hope this is the first in a wave of ‘public repossessions’ of property belonging to the companies that crashed the global economy.”

The Bank of Ideas
The group say the space will be reopened on Saturday morning as the ‘Bank of Ideas.’ [2] An events programme is being lined up, including talks from Palestinian activists, comedy from Josie Long and a session led by trader Alessio Rastani, who sent shockwaves through the media following a provocative interview on the Eurozone crisis. [3]

Sarah Layler of Occupy London added: “The Bank of Ideas will host a full events programme where people will be able to trade in creativity rather than cash. We will also make space available for those that have lost their nurseries, community centres and youth clubs to savage Government spending cuts.”

The Bank of Ideas is a non-residential occupation – so visitors are asked not to bring their sleeping bags. Space will be free from drugs and alcohol from the start, as per Occupy London’s safer space policy.[4]

Notes

[1] The complex is owned by Sun Street Properties Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of UBS. The property includes 5-29 Sun Street, 5-17 Crown Place, 8-16 Earl Street and 54 Wilson Street. See dl.dropbox.com/u/136370/bankofideas/ubs…http://dl.dropbox.com/u/136370/bankofideas/shoreditch-ubs.PDFdl.dropbox.com/u/136370/bankofideas/pla…http://dl.dropbox.com/u/136370/bankofideas/os-map.pdf and dl.dropbox.com/u/136370/bankofideas/lan…

[2] www.bankofideas.org.uk

[3] www.youtube.com/watch?v=aC19fEqR5bA

[4] occupylsx.org/?page_id=1214

[5] UBS Bank, which describes itself as a ‘premier global financial services firm offering wealth management, investment banking, asset management and business banking services’ was the subject of a $60bn bailout from the Swiss government in 2008 after piling up the biggest losses of any European lender from the global credit crisis. Since the time, the bank has cut thousands of jobs.

In September, a 31-year old trader at UBS was arrested by City of London police in connection with rogue trading that has cost the bank an estimated $2bn. The New York Times wrote an article in response called ‘At UBS, It’s the Culture That’s Rogue’ (see www.nytimes.com/2011/09/24/business/glo…? pagewanted=all)

The Financial Mail ran the headline ‘UBS grabs £1bn from pensioners’ with reference to a controversial form of secured lending that was sold aggressively to pensioners (seedl.dropbox.com/u/136370/bankofideas/ubs….)

The bank has nine offices in the UK including three in London.

A recent report showed a total of 9,200 homes in the UK were repossessed by banks in the third quarter of the year, a rise on the previous three months (see www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15672123). Figures are expected to deteriorate further.

[6] Nearest tubes for the Occupy London Stock Exchange (OccupyLSX) site are St. Pauls, Mansion House and Canon Street; buses 4, 11, 15, 23, 25, 26, 100, 242; do check Transport For London website for delays and closures at journeyplanner.tfl.gov.uk/user/XSLT_TRI…. The new Bank of Ideas is just down the road from the Occupy London Finsbury Square (OccupyLFS) space, which is near Moorgate; buses 141, 153, 205, 21, 214, 43

[7] On Sunday 16th October at an assembly of over 500 people on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral, Occupy London collectively agreed the initial statement below. Please note, like all forms of direct democracy, the statement will always be a work in progress. Details at occupylsx.org/?page_id=575

[8] Bringing together a diverse range of people, Occupy London’s Stock Exchange, Finsbury Square (OccupyLFS) and Bank of Ideas are part of more than 30 occupations happening in towns and cities across the UK and over 1,000 actions worldwide coming together under the banner of “United For Global Change” calling for true democracy. Occupy London is supported by groups including UK Uncut, the London-based Assembly of the Spanish 15M movement and many others. It has already received phenomenal interest, from the public and media in the UK and around the world, with the OccupyLSX facebook group now more than 31,000 members.

[9] More information on UK occupations at www.occupybritain.co.uk/protest-details

Echo-casting

.
Mike check
   <mike check>
We are not going to stand still for this
  <We are not going to stand still for this>
.
Capitalism is moribund, its crisis is permanent,
<Capitalism is moribund, its crisis is permanent,>
         <<Capitalism is moribund, its crisis is permanent,>>
.
We must kick it while it is down, Kick it hard.
   <We must kick it while it is down, Kick it hard.>
      <<We must kick it while it is down, Kick it hard.>>
.
Starting with that Bank over there…
   <Starting with that Bank over there…>
      <<Starting with that Bank over there…>>
.
Starting now…

Critical Support #OWS

A collection of articles in critical-support of #OWS (collected by, or at least reposted by, The Public School).

Capitalism IS crises.

Though some will say the crisis is cyclical, I think rather that entropy and disintegration is the unity, the unifying modus operandi, of Capital, not simply appearing or revealed in crisis so much as always thriving on many, multiple, and perpetual, crises. Hence the slogan ‘Capitalism IS crisis’ rings true – Capitalism as a thriving parasitic system of destruction, dysfunction and a necessarily dog-eat-dog opportunism as Gekko/Cartels/Monopolies conglomerate in the highest stage of imperialism… where Capitalism must eat its young to survive, indeed, it survives by eating its young. Whatever unity it has is that every capitalist must stab every other capitalist in the back in the end, ad infinitum.

Internationalise all areas #occupylsx #occupywallst

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The Internationale in many versions:
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 Comment: Internationalise all areas
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The Internationale–Red Army Choir and Orchestra, High Quality Stereo Version!
‎”The Internationale” performed by the Red Army Choir and Orchestra. Rousing high quality stereo version! As you listen to this inspiring song, remember those…
http://youtu.be/4tDNefrtJrg
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The Internationale” conducted by Arturo Toscanini–originally BANNED
http://www.youtube.com
In 1944, to honor the Allied victory in Italy, the great Arturo Toscanini–a refugee from Fascisim in his home country–decided to conduct a performance of V…
Internationalise all areas! http://youtu.be/2OPvWFDzDlA

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Some of these clips come with pretty amazing ads added by Google – this one had, when I watched it (I imagine they are somewhat randomized) an link for a piece ‘Exposing the lies and crimes of Greenpeace': http://youtu.be/dxqpTJRlbOE

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with Chinese politicians and military personnel
http://youtu.be/28WbSInXDPA – this one too has anti Greenpeace ads all over it. Is it just this clip or is it a targeted algorithm – as if I needed telling that Greenpeace was dodgy – from the other end of the scale though.
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Soviet October Revolution Parade, 1977 Part I Парад 7 ноября
John Hutnyk Internationalise all areas! http://youtu.be/dxqpTJRlbOE

This is the parade in Moscow’s Red Square, devoted to the 60th anniversary of th…
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The Internationale in North Korea
http://youtu.be/xa3vqgTGjsE
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North Korean girl singing The Internationale
http://youtu.be/kGNuR0ml7QA

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1 May in Cuba – The Internationale http://youtu.be/FDmSzDtkZYw
Internationalise all arias!

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International Anthem in Spanish (From land and Freedom, which I know is somewhat problematic, but… internationalize!
http://youtu.be/WJ8DhXgPjfg
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The Internationale in English
http://youtu.be/dcXNXKtu8z4
Comment John Hutnyk: internationalise all arrears!

Collected Marketing Detournements for Goldies

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‘I’m quite a fan of the Goldsmiths ad campaign. And I’m sure it’s accurately pitched at the target demographic. I have faith in #goldsmirk’.
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‘I liked this the first time round, but my critical theory course makes me think it might be a hoax. I stumble on Goldsmiths’ #goldsmirk
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‘I’d like to know just how much this marketing strategy cost. Can tell a numpty came up with it. I mither at Godlsmirths Sachs’ #goldsmirk
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‘I’m still marking dissertations from the students that left three weeks ago and the new students are already here. I slave at #goldsmirk’
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‘mummy and daddy really wanted me to go to Oxford. And I have a pony. I slum it at #goldsmirk’
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‘I’m secretly a power mad fuck, but want people to think I do good so I traded my uzi for a copy of Camera Lucida. So shoot me’. #goldsmirk
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‘Imagine there is more horatio in your dream than philosophy, and I trust I make myself obscure, at #goldsmirk’
*Update – and what a good update it is – from here:
and the Razor Award winner for Movember, after rigorous polling, goes to:
s econd prize – a free copy of the cartoon Manifesto (well, actually a link to the youtube url, but hey): 

Statement from #occupylsx

What appears to be the first statement from the London Occupation… is indeed a bit anti-theory – which I agree is strange because it comes out of a group sitting around thinking about what to do – and the demands are only an initial and somewhat abstract step towards building an alternative – yes, actually, how does one nationalize a bank?, I would very much like to see a guide for that – and yet this is wholly necessary: the effort to make something work beyond the repetitious call for ‘another world is possible’ is also here… Maybe its a bit ‘end is nigh’ in tone, and overly reliant on some ‘separate’ labour movement that will come like the cavalry to make us serious, and it flirts with the usual anarcho anti-Leninism that mistakes the British Trotskyite swamp with the Left… but on the whole, I like and welcome this and see it as an improvement on the brand-label slogans that have been our fare so far. Join us in the streets… I would put this entire text on my banner with just a few modifications – and openness to more ‘demands’ – there are always many demands – which is a good thing, no.

From now on there is only action - open letter ( via email )
Dear comrades,

From now on there is only action. The theories are nice to have – the theory
of horizontalism, of communes, of erotic revolt against the capitalist
oppression of our bodies. But the global crisis is moving fast. Whether you
are the Greek Communist Party, or UKUncut, or Anonymous, or Die Linke or
Lulzsec, or Zizek or just some gang of kids on a corner that likes one kind
of music and hates another: there is no time left for convincing others.

We have to act together.

Capitalism is about to experience a moment of breakdown. The Eurozone’s
financial system is bust: the result will be either a chaotic series of
defaults, provoking involuntary nationalisations and temporary abolition of
market forces by the ruling elite (short selling bans, bans on CDS); or we
will be saved from this by a pre-emptive abolition of the market in
sovereign debt, bank debt, credit derivatives etc.

This stark alternative explains the inaction of Merkel, Trichet, Barosso,
Lagarde: the only plan possible to pre-empt disaster is, to them, disaster:
it is the involuntary socialisation of the finance system.

We have got to this moment of mass, simultaneous, global occupation of space
in the cities of the world through a painful process.

Committed minorities put their bodies in the way of harm: from Climate Camp
to Gaza to Tahrir Square to Syntagma to Wall Street. There is a natural
feeling of jealousy, of ownership, among those who got us this far: that the
new masses being dragged onto the cold pavements do not understand the finer
points of theory, were not kettled the year before, were not part of this or
that iconic Facebook group.

But get ready for something bigger: the labour movements of the world are
grinding slowly into action. Cumbersome, slow, bureaucratic, hierarchical,
given to forming a committee to solve a problem that can be sorted out with
an iPhone. Yes. But decisive. In Greece right now, workers are doing what a
molotov cocktail cannot: stopping the printing of tax forms, stopping the
IMF delegations from even checking into their hotel rooms.

Right now the problem of the spontaneous movements, wherever they have set
up camp, is their failure to articulate with the levers of control currently
held by the rich elite. In a period before a crisis, or a period of
hopelessness, this is not a problem: creating the alternative nucleus of a
better world does not need one to get dirty in the business of the possible.
Living despite capitalism was a good idea and still is. Demanding the
impossible was, and remains, an act essential to liberate one’s mind.

But.

The crisis is going to bring the impossible onto the agenda. It will be
necessary to construct a pathway from where we are to what we want to
achieve.

Failure to connect with the levers of power, of policy, of the actual, of
the concrete always leave opposition movements open to being used as a walk
on army for the reformists: reform by riot – a division of labour by which a
kid in a hoodie goes to prison for two years and a man in a suit gains
sudden acceptance of his liberal reform plans – is as long as the history of
capitalism.

It is too late for that now.

The movement needs to have demands: not impossible ones but concrete ones.
Not schematic, drawn from the theories of various left philosophers but
based on action. The movement should combine demands, objectives, with the
new means of achieving them: where the social democrat calls for
nationalisation, the movement of the masses calls for decentralised social
ownership and takes physical control of the seized assets.

It will come down to this in practice. Soon numerous European banks are
going to go bust; maybe even some states. In some places ATMs will close.
There will be a right wing backlash: the authoritarians and the racists are
swarming to join the riot squads and the reserve military formations to get
their chance to break our heads. They will break the heads of migrants, the
oppressed; narratives of racial and religious purity will appear; narratives
of “national economic interest: dead for decades will be revived. It is
possible to live "despite capitalism"  - it is not possible to live "despite
quasi fascism": there is no space in right wing crisis capitalism for
anything - first books burn, then bodies.

In the 1930s fascism won because the workers movement and the progressive
left refused to unite in action, letting their differences –not just of
politics but of lifestyle and of historical rivalry – get in the way of
unity.

Today, with social media, instant unity is possible between a variety of
people, and it can last microseconds or long enough to take and hold a
square. The united front is replaced by the flashmob. Soon we are going to
have to take and hold banks, insurance companies, pension funds. And we are
going to have to keep the system running – the system many of us would see
destroyed – until it can be morphed, reformed, dismantled in a way that does
not smash the lives of a whole generation.

We cannot leave politics to the politicians and economics to the economists,
reserving for ourselves only the streets, the camps, the symbolic act,
hilarious graffiti and acts of kindness.

We have to deconstruct and replace both mainstream politics and economics;
we cannot become passive consumers of the alternatives offered by the “great
and good” of the liberal left. It is for the exploited and oppressed to
create these alternatives themselves.

Comrades – do not be frightened of demands. They need not dominate us or
entrap us into hierarchies or timetables from the 20th century. The can
liberate us from the role of being the opera chorus: the spear carriers with
formidable presence whose ultimate role is as warm-up act for the political
divas of Labour, social-democracy, Stalinism and Green Party politics.

I demand – and you may join me if you wish, or amend, delete, reject – the
following:

Nationalise all banks that cannot raise capital to withstand the coming
sovereign debt crisis. Break them up. Create a state guarantee for deposits
but impose 100% losses on shareholders and bondholders. Repurpose what’s
left as development banks and small scale credit for working class
communities and business loans.

Create a socialised banking system – a mixed economy of utility banks,
non-profits, ethical banks, credit unions and mutual societies.

Impose – immediately and universally across Europe and wherever possible
elsewhere – uniform minimum standards for wages, employment rights, rights
for precarious workers. Impose from below: by refusing to work without them.
This will, at a stroke,  remove the possibility of the parallel,
cheap-labour economy that has corroded social solidarity in the rich
countries and regions of Europe. Commit ourselves to a high wage, high skill
economy, with massive state spending on upskilling and education.

Once this is done, the debate on how much growth we actually want and need
is a real one. Ie, it has a real outcome, not a theoretical warm glow in our
heads.

Statism and central planning are dead, discredited. But now, too, the free
market has failed. Rationality can be imposed on the economy, but from below
as well as above, and using the state as enabler of competition, creativity
and invention, destroying forever the Hayekian objection that rationality in
economics leads to “serfdom”.

Any fiscal union for Europe must be created on terms dictated by the
workers, the poor and the oppressed, not the dim elite who fucked things up
so badly.  It will involve transfers – of taxpayers money from the north to
the south. We are sorry about this, but it will.

The prize – and the only condition for this merger – is that we create a
unified social Europe – from Iraklion to Rekyavik – where social justice is
an inalienable right, and speculation, inequality and exploitation are a
jailable offence.

Our crisis is coming. The American crisis and the Chinese crisis will not be
long following. If we do it – this continent with its 1000 year traditions
of revolt, utopianism, bloodshed and craziness – it will prove to the world
it can be done. Others will follow.

Out of these meagre tents and chickpea soup kitchens will come the new
world. There is nowhere else for it to come from.

American Spring: ‘First we take Manhattan’

There are a couple of very interesting observations in the Lenin’s Tomb commentary upon the Occupy Wall Street circus (a circus yes, with the cops as clowns, dark knights of corporate order, threatening mayhem if you walk on a road).

I am particularly interested in the critique LT offers of the ‘list of demands’ that is not one. ‘Join the process’ is well and good, but inadequate when its clearly more than just a process call – but a need for solidarity when: ‘it must be a felicitous coincidence that JP Morgan Chase donated $4.6m to the New York Police Department on the same day that the same department engaged in a mass arrest of hundreds of#OccupyWallStreet activists marooned on the Brooklyn Bridge’.

If it can be said that ‘the occupation began with a deliberate strategy of having minimal concrete politics and no demands.  The idea was that the politics and tactics of the occupation would be agreed in the context of aparticipatory, open-ended symposium.  No doubt some of this is mired in what I would consider a destructive and caricatured anti-Leninism, but I can imagine it comes from real experiences and expresses legitimate desires’ then LT is correct to examine this. The assessment offered is fair, critical, but optimistic. Along the way, some excellent phrasings, for example the on the money appreciation of slogans: ‘The best slogan I’ve seen is, “How do we end the deficit?  End the war, Tax the rich.”  This has the virtue of being a popular demand, a concise point, and right on the money’ – right on the money, get it? Very good. But the section on rapid politicization after police crack-down rings true as well, and is reason to cheer. I think this is indicative of a wider atmosphere that we can diagnose in the anticipation of the coming actions in the UK as well – a politicization is underway, and directions are up for discussion. That itself is of interest.

Read the rest here:

LENIN'S TOMB

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 02, 2011

First we take Manhattan

Wall Street’s famously chaste, humble bearing may not be the secret of its charm.  When you ask what is, you begin to realise what the Right has accomplished.  It has plausibly retailed something as banal as markets, and all the variations and derivatives thereof, as a libidinised field of popular (competitive) participation, the final source of all wealth/value (stock markets delivering oodles of the stuff like ducks farting out golden eggs), and, if this isn’t a tautology, a genre of erotica.  The insurance company as an aphrodisiac.  Yet it had to occur to someone to give Goldman Sachs and allies something to worry about, a something from which they have thus far been protected.  Under the Obama administration, which treats the quack orthodoxies of investment bankers as technocratic panaceas, the politically dominant fraction within the US ruling class has rarely seemed more powerful and at ease.  In their home city, the banks and traders have colonised the political system to the extent that one of their own sons, Michael Bloomberg, can take office and actually run the city as a favour to them.  (Bloomberg declines remuneration for his services.)  This is 21st Century philanthropy.

“The whole world is watching,” the protesters chant. No doubt. The question is whether any of those watching will take this as a cue to join the occupation in solidarity.  Admittedly it is already an over-worked reference, but there are compelling, if distant, echoes of Tahrir Square in New York (and now, I understand, financial districts in Boston, Miami, Detroit, San Francisco, etc.), in the sense of a nascent attempt to find a new model commune.  What the occupiers seek to create is both a rallying point for oppositional forces, and a model of participatory democracy that, if replicated, would give popular constituencies the ability and authority to solve their problems.  We’ll come back to the model of self-government being debated in Zuccotti Park, but as far as rallying opposition forces and pricking the mediasphere goes, the occupation has been having some success. The critical moment has been the participation of the organised labour movement, with the direct involvement of transport and steel workers, and the solidarity of Tahrir Square protesters.  (A mass strike by transport workers in Egypt has just won a major victory, gaining a 200% pay rise, just months after the army outlawed strikes).  The context of which it partakes is a germinal revival of class struggle in the United States.  Doug Henwood, who initially expressed reservations about the (lack of) politics of the initiative, describes the situation as “inspiring”.  This is why the initiative has been greeted with the predictable sequence of tactful silence from officials, followed by open hostility, police brutality, threatening murmurs from Bloomberg and, finally, last night’s mass arrest – which I would imagine follows orders from the mayor’s office. Bloomberg, you’ll be relieved to know, is not exercised on behalf of multi-billionaires like himself, but those Wall Street traders on a measly $40-50k, inconvenienced by anticapitalist wildlife.
and it continues after a vid: read the rest, from para three: here
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