NEWS FROM UNDERGROUND
Oops – did I get the date wrong in the title? Sorry about that!
This was an interesting session but incomplete as to issues addressed. The remarks from the woman in the audience re racial and gender representation were correct but the response by Mark just got stranger and stranger as he attempted to deal with them, finally making a bizarre comment about foundations deliberately engendering racial and gender projects in the past so as to prevent economic issues being addressed. The camera caught the amazed response from the questioner, rightly so. The young black woman spoke from the heart and although one of her points, that is, about the specifics of hand movements, was not germane, explicit in her remarks is the absolute necessity of overturning top down thinking and hierarchies. In response, David responded respectfully, I believe. People like that young black woman and thousands of other people of both genders and all ethnic groups are demanding to be recognized and to have their voices count. Back to the foundations, while it may be true that foundations did attempt to diffuse economic issues, the left as a whole dropped the ball. One could draw from Mark’s comments that he was criticizing minorities and women and blaming them for this state of affairs. I say “Just wait there, please.” Given what women have endured throughout time and in America and what minorities have endured in America specifically, their time had arrived, however imperfect the results of their struggles. Besides, this issue has nothing whatever to do with the price of tea in China, that is, the reason there were no minorities or women on the panel. Why, Mark, didn’t you just name those persons who were unable to accept your invitation and be done with it? Inasmuch as you didn’t when you had several opportunities to do so, one could easily conclude that, your protestations to the contrary, none were asked. If there had been a more diverse panel a much greater range of issues would have been addressed. As it was only a few issues among the wide range of issues beginning to be addressed by the Occupy movement were addressed with no degree of comprehension, as some of the questions from the audience brought out. There were other omissions. As to David Graeber’s tackling of where we go from here, his response was interesting in laying out the broad outlines and several forms Occupy could take, but there are other ways that a panelist could have addressed that question with greater specificity. (I have read his book on debt and am an admirer but was a little disappointed in him on this occasion). I love listening to smart Jews and the smartest are on the left and they are among the top activists addressing almost any issue and because that is so Jews are going to be plentiful at such panels and that’s great. This is just to say that there are a great many activists worth listening to of all kinds. Many women in the Occupy movement have spoken about gender issues in relation to the movement and the bullying ways of the males in the movement (those actually at the various sites) to women speaking out, so much so that Occupy Patriarchy was set up in response to the problem. We don’t want a repeat on the sixties where women’s voices were marginalized in so many forums. Blacks and Hispanics have been addressing prison reform, for instance, which is an absolute necessity. Occupy SEC have recently released their comments on the Volcker rule, etc. Irrespective of my criticisms, Mark, the work you are doing is really important and I for one truly appreciate it. Thank you for the panel which I did enjoy. The most important issues for me are global warming, fair and just economic restructuring, and the importance of media in getting out the news of the Occupy movement. It has always been a source of amazement to me why the money bags on the left (Soros, for instance) never set up media to act in opposition to the right. As a result, we are decades behind in getting the word out about the problems we face, what the right is doing, and the attacks on our democracy. I am not talking about media connected with the Democratic party, but with the left, which is quite another thing separate from the Democratic party. Even now, he should be stepping up to the plate but does not. (Re another recent panel on religious right infiltration into the public schools, which was first class, thank you very much.)
My take on this is that there is only so much that can be done at one event. While they have moved to issue-based discussions, the prime purpose of the McNally/News From Underground events is to bring more attention to authors and their works. Here we got to meet three great authors and learn a little of their thinking, particularly as it appertained to the topic at hand. It didn’t and couldn’t claim to be representative of all sides. As it was the event ran two hours and everyone present got ample opportunity to speak. While many a truth is spoken in jest I think Mark’s comment about the establishment promotion of identity politics as a distraction was just a tease, and an amusing one at that. He is to be commended for not “naming names” of those unable or not wishing to attend.
Actually it was not a tease, That argument may be uncomfortable, but it’s quite credible—as many in the audience agreed. In any case, a look of incredulity is not a counter-argument. (“The questioner” and I pursued the issue afterward, by email, in a cordial spirit, and I think we understand each other.)
The essay I was paraphrasing is by Daniel Brandt, who wrote it (I think) in the Nineties. I don’t know if it’s online (I read it in a pamphlet), but he is, and anyone who’s interested in looking into it can email him.
As for it’s being “strange,” the idea that the state would use race/gender issues as a way to neutralize the left will seem uncontroversial to those who’ve studied how the CIA dealt with the left in country after country from the Fifties through the Seventies and beyond. It’s not unlike their covert funding of innumerable socialists and liberals throughout Europe, South America and Africa in the Cold War’s heyday, or, more recently, their covert backing of Islamist groups to weaken leftist and pan-Arab forces in the Muslim world.
Anyway, thanks, McTavish, for the kind words about the prior panel, and thank you, Joly, for your comments.
Michael Hudson: 2,181 Italians Pack a Sports Arena to Learn Modern Monetary Theory – The Economy Doesn’t Need to Suffer Neoliberal Austerity
By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College
I have just returned from Rimini, Italy, where I experienced one of the most amazing spectacles of my academic life. Four of us associated with the University of Missouri at Kansas City (UMKC) were invited to lecture for three days on Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) and explain why Europe is in such monetary trouble today – and to show that there is an alternative, that the enforced austerity for the 99% and vast wealth grab by the 1% is not a force of nature.
Stephanie Kelton (incoming UMKC Economics Dept. chair and editor of its economic blog, New Economic Perspectives), criminologist and law professor Bill Black, investment banker Marshall Auerback and me (along with a French economist, Alain Parquez) stepped into the basketball auditorium on Friday night. We walked down, and down, and further down the central aisle, past a packed audience reported as over 2,100. It was like entering the Oscars as People called out our first names. Some told us they had read all of our economics blogs. Stephanie joked that now she knew how The Beatles felt. There was prolonged applause – all for an intellectual rather than a physical sporting event.
With one difference, of course: Our adversaries were not there. There was much press, but the prevailing Euro-technocrats (the bank lobbyists who determine European economic policy) hoped that the less discussion of possible alternatives to austerity, the easier it would be to force their brutal financial grab through.
All the audience members had contributed to raise the funds to fly us over from the United States (and from France for Alain), and treat us to Federico Fellini’s Grand Hotel on the Rimini beach. The conference was organized by reporter Paolo Barnard, who had studied MMT with Randall Wray and realized that there was plenty of demand in Italian mass culture for a discussion of what actually was determining the living conditions of Europe – and the emerging financial elite that hopes to use this crisis as an opportunity to become the new financial lords carving out fiefdoms by privatizing the public domain being sold off by governments that have no central bank to finance their deficits, and are tragically beholden to bondholders and to Eurocrats drawn from the neoliberal camp.
Paolo and his enormous support staff of translators and interns provided an opportunity to hear an approach to monetary and tax theory and policy that until recently was almost unheard of in the United States. Just one week earlier the Washington Post published a review of MMT, followed by a long discussion in the Financial Times. But the theory remains grounded primarily at the UMKC’s economics department and the Levy Institute at Bard College, with which most of us are associated.
The basic thrust of our argument is that just as commercial banks create credit electronically on their computer keyboards (creating a bank account credit for borrowers in exchange for their signing an IOU at interest), governments can create money. There is no need to borrow from banks, as computer keyboards provide nearly free credit creation to finance spending.
For politicians like Rep. Dennis Kucinich and Rep. John Conyers who advocate a quick and good fix to our economic woes of debt money with HR 2990 the NEED Act, please support all election integrity advocates like MCM, Election Defense Alliance, Lynn Landis, Brad Blog, Velvet Underground, BBV, and others who work to protect our democracy to protect our politicians who can and will fix our economy, jobs, environment, education, health, democracy, and rule of law.
If we can turn this around, we will have to have a new day of celebration having helped our own and our children’s survivability. A very big celebration.
Pardon me a correction is needed:
Dennis Kucinich is being primaried and could use your support now in terms of money and election integrity.
In case the following is to be used as a method of “Shock Doctrine” a disaster capitalism about which Naomi Klein warns us ( see: http://www.naomiklein.org/shock-doctrine ), it would be important to continue to work for the best solutions for our economic recovery as per Michael Hudsons, Dennis Kucinich, and John Conyers ( see: http://www.monetary.org/ ) before, during and after any credit crisis:
ISDA Determinations Committee Accepts Question Related to a Potential Hellenic Republic Credit Event
Posted by Jim Sinclair on February 28, 2012 @ 4:24 pm in General Editorial
The implications if this event comes to pass are huge!
LONDON, February 28, 2012 – The International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Inc. (ISDA), as secretary to the Determinations Committees (the DCs), today announced that a question relating to a potential credit event with respect to the Hellenic Republic has been submitted to, and subsequently accepted for consideration by, the EMEA Determinations Committee.
In accordance with the Determinations Committee Rules, a meeting will be held at 11AM GMT on Thursday, March 1 to determine whether a credit event has occurred.
Further information regarding the question is available at http://www.isda.org/credit .
Jim Sinclair’s Commentary
We are certainly close to a bottom in terms of degraded financial systems when the needs of the association overcome the needs of truth.
ISDA panel says no Greek ‘credit event’ occurred
By William L. Watts
March 1, 2012, 7:58 a.m. EST
FRANKFURT (MarketWatch) — The International Swaps and Derivatives Association on Thursday said its EMEA Determinations Committee unanimously ruled that no “credit event” has yet occurred amid Greece’s efforts to restructure its debt holdings. A declaration of a “credit event” would require a payout on credit default swaps held as insurance against nonpayment. The panel ruled unanimously that a move effectively insulating the European Central Bank and national central banks from being forced to participate in the restructuring in the event that collective-action clauses are triggered didn’t constitute a credit event. They also determined they hadn’t received evidence that the restructuring itself met the definition of a credit event, ISDA said. The organization added, however that the situation is still evolving and that market participants could submit further questions to the body “as further facts come to light.”
ISDA’s Take On Lack Of Greek CDS Trigger: “We Think The Credit Event/DC Process Is Fair, Transparent And Well-Tested”
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