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    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeOct 16th 2011
     (10239.1)
    "I don't believe any of that is real significant growth."

    you are, of course, free to believe or not believe whatever you choose.

    But 3% growth per annum sounds pretty real to me.

    Germany also has the lowest unemployment in decades which suggests that quite a lot of Germans have "increased their material wellbeing".

    Sorry if I'm sounding crabby here - coming down with the flu amongst other things - but people seem to proclaim the final death throes of capitalism every time there's a recession.
    • CommentAuthorVerissimus
    • CommentTimeOct 16th 2011 edited
     (10239.2)
    Eastern Germany had zero unemployment during communism, was that an indication that their material wellbeing was high? No.

    See, those figures don't necessarily give the whole picture. Germany has a pretty substantial problem with poverty, and overall GDP growth does not mean the average person is better off. You also have to factor in inflation, I think.

    You are right in that there's a certain degree of belief involved in this. But I'm seeing around me here in the Netherlands that many people have more trouble getting a house and paying the bills and paying education for their kids than the previous generation had. That may inform my belief - my own circumstances, which is a kind of anecdotal evidence. But it's still my belief.

    I'm not declaring the end of capitalism (yet) btw. It's done a good job overall, especially when compared to communism. But I don't believe it is realistic to expect infinite growth in a world of finite resources.
    •  
      CommentAuthorDoc Ocassi
    • CommentTimeOct 16th 2011 edited
     (10239.3)
    Capitalism, invoked as some type of ideology, is abhorrent to my understanding of society.

    The OED defines Capitalism as thus:
    "an economic and political system in which a countries trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state"

    It is a system that favours this private control, and supports the profit of these private owners. The system's emphasis is on recording and analysis in monetary terms, and disregards any aspects of society that cannot be defined in these terms. Because of the power that capital owners receive in society it ultimately results in a rise in inequality.

    It is really not surprising for a rise in this ideology to result in a rise in inequality and drop in social mobility. If you analyse your country in terms of GDP:


    When attempting to develop a society that is fair and where equality is a basic principle, I cannot find a reason to think that capitalism as an ideology can deliver this. The belief that people are self-interested has come about because of the effect that imposing a system like this has on society, and the feedback created when analysing people on these terms. As far as defending capitalism goes I don't think you have to be a capitalist to run a small business and balance your books, because your core business will be sustainability and not the acquisition of wealth for it's own sake.

    I am not naive enough to think that we can change this by just willing it, there is a lot in our current societies, especially the west, that has been built to support this system, and act against it at your own peril, but if you want the lesser of horrors, action really has to be taken.

    There is a reason why the people at the top of society seem to unable to see the problem, and that is because the people who benefit from this type of system can see it is not in their interest to leave the decision making in the hands of a structure that may not entirely share their interest. Because the system is designed to value personal wealth as the signifier of success it leaves people in power in a very vulnerable position, especially if their position does not have the acquisition of wealth as part of the job description.

    Another reason that there has been no action regarding these issues from the top, and it is something that more people are coming round to, what is happening is a change in consciousness, the old methods of political rhetoric are utterly unable to express or define where we need to go. I may go as far as to say they have become stale. There is a lot of need to change all parts of society regarding this, and to have a formation of a new narrative that will work better.

    Here is another video for you:
    A new narrative

    EDIT: sorry for the shitty English, I am not a writer.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeOct 16th 2011
     (10239.4)
    NYPD apparently now using stobe lights when arresting people in order to prevent themselves being filmed.
    •  
      CommentAuthoroddbill
    • CommentTimeOct 16th 2011 edited
     (10239.5)
    It would be interesting for someone to sue to find out if it is legal for uniformed police officers acting in the open in public to attempt to conceal their identities. It seems like that goes against the precedent of having to give name & badge number upon request.
    •  
      CommentAuthorJon Wake
    • CommentTimeOct 16th 2011
     (10239.6)
    @Kosmopolit

    Absolutely true about Smith. One of the downfalls of trying to sum up a few thousand pages of political discourse in an internet post is simplifying things to an almost absurd level. Does anyone know where that straw man came from? I hear it from neo-liberals constantly, but it seems to be a pretty recent, post Ayn Rand view of Smith.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeOct 17th 2011
     (10239.7)
    I'd guess it was during the 1950's when American business and the government was trying to come up with anticommunist memes.

    That's wen the "American Revolution" and "Revolutionary War" started being replaced by "American War of Independence".
    •  
      CommentAuthortedcroland
    • CommentTimeOct 17th 2011 edited
     (10239.8)
    Oh you wanna play the RSAnimate game...

    Zizek On Charity
    •  
      CommentAuthorDoc Ocassi
    • CommentTimeOct 17th 2011
     (10239.9)
    I didn't realise it was a game ;) I am fond of zizek.

    About half an hour!
    Generation OS13: The new culture of resistance
    •  
      CommentAuthoroldhat
    • CommentTimeOct 17th 2011 edited
     (10239.10)
    While my opinion on the concept of the protests has turned over and I am for them...I really have to say that after all this time the majority of the protesters I've seen are still bugging the hell out of me with how they're doing things. A couple of things of note:

    - Seeing a sign reading "Tax the 1%, put the 99% on welfare"
    - Garbage bins in the park being occupied filled to the brim with coffee cups from a huge national franchise that has been responsible for more than a lot of local independent coffee shops going out of business.
    - Friends seeming to focus more on how artistic their protest is rather than the protest itself.
    - The fucking CONSTANT comparisons the protesters are giving themselves to the protests in Egypt and Libya.

    These things piss me off. These things make me feel that the majority of the protesters, like we speculated on early on with this thing, are a bunch of stupid kids who don't want to work and yet still be paid a high salary. As I said, I do agree with the protest in principle, but I'm just not liking that I'm seeing more first world privileged kids who don't want to work, fighting some vague notion of "The Man" and almost instinctively putting up a peace sign when a cameraman walks by.
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeOct 17th 2011
     (10239.11)
    @oldhat

    - The fucking CONSTANT comparisons the protesters are giving themselves to the protests in Egypt and Libya.

    This. This times 1000%. I'm sorry, are some things fucked in this country? Yes, but I'm pretty sure they aren't anywhere close to being that fucked.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeOct 17th 2011
     (10239.12)
    Anon insisting on wearing their V masks means there's now a section 66aa in place in London which empowers the police to force people to remove masks (and hoodies, bandanas, anything else they're using to conceal their faces).

    And it wouldn't surprise me at all if they don't lift that once the protest is done.
    •  
      CommentAuthorJon Wake
    • CommentTimeOct 17th 2011
     (10239.13)
    One of the big things that currently has my tits in a bunch is the monopoly that ISPs have over the web. Any attempt to start something new online is now, at best, a sort of digital manorialism, where your existence is regulated by an unaccountable boss who can at any time cut you off. Why do I care about this? Call it my suspicious nature.

    Imagine, if you will, that the Occupy protests grow larger, that people start using Twitter and Tor and all the other tools of the web to really start disrupting systems. Imagine then that the FBI, in their chummy collusion with Comcast, decides to start selectively blocking access to these sites. It happened in Egypt, and the US has already prosecuted Twitter protest organizers, so this isn't just my lefty paranoia talking.

    Furthermore, I've been thinking a lot about implementations of direct democracy, particularly over the internet. Any such implementation must be transparent, distributed, anonymous, and secure. No matter how clever people are (and at this stage, I'm imagining something that melds the robustness of a bittorrent client with the anti-authoritarian resilience of bitcoin), it won't matter if the gatekeepers are passing info to unaccountable bodies. Instead, anonymity and security need to be built into a system--make the law enforcement arm of the state jump through some legal and technical hoops to gather intel.
    •  
      CommentAuthorPupato
    • CommentTimeOct 17th 2011
     (10239.14)
    These things make me feel that the majority of the protesters, like we speculated on early on with this thing, are a bunch of stupid kids who don't want to work and yet still be paid a high salary.


    @oldhat, i have the impression that you are missing the point here. This is the first global protest in the history. The first time that countries all over the world have put themselves in agreement for fighting the system (with all the lacks & failures this is going to carry).
    You can´t disqualify a whole global movement nor the protest in your place because a bunch of idiots, although they are adolescents & supposed to be that way, drink coffee from a Starbucks & want to be artistically inspired when writing a slogan.

    There´s a lot more behind, for ex. i imagine that there are associations fighting for a Public Health System in the USA, as they are people fighting in my country against the dismantling of our Public Health System (which has been almost sold already) … Those people & associations they are part of the protests too, they are the genesis, & they´re fighting against Banks & Corporations.


    Groups like

    "attac" , created in France & forming now a global net all over the world

    http://www.attac.org/


    "Real Democracy Now" (Spain) , makers & organizers of the protests here in Spain

    here you have the link for DRY-International Manifesto

    http://international.democraciarealya.es/manifesto/

    & another group here in Spain fighting against the banks & the police when they want to execute an eviction (this is how you name it in english? i´m not sure), getting out entire families out of there homes because they can´t afford to pay the house. These group makes publics calls in the web for people to go & STOP the eviction of the family out of his home. For me this one is an example of how people united can, at least, try to fight against the system injustices which politicians wont change.

    "Affected by Mortgage" the page is only in spanish but you can see there at the begining the calls with date, time & place of the anounced evictions.

    http://afectadosporlahipoteca.wordpress.com/

    here´s a video from Aljazeera in english:

    http://vimeo.com/16869618

    & another in which we can see the police doing his social service work

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pl2GyFDH4lM&feature=related

    im afraid this is happening all over the world, & in some places the situation is even worst, wich leads me to talk about Egypt & Libya. You are totally right we can´t compare the risks of dead & torture that the protesters there sufers with the risks of facing european or northamerican police, but those protests are linked to the occidentals ones, i think, because the dictators & there corrupts systems over there have been & are supported by our gobernments & the corporations that we suport with our votes, work & money...

    ... so i think you´re being a little bit unfair here by only showing a face of the coin & using it to descualifie the whole.
    •  
      CommentAuthorBrianMowrey
    • CommentTimeOct 17th 2011 edited
     (10239.15)
    The fucking CONSTANT comparisons the protesters are giving themselves to the protests in Egypt and Libya.

    ...I'm sorry, are some things fucked in this country? Yes, but I'm pretty sure they aren't anywhere close to being that fucked.

    For most Americans, the comparison is weird.

    But the comparison becomes less weird when you remember that America contains lots of people, and not all of them are white twenty year-olds.

    For some more comparisons,

    The population of Libya is 6.5 million.

    The prison population of the United States is 2.3 million, with an additional 4.9 million on parole or probation, and an additional 40 million out of the justice system but still holding criminal records that prevent employment for which they would otherwise be eligible, or limit their access to government assistance, or legally forbid them from voting in many states*. The United States has something like two Libyas-worth of disenfranchised citizens who will never break out of poverty.

    Back to the original 2.3 million actually in jail:

    905,000 are black.
    475,000 are Hispanic.

    500,000 are awaiting trial at any given moment. The United States has a rolling population of .5 million untried prisoners at all times.

    Out of the 1.5 million in state and federal prison, 12ish percent, 180,000 people, are there for pot. The percentage within local jails and the parole/probation population is harder to find out.


    Of course, this isn't largely what the white kids in the 99% are protesting. They're protesting inequality. Clearly America's inequality problem should never be compared to Egypt or Libya.


    *All states except Maine and Vermont take away voting rights upon felony conviction. 2,000,000 Americans who have completed applicable prison and parole sentences are ineligible to vote due to prior convictions. Millions more fail to re-register to vote after becoming eligible due to confusion over their state's re-registration laws.
    Source for prison population statistics: Wikipedia
    Source for post-prison and disenfranchisement statistics: ACLU: Voting With A Criminal Record - Executive Summary
  1.  (10239.16)
    (One more tidbit: The population of Egypt, 80 million, is 43% urban. 30% of all Egyptians enroll in some amount of post-secondary education, 15% graduate. 2/3rds of the population of Egypt is under 30. The median age of Egypt is 24. No resemblance to the Western underemployed post-college middle class can possibly be found here.)
    •  
      CommentAuthorLokiZero
    • CommentTimeOct 17th 2011 edited
     (10239.17)
    @Pupato:
    This is the first global protest in history.

    Are you fucking kidding me?

    You can say it's on a larger scale and that it's easier to organize these days because of the internet, but hold the hyperbole please. It makes you sound 5 years old.
  2.  (10239.18)
    •  
      CommentAuthorPupato
    • CommentTimeOct 17th 2011
     (10239.19)
    @Lokizero, ok, you can call it "one of the first" if you want... you have a very interesting point of view about the subject
    •  
      CommentAuthorLokiZero
    • CommentTimeOct 17th 2011
     (10239.20)
    @Pupato I'm just saying, know your history.

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