What Do They Want?

Occupy wall street

Is it about what they want? Or something else?I read a statement years ago that the 20th Century was the century of Freud. And with any luck, the 21st Century would be the century of Jung. Not sure who said it but it really resonated with me. My take on Jung was that he emphasized the idea that we are all a part of a whole, with each of us having individual gifts contributing to that whole. When we look at another, we see ourselves. In the BBC documentary “The Century of the Self”, Adam Curtis explores the use of Freud’s theories to direct people away from a communal way of thinking and into rampant mirror-gazing.

The premise of the film is that the birth of propaganda/public relations/marketing began with Freud’s nephew Edward Bernays when he was hired by the Wilson administration to sell the idea of “making the world safe for democracy”. Unfortunately, that meant becoming involved in the hideous carnage called World War I and forcing your neighbors to buy War Bonds or be put in jail. After the war, he was asked by the tobacco industry to use his PR skills to figure out how to sell cigarettes to women. He branded cigarettes “torches of freedom” that would challenge male power simply by lighting up. From then on, advertising would no longer speak to people’s needs, but to their inner desires and yearnings. And freedom would now be defined as freedom of choice.

And so the transformation of the American citizen into the American consumer began in earnest. Americans were sold that they needed clothes that showed their individuality and made them sexy. Men were sold that the kind of car they drove showed who they were; powerful and, yes, sexy. The kind of soap you bought made you happier and more admired.

What we are witnessing in Zuccotti/Liberty Park with the #Occupy Wall Street could be the great turning away from the century of “me” to the century of “we”.
At least it has opened up the discussion of what we really need rather than what we want. The greatest need right now seems to have our voices heard and a need to take back the meaning of words like “public” and “cooperative” and “social”. It is a pushback against all the punditry that insist on a label, logo, banner, slogan, brand, buzzword, sound bite, pitch or demand.

No, we will no longer be defined as consumers. We will no longer be cogs in your machine. We are free men and women. We do not define freedom as the right to choose between 100 brands of cereal. Our definition of freedom is freedom from domination by corporations and their agendas. Our definition of freedom is not to be subservient to the 1%. We are taking back our humanity. We are taking back our public spaces and our commons. We are a community; a community of concerns. We care about each other and the planet we inhabit. There is no expiration date on what is happening around the world and at last in the United States.

No, it’s not about what we want, but about what we need.

Why Plumbers are Smarter Than the Ben Bernank

HELP!

Matt Taibbi has a link to a priceless animated cartoon by ZeRO HEDGE.  It is a must see.  Two Bears explain what Ben Bernanke (They call him The Ben Bernank) is up to in doing this “quantitative easing” deal.  The bears say QE is “printing a ton of money”.  But Taibbi thinks the big deal is the continual funneling of money to Goldman Sachs.  Watch the two bears and you will finally understand what is going on and it’s not pretty.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/matt-taibbi/blogs/TaibbiData_May2010/233953/83512

QE is designed to buy Treasuries and other assets, but the Fed does not simply go out and buy Treasuries itself; it does it through its primary dealers, who include of course banks like Goldman, Sachs. The Fed all but announces when it’s going to be doing this buying and in what quantity, which allows the banks to buy up this stuff at lower prices ahead of time and then sell it to the Fed at inflated cost.

Watch the bears explain why “blowing up the whole world” is not the change we can believe in.  One bear asks, “Is this an episode of the “Twilight Zone”?”

Maybe, but for sure we are all on ‘Mr Toad’s Wild Ride” with the ride operator on a permanent break.

“Soak the Fat Boys”

(Cross posted at correntewire.com)

Doug Henwood’s latest issue of “Left Business Observer” is out. (Subscription is $22 a year for 11 issues.) Henwood wrote the visionary book “Wall Street” in 1997 predicting this mess we are in now. Henwood reminds us that in “All the King’s Men”, Willie Stark is urged not to speak so wonkish and instead just say that “he’s gonna soak the fat boys.”
Why should we soak ’em? We’ve had the lowest growth in 80 years. And Henwood points out that the economy is arguably weaker than the Great Depression. The Depression “was preceded by a serious boom…and while the 1920s expansion was hardly short on froth, it also put the radio and the automobile into wide circulation. The 2001-2007 expansion gave us little more than some empty subdivisions outside Vegas and see-through condos in Miami.” Continue reading