"Our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors."

-Jonas Salk

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Forces of Occupation

Obviously I've been wrapped up in Planet3.0 these last couple of weeks. But amazing developments have been afoot.

I am ALMOST as far as this:

But it is tempered by something clever somebody said at SXSWEco last week. Something like:
We don't need a movement chasing down the White House to make them do the right thing.

We need a movement that is strong enough that the White House needs to chase it.


Anonymous said...

I'm completely enthralled.

I remember saying about 6 months ago here that the left needs to wake up quickly. Of course, if you follow Anonymous, you've known this was coming.


Ron Broberg said...

I missed that first time around. That is a great rant.

Ratigan and Denninger are buddies. You can catch Denninger over here. He is unrelenting and I don't agree with all his angles, but he is definitely not the same old thing.

David B. Benson said...

Yes, need a strong progressive movement.


Vinny Burgoo said...

MT, do you have any idea at all of just how weirdly parochial and pantomimed that video seems to those of us who don't live in the USA?

Not a good thing to get excited about when you're launching a new project of planetary scope.

But good luck and best wishes, anyway.

Michael Tobis said...

Vinny, I do actually. The incapacity of Americans to think globally is another very big problem, and part of the reason for my discomfort.

Even at SXSWEco, a meeting which you;d expect to have a global perspective, the amount of talk about "2012" and about whether "we" should support the Democrats, etc. etc. was endless, and exasperating to overseas visitors.

I think, however, that the problems being described here are American in origin. An active American realization of the extent to which things have been skewed toward unproductive finance and away from anything real is a hopeful prospect. Any extent to which the less toxic parts of the Tea Party repertoire can be directed toward the real problems is a positive thing. It's still hard to see the situation being repaired globally without being repaired here.

The business about "shipping jobs overseas" is meaningless in a planetary perspective, but the race to the bottom of which it is a part certainly isn't.

Anonymous said...

The 'occupy' idea wasn't born in the US. We're just finally catching on. And MT is correct. The US is necessary.

Greg said...

Yes, the problem is global, but the ethos that must be changed started in the US and is strongest in the US.

As an aside - does anyone know what music that was? It sounded familiar, maybe a movie score?

Anonymous said...

It's a nice rant and getting money out of politics is definitely part of one of the needed solutions, but as long as GDP (in its current definition; yes, it's arbitrary) has to grow, we are in fact demanding from corporations and politicians to be corrupt. We are forcing them. And they of course are very happy to oblige.

As long as no one is talking about the impossibility of infinite economic growth and the negative consequences of letting such a concept be the basis of everything (economy, culture, environment), this movement is doomed.

At the same time some sort of goal or aspiration needs to be formulated, something that entails limits, but at the same time freedom for all through abolition of the hidden slavery.

What we need is upper limits, and at the same time lower limits, below which we don't want anyone to be living. Taking money out of politics helps, but it has to be part of that greater scheme.

Gravityloss said...


I think this maybe overgeneralizes but there *is* a point.

Anonymous said...


Martin Vermeer said...


Wir sind das Volk.

Ron Broberg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Tobis said...

Oh, come on Ron, what is he supposed to do, speak Italian?

I suggest that it is not the American in you that freaked out. I totally sympathize - I have the same circuits built in.

There are a lot of German influences in Wisconsin, where I lived happily for fifteen years, but I also remember fondly an article in the Isthmus, the local arts weekly. It was by a young Jewish woman reacting to the local culture.

She said something like, "when I'm in a half-timer bratwurst and beer pub and people start singing German drinking songs my first impulse is not to join in the revelry. My first impulse is to hide under the table."

Look, it was almost 60 years ago.

We have bigger problems than literal Nazis. I completely understand what you mean. (I have never visited Germany and have no intention of ever doing so. I would feel like hiding under a table the whole time.)

But I think it might have been better to squelch your comment. As Jews, we have to live with our resentments and fears, but they are resentments and fears, mostly, of people and a culture long dead. Just like others have to live with their traditional enemies and get along.

It makes no sense to saddle the grandchildren with this. Indeed, it's just part of the same problem.

Anonymous said...

"The most famous chant became Wir sind das Volk! - "We are the people!", reminding their leaders that a democratic republic has to be ruled by the people, not by an undemocratic party claiming to represent them."



On the one hand I think 'silly Americans', on the other hand I admit that I also misinterpreted it, thinking it was meant to say something like 'Americans think they are the only people in the world that exist and matter'.

But come on, Germany has a huge culture and history. 1% of it is national socialism. Get those kneejerks looked after, people. Or they'll cause another war.

Ron Broberg said...

My apologies for derailing the thread.

David B. Benson said...

Survival Guide for Outsiders: How to Protect Yourself from Politicians, Experts, and Other Insiders, by Sherman Stein. BookSurge Publ., 2010.

Anonymous said...

From this piece by Douglas Rushkoff on CNN:

Yes, there are a wide array of complaints, demands, and goals from the Wall Street protesters: the collapsing environment, labor standards, housing policy, government corruption, World Bank lending practices, unemployment, increasing wealth disparity and so on. Different people have been affected by different aspects of the same system -- and they believe they are symptoms of the same core problem.

Are they ready to articulate exactly what that problem is and how to address it? No, not yet.

Here you go: infinite growth on a finite planet is impossible. If you act as though it is possible and make that the core concept of your entire economy, society and culture, you will inevitably bump into limits, problems becoming so obvious that they can no longer be ignored. These constitute the "wide array of complaints, demands, and goals from the Wall Street protesters". They are indeed "symptoms of the same core problem".

That core problem is the neoclassical economic concept of infinite growth that has dominated economic theory and economic faculties all around the world for many decades now. It has become invisible. Make it visible, or you won't be able to solve it. The system needs to be changed at its core, or nothing will be solved conclusively.

I'm sorry to sound like a broken record. What I say, is either true or so incredibly naive and stupid that people are too embarrassed to tell me where I'm going wrong. Because every time I come with my little, repetitive rants, comment sections fall silent. So what is it?

Michael Tobis said...

Neven, I'm with you. How about if we rerun your essay on Planet3.0?

Mal Adapted said...

I'm sorry to sound like a broken record. What I say, is either true or so incredibly naive and stupid that people are too embarrassed to tell me where I'm going wrong. Because every time I come with my little, repetitive rants, comment sections fall silent. So what is it?

Neven, I'm with you too. I think the problem is that so few of us are willing to confront the grief that a transition to a steady-state economy entails. I hope to live out my life before the worst of it, but I know it's coming.

Sharon Astyk's blog is about how to survive the transition. Sharon is a wise woman, and I've no doubt you'll find kindred spirits there.

Michael Tobis said...

There is no technological or scientific reason that the future has to be bad. We just have to cerate a realistic positive vision.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Mal Adapted. Sharon Astyk is often referenced on other blogs I read (for instance in this most recent entry by John Michael Greer), but I never checked her blog out. At a first glance it looks very sane to me.

Mal Adapted said...

Michael, according to Wikipedia, "Cerate" is an unctuous preparation for external application. I presume you meant "create" 8^).

I don't see any technological or scientific reason why the future has to be bad, either. I'm more concerned about the economic and political reasons. I fear it will be a matter of will and of means: will on the part of those who have means, to help those who have not.

Pangolin said...

Done. Little old ladies wander up, hand us three or four crumpled dollar bills and wander off muttering "those banks are bastards."

Amazing support where I am. Virtually no detractors either driving by or walking up and counter demonstrating.