Many people think we just have to sit here and take it.
(For those who are calling for revolution, please read the postscript).
But there may be a third way.
As I wrote a year ago:
As MSNBC news correspondent Jonathan Capehart tells Dylan Ratigan, the main problem is that people aren’t making enough noise. Capehart says that the people not only have to “burn up the phone lines to Congress”, but also to hit the streets and protest in D.C.
Even though most politicians are totally corrupt, if many millions of Americans poured into the streets of D.C., a critical mass would be reached, and the politicians would start changing things in a hurry.
As [liberal] PhD economist Dean Baker points out:
The elites hate to acknowledge it, but when large numbers of ordinary people are moved to action, it changes the narrow political world where the elites call the shots. Inside accounts reveal the extent to which Johnson and Nixon’s conduct of the Vietnam War was constrained by the huge anti-war movement. It was the civil rights movement, not compelling arguments, that convinced members of Congress to end legal racial discrimination. More recently, the townhall meetings, dominated by people opposed to health care reform, have been a serious roadblock for those pushing reform….
A big turnout … can make a real difference.
Baker is right about Vietnam.
Specifically – according to Daniel Ellsberg and many others – Richard Nixon actually planned on dropping a nuclear bomb on Vietnam Nixon also said he didn’t care what the American people thought. He said that — no matter what the public did or said — he was going to escalate the war in Vietnam.
However, a well-known biographer says that Nixon backed off when hundreds of thousands of people turned out in Washington, D.C. to protest an escalation of the war.
Similarly, no matter how completely sold-out to the Wall Street giants D.C. politicians are, they would start paying attention to their real employers – the American people – if we make enough noise.
If 3 million Americans all peacefully surrounded the White House and Capitol Hill, holding signs saying “We’re Not Leaving Until the Too Big to Fails which Caused the Economic Crisis are Reined In”, things would change pretty fast.
3 million might sound like a lot of people. But many millions of people read popular alternative financial and economic news sites. You are probably one of millions of people who will read this essay (by the time it is published by some of the larger sites).
In other words, it’s not even a question of convincing other people to go. We – those who read alternative financial websites – could do it ourselves.
If millions of us don’t go protest in D.C., it’s because we are choosing not to sacrifice a tiny bit in order to change things.
The bad guys are only winning because we – the American people – aren’t making enough noise.
Not Now . . .
It is human nature to try to put things off until tomorrow. Tomorrow, when things are easier, we’ll do it…
It is easy to despair that it is already too late. Should we whine and give up hope?
Well, about a month before the American Revolutionary War, Patrick Henry said:
They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year?
If not now, when? Like Patrick Henry asked, when will we be stronger? When will the robber barons be weaker?
If we’re going to save America through non-violent protests, now is the time.
To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.
- Bruce Lee
There is no act too small, no act too bold. The history of social change is the history of millions of actions, small and large, coming together at points in history and creating a power that governments cannot suppress.
- Howard Zinn, historian
The power of an aroused public is unbeatable.
- Dr. Helen Caldicott
The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.
In times of danger large groups rise to the highest pitch of enthusiasm, courage and sacrifice . . . Mankind will be refashioned and history rewritten when this law is understood and obeyed.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
- Margaret Mead
We must remember that one determined person can make a significant difference, and that a small group of determined people can change the course of history.
You let one ant stand up to us – then they all might stand up. Those puny little ants outnumber us a 100 to one. And if they ever figure that out, there goes our way of life.
- Hopper (a grasshopper who is the leader of the gang of thugs who are stealing money from the other bugs, speaking to fellow grasshoppers in the Disney/Pixar movie A Bug’s Life)
If you don’t like the news, go out and make some news of your own.
- Scoop Nisker
Similarly, conservative financial writer Karl Denninger writes today:
You – America – You – can fix this tomorrow. Put 500,000 people around The Treasury and The Fed in Washington DC and refuse to leave until Geithner and Bernanke both resign and depart and the FDIC goes through all four of the largest banks, marks their “stuff” to market, and resolves all that are insolvent. Lay peaceful siege, MLK-style.
Denninger wrote last week:
Everyone wants a way to save them – an investment strategy, a place to hide their assets, etc.
Let me give you the answer folks, and you’re not going to like it:
There is only one way, and that is to save everyone. That is, to force this crap to stop – by whatever means are necessary – and possible.
Yeah, that’s a strong statement. It’s also true.
Let’s presume that we don’t do this. That Bernanke does his QE2 thing as threatened and announced. It won’t work – it can’t, because the commodity price ramps will cause margin compression and destruction of those in the middle and lower classes. That in turn means people buy less, which means employers fire, not hire.
That in turn will cause him to believe he has to do more. This is his thesis. So he will.
And that will in turn impose even more effective tax on America.
At some point one of two things happens: Either the world blows the dollar off and it literally collapses in value by half in the space of a few days, or we get into a printing spiral that debases the currency so fast that prices change between the time you go to work and get home. But your wages won’t go up because of exporting our labor to China, so you will slowly – or not-so-slowly – be unable to buy necessities – food and energy, along with medical care.
Either way the end point is the same. The government becomes unable to issue Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid checks, along with paying people like the Military. At the same time you’re literally being starved to death. In desperation the government will then attempt to seize everything through some form – whether it be through massive fines and forfeiture, or whether it is through simple tax increases. That of course will simply make it worse.
You can try to hide in something like Gold, but it won’t do you a bit of good. The government is not that dumb. They already have in the law provisions requiring reporting of transactions over $600. They’ll go to a fully-electronic currency (we’re damn close to being there now) and force clearing of all transactions through The Fed. This will effectively create a 100% reportable – and taxable – data stream.
If you try to barter around it, and you will, they’ll fix that too. Treasury will simply expand the already existing IRS program for “rats.” Your neighbor and everyone else will be “enticed” with a 20% reward for all “off-grid” transactions that they report. And civil forfeiture will be used to literally steal everything you own when – not if – you get caught.
Forget it folks, unless you’re planning on going Rambo. And if you’re going to do that, you may as well get started now. You’ll go to prison or die – but over time people dying for what they believe is nothing new. We call them terrorists when they lose – and freedom fighters when they win. In 1776 a bunch of men decided they had enough, and they pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honors. They, in aggregate, won and thus are “freedom fighters” – but some of them also died.
All the noise I hear – all words and bluster behind keyboards but no gunshots – tell me that nobody’s prepared to do that. So quit babbling about it. All that does is get you on the No-Fly list and a visit from the guys in the black (and armored) Escalades. Don’t bother with “sound and fury” nonsense. You’re not only wasting your breath you’ll get arrested – for nothing.
No, the only solution is for the people to get ****ed off enough to rise up peacefully but in a form and fashion that makes clear that we’re not talking, we’re demanding. We’re putting in front of Congress and other officials positions that are not “polite requests” – they’re instructions, as all citizens are entitled to put forward to their elected officials.
The people en-masse must come to the conclusion that this will not be allowed to stand.
Enforcement of that mandate does not require unlawful acts. There may be some people who decide to embark on them, but that’s not the message that is being sent or intended.
No, instead the message to send is that we have choices that are lawful and peaceful, and we will exercise them in full.
- We will not do business with banksters who caused this or any merchant who does.
- We will not work overtime or even work hard; we will instead engage in consumer withdrawal, making as little as possible and drawing as much from the government as we can. That is, we will try to suck the government teat dry and lawfully minimize what we give both to big corporations and government.
- We will NOT cooperate with law enforcement. “You have the right to remain silent” is an absolute. This already takes place in parts of America – go try to investigate a crime in some gang-ridden place. Nobody will talk. Well, we can make that the rule everywhere – we can make the decision that the government is a bunch of gangsters, and we will not help them. Our eyes are closed when it comes to Government. All we will respond with is a polite “Have a nice day.”
- We WILL picket, protest, and show up in front of banksters and politicians homes – not just offices. We have a right of free speech in The Constitution and we will use it. You don’t have to listen, but the streets are PUBLIC PLACES. Peaceful protests – but lots of them, in your face, every single day. Public shaming is very effective. If you want to be in a public role – running a big publicly-traded bank or in a political office you’re fair game to have signs waved in your face no matter where you are. Sure, they’ll withdraw from the public – that’s fine. Guess what? Barricading themselves inside a fort hurts them – and their families – more than it hurts us.
- We WILL intentionally ostracize both banksters and politicians. We will NOT cut their hair, sell them gas or groceries, or fix their air conditioners. A Bankster comes into church, they sit in an empty pew – nobody will get within 10′ of them. Communion? Surely you jest. You want 20% of our income as a tax due to QE2? Fine. You can have it, but you’re cutting your own hair, your own grass, and fixing your own damn car. We won’t rent you an apartment, we won’t quote your new windows or a new roof. In short, we’re going to say “screw you”, and every time we see you on the street, we’re going to say it literally and loudly, just to make sure you understand. If that drives them into isolation, that’s good, not bad. The Amish call it “shunning.” It’s part of your civil rights – you have a right to freedom of association, which includes the right not to associate. Guess what – being a bankster or politician isn’t a protected class.
Look, at this point folks we have a former Chief Underwriter for Citibank who has testified under oath, in written form, that they were knowingly making bad loans to people. It wasn’t an accident, and it wasn’t carelessness – certainly not when they took these knowingly-bad loans and sold them to investors.
Yet people still [do business with the too big to fail banks who have committed massive fraud on America].
Its your dollar.
This nation is yours.
Its currency is yours.
And the actions of these people – Bernanke, Congress and the rest – ultimately only happen because you consent.
Are you going to continue to consent?
Once more, can I ask why? Do you like being screwed? Do you like high taxes – especially illegally-imposed back-door taxes used to fill in the holes in the fraudsters’ balance sheets – the very holes that were created through the process that caused you, or your neighbor, to wind up with a bubble house and an un-affordable mortgage – one that was or will be foreclosed upon?
Let’s assume you refuse to continue to consent.
If you choose to protest, to withdraw consent, and to engage in every lawful act available to you to stop it, when do you consider the job “done” and stop?
That’s up to the politicians, but I’ll put forward my standards for what would be “sufficient” for me to call my job done and stop writing Tickers.
The politicians can choose tomorrow to initiate forensic audits, mark everything to the market, force the bogus loans out into the open and, likely, take these firms into receivership. Detonate the bad debt, renegotiate the loans that are viable and have a lower loss in doing so rather than foreclosing, clear the balance sheets. Break the big banks up, bar the executives from any financial or publicly-traded firm for life. Refer anything crooked found to prosecutors with instructions to not only prosecute but seek forfeiture of all the ill-gotten gains. Impeach Bernanke and make clear, through changes to law if necessary, that “price stability” means just that – we all go to the store seeking mild deflation every day, and we insist that The Fed both stop trying to prevent it and leave those with savings able to earn a decent low-risk return by ceasing their tampering with interest rates and protection of scammers and frauds.
If and when they make that decision, we the people stop, because we will no longer have anything to be ****ed off about.
Until then, we don’t – and if that means that the banksters and politicians wind up with hair down to their ankles, a leaky roof, a broken car and a hundred people waving signs in their faces every time they open their door?
So be it.
Will you step up, or are you going to continue to consent to being assaulted?
And see this.
How can both liberals and conservatives be calling for the same thing – massive protests against the banking elites and their water-carriers in D.C.?
Because that’s what all Americans want.
While the elites have tried to divide and conquer America into a false left-versus-right dichotomy, all Americans want the rule of law to be enforced.
All Americans want the big boys to be held accountable to the same laws that we have to follow.
All Americans want there to be a level playing field so that the little guy has a chance to compete fairly.
For liberals, remember Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi.
For conservatives, this is what Jesus would do: kick the moneychangers out of the temple.
You know it … now act.
We can save America in a week if we follow the call …
Postscript: George Orwell – author of 1984 – pointed out in the Tribune (October 19, 1945), the effectiveness of arms in preventing tyranny partly depends on whether the average citizen can afford the current weapon of choice possessed by the government:
The connection between the discovery of gunpowder and the overthrow of feudalism by the bourgeoisie has been pointed out over and over again. And though I have no doubt exceptions can be brought forward, I think the following rule would be found generally true: that ages in which the dominant weapon is expensive or difficult to make will tend to be ages of despotism, whereas when the dominant weapon is cheap and simple, the common people have a chance. Thus, for example, tanks, battleships and bombing planes are inherently tyrannical weapons, while rifles, muskets, long-bows and hand-grenades are inherently democratic weapons. A complex weapon makes the strong stronger, while a simple weapon–so long as there is no answer to it–gives claws to the weak.
The great age of democracy and of national self-determination was the age of the musket and the rifle. After the invention of the flintlock, and before the invention of the percussion cap, the musket was a fairly efficient weapon, and at the same time so simple that it could be produced almost anywhere. Its combination of qualities made possible the success of the American and French revolutions, and made a popular insurrection a more serious business than it could be in our own day. After the musket came the breech-loading rifle. This was a comparatively complex thing, but it could still be produced in scores of countries, and it was cheap, easily smuggled and economical of ammunition. Even the most backward nation could always get hold of rifles from one source or another, so that Boers, Bulgars, Abyssinians, Moroccans–even Tibetans–could put up a fight for their independence, sometimes with success. But thereafter every development in military technique has favoured the State as against the individual, and the industrialised country as against the backward one …The one thing that might reverse it is the discovery of a weapon–or, to put it more broadly, of a method of fighting–not dependent on huge concentrations of industrial plant.