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Greece: Invasion of the money-snatchers

Read the whole thing for excellent detail on Greece (including charts that disprove the "lazy ni-- Greeks" talking point that European opinion makers are propagating). I want to focus on two paragraphs toward the end. First:

Nassim Nicholas Taleb is the Lebanese-American philosopher who formulated the theory of “Black Swan Events” – unpredictable, unforeseen events which have a huge impact and can only be explained afterwards. Last week, on Newsnight, he was asked by Jeremy Paxman whether the people taking to the streets in Athens was a Black Swan Event. He replied: “No. The real Black Swan Event is that people are not rioting against the banks in London and New York.”

Well, what are they doing, then?

I have never been more desperate to explain and more hopeful for your understanding of any single fact than this: The protests in Greece concern all of you directly.

What is going on in Athens at the moment is resistance against an invasion; an invasion as brutal as that against Poland in 1939. The invading army wears suits instead of uniforms and holds laptops instead of guns, but make no mistake – the attack on our sovereignty is as violent and thorough. Private wealth interests are dictating policy to a sovereign nation, which is expressly and directly against its national interest. Ignore it at your peril. Say to yourselves, if you wish, that perhaps it will stop there. That perhaps the bailiffs will not go after the Portugal and Ireland next. And then Spain and the UK. But it is already beginning to happen. This is why you cannot afford to ignore these events. ....

Finally, we have woken up and taken to the streets. My sister tells me that what is happening in Syntagma Square is beautiful; filled with hope; gloriously democratic. A totally bi-partisan [Ha; this desire is what Obama perverted and tried to destroy] crowd of hundreds of thousands of people have occupied the area in front of our Parliament. They share what little food and drink there is. A microphone stands in the middle, on which anyone can speak for two minutes at a time – even propose things which are voted by a show of thumbs. Citizenship [#174].

This -- _____ Square -- is the black swan event. We need to take account of it, include it in the narrative, because it's a new thing on the face of the earth. Whatever these new forms are, they might not "work." But then -- speaking only of the social and cultural contexts that I know -- having revolutionary romantics throwing bricks through their local Starbucks window hasn't "worked" for the past few years. And revolutionary vanguards playing the "leading role" didn't "work" real well in the twentieth century (except to re-create the same old boss, except worse).

Money is a commodity, invented to help people by facilitating transactions. It is not wealth in itself. Wealth is natural resources, water, food, land, education, skill, spirit, ingenuity, art. In those terms, the people of Greece are no poorer than they were two years ago. Neither are the people of Spain or Ireland or the UK. And yet, we are all being put through various levels of suffering, in order for numbers (representing money which never existed) to be transferred from one column of a spreadsheet to another.

This is why the matter concerns you directly. Because this is a battle between our right to self-determine, to demand a new political process, to be sovereign, and private corporate interests which appear determined to treat us like a herd, which only exists for their benefit. It is the battle against a system which ensures that those who fuck up, are never those that are punished – it is always the poorest, the most decent, the most hard-working that bear the brunt. The Greeks have said “Enough is enough”. What do you say?

I hope we are starting to say it.

I'd also like to circle back and comment that it couldn't be more clear from Taleb's comment that the elite wants violence, is prepared for violence, expects violence, desires violence. After all, it's what they do, and they are experts in all forms of it. Why anybody would want to fight the enemy by attacking them at their strongest point is beyond me, but perhaps it is better to fail gloriously, rather like the charge of the light brigade, than to patiently think through what success would look like and how to achieve it, which is what the people in Syntagma Square are doing.

NOTE Via European Revolution.

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malagodi's picture
Submitted by malagodi on

Nice post, good editing. I'll go read the whole thing now.

About the violence thing. Your point is exactly right, but that is not to say there will not be violence. There will be violence. Every state is a police state and we humans are, by nature, the most violent species on Earth.

There is a point, whether wise or not, when someone will say, as Mandela did, that "There are thousands of people who feel that it is useless and futile for us to continue talking peace and non-violence — against a government whose only reply is savage attacks on an unarmed and defenceless people. And I think the time has come for us to consider, in the light of our experiences at this day at home, whether the methods which we have applied so far are adequate."

Again, there are many who argue that this was a tragic and strategic mistake. It is impossible to know. What appears to be happening now, which wasn't really possible in 1961 when Mandela said that, is the moral cost of violence amplified by the internet. John Cage said once ~with a smile, I'm sure~ that governments would be embarrassed out of existence. That is rather what we see happening; it is proving impossible for governments to massacre their people and get away with it ~ as long as those massacres are visible.