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Occupy Wall Street: Plan – B

12:58 pm in Uncategorized by David Seaton

Foreclosure is a national tragedy and a relentless drag on economic growth. Jobs can’t be created until demand increases, and demand won’t increase until consumers get out of debt, and housing is the biggest obstacle. If we had healthy institutions, the White House, both parties in Congress, the leaders of the biggest banks, and consumer groups would have sat down together and worked out a solution that keeps millions of people in their homes without wiping their debts completely clean. But we don’t, and so the history of the past few years has been written by Rick Santelli and Occupy Wall Street. George Packer – New Yorker

The big question that people who want to change things have to ask themselves over and over is “what is to be done”. That is the question that OWS must ask itself and answer quickly if it doesn’t want to peter out into irrelevance… something that would be tragic if it were to occur.

The role of OWS is pedagogical, it is about raising awareness, consciousness. This is the terrain of what is known as the “propaganda of the deed“. A practical, non-violent, American illustration of this would be the lunch counter sit-ins and  freedom riders of the Civil Rights Movement, photogenic action which captured the attention of the media daily and soon the imagination and the “hearts and minds” of the American people. These acts were the thin wedge that opened up the conscience and the consciousness of Americans and changed the face of America.

In my opinion the tragedy of mass foreclosures and thousands upon thousands of Americans being evicted from their homes in the midst of the gravest economic crisis since the Great Depression is an issue that has the same transformational potential. Read the rest of this entry →

The magnificent quest for Shinola

11:58 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton

Shinola, take a whiff

Watching the antics of Romney, Santorum, Bachman, Paul, Cain and Perry and contemplating the mere possibility that someone who should only be handled with forceps like Newt Gingrich could now lead a party once led by Abraham Lincoln or Dwight Eisenhower, one gets the feeling that the spirit of the republic is a little like the Bruce Willis character in “The Sixth Sense”, he’s dead but doesn’t know it yet and only one small boy seems to understand the situation… Perhaps the Occupy Wall Street movement is that “small boy”.

In American-Speak someone of little understanding is said to be unable to distinguish between excrement and shoe polish, we say then that he or she “can’t tell shit from Shinola”.  It appears that in the Occupy Wall Street movement, a perhaps critical mass of Americans have taken it upon themselves to investigate the why and the how of the odor coming from the collective “shoe” and have set about to do something about it. Not a moment too soon if the race for the Republican presidential nomination is any sort of a leading olfactory indicator of the nation’s mental health. Read the rest of this entry →

Frank Miller’s rant: a wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends.

11:42 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton

We are cohabiting with a wounded political-economic system that is pouring legitimacy out of its every vein and with every beat of its heart, spurting incoherency from every artery and its heart is beating very fast as it thrashes around. In this company paranoia is a default option.

Paranoia is a home game for the ultra-right, because that is where they live in the flushest times… it is in the times of the disintegration of the most common and garden variety certainties that their message resonates most dangerously…. times like these. To some extent all of us are vulnerable to that message now. Awareness is our best defense.

In trying to get to the heart of any movement’s mentality the art it produces is the most accessible path. Artists exist to reveal just as politicians often exist to conceal. A picture is worth a thousand words: “Socialist Realism” tells you more about the bleak mentality of “Really Existent Socialism” than a hundred “World Peace Conferences” ever could.

Probably the most fertile and creative artist on the American ultra-right is Frank Miller,  the author of endless noir comic books, screenplays and films.  I would say that you could learn more about the American ultra-right and neocon mind set from even  tiny samples of Miller’s prolific production than by a wastepaper basket full of articles and policy papers by such neocon icons as William Kristol, Charles Krauthammer or the American Enterprise Institute. Read the rest of this entry →

Looking on the bright side of life

8:41 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton

“When you’re chewing on life’s gristle

Don’t grumble, give a whistle”

Eric Idle

Things are looking pretty dismal at the moment. The economic situation is the worst in my lifetime, and I was born at the end of WWII.  The bad news comes fast and furious.

When I am subjected to an information overload, I occasionally experience some sort of intuitive flash connected to images, a sudden understanding/epiphany/gestalt.

The other day the Tea Party movement revealed itself to me in a poetic metaphor that put them into a different perspective. Something that although just as grotesque, is at the same time touchingly human in its vulnerability. Read the rest of this entry →

The “Big Lie”… How it works and what it is for

2:53 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton

I am recently arrived here at FDL and thus in the process of introducing myself, so I thought that some new readers might appreciate a little context to see exactly what I mean when I emphasize the importance of the OWS movement.

I consider this highly original political phenomenon,  in essence, as an awakening or “satori” of the American people. I believe it is an American political, social, ethical, moral and one by one personal, awakening from what seemed to me a sort of drug induced slumber of Jacksonian (Michael not Andrew) proportions. With a view to providing that context I am re-posting something I wrote on October 18th 2010. Re-reading it, I find the lineaments of its sinister implications are even more visible now than when I wrote it.  David Seaton

Shortly before leaving for the US to report on the midterm elections, a respected colleague told me that: “Obama’s problem is that he is trying to govern a nation where half the population is insane.” Gideon Rachman – Financial Times

Today lets look at the “big lie”: the art of calling black white and white black and making it stick, how it works and why it works.

I will cut directly to the chase: to me it is obvious that the Tea Party has been evoked, like a political poltergeist, from the shadowy magma of the American earth by people like the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch in order to terrorize moderate Republicans and keep them from moving to the center and cooperating with president Obama in a time of national emergency.

How bad are things?

Maybe even a bit worse than we think they are. Read the rest of this entry →

OWS progress report: the sound of one hand clapping

7:45 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton


Hope where there was cynicism; solidarity where there had been suspicion. The occupations are more effective as a launch pad than a destination. Nobody knows where this is going. It’s just great to be on the move. Gary Younge – The Guardian

Winter is coming and the bitter cold of the island of Manhattan and the NYPD may finally empty Zuccotti park. What has been accomplished by the occupation of Wall Street?

Some people would say little or nothing.

They are totally wrong. Read the rest of this entry →

OWS leaderless? Let a hundred Chomskys bloom!

1:24 pm in Uncategorized by David Seaton

“Give me a place to stand and with a lever I will move the whole world.”


“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”

Rahm Emanuel

How can any movement function without leaders? Dumb question, a much better question would be: how can any movement function with leaders, when all leaders will immediately get purchased with corporate money?

The danger of having a “leader” is staring at us from our TV screens every night: Barack Obama, the enthusiasm he aroused and the paucity of his achievements.

Watching president Obama floundering around in the middle of the biggest financial meltdown since the 1930s after all the expectations he raised, has turned out to be the final proof that the political system is no longer connected in any significant way to the needs of the people… And that is a frightening thought if ever there was one. Read the rest of this entry →

American rebellion: Hey you get offah mah cloud…

10:59 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton

I wrote this back in February of 2010… It still works for me, so I’d like to share it with you here at FDL. DS

Alas and alack, the peasants will never really revolt in this country. We shall have our terrorists in Texas and Utah and such; armed groups who go nuts once in awhile. But the strikes are gone, the unions are dead, and people are drugged by their tvs, pcs, and other toys. (reader comment to a previous post).

The opinion above is one that I am tempted to agree with: that the American way of life with its peculiar mixture of anxiety and banality, has the US population politically gelded. However any temptation to agree dissolves when confronted with the Supreme Court decision to remove all restrictions to corporate “investment” in political campaigns. Obviously our good and the great are sufficiently worried about the temper of the population to take such a drastic step. 

Why the fuss?

As I said before “the natives are restless”.

When I was a kid I worked for some time as a gofer in the movie business and one of my jobs was to handle crowds of extras. I remember one cool trick that I think was invented in the Cinecittá in Rome. It goes like this:  If you have a bunch of extras suited up to play a disgruntled crowd of peasants, you have them all mutter simultaneously the words, “gravel, gravel”. It sounds like this:

gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel, gravel

And since it’s impossible for them to synchronize their gravels, they finally  all sound  mad as hell. Neat huh? I think that is the sound the leadership cadres of our regime are hearing and they want to drown this disturbing noise in corporate money. I can’t overemphasize how valuable it is to watch the film of the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu’s last speech: what you’ll see there is every leader’s worst nightmare… in fact, I’m sure that many very highly respected world leaders have broken into a cold sweat when they watched it. 

Losing the crowd and having it turn on him is a leader’s greatest fear. Leaders are like lion tamers and in democracy the media are their chair and whip. Read the rest of this entry →

The meaning of Liberty Plaza

8:37 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton

Ten years ago we had:

Steve Jobs

Bob Hope


Johnny Cash

Now we’ve got:

No jobs

No hope


No cash

Many “mainstream media” commentators try to minimize the importance of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement because it has no “leaders” and no list of “concrete proposals”. These comments show that those who make them do not understand what is going on in Liberty Plaza and the echoing “Occupy” movements around the country.

They should read the joke that tops this page… it is all there. This joke could be the cry of a generation of young, educated, middle class Americans, just like “Hell no, we won’t go!” was the cry of young, educated, middle class Americans during the war of Vietnam. It has as much pithy truth in it as Muhammad Ali’s, “I ain’t got no quarrel with no Vietcong”.

Young, middle class America feels itself under attack from the system and the system should fear for its safety. Read the rest of this entry →