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Archive for the ‘banksters’ Category

This is a plea from a group of French intellectuals on behalf of the Greek people. The text is aimed at the French intelligentsia, but applies to other countries as well. I’d definitely like to see far more support from the academic class for the European people’s struggle against austerity. Silence is no longer acceptable; if you’re not with the people, you’re with the banksters. We are living in a time when anti-democratic forces are once again loose in Europe, and the time to fight back is now before it’s too late! The original text is here.

“At a time when one Greek youth out of two is unemployed. Where 25,000 homeless wander the streets of Athens. Where 30% of the population has fallen under the poverty line and where millions of families are forced to place their children in the care of someone else in order for them not to die of hunger or cold, where refugees and the new poor compete for trashcans at the public dump, the “saviors” of Greece, under the pretext that “Greece is not trying hard enough”, impose a new aid plan that doubles the lethal administered dose. A plan that abolishes the right to work and reduces the poor to the most extreme misery, at the same time as it makes the middle class disappear.

The goal is not about “saving” Greece. All economists worthy of this name agree on this point. It’s about gaining time in order to save the creditors at the same time it leads the country into deferred collapse. Above all it’s about making a laboratory of social change out of Greece that, in a second generation, will spread throughout all of Europe. The model experimented upon Greece is one where public social services, schools, hospitals, and dispensaries fall into ruin, where health becomes the privilege of the rich, and where vulnerable populations are doomed to a programmed elimination while those who work are condemned to the most extreme conditions of impoverishment and precarity.

But in order for this neo-liberalist offensive to achieve its ends, it is necessary to install a regime established an economy of the most basic democratic rights. Under the injunction of saviors, we see throughout Europe technocratic governments installing themselves with disregard for popular sovereignty. This is a turning point in the parliamentary system where we see the “representatives of the people” giving carte blanche to the experts and bankers, abdicating their supposed decisional power –A kind of parliamentary coup d’etat, which also uses an amplified arsenal against popular protest. Thus, when members have ratified the convention dictated by the troika (the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund), diametrically opposed to the mandate for which they had received power, without any democratic legitimacy, it will have committed to the future of the country for thirty or forty years.

Meanwhile the EU is preparing to establish an account which would be paid directly to aid Greece but only so that it is used for servicing the debt. The revenue of the country should be the “absolute priority” devoted to repay creditors, and, if necessary, paid directly to the account managed by the European Union. The agreement stipulates that any new bond issued under it shall be governed by English law, which involves material guarantees, so that disputes will be adjudicated by the courts of Luxembourg, having Greece waive in advance any rights to appeal against an entry determined by its creditors. To complete the picture, privatization is assigned to a fund managed by the troika, where the title deeds of public goods shall be placed.

In short, it is the widespread looting, characteristic of financial capitalism which here offers itself a really beautiful institutional consecration. To the extent that sellers and buyers sit on the same side of the table, we have no doubt that this enterprise of privatization is a real treat for the buyers. But all the measures taken so far have only dug Greece into deeper sovereign debt. With the help of rescuers who lend at exorbitant rates, it has literally exploded into free fall in approaching 170% of GDP, while in 2009 it represented more than 120%. It is likely that this cohort of rescuers – whenever presented as “final” – had no other purpose than to weaken further still the position of Greece so that, deprived of any opportunity to propose itself the terms of a restructuring, is reduced to yield to all its creditors under the blackmail of “the disaster or austerity.”

The worsening of the artificial and coercive debt problem was used as a weapon to attack an entire society. It is proper that we speak here of terms related to the military: we are indeed dealing with a war conducted by means of finance, politics and law, a class war against society as a whole. And the spoils that the financial class wrestles away from the “enemy”, are the social benefits and democratic rights, but ultimately it is the very possibility of a human life that is taken. The lives of those who do or do not consume enough in terms of profit maximization strategies, should be no longer be preserved.

Thus, the weakness of a country caught between speculation and endless devastating bailouts, is the backdoor through which a new social model erupts conforming to the requirements of neoliberal fundamentalism. A model destined for all Europe and maybe elsewhere. This is the real issue and why defending the Greek people can not be reduced to a gesture of solidarity or abstract humanity: the future of democracy and the fate of European nations are in question. Everywhere the “pressing necessity” of “painful but salutary” austerity will be presented to us as the means to escape the fate of Greece, while it really leads us right into the middle of it.

Up against this attack against society, faced with the destruction of the last pockets of democracy, we call our fellow citizens, our French and European friends to speak loudly. Do not leave the monopoly on speaking to the experts and politicians. Can we remain indifferent to the fact the German and French leaders in particular have requested Greece to be banned from elections? Does the systematic stigmatization and bashing of a European people not deserve a response? Is it possible not to raise ones voice against the institutional assassination of the Greek people? And can we remain silent in front of the establishment of a forced march towards a system that outlaws the very idea of social solidarity?

We are at the point of no return. It is urgent to fight the battle of numbers and the war of words to counter ultra-liberal rhetoric of fear and misinformation. There is urgent need to deconstruct the moral lessons that obscure the actual process at work in society. It becomes more than urgent to demystify the racist insistence on the ” Greek specificity ” that allegedly is the supposed national character of a people (laziness and cunning at will) the root cause of a crisis in global reality. What matters today is not the specifics, whether they are real or imaginary, but the common: the fate of a people that will affect all others.

Numerous technical solutions have been proposed to overcome the alternative of “either the destruction of the society or bankruptcy” (which we see today really means “and the destruction and bankruptcy” of the society). Everything must be brought to the table as food for thought for the construction of another Europe. But first you must report the crime, bring to light the situation in which the Greek people is because of “rescue packages” designed by and for speculators and creditors. When a movement of support is woven around the world, where Internet networks buzz with initiatives of solidarity, are French intellectuals the last to raise their voices for Greece? Without further delay, multiply articles, media appearances, debates, petitions, demonstrations. For any initiative is welcome, any initiative is urgent.

As for us, this is what we propose: quickly move towards the formation of a European community of intellectuals and artists in solidarity with the Greek people in resistance. If we can’t do this, then who will? If we don’t do this now, then when?

Vicky Skoumbi, Editor-in-Chief of the journal, “Alètheia”, Athens, Michel Surya, director of the journal «Lignes», Paris, Dimitris Vergetis, director of the journal, “Alètheia”, Athens. And : Daniel Alvara,Alain Badiou, Jean-Christophe Bailly, Etienne Balibar, Fernanda Bernardo, Barbara Cassin, Bruno Clément, Danielle Cohen-Levinas, Yannick Courtel, Claire Denis, Georges Didi-Huberman, Roberto Esposito, Francesca Isidori, Pierre-Philippe Jandin, Jérôme Lèbre, Jean-Clet Martin, Jean- Luc Nancy, Jacques Rancière, Judith Revel, Elisabeth Rigal, Jacob Rogozinski, Hugo Santiago, Beppe Sebaste, Michèle Sinapi, Enzo Traverso”

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While the mainstream media and the political puppets in Europe keep spewing their crypto-racist propaganda about the “lazy Greeks” who spent more than they could afford and now need to be “saved” by taking away their right to choose their own rulers, it’s sobering to read this article by the investigating journalist Greg Palast, adapted from his new book Vultures’ Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates, and High-Finance Carnivores (2011).

The article elaborates how a small group of American bankers have knowingly and deliberately driven national economies of different countries to the ground since the late 1990s. The story begins when the bankers lobbied the Clinton administration to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999, which allowed the large US banks to start dealing in “derivatives”, that is bets on the future value of assets. Using international organizations such as the World Bank and WTO as their tools, they basically blackmailed smaller nations to lift any restrictions to foreign banks they had in place for their local markets, thus allowing the US banks to dump their “products” that they knew perfectly well included worthless assets to pension funds the world over, causing local banks to collapse and resulting in the destruction of civil societies we can now see in various European countries. And now, of course, the banksters are back for the “fire sale” of national assets, as Palast puts it. There’s really no need to make up any conspiracies about secret societies, this is all happening in broad day light. The most shocking part of the whole story is that the whole scam was carried out in a perfectly legal way. Now if that doesn’t convince you that Western democracy is seriously broken, I don’t know what will.

Of course, these days the bankers no longer even need to actually engage in lobbying to squeeze profits out of the national treasuries now that the European elite has been kind enough to hand the formal ability to set laws straight to the bankers themselves. Really, you couldn’t make this shit up. The complete submissiveness of the political elite to even the most outrageous demands of the bankster gang simply boggles the mind. I have a terrible hunch that if we don’t do something about this madness now, there will come a day when our children will curse us bitterly for our passivity.

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As I wrote earlier, the recent events in European politics have blatantly shown that the elite is no longer even trying to uphold the semblance of democracy in Europe. Further evidence of this has emerged since as in both Greece and Italy new governments were instated without elections. Both new prime ministers have a background in the banking world, and you can bet your cojones that’s no coincidence. The slippery slope towards totalitarianism we’re on just got a helluva lot steeper. Here’s a quote from a good overview of the affair from Jérôme E. Roos:

“Last week, as bond markets rebelled over Papandreou’s unexpected flirtation with democracy, investors panicked and immediately turned their sights on Italy. Within a matter of days, Italy’s borrowing costs soared to the level where Greece, Ireland and Portugal had previously required EU bailouts. But unlike these smaller countries, Italy — the third largest sovereign debtor in the world — is considered both too big to fail and too big to bail.

And so Merkel and Sarkozy, backed by the financial firepower of the IMF and ECB, decided to take radical action. As one official confirmed last week, “we’re on our way to moving out Berlusconi.” Indeed, according to Fraser Nelson, “by last weekend, it was undeniable that an operation to remove Berlusconi had begun.” To begin with, Olli Rehn wrote a letter to the Italian finance minister demanding exact details about the 39 reform measures imposed by the ECB.

Meanwhile, further IMF inspections were announced to step up the pressure, and the ECB deliberately suspended its support by buying up a bare minimum of Italian bonds, all “to send an unmistakable Old Europe message: we have ways of making you quit.” Indeed, within days, the governments of both Greece and Italy had fallen, bringing an ignominious end to Berlusconi’s 17-year domination of Italian politics and the four-decade Papandreou dynasty.

The EU-sponsored coup d’étât is so transparent that even the pro-market Economist now confirms that “the immediate cause of [Papandreou and Berlusconi’s] downfall is plain: the ultimatum they received from euro-zone leaders at the G20 summit in Cannes to reform their economies — or else.” And so, just like NATO forced out Gaddafi, the EU has successfully forced out Berlusconi and Papandreou. If anything, this is the putsch of the century.

[…]

But a coup wouldn’t be a coup if its instigators failed to replace the overthrown tyrant with a puppet of their own. And so France and Germany further stepped up the pressure on the Greek and Italian heads of state. The New York Times cites a former top-ranking Italian government official as saying that Sarkozy and Merkel “privately urged Italy’s President, Giorgio Napolitano, to pick the technocrat, Mr. Monti” to form a new government.

The choice for Mario Monti and Lucas Papademos — both US-trained economists — as the new leaders of Italy and Greece has been justified with the argument that their expertise on financial issues will help them push through the necessary austerity measures and structural reforms to contain the crisis. The idea is to transcend “party  politics” and subject national decision-making to the “rule of experts” with superior knowledge of the issues at hand.

In a ridiculously naive article, the BBC argues that “technocrats, by reputation, competence and experience, can persuade the markets and eurozone leaders that they represent change.” According to Marco Incerti of the Centre for European Policy Studies, “the markets and the international partners of these two countries are looking for concerted answers and determined answers and these can’t be provided by political figures.”

But, as future weeks and months will attest, there is nothing apolitical about having a neoclassical economist as head of government. In the end, as Heather Stewart points out, economic reforms and budget cuts are profoundly political issues, and technocracy is really just a thinly veiled nom de guerre for a much more sinister plot. In fact, the supposedly “neutral” Mario Monti and Lucas Papademos come with strong ideological and financial strings attached.

[…]

The son of a banker, Mr. Monti studied economics at Italy’s elite Bocconi University and at Yale. He sat on the board of multiple large multinationals, was an EU Commissioner, is a high-profile member of the shadowy Bilderberg Group, and serves as Italian Chairman for the Trilateral Commission — a think tank described by Piergiorgio Odifreddi as an “ultra-liberal American, European and Japanese Masonry inspired by David Rockefeller.”

To top the bill, Monti — who has been appointed to solve a crisis that started not in Italy but on Wall Street – still sits on the advisory board of Goldman Sachs. You can’t make this stuff up! To make matters worse, Monti is not the only supposedly neutral technocrat with ties to the “giant vampire squid“. Mario Draghi, the new ECB President, was European President for Goldman at the time it helped Greece obscure its true debt levels to allow it to enter the euro.

Lucas Papademos, meanwhile, is a former Vice-President of the ECB and also sits on the Trilateral Commission. Here, the connection with the ECB is particularly worrisome as the central bank is exposed to Greek debt to the tune of at least 45 billions euros. By planting a former Vice-President at the head of the Greek government, the ECB hopes to ensure that it will actually get all that money back. There is a blatant conflict of loyalties here.

Ultimately, as Richard Morris wrote for the New Statesman, Berlusconi and Papandreou were forced to step down “because the markets thought it would probably be for the best if one of their own was given the chance to run things for a while.” And this is the outcome: an unaccountable clique of bankers taking charge of the crisis. Robert Saviano astutely observed the irony of it all: “It is clear that the markets have succeeded where the electorate, the opposition, the media and intellectuals have not.” “

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I just watched today on YouTube a video of the mock trial of Goldman Sachs that was held at Occupy Wall Street last week. While it’s admittedly tragicomic that we’re now more than three years into the current debt crisis and still nobody responsible (save Bernie Madoff) has gone to jail, as Matt Taibbi pointed out a while ago, I don’t agree with Chris Hedges that the main thing now is to return to the rule of law in finance. I think another quote from David Malone‘s excellent book The Debt Generation (2010) is in order here (I promise to write a review of the book later):

“If Goldman Sachs were to be found guilty¹, the case would no doubt be cited as an ugly ‘bad apple’ story, perpetrated by ‘rogue traders’. It would be a cautionary banker’s tale used to highlight their own horror at such ‘isolated’ bad practice. But, if you look around, it isn’t just a one-off. It’s not a case of one bad apple but more like an infected orchard.

There are currently investigations into the dealings of most of the world’s biggest global accountant firms, who along with the banks they ‘audit’, make up the muscle and sinew of the financial world.

All the investigations point to accountants seemingly blind to the very things they are supposed to be looking for. We see mortgage brokers not properly checking on the real ability of their buyers to pay the mortgage. We see the banks and brokers securitising those loans not properly checking the real quality of those loans. We see the banks’ auditors not properly checking the banks, and we see the ratings agencies not properly checking on the real quality of the securities but stamping almost anything as AAA guaranteed.

What we see are whole chains of people (and it’s people we are talking about here not some faceless automated ‘system’) choosing to ignore the law, and their moral obligation, and instead seize their share of the rotten profit. In many cases the bankers, their accountants and even their regulators are the same people who revolve from one position to another. So it’s not just Goldman Sachs bankers. Not just one bad apple. Not even just one bad tree. What we see is corruption from the roots up to the very top. Any horticulturist will tell you when an orchard is infected you cannot prune or simply remove the odd tree. You have to tear every last tree out by the roots and burn the lot. I’d say this is good and sound advice.

The financial system has become systemically corrupt. It is no longer fit for, or even designed, for the purpose of spreading wealth. It has become a means of looting wealth from those foolish enough to still observe the laws, and transferring it to those who regard themselves as far too clever and superior to have to bother with such trifling niceties.”

The keyword here, I think, is “systematically.” The problem we have is not individual greed or criminality, but a system that engenders and rewards unscrupulous profit-making, and nothing else. In this system laws are not seen as absolute limits but rather as obstacles to be negotiated.

I think the root of the problem is the fact that the financial system has become totally alienated from the real world. In the fantasy land of finance wealth can be created out of thin air and brokers bet on securities like they were race horses. Living in this fantasy land, these people fail to see that their decisions actually have effects on the lives of real people in the real world. Morality means little in a fantasy land. Morality can only arise from being an integral part of a genuine human society.

Nothing in this current financial system is worth salvaging. What we need is a totally new banking system that is wholly owned by the people, outlaws speculation and discourages hoarding of resources. But that’s not enough. We also need to take the production of those goods that are necessary for the sustenance of human societies back from the publicly traded corporations. That’s how we starve the vampire squid.

¹ Malone is referring to the fraud suit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission in April 2010.

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To continue on the theme of debt, I’m reposting here a blog post by David Malone, author of the book The Debt Generation (2010). This is possibly the best description of the current debt crisis I’ve come across. Malone also has a simple solution to offer: a “people’s jubilee” where the people of Europe would simply refuse to pay any debts to the private banks. Of course, the ruling class will never allow something like this to go through so what we need is a pan-European insurrection to end the rule of the bankers. This is an evermore pressing issue now that the Eurozone leaders are once again planning huge bailouts for the banks. Time to put an end to the madness!

This wonderful image by Escher of two hands drawing each other is one of my favourite pieces of modern art.

For me, it is a brilliant visualization of the idea of bootstrapping. Or to put it more loosely, how you get something from nothing. Evolution is an example. From something simple you can get something complex. From chemistry you bootstrap life. From life you evolve consciousness and self awareness and finally Beethoven and Proust. In evolution there is no need for an outside artist. Species, just like the hands, draw each other in to existence.

I have no idea if Escher meant this when he drew the hands but his engraving captures it nevertheless.

The reason I mention this piece of art is because, if you are a particularly stupid species you can reverse this process. All you need do is replace the pencils with rubbers and you have the perfect image of what we are currently doing in our crisis of collective indebtedness.

So for example the Greeks, Spanish, Portuguese and Irish are all erasing themselves in an effort to pay off debt via austerity. Austerity which has so far, failed to reduced the debts but has erased the means by which they had hoped to pay the debts. In each of those countries the economy has shrunk faster than the burden of debts, leaving them worse off than before. Which is why each of them has suffered credit downgrades.

So far so stupid.  What is worse, according to all our leaders and especially all our banks, there is no alternative, no other way out.

I do not think this is true. I suggest an alternative is what we might call a people’s debt jubilee. The idea of a debt jubilee is an old one. I think a collective pan-European, even global, jubilee is worth looking at.

At the moment we are in a funny situation where we may personally regard the situation in Greece, Ireland and Portugal as sad, but we are encouraged nevertheless to see it on a national level, as both just and inevitable because, so we are told, it is a simple story of debtor nations such as Greece, Spain, Ireland and Portugal, owing vast amounts to the creditor nations like France and Germany.

So, we have the Greeks being crucified by ‘austerity’ in order to pay debts their government owes. Their government owes vast amounts of money partly because of debts it incurred through its own borrowing for its own expenditures, but partly also because it took on the private debts incurred by Greek banks.  The combination has proven to be unsupportable. Ditto for the Spanish, Irish and Portuguese. That’s the story of the ‘debtor’ nations.

But in the ‘creditor’ nations we find something at odds with the official debtor/creditor story. For here too, people, ordinary people, in France, Germany and the UK, are also suffering austerity measures. Here the austerity is blamed upon having to bail out the Greeks, or the Irish , Portuguese or Spanish.

The thing to remember here, is, to focus on the German/Greek example, that the German’s aren’t bailing out the Greeks because they love them so much. They are bailing out the Greeks in order that the Greeks can bail out the German banks. The German banks lent so much money to the Greek State (its various state enterprises) and Greek Banks, that if the Greeks don’t pay it all back – the private debts between private banks as well as State debts, then the German banks implode.

So the reality is the German’s aren’t bailing out ‘the Greeks’, they are bailing out private German banks and their private German debt agreements, The same is true of the Irish and British. The British recently ‘helped’ Ireland with a loan most of which will end up in British Banks. The Portuguese bail out will end up in France and Germany by one route or another.

So when we hear or use the phrase ‘German banks are exposed to Greek debt’ or ‘Greek losses’ what this means is that German banks lent money to Greek enterprises and banks and may now not get it back, if the Greeks default.  Which at first hearing sounds like it’s the Greeks fault. They don’t pay. They are at fault.  Fair enough.

The familiar charge is that the Greeks knowingly took on loans they could not pay back because they wanted a life style they could not afford. But if that is true, if the Greeks ‘knowingly’ took on loans they could not afford, then the bankers also must have known.  Unless you are willing to believe that Greek or Portuguese or Irish, bureaucrats and businessmen – thousands of them across Europe – all managed to put, not one over, but hundreds of billions over, on those ‘smartest men in the room’, year after year, – unless you can believe that, then the much simpler alternative is that the bankers knew as well. If they knew then they too are guilty.

The bankers knowingly lent money to people who could not afford to pay it back. And we KNOW THIS IS TRUE.  The various swaps contracts the Greek government entered into with Goldman Sachs and a whole host of the other Big Banks were specifically designed to hide the true extent of the indebtedness of the Greek government. The Banks KNEW, but lent anyway. And they lent to Spain and Portugal and Italy as well as Greece. This will become painfully clear shortly

Thus the real story is that the banks were delighted to lend to the Greek State, its state owned enterprises, its municipalities, its various private banks and its people, way beyond their ability to pay back. This was the bubble of lending, leverage and deferred payments. The bubble was NOT created by ordinary people, or even their national governments, hoodwinking the world’s banks. It was the world’s banks, those in Greece AND Germany and elsewhere, conniving together to lend and spend and lend some more, much more than was wise. The government’s got to strut on the world stage and talk about their economic brilliance and miracle working, the bankers got massive bonuses and the people made hay while the sun of their masters shone down on them.

So if the Greek state ‘should have known better’ and ‘been more prudent’ then so too should the German French, American and British banks who facilitated their profligacy. And yet all the banks in all the  countries have shed their losses on to the public in all their countries. Not only are the Greek people having to suffer austerity to bail out German banks, so are the German people. The Greeks suffer to pay the Germans, while the Germans suffer to bail out the Greeks so they can pay the Germans. Two hands determindly erasing each other, and for what and whose benefit? The Greeks? The Germans? Or the Bankers?

And this is where the idea of a ‘People’s Debt Jubilee’ comes in. At the moment we are told debtor nations are paying creditor nations. Whereas in reality, the people in all nations are paying and suffering, in order to pay the debts of private banks in all the nations. The division isn’t between nation and nation but between the banks and the people of every nation. In every nation austerity is erasing the wealth, vitality and well-being of the people in large part to pay off the private debts incurred by private banks.

The vitality and hopes of people in Greece are being erased to pay German banks and so too are those of people in Germany. The hands are erasing each other.

But imagine if the German people and the Greek people both said we will not repay private debts of German or Greek or any other banks. The obvious objection is that the German banks would die. And so they would.  But the German people would no longer have to pay the massive bail-outs THEY too have been paying. Let’s not forget that the German tax payer has so far payed hundreds of billions to bail out GERMAN banks dwarfing what they have so far paid to Greek banks. On top of which the money they  will give to Greece is FOR THE GERMAN BANKS anyway.

If the German Banks were left to suffer their private losses then neither the Greeks NOR the German people would have to keep bailing them out. And all that public money from the German tax payer and the Greek taxpayer, currenlty being bled from the people of those nations into private banks would be freed to invest in real production and employment, in both countries. Rather than bail out our present, insolvent banks who remain insolvent even after being bailed out, we would all be better off letting them die, and then putting our bailout money in to new, clean and solvent banks.

At the moment two nations are being yoked to pay off the debts and stupid lending decisions of insolvent private German banks. The same is being done in every other nation to pay off someones banks. It is not nation against nation it is banks against people.

If there were a People’s Debt Jubilee, where BOTH the Greek and the German people refussed to pay the private debts of insolvent German banks, then those German banks would die, true enough. But would the German people be worse off than they will be if they continue, along side the Greeks, to bail out those banks? I don’t think we know the answer for sure.  BUT we do have two and a half years of evidence that diverting public money from real investment in productive employment has not created a sustainable recovery. Our present ‘austerity to pay the banker’s debts’ policy is impoverishing us all. It has set the hands erasing each other. Whereas public money spent on investing in real growth and employment, instead of stuffing the bonus pot for a few thousand bankers, would set the hands drawing each other again and stop them from erasing each other.

At the very least I think we should explore the idea of a People’s Debt Jubilee.  Not just defaulting on what we owe to others but declaring that those who owe us, are free of debt as well. I think we would find we would all be better off if we stopped making each other pay off some greedy bankers’ debts.

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This appeal was originated by the French online journal Mediapart. You can read the original text and sign the appeal here. The English translation is by Yours Truly, so if there are any misunderstandings in it, you’ll know who to blame.

“A European appeal against financial dictatorship

An unprecedented crisis exacerbates social inequalities and poverty and leads Europe to an imminent disaster.

We, the citizens of Europe, declare that this crisis is not inevitable as some would have us believe: there are solutions and they must now be imposed by the people. In face of the irresponsibility of the many governments that make their citizens pay for the madness of those truly responsible for the debt crisis, namely the Financial Markets, we appeal for a refusal of the dictatorship of financial speculation and its terrible consequences on our lives.

Current policies lead to an economic impasse.

On pretext of the debt crisis, governments impose everywhere plans to reduce public spending that destroy the institutions that are vital for the common good: schools, hospitals, Justice, Research, Social Security …

After the 2008 crisis, our national and European leaders were strongly committed to limiting the devastating effects of financial speculation: these commitments were not kept! Worse still, the most unbridled speculation was unleashed with impunity, undermining any chance of economic recovery and reducement of unemployment.

We reject finance as a weapon that crushes people to benefit the richest.

Financial institutions must be at the service of the society and the economy, not vice versa. Therefore, we affirm that we must now change politics and the economic model.

We call upon the citizens of European countries to use all democratic and peaceful means at their disposal to impose the following five initiative measures on their governments and European institutions:

  • cancellation of austerity measures;
  • the prohibition of all financial speculation in commercial banks;
  • a substantial tax on financial transactions harmonized at the European level;
  • independent auditing of public debt with a view to their reduction or cancellation;
  • tax reforms to redistribute wealth equitably.

We express our solidarity with all indignants and call for the support, development and bringing together of all the protests at the European level.

To this end, we call to occupy every Sunday, massively and peacefully, the squares of major cities. These gatherings will be repeated weekly as long as the will of the people has not been heard and respected. They are destined to become true citizens’ forums for the recovery of the sovereignty of peoples. Let us take our destiny into our own hands and fight as a common front against the financial dictatorship!

A thousand popular assemblies for a Europe of citizens!

A thousand citizens’ forums against financial dictatorship!”

On a related note, there’s an international “anti-banks” day planned for September 17 with actions being prepared in several cities in the US, Spain and France. And then there’s of course  the “world revolution” day looming on October 15. It looks like the European plazas are going to be busy in the coming months.

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