So if Bernanke (FED) says “he did not see it coming” – it is either a lie – or it means the finance-sector and politicians are soooo arrogant and deteched from the rest 99% and blind-eyed on every eye. This is very unlikely – so i go for the first (it is a lie) with a little mix of massive arrogance and miss-management. But let us remember – the FED was FOUNDED (largely a JP Morgan production) in order to AVOID FURTHER FINANCIAL CRISIS – that probably was also a lie.

to me this seems like a scheme… banks generate money when giving a loan e.g. for a mortgage for housing… they even lend money between banks to generate more checkbook-money… after a collapse you can go on shopping tour… and buy things cheap and wait for it to gain value again. it is basically a massive nation or even world-wide fraud.

I guess the FED (which seemed to be owned by private Wall-street banks?) was very well aware what was going on.

You can surely laugh at those who were stupid enough to believe your lies – but one thing is ultimately lost – trust.

And without trust – nothing works – no cooperation between humans will be possible – so money will actually stop working. Thanks god.

Ben Shalom Bernanke (American people of Ukrainian-Jewish descent)

“8 Million jobs lost by 2008 subprime housing bubble crisis” … “good job” FED for “stabilizing” the financial system… massive failure i would say. “Small businesses are not seeking or qualifying for credit”

It is very funny that the ECB is doing the EXCATLY same thing as the FED does. 1:1 copy. Bernanke was not Goldman Sachs – Mario Draghi (ECB) was.

Do Central Bankers Know a Bubble When They See One?

Tags The FedMoney and BanksMoney and Banking

19 hours ago

Between 2000 and 2008, two of the largest financial bubbles in history — in technology stocks and housing, respectively — suffered spectacular collapses. Opinions vary, but some market commentators believe at the peak of the tech bubble, total stock market capitalization exceeded 180% of US GDP. To put this in perspective, the tech stock bubble was over twice the size of the 1920s stock bubble!1 As large as the bubble in tech stocks was, it was child’s play compared to the housing bubble. When the US housing bubble collapsed, the credit losses were so large the entire worldwide banking system was considered to be in mortal danger.

One of the primary justifications behind the 1913 founding of the Fed was to prevent financial crises. Logic then dictates if a major motivation behind forming a central bank is the prevention of a financial crisis, then a financial crisis that breaks out under the nose of a central bank must be due — at least in part — to mistakes of that bank. The Fed’s mistakes and its subsequent leading role in causing the housing bubble will be seen by reviewing speeches given by Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke that praised the housing bubble era Fed. In addition, a review of statements made in the wake of the tech bubble’s collapse will reveal senior Fed officials taking positions diametrically opposed to positions Alan Greenspan claimed formed the basis for the Fed’s policy toward bubbles, namely, allowing bubbles to burst and dealing with the consequences later.

From its March 2000 peak to its October 2002 bottom the NASDAQ declined 80%. Throughout the 1990s no one cheered on the “new economy” more than the “maestro,” Alan Greenspan. After the bubble collapsed, Greenspan recognized a need to explain his and the Fed’s actions while the tech bubble grew. In August 2002 Greenspan gave a speech at the Fed’s conference in Jackson Hole. In this speech, which Jim Grant called “self-exculpating revisionism,”2  Greenspan offered this rationale for the Fed’s actions during the late 1990s:

The struggle to understand developments in the economy and financial markets since the mid-1990s has been particularly challenging for monetary policymakers. … We at the Federal Reserve considered a number of issues related to asset bubbles — that is, surges in prices of assets to unsustainable levels. As events evolved, we recognized that, despite our suspicions, it was very difficult to definitively identify a bubble until after the fact — that is, when it’s bursting confirmed its existence.

Less than two years later, in January 2004, Greenspan would congratulate himself on the apparent success of the Fed’s strategy. In doing so he would expose the Fed’s role in creating the far more ruinous housing bubble.

There appears to be enough evidence, at least tentatively, to conclude that our strategy of addressing the bubble’s consequences rather than the bubble itself has been successful. … As I discuss later, much of the ability of the U.S. economy to absorb these sequences of shocks resulted from notably improved structural flexibility. But highly aggressive monetary ease was doubtless also a significant contributor to stability.3

The “monetary ease” — slashing interest rates — Greenspan was taking credit for here was not helping the economy heal. Instead it was fueling an enormous bubble in housing whose negative consequences can best be described as world-altering.

One month later, in February, Greenspan’s partner in criminal economic ignorance, The Great Moderation Remarks by Governor Ben S. Bernanke At the meetings of the Eastern Economic Association Washington DC February 20 2004 r040301f.” In this speech Bernanke would, unknowingly, provide further evidence of the Fed’s enormous role in fueling the housing bubble. Bernanke claimed the Fed’s monetary policy was a source of stability and helped to reduce variations in economic output.

The irony in giving this speech at this time should not be lost.

Bernanke’s speech, like Greenspan’s, betrays a total ignorance of the enormous housing bubble that was only a few weeks from peaking.

(Homeownership peaked in April 2004!) With just these two speeches, the criminal incompetence of the Greenspan/Bernanke and the leading causal role the Fed played in the housing bubble are demonstrated.

The Fed’s bubble befuddlement was not limited to a few speeches. For years on end Fed officials would take positions in contradiction to those established by Greenspan in his Jackson Hole, Wyoming, speech. For example, in July 2005 and in his capacity as head of the president’s council of economic advisors, Ben Bernanke was asked on CNBC if there was a housing bubble. He does not answer by saying bubbles can’t be seen until after they burst. Instead he says the following:

Well, I guess I don’t buy your premise. It’s a pretty unlikely possibility. We’ve never had a decline in housing prices on a nationwide basis, so what I think is more likely is house prices will slow, maybe stabilize, might slow consumption spending a bit. I don’t think it will drive the economy from its full employment path.

Later in October 2005, other Fed officials would also contradict Greenspan’s Jackson Hole speech. By then, homeownership had already peaked and the bubble had started to collapse. Amazingly,  two Fed economists investigated if there was a housing bubble. They — erroneously, of course — concluded home prices are high but not out of line.4 Obviously, if Fed officials were investigating to see if a housing bubble existed, then they believed it could be observed without first having to collapse.

Often, the most damning indictments of the bubble-era Fed come from other Fed officials. The most loquacious of these officials is current St. Louis Fed president James Bullard. Among the truths Bullard accidently exposed was the one concerning the obvious nature of the recent stock and housing bubbles. In a September 2013 interview Bullard said, The bubbles we had in the past were gigantic and obvious.5 Later, in a November 2013 interview, he said the housing and tech bubbles were blindingly obvious.”6

Amazingly, Alan Greenspan would eventually completely contradict Greenspan! Here is “Mr. Chairman,” as CNBC lovingly refers to him, discussing the Lehman Brothers failure in October 2013, “We missed the timing badly on September 15th, 2008 [the day Lehman Brothers went bankrupt]. All of us knew there was a bubble.”7 So which is it Mr. Chairman? Can bubbles be “obvious” or something “everyone knew” to exist before they pop — as you indicate here — or do you have to wait until after they pop to confirm their existence as you said in Jackson Hole?

Our brief review here demonstrates both the leading role the Fed played in creating the housing bubble — the January and February 2004 speeches — and the many mutually exclusive positions the Fed took on bubbles. In spite of being exposed in what is either a self-exculpating lie (the claim that bubbles can only be seen after they burst) or a sign of gross incompetence (the failure to see two of the largest financial bubbles in history), no Fed official has ever been asked to explain or rationalize the Fed’s contradictory positions on bubbles. Whether anyone from the Fed is ever forced to do so or not, it is obvious the Fed has much to answer for concerning all the economic hardships their bubble befuddlement has caused.

  • 1. Marc Faber, “The Monetization of the American Economy,”, January 16, 2002
  • 2. Jim Grant, Mr. Market Miscalculates (Mt. Jackson, Va.: Axios Press, 2008), pp. 241.
  • 3. “Risk and Uncertainty in Monetary Policy”, Remarks by Chairman Alan Greenspan at the Meetings of the American Economic Association, San Diego, California, January 03, 2004.
  • 4. Jonathan McCarthy and Richard W. Peach, “Is there a Bubble in the Housing Market Now?” Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 2005.
  • 5. Steven C. Johnson, “Fed Need Not Rush to Taper While Inflation is Low,” September 20, 2013, CNBC,
  • 6. Matthew J. Belvedere, “Fed’s Bullard: $1-trillion a year QE pace torrid,” CNBC,
  • 7. Matthew J. Belvedere, “Bubbles and leverage cause crisis: Alan Greenspan,” October 23, 2013 CNBC,


Orwell On Totalitarianism

And I believe that totalitarianism, if not fought against, could triumph again.
-George Orwell

Mankind and the individuals that comprise it, conscious of it or not, are in a constant pursuit of something: happiness, perfection, wealth, or popularity. Yet there is something, a more worthy, substantial pursuit that is common amongst many others: the relentless pursuit of what he believes to be a certain TRUTH that exists. Perhaps one of the most dedicated of these people in his attempts to seek out and expose the truth is writer Eric Arthur Blair, (Nom de plume: George Orwell) particularly in his novel 1984. In order to understand Orwell’s political opinions, platforms and his desire to unveil the truth about certain governments, we must analyse his past: his experience in Burma, Spain, and England. It was through these experiences that involved propaganda and totalitarian regimes that Orwell came to develop his views on sovereignties which he later compiled in his satirical novel 1984. Though this allegorical story has an interesting “surface” tale, it must be analysed on a deeper level in order to fully understand the author’s purpose. It is through a more intense investigation of the novel that the reader comes to recognize 1984’s verisimilitude. It has become apparent that 1984 is not an anachronistic representation of a past totalitarian society; it has becomes a timeless book whose characters, lessons, and themes can be seen in the year 1996.

Orwell was born in India in 1903, his father working for the Civil Service at a time when England’s imperialism was peaking. At the age of fourteen Orwell entered Eton School in England. It was at Eton that Orwell first became exposed to totalitarian leadership under the watchful eyes of his schoolmasters who “used kicks and caresses to keep the boys in line.” Once graduated from Eton, Orwell decided to work for the British Government in Burma as a member of the Imperial Police. There Orwell was exposed to many executions and other developments that resulted under imperial rule. It was at this points that Orwell “had already made up his mind that imperialism was an evil thing.” Therefore Burma was seen as a point of change for Orwell: in Burma Orwell established a hatred for the superimposition of the British Government upon the Burmese. Yet while this developed Orwell’s opinion of such governments, his experience in Burma was only the beginning of what would come to be an extensive political resumé of experience.

Following his work in Burma, Orwell felt “obligated to expose the truth,” as he had fully come to recognize that “totalitarianism was a basic evil.” His further experience strengthened his opinions. After returning from Burma, Orwell wasted away as a poor beggar for several years and then went to Spain to fight in the Spanish Civil War. In part, it is believed that this was done because Orwell felt indebted to the world for his actions in Burma. To “equal” himself with others, he felt it necessary to “reduce” himself on a social level. Moreover, Orwell wished for an experience where he was considered to be a commoner, since the class system in England was far too restrictive for this to happen. Orwell himself said: “the class system- it hit you like a stone wall.” In Spain Orwell fought with the Republicans and there recognized that it was “impossible to fight for any side without recognizing it as an unjustifiable tyranny.” While Orwell had originally thought that Spain would be a rejuvenating experience, he quickly came to learn that even the side he was fighting for was in arms with itself. That is, the Americans, British, and Communists fighting Fascism were themselves in dispute. It was as a result of Orwell’s dissatisfaction in this incident that he almost came to be slain by a group of Communists. In Spain Orwell suffered injuries and later returned to England where he worked for the BBC. Concurrently the Second World War was under way, and Orwell familiarised himself with the Russian situation. Having just felt the frustration of the Spanish War, Orwell was once again outraged that the Russians as a people and the rest of the World were not truly recognising Stalin’s oppressive ruling. He took the stage and pointed out the truth. The fact was that little was known about Russian life behind the iron curtain: information was limited to government agency reports that only published the good news while inside sources mysteriously contradicted one another. It was as a result of these experiences that Orwell came to develop his views as expressed in the novel 1984 and Animal Farm.

Through his political experience, Orwell was not only inspired to write, but he made his goal in writing to reveal the faults of a totalitarian system:

“Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for socialism, as I understand it.”

And so, the world was given 1984 and Animal Farm where Orwell criticized the totalitarian governments of the world for their platforms. Collectively, his works came to reject the governments which sought a utopia that Orwell had, at an early age, recognised to be impossible to achieve. It was through his writing that this ultimate prophesy was established. Orwell matured as an experienced man whose young and adult exposure had opened his eyes to multitude of political clashes. It was through these trials in Burma, Russia, and Spain that Orwell began to develop a disapproval for totalitarian ruling forces and an admiration for socialism. Moreover, through leaders such as Russia’s Stalin, identified as “the greatest,” Orwell found many flaws. Consequently Orwell set on a mission to expose the truth to the world; to save it’s countries from futile attempts to create utopian states far too idealistic to be reality. In his life and work, Orwell was truly dedicated to being a beacon of light in the totalitarian night!

Rudy Sedlak
14 December, 1996


“Breaking through power” – “repair democracy” – build a lobby for the 99% – 1000 people in every election-district should form a committee – rent a town-hall – print posters and announce that their man of congress will come – then informing the office of the congressmen 😀 that he/she is expected to come.

BREAKING THROUGH POWER – It’s Easier than You Think – Ralph Nader Excerpt.pdf

Open Media Series | City Lights BooksCopyright © 2016 by Ralph Nader

Open Media Series Editor: Greg Ruggiero

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Names: Nader, Ralph, author.

Description: San Francisco : City Lights Publishers, 2016. | Series: City lights open media
Identifiers: LCCN 2016008227 | ISBN 9780872867055 (paperback)

Subjects: LCSH: Democracy—United States. | Communities—United
States. | Power (Social sciences)—United States. | Wealth—United States. | Social justice—United States. | BISAC: POLITICAL SCIENCE / Economic
Conditions. | POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Democracy. | POLITICAL SCIENCE / Civics & Citizenship. | POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public
Policy / Economic Policy.
Classification: LCC JC423 .N245 2016 | DDC 322.40973—dc23
LC record available at
City Lights Books are published at the City Lights Bookstore
261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133

Plutocracy of Maximums, Democracy of Minimums 11
To Organize Is to Initiate Resistance and Change 25
How the System Is Rigged 53
Why Democracy Works 93
Endnotes 151
Index 157
About the Author 163

When I was a student at Princeton University I learned from
my anthropology studies that the concentration of power in
the hands of the few is common to all cultures, societies, na-
tions, tribes, cities, towns, and villages. Even where the thirst
for self-governance and democracy is strong, as was the case
in New England towns before the American Revolution
against King George III, wealthy Tories were there too. In
Central and Western Massachusetts, the farmers used the
term “the River Gods” to describe the rich merchants using
the Connecticut River as a profitable trading route. These
days, most people protesting for economic justice use the
term “the One Percent” to describe the ultra-small group of
people who wield enormous influence over our society today.
There is something about the differences in skill, deter-
mination, lineage, avarice, and pure luck that stratifies most
people from the rulers who dominate them. In the political
realm, the few become dominant because they hoard wealth
and are driven to exercise power over others. When a small
group of people rules a society the political system is consid-
ered an oligarchy; when only money and wealth determine

1112 | b r e a k i n g t h r o u g h p o w e r

how a society is controlled, the political system is a plutoc-
racy. From the standpoint of a democratic society, both oli-
garchy and plutocracy are inherently unjust and corrupt.
Of course there are variations in the degrees of authori-
tarianism and cruelty that each system exercises over the com-
munities it relies upon for workers and wealth. Scholars have
resorted to using phrases like “benign dictatorships” or “wise
rulers” or “paternalistic hierarchies—” to describe lighter
touches by those few who impose their rule over the many.
Thomas Paine simply called them tyrannies. People, families,
and communities can only take so much abuse before they rise
up to resist. The job of the rulers is always to find that line and
provide the lowest level of pay, security, housing, consumer
protection, healthcare, and political access for society so that
they can extract and hoard the greatest amount of wealth, pow-
er, and immunity from justice for themselves. In many ways,
the majority of Americans live in a democracy of minimums,
while the privileged few enjoy a plutocracy of maximums.
This small volume is not just about the ravages of pow-
er or the assaults against disadvantaged and downtrodden
communities. The subject here is the dominating influence
of the One Percent in business, politics, health, education,
and society as a whole. Over the past fifty years, Americans
have suffered the relentless commercialization of everyday
life—their privacy and their childhoods, their parks and pris-
ons, their public budgets and foreign policy, their schools
and religious institutions, their elections and governments,
and the most basic societal institution of them all: the family.
Consider all the family functions that have been out-
sourced to business.

Eating, cleaning, childcare, counseling, therapy, entertainment, sports, lawn work, simple repairs,
have been increasingly commercialized, commodified, pack-
aged, and marketed back to us as products of luxury and
convenience. Even mother’s breast milk has been displaced
by infant formula.
In a plutocracy, commercialism dominates far beyond
the realm of economics and business; everything is for sale,
and money is power. But in an authentic democracy, there
must be commercial-free zones where the power of human
rights, citizenship, community, equality, and justice are free
from the corrupting influence of money. Our elections and
our governments should be such commercial-free zones;
our environment, air, and water should never fall under the
control of corporations or private owners. Children should
not be programmed by a huckstering economy where their
vulnerable consciousness becomes the target of relentless
corporate marketing and advertising.
American history demonstrates that whenever com-
merce dominates all aspects of national life, a host of ills
and atrocities have not just festered and spread, but become
normal—enslavement, land grabs, war, ethnic cleansing,
serfdom, child labor, abusive working conditions, corrupt
political systems, environmental contamination, and im-
munity from the law for the privileged few. History also
shows that whenever there have been periods when enough
of the country organizes and resists, we see movements of
people and communities breaking through power. Progress
is made. Rights are won. Education and literacy increase.
Oppression is diminished. It was in this manner that people
of conscience abolished the living nightmare imposed by

14 | b r e a k i n g t h r o u g h p o w e r

the laws and whips of white enslavers. The nation moved
closer to promises of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Hap-
piness” expressed in the Declaration of Independence. We
won more control over our work, our food, our land, our air,
and our water. Women secured the right to vote. Civil rights
were elevated and enforced. Public schools, improved envi-
ronments, workplace collective bargaining, and consumer
protections did not spontaneously evolve; they were won by
people demanding them and breaking through power.
These moments of great progress are expressed in
terms of new legislation, regulations, and judicial decisions
that directly benefit the life, liberties, and pursuit of hap-
piness of most Americans. From the abolition of slavery to
the introduction of seat belts, great social gains have been
achieved when people mobilize, organize, and resist the
power of the few. The problem is that these liberating peri-
ods of humanitarian and civilizational progress are of shorter
duration than the relentless commercial counterforces that
discourage and disrupt social movements and their networks
of support. Some commentators have used the bizarre term
“justice fatigue” to describe the pullback that often occurs
when communities of resistance are faced with increased
surveillance, infiltration, harassment, and arrest. A more ac-
curate term is repression.
My sister, Laura Nader, Professor of Anthropology at
the University of California, Berkeley, encourages her stu-
dents to study and compare how other cultures develop and
improve their collective “common good.” An illuminating
comparison on a giant scale, for example, could be made be-
tween how the United States and our European allies and enemies developed after World War II.

Maybe the difference
in directions came from the complacency of the American
victors, flush with “full employment” after a severe economic
depression, in contrast to the motivation of Europe’s surviv-
ing middle class, to return to a better life. In any event, a des-
titute France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, and Austria
and the damaged Britain and Scandinavian nations took their
traditions of strong labor unions, multi-party systems, and
large co-ops to a level of productive social democracy that
continues to shame the corporate-dominated, two-party tyr-
anny that passes itself off for democracy in the United States.
Granted, these war-weary countries had their own plu-
tocracies, their own One Percent, but those ruling elites
were successfully kept in check by the rest of society, not the
other way around as is the case today in the United States.
This combination of factors, coupled with a hungry, impov-
erished population thirsting for a decent livelihood, raised
the critical expectation level that drove the momentum for
far-reaching social progress. In this manner, people in most
Western European nations granted themselves important
accommodations such as affordable universal healthcare,
tuition-free higher education, bountiful private pensions,
powerful job-protection laws, four weeks or more paid vaca-
tions, accommodating public transit, paid family sick leave,
paid maternity leave, and free child care. People in the Unit-
ed States today, with the exception of some of those protect-
ed by labor unions, have permitted the wealthy class to deny
them these benefits, allowing their taxes for example, to be
spent on what is, by far, the world’s biggest military budget
and an ultra-invasive national surveillance system that allows

16 | b r e a k i n g t h r o u g h p o w e r

the government to violate their privacy. People in Europe
insist that their taxes be spent to enrich the health, education
and well-being of the entire population, not just those with
extreme wealth, so there is less grumbling. Some European
communities even calibrate fines and fees based on income.
People in Finland, for example, charge fines according to
income level so that the financial sting is experienced more
equally. As a result, a wealthy Finnish businessman recently
found himself with a speeding ticket in the amount of about
$58,000 (54,024 euros) “for traveling a modest, if illegal, 64
miles per hour in a 50 m.p.h. zone.” 1
Our country, which brags constantly about being num-
ber one in just about everything, managed to tie itself into
knots after World War II. In 1947, a Republican Congress
passed the notorious Taft-Hartley Act that handcuffed
workers from forming new labor unions or expanding the
ones that already existed. In 1948 the two-party duopoly
smeared and suppressed the pro-labor efforts by the Pro-
gressive Party and its presidential candidate, former Vice
President (under Franklin Delano Roosevelt) Henry Wal-
lace. This was followed by more onerous restrictions on
state ballot access and exclusions of third parties, enacted by
both the Republicans and Democrats, that further stunted
competitive choices of candidates and agendas. Today both
parties increasingly represent the interests of big money, not
the interests of the people, for it is big money that bankrolls
their multi-million dollar election campaigns.
Almost as quickly as they emerged, radio and television
stations in the United States conglomerated into big busi-
nesses beholden to the money and influence of their adver-
tisers. While the Europeans devoted their post-war budgets
to expanding public works, improving public facilities, social
services, parks, and the arts, the United States squeezed ci-
vilian resources and channeled them into military budgets
that drove the Cold War. It was not for nothing that Presi-
dent Eisenhower’s farewell speech in 1961 is remembered
most for warning about the many damaging effects, on both
the economy and our freedom, of a burgeoning “military-
industrial complex.” His original draft contained the phrase
“military-industrial-congressional complex” which was ed-
ited down to avoid alienating the members of Congress who
could have actually done something to confront this deep-
ening omnivorous crisis.
Concentrated power in the hands of the few really
should matter to you. It matters to you if you are denied full-
time gainful employment or paid poverty wages and there are
no unions to defend your interests. It matters to you if you’re
denied affordable health care. It matters to you if you’re
gouged by the drug industry and your medication is outra-
geously expensive. It matters to you if it takes a long time to
get to and from work due to lack of good public transit or
packed highways. It matters to you if you and your children
live in impoverished areas and have to breath dirtier air and
drink polluted water and live in housing that is neglected by
your landlord. It matters to you if your children are receiving
a substandard education in understaffed schools where they
are being taught to obey rather than to question, think and
imagine, especially in regards to the nature of power.
If you’re a little better off, it matters to you when your
home is unfairly threatened with foreclosure. It matters to

18 | b r e a k i n g t h r o u g h p o w e r

you when the nation is economically destabilized due to
Wall Street’s crimes, and your retirement account evapo-
rates overnight. It matters to you if you can’t pay off your
large student loans, or if you can’t get out from under crush-
ing credit-card debt or enormous medical bills due to being
under-insured. It matters to you if you are constantly wor-
ried about the security of your job, or the costly care of your
children and elderly parents.
Increasing numbers of people in this country are liv-
ing in a precarious and diminished democracy of minimums
because we have collectively enabled the wealthy few to cre-
ate for themselves a plutocracy of maximums. According
to Oxfam, “runaway inequality has created a world where
62 people own as much as the poorest half of the world’s
population.” 2 Oxfam advocates cracking down on tax dodg-
ing, and promotes increasing investment in public services
and increasing the income of the lowest-paid workers in our
society as important first steps in addressing the shameful
disparity in wealth.
How many tens of millions of Americans live oppressed
by an inadequate minimum wage, minimum housing secu-
rity, minimum healthcare, minimum access to quality ed-
ucation, minimum access to participation in the political
process or use of our courts, minimal access to quality air,
food and water, and minimum protection from abuse by
corporations? How much more should we take before we
start refusing to live this way, with our rights, security, and
well-being taken away by the One Percent and often mar-
keted back to us as luxuries we cannot afford?
Back in the Great Depression, the brilliant British
economist John Maynard Keynes wrote that modern societ-
ies were reaching levels of production that would allow for
solving what he called “the economic problem” of impover-
ishment. Since 1900, American productivity per capita has
increased twenty-fold, adjusted for inflation. Why then is
one in six people in the United States seriously impover-
ished, and why are nearly half of those employed the work-
ing poor? The general answer is because “the power of the
plutocracy” impoverishes them. Most material gains and re-
sources are diverted away from benefitting society as a whole
and are hoarded to advantage the economic growth of the
few, or diverted into counter-productive activities such as
war, overloaded prisons, surveillance, wasteful promotions,
and commercialization of all aspects of our lives.
In the 1950s, at Harvard Law School, the faculty pur-
ported to teach us “the law.” We did not spend much time
on the “lawlessness” of the rich and powerful (there wasn’t
even a single course or seminar on corporate crime), nor on
how the powerful always intricately wrote and passed laws
(containing legal loopholes, tax escapes, or corporate subsi-
dies) that became predatory instruments against the general
public. More broadly, we, the future leaders of the legal pro-
fession, lacked strenuous instruction about how those with
raw power overwhelm the law, not just once in a while, but
often enough to warrant calling this domination “power-
law”—the twisted law of those in command of the powerful
industries, their lobbying associations, and the corporate at-
torneys who prey upon the people, families, and commu-
nities that compose this nation. The effect has been—and
continues to be—that, as Catherine Rampell recently wrote

20 | b r e a k i n g t h r o u g h p o w e r

in the New York Times, “wealth has become more concen-
trated, in the hands (and bank accounts and houses) of the
richest Americans.” 3 Put more simply, the rich get richer
while the rest of the country suffers.
By now, you might be wondering why in the world most
seasoned law professors ignore such obvious realities. They
must know that powerlaw is not restricted to lawlessness
by police, the criminal courts, and the prisons. Many of my
teachers had spent time working as government attorneys at
regulatory agencies or the Justice Department, in addition
to working with corporate law firms shaping and immuniz-
ing powerlaws for their lucrative corporate clients and busi-
ness executives. What’s going on here? Well, law schools are
not driven by kindness or the common good; they are driven
by the market and its pursuit of profit. Their curricula, with
exceptions, focus on training most law students for lucra-
tive corporate law practice. True, there are wonderful law
school-based clinics charitably serving impoverished com-
munities, but after graduation, debt-burdened law gradu-
ates mostly head for commercial practices. There they apply
powerlaw and power-procedures against whatever rivals or
adversaries their wealthy clients hire them to over-run. Citi-
zens and communities underestimate the creative power of
the corporate law firms who shun publicity as they irrespon-
sibly protect the extreme misbehavior of the ultra-rich who
hire them. The power of these ultra-rich, their attorneys,
their media, and the influence their money buys constitute
the core of plutocracy in the United States today.
Perpetual plutocracy-serving economic growth and the
hoarding of wealth and power are not easy tasks in societies
that claim to be democracies. Once in operation, political
systems that become plutocracies come to view the power
of citizens, communities, and the public interest mission of
democracy itself as potential threats. Even when you’re not
consciously standing up to them, you are—collectively and
individually—their adversaries. People running companies
aim for their kind of endless economic growth by getting
you to sign on the dotted line, click on “I Agree,” succumb
to their marketing ploys, and buy into their vapid com-
mercial culture. They also invest heavily in obstructing you
from using your full power as citizens armed with rights,
privileges, and resources available to keep them, and others
with authority, in check. For big corporations like Walmart,
McDonald’s, and Target, the big banks, credit card compa-
nies, and insurance companies, this penchant for control has
worked to their advantage, assuming no one makes waves
from outside their ring of domination. Thus power has con-
centrated in both Western Europe and the United States,
but it has also been responsive to the organized interests of
the people in dramatically different ways.
But what happens when people use their civil rights to
demand more from the system? What happens, for exam-
ple, when people peacefully picket in front of their places
of work, on their lunch hour, for a higher minimum wage?
What happens when other workers from other places show
up too in order to express solidarity and defend those on the
picket line from retaliation? What happens if these dem-
onstrations become more frequent, and begin occurring in
front of giant retail chains and involve an ever-increasing
number of people? What happens if this begins to catch the

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attention of the local and national media, and the cause of
the people picketing resonates with the conscience of the
larger community? This is what happens: newspapers and
other media start reporting the economic evidence and ar-
guments of some think tanks and advocacy groups for a $12
or $15 minimum wage per hour, over three years, pulling
up the minimum wage in companies where the CEO makes
$11,000 per hour plus ample benefits.
Spread this activity out over two years and suddenly the
minimum wage for thirty million workers, making less today
than workers made way back in 1968, adjusted for inflation,
becomes front-burner news and a front-line issue in local,
state, and federal elections. This is what has been happening
in the United States over the past few years. As a result, cities
and states have started passing higher minimum wage laws,
including referenda in four “red states” during the November
2014 elections. Those who stood up, who spoke out, who or-
ganized are amazed. And they should be. With fewer people
than the population of New Britain, Connecticut (73,000),
scattered around the country, demonstrating for a few hours,
giving interviews to reporters or writing letters to newspa-
pers and elected representatives, these people demonstrate
that the wealthy people who run corporations do not win all
the time. Breaking through power is easier than you think.
Pressured also by a few full-time citizen advocacy cen-
ters, the big companies are starting to announce higher wag-
es and some better benefits. Too little, you rightfully say, and
very late; still, it’s a work in progress. But look at what a tiny
number of hours and persons achieved with a little crucial
help from largely one union—the Service Employees Inter-
national Union. These workers and their champions possess
a moral authority that resonated with many millions of dis-
advantaged families and their empathetic friends and rela-
tives. Majorities in polls supported their cause.
These working people are beginning to prevail over
management and their executive bosses because they were
undeterred when people told them: “You can’t win. You can’t
fight Walmart. The politicians are in the Big Boys’ pockets.”
They broke through because they got others involved and
because they put into practice what the great abolitionist
Frederick Douglass meant when he declared: “Power con-
cedes nothing without a demand.”
In addition to stimulating the economy, creating more
jobs, and establishing less need for public welfare assistance,
the movement for a better living wage presents a useful les-
son. It teaches how little it often takes to change the bal-
ance of power between the dominating and the dominated,
especially when there is overwhelming public opinion sup-
porting those fighting for their long over-due rights. These
lessons can, and should, be applied to winning the myriad
of public interest, ecological, and civil rights struggles that
the ultra-rich and their commercial interests obstruct: some
of these include increasing wages for working people, de-
creasing militarism and crushing levels of military spending,
providing decent and affordable housing and healthcare,
reducing corporate carbon emissions in order to prevent
catastrophic climate change, strengthening diversity, and
enabling democracy at all levels.
“We live in a beautiful country,” writes historian How-
ard Zinn. “But people who have no respect for human life,

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freedom, or justice have taken it over. It is now up to all of
us to take it back.” 4 To better assess what it specifically takes
to do just that, it is important to understand how the people
profiting from plutocratic forces strategically and regularly
dominate old and new circumstances with powerful control-
ling processes.

“The War of 1914 is the most colossal breakdown in history of an economic system destroyed by its own inherent contradictions.”
(Leon Trotsky‘s The War and the International (1915))

trotsky_leon trotsky_leon2 trotsky_leon3 trotsky_leon4 trotsky_leon5

Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky (1879 - 1940) dies in hospital in Mexico City, 20th August 1940. He had been attacked by NKVD agent Ramon Mercader with an ice axe, and died the next day. (Photo by Enrique Diaz/Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)
Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky (1879 – 1940) dies in hospital in Mexico City, 20th August 1940. He had been attacked by NKVD agent Ramon Mercader with an ice axe, and died the next day. (Photo by Enrique Diaz/Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)

“Jaime Ramón Mercader del Río (7 February 1913[1] – 18 October 1978),[2] more commonly known as Ramón Mercader, was a Spanish communist and NKVD agent[3] who assassinated the Russian Marxist revolutionary Leon Trotsky in Mexico City in August 1940.

He served 20 years in Mexican prison for the murder. Joseph Stalin presented him with an Order of Lenin in absentia. Mercader was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union after his release in 1961.”


Mexico is a collony of USA so i doubt this Wikipedia article MASSIVELY.

trotsky_leon7_assassination trotsky_leon8