Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saturday at Left Forum 2012: Occupy the Fed, Occupy God

What a full spectrum of revolutionary activity today: radical faith religious panels, and anti Federal Reserve activism, (complete with disinfo agents). The day ended with a inspiring, strategic, fun speech by Michael Moore, which in turn inspired 500 or 1000 of us to march from the Left Forum to Zucotti Park, on this, the 6 month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. People are sleeping there right now. Occupy is not over, the Left is not dead.

I found myself swept up and marching and chanting in the spontaneous wild protest to get to Zucotti. An- Anti- AntiCapitalista! Still in the back of my mind are all the mixed feelings I have about the ways that capital needs to be re-appropriated and used by the people.

The panels I went to earlier were perfect for my own twin obsessions: radical spirituality and economic reform through exposing the truth. Marisa Egerstrom from Harvard Divinity School reported that there's a "spiritual hunger" people have been expressing. "We have a vague idea that something is wrong." Universalist minister Rosemary Bray McNatt said "I don't believe a political solution is sufficient."

What we are doing is liberation, and liberation is God, in an old old-school sense of the word. I am the God who brought you out of slavery. That's from Exodus, and it's a quote I heard at Left Forum 2010. I repeated it during the Q&A part of this panel. The panel was called "Holy Mess: Radical Spirituality and Action Meet at Occupy." Turns out Ms. Egerstrom and friends with Occupy Faith in Boston have a new documentary out, by the same title, Holy Mess.

When people believe, they are unstoppable. This is true if you are a Marxist, Baptist, or both. There was a Marxist Baptist on the panel too.

Next up was "Legalized Crime: Fed Bankers and the Creation of Debt-Money" sponsored by Julia Willebrand of the Green Party. I was kind of shocked when she told me she was chairing this panel. The Fed is such a taboo issue, most leftists think that it's a "right wing only" issue, that it's somehow tied to AntiSemitism, or to analyze the secrets of American financial history is to somehow lose sight of the broader critique of capitalism. But it turns out that Occupy Wall Street has changed everything. The Fed is more than fair game. It's ground zero.

Panelists Sue Peters, Greg Coleridge, and anthropologist Steven Walsh were all excellent. The Fed is privately owned, and all money is put into the system based on debt. Only a loan creates the stimulus for new money. A bank creates money with an accounting entry, by borrowing "Reserve Funds" from a Fed bank.

It's especially noteworthy that Chip Berlet also attended this panel. Berlet is a nemesis of 9/11 Truth, and has bent over backwards to attack truthers. What I didn't know is that Berlet has a long history as a gadfly. He and his organzation "Political Research Associates" have a long reputation as a "Wall Street appendage." His top critic at the "Berlet for Beginners" website goes so far as to claim Berlet has been "involved, over the past half decade, in attacking virtually every independent critic of the Imperial State."

So Left Forum 2012 was all about "Confronting Global Capitalism." The gloves are off, and the Fed is something we should all take a second look at. The US Constitution says Congress has the power to coin money, not a private banking cartel owned by Citi, Chase, and HSBC.

Berlet in an exasperated tone, sputtered why are no "serious" leftist economists behind the Fed issue? He claimed the anti Fed stuff was all either John Birch Society or holocaust denier Eustace Mullins' work. And Berlet made the tired claim once again the focussing on the Fed is a distraction from the more important topic: capitalism. 

If Berlet was truly serious about that, he would support the analysis and criticism of one of modern American capitalism's least-understood, and most powerful institutions: the Federal Reserve. Berlet left in a huff before the panel was over, giving me the opportunity to explain who he was.

We are onto something, if Berlet was concerned about this panel. As one of the panelists had pointed out earlier, even Fred Mishkin of the Fed's Board says that the system is broken and needs to be changed.  Or as a sign held aloft at Occupy DC read, "Our country is broken because the system is fixed."

Michael Moore told a lot of funny stories. One of the best was that when Moore was trying to wrap the New York Stock Exchange in crime scene tape, shooting "Capitalism: A Love Story" he looked up and saw a NY Police officer coming his way. "Oh shit" he thought, "I don't want to get arrested." So he said, "Just setting up a little comedy bit here officer, I will clean up and get it all out of your way soon...." The cop said, "Don't worry Mike, take all the time you need. The bastards in there have wasted so much of our pension funds."

Moore pointed out that the polls show that people are with us. In fact, it only took six weeks for a majority of America to say "yeah" we back the essence of what the Occupiers are saying:  There really is a 99% consciousness out there. A people divided are coming together. It's not about right versus left, it's about democracy, it's the spirit of liberation moving in people's hearts. It's political, and it's beyond political. It's big.

Inspired, we took Moore's call to march en masse to join the six month anniversary celebration at Occupy Wall Street's Zucotti encampment. It was a tense face off with cops as they tried to keep us off the streets. Here's a short video I shot of the march's first moments:

Hope you all will come to my own panel, tomorrow, Sunday at 3 PM in room W521, "Revolutionary Recovery." See earlier posts for more on that.....
Peace and Love,


  1. I hope that as the class divide widens and consumes, an inevitable coping mechanism will be to abandon the right and left paradigm.

  2. Sure! it's time for all of those borders to move. They are already moving around all the time.

  3. Sander, seriously? A right-wing conspiracy theory is evidence of progressive politics?

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