Hunger As A Whip
A Few Thoughts About Present
Strategies Hurting the Population - And Possible Antidotes
Both mainstream experts and concerned
scholars have told us repeatedly that physical hunger impairs the healthy
physical and intellectual development of millions of children in the so-called
Today, as the world experiences
what is perhaps the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression,
hunger is no longer a ‘Third World phenomenon.’ In the so-called rich and
‘developed’ countries of the world, we see hunger spreading as well. In
the United States of America, famous for its lead role as a capitalist
country, thirty million people go hungry, and that’s according to the official
statistics. But how many are just a tiny bit above the line drawn by ‘experts’
researching the plight of the hungry? Just an inch above that invisible,
very theoretical line drawn between those who starve and those who are
classified as “not starving”?
In Europe, it is the same. The
press which tends to play down such things has been forced by the gravity
of the situation to tell us that, day by day, a considerable proportion
of children in Poland and Germany arrive hungry in school. In Germany,
a loaf of decent bread weighing well-nigh
2 pounds costs between 2.50
and 3.50 euros. In the capital, Berlin, about a third of the juvenile population
(if not more) are expected to exist on
something like 2.50 euros a
day. Everybody can figure out for himself that it is scarcely possible
to fill your child’s stomach on that amount, let alone provide a healthy
The present German secretary
of commerce respecively ‘economic affairs’ in the Merkel administration,
Mr. Schaeuble, has declared publicly in the DIE ZEIT weekly that millions
of Germans on welfare should feel the bite of hunger. They shall go hungry,
he said. Obviously, he thinks this will motivate them to find a job in
a crisis-stricken economy where normal jobs have been drastically
eliminated. But jobs that don’t pay starving wages are largely out of reach
for the long-term unemployment and those just made “redundant” because
they are over 50. The number of people pushed out of work plus the number
people pushed into jobs that
pay starving wages so low that they are
minimally supplemented by the
government (“work-fare” that still does not preclude fairly empty stomachs)
amounts to nine million, in
this ‘leading’ European economy.
How much worse must things be in Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Southern Italy,
much of Spain, let alone in Central European and Balkan countries
recently admitted to the European Union?
For long, social scientists have
suggested, in the wake of WWII, that classes don’t really exist any more
and that capitalism is no longer a crisis-ridden system, although mild
recessions might occur. Full employment seemed possible and ‘achievable,’
by those willing to pursue the ‘correct’ Keynesian policies. Such views
among scholars defending the status-quo were perhaps inevitable at the
time and a consequence of strong economic booms that resulted in
the U.S. from ‘Keynesian’ deficit spending occasioned by the Korean War
and the arms race and in W.Europe above all from the need to rebuild in
a modern way what had been destroyed before 1945. For about 20 or 25 years,
‘modernized,’ ‘regulated’ capitalism in which private corporations reaped
extra-profits due to the strong economic role of their single most important
partner and customer, the state (as a buyer of weapon systems, a provider
of traffic infastructure, educational and health infrastructure and thus,
as a huge customer of private construction services, and in Europe also
of pharmaceutical products) seemed to provide an answer that satisfied
the population in the ‘rich world,’ up to a point. In the post-war aftermath
of the New Deal (the age of Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and LBJ) and in
the simultaneously occurring ‘Social Democratic’ age witnessed in W. Europe
when the ‘welfare state’ was still expanded while full employment seemed
so near at hand, it was understandable if most social scientists, historians
and politicians proclaimed that a historical tendency towards fundamental
misery and destitution (described as pauperization or ‘Verelendung’ by
German-speaking critics in the 19th century) was a thing of the past; supposedly,
it had been overcome once and for all, in our ‘modern industrial
It also was understandable that
the bulk of the common people in the West believed them.
But apparently, these seemingly
rosy decades were just an interlude. We have seen in the 19th and early
to mid-20th century and we see again, since about 1973 and increasingly
since the 1990s, that the dynamics of the economic system have produced
and continue produce enduring mass unemployment. And more recently, we
witness exactly such growth of extreme poverty and the concomitant suffering
(both cyclically and structurally), that we have seen in the past, before
and up to the Great Depression.
As far as the U.S. and Europe
are concerned, we witness the reappearance of millionfold real hunger and
even a rampant increase of homelessness. In a sharp, but temporary form
many millions suffer the consequences of internal contradictions and irrationalities
of a now global system of production and consumption in the ‘rich’ part
of the world today while the system is keeping additional millions
continually enclosed in such a state in the rich West.
If we look to the dependent economies
of the poor world and how a majority of the people struggle to survive
those societies, the unability of the economic system to do away with misery
and social injustice is even more apparent. Today, at least one billion
human inhabitants of this planet are struggling to stay alive in abysmal
and horrendous circumstances. The number of the world’s poor is even larger,
by far. Hunger and destitution are common phenomena in much of the world.
If we look at the United States
and Europe, it is apparent that resurfacing mass hunger, homelessness,
and destitution are (i.) in part a consequence of the business cycle which
has produced, during the last few decades, more and more severe recessions
or economic crises, in increasingly shorter intervals.
And they are (ii.) a consequence
of technological innovation which increases productivity and, as such,
should allow for a potential boost of production which, however, when accompanied
by shrinking, steady or very slightly increased ‘demand’ of people able
to pay, cannot be absorbed under market conditions. Thus, increased productivity,
faced with more or less constant ‘paying’ demand, of necessity translates
into job cuts.
Another major factor is (iii.)
international competition between locations producing the same goods under
very different preconditions. The comparatively cheap availability of raw
materials, in a given place (and/or the prevalence of comparatively cheaper
wage rates, and/or comparatively cheaper taxes), under conditions of the
non-regulated and non-planned exchange of goods known as free trade, favors
growth of internationally competing industries in some countries and the
decline of these same industries in other countries.
Political factors play a role.
This is not something entirely new. In the 17th century, the quelling of
the Protestant rebellion in Flanders, by Spanish authorities, drove high
quality textile industry to the young Dutch Republic.
As for international (and interregional,
intra-national) competition, historic precedents that foreshadow present
dynamics exist as well.
In the 18th century, cheap
low-wage competition from Germany led to a decline of linen industry in
Harlem and other Dutch centers of linen industry. Widespread poverty, not
only in Germany, helped demand for cheap but lousy textile products and
the Dutch lost major markets, which lead to industrial decline, even before
the advent of technological innovations in Britain became a factor, in
the context of international competition.
The migration of New England
textile industry to the Carolinas and Georgia is well-remembered in the
States. In the last quarter of the 20th century, it was reduplicated by
the export of car manufacturing jobs from Michigan to the U.S. South. Maximization
of profits was sought when textile companies from Rhode Island and Massachusetts
moved to low-wage locations in the South, but it was sought under conditions
of overcapacities, of sharp competition, and concomitant pressure on prices.
The various waves of job annihilation
in the U.S. that occurred when, since the early and mid-1970s, corporations
were increasingly shifting production to their own plants, to subcontractors
and/or business partners in Tijuana, Mexico, in Honduras, Brazil,
South Korea, the island of Taiwan and finally also the mainland of the
People’s Republic of China, are not fundamentally different from what occurred
in New England before. Or in Holland. And Flanders – that noteworthy
early modern example that deserved to be named because it was, just as
Lombardy, one of the most significant regions of proto-industrial production
in the late Middle Ages and Early Modern Times. And certainly, a hotbed
of what evolved into a capitalist mode of production in Europe later on.
Even at that time and stage, for political reasons and as a consequence
of market forces at play, development was characterized by disruptions.
Today, in the U.S. and Europe,
the phenomenon of so-called technology-driven ‘structural’ mass unemployment
that is caused basically by the contradiction between the systemic capacity
of technological innovation and its inability to absorb such gains in order
to satisfy human needs, regardless of the ordinary and the poor man’s ability
to pay, is one of the reasons why the logic of the present economic system
deserves to be thoroughly analyzed and needs to be corrected. And this
in favor of a more just, solidaire and participatory economy.
But free trade and the
workings of a world market dominated by competing MNCs that are perpetually
driven by the quest for maximized profits and the most rapid turnover,
are another important factor that is enhancing lasting ‘structural’
mass unemployment in the ‘rich’ world. Occuring especially under
present conditions of unequal economic power of the ‘players’ involved
and under uneven conditions in different countries, the present mode of
‘free’ international exchange on the world market must also be seen as
a major cause of economic and ecological irrationalities and social
injustice. It has meant extreme exploitation of the work force in so-called
newly emerging countries. It has resulted in a tendency of Western and
Japanese corporations to shift dangerous and extremely polluting production
to the so-called Third World. And, as a result of the curtailing and/or
disappearance of so-called ‘old industries’ in the ‘rich’ industrialized
countries of the West, it has contributed to the relative growth of the
so-called tertiary sector that was said to compensate for the effects
Both socio-economic developments
– the growth of the number of ‘service sector jobs’ and the disappearance
of many ‘industrial jobs’ in the U.S. and Euope – have been and still are
a steady and lasting experience since the mid-1970s. As many ‘tertiary’
jobs don’t pay well and because the characteristic ‘rationalization’
processes (processes that made human work more stressful, intense, demanding
and overly exhausting but also more gainful for employers) which contributed
to the shrinking of the industrial labor force have spread to the tertiary
sector as well, the promise of the so-called elites to replace industrial
jobs by tertiary jobs has turned out to be rather misleading. New non-industrial
jobs replacing old industrial ones have been fewer in numbers than those
that disappeared and, as mentioned, they have often been low-wage jobs
that hardly could replace the relatively better paid industrial jobs that
were eliminated at the same time. Combined, technological innovation at
home and increased exportation of jobs to low-wage work-places abroad have
led to marginalization and impoverishment of tens of millions in the United
States. The picture in Europe is very similar.
The experts at the service of
the status-quo cooly speak of an ‘underclass’ today. In France they speak
of precarité and in Germany, the term ‘prekariat’ has been
coined: it sounds like ‘proletariat’ but the ideological accent is quite
a different one. If the latter, in the past, embodied hope for thinkers
on the left and for many proletarians as well, the term ‘prekariat’ is
meant to indicate hopelessness. And indeed,
a study undertaken in Germany
fairly recently showed that in this society which largely excludes working
class children (and especially, the bulk of working class kids with an
immigration backgound) from high school, the majority of these excluded
kids professed a feeling of hopelessness and lack of trust in their future,
at a very early age. These kids studied in order to assess the actual degree
of hopelessness were just nine years old.
It is clear that today, those
pushed out of the productive process are just discarded and that the classe
politique and the truly (if not extremely) well-off are intent to simply
forget them. What is happening to millions of people, after decades of
mass unemployment in Europe, is what happened to Black workers in Los Angeles
and Chicago when they were pushed out of industrial jobs again, after WWII,
then again in the wake of the Korea boom, and finally the rest of
them with the sagging Vietnam war boom.
It’s actually since the mid-1970s,
when the war in Vietnam was terminated and left the U.S. with stagflation
(and what were considered, at the time, huge deficits), that two
tendencies could be observed. Real wages were pushed down; mass unemployment
truly set in. As inflation was exported thanks to the dubious ability of
the U.S. government to print dollar bills and have them accepted by the
rest of the world as the global ‘reserve currency’, the world experienced
a global downturn. Mainstream economists have tried to explain it by an
oil price shock, but actually the actual oil price increase was a reaction
to the depreciating dollar. Paul Mattick, at the time, analyzed very soberly
the relationship between the costly war in Vietnam, a war economy, and
inflationary pressure. It was then, with the capitalist crisis becoming
deeper than anyone had expected, both among private capitalists, government
officials, and their experts, that Black American workers who constituted
that considerable segment of the U.S. population which had been the last,
more or less, to enter the industrial labor force, during the Golden Twenties
and even more massively, during WWII, were compelled to learn that they
were not protected by implicitly racist, Anglo labor leaders and that they
could not count much on the solidarity of Anglo work-mates fearing for
So Black Americans indeed were
the first to be squeezed out of industrial, therefore, comparatively
well-paying jobs by capital, just as they had been the last to be absorbed
by the sector.
‘Color’ was an important factor.
Left to themselves, unable to find decent jobs, exposed to the harshness
of urban life and to destitution experienced under big city conditions,
they formed the beginnings of what is today called, by American professors,
journalists, and politicians, the new ‘underclass.’ It brought about the
break-up of families, the deterioration of neighborhoods, petty-crime,
finally (as a consequence of the Vietnam-war related increase of drug consumption
in the U.S.), the well-known rather high rates of drug-addiction and rampant
drug-dealing in slums.
Today, deteriorating neighborhoods
in Europe’s large and mid-sized cities see the same developments. In a
way, though in a new, modern or, as some will say, post-modern garb, the
old misery of Manchester slums, as witnessed and described by critics in
the mid-19 th century, is becoming very visible once again. On both sides
of the Atlantic Ocean, in the once prosperous West profiting from neo-colonial
grabbing, from its ability to engage in international diplomatic and military
arms-twistung, from the huge capitalist fortunes ammassed here by its financial
institutions and the big corporations generally, from its questionable,
productive as well as destructive ‘technological superiority and the dominance
exerted in international markets, a very visible urban decline and largely
invisible social disintegration set in. And soon, it was not only
in US inner cities from South Los Angeles to the Bronx, and in places hard-hit
by de-industrialization affecting ‘Anglos’ finally (from Kansas City and
St. Louis to Cleveland, or Buffalo and Detroit) that the most blatant features
of this development could be observed. It took a little longer in Europe,
it is true. But today, what once were, for the short time of 20 or 30 years,
model countries of 20th century ‘social democratic’ or ‘Rhenanian’
capitalism, are disintegrating in a way that is reminnding critics very
much of what has happened and is continuing to happen in U.S: society.
Society is said to be polarized; we hear that the rich get richer and the
poor poorer. But the rich that get richer are a phantom that is hardly
visible. Corporations ammass wealth, don’t know what to do with it, invest
in production abroad or in currency speculation, in options and futures,
especially in commodity markets, and of course in property. The people
at large are squeezed. Some more, some less; some still hold out, but fearing
to lose soon; others in fast vertical decline. Who is profiting? A few
major shareholders. A few industrial, financial or trading dynasties (the
latter typically represented by the owners of Walmart or Aldi). And yes,
a few top politicians at their service. At the service of the ‘common good,’
thus, big business, they will say, ommitting the word ‘big.’ They defend
what they do by saying there is ‘no alternative’ to what they do.
Thus, no alternative to decline? To rotting infrastructure? To social
nemesis? It is apparent that entire regions are in sharp decline. And,
paralleling U.S. developments, in Europe the banlieues of Paris, Lyon,
and Marseille, the run-down inner city quarters of Berlin, public housing
ghettos of Malmö or cities in the Ruhr district, the forgotten places
of South Wales, of the French Departement du Nord, of the Borinage have
become gloomy places of despair and depression. Left to themselves, to
a large degree, by governments that appropriate inadequate funds
and turn a blind eye to staggering and still increasing problems.
It seems that the so-called Third
World is coming home to the ‘rich countries’ of the North. And it’s no
longer “just Roms (or travelers)” and blue collar immigrants who are hit,
in Europe. Just like in North America, where it’s no longer “just
Native Americans” or “welfare cheating, drug dealing” Black Americans,
or “illegal immigrants; wetbacks from across the Rio Grande,” or
what other stereotypes targeting the worst-hit, most deprived segments
of the population we may encounter, No, today, it is the core of the working
class that is hit. In America, and in Europe. Sure, it’s not happening
entirely regardless of ethnic and cultural background, but still across
And those who are squeezed out,
into the sharp and painful and often long-lasting misery that reminds us
of the darkest years of the Great Depression and the shocking conditions
of 19th industrial towns in Europe and the U.S., are only the tip of an
iceberg. Psychic stress, physical exhaustion, the anxiety of being the
next in line to lose a job, are more widespread and this with more devastating
consequences than ever, even if we look as far back as May, 1945.
Much of it is resulting from
intensification of the work process, unrelenting efforts to increase productivity
and enhance a climate of sharp competition as well as mutual distrust.
A trend that is fanned by many employers and that not all working people
will remain immune to. In some respects, anxiety, coldness, a feeling of
being ‘hunted’ and encircled by frightful circumstances, a sense of being
close to collapse, are typical psychological and physiological facets of
a sharp capitalist crisis. The political and economic conditions that emerged
are exactly what has been conducive to a socio-economic development that
has made life harsher and more difficult to cope with for those still turning
up in the factories and offices, each morning, for those who drive the
rigs on the interstate, and for those who welcome you in thrift stores
and malls where you hurriedly check for bargains.
But the opposite is also true:
Anger increases, and with the pain felt, observation quite often gets sharper.
At least as long as misery and destitution have not lead to psychic depression
and/or to alcoholism (and other forms of drug addiction). So there are
those who become more critical, and more ready to fight back.
Both those who are resigned to
a bad status-quo and those who are awaking and looking, perhaps vainly
still, for alternatives, feel the pinch of stressful working conditions.
Many today have two or more badly paid jobs, and the number of regular
jobs is in decline. Yes, many people
are exhausted by the work
load they cope with and feel that they have no energies left to reflect
things, or truly seek change. But isn’t it remarkable that, during the
last U.S. presidential election campaign, about one half of
the voters (if not of the adult population) were cheered up by words and
that means, sentiments, that said, “Yes, we can” and that spelled out a
longing for emancipative self-activity and for “change”?
Today, it is apparent that you
cannot wait for big daddy to solve your problems. Neither can I.
No presidential candidate, no major political party in the U.S. or Europe,
no figure of a ‘leader’ constructed by PR and the media,
no right-wing populist Fuehrer can do what we must do when we say “Yes,
we can”. Most importantly, no one can absolve us from the responsibility
to answer a key question: Yes, we can… DO WHAT? Take what action, ourselves?
With what basic goal or goals in mind? So many of us responded positively
when told that CHANGE is the word of the day. But have we debated and then,
reflected and debated again, which CHANGE is necessary? Yes, we can… take
ACTION. But: Changing which irational condition or conditions? Doing away
with what sort of injustice?
Today, even highly paid bankers
and financial analysts who sold their soul, believing in the crap they
did and the lies they told, have ended up homeless and out of work, all
of a sudden. Others may feel they are on the verge of being sacked. Maybe
they can move in with a friend or relative for a time; maybe not. Those
who thought they had “made it,” start to realize that life is insecure,
very insecure under capitalism. For average blue and white collar worker,
this feeling is nothing new. It is the old sword of Damocles, the threat
that one must go hungry perhaps when a job is lost almost for good and
when the period during which one can depend on UI benefits or a welfare
check has elapsed. It’s the old Great Depression threat of hunger,
homelessness and long-term misery that hangs above the heads of every one,
blue collar and white collar workers, alike. They may suppress that knowledge
inside themselves, but it is there, inescapably, whether they want it or
not. It is a “disciplining” factor, vey welcome indeed, from the point
of view of those who own the factories, the banks, the trading corporations,
the media, and in effect
everything that we the rest
depend on indirectly, in order to earn a wage or salary and pay our bills.
Yes, once – in the few good decades
after WWII – many of us thought that classes and class antagonisms
don’t exist anymore, that the “hard-working” guy or gal which represented
the typical image we had with respect to ourselves, “had made it”:
that things would only get better, unendingly. And so, many of us believed
that, after all, they were exactly what the media and blind sociologists
told them: a ‘middle class’. The only class (except for “bums,” “Black
welfare cheaters,” “hippies,” and “drunk Indians”) that “still
existed” in this “best of all worlds.” What a false dream! What an illusion,
but how deceitfully encouraged by the media and the “world of fashions”!
Of course, the concept of a “conned
and prejudiced silent majority” is an ahistorical abstraction. People in
touch with reality always had an inkling that after all, they were workers.
They knew about difficulties to get trade unions recognized in a company.
And they senses the difference between “those up there” and “us”. Do not
even the infotaining media tell us that 80 or 90 per cent of the
U.S. population distrust “politicians in Washington” and probably as many,
“Wall Street bankers”?
And thus the picture we, the
people, offered was never free of contradictions. So many of us might resent
“radicals,” and vote for Bushists, Neo Cons, Tea Party Republicans, or
“centrist” Democrats. And yet, isn’t there something deeply radical,
a feeling that we have grievances and are perpetually conned, alive in
most of us, regardless of for whom we vote? Isn’t the “we versus.
they, up there divide” a hurt, a burning wound alive in us? Yes, and what
about that longing for justice and normal decency and human warmth –
isn’t at least a small remnant, a tiny trace of it, still felt inside almost
each one of us? And this regardless of all sarcasm and offensively brandished
Undoubtedly, America today is
a split society, in many ways. And so is Europe. But the perceived divide,
the 50/50 split between Republicans and Democrats in the U.S., and something
of the sort, in Europe (the old ideological opposition between Conservatives
and right-wing populists on the one hand, social democrats and ecologists
and a few new and old leftists on the other), is not the real divide. The
real divide is the divide between a few immense profiteurs who are not
just defending the status-quo but eagerly enlarging their slice and the
concomitant power they exercise over others. And, on the other hand, there
is the broad majority: “we, the people”, women and men who long for decency,
for a certain measure of security in life, for a correction of what is
unjust and unfair and irrational in society, for a sane answer to environmental
destruction, annihilation of normal jobs, the disappearing future and hopelessness
of the young, the abandonment and loneliness and pauperization of many
among the aged.
This does not mean that we are
saints, unblemished, without fault, or not involved in irrational patterns,
including patterns that hurt our neighbors or the ecology.
Even racism and xenophobia flourish
among our sort.
But by very few of us, I think,
are such feelings embraced wholeheartedly and with a good conscience. Much
of it is a reaction to the competition for jobs, housing, so-called social
transfers or entitlements that the mighty few force upon us, or at least
try to force upon us.
As “Whites,” no matter how racist
the social environment and upbringing we look back to, most of us today,
even the racist-minded, could still befriend the Afro-American mate working
next to us. And don’t we feel sorry for the genocide perpetrated
in America, with regard to Native Americans? Or sorry and perhaps ashamed
when we think of the genocide committed by the willing helpers of the fascist
Nazi regime? If we talk about the average gal or guy that we are, it does
not make sense to paint a completely bleak or glorious picture. There
always was more grey than just a black and white in that picture. And that’s
true of native-born and immigrant people, Christians and Buddhists and
Muslims and Jews and agnostics. Of you and me. Of ordinary Republican and
Democratic voters. Or those voting the Conservative, the Liberal or the
Labour ticket in Britain. Of Conservatives respectively Christian Democrats,
and of Social Democrats, Greens, and Leftists on the Continent.
But what then unites us?
The ability to think.
The ability to overcome mere
selfishness, self-interested grabbing.
The innate sense of justice.
The concern for identifiable
problems that we can only close our eyes to if we are overwhelmed
by exhaustion, surrendering to apathy, or if a lot of ill will comes into
We will perhaps customarily offer
our engrained “right” or “left” or “green” answers to problems once we
Okay, that’s a fair beginning
– as long as we don’t take them for the unrevocable and absolute truth
and listen to the arguments of others.
We can think, after all. We
can all learn, and the problems at hand are much too large, too deep, too
prolongued, too apparently unsolved and too unsolvable by the old failed
remedies – so a search, an openess, an ongoing process of active critical
involvement is necessary.
The main problem, our problem,
the failure of all of us is that we always had that feeling, that more
or less acute sense that this and that and also that other thing was wrong.
And yet, we never started to debate that. And to think, and come forward
with suggestions, as to the way we wanted to move. We left it to others.
Experts. Paid by governments and corporations. Government people, politicians
who govern us and get their campaigns financed by corporations. And, yes,
we left it to corporations and their stewards, too. General Electric
when they tackle a problem like the lack of decently paying jobs in the
U.S. by announcing they are about to invest 3 billion dollars abroad, because
US labor is “too unqualified and too expensive.” Monsanto, when they tackle
the problem of preserving durable grains that will help mankind weather
the storm of climate change, by reducing biodiversity, producing and marketing
standardized seeds that need lots of herbicides and uniform climatic conditions.
Soros and others, when they speculate in the ethanol market, accelerating
deforestation in Brazil and Indonesia. BP, when they poison the Gulf of
Mexico. Companies involved in “industrially” carried out efforts of
fishing oceans empty. Utilities operating nuclear power plants while they
dilute nuclear wastes, or have the mafia drop them into the wide blue sea.
Perhaps a one-sided view. My
view, I know. But the fact that problems – many others (unmentioned here),
too – DO exist and that we let others worry about them and make the
Will we open our eyes?
Will we act, like responsible
Will we care for our neighbor,
also the impoverished, colonially and neo-colonially exploited neighbors
in the world’s South?
Will we care for the future
of our children, of all children?
Today, in a world of spreading
insecurity and million-fold hunger, even in rich countries, it is not easy
to be courageous.
The super-rich and the mighty
and their politicians that we vote for, every four (and in some countries,
perhaps five) years are sensing the
danger that tomorrow we might
turn out to be very much awake.
They are preparing themselves
Their politicians built prisons,
demantle civil rights, increase observation and surveillance of dissidents.
They denounce critics as trouble-makers.
The economic conditions, deteriorating
as they are (even where, on first sight, the economy seems to be “booming”
again), are not exactly making life easy for us.
Politically fostered paranoia
and hysteria abound. We are subject to campaigns orchestrated by
corporations and politicians. Aren’t we exposed each day to the onslaught
of xenophobia fanned by the media, with respect to, especially, “illegal
immigrants”? And aren’t we, at the same time, sipping the air that
is full of that strange (and strangely anti-religious, anti-Islamic) “fear
of terrorism” that has replaced fear of the Soviet “empire of evil” in
So brace yourself for the storm,
the storm of facile lies and abundant ill-will, and become sober, again,
It’s up to you to reject what
the few in power think will make you afraid and ready to submit cowardly
to their selfish rule.
Democracy, real democracy, is
something very different from what our rulers tell us. It is about your,
your involvement, your ability to shape the world you live in, making it
more humane, more of a human universe.
America's Hunger Problem Grows in Tough Economy
Who's Hungry in America
Newly Poor Line Up At
Food Banks [in US cities]
MORE U.S. SITES
Occupy Wall Street
We Are Change
decentralized solidarity movements
Occupy Wall Street protests
Z Communications AND Z mag
of the U.S. Left", in: Z Communications
Occupy Wall Street Entreaty &
Spanish Anarchists Interview
(Z Communications, Sept.2011)
Local to global.org
Schneider, "From Occupy
Wall Street to Occupy Everywhere"
(The Nation, Oct. 31, 2011)
IN ENGLISH (ON SPAIN)
Democracy real YA!
Democracia real YA!
'Indignant' Protests Heat Up Election Campaign"
(IPS news net, Oct.4,2011)
Demonstrators Marching to
Brussels to Protest Effects
of Crisis" (IPS news net, July 30, 2011)
Drago, "Spain: Streets Paved
with Evicted Families" (IPS, Oct.7, 2011)
GREEK SITES (HELLAS)
the general strike (Oct.19-20,2011)
on the general strike
Athens (Greece) indymedia
POESY'S CALL TO JOIN
THE GENERAL STRIKE
Argyros on the general strike
Real.gr, Oct.20, 2011)
GERMAN LANGUAGE SITES
of the world, rise up"
Aufruf von K21 zur Demo am 15.Okt.
zur Demo am 15.Okt.2011
15 October Net
We Are Change Austria
We Are Change - CH
Students in Chile are protesting against
the privatization of higher education that took place
under Pinochet, and against the underfinanced
public education system
net, Oct.20, 2011)
Al Ahram Weekly
Arab Spring and the crisis of the elite"
Azouz, Egypt govt mulls
raising workers' incentives
in bid to thwart labor strikes
Fouad Najem, "Forbidden"
Speech before U.S. Congress, March 31, 2011
(The Nation; April 4, 2011)
Hayden, "The Defunding
of the Peace Movement"
Not in our name
US Attorney General Testifies for Plowshares Activists"
Justice with Peace
(United for Justice with Peace
Support Julian Assange
Forum Social Mundial