“It can be really painful to have to face how fucked up shit is and how scared people are…of being alive. Scared of things that are amazing. Scared of things that aren’t like television or aren’t dead. A lot of people can’t deal with three-dimensional human beings, they only know how to deal with other products — they see themselves as other products. When the world only treats you like a dot on a marketing scheme, you can learn to treat yourself and other people like that.”—Kathleen Hanna (via lostgrrrls)
Muasher Principle= Everything is fine as long as the population is quiet
Noam, finally, as we wrap up, I’ve asked you a lot about what this means for the Middle East, this rolling revolution, from Tunisia to Egypt, what we’re seeing in Jordan, in Yemen and beyond. But what about what these mass protests mean for people in the United States?
I think they mean a lot, and I’ve been trying to hint about that. The doctrine that everything is fine as long as the population is quiet, that applies in the Middle East, applies in Central America, it applies in the United States. For the last 30 years, we have had state-corporate policies specifically designed—specifically designed, not accidentally—to enrich and empower a tiny sector of the population, one percent—in fact, one-tenth of one percent. That’s the basic source of the extreme inequality. Tax policies, rules of corporate governance, a whole mass of policies, have been very explicitly designed to achieve this end—deregulation and so on. Well, for most of the population, that’s meant pretty much stagnation over a long period. Now, people have been getting by, by sharply increasing the number of work hours, far beyond Europe, by debt, by asset inflation like the recent housing bubble. But those things can’t last.
And as soon as Obama came into office, he came in in the midst of the worst crisis since the Depression. In fact, Ben Bernanke, we know from recent testimony that was released, head of the Fed, said it was even worse than the banking crisis in 1929. So there was a real crisis. Who did he pick to patch up the crisis? The people who had created it, the Robert Rubin gang, Larry Summers, Timothy Geithner, basically the people who were responsible for the policies that led to the crisis. And it’s not surprising. I mean, Obama’s primary constituency was financial institutions. They were the core of the funding for his campaign. They expect to be paid back. And they were. They were paid back by coming out richer and more powerful than they were before the crisis that they created.
Meanwhile, the population, much of the population, is literally in depression. If you look at the unemployment figures, among the top few percent, maybe 10, 20 percent, unemployment is not particularly high. In fact, it’s rather low. When you go down to the bottom of the income ladder, you know, the lower quintiles, unemployment is at Depression levels. In manufacturing industry, it is at Depression levels.
And it’s different from the Depression. In the Depression, which I’m old enough to remember, it was very severe. My own family was mostly unemployed working class. But there was a sense of hopefulness. Something is—we can do something. There’s CIO organizing. There’s sitdown strikes, that compelled New Deal measures, which were helpful and hopeful. And there was a sense that somehow we’ll get out of this, that we’re in it together, we can work together, we can get out of it. That’s not true now. Now there’s a general atmosphere of hopelessness, despair, anger and deep irrationality. That’s a very dangerous mix. Hatred of foreigners, you know, a mix of attitudes which is volatile and dangerous, quite different from the mood in the Depression.
But the same governing principle applies:
as long as the population is—accepts what’s going on, is directing their anger against teachers, you know, firemen, policemen, pensions and so on, as long as they’re directing their anger there, and not against us, the rulers, everything’s under control, everything’s fine. Until it erupts. Well, it hasn’t erupted here yet, and if it does erupt, it might not be at a constructive direction, given the nature of what’s happening in the country now. But yes, those Egyptian lessons should be taken to heart. We can see clearly what people can do under conditions of serious duress and repression far beyond anything that we face, but they’re doing it. If we don’t do it, the outcome could be quite ugly.
Noam Chomsky, I want to thank you very much for being with us. Noam, author, Institute Professor Emeritus at MIT, and most recent book, Hopes and Prospects, has written more than a hundred books.
“You’re all geniuses, and you’re all beautiful. You don’t need anyone to tell you who you are. You are what you are. Get out there and get peace, think peace, and live peace and breathe peace, and you’ll get it as soon as you like.”—John Lennon (via anotherbeatlesblog)
You know what they say, about getting older It’s only a doorway away You know what they say, about it getting colder In the middle of the day You can live in the corner of my room And I will live somewhere between the ceiling and the wall
“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”—Christopher McCandless (via thesunisfalling)
“Be an emperor, be a sovereign. Live life but don’t cling to it, don’t cling to anything. Clinging makes you ugly and violent. Clinging makes you a beggar and life is for those who are emperors, not for those who are beggars. If you beg you will not get anything. Life gives much to those who never beg. Life becomes a constant blessing for those who remain unclinging to it. Live it, enjoy it, celebrate it, but don’t be miserly, don’t cling to it. This clinging to life gives you the fear of death because the more you cling, the more you see that the life is not there — it is going, it is going, it is going.”—Osho
Collectively I look for a proper chick that’ll rep for me Instead of seeing something she wants and callin and textin me For thinkin that exists, I got a feeling I’m wrong Nowadays most of the thrill of just chillin is gone
(Thrill is Gone along with City is Mine, Come Winter, Going in for Life, Think Good Thoughts, The Presentation, What I’m Thinking Right Now, and Goodnight & Goodluck are still my all time favorite Drake songs.)