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Plunder Blog! The people and the G20

Yesterday there have finally been some protests through Europe (40 k in London) to challenge the "quick fix-dust under the carpet" policy that hegemonic power is attempting to promote. There is no more sign of biting regulation of edge funds derivatives etc in the agenda that Gordon Brown is trying to carry on. In Britain after the "real economy" has been dismantled for twenbty years, financial interests are simply too strong to be disturbed despite the social catastrophy they have produced. Nor there is any more a sense that a  long run institutional setting is the target. Rather than discusing sweeping reforms of the IMF it seems that on the agenda there is only the need to refinance it with an eye on posible future needs to use cash injections to save some more cronies. 

In this scenario Obama talks about perseverance. As with any notion there is a very difficult meaning when it is deployed by those in power  than when it is used by those resisting power. And if it is true, that in the previous camp perseverance means continuity and stubborn insistence in fundamentally wrong policies (but what would you expect from any US democrat?) perseverance by the people in resisting and keeping the attention and the action up is crucial.

The legal agenda of attempting to tame the rottend forces of corporate capitalism must be kept alive. This must be our task and the fact that people take the streets to say that they hate those responsible of the current state of affairs is extremely important.  It should happen much more often and much more globally.

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The former chief economist

The former chief economist of the IMF, Simon Johnson, recently made an interesting comment in his article, The Quiet Coup, in The Atlantic - basically, that the finance industry has effectively captured the US government, something that is usually branded a problem of emerging markets. Moreover, he argues that any recovery effort will fail unless this financial oligarchy is broken.

This seems to be dead on the money but poses a host of problems.

First, how do we find a common language with people's outrage over the current situation? Is it possible to provide a general accepted ideological reference point, and if so, how do we get the disaffected population to understand the distribution consequences of this ideology and what it will cost? Here, nuanced arguments and specificity will be lost - in other words, to persuade the masses we need simple, strong arguments that mobilize people and give them a sense of purpose. This leads to a bigger problem, how do we get such a message out to the populations without any control of newspapers, television and so on. We need to find a way of capturing media - whether that is through headlines or advertisements.

Second, how do we convince those in power that this is in their interest? Greed, after all, is more often than not, blind and ultimately often self-destructive. It will not, in other words, be enough to simply try and provide short or long term 'fixes' to the system - what is at stake is our ability to provide an entirely new posture in thinking about economics / production / trade / wealth, and so on. Perhaps one thing we need to do is start assembling large capitalist voices on our side, who our convinced of this position - not only Chomsky or Soros, but Gates and Greenspan. This may be impossible or naive, but it would be powerful I think and not outside of our capabilities.

Third, for the long term, we need to retake the educational system and flood international and domestic institutions with people who have a sophisticated and ideological position that is forward thinking and progressive. Places like the IUC seem at the cutting edge of this movement.