Thursday, 15 December 2011

Pop quiz

So you fancy complaining about bad how shit is? Better pick the right country to do it in otherwise your shit might get fucked up bad, hence this pop quiz, which I’ve designed to test your knowledge of where citizens should (and shouldn’t if they know what’s good for them) engage in non-violent demonstrations against the inequities meted out by ruling elites.

So the following is a lightly edited version of an eyewitness account of how, with the tacit sanction of a country’s political elite, the state apparatus chose to treat its citizens. The question is where did it occur?

a) Syria
b) Russia
c) The US

Now, on with the eye witness account“I was arrested at about 1 a.m. Wednesday morning with 291 other people when 1,400 heavily-armed officers in paramilitary gear streamed in. I was in a group of about 50 peaceful protestors who sat, arms interlocked. The officers encircled us, weapons drawn, while we chanted “We Are Nonviolent.”

As we sat there, encircled, a separate team of officers used knives. They forcibly removed anyone, then yanked out and destroyed any personal property inside the tents, scattering the contents across the park. They then did the same with the communal property. Note that these were the objects described in subsequent mainstream press reports as “30 tons of rubbish” that was “abandoned”: personal property forcibly stolen from us, destroyed in front of our eyes and then left for maintenance workers to dispose of while we were sent to prison.

When the police finally began arresting, we were all ordered to unlink from each other (in order to facilitate the arrests). Each seated, nonviolent protester beside me who refused to cooperate by unlinking his arms had the following done to him: an officer would forcibly extend the protestor’s legs, grab his left foot, twist it all the way around and then stomp his boot on the insole, pinning the protestor’s left foot to the pavement, twisted backwards. Then the officer would grab the protestor’s right foot and twist it all the way the other direction until the non-violent protestor, in incredible agony, would shriek in pain and unlink from his neighbour.

It was horrible to watch, and apparently designed to terrorize the rest of us. At least I was sufficiently terrorized. I unlinked my arms voluntarily and informed the officers that I would go peacefully and cooperatively. I stood as instructed, and then I had my arms wrenched behind my back, and an officer hyperextended my wrists into my inner arms. It was super violent, it hurt really, really bad, and he was doing it on purpose. When I involuntarily recoiled from the pain, the officer threw me face-first to the pavement. He had my hands behind my back, so I landed right on my face. The officer dropped with his knee on my back and ground my face into the pavement. It really, really hurt and my face started bleeding and I was very scared. I begged for mercy and I promised that I was honestly not resisting and would not resist.

My hands were then zipcuffed very tightly behind my back, where they turned blue. I am now suffering nerve damage in my right thumb and palm. I was put in a van with other nonviolent protestors and taken to a parking garage nearby. They forced us to kneel on the hard pavement of that parking garage for seven straight hours with our hands still tightly zipcuffed behind our backs. Some began to pass out. One man rolled to the ground and vomited for a long, long time before falling unconscious. The officers watched and did nothing.”

If you answered (a) you are clearly quite silly because there were no state sanctioned snipers present, shooting random protestors to scare the bejezuz out of any gathered throngs.

If you answered (b), then again your coming with the silly because in Russia, while the mainstream media here is bigging up the political corruption angle and oohh isn’t that Putin a bad ‘un shite, you’ve made the school boy error of confusing an oligarchical society wherein a gangster-capitalist super-elite is given free rein to rape a country’s natural resources and citizens as long as they don’t get into politics with (c) the US where instead the gangster-capitalists, sorry investment bankers, tell the politicians what to do, when and for how long and everyone else gets the big, big wahoo. This, I'm sure you'll agree, is fundamentally different to the way shit is in countries like Russia and what no.

The answer to the pop quiz BTW is (c).

P.S. This post is intended to imply the recent actions of the US state render "democracy" as practiced in that country little different to what you see in other less civilised nations, which our mainstream media typically reports on in terms of their being corrupt and repressive.

It's no an example of wanky liberal moral relativism along the lines of ooh that Bush is just as bad as Saddam so he is. It can't be for one thing as I've never been able to reconcile the absolutist nature of relativism and the fact its the product of specific Western philosophical strands of thought with its use in such a wanky manner. So I never have and that's without even taking say an Ernest Gellner and his cultural universals into account.

Less 1st year philosophy studenty are the facts - in the US if you complain about elite rule and mass economic inequality, challenging mainstream assumptions about how shit is along the way in a manner that begins to gather popular support you get beat down hard. Obviously, yer average American is richer than yer average Russian. But, is that the sole justification that's now left - America is better than Russia because proportionately more Americans can afford to buy iPads?

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Read all about it

That was an interesting story today wasn’t it, you know the one about that bloke and the thing? You know, the thing. Here, before getting too specific some context might help.

So that’s a bank just been fined millions for preying on the elderly in care homes (and presumably a good few of the victims will have died before any compensation gets paid).

There’s a few banks now that’ve been done for running tax avoidance schemes for years.

PPI goes without saying (as does the credit crunch, but then there’s that bank that sold what were presented as super safe investments to things like pension funds, you know pension funds, we put our money into them and then they pay pensions to us when we’re old. Except because the investments had been built to fail, the bank was able to make even more money betting against them.

And let’s not forget the shenanigans where a bank sold products/advice that helped mask Greece’s actual debt levels so it could join the Euro, which doesn’t appear to have worked out very well.

So there’s some cheeky examples of how big banks make money preying on the vulnerable, raping the finances of ordinary punters and actively undermining fundamental aspects of civil society on an industrial scale in a heads those in charge win/tails you lose type style.

Thankfully, no one has gone to prison for any of the above and any fines were or will be paid by shareholders (pension funds again for the most part) via reduced dividends. And if any bankers who took the strategic decisions all of the above required have got the boot, reas assured they'll all have received multi-million golden goodbye cushions to comfort them cos these guys need to be able to act with impunity if they're going to "create jobs".

Oops, almost forgot - the thing was a letter bomb, the intended recipient was the Deutsche Bank CEO bloke.