Friday, October 14, 2011

“To create is to resist,” writes Hessel. “To resist is to create.”

Täna on New Yorgi linnapea lubanud kolm nädalat kestnud rahumeelse meeleavalduse Wall streedil laiali ajada. Politsei hakkab sellega tegelema alates kl 14:00 eesti aja järgi. Avaaz on algatanud telefonikampaania, kus inimesed helistavad üle maailma New Yorgi linnapeale ja annavad oma arvamusest selle otsuse suhtes ka avalikult läbi spetsiaalse lehekülje teada. 

Samal ajal on selge, et seda liikumist enam peatada ei suudeta. Kui rahumeelselt ei saa, siis muutuvad osad inimesed meeleheites vägivaldseks. Vägivald sünnitab vägivalda - kahjuks. Liikumise vitaalsusele on selline otsene rünnak isegi kasulik, sest viimastel päevadel oli tunda juba teatavat väsimust ja ideede puudust.

Postitan siia lingi videoni, mis räägib USA poliitikute topeltmoraalist ja kodanike jõuga vaigistamisest New Yorgis.

Soovitan lugeda ka seda väga hästi kirjutatud artiklit New Yorgis valitsevast sotsiaalsest ebavõrdsusest ja selle mõjudest linna kultuurielule. "The Reign of the One Percenters. Income inequality and the deaf of culture in New York City".

“Here,” I tell her, standing in the canyons of world finance, “is what New York is about. Sociopaths getting really rich while everyone else just sits on their asses and lets it happen.”

“It’s a person who doesn’t care about anybody but himself. Socio, meaning society—you, me, this city, civilization. Patho, like pathogen—carrying and spreading disease.” 

Out of the twenty-five largest cities, it is the most unequal city in the United States for income distribution. 

It is the showcase for the top 1 percent of households, which in New York have an average annual income of $3.7 million. These top wealth recipients—let’s call them the One Percenters—took for themselves close to 44 percent of all income in New York during 2007 (the last year for which data is available).  

During the vaunted 2002–07 economic expansion—the housing-boom bubble that ended in our current calamity, this Great Recession—average income for the One Percenters in New York went up 119 percent. Meanwhile, the number of homeless in the city rose to an all-time high last year—higher even than during the Great Depression—with a record 113,000 men, women, and children, many of them comprising whole families, retreating night after night to municipal shelters. 

But here’s the most astonishing fact: the One Percenters consist of just 34,000 households, about 90,000 people. Relative to the great mass of New Yorkers—9 million of us—they’re nobody. 

According to the FPI, the wealth of the One Percenters derives almost entirely from the operations of the sector known as “financial services,” whose preoccupation is something they call “financial innovation.” The One Percenters draw the top salaries at commercial and investment banks, hedge funds, credit card companies, insurance companies, stock brokerages.  

Finance as practiced on Wall Street, says Paul Woolley, is “like a cancer.” There is only maximization of short-term profit in these “financial services”—they are services only in the sense of the vampire at a vein. There is no vision for allocating capital for the building of infrastructure that will serve society in the future; no vision, say, for a post-carbon civilization; no vision for surviving the shocks of coming resource scarcity. The finance nihilist doesn’t look to a viable future; he is interested only in the immediate return.  

Thirty years on, with rents at historic highs, this has been a long death march, swallowing in its pall not only the artist, but the writer, the poet, the musician, the unaffiliated intellectual. The creative types sense that they are no longer wanted in New York, that money is what is wanted, and creative pursuits that fail to produce big money are not to be bothered with. But it is rent, more than anything else, that seals their fate. High rent lays low the creator, as there is no longer time to create. Working three jobs sixty hours a week at steadily declining wages, as a sizable number of Americans know, is a recipe for spiritual suicide. For the creative individual the challenge is existential: finding a psychological space where money—the need for it, the lack of it—won’t be heard howling hysterically day and night.
In “Cry Out!” Hessel reminds us that among the goals of the fight, as stated by the National Council of the Resistance following the defeat of Nazism, was the establishment in France of “a true economic and social democracy, which entails removing large-scale economic and financial feudalism from the management of the economy.” “This menace,” he writes—the menace of the fascist model of finance feudalism—“has not completely disappeared.” He warns that in fact “the power of money, which the Resistance fought so hard against, has never been as great and selfish and shameless as it is now.”  

Therefore, cry out—though the hour is late. 

What is needed is a new paradigm of disrespect for the banker, the financier, the One Percenter, a new civic space in which he is openly reviled, in which spoiled eggs and rotten vegetables are tossed at his every turning. What is needed is a revival of the language of vigorous old progressivism, wherein the parasite class was denounced as such. What is needed is a new Resistance. We face, as Hessel describes, a system of social control “that offers nothing but mass consumption as a prospect for our youth,” that trumpets “contempt for the least powerful in society,” that offers only “outrageous competition of all against all.”

“To create is to resist,” writes Hessel. “To resist is to create.”

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