Mass Protests, the Legend of King Midas & the Golden Touch

“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass

By Richard de Bruin

There are many tales and fairy tales about people being granted wishes by various magical creatures. Made in haste or a fit of greed the wishes consequently and almost every time then backfire on the people who made them. What first seems good fortune usually ends up costing them, sometimes dearly. When I did a little search to find a good example, the sheer number of results pretty much bogged me down. It is a very common theme, an old one too. One of the most well-known from antiquity would be the legend of King Midas and the golden touch. Having everything you touch turn to valuable metal may seem like a smart idea, it makes eating or getting dressed rather problematic. Let alone hug your loved ones. Be careful what you wish for lest it come true is a time-honored and universal folk wisdom.

When the people rise up in their many millions it is a bit like finding a genie in a bottle. They only need to spell out their wish and there is very little the powers that be can do but to accommodate. Now I do not mean to suggest or affirm the idea that rights and essential freedoms are gifts bestowed by governments and ruling powers, absolutely not. I am purely talking about the mechanism, the process, the dance. When the masses rise up in such numbers suppression by the ruling class becomes too costly or simply impossible, they have no choice but to listen to the demands of the people.

However, very much like that genie in a bottle, who doesn't like being forced to fulfill anything and always mischievously tries to make his goodies backfire, so too the governing powers will look at the demands and see how they can make the most of it for themselves, by giving the least to the people. The quality and quantity of the demands thus become extremely important. Poorly articulated and it's a given the people will not get what they wanted. Too many and too fragmented demands and the governing power will pick and choose and sooth the masses back to sleep. Take a look at all the different protests and revolts around the world and see how this game of demands plays out in its various ways. Let us take, for instance, the Occupy Wall Street protests and compare them to the recent protests in Brazil. Occupy with its cacophony of pursuits and slogans, its unwillingness to formulate a central, formulated set of demands, eventually achieving little if anything. In Brazil, very well-articulated demands, delivered almost like bullet points, and one by one, the Congress and government are implementing them. Arguably, a cheaper metro ticket is very easy for government to consent to, but still, there is stark contrast in terms of refinement here.

The demands have to be wide enough to be inclusive, as to keep the people united, and narrow enough to not allow governing powers any wiggle room. Remember, we are dealing with governments that claims to adhere to the rule of law yet blatantly violate every law ever written. Such governments would need to be confronted with ironclad demands they cannot weasel their way out of.

So just a thought, but what if instead of waiting for the moment the masses rise up and leaving what will become the central demands up to the moment, why not anticipate and not have them ready beforehand? If I had the means and opportunity, how would I go about it? One way perhaps would be to select a small group of competent people. Smart people, the exceptional people. A council of sorts, with handpicked individuals from different backgrounds, different expertise, with different political affiliations or with none at all, assemble as broad and diverse group I could manage. Foremost people of integrity and all on the same page when it comes to the fundamentals, with a genuine desire to restore or bring about a true rule of law. I would invite them and gather them together to draft a list of demands. A compact set of principles we want to see brought into being and adhered to. In clear, indisputable language and terms so there will be no tricks and evasions. A set of demands the fast majority of the people could agree upon and unite behind. Maybe even so universal, mass protest movements around the world could pick it up and make it their own. Rally around the very same demands. Why not? Do the people, wherever they might be, in the end not all want the same things? Justice and human dignity, an end to corruption and cronyism, a true representative form of government, openness and transparency, an end to financial enslavement, a free press and all these basic common needs and wants? For once and for all a recognition of our natural and nonnegotiable rights as human beings, not to be infringed upon ever again?

During Occupy there were some initiatives to crowd source such a document on the internet. Let everyone have a say and all be co-writer together. Needless to say, it took less than a few hours to become an incomprehensible monstrosity. Instead of a draft just endless pages of meaningless chatter and disagreement. No, that won't work. A single demand for the whoever-happens-to-be-president to step down? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. We have seen it over and over. The demand has to be just right. Not too long and not too short, not too wide and not too narrow. Specific, yet inclusive. Tailored, yet comprehensive. Written with thought and precision and spirit. Just so, hitting the sweet spot.

Maybe it is a silly daydream but I wish I had a pot of gold to try and make it happen. If discontent is the engine, our ride will also need a steering wheel too no? In this play I see, discontent is the first act and second on stage is the demand. There is a third act too. In the meantime, next time you see a mass protest spring, pay attention to the signs and slogans, the calls and the demands. Perhaps in it already lies an indication of how effective the movement will be.

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  1. We need someone like Elizabeth Warren. Other than her I don’t think I trust any other politician! How do you propose we sign her on???

  2. joecbart says:

    FDR’s Unfinished “Second Bill of Rights”
    January 11th, 1944, State of the Union address to Congress

    …”We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
    In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race, or creed.

    Among these are:

    The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;
    The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
    The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
    The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
    The right of every family to a decent home;
    The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
    The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
    The right to a good education.

    All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

    America’s own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens. For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world.

    One of the great American industrialists of our day—a man who has rendered yeoman service to his country in this crisis-recently emphasized the grave dangers of “rightist reaction” in this Nation. All clear-thinking businessmen share his concern. Indeed, if such reaction should develop—if history were to repeat itself and we were to return to the so-called “normalcy” of the 1920’s—then it is certain that even though we shall have conquered our enemies on the battlefields abroad, we shall have yielded to the spirit of Fascism here at home.”

  3. tonywicher says:

    There is one and only one objective around which the people of the whole world can unite, and that is the overthrow of the oligarchy, the world ruling class. This class is the enemy of the human race and it must be overthrown for human beings everywhere to know what it is to live in a world of peace, prosperity and progress. This world oligarchy, which has existed for thousands of years, took the form of the British Empire for several hundred years. At the end of World War II, following the death of our great anti-imperialist Franklin Roosevelt, it apparently moved its base to the United States, by infiltrating our government through its Wall Street agents and their stooge, Harry Truman. But the British Empire still exists, although it has taken a back seat and operates through financial manipulation. Queen Elizabeth is the richest person in the world, and the British Commonwealth, which is just another name for the Empire, comprises a third of the land mass of the Earth. It is helpful to understand the United States as having been re-colonized by the British Empire, and that our task as American citizens is to take back our government from this same Empire that we fought in 1776. Patriots of every nation must unite against the Empire, and we in the United States must lead this struggle.

    There is one organization that has clearly identified the enemy and has a very sharp plan to win the battle for humanity, and that is the LaRouche Political Action Committee ( They are the hardest-working political organizers in the business. This is war; it will not be won by Occupy Wall Street hippies and right or left-wing anarchists. It requires a commander and military discipline. Lyndon LaRouche is such a commander and his organization is such a political army, small, but extremely active. It’s time to muster up, folks. We must all hang together or we will most assuredly hang separately. When you join an army, it does not mean that you have to agree with the commanding officer about everything (I certainly don’t) but it does mean that you accept the mission, accept military discipline and follow orders as a member of a team with the common objective of winning the war. LaRouche is first and foremost an economist; he has identified the weak point in the oligarchical financial control system that is the Empire, and he is directing all available forces to attack that weak spot. Our highly refined and definite battle plan has the immediate objective of restoring Roosevelt’s Glass-Steagall banking law of 1933. This law was weakened over the years, from 1980 to 2000 through the efforts of Alan Greenspan, and was finally repealed altogether via the Gramm-Leach-Bliley “Financial Modernization Act” of 1999, which essentially gave financial speculators carte blanche to gamble with depositor’s money. The result was the crash of 2007-2008, a virtual repeat of 1929. However, in 2008 the bankers maintained control through their new stooge, Barack Obama, who appointed Tim Geithner, Larry Summers and Ben Bernanke, who had caused the crash, to continue the Ponzi scheme. Needless to say, Glass-Steagall was not put back into place. The debt bubble has been pumped up by the Fed with trillions of dollars of “quantitative easing”. Another collapse is imminent (or already happening) and it will make the 2007-2008 crash look like a minor correction. When this happens, there will be an uprising. The oligarchy knows that this crash cannot be prevented, and they have made plans for a hard core fascist clampdown with a 250,000 man Homeland Security Gestapo, a total surveillance program and concentration camps already built and staffed. The question is whether the people can be organized in time to prevent it.

    This is an economic war, not a military one. The way to beat the Empire is to bankrupt them before they bankrupt us, and LaRouche’s strategy for doing that is to re-institute Glass-Steagall in the most ironclad possible form. When this bill becomes law, and commercial banking is once again separated from investment banking, depositor accounts will continue to be protected by the FDIC, but this safety net will no longer extend to speculative financial investments, such as the astronomically leveraged 1-2 quadrillion dollar derivatives market. This is at least 20 times the size of the real economy of the whole world.
    This debt is fictional, because it does not correspond to anything real and can never be repaid. If Glass-Steagall is implemented now, their total worthlessness when not backed by the government, by the FDIC and by the real money earned by real working people will become obvious, and their value will go to zero. All the “Too Big to Fail” banks will in fact fail, be put through bankruptcy and their assets sold off, but the legitimate part of their business, the commercial banks and their deposits, will be preserved, as they were in 1933. The Federal Reserve, which is a private bank, and has been printing “quantitative easing” funny money to buy worthless asset-backed securities from the big banks is also totally bankrupt and
    will similarly be seized. Once we have gotten rid of the Fed and all these predatory banks, we can begin to finance a full recovery by investing in the real economy instead of financial speculation. You can read at the LaRouchePAC site how this is done by replacing the Fed with a real Hamiltonian Bank of the United States, controlled by Congress, that uses sovereign credit for national economic development. All this is implicit in the passage of Glass-Steagall.

    You may say that this is all “pie in the sky”, it’s never going to happen. However, the small but extremely active and dedicated LaRouche organization has been campaigning non-stop for several years to reinstate Glass-Steagall, and they have made a lot of progress. There is now a bill in the House to accomplish this, HR 129, the Return to Prudent Banking Act of 2013, with 70 cosponsors.
    There are also two companion bills in the Senate, S 985 sponsored by Tom Harkin, submitted about two months ago with no cosponsors, and now Elizabeth Warren has announced
    a “Glass-Steagall for the 21st Century” bill with John McCain, Angus King, and Maria Cantwell.

    This is a non-partisan bill. It is mostly supported by Democrats, but when push comes to shove, Republicans don’t want their deposits confiscated either, and push has come to shove. The collapse is happening, and it is us or them. There is no middle ground. Right now LaRouche has every available activist on the ground in Washington with banners and literature surrounding the doors of the Senate and House office buildings, buttonholing legislators in bathrooms, hallways and cafeterias. Every Congressman and Senator knows about Glass-Steagall by now, and I’m sure they are sick of hearing it, but they are beginning to come around.

    In short, I recommend going to the LaRouchePAC site and getting yourself organized. With the economic conditions as they are, they have the wind at their backs. They have activists all over the world working with anti-imperial nationalists for a world-wide uprising of the captive nations against the oligarchy. They believe that the United States must lead the way back to a world of independent, free and sovereign nations, and they have a precised and focused plan for doing it.

  4. The neocon congress will never let that happen. Even if they wanted to pass it, they are all being blackmailed by the very entities we wish to stop. I think we must remove the congress that keeps the Country from progress. The Glass-Steagull would have less of an uphill battle. I don’t wish to sound pessimistic, there is nothing more I’d rather see than all of the Jamie Dimon’s of the Oligarchy get put behind bars!!! However, the neocons have already said they will NEVER let the Glass-Steagull come to fruition.

  5. HAL 9000 says:

    You all are debating who gets to control the reins on the beast (a central government that runs everything). No meaningful change will occur without killing the beast – decentralizing power.

    If you want to keep the beast alive, fine, just allow me and others the freedom to secede if we so choose – just as our founders seceded from Britain. If your system is better than a less centralized one, then you won’t have to worry about people wanting to leave. Let’s have free market choice for citizenship – you want my citizenship, then earn it. But as long as you want D.C. to have dominion over me, ain’t no f-ing way I stay if I have a choice.

    Also, tonywicher, if you will refrain from referring to your political opponents by loaded names meant to dismiss them without addressing their arguments, then I will refrain from referring to you as a La Rouchebag, or any of the other labels people use to dismiss your affiliation. Or I could just dismiss your whole story about British control as a conspiracy theory – same thing.

    And why do you use hippies in a derogatory manner anyway. Those hippies stood up to an authority that wanted to force them to go half-way around the world to kill people in their homes. They included women who wanted to have the same opportunities as men, and blacks who wanted to be treated equally as well. The hippies were the first generation to stand up for themselves instead of merely doing what they were told. They certainly showed more courage than any generation since. Lay off those hippies, they saved a lot of lives.

  6. tonywicher says:

    First, Robin – I heartily recommend supporting Elizabeth Warren and her 21st Century Glass Steagall Bill, and I have said the same to my friends in the LaRouche movement, which I also support, as I do BFP. Glass-Steagall is the key. All progressives must unite on this. You don’t have to join the LaRouche movement in any way to do this. As long as your objective is the same, your activities should harmonize. But, IMHO, the LaRouchePAC does provide all sorts of good resources and its Executive Intelligence Review (EIR) is a great source of intelligence.

    Next, Hal9000 – Thank you for not referring to me as a “LaRouchebag”. You can call me a ‘LaRouchie” if you want. We don’t mind. I do not think “hippie” or “anarchist” are derogatory terms. For one thing, I myself was a hippie long after the great majority of my hippie friends went to Wall Street and became investment bankers. In most respects I still am one. I pretty much turned on, tuned in and dropped out and have stayed that way until now. My love for Bob Dylan horrifies my LaRouchie friends, who seem to imagine that everything but Bach, Beethoven and Mozart is a British plot to ruin the minds of the youth. So please forgive me, Hal – no harm intended. I’m just saying to my hippie friends everywhere that its time to get organized, time to muster up and join the army of the Revolution.

    I strongly disagree with you, however, that the beast is “a central government that runs everything”. The real beast is an international oligarchy of inherited wealth that runs everything, and the answer to it is strong national governments, of the people, for the people, and by the people to keep this beast under control, governments such as ours is supposed to be, and will be again, if its citizens take the responsibility for making it so.

  7. tonywicher says:


    I think the economic situation is so dire that we are going to see major political changes, such as the impeachment of Obama, before November 2014. Under these conditions, with Wall Street crashing and people on the streets, members of Congress may be jolted out of their lowdown ways and remember they are Americans. The LaRouche activists are sure doing their best to remind them. So far we have two Democrats, one Republican and one independent. Don’t forget HR 129 in the House, which already has 70 co-sponsors. Don’t sit there and moan that it can’t be done. Pitch in!

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