Empire, Power, and People with Andrew Gavin Marshall- Episode 81

Europe Under 'Austocracy'

EPPEurope's policies of austerity and 'adjustment' have led to a radical decline and crisis in democracy. Where austerity is imposed, democracy is deposed. This we can understand as an emerging 'Austocracy.' Looking at news reports, op-eds and quotes from Europe's political elite over the past year, we see a growing recognition of a deep "crisis of legitimacy" and "democratic deficit" across the EU, while a May of 2013 report from JPMorgan Chase, on the other hand, reported "deep seated problems" in the EU as consisting of having too much democracy, even specifically referencing "the right to protest" as being an impediment to advancing the order of 'Austocracy.' Welcome to the New Europe (much like the old Europe).

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The Reality Principle -Episode 18

“Greece: The Political Economy of Depression” with Yanis Varoufakis

RPLogoThis week, Eric closely examines the global economic crisis and, in particular, the manifestation of the Depression in Greece. Eric is joined by economist and author Yanis Varoufakis who provides his valuable insight into the origins and character of the Depression in Greece and around the world. Eric and Yanis discuss the evolution of the crisis and the ways in which Greece has been made into a scapegoat for the economic ills of Europe. Moreover, Yanis explains how the Depression is affecting regular Greeks who now struggle just to survive. Eric and Yanis debate the issue of a Greek exit from the Euro as well as the political formation of resistance to austerity and the policies of the European financier ruling class. In particular, they analyze the rise of SYRIZA as well as the dangerous ascendance of the Nazi Golden Dawn party. Eric and Yanis also examine the historical precedents for the situation in Greece and whether or not they provide a blueprint for how Greece can return to economic prosperity.

Yanis Varoufakis is a world renowned economist, author and lecturer. He is the author of The Global Minotaur: America, the True Origins of the Financial Crisis, and the Future of the World Economy, the second edition of which is now available. Yanis Varoufakis is currently Visiting Professor at the University of Texas - Austin and Economist-in-Residence at Valve Corporation. Follow his blog at YanisVaroufakis.eu.

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Empire, Power, and People with Andrew Gavin Marshall- Episode 51

Of Profit and Poverty

EPPMany multinational corporations are larger than most governments in the world. While governments and their populations go deeper into debt, these large corporations take in record profits, hoard trillions in cash, and avoid paying taxes. These same corporations then demand our governments impoverish us through austerity measures. Looking at the divergence of profit and poverty, we see not only a national system of inequality, but truly, a global system built upon and sustaining and expanding inequality everywhere. The middle classes of the Western world are being pushed into poverty, while the rich few take more for themselves at home and abroad.

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The Reality Principle -Episode 10

“Capitalism in Crisis” with Richard Wolff

RPLogoThis week, Eric sits down for an extended conversation with Richard Wolff, one of America's leading economists and critics of the economic system. Prof. Wolff explains why his critique is of capitalism itself and not merely its contemporary manifestation. He and Eric examine the current "debate" regarding the so-called "fiscal cliff" and how this is merely austerity by another name. Prof. Wolff provides his interpretation of the various strategies used by either side in propping up this economy while also explaining how there could be a third way, one that is focused on solutions not beholden to the current economic order. He and Eric also analyze the nature of class and how class analysis is not only relevant but necessary in the United States of the 21st Century.

Richard Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is currently Visiting Professor at the Graduate Program in International Affairs at The New School in New York. His work appears regularly in The Guardian and Truthout.org. Visit his website rdwolff.com as well as the website for his new project DemocracyAtWork.info.

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The EyeOpener- What is Money?

BFP VideoIn this age of panic over the sovereign debt crisis and the fiscal cliff and the debt ceiling negotiations, we are bombarded with talk of government money printing and images of the printing press, but how many people know that only a tiny fraction of money in the economy is actually in the form of bills or coins? And if money isn't, for the most part, literally printed into existence, then where does it come from?

In a system where money is created by bankers out of our own promise to pay them back, at interest, it is self-evidently always the case that more and more of the hard assets and real value of the economy will be transferred from the working, productive classes to the financial speculators at the top of the system who literally create the money and toy with the credit that is our economy's lifeline. Given all of this, is it at all surprising that we have arrived at this situation where economic crises are followed by multi-trillion dollar bailouts of financial institutions while more and more people fall into debt, foreclosure and unemployment?

It is enough to note that at times it is the simplest questions that turn out to be the most difficult for many to answer, and if we are being told not to ask such questions as what money is or where it comes from, perhaps there is a reason that the powers that be don't want these questions being contemplated.

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Our Collapsing Economy & Currency

Don’t expect any foreign bailouts of the failed “superpower.”

collapsingIs the “fiscal cliff” real or just another hoax? The answer is that the fiscal cliff is real, but it is a result, not a cause. The hoax is the way the fiscal cliff is being used.

The fiscal cliff is the result of the inability to close the federal budget deficit. The budget deficit cannot be closed because large numbers of US middle class jobs and the GDP and tax base associated with them have been moved offshore, thus reducing federal revenues. The fiscal cliff cannot be closed because of the unfunded liabilities of eleven years of US-initiated wars against a half dozen Muslim countries–wars that have benefitted only the profits of the military/security complex and the territorial ambitions of Israel. The budget deficit cannot be closed, because economic policy is focused only on saving banks that wrongful financial deregulation allowed to speculate, to merge, and to become too big to fail, thus requiring public subsidies that vastly dwarf the totality of US welfare spending.

The hoax is the propaganda that the fiscal cliff can be avoided by reneging on promised Social Security and Medicare benefits that people have paid for with the payroll tax and by cutting back all aspects of the social safety net from food stamps to unemployment benefits to Medicaid, to housing subsidies. The right-wing has been trying to get rid of the social safety net ever since Franklin D. Roosevelt constructed it, out of fear or compassion or both, during the Great Depression.

Washington’s response to the fiscal cliff is austerity: spending cuts and tax increases. The Republicans say they will vote for the Democrats’ tax increases if the Democrats vote for the Republican’s assault on the social safety net. What bipartisan compromise means is a double-barreled dose of austerity. [Read more...]

The Reality Principle -Episode 1

“Austerity at Home & Abroad” with Dr. Jeffrey Sommers

Boiling Frogs Post welcomes Eric Draitser to its team of Partners! This is the first episode of The Reality Principle. Starting next week this weekly podcast show will be available to Boiling Frogs Post subscribers.

RPLogoAs the global economic crisis continues to worsen, austerity has become the consensus of the ruling elite.   The combination of brutal cuts, exploitative privatizations, and the assault on organized labor has led millions into the streets of Europe, demanding an end to the attack by the financiers.  However, in the United States, we face the prospect of an insidious "grand bargain" between Obama and the Republicans, one that will usher in a wave of cuts to social services that will surely cost lives and lay the groundwork for the destruction of critical social programs.  It is against this backdrop that we ask the question: Why is it always working people, the poor, the elderly, and other disadvantaged groups who are forced to pay for the excesses of the ruling class? Why must we pay for them?

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JeffreySommersDr. Jeffrey Sommers is an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  He is the co-author of the forthcoming book The Contradictions of Austerity: The Socio-Economic Costs of the Neoliberal Baltic Model (2013).  His research in political economy has recently brought him to Latvia and other parts of Eastern Europe where he has studied austerity and its impact on society. A strong critic of neoliberal capitalism, Dr. Sommers discusses the need for growth and credit creation as central to any economic recovery. He also explains how austerity fits into the larger historical context of the financial ruling class and their exploitation of the working class and the poor.

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Podcast Show #96: Austerity is the Consensus of Both Parties

The Boiling Frogs Show Presents Eric Draitser

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Eric Draitser joins us to define and discuss austerity, what austerity looks like in the US, the fact that austerity is the consensus of both parties, why an anti-austerity movement is essential in the US, and helps us connect what's happening here to Greece, Italy, and Spain. Mr. Draitser talks about the deception of Obama on austerity-selling out his base and all progressives, Romney & Ryan as the bringers of death for many, possible solutions-including his recent activities organizing an anti-austerity movement in New York City, and more!

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Here is our guest Eric Draitser unplugged!

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draitserEric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City. He is a partner producer at Boiling Frogs Post, and the editor and host of StopImperialism.com and the Stop Imperialism podcast. He has provided analysis for Russia Today, Dr. Webster Tarpley’s World Crisis Radio and other programs.

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Empire, Power, and People with Andrew Gavin Marshall- Episode 33

A Hope in Hell: A Look at Greece

EPPIs the world, and what's taking place in it, purely depressing, simply bad, and totally negative? Hell no! In this episode, I look at the social devastation currently wreaking havoc on the population of Greece, a frightful, dehumanizing situation to be sure; but out of this 'hell' the Greeks have established for themselves glimmers of hope from which the world can learn a great deal. In particular, there is a wonderful, vibrant and creative civil disobedience movement known as the 'We won't pay' movement, as in, "We won't pay for your crisis." Their direct actions and revolutionary objectives should be an inspiration for us all, so, naturally, most people have never heard of them. This episode attempts to remedy that crime of omission.

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Empire, Power, and People with Andrew Gavin Marshall- Episode 30

Riots, Rebellion, and the Spanish Miners

EPPIn anti-austerity protests around the world, over the past several years, we often hear of 'riots' breaking out, when bank windows are smashed or rocks are thrown at cops. The violence exists, but the imagery of a 'riot' evokes the notion of drunk youths mindlessly causing havoc and setting things on fire and looting shops. This is not the nature of violence in the battle against austerity. Rather, invoking a term used by Stokely Carmichael when he was describing the urban ghetto riots in the United States in the 1960s, we need to be referring to these incidents as "urban rebllions." As the urban rebellions are taking place all over the world, we are also seeing something new developing in Spain. In the northern mining towns in the regions of Asturia and Leon, the coalminers have gone on strike against the government's plan to cut their subsidy by 63% this year alone. They began blockading streets and railways, and were met by the Guardia Civil (riot police) who brought tear gas and rubber bullets to the mining communities and rural areas. There, the miners have taken to defending themselves with sling-shots and homemade rocket launchers.

We are witnessing a new phase in the anti-austerity rebellion in Europe, and emerging from the very same region and communities in which we witnessed the beginning of the Spanish Civil War back in 1934, where the miners were subsequently crushed by Francisco Franco. History is in the making in Spain, the question is: will we pay any attention?

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Empire, Power, and People with Andrew Gavin Marshall- Episode 29

A Greek Tragedy for Europe

EPPIncreased poverty, social unrest, talk of military coups, removal of democratic leaders, bailouts, exploitation, and detention camps. This is the new Europe, and Greece is the microcosm of the continental crisis. The situation unfolding in Greece, and spreading across Europe, is explosive to say the least. With austerity and adjustment comes poverty and exploitation. With these circumstances, we see resistance, protests, riots and the potential for revolution. With this we see increased repression and the rise of radical neo-fascist elements. The scapegoats for the new European fascism are the largely Muslim immigrants, most of whom enter the continent through Greece. They become the target of fascist attacks, and also the reason for the construction of literally hundreds of detention camps across the continent.

The EU is now constructing 50 detention camps in Greece alone, designed to 'house' immigrants before they are deported back to countries we bomb and destroy. How long before the camps are filled with political dissidents and others? What is taking place in Greece and the European Union will spread across the industrialized world, so it's time to start paying attention to the Greek Tragedy unfolding in Europe.

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Austerity, Adjustment, and Social Genocide

Political Language & the European Debt Crisis

 

Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.-- George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language,” 1946

austerityPolitical language functions through euphemism, by employing soft-sounding or simply meaningless words to describe otherwise monstrous and vicious policies and objectives. In the European debt crisis, political language employed by politicians, economists, technocrats and bankers is designed to make policies which create poverty and exploitation appear to be logical and reasonable. The language employed includes the words and phrases: fiscal austerity/consolidation, structural adjustment/reform, labour flexibility, competitiveness, and growth. To understand political language, one must translate it. This requires four steps: first, you look at the rhetoric itself as inherently meaningless; second, you examine the policies that are taken; third, you look at the effects of the policies. Finally, if the effects do not match the rhetoric, yet the same policies are pursued time and time again, one must translate the effects as the true meaning of the rhetoric. Thus, the rhetoric has meaning, but not at face value. [Read more...]

Empire, Power, and People with Andrew Gavin Marshall- Episode 28

Political Language & the Debt Crisis

EPPGeorge Orwell wrote that political language is meant to give "solidity to pure wind." Are politicians and economists simply liars? Or do they speak a different language? Using the example of the European debt crisis, we are able to actually translate political language into the understandable. First, you examine the rhetoric, then the policies, and then the results. If the results do not fit the rhetoric at face value, yet the same policies are pursued time and time again, what we have is a problem of translation. Thus, you take the effects of the policies and apply those as translations for the rhetoric used to justify them. Austerity becomes poverty, structural adjustment becomes exploitation, growth becomes profits, labour flexibility becomes cheap labour, and competitiveness becomes control. This episode examines the uses of political language in the European debt crisis.

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Empire, Power, and People with Andrew Gavin Marshall- Episode 27

From Indignados to Occupy

EPPThe Indignados movement was sparked in Spain on May 15, 2011. In part inspired by the Arab Spring, young Spaniards, who face a 46% unemployment rate, occupied the Puerta del Sol in Madrid for several weeks, protesting against the socio-political and economic system that benefits the few at the expense of the many. Sparking solidarity protests in dozens of cities across Spain and Europe, the Indignados quickly became a continental phenomenon. Their direct action evolved over time, protecting immigrant neighborhoods from police harassment, and preventing court officials from evicting individuals and families from their homes.

The Indignados provided the inspiration for 'occupation' and encampment, as well as subsequent grassroots direct actions that have come to embody the Occupy Movement, which emerged in September and October of 2011. As these movements continue today, their horizontally-organized structures may provide an increasingly important forum for discussion and action as our governments increasingly punish the people into poverty through austerity.

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Empire, Power, and People with Andrew Gavin Marshall- Episode 26

The Frankfurt Group & the Economic Colonization of Europe

EPPLittle-known outside the financial press, the EU experienced an elite coup - a political putsch - by a small group of eight individuals who call themselves the 'Frankfurt Group'. The informal group was formed in October of 2011, and within a matter of weeks, they had orchestrated the technocratic coups - ousting democratically-elected leaders to be replaced with unelected bankers, economists, and technocrats - in Greece and Italy. The Frankfurt Group had become too frustrated with formal democratic procedures, and so they had to do away with the democratic process in two countries in order to implement their programs of 'fiscal austerity' and 'structural adjustment,' which amount to a form of economic colonization over Europe. So meet the Frankfurt Group: Angela Merkel (Chancellor of Germany), Nicolas Sarkozy/Francois Hollande (President of France), Jean-Claude Juncker (Prime Minister of Luxembourg and head of the Eurogroup), Jean-Claude Trichet/Mario Draghi (President of the European Central Bank), Jose Manuel Barroso (President of the European Commission), Herman Van Rompuy (President of the European Council), Olli Rehn (European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs), and Christine Lagarde (Managing Director of the IMF). Their mission is to impose total domination of Europe, through economic colonialism, structural adjustment, fiscal austerity, and to expand and deepen the integration of the European Union. Their method of choice: Technocratic coups. Welcome to the European Union.

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