» Archive for 2012

THE EDWARD KELLOGG BASIC INCOME AND PUBLIC BANKING ACT

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012 by Darin Robbins

There is not only the need for an alternative to the Federal Reserve, there is the strong potential for an alternative.

The year 2013 will mark the one hundred year anniversary of the formation of the Federal Reserve. For about the same amount of time, this institution has garnered controversy from how it was planned out to how it operates on a daily basis. The major characteristics of the Federal Reserve is that it is a private banking system, it releases the national currency into circulation through loans, and it lends money directly to the government through bonds. Its internal method of banking is fractional reserve banking, where a percentage of reserves held by each bank in the Fed hierarchy is the amount that is generated out of thin air for loans to the lower banks or to individuals at the bottom, and when those loans are paid back to the private banks it increases the reserve and therefore the amount of fiat currency that can be generated. Fiat currency by definition is not taken from the physical supply of the reserve that is held but is loaned out separately, in this day and age electronically as a transfer of numbers from one account to another. The percentage of the reserve determines the amount but not its source. All four aspects of the Federal Reserve such as its private status, its fractional reserve banking, its putting money into circulation through loans, and its lending to the government are all subject to criticism. The least controversial aspect of the Federal Reserve is its ability to set interest rates, which is a minor component compared to its major actions and duties. All that can be criticized can be replaced with other methods in order to have a far more just and stable banking system, one that is responsible to all citizens rather than a banking elite in partnership with a political elite.

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THE PROMISE OF OUR DEMOCRACY

Friday, August 10th, 2012 by Darin Robbins

A voter appeal for this election season.

We are in a time of great historical change. Many things are happening in a very short amount of time, and we are all witness to it. From the Arab Spring that toppled dictatorships in the Middle East to the protests against austerity in Europe, a new awakening is occurring to oppose the status quo that has failed everyone for the past thirty years. But in the United States we find that there has been in the last four years a surplus of hope but a lack of change. There were many promises inherent in the election of Barack Obama, but there was also the full realization by those who were observant that his 2008 campaign platform was not as progressive as was imagined by those who ardently supported him. In other words, his supporters were more committed to change than the candidate himself. From that point on, it was clear that he was funded by Wall Street to the same degree as his Republican opponent, and we began to see this influence in the enactment of his presidency and who he surrounded himself with in his administration. The bailouts saved the banks that had ruined the economy with not one person held accountable for this crime. The healthcare bill advocated by the administration, and passed by Congress, had an insurance mandate that is nothing but a corporate subsidy for the insurance companies that will do nothing to improve access to health services for everyone. Instead of being a peace president, and in direct contradiction to his Nobel Peace Prize, Obama has intensified the wars started by George W. Bush with drone attacks that have killed more innocent civilians and assassinated American citizens without a trial. Though he has promised to close Guantanamo, pull back on federal raids on statewide legal medial marijuana dispensaries, and recently spoke out in favor of same sex marriage, the president has been slow on these issues or only given lip service to them. Meanwhile, the government continues to imprison people without trial, raid legal medical marijuana dispensaries, and delayed acting when states have enacted laws limiting gay rights. The signing into law by the president of the NDAA, which will allow indefinite detention of citizens on American soil, is the most recent concrete example of the disappointment this administration has been. Overall, it has been a series of appearance rather than substance in terms of policies for change.

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THE RESISTANCE/CREATION COUPLET OF OCCUPY WALL STREET

Thursday, June 21st, 2012 by Darin Robbins

Presentation written for the Upstate Occupy Conference in Syracuse on June 16th and 17th of 2012.

One specific phenomenon that has come from anarchism and is manifested in the Occupy movement is that of resistance and creation. Resistance and creation are two actions that form a two-step process in which the first step, resistance of what exists, requires the second step, creation of what can be, in order to make use of the space of freedom that would result from the initial resistance. To be able to see resistance and creation in particular within each occupation site, it becomes necessary as a starting point to refer to the analysis found in the article “On Immanence and Occupations” written by Ian Alan Paul. The author makes use of the poststructuralist philosophy of the French thinker Gilles Deleuze in order to properly frame what is actually going on in the movement. At each occupation site, one will see resistance and creation through the deterritorialization and reterritorialization of public space and authority. Deterritorialization is a formal term meaning structures that are taken apart, while reterritorialization means structures reforming in a different way. Resistance inherently takes apart existing structures of power, while creation will reassemble new structures that better serve and empower the people. Each site, whether in New York City or Oakland or Syracuse, takes apart the defined meaning of the public space and who controls it and reformulates a new sense of space and new ownership through the use and power of the people. The result is the direct action of physically occupying the site as well as the direct democracy to form a new type of community in the site, all made possible by the strategy of resistance and creation. In this context, resistance and creation is therefore a production of desire or what can be seen as the expression of the will of the people motivated by their individual desires. This expression is through collective action, recognizing that there is a better chance for people to express their desire through cooperation than as isolated and alienated individuals. The process of desire expressed through collective action that one can see in the transition from resistance to creation is a disruption of representation. By representation, one can mean not only the attempts by the media to impose a representative identity on the movement but also the formal structure of representative democracy itself. By escaping the limits of these two types of representation, the collective action within resistance and creation exists between the one and the many, neither a monolithic group identity where all difference is snubbed out nor isolated individuals that are unable to work together to achieve common goals.

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