Friday, June 17, 2011

The New American Revolution Must Begin in Your Mind (Part 1 of 6)

In 1970 the late Gil Scott-Heron wrote ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’—a poem which famously became one of many rallying cries for resistance in the African-American community during the Civil Rights movement and which later gained wider popularity to represent the rallying cry of would-be revolutionaries of all races and creeds throughout the world. In his poem, with congas and bongo drums beating a methodical, pulsing rhythm, Scott-Heron proclaimed in a defiant and chaotic cadence:

You will not be able to stay home, brother.
You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,
Skip out for beer during commercials,
Because the revolution will not be televised…

There will be no highlights on the eleven o'clock
news and no pictures of hairy armed women
liberationists and Jackie Onassis blowing her nose.
The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb,
Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom
Jones, Johnny Cash, Englebert Humperdink, or the Rare Earth.
The revolution will not be televised…

The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
will not be televised, will not be televised.
The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
The revolution will be live.

In an interview many years later Scott-Heron was asked about the poem, and more specifically the meaning of the message behind the “the revolution would not be televised.” He said modern revolutions take place in the mind. “The powers that be” rely on mind control to keep you in your place and thinking you cannot effect change.

The new American Revolution is going to take place in the mind. The same kind of mind which inspired a young Indian lawyer to spark a revolution against a seemingly omnipotent British Empire through non-violent civil disobedience in 1915. The same mind which emboldened an African-American woman in Montgomery, Alabama to refuse to sit in the back of a public bus in 1955 and spark a Civil Rights revolution that would fight against 400 years of oppression, slavery, and segregation. The same mind that empowered one man with a vegetable cart in a Tunisian village to spark a revolution in December 2010 and overthrow an Arab autocracy without firing one bullet and which ignited an Arab Spring that spread revolutions in a part of the world the rest of humanity was convinced would never see change.

History is replete with minds kindling sparks and igniting flames which emblaze pathways toward revolution, reform, and change.

Your mind is far more powerful than the establishment would have you believe. The establishment needs you more than you need them, and this is precisely why they endeavor to keep you mindless. It’s what they’re banking on (pun definitely intended). Your mind is the only thing that stands between their domination of the world and your independence and liberation as an individual.

I say this because as I continue to write about political reform and revolution, I am often criticized of being a day-dreaming idealist. “We are powerless to make change,” I am often told, “those who are in power will never give us the opportunity to effect any real change.”

What an absurd cop out frankly. Of course you will never be gift-wrapped an opportunity and have it handed to you by the establishment. Was Gandhi gift-wrapped an opportunity by the British for Christ's sake? Rather you must decide in your mind to seize opportunity when you see it and take it and never let it go. In the manner Mohandas Gandhi did in India and Rosa Parks did in Montgomery and Muhammad Bouazizi did in Tunisia.

Open your eyes (and mind) for a moment. It’s happening all around you—people are seizing opportunity and running with it. Look at the Middle East. Look at Spain, Greece, Ireland. Look at Madison, Wisconsin smack-dab in the middle of middle-America. It’s unfolding right in front of you. Have the courage to seize this opportunity for change and stand up to the oligarchy of banks, corporations, and military industrialists who have been denying you the very freedom you claim you lack the power to fight for.

In a previous ZPP article entitled ‘An American Person's Declaration of Independence from the Un-American Corporate Oligarchy', I wrote a “Declaration of Independence” which emulated our country’s original Declaration of Independence and edited it to represent the needs of a modern America that would declare the rights of individual Americans over the international corporate oligarchy which I believe has usurped our rights as Americans, and which I believe has perverted our democracy and turned it into a near fascist state.

I proposed we take to the streets on July 4, 2011 and walk to our federal buildings and Congressperson’s office and duct tape this new Declaration of Independence to their buildings and offices. I also proposed we follow through on several action items that would allow, “We the People” to effectuate a revolution non-violently, peacefully, but with a tangible plan to bring this oligarchy to its knees.

I received quite a bit of feedback on that article which included several requests to delve further into the action-items I highlighted in my modernized Declaration of Independence. Accordingly, I thought it would be helpful to break those action-items down to both explain their importance relative to the ultimate goal of revolution, and to also describe how they can practically be applied. This article will be one in a series of six that will focus on each action-item in an attempt to answer that call.

In part, here is what the Declaration called for:

It is the People’s intention to disseminate this Declaration over the course of the next months until the date July 4, 2011 where the People shall adopt it as their official Declaration of Independence from the Oligarchy. The People shall march to their local Federal Buildings and Congressmen’s Offices on that day, and peacefully present this Document to the Oligarchy with their signatures and pledges. The People vow to:
1) withdraw all their deposits from the Oligarchy’s banks,
2) divest all their stock holdings in the Oligarchy’s corporations (particularly corporations in the so-called “defense” industry, financial industry, and any company that has not paid corporate income tax over the past year who has declared profits),
3) refuse to vote for any Oligarchic candidate identifying him or herself as a Democrat or Republican on any ballot for any political office,
4) refuse in the future to enlist in any of the Oligarchy’s military force,
5) conscientiously object to any foreign deployment for those of the People who are presently enlisted in the Oligarchy’s military while continuing to defend the borders of the United States from all enemies foreign and domestic, and
6) recognizing that the Oligarchic “justice” system refuses to prosecute its own racketeers who prolifically operate financial criminal enterprises, the People, when summoned to sit as jurors in federal or state criminal courts of the Oligarchy, refuse to convict any of their fellow People accused of acts deemed as “crimes” by the Oligarchy other than those involving violence or theft against the People.

Each item is designed to attack a prong of the oligarchic structure which maintains control over individual Americans. The structure is in place, with the assistance of mainstream media, to exercise manipulation of the masses. The structure cannot function without our willing participation, and in understanding this, “the powers that be” rely on convincing you that you need the structure more than it needs you. This is a fallacy—they need us far more than we need them.

Don’t allow them to get into your mind.

This article will address the issue of the first action item—namely the withdrawal of our deposits from the major banking institutions which rely on those deposits to perpetuate an elaborate Ponzi scheme ensuring they have money when they need it, and when push comes to shove, there is no money left for you when you need it.

Am I being a melodramatic alarmist?

When the nation ran out of money three years ago—the Troubled Asset Relief Program (more commonly referred to as “TARP”) bailed every last one of them out with your tax money and allowed them to post record profits and bonus their executives tens of millions of dollars. What did you get out of it? Your home got foreclosed, your interest rates went up on your credit card while your borrowing allowance went down, your interest rates went down on your cash deposits and Certificates of Deposit, your banking fees went up, and good luck re-financing or modifying your existing home loan if you managed to escape foreclosure.

You see this is what happens when the money dries up in a Ponzi scheme. The con-men at the top of the pyramid get the money and the suckers at the bottom of the pyramid get stuck with nothing but promises that are as empty as their bank accounts.

Stop being a sucker and stop giving them your money to play with.

In a March 24, 2011 Wall Street Journal article the 50 largest banks in this country (most of whom received TARP bailouts) were identified. Please click on to the hyperlink and find your bank. If it’s named on there, immediately withdraw your deposits and credit cards and either invest in a small neighborhood bank, or better yet, a credit union, where you will find that service is infinitely better, fees are either non-existent or nominal, and where your deposits are also guaranteed by the federal government. Here are the top 10 banks on that list of 50 cited to in the Wall Street Journal:

1. Bank of America
2. JP Morgan Chase
3. Citigroup
4. Wells Fargo
6. U.S. Bancorp
7. PNC Financial Services Group
8. Bank of New York Mellon Group
9. Capital One
10. TD Bank US Holding Company

If you really want to blow a gasket and are wondering how TARP got passed so quickly in Congress without so much as a debate (like the Patriot Act—but that’s a story for another day), take a gander at the top TARP money recipients in relation to their campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures as revealed in this February 4, 2009 article on It’s as illuminating as it is infuriating (note nearly every one of those 50 banks donated to lobbyists and campaigns and were generously rewarded when the TARP kickbacks were paid out to them. Bank of America received $45,000,000,000 of your tax dollars. Citigroup received $50,000,000,000. Wells Fargo $25,000,000,000. Chase $25,000,000,000. Go down the list. The amounts are staggering. The total bailout figures, in aggregate, amount to the GDP of some first-world countries.

So how did these banks respond after you so generously gave them $700,000,000,000 (that’s $700 BILLION) to bail them out?

They foreclosed on you of course and took your homes. According to RealtyTrac , lenders filed for foreclosure on 3.8 million properties in 2010, which was up 2% from 2009, and an increase of 23% from 2008. Fasten your seat belts though, because 2011 is supposed to be even worse. In short, that’s $700 billion that was forced up to the top of the pyramid, without one thin red dime “trickling down” to you.

So absent cashing out all your money and investing in gold bullion and hiding cash under your mattress, what’s the alternative to handing over your money to these institutionalized con-men operating this for-profit internationally legalized Ponzi scheme? (Incidentally, I am not engaging in hyperbole or exaggeration, this is literally a Ponzi scheme—they are not holding anywhere near enough money to cover your deposits.)

The answer is in the theme for this revolution we’re seeking. Invest in “mom and pop.” Invest in individuals at the local level. With people you know. With people that are not another cog in the institutional wheel. Invest in living, breathing, individuals who have a stake in maintaining a relationship with you. This is how American businesses were born, and pardon the cliché, it’s what made this country great.

Invest in George Baily and his Bedford Falls handshake, not in Chase Bank and their phone pool in India.

The closest thing you’re going to get in this context is your local credit union, and I’ll explain why. First, credit unions are non-profit. They are not designed to push you and your needs aside to make way for profits. Which means no ridiculous monthly fees to maintain a checking account, which means cheaper interest rates on your credit cards, and which also means you will soon be on a first name basis with everyone who works there. They’ll know you—who you are, what you need, how to take care of you—all without having to refer you to an 800 number that shoots you over to a phone pool where some guy with no last name, no accountability, and no care in the world other than to try to get through your call as quickly as possible tries to figure out your history and banking issues by reading notes on a computer screen left by the last guy or gal without a last name, who couldn’t help you or otherwise gave a damn about you.

There are no anonymous people at credit unions. They have last names. They shake your hand and smile at you. If you need them to sign a letter and put their names on it, they’ll actually do it.

You want to know why?

Credit Unions are owned by their membership. If you have an account there, you are a member, and you have an ownership stake. This gives you the right to run and vote to be a member of the Board of Directors, and you get one vote regardless of how much or how little money you have deposited in there.

Your money is also insured by the federal government just as it would be in a for-profit bank. Your savings are federally insured to $100,000 by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). This is a government agency. Moreover, many credit unions are privately insured for $250,000 by Excess Share Insurance Corporation, Inc. (ESI) to a total of $350,000. IRA's are also insured through NCUA up to $250,000. Many credit unions also privately insure their IRA’s for $250,000 by ESI for a total of $500,000.

Does that sound easy enough for you in terms of starting a revolution? (This isn’t exactly Che Guevara running to the Cuban jungle and fighting dysentery and Batista’s army.) Here’s your revolutionary homework assignment for this week. Action item one for this non-violent revolt is to get your money out of for-profit banks, particularly the top 50, and get them into non-profit credit unions. You can spend an hour out of your day accomplishing this. You’ll feel better. You’ll get better service. You’ll pay reduced fees. You will have a tangible stake in the credit union and a say in how your money and the union’s money are handled. Best of all—no anonymous people in a phone pool without last names will ever be entrusted with your life savings ever again. If only 20% of Americans did this, these institutional for-profit banks will begin crumbling and we’ll put a significant chink in this oligarchy’s armor.

Resolve to do at least this within the next week. We’ll talk about the next action item around then.

Remember, this revolution will not be televised and it will not happen around you or in your history books. It will happen through you and by you. It will begin in your mind. Stop letting these oligarchs control your mind and make you think you are powerless. Your mind is where this revolution will start. At its most basic, your mind is little more than a collection of human tissue, a blood supply, and neurological impulses. For all practical purposes your mind is indistinguishable from the minds of Mohandas Gandhi, Rosa Parks, and Muhammad Bouazizi. The only difference is when they realized they had an opportunity to seize, they seized it and never turned back.

Here is your opportunity. Seize it as they have. Don’t allow yourself to be another cog in this oligarchy’s wheel.

Zero Party Politics: The New American Revolution Must Begin in Your Mind (Part 1 of 6)

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