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Author and Academic Comments on Wall Street Protests

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Posted on Sep 19, 2011
Democracy Now!

Protesters continued to occupy Manhattan’s financial district Monday. “Democracy Now!” has footage of the demonstration and interviews with activists, including a conversation with distinguished anthropologist, author and protest-goer David Graeber.

In addition to commenting on the Wall Street protests, Graeber also weighed in on remarks made by congressional Republicans Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and billionaire investor Warren Buffett on the subject of tax increases.

Graeber is a reader in the anthropology department at the University of London, a rank that denotes distinction for exceptional original research and scholarship. He is the author of the newly published book “Debt: The First 5,000 Years,” an anthropological look at pre-monetary credit societies. —ARK

“Democracy Now!”:

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Robespierre115's avatar

By Robespierre115, September 19, 2011 at 10:53 pm Link to this comment

The only problem here is what has been articulated by Slavoj Zizek in a recent piece on the riots and protests in Europe:

http://www.lrb.co.uk/2011/08/19/slavoj-zizek/shoplifters-of-the-world-unite

“Today’s left faces the problem of ‘determinate negation’: what new order should replace the old one after the uprising, when the sublime enthusiasm of the first moment is over? In this context, the manifesto of the Spanish indignados, issued after their demonstrations in May, is revealing. The first thing that meets the eye is the pointedly apolitical tone: ‘Some of us consider ourselves progressive, others conservative. Some of us are believers, some not. Some of us have clearly defined ideologies, others are apolitical, but we are all concerned and angry about the political, economic and social outlook that we see around us: corruption among politicians, businessmen, bankers, leaving us helpless, without a voice.’ They make their protest on behalf of the ‘inalienable truths that we should abide by in our society: the right to housing, employment, culture, health, education, political participation, free personal development and consumer rights for a healthy and happy life.’ Rejecting violence, they call for an ‘ethical revolution. Instead of placing money above human beings, we shall put it back to our service. We are people, not products. I am not a product of what I buy, why I buy and who I buy from.’ Who will be the agents of this revolution? The indignados dismiss the entire political class, right and left, as corrupt and controlled by a lust for power, yet the manifesto nevertheless consists of a series of demands addressed at – whom? Not the people themselves: the indignados do not (yet) claim that no one else will do it for them, that they themselves have to be the change they want to see. And this is the fatal weakness of recent protests: they express an authentic rage which is not able to transform itself into a positive programme of sociopolitical change. They express a spirit of revolt without revolution.”

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