“SILENCE = DEBT” - A talk by Brian Holmes
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Occupy Chicago Headquarters
Student debt — which is now hitting the trillion dollar mark, even bigger than outstanding credit-card debt — is part of the fabric of false promises and hyper-individualized coercion that we call neoliberal governance. It hooks into a continuum that begins with payday loans, moves through the concealed robbery of the stock markets and ends in the Treasury’s extortion of trillions of dollars from the rest of the world to pay for bloody useless wars. The only way to achieve the cancellation of existing debts and the foundation of a new set of emancipatory social institutions is to overcome the fear of each debtor and generate the trust we need for massive resistance. One strategy (among others) is to open up the analysis of the debt-based economy through teach-ins that can be led by students, adjunct faculty or professors, whether inside or outside the university. These teach-ins could become an existential point of contact between isolated individuals in the knowledge-factories and the Occupy movement. The point is to transform the very meaning and purpose of education, and to start generating a new map of rights and responsibilities that can help us navigate beyond neoliberal governance.
I must warn you that I am not an economics expert. But I will explain from my own understanding.
The amount of real money is not actually printed. It is often only represented as data on bank computers. Federal Reserve can create money out of thin air and due to inflation, money, or rather value, CAN disappear. Houses were overvalued and oversold. The value was inflated through LOANs (promises of money, like billions of iou’s being traded when that money was never actually printed), so I suppose when that value dropped, in theory, money value disappeared as it was created out of nothing to begin with. As that video showed, those iou’s became like hot potatoes until the perceived value caught up with actual value. The first people to suffer were the families at the bottom wrung and then it was the people who trusted AAA safe investments to be safe - pensions, bonds - these are often people who do not invest in risky, high pay investments - like your grandparents’ retirement stocks. The perception of worth, however, still quickly traveled up and concentrated in the 1%. The money was emptied from tax payer pockets, bank holdings, and into the personal holdings of investors and CEOs (i.e. it is probably sitting in some Swiss bank after being exchanged into a more stable currency like gold or art etc. as the dollar becomes increasingly worthless). Money was then given to Wall Street in the bail out to refill their banks, but no one bailed out the millions of families who suffered. It’s reverse socialism, reverse Robin Hood.
Some graphics that will hopefully help illustrate how money was taken from the working classes and concentrated into the personal hands of a very select few who were likely connected with insider trading knowledge that helped to defraud millions of American families:
Big picture break down - the amount of money taken out of the pockets of the poor is about the same exact amount gained by those at the top. This is why people are protesting Wall Street and the 1% on it, not out of jealousy, but because they have defrauded a nation.