Bulletin N°499


27 September 2011
Grenoble, France

Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,

Like the tiger's claws, the monkey's tail, and the parrot's beak, the human brain is made to hold on to things. Unlike the tiger we are not predators, and the prehensile capacity we share with the monkey and the parrot is essentially defensively oriented, having learned to protect ourselves with our natural endowments. The appearance of humankind on this planet some 100,000 years ago was essentially as prey for predators. Our species evolved as the environment changed and is still changing, but our chief concern remains the same: self-defense, which of course can be interpreted in a variety of ways.

I encourage colleagues and friends of CEIMSA to hold on to the memory of Larry Portis, who certainly wished to arm us with truths which might serve, he sincerely hoped, to protect us from changes for the worse in our environment. Larry died on June 4, 2011 in southern France, where he lived and worked as a prolific writer and teacher. His latest book, American Dreaming: A Novel, was published in March 2011, less than three months before his unexpected death. Below are the last three articles he published in the US in March, in April, and in May.

Bernard-Henri Levy arrived in Benghazi on March 3
by Larry Portis (Counter Punch Newsletter, March 2011)

BHL arrived in Benghazi on March 3. Two days later BHL was interviewed on various television networks. He appeared before the camera in his habitual uniform -- immaculate white shirt with upturned collar, black suit coat, and disheveled hair . . . .


"My Name is Juliano"
The Sudden Death of Juliano Mer-Khamis
by Larry Portis (Counter Punch, April 6, 2011)


Under the Sign of Treason
What This Years May Day Demonstrations Told Me About France
by Larry Portis (Counter Punch, May 9, 2011


In the 4 items below readers will find information and inspiration from the thoughts and actions of other intellectual activists, who also are concerned with the changes in our environment and with our dire need for collective self-defense.

Item A. is an interview with Leo Panitch sent to us by The Real News, discussing theory and practice in the contemporary world.

Item B. is an essay by Richard Wolff on "class war in America".

Item C. is a report sent to us by Mark Crispin Miller's "News From Underground" on the on-going Wall Street protests in New York City.

Item D. is a short video recording police violence in NYC, arresting peaceful protesters, representing "The 99 Percent" at the Wall Street demonstrations in the financial district of Manhattan last week.

And finally, we close this CEIMSA bulletin with a particularly up-lifting video of Michael Moore (sans életricité) on Wall Street, again this week.


Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Université Stendhal Grenoble 3
Université de Paris 10
Director of Research

from The Real News :
Date: 25 September 2011
Subject: "The Dollar, the Euro and the Deepening Crisis" and "The Thoroughly Modern Marx".

"The Dollar, the Euro and the Deepening Crisis" and "The Thoroughly Modern Marx"
by Leo Panitch


from Richard Wolff :
Date: 22 September 2011
Subject: "Class War" in America.

The Truth About "Class War" in America
by Richard D. Wolff
        Republicans and conservatives have done us a service by describing federal policies in terms of "class war." But by applying the term only to Obama's latest proposals to raise taxes on the rich, they have it all backward and upside down. The last 50 years have indeed seen continuous class warfare in and over federal economic policies.

        But it was a war waged chiefly by business and conservatives. They won, as we show below, and the mass of middle-income and poor Americans lost. Obama's modest proposal for tax increases on the rich does not begin a class war. On the contrary, it is a small, modest effort to reduce the other side's class war victories.
Big business and conservatives have worked to undo the regulations and taxes imposed on them in the wake of the Great Depression of the 1930s. Then, an upsurge in labor union organization (the Congress of Industrial Organizations sweep across basic US industries) and in membership in both the socialist and communist parties gave Franklin Delano Roosevelt the support and the pressure to tax business and the rich. He took their money to pay for the massive federal hiring program (11 million federal jobs filled between 1934 and 1941) and to start the Social Security Administration etc. He regulated their business activities to try to prevent devastating capitalist depressions from recurring in the nation's future.

        Since the end of the Great Depression - and especially since the 1970s - the class warfare waged by business and its allies (most conservatives in both parties) was successful. For example, at the end of World War II, for every dollar Washington raised in taxes on individuals, it raised $1.50 in taxes on business profits. In contrast, today, for every dollar Washington gets in taxes on individuals, it gets 25 cents in taxes on business. Business and its allies successfully shifted most of its federal tax burden onto individuals.

        Over the same period, the tax rates on the richest Americans fell from 91 percent in the 1950s and 1960s, and 70 percent in the 1970s to the current low rate of 35 percent. The richest Americans won that spectacular tax cut. Middle- and lower-income Americans won no such cuts, while paying a higher proportion of their income for Social Security that the rich were required to do.

        In plain English, the last 50 years saw a massive shift of the burden of federal taxation from business to individuals and from rich individuals to everyone else. Class war policies, yes, but a war that victimized the vast majority of working Americans.

        Of course, Republicans and conservatives carefully avoided using "class war" to describe those tax-shifting achievements over the last half-century. They wanted us to believe that all they cared about was economic growth and job creation. But when Obama now proposes modest increases in tax rates on rich individuals ("modest" because they don't begin to return to the tax rates in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s), the Republicans and conservatives howl "class warfare." Obama claims that higher taxes on the rich reduce the need for spending cuts that would slow growth and increase unemployment.

        Republicans and conservatives argue that raising taxes on corporations and rich individuals punishes those who create jobs and thus will hurt efforts to reduce unemployment. Neither logic nor evidence supports their arguments. Last Friday, the US Federal Reserve reported a record quantity of cash on the books of US businesses (hoarding over $2 trillion). Despite the currently very low taxes on businesses and the rich, that cash is NOT being invested and NOT creating jobs. Nor is it being distributed to anyone else who is spending it either. Washington could tax a portion of that cash and spend it to stimulate the economy. That would be especially effective if the taxed cash were spent to hire the unemployed rather than leaving the cash idle in businesses' hoards.

        Billionaire investor Warren Buffett recently upset many of his fellow super rich individuals by a New York Times op-ed that he wrote. It explained that he had never met any serious investor who decided about investments based on tax rates. Rather the prospects of profits and sales made the key difference to investors. Buffett urged higher income taxes on rich Americans like himself partly because those higher taxes would not negatively impact job creation in the future just as it had not done in the past. He implied that it was becoming dangerous for capitalism's survival to keep providing the minority of rich people with lower federal tax rates than the middle and lower income majority paid.

        Economists know that a long time - usually years - separates making an investment and reaping the profits from selling the output of that investment. Anyone making an investment today cannot know what tax rates will be in the future. They may be higher or lower or the same as they are today. That's why investors' decisions depend far more on real costs today and estimates about future sales, markets and prices in the future than on speculation about future tax rates. The claim that tax increases today will cut investments now, thinly disguises an effort to lower taxes on business and the rich now.

        History reinforces the same point. In the 1950s and 1960s, tax rates on corporations and the rich were much, much higher than today. Yet, those years had lower unemployment and higher rates of investment and growth than today. Low tax rates on businesses and the rich do not create jobs.

        Struggles over taxes always pit business and the rich against the middle-income earners and the poor. Each side seeks to shift the tax burden off of itself and on to the other side. "Class war" in that sense is nothing new. Accusing only one side of waging that war is ignorant at best and dishonest at worst. No one should be fooled. Today, business and the rich are waging class war yet again to avoid even a small, modest reverse in the huge tax cuts they won in that war over the last half-century.[4]

This work by Truthout is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License [4].

Richard D. Wolff [5]

Source URL: http://www.truth-out.org/class-war-issue/1316617081
[1] http://www.truth-out.org/print/6684
[2] http://www.truth-out.org/printmail/6684
[3] http://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/5446901016/
[4] http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/
[5] http://www.truth-out.org/content/richard-d-wolff

from Mark Crispin Miller :
Date: 2 August 2009
Subject: News From Underground : The on-going Wall Street Protests in New York City.


Occupy Wall Street Day 8: 80 Arrested for Peaceful, Legal Protest; Nets & Pepper Spray Used.

By Chaz Valenza (about the author)



7:57 PM - Occupy Wall Street marchers have started off for One Police Plaza.  NYPD are following with arrest net.

Lady Liberty Wrapped in American Flag Talks to NYPD by Global Revolution

7:30 PM - Dark now.  Above Lady Liberty (name unknown) wrapped in an American Flag and Betsy Ross wig makes impassioned appeal to NYPD officers, "We're fighting for you pension, we'er fighting for your social security, we're fighting for you children and your children's children.  We're fighting for liberty.  We're peaceful."

7:00 PM - General Assembly decides half of Liberty Plaza protesters to remain and keep the occupation. The of 1/2 of the protesters will be marching to One Police Plaza to demand information and medical care for those arrested.

6:00 PM - 2000 occupiers remain in Liberty Plaza.  They are being surrounded with NYPD fencing.  Many more protesters have evacuated. 

4:25 PM - 60 plus protesters arrested at Union Square many pepper sprayed.  Details as they become available.  Orange nets used.

At Liberty Plaza:  NY Police: "The use of an Umbrella is a safety Hazard. Put it down!"

Police stopped marchers in street with barricades.  Marchers chanted, "let them go!  Let them go!" referring to those already arrested.  Police picked a few protesters, who were not in the street but standing on the sidewalk out of the crowd and arrested them."

One eyewitness at the scene said she heard police officers saying: "Rough her up."

Call+demand protestors be released 728-520-9311

LINK: 13 Things You Can Do to Support Occupy Wall Street

Union Square OWS March/Police by Yousef B. September 24, 2011

Media team arrested. Rain on way & police demand removal of umbrella protecting gear in media tent.

Media Team Arrested: Live Stream Continues.

11:55 AM - Occupy Wall Street receives eviction notice.

For more News From Underground, visit http://markcrispinmiller.com

from Mark Crispin Miller :
Date: 25 September 2011
Subject: New York cop attack and solidarity among representatives of "The 99 Percent".

"You talkin' to me??" NY cop attacks a man for speaking to him