The Populist Revolution: Bernie and Beyond

The world is undergoing a populist revival. From the revolt against austerity led by the Syriza Party in Greece and the Podemos Party in Spain, to Jeremy Corbyn’s surprise victory as Labour leader in the UK, to Donald Trump’s ascendancy in the Republican polls, to Bernie Sanders’ surprisingly strong challenge to Hillary Clinton – contenders with their fingers on the popular pulse are surging ahead of their establishment rivals.

Today’s populist revolt mimics an earlier one that reached its peak in the US in the 1890s. Then it was all about challenging Wall Street, reclaiming the government’s power to create money, curing rampant deflation with US Notes (Greenbacks) or silver coins (then considered the money of the people), nationalizing the banks, and establishing a central bank that actually responded to the will of the people.

Over a century later, Occupy Wall Street revived the populist challenge, armed this time with the Internet and mass media to spread the word. The Occupy movement shined a spotlight on the corrupt culture of greed unleashed by deregulating Wall Street, widening the yawning gap between the 1% and the 99% and destroying jobs, households and the economy.

Donald Trump’s populist campaign has not focused much on Wall Street; but Bernie Sanders’ has, in spades. Sanders has picked up the baton where Occupy left off, and the disenfranchised Millennials who composed that movement have flocked behind him.

The Failure of Regulation 

Sanders’ focus on Wall Street has forced his opponent Hillary Clinton to respond to the challenge. Clinton maintains that Sanders’ proposals sound good but “will never make it in real life.” Her solution is largely to preserve the status quo while imposing more bank regulation.

That approach, however, was already tried with the Dodd-Frank Act, which has not solved the problem although it is currently the longest and most complicated bill ever passed by the US legislature. Dodd-Frank purported to eliminate bailouts, but it did this by replacing them with “bail-ins” – confiscating the funds of bank creditors, including depositors, to keep too-big-to-fail banks afloat. The costs were merely shifted from the people-as-taxpayers to the people-as-creditors.

Worse, the massive tangle of new regulations has hamstrung the smaller community banks that make the majority of loans to small and medium sized businesses, which in turn create most of the jobs. More regulation would simply force more community banks to sell out to their larger competitors, making the too-bigs even bigger.

In any case, regulatory tweaking has proved to be an inadequate response. Banks backed by an army of lobbyists simply get the laws changed, so that what was formerly criminal behavior becomes legal. (See, e.g., CitiGroup’s redrafting of the “push out” rule in December 2015 that completely vitiated the legislative intent.)

What Sanders is proposing, by contrast, is a real financial revolution, a fundamental change in the system itself. His proposals include eliminating Too Big to Fail by breaking up the biggest banks; protecting consumer deposits by reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act (separating investment from depository banking); reviving postal banks as safe depository alternatives; and reforming the Federal Reserve, enlisting it in the service of the people.

Time to Revive the Original Populist Agenda?

Sanders’ proposals are a good start. But critics counter that breaking up the biggest banks would be costly, disruptive and destabilizing; and it would not eliminate Wall Street corruption and mismanagement.

Banks today have usurped the power to create the national money supply. As the Bank of England recently acknowledged, banks create money whenever they make loans. Banks determine who gets the money and on what terms. Reducing the biggest banks to less than $50 billion in assets (the Dodd-Frank limit for “too big to fail”) would not make them more trustworthy stewards of that power and privilege.

How can banking be made to serve the needs of the people and the economy, while preserving the more functional aspects of today’s highly sophisticated global banking system? Perhaps it is time to reconsider the proposals of the early populists. The direct approach to “occupying” the banks is to simply step into their shoes and make them public utilities. Insolvent megabanks can be nationalized – as they were before 2008. (More on that shortly.)

Making banks public utilities can happen on a local level as well. States and cities can establish publicly-owned depository banks on the highly profitable and efficient model of the Bank of North Dakota. Public banks can partner with community banks to direct credit where it is needed locally; and they can reduce the costs of government by recycling bank profits for public use, eliminating outsized Wall Street fees and obviating the need for derivatives to mitigate risk.

At the federal level, not only can postal banks serve as safe depositories and affordable credit alternatives, but the central bank can provide a source of interest-free credit for the nation – as was done, for example, with Canada’s central bank from 1939 to 1974. The U.S. Treasury could also reclaim the power to issue, not just pocket change, but a major portion of the money supply – as was done by the American colonists in the 18th century and by President Abraham Lincoln in the 19th century.

Nationalization: Not As Radical As It Sounds

Radical as it sounds today, nationalizing failed megabanks was actually standard operating procedure before 2008. Nationalization was one of three options open to the FDIC when a bank failed. The other two were (1) closure and liquidation, and (2) merger with a healthy bank. Most failures were resolved using the merger option, but for very large banks, nationalization was sometimes considered the best choice for taxpayers.  The leading U.S. example was Continental Illinois, the seventh-largest bank in the country when it failed in 1984.  The FDIC wiped out existing shareholders, infused capital, took over bad assets, replaced senior management, and owned the bank for about a decade, running it as a commercial enterprise.

What was a truly radical departure from accepted practice was the unprecedented wave of government bailouts after the 2008 banking crisis. The taxpayers bore the losses, while culpable bank management not only escaped civil and criminal penalties but made off with record bonuses.

In a July 2012 article in The New York Times titled “Wall Street Is Too Big to Regulate,” Gar Alperovitz noted that the five biggest banks—JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs—then had combined assets amounting to more than half the nation’s economy. He wrote:

With high-paid lobbyists contesting every proposed regulation, it is increasingly clear that big banks can never be effectively controlled as private businesses.  If an enterprise (or five of them) is so large and so concentrated that competition and regulation are impossible, the most market-friendly step is to nationalize its functions. . . .

Nationalization isn’t as difficult as it sounds.  We tend to forget that we did, in fact, nationalize General Motors in 2009; the government still owns a controlling share of its stock.  We also essentially nationalized the American International Group, one of the largest insurance companies in the world, and the government still owns roughly 60 percent of its stock.

A more market-friendly term than nationalization is “receivership” – taking over insolvent banks and cleaning them up. But as Dr. Michael Hudson observed in a 2009 article, real nationalization does not mean simply imposing losses on the government and then selling the asset back to the private sector. He wrote:

Real nationalization occurs when governments act in the public interest to take over private property. . . . Nationalizing the banks along these lines would mean that the government would supply the nation’s credit needs. The Treasury would become the source of new money, replacing commercial bank credit. Presumably this credit would be lent out for economically and socially productive purposes, not merely to inflate asset prices while loading down households and business with debt as has occurred under today’s commercial bank lending policies.

A Network of Locally-Controlled Public Banks

“Nationalizing” the banks implies top-down federal control, but this need not be the result. We could have a system of publicly-owned banks that were locally controlled, operating independently to serve the needs of their own communities.

As noted earlier, banks create the money they lend simply by writing it into accounts. Money comes into existence as a debit in the borrower’s account, and it is extinguished when the debt is repaid. This happens at a grassroots level through local banks, creating and destroying money organically according to the demands of the community. Making these banks public institutions would differ from the current system only in that the banks would have a mandate to serve the public interest, and the profits would be returned to the local government for public use.

Although most of the money supply would continue to be created and destroyed locally as loans, there would still be a need for the government-issued currency envisioned by the early populists, to fill gaps in demand as needed to keep supply and demand in balance. This could be achieved with a national dividend issued by the federal Treasury to all citizens, or by “quantitative easing for the people” as envisioned by Jeremy Corbyn, or by quantitative easing targeted at infrastructure.

For decades, private sector banking has been left to its own devices. The private-only banking model has been thoroughly tested, and it has proven to be a disastrous failure. We need a banking system that truly serves the needs of the people, and that objective can best be achieved with banks that are owned and operated by and for the people.

 

51 Responses

  1. Ellen I don’t want to sound weird but I love you…in an intellectual way that is

    • Thanks Richard, the feeling is mutual! (In an intellectual way, as we’ve never met!)

  2. I was just wishing for an opinion about this from you, Ellen, and here it is! Thank you.

  3. There can be no political solution within a system which is utterly controlled by money, which is in turn controlled by a small cabal of bankers and the laws which they have engendered to entrap the people within a system that entrenches the banking cabal just as the divine right of kings entrenched certain families as divinely chosen rulers. As feudalism became obsolete and was replaced by early and later forms of capitalism, so to has unfettered capitalism become a dead end,literally for the planet and its inhabitants and elitist plans to make war on the masses to further their rule by depopulation et cetera is a pure sign of insanity that will have terrible repercussions.for all.including the elites. This is strictly class warfare no matter how it is portrayed.

    • It’s not unfettered capitalism. It’s capitalism very much fettered by banksterism, aka crony capitalism – or Marxism, it’s true name. (Remember, Marx himself said, “I am not a Marxist.”)

      After all, Marxism is a bankster invention; see planks #1 and #5 of the Communist Manifesto for proof of this; note the word “control” as opposed to “own” in plank 5. With most everything else, control > ownership; do you want the car’s title, or its ignition key? However, the creation of the money supply is a unique power.

      The banksters own the bank, which prints the money the politicians use to spend on the things that keep them in power, so they must write the laws as the banksters wish, or the banksters get them replaced. Therefore, the government “controls” the bank according to the banksters’ dictates. In other words, the banksters, by controlling the government, effectively control the bank supposedly controlled by the government.

      I would consider myself a classical liberal; however, I have long believed that the creation of the money supply is something which is too dangerous to be left in unaccountable hands. So: military, police, civil courts (that’s minarchy), plus firefighters and roads (classical liberalism) – plus creation and regulation of the money supply. Index its size to economic growth or contraction, and inflation/deflation disappears. A bit overly simplistic, in terms of actual real-world implementation, but it’s a good ideological foundation upon which to build.

  4. The main reason is that the banksters like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, etc. are trying to shove socialism down the throats of the world population.  There needs to be a much better social contract devised. 

    • I trust you mean “socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor.” Thank you, Gore Vidal.

      • Privatize bankster profit; socialize bankster losses. Thank you, Bill Fleckenstein

  5. Dear public banking people,

    Community is contingent on sovereignty, which is an economic proposition, and requires independent monetized organization; independent from the Zionists’ central bank; requires community autonomous money – work-based money; contingent on local production for local use, contingent on face-to-face consensus-based community decision making processes – an organizational challenge.

    The reason you are “paddling upstream” and seem not to make rapid headway is because you are not opening a new context, rather, you are dependent on the former concepts of a ‘competitive’ “free enterprise” economic system, and most importantly, you depend on Federal Reserve Notes. The Zionists’ monetized organization is structured dominate the means of production, as well as the productive lives of alienated people in an alienated mass centralist society, which is dominated by that central bank. Also, the media and public education are dominated by the same.

    If you truly want to reinstate the ideals of “authentic” democracy, “you cannot start from here,” rather, you must open a new context that contains the objectives of mutualism, rather than those of domination.

    Without genuine community people are defenseless.

    Yes, Americans are dominated by an enemy, and that enemy is not the Muslims.

    You be well.

    Sincerely yours, Reed Kinney

  6. ELLEN;YOUR COMPARISON OF NATIONALIZATION BY USING ;.A I G ,AND ;G M, ARE BAD EXAMPLES.A I G IS THE WORST CRIMINAL ORGANIZATION ON THE PLANET AND WAS LEFT COMPLETELY IN TACT .I KNOW MY BEST FRIENDS DAUGHTER IS MARRIED TO THE CFO WHO WAS BBROUGHT IN AFTER THE GREENBURG FIASCO.THEY ARE CIA CONNECTED AND HAVE SO MANY CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE S GOING THEY CANT EVEN BE LISTED HERE.AND THE SHUFFLE OF OFFICERS WAS JUST A CHARADE FOR THE MASSES.THE GOVERNMENT IS IN BUS,WITH THEM BUT NOT IN A GOOD WAY .AND FOR G M ALSO THE SAME STORY.AS LONG AS THE “‘QUOTE GOVERNMENT”” IS INVOLVED WE ARE DEAD IN THE WATER.THE ENTIRE ADM AND CONGRESS ARE CONTROLLED BY TWO MAJOR FACTIONS AND THEY ARE RELATED.ONE IS [A I P A C } AND THE OTHER IS WALL STREET}ALL THE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES ARE PUPPETS FOR THESE ENTITIES!!!! AND YOUR OTHER EXAMPLES OF GREECE AND SPAIN ARE PATHETIC EXAMPLES ,BOTH FAILURES.. ONLY A MILITARY COUP LEAD BY PATRIOTIC LEADERS{{{IF THERE ARE ANY}} IS THE ONLY ANSWER .THESE CRIMINAL WILL NEVER RESCIND THEIR CONTROL AND POWER OVER THE NATION.THEY OWN THE GOVERNMENT IN TOTO!!!!.

  7. My main problem with Bernie is that he continues to cleave to our horrendous, imperial foreign policy. Not only is this hideously immoral, in my view, but it also promises to bankrupt any progressive domestic policy, turning campaign promises into false ones before the pixels begin to sparkle

  8. It’s important to note too that the ‘progressive movement’ that we’ve seen globally has been checkmated everywhere, even in Venezuela where it was strongest. We must make it clear so that people see it that those who control the flows of money control society, above all the economy. That control needs to be in the hands of the people.

    • We dance all around it and never say it but Capitalism is the basic problem, not greedy individuals.

      • Jon,
        I too have said that capitalism is the problem.
        I have likened it to a mental disease, in that people infected by it have a literally insatiable appetite for absolutely everything that exists.
        Rather like the Vacuum Monster in The Beatles Yellow Submarine cartoon film, capitalism and capitalists would – literally – consume everything – everything – there is, including even themselves, if they could do it. It could also be a variation on a death wish cult too.
        They enjoy the extreme pleasure, the adrenalin “rush”, the huge “highs” taking extreme risks and gaining extreme returns yields them.
        Like sex addicts, they not only cannot get enough of it but have to indulge themselves in ever-greater forms of excess in order to derive the same degree of pleasure as they originally first experienced.
        In the end, their need for combinations of viagra and cocaine will cause them to over-burden their own hearts, thus killing themselves.
        In the meantime, their excesses have to be paid for by everyone else.
        Until such time as most ordinary people realise what is going on and combine together to put a stop to the capitalist extremists, then this bizarre and unequal situation in our societies can only really continue on into the indefinite future.
        Sorry about that !!!!

        • I liken it to cancer. Both kill their hosts. In fact, Michael Hudson’s latest book is entitled “Killing the Host”.

          A tipping point was reached and we can no longer fight it by regulations. Regulations don’t work for long anyway. Look how little time it took for them to destroy the New Deal. As it stands now, it doesn’t matter if the population does realize what is going on. The memory of what happened in the thirties has been wiped from public memory but the .001% remembers well and are ready for us this time.

          Marching, chanting slogans, and carrying signs can’t do it. Organization is required. The unions, the socialists and the communist parties that provided that organization in the thirties have been demonized and destroyed. So far nothing has arisen to take their places and I suspect that such “terrorists” will be put down swiftly and harshly if they even talk about organizing. After all, the mechanisms are now in place to spy on us and stop it in the bud.

          • I recall one night when I was driving home in the early hours of the morning listening to a BBC World Service programme on economics.
            The guest speaker on the programme was – from memory – Joseph Stiglitz – and he was talking about Manhattan dinner parties he got invited to where the topic of conversation frequently turned to discussions of the guillotine moment, i.e. that point in time when the degree of economic exploitation of the masses would become so apparent to them that they would turn against the wealthy classes and take them in tumbrils to ?Times Square? where they would erect public guillotines and behead all the wealthy in full public gaze.
            Seemingly, these dinner guests got something of a kick out of holding these conversations and seemed particularly interested in assessing the marginal point at which the break-even point would be reached beyond which a full revolution would be sparked by their behaviour.
            These conversations establish that they – as a class – know just what they are up to. They also suggest that there is the kind of risky and thrilling behaviour they follow, even though they know it may kill them.
            That is why I say they are mentally incapable of behaving differently.
            It is almost like they follow some sort of death-wish cult behaviour.
            Maybe that is part of the attraction of being part of skull and bones?
            Sorry to go on at length.
            As far as what we “ordinaries” can do about any and all of this, I suggest we try to get people to understand that what sustains these people is our money and that we deny them any and all access to it.
            If that means returning to a largely cash-based economy, in which access to credit becomes largely a thing of the past, then so be it.
            We could keep the convenience of banking through credit unions.

            • To use the phrase “our money” when referring to Federal Reserve Notes entirely wrong. It is “their” money, and who are “they?” If you don’t know, then, I cannot tell you, or my comment will not be posted. But, surely, you know who “they” are. If you don’t, then, you are embroiled in the quagmire in “their” deceptions!

              • When I talk about money I mean the generally accepted means of exchange and store of value (however that may be defined!).
                While the National Mint prints bank notes and coinage for us to use, the Federal Reserve and all the private banks create credit and – thereby – bogus money, which is of little use in any historic sense.
                It is the National Mint money I am referring to, which we can use to facilitate mutually convenient exchanges between ourselves as co-consumers of economic and other products, including services.
                Ultimately, it is my belief that all forms of money should be phased out and societal forms of rationing applied in order to ensure an equal amount of distribution of societal assets and resources to all in society.
                Until then, however, we have to work with what exists in the form of minted money while ensuring that wherever possible we deny that money to the powerfully rich and wealthy and their corporations.
                This means localising the economy and dealing solely with local producers in meeting our individual and societal consumption needs.
                It also means organising with one another in order to take control of local government in order to ensure that they too place the interests of local people and the local economy first before Wall Street.

                • Dear John, In general terms, you have sketched out segments of Decentralized Economic Social Organization, DESO, which is logical.

                  The distinction needs to be made between a consumer-based economy, and a production-based economy. You are correct about local production for local use; which is contingent on a “civic-economic” organizational component. The organizational components are as follows: civil (sovereign Nuclear Groups), civic (Community Coordinating Committee), and civic-economic (community owned productive enterprises – all civic services that meet the existential needs of the folks; including the community mutual bank, MCB, that is a public service, which is composed of two departments 1) the JAK interest free savings and loan [Google], and 2) the community autonomous money, CAM.) I have no space here to explain how these structures work in unison, or to explain the confederations of sovereign communities. (And, yes, DESO “seizes” local governments)

                  All prevailing convention to one side, DESO is structured for economic and civic independence – the decentralization of power – that it never, not even for a moment, outreaches the hands of the people. That is a structural challenge that has been met in the context of the DESO formats. You be well. Yours, Reed Kinney

            • IMO the answer lies in Mondragon. It started with a Catholic priest and five workers. Today it is a city of around 100,000. If the nation/world looked like Mondragon we would actually live in a democracy. A small group of people could never corner enough wealth to purchase the political system.

              There are absolutely no quick fixes. That is the last thing people want to hear but it is true. https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=mondragon+corporation

              Unlike many, I do not feel anyone wakes up in the morning with the intent of screwing over anybody. What we have is simply the logical result of the quest to maximize profits. We are collateral damage. The enemy is capitalism, not the people who practice it. Only a few years ago no one dared criticize it but times they are a changing.

              • Mondragon is an ethnic organization, enticing, yes, but it has not the “teeth” to supersede the prevailing, banking consortiums, and their transnational corporate conglomerates.

      • Yes, a systemic problem. It is about some people, too. However, the key problem has a name. The word, in singular, starts with a Z and ends with a T.

  9. […] Ellen Brown Global Research, January 27, 2016 The Web of Debt Blog 26 January […]

  10. Reblogged this on PROGRESSIVE ACTIVISTS VOICE and commented:
    “The world is undergoing a populist revival. From the revolt against austerity led by the Syriza Party in Greece and the Podemos Party in Spain, to Jeremy Corbyn’s surprise victory as Labour leader in the UK, to Donald Trump’s ascendancy in the Republican polls, to Bernie Sanders’ surprisingly strong challenge to Hillary Clinton – contenders with their fingers on the popular pulse are surging ahead of their establishment rivals.”

  11. […] posted on WEB OF DEBT BLOG: The world is undergoing a populist revival. From the revolt against austerity led by the Syriza […]

  12. I am very sympathetic with your view. It is worth pointing out, however, that this banking collapse had a unique structure. Section 2 of this paper lays it out pretty clearly. There was something new under the sun that had never existed in banking before. (This is not in the below paper, but I was told by insiders that when the AIG insured-asset capital collapsed, real reserve ratios were worse than 1500:1. One can see clearly why from this paper.) This presented a unique emergency, since it hit all the major US banks. It was a systemic failure of unprecedented proportions.

    http://www.economics-ejournal.org/economics/journalarticles/2012-3

  13. As a socialist who observes the enlarged world capitalist bankruptcy, the center of the problem is far allow the capital remains in the hands of its current owners, the confiscators of the workforce, or into the hands of the actual producers , workers and the people accompanying them. The capital must be seized by the real producers and put it in terms of their social needs and their communities. That means not pay a penny for it to confiscators of the workforce, or in other words, seize the banks under control of workers and their communities. That Bernie Sanders does not rise at all when talking about taking action to Wall Street. As a populist, more “light” than PODEMOS or SYRIZA or Corbin, even guarantees to the owners of capital to survive and likewise keeps worsening world capitalist bankruptcy.

    But for workers to the dictates of history, they shall be the government and throw to the streets those who have kept the usufruct of capital i few hands.

    Expropriate the banks under workers’ control, centralization and unification to promote credit as a lever to encourage production, and social interests of their communities, it should be the watchword to be exposed.

    • Currently, communities do not exist. Power concentrated beyond the control of the people in any form will invariably produce tyranny. Centralized power concentrated beyond the control of the people attracts the bad and corrupts the best. The objective is to create civic organization that is self-managed by the people themselves. The economy must be democratized, I agree, but no civic organization, currently in existence can achieve that. You are barking up the wrong trees.

      • Dear Reedkinney, your words remind me John Lennon’s Revolution song while in The Beatles. If you read carefully what I wrote you could understand what Lennon, as soloist, sang years later in Working Class Hero, understanding much better who should be in charge.

      • I think your comment is a counsel of despair – and not fully correct.
        There is a community, though much of it could be considered more latent than actual.
        There are mechanisms and institutions that can be accessed to achieve change, though they are largely unused at present.
        The community needs mobilization – and that requires considerable effort in the area of educate, agitate and organise by people like you.
        The mechanisms and institutions which currently exist are those law-making bodies at the local, state and national level.
        You and your equally motivated colleagues need to organise your own political movement in order to gain access to the same kind of power the American oligarchs have monopolized.
        You may need to start within the existing power structures and bodies such as the principal two-party system.
        What you need to create is a grass roots mirror tea-party type organisation but one that comes from the progressive area of politics.
        Are you and your colleagues up for that?

        • Dear John,
          Indeed, I appreciate your kind comment.
          I applauded your insight and understanding.

          The structures and the strategies of the project are largely disconnected and independent from the existing status-quo.

          Everything that the current civilization provides that lends itself to this burgeoning movement will be made use of. As you say, the undercurrents, invaluable to this coming shift, are there, and they abound.

          Nonetheless, Decentralized Civilization is based on its distinctive organization with its distinct objectives.

          As you observe, there is no lack of folks who are ready to make it real.
          It will be brought into the light of day (historically speaking) very, very soon.

          Thank you for your kindness, John.
          You be well!

          Always yours, Reed Kinney

  14. […] original source of this article is The Web of Debt Blog Copyright © Ellen Brown, The Web of Debt Blog, 2016 […]

  15. […] The Populist Revolution: Bernie and Beyond […]

  16. Instead of using the term nationalization of the banks, why not refer to the democratization of the banks? This fits with your closing remark about ‘banks that are owned and operated by and for the people.’

  17. When I clicked on your link to confirm I am following your blog, I got some sort of odd warning about your certification being problematical. You might want to check this out with your ISP as it may stop others from viewing your site. I added your site to my exceptions so it is no longer the case that I see any warning message.

  18. Why have none of my comments been posted? I am a regular visitor to the site and a strong supporter of Ellen and her books, especially. I don’t see what could possibly be more important to getting to the root – cause of many societal problems. But many people are lost when it comes to this subject, and seem to have little time or patience to truly grasp it. How can we get over that wall of obstruction? Sanders is no ideal candidate, yet he is the only one speaking consistently on this most relevant of topics and is also the most ignored and ridiculed.

    • The “system” is rigged. There is nothing good for the people that can come from it. Building a different context is the only option.

  19. […] Read More […]

  20. Ellen, I would like to recommend you for the expert panel on a live chat being held by The Guardian on Feb 4 from 6 pm to 9 pm NY time. It is a discussion of how to finance the $16 tr. estimated cost of meeting the 1.5 degree C. climate change goal agreed upon at last year’s climate summit. the info is at globaldevpros@theguardian.com or @GuardianGDP on twitter #globaldevlive. It seems to me that any discussion of this nature needs to include money creation alternatives.

    • Isn’t the $16 Trillion figure you cite less than the amount in excess of $18 Trillion racked up by successive POTUSes since Clinton left office, spent in pursuit of fake war aims and mass death and destruction around the planet Earth?
      Saving human life on the planet Earth for a lesser expenditure seems like amazingly good value to me by comparison with the ludicrous waste of resources spent by the US on their largely failed war aims.

  21. […] Source: Web Of Debt […]

  22. […] By Ellen Brown  1/26/2016  https://ellenbrown.com/2016/01/26/the-populist-revolution-bernie-and-beyond/ […]

  23. Jon makes a reference to Mondragon as an example of an alternative society model. I am not an expert on Mondragon, though I am fully aware of its foundation upon co-operative principles.
    However, I believe that a form of petty nationalism may also be involved in that the co-operative is located in the Basque region of Spain and it may be the case that the benefits of Mondragon are targeted principally at this one social element within Spanish society.
    As I said, I am not an expert on this matter but petty nationalism is a possible factor that may need to be borne in mind.
    A further example from Spain is Marinaleda – the Andalucian town said to be based on co-operative and social-democratic principles that is said to be bucking the moribund trend in Spain.
    Further details of the town are at https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/liam-barringtonbush-jen-wilton/spanish-town-where-people-come-before-profit.
    Ultimately, it is all a power thing.
    It is up to us to wrest power away from the greedy few so the decent many can enjoy the benefits of societally-generated wealth for all.

  24. Bernie Sanders has a lot of good ideas, but I wonder if he would be willing to go so far as to abolish the Federal Reserve System and replace it with a public bank..

  25. Hi, You all, Democratize the economy, wherein banks comprise one component of many community services. Sovereignty is public productive-property meeting the needs of its owners, the community. The community bank produces work-based, autonomous money that facilitates its production-based, civic-economy. Centralized, exclusivist power will be superseded by decentralized power – no contest, swift and definitive.

  26. Why would anyone give me a “thumbs-down” on my previous comment? I merely stated the obvious and asked a pertinent question. Our colonial ancestors had more sense and motivation on this issue than most Americans today. Letters to my local papers do not get run, and local representatives are unresponsive. It gets frustrating.

    • there are quite a few trolls who frequent this site, so I wouldn’t worry about the thumbs down

  27. Dear Mrs. Brown

    Sometimes the things are not what they seem to be.

    I agree with you, that financial controling production and therefore our lives

    So Sanders, Syriza and Podemos proposals seem be reasonable. However sometimes things are not what they seem tobe. Sometimes they are the opposite of what they seem to be

    In Greece, Syriza is cuting pensions, so moved confronting towards a generational confrontation. Not against financial, but pushes young against old people. The confrontation leads to another level just “take the money of old people pension to give it to young people” So simply, the fighting is not against financial but against other “social class” the olders (?).

    Contemplate this scenario. What if populism were no more than a franchise of shock capitalism “to deceive people?

    The measures proposed Syriza, or current British Labour will be: increase in that debt, (ie they increase our slavery) and its legislative proposals are “de facto” sink medium and small companies so create more unemployment.

    Perhaps these movements are being used to destroy countries and after… buy them cheaper

    Please think about. Thank you

    Best regards

    Skeptical

  28. JFL440: When ‘Marx himself said, “I am not a Marxist.” it was in response to a statement by a young revolutionary in Paris at the time of the Commune who had declared himself a Marxist, to which Marx had responded to Engels, “If that is Marxism, then I am not a Marxist”.
    Clearly, Marx was distancing himself from those who claimed him as an ideological authority even though they clearly did not understand fully his own philosophy and ideology.

  29. […] — source ellenbrown.com […]

  30. […] The Populist Revolution: Bernie and Beyond […]

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