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Peter Joseph Speaks at Occupy LA

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Whether it's online or live or what have you, please be patient with me as I walk through some of this stuff. First, I want everyone to take a deep breath... Exhale... There's a lot of energy in an environment like this, isn't there? There's a crowd mentality that reminds us that we are involved in a singular social organism, and we relate to each other on a very profound and deep level. As profound as that is on one side it can also be little caustic and dangerous on another if we get too caught up in things that might move us in the wrong direction. I don't see that happening here but I do hope everyone can relax with me for a moment as I begin to speak this very brief but detailed, intricate talk. As you all know, my name is Peter Joseph and I work with an organization called the Zeitgeist Movement. [cheering] Thank you. This movement was founded in 2008 and it's a sustainability advocacy group without country, without classes without any religion or race. It is a global concept working to unify the human species in a way that's considered humane and actually sustainable. In the longer-term interest we actually seek something that I think many of you might share which is the removal of the entire socio-economic system itself. The details of which I'm going to express as I continue this talk. I pulled out some history books recently to see if I'd seen anything like this in basic modern history. Has there ever been a movement that actually goes against the financial and corporate powers on this scale and in the community globally, ever and there hasn't been. That's a very telling sign as far as the awareness of the culture wouldn't you say? Many people yell at political buildings and they work to try and engage their political establishment with the idea that it actually is where the power resides in this world that we share, when it's very clear that the power is obviously within the financial structure and always has been. Even with the Great Depression when I researched these issues I found nothing that really went after the true powers that be. There's a man named John McMurtry which some of you might be familiar with. He made a very unique analogy to where we are with this state of affairs. He stated that what we're seeing in the world today is actually the rise of the social immune system not the rise of a political ideology but the rise of a defense mechanism coming from the very fabric of our culture that sees that something is extremely wrong and very cancerous to society as a whole. We, the social immune system, need to work to recognize the true root problem, and then move to remove it as fast as possible before it takes hold and essentially works for our own termination. As the cancer has grown since the inception of the system that I'm going to speak of, it's become more malignant, more caustic and obviously across the world absent of any country, nation or political party. We're beginning to see its caustic effects. Just as the cancer in our bodies produces different symptoms that harm certain areas first, such as our lungs or our kidneys we need to ask the question "Where is the real sickness lying?" I heard someone yell out capitalism a moment ago but is that really the psychology that's underlying the problem that we see or is it simply a manifestation of something even more flawed at the foundational level? Are we actually seeing this cancer for what it is really working to correct it at the root source or are we just addressing its symptoms? This is the question I would like to pose, not only to Occupy LA but to the entire movement related and all those that are worried about the state-of-affairs on this planet. How do we diagnose the real issue? How should we feel about the 1% which own 40% of the planet's wealth? How should we feel about 400 Americans that have more wealth than 150 million Americans combined? How should we feel about top hedge fund managers that take home over 300 million dollars a year and for what? Do these hedge funds managers actually create anything? Last I checked, the measure of our market system which justifies its competitive nature is that those who contribute the most to society are supposed to be the ones that are most rewarded. Obviously, the exact opposite is true. As a quick aside I will state that if there's anything that can represent the tumor of the system that we inhabit it would be Wall Street, the Stock Exchange and the banking establishment as a whole. But again, the tumors are not actually the source of this disease. They are symptoms. Symptoms, just as the rampant foreclosures forcing people out of their homes, are symptoms. Symptoms, like the ongoing economic decline and loss of so-called growth, are symptoms. Symptoms, like the ongoing debt crisis that is yet to fully hit America but has already taken its toll in the EU Greece, Italy, Portugal and many others. Obviously no resolution has been found. Why? Because they're trying to resolve the problems that have been generated within this system by using mechanisms of this system. Even as our governments continue to bail out banks across the world they impose austerity on us. Is that at the result of something negative? Are these people just evil? Are they just trying to do the worst they can to insult the humanity of us? Are they just corrupt, greedy criminals? Anomalies? Are they aliens from another planet that have come down to fuck with us? Well, they're people, exactly and they are likely manifestations of this cancer rather than a cause of it. As the world awakens to this financial system and its flaws I've noticed a very radical perspective slowly being realized which transcends the economic tradition many of us assumed to be natural to our way of life. You notice that we tend to assume that the systems we're born into, the traditional systems are automatically assumed to be empirical. Have you ever noticed that? We might look at politics and governments as we know it as a whole and assume it's valid, why? Because that's all we've ever known. Is it any true measure of logic? Probably not. It's simply tradition. It's custom. You'll find that we seem to be locked into custom frames of reference rather than emergent frames of reference and that is fundamentally what needs to change in our view of reality. We might look at the market system, our use of money and assume it will always be there, right? Not because of any benchmark of our earthly economic measure of what it truly means to be sustainable, not because of any scientific realization of what human behavior actually entails and how we tend to act based on what's reinforced in our culture but simply because that's all we've ever known. However, as the bio-social pressures continue to grind down the global workforce as machine automation continues to replace human labor for the benefit of saving corporations' money reducing purchasing power, your money and inevitably stifling economic growth our perspective might just grow a little bit larger than the traditional norms we've come to understand. Maybe, human employment for income as we know it something that I've heard in rhetoric a lot of people complaining about: "Where's our jobs?" maybe the foundation of our entire economic system simply isn't going to work anymore because we realize the non-stop effects of science and technology hence the emergent nature of reality clashing with our traditional assumptions. Perhaps even with the expanding debt crisis born out of the fractional reserve lending system and the structural reality that money is actually created out of debt and sold as a commodity in exchange for interest that can only come into existence through the creation of more loan sales and the creation of more money. Maybe, the debt collapses aren't the result of some political policy or some corporate or government malfeasance. Maybe they are the result of the actual structural form of this system that we inhabit. With the psychology of growth and consumption that continues to create the ongoing social and environmental destruction that we see: abuse and exploitation all around us that so many environmentalists complain about yet they still tend not to realize that the system is based on that. It's defined by consumption. It's defined by turnover and we often think that corporations should be held responsible for their actions because of their abuse of this nature when the competitive market model of economics demands that behavior. Again, it's structural. How is it in a world that's supposed to be economizing... What is the definition of an economy? It means the management of a household. What does that mean? It implies that you have to be thrift. It means you e-con-o-mize; it means you save; it means you are strategic in what you do. How is an economy based on consumption to maintain your employment, economizing at all? Obviously, it's a complete anti-economy. It's time we consider among all of this that the problems we're seeing (that we're here about) are actually systemically rooted in the core structure of what defines our economic system and the psychology that is created, supported and rewarded. I keep hearing the phrase in the Occupy Movement "We are the 99%" and while I understand and admire that communicative gesture I would like to expand back and think about this a little bit more technically. I think it's a little more accurate to say "We are not the 99%. We are actually the 100%" and all of us are to blame. The only reason the 1% have what they do is because the 99% continues to support all the elements that fuel the wealth of the 1%. The system is literally designed to support the 1% over the 99. The values that we see in our culture are designed to make sure you aspire to those that maintain the role of the 1%. It's called 'The American Dream' remember? The American Dream which only exists for the 1%. It always did. Our success is often measured in our material wealth or how we gain admiration in the culture our dignity defined by what others think of us. Is that true success? No, that is a false distorted value that came from a system that needed to be based on everyone being acquisitive, competitive cut-throat and essentially inhumane. The historical illusion, I have to point out which continues to this day, which I know is manifest in a lot of gestures here in this audience and across the world (rightfully so, but it's still an illusion) is that there is some person or group that is explicitly to blame. Rather than focus on the fact that the 1% of the world's population has over 40% of the planet's wealth let's instead ask ourselves the question "How is that even possible?" How is that even possible that our system allows for such a thing? Do we really have grounds to be surprised at the way the world is operating? When the very foundation of what motivates the current social order is taken into account, should we really be surprised at all? "What is the economy?" I ask the question. The monetary market model at work in the world means that through the movement of money power and property can be bought and sold at will within the confines of legal legislation which is 'for sale' in the open market just as all politicians are for sale in the open market; just as all administrations, policies in general are for sale in the open market. What did you expect when the whole system is based upon the buying and selling of property, power and influence? There is no escape from the influence of money with respect to governmental policy, why? Because government in this system is nothing more than a business. That's all it can be and I hope that can become clear in the minds of many and see the true root of change has to be beyond the lobbying for government to do things within our favor. It has to go deeper. While people in the world continue to protest this system they come up with such terms as 'corporatism' and 'crony capitalism' and even 'fascism' to highlight the legal reality that businesses can influence all legislations to what's called 'corporate lobbying', yet it's legal. Why wouldn't it be? This is what the system is. It's those that seem to impose the assumption that this system is something that it isn't, that continues to bother me. This system was always fascist at its very origin. It just took this long for the root of it to rise to the top because the cancer continues to grow and now the social immune system is noticing it and that's the only difference. Do you know what creates jobs in the world today? Problems. Everyone talks about labor. Do you know what really creates jobs? Problems! In an efficient world, there would be less of a need for all of us to be employed or to engage in any type of long-term action that we would consider a job. People would learn to be satisfied and not greedy. They would learn to understand their relationship to the environment. The system of progress would be less need to resolve problems not more being generated, which is what we're doing today. In other words, there was an empirical decoupling from what actually supports life on this planet and the scientific reality that we inhabit and have been learning about. It's built right in. The monetary market system at its core must change not the policies that regulate it. On a different level, just to throw this in for those who have never thought about the fact that the entire structure of our economy is intrinsically flawed there's a culturally hegemonic attribute of this system that goes unnoticed: If you have $1,000,000 and you put it into bank account a CD investment at 4% interest you will make $40,000 a year, for doing what? [Nothing] However, if you take loans to buy your home and you need to take out credit as it's called you're paying interest in, and guess where that interest goes? It goes to fuel the 1% or those with the wealth that have the ability to actually deposit money and make money off of it. Am I the only one that sees that hegemonic flaw in that? Yet you rarely see a sign being held up defending or defining the interest system. You rarely hear people ask "Why do we even have interest to begin with?" It's one of those things that goes unnoticed. It's in the interest of the 1% that we all seem to think it's OK and normal. This is the problem. No one's realizing what the structural problem actually is. They don't realize the reinforcement they are doing to actually continue this system while on the other side of their awareness they think they're fighting it. In fact I'll say this The values that comprise our culture today are what actually support the higher level classes and systematically repress them without them even knowing it. As I began to say earlier in the 1960s a man named Stokely Carmichael, the famous activist coined a very important phrase called 'institutional racism'. This was referring to how unnoticed underlying policies and structures within the social system undermined African-American prosperity and equality. What we have today is a mere variation. It's institutional classism. And it is equally a civil rights issue as anything else that has ever existed. Coming back to the nature of Occupy Wall Street Wall Street itself as we know, which is the ultimate manifestation of the pursuit of money as a commodity rather than any form of true creation or social contribution is naturally ripe for symbolic objection. At a minimum, it shouldn't exist at all and most certainly not have the grand effect it does on the stability of our economy today. That being stated, it must again be made clear that Wall Street and the banking system are not the source of our problems. They are only symptoms of a larger order economic cancer which will continue to not only create more imbalance but will completely eventually fail by its own gravity and its outdated assumptions of our human conduct and its false environmental relationships. What we are seeing in the world today is, in my view the beginning of the end when it comes to the protest movements that have been started. This is the beginning of a change of values and structure that has been needed for a very long time for our emerging understanding is now overriding the traditional assumptions that have held these structures in place. I want to ask one final question: If you were given the option to participate in a program of sharing to have the values where someone said to you "If I give to you, would you be willing to give to me?" not in the sense of barter but in the value of simply what it means to actually give and the understanding that when you look back at your life in the future are you really going to remember (I'm speaking to the whole of whoever is listening here, not just you)? Are you going to remember all those things you did in your self-interest? Are the CEO's and bankers and the elite that exist really going to have pride in themselves when they look back at their lives to think that all the money they've acquired actually was a measure of some type of success? Isn't the true measure of success your ability to relate to your environment hence the immediate reciprocation that defines our intrinsic unification and unity? I'm not here to say when I address the monetary system that we don't need 'surgery' to remove the effects and cancers of this system. The tumors, in fact, we desperately do. We do need massive political pressures and to do whatever we can to help this system push into the right direction but I have to remind all of you that until the root source is addressed until the movement comes together globally as it is slowly doing that's willing to work together to override the system as it exists not to find a seat at the 'proverbial table' but to establish a completely new table no long-term societal change is going to work. I leave that with you and I deeply commend you on your courage and I thank you for your time and good luck! [Applause]

Video Details

Duration: 23 minutes and 12 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: The Zeitgeist Movement
Director: The Zeitgeist Movement
Views: 292
Posted by: ltiofficial on Oct 16, 2011

Peter Joseph of The Zeitgeist Movement speaking at Occupy LA (Occupy Wall Street) October 15 2011. Note: This 'working location' is currently open for translation into all languages. Once acknowledged, all completed and proofread 'official' translations can be found at the Repository location at: http://dotsub.com/view/3be6ca25-8cfd-46aa-affb-4a764472ef37. To join/help with these efforts: http://tinyurl.com/LTcontacts

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