In an essay for LeMonde, Graeber contrasts the treatment of the two solidarity movements, as he calls them, and the treatment given them by “the forces of law”. His assessment is that both are creating spaces outside the formal structure of the state, the first, only too developed, the latter…still in the process of being born. Or rather ‘born again 2.0’, one might say. #PanamaPapers show a global solidarity of the wealthy and powerful, the power quotient being even more important to them. After all, most wealth is now extracted by way of collusion with state power anyway, he asks ‘why squirrel it away in Panama, anyway?’ ‘Why not just extract twice as much, then give back half as a gesture of loyalty?’ Does he mean loyalty to some form of noblesse oblige? It’s not clear to me. But his conclusion is that it’s not about the money, but the sheer power of being able to do so.
“The creation of these tax shelters is the creation, not precisely of a state of sovereign exception. It is rather one of financial exception, within an emerging global legal-bureaucratic order of which the beneficiaries, themselves, the architects.
The creation of this order is probably the most important historical phenomenon of the last two generations. Never before has the planet seen anything like it, a unified administrative system. ‘’
It’s hard to argue with that, in the larger picture, isn’t it ? But really, it’s #LaNuitDebout that I really wanted to feature, although it was after the French Rabble who’d already begun protesting the labor ‘reforms’ and austerity measures that were Killing Them Slowly that ‘news’ of the #PanamaPapers came out that the movement exploded. I’s hard to say when David Graeber got to Paris to share his experiences, but:
‘’ This is what has happened in France. The organizers of the original march against the new Labor Laws were planning a single day’s event. But things almost immediately escaped their control. A kind of mass outpouring of the democratic imagination ensued; libraries, gardens, popular education centers, kitchens, studios, appeared; thousands taking part in general assemblies began cheerfully adopting, and in the process, creating their own idiosyncratic version of the new global language of direct democracy. Hundreds of thousands followed, and contributed, on social media. As veteran activists from around the world—myself included—hurried to Paris to lend their experience with process, wild new demands began to be formulated (debt cancellation, citizens income, sortition…) that had hitherto been completely excluded from “serious” political debate. As the process threatens to expand, next, to the immigrant and working class suburbs, the initial contemptuous dismissal of the political classes seem to be turning into a kind of panic, and more and more men with weapons have come to surround the new agora, as if to literally prevent democracy from overflowing its bounds.
The traditional justification for spaces of exception is that they can become places of creativity: after all, only those who are not bound by the existing legal order can create new laws. But it’s increasingly difficult to imagine any solutions to the world’s most pressing problems coming from that space of financial exception in which the world’s economic and political elites now live. About the only kind of imagination that has come out of it has been the design of ingenious new financial instruments. Yet at the same time, millions of humans beings who do not have access to such an extra-territorial space, full of potential ideas and solutions, are live lives which consist of little more than being constantly told to shut up and keep working. If we are ever to think our way out of our endless current logjams, it can only come from the new extra-territorial spaces—if not legally extra-territorial in this case, then certainly, morally and politically so—that the world revolution of 2011 began to open up.’’
The protests are spreading to Belgium, Britain, Spain and Germany; even a group in Denver, Colorado is in solidarity. ;-) But a revolution, I think, will be global, and will come as capitalism itself is delegitimized, and state security mechanisms are delegitimized. There is a call for a global Night of Uprising on May 15; I do so wish I could heed the call in person!
April 15, Common Dreams: ‘Two Weeks Into a Major Uprising, French Activists Still Staying ‘Up All Night’’
27 min ago, then back in time :
#NuitGlobalDebout on Twitter is here.