Notes: We are the revolution

Paulo Coelho writes about a rising revolution and changing attitudes:

I’d say that the new political attitude for our era is to "die alive and commited."

In other words, being aware and participating in things until the day we die – something that does not occur very often – people end up dying for the world on the day they renounce their dreams.

We are the revolution taking place. We are responsible for the world in every sense – political, social, moral.

We are responsible for the planet. We are responsible for the unemployed.

Of course, we can blame the banks, the disaster that irresponsible people created in the financial system, the political repression, the inability of the Govts. to hear what people has to say.

But this will not help the world to become a better place. We need to act, and we need to act now.
And we don’t need permission to act.

We are much more powerful than we think we are. Let’s use this power, use the strength that everyone has when he/she is following his/her real Bliss, Personal Legend, you name it.

We are the dreamers, but we are also the revolution.

Dreams are not negotiable.

Also worth reading is his Declaration of Principals. I've been keeping notes for the past year to write and implement a declaration of principals for myself.

Notes: Why 'Occupy Wall Street' Is Intensely Pro-Capitalist and Pro-American

As someone who admittedly knows very little about economics, government, capitalism vs socialism, or the financial industry, this bit on what Mark Jeffrey's thinks Occupy Wall Street is really about was enlightening.

Over the last several days, there has been a lot of talk about OWS being socialist, un-American and about 're-distribution of wealth'. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In a capitalist system, if you make a product or service the world finds of value, you are rewarded. Sometimes, you are rewarded with an obscene amount of money. As you should be: this is what God intended when he invented capitalism and opened the stock market on the 8th day. If you are Steve Jobs and you make insanely great products, everyone runs out and buys every newer, smaller more awesome version.


If you suck, or you operate your business like a fool, or you're just plain unlucky timing-wise, you are rewarded with going out of business. Every single Internet entrepreneur knows this. In fact, we all know people who've lost companies or sold them for crappy valuations: I lost a company myself back in the crash of 2000.

Again, God looked down and lo, even this was good. All Internet entrepreneurs would also (eventually) say this is a good thing: you get your head snapped back, you learn about business and yourself. You come back twice as smart. The market benefits eventually with renewed strength: everyone actually prospers in the end.

But in 2008, when the banks failed, this did not happen.

The banks -- who either ran their businesses like fools, or who intentionally created a bubble (and if this is true, I would go so far as to suggest this may be labelled Financial Treason, since they hurt America on an epic scale with full knowledge of what they were doing -- and didn't care) -- the banks should have gone down in bankruptcy. Their assets should have been sold in auction, and a thousand new creative business opportunities would have been created. Startup people from the Internet world would have descended on the carcass of Wall Street with insanely amazing ideas.

In a proper capitalist system, this is what would have happened. And we all would have benefitted! Even the idiots at Goldman Sachs, etc. who got us here: some self-reflection would have done them good.


The state stepped in. The state funded the banks with our money, yours and mine. A full 20% of the valuation of the United States of America was annihilated by these morons, and we simply funded them back up from the Treasury (actually worse: from the non-federal Federal Reserve -- which I won't even get into here).

You know what that's called?

Socialism. The fusion of the state and corporation is called Socialism. And this is what OWS objects to. That's what they are angry about.

(One of the best comments I read on this is 'Capitalism without the possible consequence of bankruptcy is like Christianity without Hell.')

Some argue that the banks were 'too big to fail'. I say that's bullshit, but let's let that stand for now. When an Internet company is on its last legs, and is almost dead, they do generally have at least some options. They can raise additional capital, but usually at egregious terms: the new investors want to wipe out the old investors percentage-wise, they want 2-5x liquidation preferences, they want control of the Board, etc.

And the almost-dead company has to accept these terms: they have their hat in their hand and have no choice.

This is where the banks were in 2008. Except: we never forced terms like this on them. We should have. That's what you do in Capitalism.

As American Citizens, and bailers-out-of-the-banks, you and I should have had pro rata stock shares in every bailed out bank. You and I should have pro rata dividends that come to us quarterly, it should not go into the pockets of the bankers as immense bonuses. And you and I should have pro rata voting rights on Board issues.

You want to be too big too fail? Fine. Here's the term sheet from the American People, who are now forced to be venture capitalists and should at least reap the rewards of investment. Yes, our terms are egregious, but We, The People are saving you from bankruptcy.

This is called Capitalism. We didn't see that happen with the banks. Instead: we saw socialism happen, we saw redistribution of wealth alright: we saw the bankers get our money! (And for those of you who argue the banks paid it all back you're wrong; and even if they did, the Fed printing more money in massive quantities creates inflation which effectively robs us as well).

The State did not do its job. The State did not protect We, The People. Instead, it protected the corporations at the expense of the people.

And we know it happened, and we're pissed off. And we don't believe that anything has actually changed, and we seem to be powerless through our existing political system to do anything about it: both Democrats and Republicans are on their side, not ours, so even voting doesn't matter like it should in a real democracy. We can't vote on who runs the Federal Reserve (hint: he's ex Goldman Sachs, so who do you think he sides with?)

That is what OWS is really all about. It's about true democracy, true capitalism, and America.

Notes: We need a public majority of intellectuals

Jason Caldwell, the lead developer at WebSharks, Inc. (a company I recently started consulting for) and a Zeitgeist movie advocate, wrote this bit about how the Occupy Wall Street movement has the potential to awaken a sleeping society and get us all to begin questioning the accuracy of the information we take in.

I agree with his ending point that presidential elections will slowly become more and more meaningless as we recognize that in the age of instant global connectivity, a future system of governance will be that of the people, not a single figure who makes decisions, but a system that recognizes the collective will of those who the system affects.

Before we can really discuss possible solutions in a way that might bring about change, the public majority needs to understand what the problems are. We also need to be more responsible. We, the public, need to do their own research, in order to verify the accuracy of the information we take in, and also to understand the world around us. I believe the Occupy movement may help us accomplish this in the long term. A movement like this causes people to question their existing train of thought, to re-examine their belief system; based on the information that is currently obtainable; and also, based on what is realistically achievable once the current state of affairs is understood by the masses. It also sets a platform for discussion and artistic expression by the people, instead of by Hollywood alone.

Sadly, many people do NOT yet have a good understanding of what our problems are. In fact, many people don't even question some of the establishments we have in place today. The mainstream media puts a selective spin, or party-based opinion on everything, which keeps people quite confused about very serious issues. This leads people to gossip around the water cooler, about varying points of view among pundits, rather than having any serious discussion about change, based on our own personal knowledge and understandings.

In addition to the mainstream media, we have our current form of society, which is very much based on a motive to obtain profit, even on a personal level. Whether we realize it or not, the profit motive has corrupted us all, and we'll have to rise above this societal impulse, on some level, in order to discuss how we get rid of it completely over the long term.

Many of us today are also afraid of being wrong, and so we really don't speak our minds. Creative thinking and artistic expression need to become a larger part of society. We need to be more willing to share our ideas openly, so that others might work with us, and/or contribute to our broader understanding. Being wrong is part of a natural learning process. If we are wrong about something, and we understand that we we're wrong, we're more intelligent because of that occurrence.

I believe there is hope. People are naturally losing faith in their politicians, and in mainstream media corporations that color things to match their larger objectives. As we seek out alternative sources for information; and in our own research, we begin to understand just how complacent we've all been as a society. We also begin to see that it's not politicians or money that we need, as some may suggest. Politicians, bankers and economists are not trained to solve these types of problems. And, given the current structure of society today, it is impossible to reach a position of influence in the world, without having ties to corporate profit-seeking entities, on one level or another; making most of our existing and future leaders untrustworthy.

Our problems today have a very technical and emotional orientation. Our society today, is also too large and too diverse, to be governed by traditional figures, such as a president or a congress, which really serve as an arm of the corporate world anyway. Instead, we need a public majority of intellectuals, which takes education. We need to become the leaders through education, instead of asking others to do it for us ( i.e. an Obama, or a Herman Cain, or a Ron Paul ).

As the public begins to understand our current problems for what they are, and as we begin to accept emotionally how wrong we've been about many things in the past, I believe that a solution will manifest itself out of the will of the people; and I am hopeful that will lead to a positive change, which may improve things over time. In the short term, I think presidential elections should become more and more meaningless, taking place in the backdrop of a larger public movement that is more relevant to our needs and productivity.