Prison Radio
Mumia Abu-Jamal

Across the globe, financial fires are raging, burning through national economies like the plague, turning everything it touches into smoldering ashes. This fire rose, perhaps most perilously, in the fall of 2008, as the U.S. economy took a precipitous tumble in the explosion of junk mortgages which blew the bottom out of the housing markets.

Shortly thereafter, foreclosures (often filed and processed in violation of law) closed millions of homes, sent people into shelters or the streets to fend for themselves. Those economic eruptions have rippled around the world, causing havoc in a slew of nations, bringing their economies to the brink of disaster. The political leaders, of whatever party, took energetic measures to protect and defend the coffers of the wealthy, and granted them bundles of bailout money. They turned their attention to social programs, workers’ rights, and inflicted so-called austerity measures on the people, to extract more from the poor, and working-class.

When the Greek politician, Prime Minister George Papandreou decided to hold a referendum on these measures, the rich countries waged an all-out media war against him, driving him to resignation. And Greece, the nation, we are told, where democracy was first practiced, is denied the right to vote on its wages, its benefits, its hours worked, and its’ very future. For ‘the market’ will decide. For, ‘the market’ has no time for democracy. What Greece, and soon, Italy, demonstrates, is that politicians kneel at the high altar of finance–and investors hold more power than presidents and prime ministers.

Indeed, Europe distinguished itself in 1999, when it launched the Euro–a single currency in Europe (with the exception of Britain). However, when nations have no say in its currency, whether it rises, falls, floats or stagnates, others will have say; say, investors. Before such an international economic onslaught, which squeezes a nation’s economic aorta to bring it to heel, prime ministers are not so primary. Papandreou has bowed out, and Italy’s right-wing rascal, Silvio Berlusconi is on the ropes. Historians Will and Ariel Durant in their 1968 work, The Lessons of History, noted: “… the men who can manage men manage the men who can manage only things, and the men who can manage money manage all” [p.54]. The descendants of Achilles and Odysseus; and of Caesar, and Hadrian, bow to bankers.