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2011 in Review: A Year of People Power

by Wes Messamore, published

Looking back on 2011, we’ll all certainly remember its odd moments and cultural sensations-- even the ones we'd like to forget. There was the viral YouTube music video, Rebecca Black's Friday; Charlie Sheen's bizarre public meltdown; Kim Kardashian's much lampooned divorce after 72 days of marriage; the Casey Anthony trial; the Royal Wedding; the Twitter scandal that brought down Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner; the last of the Harry Potter movies; and the debut of Siri, an intelligent personal assistant on the iPhone 4s.

There were also many notable deaths in 2011. Widely-hailed as the most internationally significant death was that of Al Qaeda terrorist leader, Osama bin Laden, who was killed in a special ops raid ordered by President Obama. The mastermind behind the 9-11 terrorist plot wasn't the only unsavory world figure to die in 2011: a NATO-led revolution in Libya resulted in the death of military dictator, Muammar Gaddafi at the hands of boisterous Libyan rebels. Late in the year, the eccentric and malevolent North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Il died of a heart attack. The world was sad to see many others pass away in 2011, including Apple founder Steve Jobs and anti-communist Czech playwright, Vaclav Havel, among others.

But the single most significant, world-historical event of 2011 might very well be an unprecedented mobilization-- via the power of the Internet and social media-- of grassroots political activists in countries throughout the world to protest and reform-- in some cases, even overthrow-- corrupt establishments. For that reason, TIME Magazine named "The Protester" 2011's Person of the Year for "redefining people power" throughout the world. Indeed 2011 was a year of people power, and not only with respect to political upheaval. When Japan was hit with a devastating earthquake and tsunami in March, headlines abounded with stories about the resilience and heroism of Japan's people and communities.

In other countries throughout the world, people and communities banded together against a different kind of destroyer: corruption, secrecy, oppression, inequality, and the resulting economic ruin that has engulfed the entire global economy. In the Middle East, Tunisians and Egyptians kicked off 2011 with revolutions, overthrowing their governments to forge a new and better society. Their example set the flames of revolution and reform alight in other countries throughout the Middle East-- a wave of revolutionary activity dubbed "The Arab Spring," which would spread throughout the entire world, including even Israel, China, and the United States, where protesters in New York City started an Arab Spring-inspired movement called "Occupy Wall Street," which has since spread to dozens of cities throughout the country, with the Occupy protests in Oakland garnering as many or even more headlines and national attention than its sister protests in Zuccotti Park.

TIME captures the sweeping significance of it all:

'Protests have now occurred in countries whose populations total at least 3 billion people, and the word protest has appeared in newspapers and online exponentially more this past year than at any other time in history. Is there a global tipping point for frustration? Everywhere, it seems, people said they'd had enough. They dissented; they demanded; they did not despair, even when the answers came back in a cloud of tear gas or a hail of bullets. They literally embodied the idea that individual action can bring collective, colossal change. And although it was understood differently in different places, the idea of democracy was present in every gathering. The root of the word democracy is demos, "the people," and the meaning of democracy is "the people rule." And they did, if not at the ballot box, then in the streets. America is a nation conceived in protest, and protest is in some ways the source code for democracy — and evidence of the lack of it.'

But what is it exactly that people have had enough of? What unifies all of these protests and revolutions? Make no mistake, they are not merely unified in their style, nor their inspiration alone. The world's people are revolting against a single, common economic malady and declaring their independence from its single, common source: the global financial elite, a close-knit group of multinational finance institutions and national central banks that have enslaved the world's population to a monetary system of credit and debt.

At its apex: the American petro-dollar printed (or created at the stroke of an accountant's pen) at the Federal Reserve Bank. In a rare victory for transparency, the limited, one-time audit of the Fed this year mandated by the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, revealed that at the height of the financial crisis, from 2007 - 2010, the Federal Reserve created over $16 trillion out of thin air to loan out at functionally zero percent interest to foreign central banks and big Wall Street financial institutions. With such a radical inflation of the monetary supply of the U.S. dollar-- which is used as the world's reserve currency to trade global commodities like oil and wheat between nations with differing currencies-- can there be any wonder that the price of food in Middle Eastern countries has skyrocketed since 2007, leaving families outraged and desperate for revolution? This is what unites 2011's protester on the Arab street with the protester in Oakland, California. They are both victims of the same global racket.

The central bankers' monetary manipulation hurts the poor and middle class the most because rising costs of living don’t affect the large budgets and lavish lifestyle of the financial elite nearly as much as they affect struggling poor and middle class workers. Perhaps more insidious, as inflation raises the cost of living for the rest of us, the central bankers simply print more money and lend it out at low interest to wealthy banking establishments, which can lend out and profit from the new money before it circulates, devalues the rest of the money, and raises everybody else’s prices. In this way, central banking is unambiguously a policy of class warfare, a vicious economic war on poor and middle class working people throughout the world, a blank check written out to the already wealthy establishment and signed with every bead of sweat and every aching muscle of every struggling wage earner.

And remember again, that because the U.S. dollar is the reserve currency of the world, this class warfare isn’t merely confined to the United States. It is no coincidence, after a decade of monetary expansion unprecedented in history, that dollar-traded global commodities like wheat are becoming so expensive that food shortages in the Middle East were one of the most important (though least discussed) factors in the Arab Spring revolutions. The banking establishment profits by investing in third world hunger. The financial racket of the last hundred years has unambiguously transferred trillions in wealth from the pockets of everyday people to the purses of the well-connected, wealthy elite who operate the racket. But just like any Ponzi scheme, the entire operation is mathematically unsustainable and collapses under the weight of its own deception, leaving angry investors in its wake, or in this case, an entire world full of angry people who have finally decided that they have had enough.

2011 may very well be remembered as one of the most pivotal years in human history, the year that the people of the world stood in unison against the longest-running, most massive theft in the history of the world: the modern global central banking paradigm, and all the perverse wars, corrupt states, and sickening inequalities perpetuated by its deception. 2011 was a year of people power.

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