Wall Street’s Latest Scheme Is Monetizing Nature Itself

A month before the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (known as COP26) kicked off in Scotland, a new asset class was launched by the New York Stock Exchange that will “open up a new feeding ground for predatory Wall Street banks and financial institutions that will allow them to dominate not just the human economy, but the entire natural world.” So writes Whitney Webb in an article titled “Wall Street’s Takeover of Nature Advances with Launch of New Asset Class”:

Called a natural asset company, or NAC, the vehicle will allow for the formation of specialized corporations “that hold the rights to the ecosystem services produced on a given chunk of land, services like carbon sequestration or clean water.” These NACs will then maintain, manage and grow the natural assets they commodify, with the end goal of maximizing the aspects of that natural asset that are deemed by the company to be profitable.

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Striking Alabama Coal Miners Take Protest To Wall Street

About 14 striking Alabama mine workers have taken their case to Wall Street this morning.

Chanting “no contract, no coal,” the miners today launched the latest step in a strike that began April 1 for a new contract with Warrior Met Coal.

United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts and union members plan to protest in front of the Manhattan offices of several hedge funds the union says are the reason the contract negotiations are stalled.

“These are the ones that can be responsible in seeing that we get a decent contract,” UMWA Legislative Director Phil Smith said by phone this morning.

The miners, along with other supporters, plan to protest in front of BlackRock Fund Advisors, State Street Global Advisors, and Renaissance Technologies.

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Financialization Created Chicago Public Schools’ Fiscal Crisis

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is in a deep and enduring fiscal crisis. After decades of budget cuts, Chicago’s public K–12 schools have been hollowed out, magnifying the hardships of stagnant wages, rising housing prices, and more faced by the city’s working class. Pundits have predictably blamed CPS’s fiscal crisis on either the greedy teachers’ union (Republicans’ and a few austerity-minded Democrats’ scapegoat) or on conservative suburban and rural “downstate” politicians in Illinois hostile to urban children’s plight (most Democrats’ scapegoat).

But Chicago is a one-party city, controlled by the Democrats, in a solidly blue state, where Democrats usually control the state government.

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The Case For The Financial Transaction Tax

For most Americans, what threatens health also threatens wealth. The COVID-19 pandemic triggered the worst economic crisis in nearly a century, with millions suddenly facing hunger, unemployment, or eviction. But Wall Street doesn’t represent most Americans. In the parallel universe of the financial industry, stock indices soared to historic peaks as Americans wished good riddance to the deadliest year in our history. Detached from the daily lives of most Americans, the stock market surge almost exclusively benefited the disproportionately wealthy, and the pandemic once again lived up to its distinction as “the great clarifier.”

For years, Wall Street has been increasingly out of touch with the underlying economy of workers, jobs, and wages, and the fortunes reaped by hedge funds and billionaires have not helped the millions of Americans in dire need.

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Who Are The Ultimate War Profiteers?

The U.S. ruling class deploys the military for three main reasons: (1) to forcibly open up countries to foreign investment, (2) to ensure the free flow of natural resources from the global south into the hands of multinational corporations, and (3) because war is profitable. The third of these reasons, the profitability of war, is often lacking detail in analyses of U.S. imperialism: The financial industry, including investment banks and private equity firms, is an insatiable force seeking profit via military activity.

The war industry is composed of corporations that sell goods and services to the U.S. government and allied capitalist regimes around the world.

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The Gamers’ Uprising Against Wall Street Has Deep Populist Roots

A short squeeze frenzy driven by a new generation of gamers captured financial headlines in recent weeks, centered on a struggling strip mall video game store called GameStop. The Internet and a year off in this shut down to study up have given a younger generation of investors the tools to compete in the market. Gerald Celente calls it the “Youth Revolution.” A group of New York Young Republicans who protested in the snow on January 31 called it “Re-occupy Wall Street.” Others have called it  Occupy Wall Street 2.0. 

The populist uprising against Wall Street goes back farther, however, than to the 2010 Occupy movement. In the late 19th century, the country was suffering from a depression nearly as severe as the Great Depression of the 1930s.

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Gamestop—And the Game That Never Stops!

This past week a video game company in trouble, Gamestop, became the center of media attention.  Day traders had driven up the company’s stock price by thousands of percent in just one day. The mainstream media narrative was the ‘small guy’ investor challenged the big boys of finance who had bet Gamestop stock price would contract, not rise sharply.  The little investor, so the story goes, initially won big but Gamestop’s stock price escalation was stopped in its tracks by coordinated forces of Wall St., as trading was abruptly halted later in the day in the midst of the run-up. But that narrative, that media spin, has it wrong.  The real meaning of what has happened is quite different.

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‘French Revolution In Finance’

The New York Stock Exchange suffered a poor day on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average sinking by more than 600 points. However, for a select few companies, stock values have gone through the roof.

It was thanks, in large part, to a group of amateur stock traders with a vendetta against veteran corporate insider short-sellers betting on a company’s failure, with the video game store GameStop taking center stage. Before the drama was over, the company’s value had jumped by more than 1,700%, an investment firm had lost billions, and some small-time investors who gambled it all were able to afford some of life’s costlier necessities with their windfall.

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The Reddit Revolution, GameStop And Melvin Capital

A remarkable series of events culminated in at least one major Wall Street hedge fund on the verge of insolvency and widespread anxiety and even panic from the titans of the financial system. It was all initiated on a sub-group of Reddit known for its heterodox interest in stock markets, video games, and vaguely populist politics. 

Purposely targeting the stock of a company that had long been written off by Wall Street and which short sellers had decided to ravage — the video game retailer GameStop — these small investors, many apparently working class or debt-ridden, banded together to drive up the stock price of that company into the stratosphere, abruptly leaving the hedge fund short-sellers with billions of dollars in losses.

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War Of The (Financial) Worlds

Sometimes things only make sense when seen through a magnifying lens. As it happens, I’m thinking about reality, the very American and global reality clearly repeating itself as 2021 begins.

We all know, of course, that we’re living through a once-in-a-century-style pandemic; that millions of people have lost their jobs, a portion of which will never return; that the poorest among us, who can withstand such acute economic hardship the least, have been slammed the hardest; and that the global economy has been kneecapped, thanks to a battery of lockdowns, shutdowns, restrictions of various sorts, and health-related concerns.

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Water Should Not Be Traded On Wall Street

On December 8, 2020, several media sources reported that fresh water started to be traded on Wall Street as a commodity such as gold and wheat. This comes as water scarcity is increasing in California and many parts of the world and as we near a global water crisis. A water crisis is worrisome enough, yet more alarming is the fact that our Mother Water will be controlled by a privileged group of people who will determine its value to the world.  

As Indigenous Peoples of Abya Yala (the Americas), we have seen how our territories were turned into private property for the benefit of settlers and their governments. Although we might have lost our livelihoods in certain cases, we are resilient and we continue asserting our rights to collective lands and land protection.

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Hunter Biden Criminal Probe Bolsters A Chinese Scholar’s Claim

Hunter Biden acknowledged today that he has been notified of an active criminal investigation into his tax affairs by the U.S. Attorney for Delaware. Among the numerous prongs of the inquiry, CNN reports, investigators are examining “whether Hunter Biden and his associates violated tax and money laundering laws in business dealings in foreign countries, principally China.”

Documents relating to Hunter Biden’s exploitation of his father’s name to enrich himself and other relatives through deals with China were among the cache published in the week before the election by The New York Post — revelations censored by Twitter and Facebook and steadfastly ignored by most mainstream news outlets.

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On Contact: American Dissent

On the show this week, Chris Hedges talks to Professor Paul Street about the outcome of the US presidential election, and how despite likely losing, Donald Trump has solidified an angry, disposed working class that cuts across racial lines and has embraced a right-wing populism. What does this portend for the two ruling parties? Will the Democrats continue to be captive to big donors and Wall Street, or will they embrace the anti-corporate message and promises Medicare for all, free higher education, higher corporate taxes and regulation of big banks and Silicon Valley that drew such broad and enthusiastic support for Bernie Sanders?

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Trump’s Zealots: White Supremacists And Evangelicals

Let us not be naive. If President Trump recently called on his adoring followers to “liberate” states like Michigan, Virginia, Maryland*, and Minnesota, which all happen to have Democrat governors, this is not about freeing people from the supposed tyranny of lockdown and social distancing measures. What the gun-toting, Trump 2020 and Confederate-flag waving Trump storm-troopers have been organized and likely paid to do, is to make sure the United States goes back to work as soon as possible. Naturally, this is despite the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging in all 50 states, at various levels, with no end in sight.

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The Wall Street Crash And The Great Depression

With mass unemployment on the cards, many are comparing the current crisis to the Great Depression of the 1930s. In both cases, however, these crises were not ‘accidental’, but a product of capitalism’s insoluble contradictions.

Capitalism is entering into what looks set to be its deepest crisis ever. Although COVID-19 provided the trigger, a deep slump has been in the making for many years. With the stock market in turmoil, mass unemployment, and the perspective of a global depression, parallels are being drawn to the Great Depression of the 1930s – although even that may fall short as a parallel.

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