TV International interview with Hamid Taqvaee on the 99% movement
Below is the transcript of interview
Hi you are watching tv international with Maryam Namazi. We got brilliant Hamid Taqvaee with us, and we are going to be speaking about 99% movement.
Maryam Namazi: Welcome Hamid Taqvaee
Hamid Taqvaee: Thank you
MN: We have been hearing from protesters, it has been amazing to see this various protests in many cities across the world. One of thing that is coming up is the fact that it has got to do with greed. And I suppose my first question to you is if we regulate the market and if the people becomes less greedy, then things get any better?
HT: Actually the question of greed is what people say because they are told to thing so. I mean first when it happened in 2008, everybody was talking about greed. All the main stream media, all the politicians, every body. As if there is some bunch of greedy executives in wall street, bankers and major stock holders who created the whole problem. That was the image the people got. The general image was that ok, some thing is wrong with the system and it should be modified, but the real problem is the greed and the greedy people. Obviously, it is not the reason. I mean, even if you say it is greed, greed is what the system needs. It is created by the system. You can say that the problem is not greedy people but greedy system. And if you want the system works you need greed and that greed is personified in bankers and other capitalists. The problem is the system not some greedy people.
MN: And in the sense of the whole issue of the greed, it is often also blamed on the population in large. They say we are responsible of over borrowing and living a life that we do not have money for. So, it is sort of impression that it is our behavior that is the problem rather than the system itself.
HT: The question of credit and the fact that people have to borrow in order to live means there is no other way. People cannot be blamed because they want to live! One cannot say because people have to borrow to live, so they created the problem. Again here we have a system that works based on credits, credits to the banks, to the big companies, to the capitalists and credits to the people. Capitalists borrow to invest and people borrow to spend. People are consumers, they have to borrow from the banks in order to pay for the rent or mortgages, for bills and for everything.
MN: Basically what you are talking about is not the greed but the system that is responsible?
HT: Yes, it is the whole system, and every part of the system is needed by other parts. Everything matches. The system is based on credit cards, based on mortgages, based on stock market and financial capital and so on; it is based on greed if you like. The whole things works and works this way. One cannot say this or that part is not good; lets switch it off and the rest is ok. This is not going to work.
MN: Having said that, some people say even 99% protesters are using that products of capitalism form social networks they use, the cloths they are wearing to the tents they bought from Tesco or big supermarkets.
HT: Are you sure they are products of capitalism and not the products of workers and people which most of them are out of job now? I mean everything Wall Street occupiers use are what they created in the first place; the wealth of the whole society is created by 99%. I don't think any capitalist, any banker, any major stockholder have ever seen any production line, or has been to a factory or in a shop floor, ever. In fact the real problem is the people who created all the products are the same people who can not afford them. They can not even survive without borrowing from those who posses everything without working for them; that is from 1%. Well, look! When you say 99% against 1%, it is a question of wealth and the way it is shared by the population. According to the statistics 1% of the population of USA owns more than 40% of the whole wealth. Now we ask who created the wealth of this 1%? Who created that 40 or 100 percent of the wealth? Of course the answer is people who have been working, and not the people who just own the capital or own the banks. It is obvious.
MN: It is interesting because the protesters are not only against an economic system, but inequalities that people are facing and the fact that they can not afford health care and many things any more. But it is also grievances against political system, which is more interesting because often times parliament democracy is shown to be the hope of the people in everywhere, something that every one is fighting for. What is your take on this area?
HT: There is a slogan in the movement that says both parties, Democrat and Republican, are Wall Street parties. The people know that. I mean it is not just the matter of how the wealth of the society is distributed. The problem is that the tiny minority who posses the lion share of the wealth, owns the power as well. They run the army and all the armed forces. They decide on the major issues, foreign policies, on national policies, they own Wall Street, and they own the congress, they own the Washington, they own all lobbies. Everything! Everything! Any aspect for political power, social power, economical power are in the hands of %1 of the people. It is not just the question of wealth. It is question of rights, question of controlling the whole society which effects every day life, politics, media, army, social matters, cultural matters, everything. They control. That one percent controls the media. The mainstream media is controlled by them. They decide on any major subject in any aspect of social life. This protest is against the elite of the society which controls and runs everything.
MN: Can you just switch financial markets off? What would be solution?
HT: You can not switch off just one part of the system, but you can switch the whole thing off. I mean you can not reform some how. You can not have capitalism without bankers, without greed. You can not have capitalism without Wall Street. We can not have capitalism without bail outs these days now, without tens or hundreds of billions or trillions of dollars to pump to the bank system because it has got to work. So, it cannot be said that capitalism is ok and good only if we could get rid of bankers.
MN: So, everything is part of it inequality and unemployment and social injustice are all part of it.
HT: Everything is part of it.
MN: So, what is the solution? Socialism, it is said, it is passed and old fashioned?
HT: The problem is not old fashioned, so I do not know why the solution, i.e. Socialism, is old fashioned! If you are jobless and you have no rights and no voice, and if the society is still controlled by 1% of people, then socialism is alive and relevant! Socialism is about those issues. I know that the Soviet Union brand of ”socialism" is old fashioned, it is gone. But Soviet Union had nothing to do with socialism in the first place. Socialism is the movement that answers all the basic issues of our time( economical crises and its political and social consequences), and as such is relevant to the everyday life of majority of the people more than ever. This movement shows you how to get rid of the present system. And that is an urgent question for every body. Every body is thinking about that. You know, people would think we have parliament, we have parties, and we have so to speak "democracy". But we have noting to do with what is going on. Our view doesn't matter. No body is counted. No body ask us what to do. They make peace, they make wars, they bail out, they imply austerity measures, they do whatever they want to do and the whole system has nothing to do with us unless every four years I go and elect some body and I know all is going to happen again, because it is the same system. So, socialism is the real solution and it is not old fashioned until of course poverty and inequality itself is old fashioned.
MN: Thank you very much Hamid Taqvaee