They are saying we are all losers, but the true losers are down there on
Wall Street. They were bailed out by billions of our money. We are
called socialists, but here there is always socialism for the rich. They
say we don’t respect private property, but in the 2008 financial
crash-down more hard-earned private property was destroyed than if all
of us here were to be destroying it night and day for weeks. They tell
you we are dreamers. The true dreamers are those who think things can go
on indefinitely the way they are. We are not dreamers. We are the
awakening from a dream that is turning into a nightmare.
We are not destroying anything. We are only witnessing how the system
is destroying itself. We all know the classic scene from cartoons. The
cat reaches a precipice but it goes on walking, ignoring the fact that
there is nothing beneath this ground. Only when it looks down and
notices it, it falls down. This is what we are doing here. We are
telling the guys there on Wall Street, "Hey, look down!"
In mid-April 2011, the Chinese government prohibited on TV, films,
and novels all stories that contain alternate reality or time travel.
This is a good sign for China. These people still dream about
alternatives, so you have to prohibit this dreaming. Here, we don’t need
a prohibition because the ruling system has even oppressed our capacity
to dream. Look at the movies that we see all the time. It’s easy to
imagine the end of the world. An asteroid destroying all life and so on.
But you cannot imagine the end of capitalism.
So what are we doing here? Let me tell you a wonderful, old joke from
Communist times. A guy was sent from East Germany to work in Siberia. He
knew his mail would be read by censors, so he told his friends: “Let’s
establish a code. If a letter you get from me is written in blue ink, it
is true what I say. If it is written in red ink, it is false.” After a
month, his friends get the first letter. Everything is in blue. It says,
this letter: “Everything is wonderful here. Stores are full of good
food. Movie theatres show good films from the west. Apartments are large
and luxurious. The only thing you cannot buy is red ink.” This is how
we live. We have all the freedoms we want. But what we are missing is
red ink: the language to articulate our non-freedom. The way we are
taught to speak about freedom— war on terror and so on—falsifies
freedom. And this is what you are doing here. You are giving all of us
There is a danger. Don’t fall in love with yourselves. We have a nice
time here. But remember, carnivals come cheap. What matters is the day
after, when we will have to return to normal lives. Will there be any
changes then? I don’t want you to remember these days, you know, like
“Oh. we were young and it was beautiful.” Remember that our basic
message is “We are allowed to think about alternatives.” If the rule is
broken, we do not live in the best possible world. But there is a long
road ahead. There are truly difficult questions that confront us. We
know what we do not want. But what do we want? What social organization
can replace capitalism? What type of new leaders do we want?
Remember. The problem is not corruption or greed. The problem is the
system. It forces you to be corrupt. Beware not only of the enemies, but
also of false friends who are already working to dilute this process.
In the same way you get coffee without caffeine, beer without alcohol,
ice cream without fat, they will try to make this into a harmless, moral
protest. A decaffeinated process. But the reason we are here is that we
have had enough of a world where, to recycle Coke cans, to give a
couple of dollars for charity, or to buy a Starbucks cappuccino where 1%
goes to third world starving children is enough to make us feel good.
After outsourcing work and torture, after marriage agencies are now
outsourcing our love life, we can see that for a long time, we allow our
political engagement also to be outsourced. We want it back.
We are not Communists if Communism means a system which collapsed in
1990. Remember that today those Communists are the most efficient,
ruthless Capitalists. In China today, we have Capitalism which is even
more dynamic than your American Capitalism, but doesn’t need democracy.
Which means when you criticize Capitalism, don’t allow yourself to be
blackmailed that you are against democracy. The marriage between
democracy and Capitalism is over. The change is possible.
What do we perceive today as possible? Just follow the media. On the
one hand, in technology and sexuality, everything seems to be possible.
You can travel to the moon, you can become immortal by biogenetics, you
can have sex with animals or whatever, but look at the field of society
and economy. There, almost everything is considered impossible. You
want to raise taxes by little bit for the rich. They tell you it’s
impossible. We lose competitivity. You want more money for health care,
they tell you, "Impossible, this means totalitarian state." There’s
something wrong in the world, where you are promised to be immortal but
cannot spend a little bit more for healthcare. Maybe we need to set our
priorities straight here. We don’t want higher standard of living. We
want a better standard of living. The only sense in which we are
Communists is that we care for the commons. The commons of nature. The
commons of privatized by intellectual property. The commons of
biogenetics. For this, and only for this, we should fight.
Communism failed absolutely, but the problems of the commons are here.
They are telling you we are not American here. But the conservatives
fundamentalists who claim they really are American have to be reminded
of something: What is Christianity? It’s the holy spirit. What is the
holy spirit? It’s an egalitarian community of believers who are linked
by love for each other, and who only have their own freedom and
responsibility to do it. In this sense, the holy spirit is here now. And
down there on Wall Street, there are pagans who are worshipping
blasphemous idols. So all we need is patience. The only thing I’m afraid
of is that we will someday just go home and then we will meet once a
year, drinking beer, and nostaligically remembering “What a nice time we
had here.” Promise yourselves that this will not be the case. We know
that people often desire something but do not really want it. Don’t be
afraid to really want what you desire. Thank you very much.