Money and The Mob

Financial, tech, and political elites wield tremendous power, except against organized angry mobs.

The top 1% of elites have financial guns. But the 99% mob has fists. And ninety-nine unarmed attackers can overwhelm one armed attacker. “Reddit autists” are demonstrating this mathematical reality right now.

In recent weeks, users of a Reddit message board called r/WallStreetBets decided that they would like to do something they’d tried to do often in the past: mess with a big hedge fund trying to short a public company. In this case, they wanted to mess with the hedge fund attacking GameStop, the debt-mired retail chain that buys back video games from consumers and sells the used copies alongside new and used games, systems and controllers.


Why is the r/WallStreetBets targeting GameStop and are they beating their adversaries?

The losses appear to be tremendous. As of Monday, shorts seemed to have lost $3.3 billion betting against GameStop this year, according to MarketsInsider. About $1.6 billion, or about half, of those losses happened on Friday when the stock jumped 51%…

Why are the Redditors doing this? There’s the seeming easy money aspect, which is compelling in and of itself if you’re that comfortable with risk. But some of them are also framing this as a crusade against Wall Street. “We’re in a war,” one Redditor posted Wednesday. “A war for the redistribution of wealth.”


How the financial elites struck back

1. Change the rules

Private companies betrayed their users to protect the powerful. Several trading platforms placed restrictions on trading GameStop, including Robinhood, Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, and Interactive Brokers.

Robinhood says its mission is to democratize finance for all.  This morning for breakfast I drank the juicy hypocrisy of Robinhood naming itself after the famous legend who robbed the rich to pay the poor, only to stop the poor from robbing the rich. Robinhood users retaliated by mobbing the app stores, driving the rating down to 1 out of 5 stars. On Twitter, users reported the Robinhood account for various violations of Twitter’s Terms of Service. Robinhood users have filed a class-action lawsuit against the company for restricting trading. The mob is winning this battle against Robinhood.

2. Malign White people

At CNN Chris Cilliza wrote an article, How Trumpism explains the GameStop stock surge. The Financial Times wrote, “It would be tempting to dismiss the Reddit bros – some of them alt-right supporters – as “dumb money” and their frenzied buying as a Ponzi scheme”. Ben Collins of NBC News tweeted, “By the way, there are going to be alt-right weirdos buying Gamestop stock. It’s because alt-right weirdos hang out on the internet all day and try to invade social movements. Wall Street Bets self-identifies as unsavory idiots, but Nazis are hangers-on here, if anything.” And, “That said, if this whole thing leads you to discovering the crypto dark money laundering that has financed the alt-right for years, I am very ready to have that conversation!”.

One of hedge funds hardest hit was Melvin Capital. Because the founder is Jewish, conspiracy theorists labeled many of the Redditors anti-semites. I won’t quote them here, but rather share this mild example from Ali Breland.

When financial elites libel regular people as backward bigots for the slightest whiff of opposition, the elites demonstrate their depravity.

3. Censor

Financial elites are an octopus whose tentacles of power extend into all major institutions and sectors of the economy. One of the elite’s most used tentacle is tech.

The group-chat platform Discord on Wednesday said it had banned the r/wallstreetbets server for repeatedly violating its policies against hate speech.

“The WallStreetBets server has been on our Trust & Safety team’s radar for some time due to occasional content that violates our Community Guidelines, including hate speech, glorifying violence, and spreading misinformation. Over the past few months, we have issued multiple warnings to the server admin,” a Discord representative told Insider.”Today, we decided to remove the server and its owner from Discord for continuing to allow hateful and discriminatory content after repeated warnings.”

Business Insider India

4. Collude

Google deleted over 100,000 negative reviews of the Robinhood app on their app store, according to The Quartering. Then there’s the web of money and ownership. “Citadel is a hedge fund that owns Melvin Capital Management. Melvin is a $GME short-seller predicted to lose BILLIONS due to the people taking the free market back. Citadel owns the app Robinhood. Citadel banned purchases of new $GME shares on RH“. – @paulkevinhynan

Lessons Learned

The Reddit-driven retail stock buying has many parallels to the MAGA capitol protests, as a former SEC Commissioner noted on CNBC. The financial elites were caught off guard and shown to be conquerable. Countless disaffected middle-class males are likely inspired to participate and plan future actions. The counteraction of the elites exposed their corruption to the internet. If a bunch of Redditors can pull off #GameStop, imagine what millions of people can do to the student loan cartel just by setting a date to stop making payments. They could bankrupt those lenders in a week.

GameStop has rattled Wall Street more than Bitcoin ever has. This is a reminder that Bitcoin disrupts power not as an asset, but as a hard to censor peer-to-peer money.

As the economy worsens, censorship increases, and ethnic conflict burns, more mobs will organize financial attacks on institutions to punish them for perceived corruption and malevolence. If you’re going to join one of these swarms protect yourself by practicing good OpSec, such as using a pseudonym, using bitcoin to pay for services and using encrypted communication channels.

In a future post I will discuss all the ways money can function as a weapon.

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