"To My Fellow Filthy Rich Americans: Wake Up, People. The Pitchforks Are Coming"

Tyler Durden's picture

Excerpted from Nick Hanauer's OpEd in Politico (read more here),

Memo: From Nick Hanauer

To: My Fellow Zillionaires

You probably don’t know me, but like you I am one of those .01%ers, a proud and unapologetic capitalist. I have founded, co-founded and funded more than 30 companies across a range of industries—from itsy-bitsy ones like the night club I started in my 20s to giant ones like Amazon.com, for which I was the first nonfamily investor.

I tell you all this to demonstrate that in many ways I’m no different from you. Like you, I have a broad perspective on business and capitalism. And also like you, I have been rewarded obscenely for my success, with a life that the other 99.99 percent of Americans can’t even imagine.


But let’s speak frankly to each other. I’m not the smartest guy you’ve ever met, or the hardest-working. I was a mediocre student. I’m not technical at all—I can’t write a word of code. What sets me apart, I think, is a tolerance for risk and an intuition about what will happen in the future. Seeing where things are headed is the essence of entrepreneurship. And what do I see in our future now?

I see pitchforks.

At the same time that people like you and me are thriving beyond the dreams of any plutocrats in history, the rest of the country—the 99.99 percent—is lagging far behind. The divide between the haves and have-nots is getting worse really, really fast. In 1980, the top 1 percent controlled about 8 percent of U.S. national income. The bottom 50 percent shared about 18 percent. Today the top 1 percent share about 20 percent; the bottom 50 percent, just 12 percent.

But the problem isn’t that we have inequality. Some inequality is intrinsic to any high-functioning capitalist economy. The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution.

And so I have a message for my fellow filthy rich, for all of us who live in our gated bubble worlds: Wake up, people. It won’t last.

If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. It’s not if, it’s when.

Many of us think we’re special because “this is America.” We think we’re immune to the same forces that started the Arab Spring—or the French and Russian revolutions, for that matter. I know you fellow .01%ers tend to dismiss this kind of argument; I’ve had many of you tell me to my face I’m completely bonkers. And yes, I know there are many of you who are convinced that because you saw a poor kid with an iPhone that one time, inequality is a fiction.

Here’s what I say to you: You’re living in a dream world. What everyone wants to believe is that when things reach a tipping point and go from being merely crappy for the masses to dangerous and socially destabilizing, that we’re somehow going to know about that shift ahead of time. Any student of history knows that’s not the way it happens. Revolutions, like bankruptcies, come gradually, and then suddenly. One day, somebody sets himself on fire, then thousands of people are in the streets, and before you know it, the country is burning. And then there’s no time for us to get to the airport and jump on our Gulfstream Vs and fly to New Zealand. That’s the way it always happens. If inequality keeps rising as it has been, eventually it will happen. We will not be able to predict when, and it will be terrible—for everybody. But especially for us.

(Full letter here)

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Heffer's picture

I have my pitchfork sharpened and ready, can't wait.

Pinto Currency's picture



As smart as Nick Hanauer may be, I don't see one word in his letter re. central banking and the Federal Reserve as the source of the inequality.

The Limerick King's picture



With wealth in the hands of the few

And peasants with nothing to do

The future will see

A new recipe

For Klepto and Oligarch stew

jbvtme's picture

so don't level the playing field because it is right or just or spiritual. fix it because the goyim are coming for your lunch. fuck that entitled prick

Pinto Currency's picture



And perhaps Hanauer could have commented about Jeff Bezos attending the Bilderberg group meetings whereafter putatively politicians are required to implement Bilderberg Group decisions - conflict of interest Tony Blair?:


Skateboarder's picture

"And then there’s no time for us to get to the airport and jump on our Gulfstream Vs and fly to New Zealand"

Fucking arrogant fuck. Why you name no names, Nicky boy?

Unbelievable, the 'narratives' they 'publish' these days. It's just like Western Medicine. Hide the fucking symptom dawg - make 'it go away! Now!

"Root cause?" me-a-no-speak-a-ingirish.

kito's picture

Why is he arrogant? He is speaking to those who have those plans should something go awry for the

cifo's picture

"the other 99.99 percent of Americans can’t even imagine"

A few details would be helpful here. What could you do when you are filthy rich that 99.99% can't imagine? Orgy with Nicole Kidman? Have dinner with Warren Buffett? I am really curious. Honestly, I am not interested in any of these experiences (I 'm lying, maybe just the Nicole Kidman thing :)



max2205's picture

At least we have the name of one when the time comes

Dick Buttkiss's picture

The guy is clueless, which is no doubt why the last paragraph was left out:

The most ironic thing about rising inequality is how completely unnecessary and self-defeating it is. If we do something about it, if we adjust our policies in the way that, say, Franklin D. Roosevelt did during the Great Depression—so that we help the 99 percent and preempt the revolutionaries and crazies, the ones with the pitchforks—that will be the best thing possible for us rich folks, too. It’s not just that we’ll escape with our lives; it’s that we’ll most certainly get even richer.

Get it?  The state — i.e., the plaything of the oligarchs and thus the very engine of inequality — is supposed to be granted even more powers so that this time, for the first time in human history, it can help the 1 percent and the remaining 99.

Hey, Hanauer, kiss . . . my . . . ass . . .

Latina Lover's picture

Guys like Hanauer like to think they are in touch, but they are not. They do not, and never will understand what it means to choose between paying rent and eating.   The system itself needs to be destroyed and rebuilt.

Top Gear's picture

Today, we live in the Age of Envy. ~Ayn Rand

“The Age of Envy,” Return of the Primitive: The Anti-Industrial Revolution, p. 152

Top Gear's picture

And yeah, Libertarians are generally primitivists at heart. Lew Rockwell even features one.


Being that heirarchy and government are a technology [/wiki/Technology‎ "Technology is...systems, and methods of organization..."] anti-hierarchy and anti-government sentiment is Neo-Luddism.

It's not surprising Luddites are armed with pitchforks.


Top Gear's picture

I think FEMA and the DHS can teach some civilization to the rabble-rousing neo-Injuns again, who are doing their White Man's Ghost Dance right now.

The White Man's Ghost Dance


SoberOne's picture

Evil MDB, is that you? Goatee and all?

SilverIsKing's picture

At least the dude acknowledges the issue but if he really believes what he writes, he's already in New Zealand by now.

BaBaBouy's picture


One Of The Highest NET SHORTING By The Commi's I've Ever Seen!

SILVER NEW NET SHORTS +20000 Contracts  X (5000 ozs).

GOLD NEW NET SHORTS +53000 Contracts X 100 ozs ===> 5.3 Millions Ozs !!!

Unbeleivable !!!


(PS... I WONDER WHO Stopped This Weeks' PM's Rally Dead In Its Tracks ???)

DaveyJones's picture

The Pitch for the Pitchfork:

the guys who eat caviar stew

and think that their blood is stained blue

have never considered

that those who are niggered

send folks up without a canoe


BellyBrain's picture

I think they WANT the "pitchforks" / revolution to happen to give them an excuse to kill at will.  Let's be smarter than that and just walk the fuck away from their bullshit system. 

Local communities working together, building permaculture gardens and food forests on EVERY vacant lot and rooftop will very quickly find that they don't need this decaying system any more.  Hungry?  There's a food forest on every block.  Running out of gas?  We can make biofuels from hemp.  Need building materials?  Hemp bricks.  

12ToothAssassin's picture

Note to author: This dissertation wont save you.

Zero Point's picture

Further note to author:

Please list your address, as I hear you have some hay that may need moving.

weburke's picture

only communities on the bus line. near food stamp folks that will be upset when that electronic system goes down. 

Portuguese Revolutionary's picture

This "Top Gear" piece of crap is a pro agitator for sure... He is here as a means to incite people to express certain views, so those people can be put on some list of "potential domestic terrorists"...

Look at the crap he's been writing, it's CoIntelPro 101... 

Top Gear's picture

Quoting Ayn Rand and other capitalist writers is "agitation?" Gotta love it.

Anyway, don't be surprised if capitalism doesn't treat you "occupiers" with "pitchforks" pretty much the same way as anybody else who threatens property values of the Owner Class.

Just like Fascism was the savior of civilization in times past, FEMA and DHS will be the saviors of capitalism today.

"It cannot be denied that Fascism...saved European civilization. The merit that Fascism has thereby won for itself will live on eternally in history...its policy has brought salvation..."

~Ludwig von Mises, Liberalism

Top Gear's picture

Don't forget what capitalists do with you buns with pitchforks.

Cops must be unleashed, and allowed to administer instant punishment...unleash the cops to clear the streets of bums and vagrants. Where will they go? Who cares? ~Murray Rothbard

Let them eat Nutraloaf.

Bay of Pigs's picture

Two words for you. Get fucked.

Top Gear's picture

Quote Mises, Rand, Rothbard in support of preserving private property values.

Castro says go get fucked.

Ain't that predictable?


SmackDaddy's picture

youre good that's for sure.  something dangerous about you.  i will kill you if i get the chance

Squid-puppets a-go-go's picture

Top Gear

I am totally opposed to almost everything you say. And yet I am utterly unmoved emotionally.

The reason is because if you really believe what you write, ZH would not be a website that you would love or waste your stellar intellect and reasoning on.

People here actually care about civilization, fruitless as it currently seems. Join us. See if its in your heart to do so.

Help Is Not Coming's picture

Top Gear is posting on ZH because he's paid to post here. Most of us post only sporadically and then only on a few threads. Top Gear seems to post to multiple threads all day long. Just to read all of the threads and then post back to them to stir up the pot literally takes all day. He/She/It can do that because that is their job and He/She/It gets paid to do it.

Top Gear's picture

I appreciate your compliment--that my musings have great market value.  But, unfortunately, I'm not getting paid a dime.

malek's picture

He's posting the same quotes again and again, and if questioned on his views only blabbers incoherenly.
Just another troll.

Top Gear's picture

<<i will kill you>>

Yeah, yeah. Mr. Thomson tried to kill John Galt. But you hit like that pusscake James Taggart.

(from Atlas Shrugged...)

She moved her hands in groping gestures, half-waving it away, half trying to grasp it; when she answered, her words did not quite name it, but they were the only words she could find: "You . . . you're a killer...for the sake of killing..."

It was too close to the unnamed; shaking with terror, he swung out blindly and struck her in the face.

She fell against the side of an armchair, her head striking the floor, but she raised her head in a moment and looked up at him blankly, without astonishment, as if physical reality were merely taking the form she had expected. A single pear-shaped drop of blood went slithering slowly from the corner of her mouth.

He stood motionless—and for a moment they looked at each other, as if neither dared to move.

TuPhat's picture

No need to kill.  Top Gear is already brain dead.

Citxmech's picture

Yawn...  Is that all you got?

Top Gear's picture

Not at all, bro. Besides Murray Rothbard, I've quoted Thomas Jefferson, Ayn Rand, Ludwig von Mises, Walter Block, Lew Rockwell, and Stephen Kinsella today, all in support of preserving property values and the hierarchy of capitalism. Problem?

P.S. Capitalism is indeed a strict hierarchy.  It might help you to start thinking of capitalism as the Dictatorship of the Privatariat.  "We libertarians do not oppose HIERARCHY or COMMAND or? AUTHORITY..." ~Stephan Kinsella

P.P.S. Remember, if you're free to leave your place of employment or your nation, then your staying makes it all voluntary.


Quus Ant's picture

capitalism died in 2008.   Or was it 1929?  We're living the epitath.  

But I respect an idiot going down with the ship.  bRo.

"I've been told my eating habits are absolutely bizarre. But I don't think so."  -Marilyn Monroe

BurningFuld's picture

"I've been told my pill taking habits are absolutely bizarre. But I don't think......" -Marilyn Monroe

Citxmech's picture

OK - I'll bite.  Got one question for you:  if you're primarily interested in property values, do you support the Fed's policy under Greenspan and Bernanke to reduce interest rates in support or real property values?

PS  Being free to "leave" must be accompanied by real opportunity otherwise it is a false freedom (i.e., the freedom to be a "voluntary" slave or to starve).


Top Gear's picture

Whiney wage slave thinks there should be a "real opportunity" other than working for the Owner Class (Mises' term) boss man.  LOL 

You're channeling Chomsky now.

Citxmech's picture

Funny how you focus on the part where you don't have to make an actual stand on a thorny issue.  Hmmm.

So, my 1st question still stands coward:  What's your position on ZIRP?  And I don't mean Rothbard's or Jefferson's or your mom's - your position.

Regarding your second issue - ever hear of an adhesion contract?  There's a reason why they are not enforceable at law.  Same situation regarding employment or country.  If one party has all the bargaining power, you effectivley have no choice.

And who the fuck cares who I sound like if the concept is sound.  That sounds like the "guilt by association" fallacy.  

Even though you sound like a condescending prick, I'll still actually address your points.


MontgomeryScott's picture

You are SUCH a GOOD schill! (pats NWO slave on top of head, kindly)

You spout the MINUTAE about competing 'economic theories' SO WELL that I think you will be allowed to LIVE for a while longer. Your future is BRIGHT. YES, bright, indeed.

You might not wish to die on your feet, so perhaps you would do us ALL the honor of stating which 'competing socioeconomic theory' you are here to promote.

I KNOW. I UNDERSTAND your position, and I truly feel empathy for you as your sold soul is being put up for auction.

It will be like 'nothing the World has seen' (as your masters have drilled in to your brain time and time again). It will be 'the Great Equalizer' for the 'masses', won't it? WON'T IT?

"You're channeling Chomsky now."

YOU, sir, are actually 'channeling' MARX and LENIN. Your MASTER awaits your arrival.

I've got a song for YOU, 'TOP GEAR'. (NO, in fact, I should call you 'BOTTOM GEAR', because that is what you are destined to become, you 'USEFUL IDIOT'):




This dude's actually DERIDING a guy who got rich by working hard and taking chances in what is left of a 'free-market' system; and them trying to DERIDE HIM FURTHER when the author gives warning of the hordes like 'Top Gear' who want to rob, steal, pillage, and DESTROY the very foundation of the world and the desire to better oneself AND all of HUMANITY in the process.

Damnit all, I hope it's worth it for YOU, 'Top Gear'. FREEDOM is a BITCH, and your choices WILL come back to haunt you.



The STORM is upon us, now.


Top Gear's picture

<<The STORM is upon us, now.>>

Sweet Jesus, STORMfront is on ZH now. /wiki/Stormfront_(website)

Trailerpark Libertarianism.  LOL!

MontgomeryScott's picture

Come to me, boy, and speak with me. Tell me about life, and the way it should be, for me and thee. Tell me about 'trailer parks', won't you?

What is the 'stormfront' shit you are blabbering about? What difference does it make when you try to associate my post with living in poverty, somehow?

Unfortunately, I need to find some parts for the Toro Tymecutter so I can mow the pasture and the front and back yards (I also take care of my neighbor's yard. He's 91 years old now, and was in the South pacific working for Morrison Knudsen when the war broke out. He was 'drafted' as part of the Civilian Battallions, and helped build runways all over the place as a 'heavy equipment operator'. Sharp as a tack; he is, and he still goes hunting every year. I've still got some deer meat in the deep freezer from last year's bounty that he gave me). 

It had an issue with that stupid little nylon grommet that attaches the throttle linkage (at the carburetor end).

Of course, you wouldn't know about stuff like this. Communists and socialists and NWO people and the 'priveledged class' of government agents NEVER get their hands dirty. If they do, they will try to blame it on their wives (OR, in YOUR case, your 'significant other'. Did you like the way I danced around that 'sexual orientation' subject?)

It's kind of cool to operate, you know. It's like driving a 'skidsteer' machine.

NO, you are not in love with Sweet Jesus. don't try to lie about it. Lies and obfuscation are your hallmarks.

Haven't you LEFT YET? I hear that Obama is having a 'crisis of acceptance' for his policy of destroying the United States financially (and in every other way imaginable), and you need to go apply for a job, I am sure, at 'Whitehouse dot gov'. That 'CARNIE' guy's job can be filled by you, perhaps; or Lois Lerner's.

SHIT. This PUTZ I am bothering to respond to can't even properly link a webpage. SERIOUSLY! It's actually quite simple to do, you know.

YEAH, I will TRUST this guy. He's smucking fart! (sarc, again)