His last column for The Nation was a delicious takedown of all the dark players involved in the scheme by the biggest bankers in the world to fix rates. The bankers got their due, of course, but so did the regulators and, of course, the pliant media. “Now it turns out that the whole thing is a fix—a grimy hand all too visible,” Alex wrote. “Is it possible to reform the banking system? There are the usual nostrums—tighter regulations, savage penalties for misbehavior, a ban from financial markets for life. But I have to say I’m dubious. I think the system will collapse, but not through our agency.”
Casual readers might imagine a darkness in the closing line of what was Alex’s last Nation column published in his lifetime. But that is a misread. Alex shared Tom Paine’s faith in the necessity of information and insight, of speaking truth to power; this, he knew, to be the essential element for building the activism that would begin the world over again. He was a radical democrat who believed ultimately in the power of the people to overturn the corruptions of empire that politicians and the corporate media would otherwise keep in place.