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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: International | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism
One hundred years after the founding of the Federal Reserve, here are some thoughts about money, originally pulled together to voice after a screening of - Jekyll Island – The Truth Behind the Federal Reserve especially to draw attention to the latest scheme designed to rob the majority, moving from "bail outs" to "bail ins" - stealing directly from people's bank accounts and pensions.
On September 11, 2013 at the Grand Lake Theater, at the Northern California 9/11 Truth Alliance's Annual 9/11 Truth Film Festival,50 Years of Betrayal - From JFK to Today, following the screening of Jekyll Island – The Truth Behind the Federal Reserve, I spoke on the issue of "Money," but I didn't have enough time to say all that I meant to say and people asked me to post my written remarks. So here they are, with links:
While technology has advanced considerably over the last century, the struggle over creating and controlling currency remains remarkably similar, deception on a grand scale. Those who have been robbed, lost their homes, lost their savings, witnessed the corruption of public officials, the use of police and military forces to defend the rich and powerful against an increasingly impoverished majority have developed a gut instinct and can recognize the most blatant lies and thefts which have occurred on a massive scale. We almost showed a film today entitled “All Wars are Bankers’ Wars.” No matter what the rhetoric is,; a certain class of people benefit enormously from wars, saddling nations with debts, privatizing resources, selling weapons, writing laws that favor the rich and powerful and lay the costs on the victims and the taxpayers.
Greg Palast came across a devastating 1997 memo from Timothy Geithner, to his boss, Larry Summers, then Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, to call the most powerful CEOs on the planet and get them to apply pressure. Here’s a quote:
He listed the private phone numbers of the CEO’s of Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, Citibank, Chase Manhattan. The plan was not only to deregulate the banks in this country, and repeal the Glass-Steagall Act to dismantle the barrier between commercial banks and investment banks, but use the Financial Services Agreement, within the international trade agreements policed by the World Trade Organization, to impose a similar deregulation on a global scale. There was great pressure on all nations to comply. The Secretary of the Treasury, at that time, Robert Rubin, went on to create the villainous "Citigroup" and guide the career of a budding politician named Barack Obama.
Why are we on the cusp of attacking Syria, with Obama pushing for military action? Well, the end-game memo encourages compliance with the W.T.O., but not every country has allowed the penetration of the enormous private banks into their countries. In the wake of 9/11, U.S. General Wesley Clark (Ret.), was told by one of the generals on the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon, that the Bush Administration planned to take out 7 countries in 5 years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Iran.
Ellen Brown, author of The Web of Debt, writes: “What did these countries have in common? Besides being Islamic, they were not members either of the WTO or of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). That left them outside the long regulatory arm of the central bankers’ central bank in Switzerland. Other countries later identified as “rogue states” that were also not members of the BIS included North Korea, Cuba, and Afghanistan.
The body regulating banks today is called the Financial Stability Board (FSB), and it is housed in the BIS in Switzerland. In 2009, the heads of the G20 nations agreed to be bound by rules imposed by the FSB, ostensibly to prevent another global banking crisis. Its regulations are not merely advisory but are binding, and they can make or break not just banks but whole nations.”
The central banks of Iraq, Syria, Libya and Iran were able to subsidize and support policies to house, educate, and provide healthcare for much of their populations. They posed a threat to the dollar hegemony. Forty percent of the banks globally are government owned, mainly in the BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China, and have shown some resistance to US leadership.
By popularizing the meme of the 99% versus the 1%, the Occupy Wall Street movement has normalized the awareness that the United States has become an oligarchy, which is defined as a small group of people having control of a country. Michael Hudson, author of The Bubble and Beyond, in his article D is for Debt he deconstructs words used to blind the public to the events that are unfolding and confronting us on a daily basis. He writes of ‘Democracy’ democracy,’ for example – “Democracy: The political stage preceding oligarchy, according to Aristotle. It is now a term applied to any pro-American regime that supports the Washington Consensus, regardless of its political stripe but typically run by a client oligarchy, often using the slogans of free choice and self-determination. When Russia’s Vladimir Putin is called anti-democratic, for instance, what really is meant is anti-oligarch. This would seem to confirm the association between democracy and oligarchy. A safely democratic economy is one where big business moguls rather than the State own the TV stations, magazines and the popular press. Thus in Russia the Yeltsin junta spoke of its critics as “‘undermining democracy’” during the election period, when the oligarchs’ TV steered voters away from any critical response.”
Money next to military is the most powerful tool of empire. Politicians, legislation can be bought and the wealth of nations looted without a single shot being fired. The squeeze has been going on for a long time; the tools however, do change. Bail-Outs are out, Bail-Ins are the new thing. The Bank of International Settlements, which dominates the central banks of capitalist nations in the interests of private banking, pushed the bail-in alternative. This procedure was approved by G20 nations at their 2011 meeting. With Bail-Outs, 95% of the people were outraged by the gift of taxpaper money to the crooked giant banks who had caused the economic crisis. With a Bail-In, such as the one in Cyprus, there is slightly less outrage as the banks seize their customer’s deposits and savings. This is the model of choice that FSB wants to impose on the world. When the giant banking cartels gamble themselves into enormous, astronomical debt, they can be sure that what money remains will go first to the speculators. The pensions, life savings of working people will be looted first. In Canada, the 2013 omnibus Federal Budget, includes a provision allowing major Canadian banks to be rescued through a bail-in. Here is the wording of that provision:
“The Government proposes to implement a 'bail-in' regime for systemically important banks. This regime will be designed to insure that, in the unlikely event that a systemically important bank depletes its capital, the bank can be recapitalized and returned to viability through the very rapid conversion of certain bank liabilities into regulatory capital. This will reduce risks for taxpayers. The Government will consult stakeholders on how best to implement a bail-in regime for Canada....”
Similar legislation will be hatched by the provisions within the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.
Can we do anything about this? Or will the people just witness the theft of more and more of their homes, land, savings into fewer and fewer hands aided and abetted by government forces? Is there any alternative, short of revolution?
A few presidents, notably Lincoln and Kennedy, attempted to reclaim the power to create money, as a public utility, without paying interest or borrowing it from the banks. In Canada in the 30’s, a politician, written out of the history books, Gerald Grattan McGeer, spearheaded monetary reform to nationalize the Bank of Canada. Those monetary reforms served Canada well until the early 70’s when the politicians were captured by the banking industry and “forgot” they could create money, themselves, and began borrowing money from the private banks, reversing Canada’s prosperity and compromising its sovereignty. Similar reforms, notably called the “Chicago Plan” were revised and introduced by Ellen Brown, author of The Web of Debt, and now The Public Bank Solution strongly advocates the creation of state banks, like the Bank of North Dakota. Stephen Zarlenga, of the American Monetary Institute, author of The Lost Science of Money – The Mythology of Money – The Story of Power, strongly advocates monetary reform at the national level and banning banks from creating money out of thin air, and end to the much abused fractional reserve system. In the 90’s I was a strong advocate of Community Currencies, simply to raise consciousness about what money is, how it is created, how we need to reinvent it to serve life, rather than empire. From history, we have learned that neither monetary reform, nor land reform can be achieved without fiscal reforms. Any major reforms require an educated, mobilized public, particularly the nationalization of banking or major industries. What we have witnessed over the years has been the reverse, the privatization of government to serve corporate and elite interests. The banking conglomerates have taken advantage of the most recent crisis to consolidate their hold on the economy and seize control over the media, the utilities, the politicians. Their real Achilles’ heel is simply the truth, and an outraged, organized public.
September 11th is also the day that Satyagraha, literally “truth force” was born in Africa when Gandhi gathered thousands of people together to fight racist laws. Initially called “civil disobedience” he renamed it, to capture the dynamic, active, positive spirit born out of love, the devotion to peace, justice, the greater good. We need to learn from Gandhi and the resistance movements that are growing throughout the world. We must cooperate locally, nationally, internationally, within our families, communities, organizations, if we are to succeed in challenging and transforming the monetary system, which is so closely intertwined with militarism. As Jimi Hendrix said, “Only when the power of love trumps overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” Only then will we be able to begin the healing process.Organizing Opportunities-
The American Monetary Institute will hold its Annual Monetary Reform Conference in Chicago this week, beginning Thursday, September 19th through Sunday, September 22nd.
The Public Banking Institute's executive director, Marc Armstrong, will give a presentation at Palo Alto's First United Methodist Church - Patio Room, 625 Hamilton on September 19th from 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm