Bulletin N° 734




Subject : J20-minus-one and counting, in the Year of the Oligarchs.



19 January 2017
Grenoble, France



Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,

Tomorrow is Inauguration (and anti-inauguration) Day in Washington, D.C. ! The war of words escalates, as the relentless wheels of capital accumulation continue to turn, and the rich get richer, the planet is increasingly poisoned, and the rest of us become poorer. Eight individuals, according to a recent Oxfam report, own more wealth than one-half of the world’s population. What is the significance of such a concentration of wealth? Has casino capitalism completely turned against consumers and against the market place that offers essential commodities, in order to satisfy the desires of a few capitalists sitting at the control switch of this game? If so, how can they be unplugged? How can this fixed system be shut down? These are the burning questions being discussed today, on the eve of the Inauguration.


In chapter 7 of his book, The Structures of Everyday Life, Fernand Braudel discusses the historical perspective of money :


   Let us start by adopting something like the old-fashion (nominalist) approach of before 1760, and look at things through the deliberately mercantilist perspective of the preceding centuries. This perspective gave a particular prominence to money, which was considered as wealth in its own right, like a river whose force alone could stimulate and complete exchanges, and whose mass could accelerate or slow them down. Money, or rather the monetary stock, combined mass and momentum. If the mass increased or the overall momentum was accelerated, the result was virtually the same: everything went up: prices, more slowly wages, and the total volume of transactions. If the opposite occurred, the whole process went into reverse. Under these conditions, if there is direct exchange of goods (barter); or if substitute money makes it possible for a deal to be concluded without cash changing hands; or if a transaction is facilitated by credit, it must be concluded that the volume in circulation has actually risen. In short, if all the instruments of capitalism are introduced into the monetary process, they are behaving like pseudo-money –or ever real money. In other words, what one has is a general reconciliation . . . .


   But if it is possible to say that everything is money, it is just as possible to claim that everything is, on the contrary, credit –promises, deferred reality.   . . .  As [Joseph] Schumpeter said: ‘Money in turn is but a credit instrument, a claim to the only final means of payment, the consumer’s good. By now [1954] this theory, which, of course is capable of taking many forms and stands in need of many elaborations, can be said to prevail.’ All in all, the brief can legitimately be argued either way. Like ocean navigation or printing, money and credit are techniques, which can be reproduced and perpetuated. They make up a single language, which every society speaks after its fashion, and which every individual is obliged to learn. He may not know how to read or write: only high culture depends on the written word. But not to know how to count would endanger one’s survival. Daily life is ruled by sums: the vocabulary of debit and credit, barter, prices;, the market and fluctuating currencies envelops and imprisons any society with a claim to development. Such techniques become inherited and are inevitably passed down through example and experience. µthey determine human life from day to day, lifetime to lifetime, generation to generation, century to century. They provide the environment of human history the world over.

. . .

   The techniques of money, like any other techniques, are therefore a response to express, insistent and often-repeated demand. The more developed  an economy became, the wider the range of monetary instruments and credit facilities it employed. And in the wider international unity that money represented on a world scale, each society had its place, some favored, some backward, some heavily handicapped. Money gave a certain unity to the world, but it was a unity of injustice.


   Of this hierarchy and of the consequences it brought in turn (for money rushed to the service of monetary techniques), there was more awareness than one might think. An essayist, Van Ouder Meulen, remarked in 1778 that to read the authors of his day ‘one might think that there are Nations who will become very powerful with the passage of time, and others who will become completely destitute’. A century and a half earlier, in 1620, Scipion de Gramont had written: ‘Money, said the seven sages of Greece, is the blood and soul of men and he who has none wanders dead among the living.’(pp.476-478)




The unequal and unjust concentration of the world’s wealth placing great power into the hands of the few cannot assure world peace, notwithstanding the efforts of certain religious cults who would like to introduce a new world order based on coerced submission rather than voluntary cooperation.


The 12 items below will provide CEIMSA readers with insights into strategies of the world’s oligarchs, who long ago abandoned any politics of national identity and are now on the World Wide Web seeking quick profits from clandestine financial interventions. The disconnect between what is said and what is done is obvious to anyone willing to look into the fearsome reality that is unfolding today. This is the new norm !




Francis Feeley


Professor emeritus of American Studies

University Grenoble-Alpes

Director of Research

University of Paris-Nanterre

Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements

The University of California-San Diego






How Trump Could Bring on the Crash of 2017







The Bizarre Far-Right Billionaire Behind Trump's Presidency




When all seemed to be falling apart for Trump this summer, one shadowy billionaire offered up his own massive political infrastructure, which included Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, and saved Trump’s campaign from demise





Trump's Pick for Defense Sec'y Made Millions in Defense Industry After His 2013 Retirement

S2 mattis testify






Wilbur Ross's Economic Expertise: Exploiting Tax Law


White collar criminologist Bill Black says Donald Trump is the only president in modern times who has not disclosed, nor will end, his massive conflicts of interest before taking office.





Global Capitalism: Fixing Capitalism v Moving to Another System [JANUARY 2017]






As Democrats Press for War, the Left Must Demand Peace and Social Transformation


by Glen Ford


As is ordained by law, at the end of the week much of President Obama’s legacy will become Donald Trump’s powers, including the power to detain Americans indefinitely (forever) without trial or charge, an authority the First Black President secured from Congress in 2011. Obama’s wars become Trump’s wars, which, if Trump follows Obama’s example -- and if he succumbs to the furious pressures of leading Democrats, old line Republicans and an openly aggressive and “politicized” national security establishment -- will be expanded and multiplied. The most imminent threats to human survival under a Trump presidency flow, not from the billionaire’s own belligerent instincts and unpredictability, but from the momentum of Obama’s policies of ever-escalating confrontation with Russia and China -- his deliberate “pivots” towards brinksmanship on all the geopolitical fronts of Empire.





From Selma to the CIA
by Patrick Martin


John Lewis, Donald Trump and the demise of the “civil rights” establishment
In an interview conducted Friday for NBC’s Sunday morning program “Meet the Press,” Democratic Representative John Lewis announced that he would boycott the inauguration of President Donald Trump because, “I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president.”





Former Black Panther: Trump Win Gives Us Unique Opportunity

to Organize the Ongoing Freedom Struggle


Elaine Brown talks to Eddie Conway about the role of women in the party, state repression against the Panthers, Black Lives Matter, Obama, and Trump





Hollywood on Trial

Dir. David Helpern


(Documentary Film – 1h42)



This documentary, narrated by legendary director John Huston, examines the 10-year period in which the House Committee on Un-American Activities used its unlimited government power to force citizens to confess to being a Communist or accuse others whom the committee deemed guilty of un-American activities. The film focuses particularly on the group of filmmakers -- the "Hollywood Ten" -- who spurned the investigative committee and were imprisoned as a result.





Richard Wolff - Economics and American Psychology, 1850 - 2008




In this analysis, Richard discusses how the American people came to believe in American exceptionalism- not in any patronizing or glorifying way, but simply from the personal experience of industrialization on the people of the American continent. Later, technological changes put to an end the American nation's exceptional situation, leading not only to the American people's current discontent, but also to the Great Financial Crisis of 2007 - 2008.

This analysis is simple and to-the-point, encompassing both the material causes and the mindset of the most successful capitalist society so far.

The thumbnail picture is George A. Crofutt's painting, sometimes known as Manifest Destiny, Westward the Course of Destiny, or American Progress.





Trump's Biggest Donor Bankrolls Israeli Right Extremism



Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has also provided major support to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for years, but that relationship might collapse in the coming days, says Shir Hever





Xi Jinping Steps Up With Charm Offensive
Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland January 17, 2017.  REUTERS/Ruben Sprich


by Pepe Escobar


Chinese leader profits from a geopolitical vacuum only days before Donald Trump’s inauguration.

He did it, his way; Chinese President Xi Jinping descended on the Swiss Alps; profited from a geopolitical vacuum only three days before Donald Trump’s inauguration with the Atlanticist West mired in stagnation and/or protectionism; unleashed a charm offensive; and deftly positioned China in the lead of “inclusive” globalization.