Bulletin N° 761
Subject : A popular-front-type politics in which 'democratic socialists' ally with 'Social Democrats', while the real economy vs. vested financial interests which are devoid of international solidarity & contain no vision of ending class exploitation.
20 July 2017
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
How much does the moon weigh? This is a question I once asked my children as we drove on vacation through the French countryside. The correct answer, of course, was : It depends on which planet you are measuring its weight.
Like astrophysics, history is dependent on context; and according to popular wisdom, “it is always written by the victors.” The human sacrifice demanded by capitalism is staggering and it always has been, though frequently displaced and out of sight for most people.
The willing executioners, however, have lost their charisma and their unaccountability; now crisis management is just a job, like any other, to punish and kill people in defense of the economic system. No longer are they heroes defending “our way of life”; we’ll do anything not to be associated with ‘the loosers.’ The wholesale misery that the Federal Reserve has visited upon people around the world since the World War I period, when it was invented, is another chapter in the history of class warfare and malignant capitalist growth.
Finishing William Greider’s 700-page book, Secrets of the Temple, was no mean achievement in the heat of this summer’s warfare. The distractions were many, but one understanding emerged above all others: Class Warfare is at the root of every other war, and to understand the former is to understand the origins of all current wars. Wahhabism, Zionism, US militarism are all ideological manifestations of capitalist strategy against class conscious mobilizations. This realization is no better articulated than in the highly class-conscious remark made by the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Paul Volcker, who in February 1985, when he addressed a delegation of state legislators from thirteen farm states - including Iowa, Nebraska and the Dakotas - after they had traveled to Washington, D.C. to plead with him for relief from high interests rates and an end to price deflation. “Look,” Volcker told them,
your constituents are unhappy, mine aren’t.(p.676)
As thousands of families lost their farms in these states, the farmland did not disappear; the value simply collapsed and the farmers defaulted on their loans. Then the land was acquired at depressed prices by other owners who because of the low investment could operate the farm profitably. The ownership of family farms passed to corporate enterprises. Greider concluded, that,
The ultimate effect of liquidation in the 1980s, just as in earlier episodes of deflation, was to further concentrate
the ownership of wealth.(p.675)
The decisions of the Federal Reserve, made largely in secret, ran counter to any notion of even liberal representative democracy. This power was held by default, for the elected members of Congress wished to take no responsibility for the violent swings of the US economy since the mid 1970s. In a lengthy footnote in chapter 13, Greider makes this relationship abundantly clear.
The idea of making the monetary policy directly subservient to the President [of the United States] is hardly a radical notion since central banks in most other industrial nations live comfortably enough with that arrangement. The Bank of England do’s not raise interest rates (or lower them) without discreetly obtaining permission from the Prime Minister’s Secretary of the Exchequer.
A more authentic democratization of the central bank would require a more visible process. The federal Reserve would be stripped of its independent status and recast as a sub-agency of Treasury with presidential power to remove its chairman like any other appointed officer of government. A more coherent design, though obviously even more disruptive politically, would consolidate all of the government’s economic-management powers in one place, a new Cabinet office that combined elements of budget, taxation and monetary policies so that, at last these decisions would be coordinated.
In any of these arrangements, the twelve Federal Reserve banks would become superfluous institutions. If there is genuine democratic control, there is no reason to let each Reserve Bank president have an independent vote on government economic policy or, for that matter, to let commercial bankers maintain their preferential influence on Federal Reserve policy. The twelve Reserve Banks would be reduced in status to their operating functions, like the regional offices in any federal department.
Once the Chief Executive takes responsibility for managing money, the role of Congress would follow naturally. It would begin to exercise normal congressional oversight, the regular scrutiny of agency operations and budget that has never applied to the Federal Reserve. Inevitably, Congress would probably claim a more direct role in the making of monetary policy, presumably by enacting periodic instructions for the executive Branch. Regular resolutions, enacted annually or every six months or even every quarter, could set rough boundaries for monetary policy and provide the public forum for the ongoing economic debate.
One practical advantage is obvious: a visible, accountable management process would exist to reconcile the competing forces of fiscal and monetary policy. Certainly, a unified system could not easily repeat the bizarre and devastating collision that occurred in the 1980s, when the federal government attempted simultaneously both to restrain and to stimulate.
A more rational governing system would not, of course, guarantee rational decisions, any more than democracy guarantees equity (or technocratic government guarantees ‘right’ answers). Elected politicians do have certain virtues, however, that technocratic managers usually lack. In politics, they do not pretend to scientific certitude and so they will listen more earnestly to the random evidence of distress from citizens at large. Faced with conflict, politics inclines reflexively toward compromise, an improvised settlement that will lessen the harm to both sides. Furthermore, over time, democracy has the capacity for self-correction. Politicians forced to deal with the consequences of their economic folly might also have to pay the price themselves when they faces disappointed voters.(fnt. n°15 on pp.757-758)
Greider’s proposed reforms reflect the familiar solutions offered by Social Democrats for capitalism in crisis: reform and regulation from above – implemented by elites in the interest of the people. “Capitalism had this flaw,” he concluded in his fourteenth chapter, “The Triumph of Money” :
there was no natural stop valve to control its appetites. For individuals as well as for great institutions of finance, the natural ambition of capital was always to seek maximum return from wealth. There was nothing in the capitalist process that told investors when they were demanding too much from it, that their collective desire for net gain was undermining the system itself. In the absence of political or social controls, the decrees of church or government, the lender naturally claimed as much as the marketplace would allow; they had no way to distinguish between their normal desire for profit and the destructiveness of greed. If government endorsed the free rein of the rentier, as it had, if politicians removed legal restraints on interest and the regulators of money supported the demands of bondholders, then nothing stood in the way of capital’s sinful impulses.
Paul Volcker towered above the pedestrian ranks of politicians and public servants. His stern brilliance intimidated them and his strong-willed expertise outflanked them. Like all mortals, Volcker was fallible but his errors were barely noticed. The Federal Reserve chairman, the men and women of his institution, had accomplished the great goal they had set for themselves in 1979. Indeed, they had achieved much more than most people, including themselves, had thought possible. In a relatively few years and despite an expansionary fiscal policy, the decision makers of the Federal Reserve had brought the rate of price inflation from 13 percent to the practical equivalent of zero. It was a great victory.
The triumph was hollow, however, for the nation. Its moral promises to the victims were not kept. For the entire society, its predicted benefits were not realized. Paul Volcker and the central bank had taken the country and nations around the world through great suffering – the long contraction and it human tragedies, massive failures, dislocated lives, the pain of the continuing liquidation and the losses of deflation. The moral justification offered throughout was that the pain would be worth it. From the bankrupt home builders to displaced factory workers, people were told that their sacrifices were necessary to the general good that would come from them. That conviction sustained Volcker and his colleagues as they had to make the nasty decisions and it reassured public opinion too. On the other side of the temporary suffering, the economy would emerge stronger and more stable, better prepared for a long-running prosperity in which all could share the benefits, if they were willing workers.(p.709)
The alternative to the phony Social Democratic fix is conspicuously absent in this massive tomb; Greider does not discuss the traditional displacement of misery which is international capital’s secret weapon, nor does he introduce the democratic socialist notions of workers’ control of the production process and the equitable distribution of goods and services throughout society, according to felt needs. Such a solution to the social catastrophe, which we call capitalist political economy, can only come from community organizing and genuine mass movements producing well-informed, organic leadership ‘from below’. This day has not yet arrived, though it can be seen today in its embryo.
The 23 items below will remind CEIMSA readers that scapegoats are still a necessary part of the political economy that rules us. The criminal character of today’s political leadership is a grim reminder that we have not done enough to educate and prepare ourselves for seizing direct democratic power over the important institutional policies which govern our lives.
Professor emeritus of American Studies
Director of Research
University of Paris-Nanterre
Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements
The University of California-San Diego
America's Dark History Of Lying To Go To War...
New Rules for Banks: 'Honest Bankers Please Step Forward'
Former financial regulator Bill Black offers bankers a challenge: Step forward if you support the new rule issued by The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau allowing consumers to bring about class-action litigation against banks who defraud them
Israel’s Sadistic Reprisals Help Shore Up A Sense
by Jonathan Cook
When Israel passed a new counter-terrorism law last year, Ayman Odeh, a leader of the country’s large minority of Palestinian citizens, described its draconian measures as colonialism’s “last gasp”. He said: “I see … the panic of the French at the end of the occupation of Algeria.”
Palestine Is Still The Issue
by John Pilger
When I first went to Palestine as a young reporter in the 1960s, I stayed on a kibbutz. The people I met were hard-working, spirited and called themselves socialists. I liked them.
Les Français juifs seraient-ils des citoyens à part ?
par Le Bureau national de l’Union Juive Française pour la Paix
Les Français juifs seraient-ils des citoyens à part ?
(dimanche 16 juillet 2017 par le Bureau national de l’UJFP)
C’est ce que suggère notre Président en invitant un chef d’État étranger pour commémorer une tragédie française, la rafle du Vél’ d’Hiv’.
3 octobre 1940. Le premier Statut des Juifs fait d’une partie des français sous Vichy des citoyens « à part ». Le lendemain, la loi du 4 octobre 1940 sur « les ressortissants étrangers de race juive » étend cette distinction à l’ensemble des Juifs vivant en France.
Les 16 et 17 juillet 1942, 7000 policiers et gendarmes français, sous les ordres du régime de Vichy, procédaient à une rafle des Juifs parisiens. Les fascistes français avaient poussé le zèle jusqu’à l’arrestation des enfants, devançant ainsi les demandes de l’occupant nazi. Plus de 13000 Juifs dont 4000 enfants étaient parqués au vélodrome d’hiver avant d’être déportés et, pour la quasi-totalité, assassinés.
Ni les auteurs ni les exécutants français de cette rafle ne seront poursuivis, en particulier René Bousquet qui sera assassiné sans jamais avoir été jugé. Il faudra attendre 1995 pour que le président Chirac reconnaisse la responsabilité de l’État français.
En quoi ce crime contre l’humanité « franco-français » concerne-t-il un chef d’État étranger ? A quel titre un chef d’État étranger pourrait parler au nom des victimes et de leurs proches ? Sauf à considérer que les Juifs français sont des citoyens un peu différents, qu’ils ne sont pas tout à fait Français et doivent être représentés par l’État d’Israël… Curieuse vision de notre République que nous présente-là son nouveau Président.
Nous, Juifs français sommes doublement choqués par cette invitation.
Non seulement elle fait de nous des citoyens « à part » mais en plus le Président Macron nous fait représenter par le chef d’un État où un citoyen sur cinq n’a pas les mêmes droits que ses quatre compatriotes juifs. Une puissance occupante qui, au mépris des Conventions de Genève et des rappels à l’ordre de l’ONU vole l’eau et la terre des Palestiniens pour y installer des colonies, nie les droits des Palestiniens (enfermement administratif, exécutions extrajudiciaires…) quand il ne les enferme pas dans la cage infernale qu’est devenue Gaza.
Comment, en plus, oser nous faire représenter nous, enfants de la République, par le représentant d’un régime dont le racisme s’affiche ouvertement, assimilant les Palestiniens à des serpents ou appelant au meurtre contre les mères palestiniennes. Un racisme qui s’étend même à ses propres citoyens juifs, orientaux ou venus d’Afrique de l’Est.
L’UJFP dénonce l’invitation de Benyamin Nétanyahou par notre Président. Cette visite est une insulte aux victimes et à leurs proches. La lutte contre le racisme et pour l’égalité des droits ne se divise pas.
Le Bureau national de l’UJFP, le 9 juillet 2017
je vous recommande, aussi, cette vidéo qui développe un argumentaire trés intéressant concernant la Palestine...
les liens pour visionner la vidéo "Dear Thom", adressée à
Thom Yorke, leader de Radio Head, par Ali Al-Arian, journaliste
palestinien et réalisée par Peace House (orga des USA).
Le groupe Radio Head, malgré de nombreux appels, a prévu d'aller chanter
à Tel Aviv.
Version anglaise :
Version française sur la chaine YouTube de BDS France :
Weir, If Americans Knew" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Wednesday, 12 July, 2017
Subject: Even progressive groups sometimes cover up info on Palestine — my latest pieces.
Wines from Occupied Territories Labeled 'Product of Israel' Removed
from Ontario Shelves
In an attempt to protect accurate consumer labeling information, the Ontario Liquor Control Board and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency ordered the products labeled 'Product of Israel' but produced in the Occupied Territories removed, says Dr. David Kattenburg
War & Cholera Decimate Yemen, But Saudi Bombing Gets More US Help
with Ben Norton
As Yemen's cholera epidemic spirals out of control and millions face famine, Alternet reporter Ben Norton says the U.S. is complicit in the humanitarian crisis caused by Saudi-led war
An Electrifying Investigation of White House Lies
with Seymour Hersh
Hersh was born on April 8, 1937 in Chicago to Yiddish-speaking Lithuanian Jewish parents who emigrated to the US from Lithuania and Poland and ran a dry-cleaning shop in Chicago's Austin neighborhood. After graduating from the University of Chicago with a history degree, Hersh found himself struggling to find a job. He began working at Walgreens before being accepted into University of Chicago Law School but was soon expelled for poor grades. After returning for a short time to Walgreens, Hersh began his career in journalism as a police reporter for the City News Bureau in 1959. He later became a correspondent for United Press International in South Dakota. In 1963, he went on to become a Chicago and Washington correspondent for the Associated Press. While working in Washington Hersh first met and befriended I. F. Stone, whose I. F. Stone's Weekly would serve as an initial inspiration for Hersh's later work. It was during this time that Hersh began to form his investigative style, often walking out of regimented press briefings at the Pentagon and seeking out one-on-one interviews with high-ranking officers. After a falling out with the editors at the AP when they insisted on watering down a story about the US government's work on biological and chemical weapons, Hersh left the AP and sold his story to The New Republic. During the 1968 presidential election, he served as press secretary for the campaign of Senator Eugene McCarthy.
How US-Russia Ceasefire in Syria Impacts Iran
The ceasefire agreement reached by Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in southwest Syria appears aimed at weakening Iran and containing its influence inside Syria, says Alternet reporter Ben Norton
Clinton Allies Met With Ukrainian Govt Officials to Dig up Dirt on Trump During
by Cristina Laila
The fake news media has their knives drawn over Donald Trump Junior’s meeting with a Russian lawyer during the presidential campaign. Never Trumper and GOP Senator, Susan Collins even called on the Senate Intelligence panel to interview Don Jr.
These media sycophants are however, silent over Hillary Clinton’s antics during the presidential election which makes Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting pale in comparison.
Hillary Clinton’s aides met with Ukrainian government officials and journalists specifically to dig up dirt on team Trump. The information gathered was then sent to the DNC and Hillary’s camp.
Oligarch Hired Lawyer Who Met Donald Trump Jr
by Alana Goodman
He paid shadowy research company behind dirty dossier - then settled $230million money laundering case for just $6million
Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya's meeting with the Trump campaign last June was part of a larger, multi-pronged lobbying campaign in Washington
· Veselnitskaya's boss Denis Katsyv spearheaded the lobbying campaign against the U.S. 'Magnitsky Act' that has hurt his financial interests
· The operation included an effort to influence the Trump campaign's Russia policy, as well as targeted meetings with members of congress
· At the time Katsyv was charged with $230million in money-laundering offenses
· But days before the case was due to come to trial in New York in May of this year, it was settled for just $6million
Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya's meeting with Donald Trump Jr last June was part of a larger, multi-pronged lobbying campaign in Washington last year launched by Veselnitskaya's boss, a Russian real estate mogul who was facing U.S. money laundering charges. Denis Katsyv, the businessman son of a senior Moscow official, spearheaded the lobbying campaign against the U.S. 'Magnitsky Act' that has hurt his financial interests.
Chris Hedges interviews Noam Chomsky
'No Compromise on Health Care': Michael Lighty of National Nurses United
With Senate Republicans dithering over the new version of the Health Care Bill, Michael Lighty of the National Nurses United says Democrats should offer no compromises and progressives should fight for single payer
Global Capitalism: Evaluating 6 months of the Trump/GOP economy
programs begin with 30 minutes of short updates on important economic events of
the last month, then Wolff analyzes several major economic issues. For July
2017, these issues will include:
1. The G-20 meeting in Hamburg: austerity and protectionism
2. Wrong debate in Seattle: minimum wage vs unemployment
3. The UBER-type scam is very old
Our goal: To develop all participants’ understanding and ability to explain current economic events and trends to others. We open the floor to questions and comments when time permits.
Learn more: http://www.democracyatwork.info/econo...
Gone Mad: The Year of Living Stupidly
by Glen Ford
“The corporate media’s standing among the public erodes by the day.”
Oscar-Nominated Actor James Cromwell Speaks Out Before Jail Time for Peaceful Anti-Fracking Protest
A Further Blow to Democracy in Brazil? Glenn Greenwald on
Conviction of Lula Ahead of 2018 Election
[T]here’s no way to discuss the situation in Brazil without understanding the agenda of international finance and domestic oligarchs, in particular, their desperation to impose extremely harsh austerity measures on an already suffering poor population.Michel Temer, shortly after he was installed as president, came to New York and spoke to a gathering of hedge funds and foreign policy elites in New York and said that the real reason Dilma was impeached was not because of these budgetary tricks she was accused of using, but it was because she was unwilling to impose the level of austerity that international capital and the business interests in Brazil wanted. That’s why they put Temer into office, to, quote-unquote, "reform" pensions and labor laws, to make people work longer, to extend their retirement rate, to reduce their benefits. This is what the whole thing is about. And it’s amazing because every time it looks like Temer is going to stay, the real increases in strength, as does the Brazilian stock market. Every time it looks like he’s in trouble, the real decreases, and the Brazilian stock market weakens, because international finance wants Temer to stay, because he’s the only one willing to impose these harsh austerity measures, because he’s already so unpopular and so old that he’s not going to run again and can’t run again, so he doesn’t care. He’s willing to do their dirty work for them.
An Iceberg the Size of Delaware Just Broke Away From Antarctica
A chunk of floating ice that weighs more than a trillion metric tons broke away from the Antarctic Peninsula, producing one of the largest icebergs ever recorded and providing a glimpse of how the Antarctic ice sheet might ultimately start to fall apart.
The Antarctica Series
Four virtual-reality films with the prosaic voice of Empire above and below the Antarctic ice. Watch below or download the NYT VR app for a fully immersive experience.
Has the Environmental Movement Failed? A Conversation
with Dr. David Suzuki
Dr. David Suzuki discusses the environmental movement's failure to sustain its victories and the vision that will be needed to ensure public support for environmental protection
Jerry Brown: Climate Champion or Big Oil Ally?
California Gov. Jerry Brown poses as an anti-Trump climate-change savior, but his policies support Big Oil's agenda, says Adam Scow, California director at Food & Water Watch
Sent: Tuesday, 18 July, 2017
Subject: [haw-info] HAW Notes 7/18/17: Links to recent articles of interest
Note: Historians Against the War is in the process of transitioning to Historians for Peace and Democracy (H-PAD), with a new in-progress website at https://www.historiansforpeace.org
Links to Recent Articles of Interest :
By Alfred W. McCoy, TomDispatch.com, posted July 17
The author teaches history at the University of Wisconsin.
By William J. Astore, Bracing Views, posted July 17
The author, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, taught history for fifteen years at military and civilian schools.
By Greg Laxer, The Contrary Perspective, posted July 11
The author served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, 1967-71, and is active in Veterans for Peace.
By Sergey Radchencko, ChinaFile, posted July 9
The author teaches international relations at Cardiff University.
By Gary Leupp, CounterPunch.com, posted July 7
The author teaches history at Tufts University.
By Dilip Hiro, TomDispatch.com, posted July 6
Dilip Hiro is the author of A Comprehensive Dictionary of the Middle East; this article has much historical background.
By Ervand Abrahamian, LobeLog, posted July 4
The author is a professor emeritus of Middle East history at Baruch College and the CUNY Graduate Center. This article concerns recently released documents on the 1954 coup in Iran.
“New Left Historian Norman Pollack Has Died”\
By Jesse Lemisch, History News Network, posted July 1
The author is a professor emeritus of history at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York.
“Why Is Afghanistan the ‘Graveyard of Empires’? A Brief History of the Empires That Were Broken in the Hindu Kush”
By Akhilesh Pillalamarri, The Diplomat, posted June 30
"The 'Global Order Myth: Teary-Eyed Nostalgia as Cover for U.S. Hegemony"
By Andrew Bacevich, The American Conservative, posted June 15
This article was listed in a previous mailing; Rusti Eisenberg suggested it be listed again because of its importance.
Thanks to an anonymous reader for suggesting several articles included in the above list. Suggestions can be sent to email@example.com.