American Revolution; Battle Against Big Money
By James Donahue
The July 4 celebration in the United States is always a day of parades, fireworks and public speeches about American pride. Every child knows that it marks the day we won our independence from Great Britain and our nation was born.
We think of General George Washington and the rag-tag army he led in the long hard eight-year fight against the British “Red Coats.” We hear the stories of the Battle of Bunker Hill, the men who drafted and signed our Constitution, and the Boston Tea Party, where men dressed like Indians boarded British ships in Boston harbor and tossed a cargo of tea overboard. The rebel symbol in that time was “no taxation without representation.”
A radical ultra-conservative band of Americans have adopted the name Tea Party to symbolize their protest against high taxation and massive spending by the contemporary U.S. government. The group has even adopted a historic flag once used by the American revolutionaries depicting a coiled snake and warning “Don’t Tread on Me.”
That Tea Party group is angry, and in a way it is for the right reason. But they have strangely joined the wrong side in their quest to do something about the problem. They have managed to get some of their members elected to legislative seats in Washington and are striving to cut spending . . . but for the wrong things. Instead of going after the real culprits . . . the big corporate war machine, banks and Wall Street . . . they want to slash spending for programs that are desperately needed by the people.
Thus while our roads and infrastructure fall to ruin, and the people struggle to pay their high-priced medical bills and keep food on their tables, the government is throwing billions of dollars into unnecessary wars and maintaining the largest military the world has ever seen.
The Tea Party gang that raided the British ships in Boston Harbor was in revolt against the unfair trade and tax policies used by the East India Trading Company, the biggest and most powerful corporation operating in the colonies in the Eighteenth Century. And as it is in the United States today, the East India Company was using finance to keep members of Parliament under its control.
The East India Company consequently dominated trade in the colonies. It was a shady deal by which virtually all members of Parliament were stockholders in the company. Many of them were getting very rich at the expense of the colonists who were not only forced to deal with this company, but were taxed heavily to support its practices.
This is what angered the colonists enough to cause them to rise up in revolt. Of course not all of the colonists agreed with the revolutionaries so there was conflict at the home front as well. That George Washington was able to hold his revolutionary army together and defeat the British was virtually a miracle. Had it not been for the help they received from France, both militarily and financially, the revolutionaries probably would not have won that war.
Not many Americans are aware that France, Spain and The Netherlands all joined forces and declared war against Britain at the same time the American colonists were fighting the “redcoats” on the East Coast of North America.
After the war, the states established rules making it a criminal offense for a corporation to contribute money in a political campaign, to buy politicians or to sway public policy. They never wanted their new nation to fall prey to the issues that they had to deal with while under British rule.
Over the years the states lost much of the power they had to a central government that was growing in strength. And as this was happening, the banks and corporations were also growing and beginning to get more and more involved in the politics of the nation.
By the time he served as President, Abraham Lincoln expressed his concern for the increasing power of the corporations. About this he said:
“The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace and conspire against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, and more selfish than bureaucracy. It denounces as public enemies all who question its methods or throw light upon its crimes.
“I have two great enemies, the Southern Army in front of me and the Bankers in the rear. Of the two, the one at my rear is my greatest foe . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money powers of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in the hands of a few, and the Republic is destroyed.”
Sadly we are now in the throes of watching our great Republic be destroyed by the bankers, corporations and big money holders now seizing control of Washington D. C. and many of our state governments. Americans now face a choice between sitting by and watching it happen, or rising up in a new revolution.
There is a growing movement among a segment of the population that has come to realize that the real enemy of our nation has been capitalism. We have been sold all of our lives on this corrupt system of government. In fact we have been duped into going to war against a world shift into socialism.
That extreme socialists like Stalin and Mao rose up as dictators during the Twentieth Century helped convince Americans that socialism is the wrong way to go. Senator Joseph McCarthy slammed home this lie when he conducted his campaign in the 1950's against well-known Americans who dared to dabble in socialism as a better way for the nation. But during the McCarthy campaign many of these people were put on public trial and branded as "anti-American." Most continue to think this way today even though those dictatorships have fallen and a new form of democratic socialism is rising up in their wake. The new name for it is Globalization.
The concept of Globalization is simple, but extreme for people who have been living under the thumb of Capitalism for so long. It involves a complete tearing down of the system we now have, and a new life style where everybody shares the existing wealth and materials equally. This puts everyone on an equal footing. The labor is shared; everyone has a job and everyone earns enough to live comfortably, even if they are unable to work. Nobody works under the thumb of a corporate board. There are no chiefs of operations who get paid incredible salaries. There are no kings.
Some 200 years ago the great philosopher, economist, political theorist, sociologist, journalist and revolutionary Karl Marx dreamed up this kind of a plan. It was called socialism then and a lot of people all over the world bought into it. But then the first nations to try it, Russia and China, fell into the grip of the extreme dictatorships of Stalin and Mao.
The capitalists have used those examples ever since to label socialism as the same thing as Communism. Americans have been sold this lie for well over a century and the older generation appears fixed in opposition to ever considering a socialist concept. Yet during those years we have slowly been accepting forms of socialism that have worked well in providing equally for all. These things include Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the U.S. Postal Service, the Public Library, Public Schools, Food Stamps, and Family Services. Notice that Trump and his gang of Washington thugs is attempting to shut down or privatize all of these working socialist based programs.
Marx had a good idea. Those who have studied his work describe him as one of the greatest thinkers of his day. For those who have pushed aside the propaganda and dusted off the cobwebs to study his writings, may find an exciting concept that appears to fit the growing needs of an overpopulated and polluted world.
Indeed, the old gangster-controlled capitalistic system now gripping the United States needs to go. Something new that provides equal and fair opportunities for all of the nation’s citizens needs to take its place. The working socialist programs we have need to be maintained. Can Globalization be the answer?
The extreme advent of “Trumpism” may trigger a new revolution against the few men who are feverishly working to enslave the working class. And if this happens the exciting concept of Globalization may offer us the solution we needed nearly 200 years ago. Will this celebration of the independence we once enjoyed help trigger a new revolutionary movement in 2017. Can we achieve this without bloodshed at the ballot box, or will Trump’s efforts to create mass suppression of voting rights strip us of our democratic freedoms altogether? If they get away with it in the weeks to come, the working class will have another hard and bloody battle put before them.
To do nothing promises a future of slavery at the hands of the masters. The alternative might be a future like the one outlined in Jacque Fresco’s Venus Project. Now that would be something to celebrate with hot dogs and fireworks