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French Translation: De l’anarchie: Une Interview

The following is a French translation of an interview I did on Anarchism, conducted by Devon D.B. See the original here: “On Anarchy: An Interview.

Translation by Résistance 71.

De l’anarchie: Une Interview

Sur l’anarchisme: une interview avec Andrew Gavin Marshall effectuée par Devon DB.

Ceci est la transcription d’une interview faire par courriel que j’ai faite d’Andrew Gavin Marshall, le directeur de projet du People’s Book Project. Dans cette interview nous discutons de l’anarchisme, remontons à ses origines, fouillons dans son histoire à la fois aux Etats-Unis et dans le monde et nous concluons sur une discussion sur le comment l’anarchisme affecte aujourd’hui le mouvement Occupy.

Devon DB: Pouvez-vous nous donner une définition de l’anarchisme?

Mr. Marshall: L’anarchisme est difficile à définir simplement parce qu’il représente une philosophie très diverse, qui contient pas mal de variantes. Ainsi les définitions de l’anarchisme tendent à différer avec ses différentes branches. Quoi qu’il en soit, au cœur de l’affaire, l’anarchisme, par ses racines grecques, veut simplement dire “être sans chef” ; ceci allant à l’encontre de la pensée libérale traditionnelle, comme celle articulée par la notion de Hobbes qui veut que l’anarchie soit un “état naturel”, exemplifié dans les conflits et les guerres, justifiant la nécessité d’un état afin de maintenir l’ordre. Un des premiers penseurs anarchistes, Pierre Joseph Proudhon, contra cette notion en disant que “L’anarchie c’est l’ordre”. Malgré la connotation de “désordre” et de “chaos” qu’à le mot “anarchie”, l’anarchisme et la société anarchiste sont hautement organisées et ordonnées. La différence centrale entre la conception anarchiste de l’ordre et les autres, est que l’anarchie retire la notion de structures de l’autorité, de façon à ce que la société puisse être organisée par l’association libre et une organisation non-hiérarchique. Elle fait la promotion à la fois de l’individu et du collectif de manière simultanée. Ceci est en opposition avec la pensée libérale qui insiste presque exclusivement sur l’individu ou la pensée socialiste qui promeut le collectif par dessus tout. L’un des penseurs les plus influents de l’anarchisme, Michel Bakounine, a décrit la pensée anarchiste lorsqu’il écrivit: “Nous sommes convaincus que la liberté sans le socialisme n’est que privilège et injustice et que le socialisme sans liberté n’est qu’esclavage et brutalité.” Ceci a souvent mené l’anarchisme a être assimilé à ce qu’on appelle le “socialisme libertaire” ; ceci constituant la racine du libertaire, certaines branches s’en écartant néanmoins. Finalement, ce qui caractérise la pensée anarchiste et ce qui lui est sous-jacent, c’est une remise en question et une critique hautement formulée du pouvoir et de l’autorité : à savoir, si une source autoritaire ne peut pas légitimer son existence, elle ne devrait pas exister.

Devon DB: Qui est et de où est originaire la pensée anarchiste ? Quel était le contexte sociétaire d’où émergea originellement la pensée anarchiste ?

Mr. Marshall: L’anarchisme n’est pas comme le marxisme ou le libéralisme ou toute autre forme d’idée concrète dont on peut clairement identifier d’où elle provient. De la même manière que l’anarchisme épouse le concept de ne pas avoir de leader, une grande partie de son développement historique est demeurée “sans leader”.La pensée anarchiste s’est développée, à des degrés divers, à travers l’histoire de l’humanité, dans des temps et en des lieux différents, souvent sans contact entre les différentes civilisations. En ce sens, l’anarchisme est une idée organique qui peut avoir ses origines dans n’importe quel contexte. La première évolution des idées anarchistes a été identifiée comme provenant de la Chine ancienne, parmi les taoïstes. Peter Marshall a écrit dans son livre essentiel: “En demandant l’impossible : une histoire de l’Anarchie” que, “au travers de l’histoire répertoriée, l’esprit anarchiste peut être vu émerger du clan, de la tribu, de communautés villageoises, de villes indépendantes, des guildes et des syndicats”. L’anarchisme a émergé de façon différente dans la pensée de la Grèce antique, puis plus tard dans l’ère chrétienne, le plus spécifiquement avec les révoltes paysannes du Moyen-Age. Ceci s’est passé bien avant que l’anarchisme ne se définisse comme une idéologie ou une philosophie de ou par lui-même.

Ce processus s’est déroulé après la fin du féodalisme, avec la montée du capitalisme et mis en lumière largement à la fois dans la période de la Renaissance et la période des Lumières. La Renaissance a amené l’idée de l’individu et la période des Lumières a conceptualisé le progrès social. Ceci s’est ainsi développé en une philosophie distincte et cohérente en réaction au développement des états centralisés, du nationalisme, de l’industrialisation et du capitalisme de la fin du XVIII siècle. Peter Marshall a écrit: “L’anarchisme a ainsi relevé le double défi de renverser à la fois le capital et l’État”. William Godevin est souvent considéré comme “le père de l’anarchisme” en ayant articulé le désir de la fin de l’État, le philosophe allemand Max Stirner lui emboîta le pas, mais ce fut Pierre Joseph Proudhon qui depuis la France, fut le premier à se nommer un “anarchiste”. Proudhon développa un certain nombre d’idées anarchistes et de slogans qui ont toujours une très forte résonnance aujourd’hui, tel ce concept qui veut que “tout comme l’homme recherche la justice dans l’égalité, la société recherche l’ordre dans l’anarchie”, ainsi que ses slogans populaires : “L’anarchie c’est l’ordre” et “La propriété c’est le vol”.

Ensuite vint le révolutionnaire russe Michel Bakounine, le père du “socialisme libertaire” et l’homme qui devint l’opposant idéologique principal de Karl Marx. Un autre Russe, Pierre Kropotkine, fut un des philosophes les plus influents de l’anarchisme dans l’histoire, le developpant en une philosophie sociale plus systémique. Aux Etats-Unis, Benjamin Tucker fut parmi les premiers penseurs anarchistes, y ajoutant une dimension individualiste particulière. D’autres penseurs anarchistes importants incluent : Léon Tolstoï, qui y amena un élément religieux et Emma Goldman, qui développa la branche féministe de l’anarchisme. Tous ces penseurs ont collectivement façonné le développement de la pensée anarchiste au XIXème siècle et pavé la route pour son évolution au XXème siècle.

Devon DB : Quelle forme a d’abord pris l’anarchisme ? Comment l’État et la population y ont-ils réagi en premier lieu ?

Mr. Marshall: L’anarchisme a pri différentes formes selon les temps et les lieux. Dans l’histoire moderne, et ce manière indépendante de l’endroit, l’État a toujours réagi défensivement et souvent violemment. Comme l’un des tenants principaux de l’anarchisme est l’abolition de l’État, celui-ci a recherché à son tour (avec sans conteste plus de succès) l’abolition de l’anarchisme. Les anarchistes ont été diabolisés, infiltrés, espionnés, déportés, tués et ont eu des mouvements entiers complètement et violemment détruit. L’anarchisme a été plus représenté dans les mouvements ouvriers et immigrants et l’activisme au XIXème siècle et au début du XXème, fut particulièrement fort au sein des syndicats et des immigrants juifs d’Europe de l’Est. Des immigrants juifs pauvres, fuyant les pogroms russes de la fin du XIXème siècle importèrent avec eux une idéologie qui avait une profonde affinité avec le concept d’un peuple sans État, une philosophie qui reflétait une vison de solidarité mondiale sans État.. Beaucoup parmi les juifs qui s’échappèrent étaient des socialistes et des marxistes, et des radicaux de tout poil, mais la force prévalente était celle de l’anarchisme. Ces émigrants radicaux  aidèrent à divulguer les idées anarchistes en Europe de l’Ouest, à Londres, en France, en Espagne, aux Etats-Unis ainsi qu’à aider à créer un grand mouvement anarchiste en Argentine, bien plus grand que le mouvement communiste local.

Les émigrants juifs radicaux qui divulgaient les philosophies anarchistes produisirent généralement deux réaction de la part de leur nouveau pays de résidence : les pauvres et la classe laborieuse de ces pays accueillirent à bras ouverts ces radicaux, qui luttaient pour les droits de tous et qui étaient souvent en première ligne des mouvements pour la justice sociale, les droits du travail, les mouvements anti-guerre et le pouvoir du peuple ; d’un autre côté, l’État et les médias qui faisaient la critique et la promotion de l’idée de “dangereux étrangers” et qui souvent promouvaient des concepts antisémites afin de pousser cette idée. Ainsi, la réaction des populations en général, en tous cas des pauvres et des classes laborieuses, fut d’estomper l’antisémitisme et de promouvoir une solidarité à travers les différentes ethnies, alors que l’État et les pouvoirs établis eux, continuèrent à faire la promotion de l’antisémitisme, des lois anti-immigration et de développer une réponse policière au problème perçu. Ceci favorisa la coopération et la coordination des polices des différents états de l’europe de l’Ouest aux Etats-Unis en passant par l’Argentine.

Devon DB: Comment l’anarchisme a t’il évolué avec le temps et comment s’est-il propagé ?

Mr. Marshall: Comme mentionné précédemment, une grande partie de la diffusion des idées anarchistes fut facilitée par l’émigration de masse de juifs radicaux d’Europe de l’Est et de Russie à la fin du XIXème siècle et au début du XXème. L’histoire de l’anarchisme moderne est intrinsèquement liée à l’histoire juive moderne, à une histoire récente de l’antisémitisme et même à l’histoire du sionisme. Ceci a eu à la fois un effet positif et un effet négatif et  a promulgué deux stéréotypes majeur pour les juifs. D’un côté, cela a promu le stéréotype du juif émigrant radical, qui reçut un bon accueil au sein des population opprimées, mais aussi pas mal d’angoisse, de xénophobie, d’antisémitisme et de racisme parmi les classes dirigeantes. D’un autre côté, les juifs furent soumis au stéréotype du capitaliste rapace, souvent en faisant référence à la famille banquière Rothschild.

Bon nombre de ces stéréotypes existent toujours aujourd’hui, mais il leur manque leur contexte historique inhérent. Par exemple, les Rothschild de Londres furent très concernés par ces juifs immigrants qui arrivèrent en Angleterre et dans d’autres pays européens depuis l’Europe de l’Est. Ces juifs manifestaient dans les rues et organisaient des grèves à Londres et dans d’autres villes européennes, en cela menaçait les intérêts dans lesquels les Rothschilds avaient beaucoup investi. La première impulsion fut d’imposer des restrictions migratoires plus importantes, mais ceci serait perçu de la même manière que les expulsions d’Europe de l’Est, ainsi une nouvelle stratégie était nécessaire. Ce fut à cette époque que les Rothschild commencèrent à s’intéresser au sionisme Le sionisme lui-même a plusieurs courants de pensée et a évolué avec le temps. Il était à l’origine très radical et socaliste. Les idées de Tolstoï et de Kropotkine furent très influentes parmi les juifs émigrants en Palestine au début du XXème siècle, ceux-là même qui établirent le mouvement des kibboutzim, une communauté socialiste libertaire de Palestine, basée originellement sur l’agriculture, rejetant l’idée d’un état-nation juif et qui promulgait au contraire la solidarité arabo-juive.

Les Rotschilds avaient refusé pendant de nombreuses années de soutenir à la fois idéologiquement et financièrement, le mouvement sioniste et ce pour un bon nombre de raisons : les idées socialistes radicales développées par le mouvement étaient à l’opposé de la nature même du comment les Rothschild étaient devenus les Rothschilds et peut-être de manière plus importante, parce que les Rothschilds avaient peur que s’ils faisaient la promotion de l’idée d’une nation juive, ils seraient obligé de quitter l’Europe de l’Ouest et de s’installer dans cette nation. Comme les circonstances changèrent quoi qu’il en soit, les Rothschilds commencèrent à faire la promotion d’un sionisme à la vision non radicale, non socialiste et non anarchiste, mais très distinctement occidentale et capitaliste. Ceci devint une opportunité de pousser le radicalisme juif dans une idéologie plus contrôlable et au lieu de relocaliser les juifs radicaux, de soutenir une immigration dans un nouvel endroit (les Rotschild en furent les financiers principaux en pourvoyant personnellement les moyens de transport des juifs vers la Palestine).

Il y eut bien sûr d’autres représentations de l’anarchisme. En Russie, le mouvement anarchiste était très profond et avait une base de soutien très forte. Pendant la révolution russe, il y avait trois factions essentielles qui luttaient : Les “rouges” (communistes), les “blancs” (soutenus par l’occident comme étant des démocrates libéraux) et souvent oubliés de l’histoire : les anarchistes. A la fois les rouges et les blancs recherchèrent à attaquer et détruire les anarchistes pendant la révolution russe et la guerre civile. Trotsky lui-même mena les armées contre les factions anarchistes russes. Les blancs et les rouges se battaient pour le contrôle de l’état, tandis que les anarchistes eux, luttaient pour une société sans état. Ils furent ultimement détruit dans cette bataille.

La représentation la plus importante de l’anarchisme dans l’histoire moderne fut, et de loin, en Espagne. Comme Peter Marshall l’écrivit : “Jusqu’à aujourd’hui, l’Espagne est le seul pays de l’ère moderne où l’anarchisme peut être dit de manière crédible qu’il s’est développé en un mouvement social majeur et qui a sérieuse menacé l’existence mème de l’état.” L’Espagne était très propice à cette expérience dû à sa longue histoire datant du Moyen-Age, qui a vu les communes indépendantes avec leur propres lois locales. L’anarchisme en Espagne est devenu populaire au sein de la majorité paysanne pauvre du XIXème siècle, celle-ci incitant souvent à des insurrections locales contre le pouvoir. Avec le temps, la philosophie s’est répandue au sein de la communauté des mines et des communautés ouvrières de Barcelone et de Madrid. L’anarchisme devint populaire au sein des jeunes intellectuels radicaux et séduisirent également des gens comme Pablo Picasso. L’anarchisme espagnol était une lutte essentiellement contre l’église et l’état ; tout comme en France dans les années 1890, l’anarchisme espagnol a souvent eu une expression violente avec son lot d’attentats à la bombe et d’assassinats, ainsi qu’une réaction brutale du gouvernement sous la forme d’une répression sanglante.

Avec le temps, il devint clair que le terrorisme ne pouvait pas renverser l’état et au lieu de la violence, la propagande devint la tactique d’usage, celle de propager la philosophie au sein des paysans et des ouvriers. En 1907, au milieu de troubles sociaux industriels, les syndicats libertaires de Catalogne formèrent une organisation syndicaliste, Solidaridad Obrera (Solidarité Ouvrière) et appela à la grève générale en 1909. Des batailles de rue s’engagèrent au cours desquelles environ 200 ouvriers trouvèrent la mort ; suite à cela, les syndicats décidèrent de former une organisation plus grande, plus forte ; ainsi vit le jour la Confederacion Nacional del Trabajo (CNT), la Confédération Nationale du Travail, qui dès 1919 avait plus d’un million d’adhérents. Elle organisa entre 1917 et 1923 des grèves révolutionnaires à travers l’Espagne. En 1919, la CNT adopta les principes du “communismo libertario” ou communisme libertaire, comme son idéologie principale, unifiant beaucoup de syndicats et de travailleurs en opposition au socialisme autoritaire d’état.

La structure hautememt décentralisée de la CNT la rend plus imperméable à la répression, tout comme plusieurs groupes anarchistes durant la révolution russe et la guerre civile. A la fin des années 1920 et au début des années 1930, les modérés et les réformistes furent poussés hors de la CNT et la Federacion Anarquista Iberica (FAI), Fédération anarchiste Espagnole, plus radicale, pris plus d’importance. Les travaileurs et paysans anarchistes tentèrent de former des communes insurrectionnelles à travers le territoire espagnol au début des années 1930, ce qui mena souvent à une répression féroce de l’état. Plus de grèves et d’insurrections furent tentées, l’une d’entr’elles impliqua la grève de 70 000 mineurs en 1934, grève qui fut sévèrement réprimée (avec l’aide de troupes marocaines), des centaines perdirent la vie. Les deux années qui suivirent virent l’Espagne doucement glisser vers la guerre civile. En 1936, une vision pour une société nouvelle fut définie au congrès national de la CNT, qui représentait 500 000 ouvriers à cette époque, promouvant le communisme libertaire dans une société de communes, basée sur l’association libre syndicaliste, reliées entr’elles par des fédérations régionales et nationale, dénuées de hierarchie sociale.

L’individuel et le collectif étaient promus de la même manière, ainsi l’un ne pâtirait pas de l’autre, mais les deux se soutenaient l’un l’autre. La diversité était non seulement acceptée mais encouragée, avec la compréhension que les communes pourraient prendre différentes formes et représenter différentes façons de voir. L’éducation insisterait sur l’alphabétisme et la pensée de façon à ce que les gens puissent penser par eux-mêmes et il n’y avait plus de distinction entre le travail manuel et le travail intellectuel. Les cours de justice et les prisons étaient obsolètes. Ces résolutions, adoptées au congrès de 1936 ne furent pas un modèle mais au contraire “un point de départ pour l’humanité vers son émancipation intégrale”. Entre le temps du congrès et la fin de l’année, les membres de la CNT grossirent de 500 000 à 1,5 millions. Franco se rebella contre la république espagnole en Juillet 1936, mais ses forces furent rapidement désarmées par les milices populaires.

Franco parvint néanmoins à prendre le contrôle de la moitié du pays, bien que les anarcho-syndicalistes géraient Barcelone et toute la Catalogne était essentiellement une “république” indépendante. Ultimement, le concept de la révolution sociale fut peu à peu sacrifié afin de lutter contre Franco et ses factions fascistes. Les ouvriers et les paysans étaient toujours organisés afin de gérer leurs propres affaires et le communisme libertaire n’était pas seulement possible, il était devenu une réalité. Les anarchistes et d’autres groupes formèrent des milices pour combattre contre Franco. George Orwell, qui lutta en Espagne contre Franco (NdT: Avec le POUM, marxiste non stalinien), aida à rectifier les perceptions données à propos des anarchistes, expliquant les résultats incroyables de l’anarchisme espagnol.

En 1937, environ 3 millions de personnes vivaient dans des communes rurales collectives. Beaucoup de villages furent créés où l’argent fut aboli, la terre collectivisée, l’analphabétisme éliminé et où les assemblées populaires incluaient souvent les femmes et les enfants, responsables pour élire un comité administratif, qui rendait compte directement aux assemblées populaires. Il y avait aussi des communes “individualistes”, où des gens travaillaient leur lot de terre individuellement, tandis que Barcelone devenait le centre de la “collectivisation urbaine”. Les services publics et les industries étaient remarquablement autogérés dans une grande ville faite de diversité. Entre Juillet et Octobre 1936, “virtuellement toute la production et la distribution étaient sous contrôle ouvrier”. Mais la révolution sociale fut ternie par la lutte contre Franco, ainsi qu’avec la lutte grandissante avec d’autres factions  comme les communistes autoritaires d’état (NdT: marxistes, stalinistes ou non).

Quelques leaders anarchistes furent cooptés dans le gouvernement et la CNT devint inefficace de ce fait. Alors que les autres factions recevaient de l’aide étrangères, les communistes recevant de l’aide de l’URSS, Franco de Mussolini et Hitler et les autres factions des états libéraux occidentaux, la CNT pensa qu’elle devait s’incorporer avec l’état pour recevoir également une aide afin de pouvoir gagner la guerre. Ainsi, mi-1937, écrivit Peter Marshall : “La plus grande expérience anarchiste de l’histoire était virtuellement finie, elle dura près d’un an”. Les communistes avaient commencé à remplacer les anarchistes grâce à leur soutien de l’URSS, qui organisa également une police secrète et un règne de la terreur, le plus souvent contre les groupes anarchistes et éventuellement, le gouvernement lui-même écrasa la résistance anarchiste et imposa une censure sur la CNT.

Le conflit entre les anarchistes et les communistes fut sans doute la raison principale pour laquelle les républicains perdirent la guerre contre Franco, qui reconquît l’Espagne en 1939, établissant une dictature fasciste qui dura jusqu’en 1976 et qui causa le départ pour l’exil de plus d’un demi million d’Espagnols. Ainsi l’Espagne représente le meilleur et le pire résultat de l’anarchisme au XXème siècle.

Bien que le mouvement lui-même fut largement déraciné durant la guerre froide, les idées continuèrent à évoluer et de nouveaux mouvement émergèrent tel l’anarchisme écologique et mème l’anarcho-capitalisme (NdT: ce qui est nommé essentiellement en amérique du nord le mouvement “libertarien” à ne pas confondra avec libertaire, le mouvement “libertarien” est un mouvement ultralibéral sur un plan économique qui est certes contre l’état, mais ne voit de solution que dans le libre marché total, c’est un mouvement ultra capitaliste), qui devint une force derrière le mouvement américain libertarien.

Devon DB Quel rôle a joué l’anarchisme dans le mouvement ouvrier du XIXème siècle ? Comment fut reçu l’anarchisme dans le mouvement ouvrier de manière générale et par les peuples ?

Mr. Marshall: Au XIXème siècle aux Etats-Unis, les luttes sociales étaient un développement historique constant. Alors que l’anarchisme devint une idée et une philosophie, avec le marxisme et le socialisme, ces philosophies radicales devinrent de plus en plus associées avec les mouvements ouvriers, spécifiquement dans la formation et l’action des syndicats. Dans les années 1860, deux fédérations anarchistes se formèrent aux Etats-Unis, la New England Labor Reform League et l’American Labor Reform League, qui d’après William Reichert, “furent la source de la vitalité radicale en Amériqiue pour plusieurs décennies.” L’anarchiste américain le plus influent de son époque, Benjamin Tucker, traduisit les travaux de Proudhon en 1875 et commença ses propres publications anarchistes périodiques.

A partir des années 1880, beaucoup d’émigrants aux Etats-Unis, comme Emma Goldman, aidèrent à faciliter la popularité montante de l’anarchisme. Les idées anarchistes avaient une base dans le mouvement ouvrier révolutionnaire de Chicago dans la période des années 1870, 1880, avec spécifiquement l’affaire de Haymarket en 1886, qui fut connecté avec la lutte pour les huit heures de travail quotidien. Dans le pays, le 1er Mai 1886, environ un demi milion d’ouvriers manifestèrent pour soutenir cette idée ; le cas le plus extrème ayant eu lieu à Chicago où eurent lieu les grèves et les plus grosses manifestations. Trois jours plus tard le 4 Mai, une bombe fut lancée dans une manifestation qui eut lieu sur la place Haymarket à Chicago, tuant plusieurs policiers et menant à la mort par et à de nombreux blessés parmi les ouvriers manifestant, sous le feu des forces de police.

L’attentat, bien que son origine demeure un mystère, mena à une croisade de l’élite en place à Chicago contre les mouvements révolutionnaires ouvriers. Plus de 200 membres de l’International Working People’s Association (IWPA) arrêtés et plusieurs jugés avec le procureur déclarant : “c’est le procès de l’anarchie”. Après l’affaire du Haymarket, les organisations ouvrières et les syndicats devinrent de plus en plus radicaux, beaucoup d’entr’eux adoptant des principes distinctement anarchistes dans leur organisation et leur idéologie, en retour, la répression de l’état devint plus prononcée et violente. La raison pour laquelle les syndicats radicaux n’ont pas survécu la décennie qui suivit n’est pas dûe à quelque esprit américain “d’individualisme forcené” comme l’affirme la mythologie nationale, mais cela fut dû à la violence constante de la répression de l’état. Suite à cela, le 1er Mai a été célébré dans le monde entier comme la fête du travail et comme le jour international des travailleurs, sauf aux Etats-Unis et au Canada de manière ironique.

Ce mouvement radical qui émergea de Chicago à cette époque fut souvent référé comme étant un mélange de marxisme et d’anarchisme, comme étant “anarcho-syndicaliste”, “socialiste révolutionnaire” ou même “communiste-anarchiste”. Il eut un impact profond sur les luttes ouvrières dans la période qui s’ensuivit, à la fois sur l’organisation et les grèves, mais aussi sur l’organisation des syndicats et leur idéologie. Quoi qu’il en soit, au cours du XXème siècle, les syndicats ont été progressivement écrasés, cooptés, infiltrés, démembrés, ainsi, au lieu d’avoir des fédérations internationales unifiées, ils devinrent spécifiques à une industrie voire même à une entreprise, ils devinrent réformistes et non plus révolutionnaires et ils devintent même corporatistes, dans la mesure où ils essayèrent de travailler avec les grosses entreprises et le gouvernement au lieu  de lutter contre eux.

Ceci est le plus emblématique aujourd’hui dans l’organisation et l’idéologie de la plus grande fédération syndicale des Etats-Unis : l’AFL-CIO, dont les chefs sont membres de la… commission trilatérale et parlent régulièrement au CFR et son impliqués dans la politique impérialiste étrangère de l’Amérique, soutenant les Etats-Unis dans leur soudoyage financier en règle des nations pauvres afin d’organiser les travailleurs selon la ligne de conduite corporatiste, les écartant en cela de la ligne radicale et révolutionnaire tant dans leur organisation que leur idéologie.

Devon DB: Comment la philosophie anarchiste a t’elle été déformée avec le temps ?

Mr. Marshall:  Ceci est une question très importante. L’anarchisme est souvent considéré comme synonyme de violence et chaos, alors qu’en réalité, il a bien plus à faire avec l’ordre et le pacifisme. L’anarchisme a été très facile à décrier à cause de sa nature diverse. Il n’a pas eu de structure rigide de pensée et d’action, Oui, il y a eu des anarchistes violents, de l’agitation violente, du terrorisme, des assassinats et ceci a jeté pas mal de discrédit sur un monde incroyablement divers dans son mode de pensée philosophique, mais il y a bien plus aux idées et actions des anarchistes. L’histoire de l’anarchisme est souvent écrite en dehors des histoires officielles, comme par exemple durant les révolutions russe ou espagnole, tout comme en Argentine et la diffusion par les émigrants juifs. Même aujourd’hui, beaucoup de gens dans les médias “alternatifs” diabolisent les anarchistes.

Les groupes anarchistes étaient parmi les premiers cas documentés d’infiltration policière à Londres vers la fin du XIXème siècle. L’infiltration des groupes anarchistes continue le plus souvent à être effectuée, ou plus communément, des infiltrés dans les manifestations simplement paraissent être des “anarchistes”, qui sont souvent associés avec le Black Bloc, tout de noir vêtus, visages dissimulés derrière des balaclavas ou des bandanas. Beaucoup dans la presse alternative blâme la police et ses infiltrés pour la violence dans les manifestations, ce qui est une mauvaise représentation des faits, ils font également le portrait des anarchistes comme ceux du black bloc, comme n’étant constitués que d’infiltrés de la police, ce qui est également une mauvaise représentation des faits. A leur tour, l’état et les médias dressent un portrait de ces mêmes groupes anarchistes comme étant des voyous violents et des criminels, justifiant ainsi la répression d’état contre les manifestants.

Maintenant, bien que des infiltrations de ces groupes aient été documentées, nous ne pouvons pas pour autant en conclure que tout le groupe et tous ses membres sont des infiltrés. Ceci est particulièrement vrai pour les organisations anarchistes, qui rejettent toute organisation hiérarchique et sont de ce fait plus difficile à retourner et coopter et contrôler avec des moyens traditionnels. Alors qu’il se peut qu’il y ait des infiltrés, ceci ne veut pas dire que des groupes entiers sont menés par ces individus de plus ces groupes sont le plus souvent si peu hiérachisés qu’ils n’ont pas une organisation traditionnelle comme nous l’entendons de manière typique. Quoi qu’il en soit, ces groupes sont sujets à la propagande de tous les côtés et ceci a grandement participé à la diabolisation de l’anarchisme comme mouvement.

A Montréal par exemple, les anarchistes ont souvent été blâmés pour la plupart de la violence ou du vandalisme, alors qu’en fait c’est la police (en uniforme officiel), qui a été la plus violente et destructrice contre le mouvement étudiant bourgeonnant qui a commencé en Février de cette année. Si vous regardez la violence “anarchiste”, elle consiste essentiellement en des actes de vandalisme sur des banques, tels que casser des vitres, ou lancer des pierres à la police. D’autres parmi les manifestants ont aussi participé à ces actions, qui sont le plus souvent des réactions contre la brutalité policière qui a bien eu lieu. En lisant des déclarations d’étudiants manifestants qui étaient présents à la manifestation du 4 Mai à Victoriaville au Québec, où plusieurs étudiants ont été atteints au visage par des balles en caoutchouc tirées par la police et furent presque tués, nous pouvons voir un autre côté du Black Bloc. Des étudiants ont décrit avoir été gazés puis être tombés au sol alors que la police anti-émeute approchait. Ce furent ensuite des membres du Black Bloc (ou du moins identifiés comme faisant apparamment partie du mouvement, puisqu’il n’y a pas de liste des membres), leurs visages protégés par des lunettes spéciales qui assistèrent les étudiants tombés, les sortirent de l’endroit, ont soignés leurs yeux, ont renvoyés les containers de gaz vers les forces de police et emmenés les étudiants blessés vers des infirmiers. Dans beaucoup de manifestations, et devant les violences policières il apparaît que ce sont ces individus qui sont en première ligne ; et bien que leurs actions particulières ne peuvent pas être tolérées, force est de constater qu’elles représentent une colère qui monte à travers de larges segments de la population étudiante. Ainsi en termes de la diabolisation des anarchistes ou d’actions très spécifiques violentes des anarchistes, il y a une différence entre tolérer les actes et condamner la colère.

Simplement parce que l’acte lui-même n’est peut-être pas utile en termes de gagner un soutien populaire pour une cause, ou parce que cela “justifie” la répression policière en retour, cela ne veut pas dire, comme beaucoup dans la presse alternative le disent, que les anarchistes “travaillent pour l’état”, sont des agents provocateurs ou des  infiltrés. Bien que cela soit parfois le cas, c’est faire fausse-route que de dire que cela est systématiquement le cas et cela implique des situations, des circonstances et des réactions par ailleurs compliquées. Quand un fourgon de police roula dans un groupe d’étudiants à Victoraiville le 4 Mai, ce fut un petit groupe de manifesants usuels qui prirent des cailloux pour caillasser le fourgon.

La très grande majorité des étudiants fut pacifique devant la violence policière et la répression, mais le fait que certains vont réagir violemment n’est pas une raison pour renier, mais un point important à comprendre : cela nous informe que la situation est bien plus extrême, que la réaction est plus intense, que les circonstances sont plus difficiles. De la même façon que lorsque vous coincer un animal, il devient à la fois le plus vulnérable et le plus méchant ; nous voyons ceci émerger dans bien des mouvements de manifestations et parmi des manifestants à travers le monde. Le fait de simplement blâmer les “anarchistes” fait peu pour aténuer la violence et les troubles et fait égalememt beaucoup de tort à la bonne compréhension de ces situations et de la meilleure façon de les résoudre. De manière ironique, alors que les anarchistes de Montréal ont été accusés de la plupart des violences dans les manifestations qui se sont tenues ici ces 15 dernières semaines, l’évènement le plus organisé qui fut et le plus ouvertement admis anarchiste fut une foire aux livres.

L’anarchisme est toujours un but intellectuel et à cause de son refus de devenir une idéologie rigide, parce qu’il accepte la diversité, il y aura toujours des éléments plus radicaux et des tactiques plus violentes, mais au bout du compte, c’est une philosophie, construite autour du concept de solidarité et de coopération, de l’association libre, de la liberté et de la paix. L’argument le plus commun contre l’anarchisme pour ceux qui ne savent pas réellement ce qu’il est, est de dire que sans une forme “d’autorité”, le monde serait chaotique, les gens s’entretueraient et nous aurions le désordre et la destruction.

La réponse la plus simple à ceci est de demander à la personne ce que nous avons dans le monde aujourd’hui: nous vivons dans un monde d’extrême autorité, de plus d’autorité globale dans tout secteur d’action et d’interaction humaines que nous n’avons jamais eu dans l’histoire de l’humanité, et pourtant le monde vit dans le chaos, le désordre, la destruction, la guerre, la famine, la décimation, la division, la ségrégation, l’exploitation et la domination. Ce n’est pas un manque d’ordre et d’autorité qui a amené tout cela, mais plutôt l’exercice de l’autorité au nom de l’ordre. Les gens regardent l’anarchie comme un paradoxe sans même voir et reconnaître le paradoxe de l’idéologie envers la réalité du monde dans lequel nous vivons aujourd’hui. Ceci a été le plus grand succès à déformer la philosophie de l’anarchisme.

Devon DB: Comment l’anarchisme a t’il été utilisé dans d’autres endroits du monde comme moyen de résistance ?

Mr. Marshall: Historiquement, l’anarchisme est arrivé à Londres, en France, en Espagne, en Italie et aux Etats-Unis, et spécifiquement en Argentine et en Amérique latine, de façon exemplaire. Alors qu’il fut largement détruit en tant que mouvement puissant à la fin de deux guerres mondiales, Il a ré-émergé avec la montée de la nouvelle gauche des années 1960. La nouvelle gauche fut instrumentale dans l’agitation politique et les mouvements de protestation en Europe et aux Etats-unis à la fin des années 1960 et au début des années 1970. Elle aida à revigorer une idéologie anti-capitaliste, une pensée et dans certains cas, accoucha elle-même d’une idéologie anarcho-capitaliste. A;lors que le mouvement environnementaliste émergeait, ainsi émergeait également une branche anarchisme environnementaliste. Ainsi, quelques nouveaux mouvements et une agitation sociale émergèrent puis éruptèrent, de nouveaux modèles et de nouvelles idées sur l’anarchisme commencèrent à s’adapter et à évoluer selon les circonstances changeantes, tout comme cela s’était déjà produit au fil de l’histoire humaine.

Devon DB: Quelle est votre opinion sur l’anarchisme moderne, spécifiquement sur les anarchistes qui font partie du mouvement Occupy ?

Mr. Marshall: Les anarchistes modernes sont tout simplement trop divers pour les englober dans une seule opinion. Cela revient toujours au même point, la reconnaissance de la diversité et former une opinion sur les différents groupes et différentes tactiques. Comme je l’ai dit plus tôt, je ne tolérerais peut-être pas les actes, mais je ne pourrais pas condamner la colère. Il y a eu un temps ou moi aussi j’aurai décrit toute violence comme destructrice et sans fondement et aurai probablement pointé ceux qui la commettent comme des infiltrés ou des agents provocateurs. Mais après avoir été témoin et avoir été pris dans le feu de l’action d’une rebellion étudiante en éruption dans la province canadienne du Québec ces 15 dernières semaines, après avoir été le témoin de la campagne de propagande contre les étudiants et la répression violente étatique quotidienne, cela ne me surprends pas de voir des gens se résoudre à des actes de violence dans leur résistance. Cela n’aide pas le mouvement étudiant, alors que cela le diabolise et le coupe du soutien populaire. Mais ce que j’ai appris à comprendre, est que cela n’est qu’un symptôme d’une colère bien plus grande et qui monte, d’une frustration et d’un mécontentement.

La violence et la terreur sont des actions de désespérés, donc au lieu de diaboliser les actes eux-mêmes, nous devons comprendre le désespoir. Car si nous voulons des manifestations non-violentes, pacifiques, nous devons comprendre l’origine des réactons violentes. Les groupes anarchistes et les idées ré-émergent dans le monde à un degré de vitesse et d’importance qui était peut-être impensable. Nous voyons des anarchistes dans les mouvements de protestations en Grande-Bretagne, en Espagne, en Grèce, au Québec, aux Etats-Unis, dans le mouvement Occupy, en Islande, en Italie. Les tactiques et les spécifiques de mouvement variant d’un endroit à l’autre et de personne à personne bien sûr. Par exemple en Italie, il y a eu un cas récent d’un groupe anarchiste qui a pris la responsabilité d’estropier un dirigeant d’entreprise nucléaire italienne et a menacé de plus de flingages. Je pense que l’on peut s’attendre à une sorte de parallèle avec ce qu’il s’est passé dans les années 1880 dans bien des endroits du monde, où on a vu des actes de violence ou de terreur attribuées à des factions anarchistes et alors que ces tactiques sont présentées comme étant contre-productives et problématiques, il y aura peut-être une tendance à renoncer à toute forme de violence et à se concentrer sur l’éducatif et la “propagande”, ce qui est du reste ce que fait déjà la vaste majorité des anarchistes.

Par contraste, alors qu’il se pourrait qu’un groupe anarchiste ait blessé un industriel italien, par ailleurs, un intellectuel anarchiste, Noam Chomsky, a parlé éloquemment et de manière douce pendant des décennies, écrivant, lisant et en agitant non pas avec ses poings mais avec des mots. Au bout du compte, Chomsky a fait bien plus pour faire avancer des idées anarchistes ou l’anarchisme que n’importe quel acte de violence ne l’aurait pu. Ceci est la direction qui doit être prise au sein de l’organisation anarchiste. Si vous regardez le mouvement Occupy par lui-même il y a un grand nombre de structures anarchistes en son sein : pas de hiérarchie, les assemblées générales, les librairies publiques etc… Les librairies sont un cas fascinant, spécifiquement en ces temps d’austérité économique où les librairies ont une tendance à voir leurs fonds de soutien de l’état fondre comme neige au soleil.

Ce que les groupes du mouvement Occupy ont montré est que si l’état supprime les librairies, les gens peuvent tout simplement organiser les leurs. En Grèce, l’état a demandé qu’un hôpital ferme à cause de la coupure de budget. Les travaileurs de cet hôpital l’ont occupé et ont commencé à le faire tourner en autogestion. Il y a aussi certains rapports faisant état qu’en Grèce, quelques communautés sont en train de développer leur propre système d’échange et de commerce. Dans le monde, nous voyons de plus en plus d’ouvriers occuper les usines et s’occuper de les gérer collectivement, démontrant par là même l’inutilité de managers professonnels ou de patrons (qui prennent tout le profit) ainsi que la capacité extraordinaire des travailleurs à être à la fois des producteurs et des preneurs de décisions. Ces cas ne sont pas rapportés ou discutés souvent simplement parce qu’ils représentent le problème d’une trop bonne idée et d’autres personnes pourraient en prendre de la graine. En ce sens, nous ne devons pas stigmatiser les actions violentes du petit nombre, mais au lieu de cela, si nous examinons et comprenons l’anarchisme dans sa vaste diversité de philosophie et de tactiques qu’il représente vraiment, alors nous sommes capables de voir l’énorme degré d’espoir et de progrès que ce mouvement réserve pour le futur.

Là où l’État, les entreprises et les banques travaillent contre les peuples (ce qui est partout sur cette planète), là où ils ferment les usines, repossèdent les maisons, coupent les budgets de l’éducation et de sécurité sociale, demandent des coûts supplémentaires à faire payer aux gens tout en diminuant les impôts des riches, il y a toujours des réponses et des possibilités anarchistes. En ce qui concerne là où je vis au Québec, où un mouvement énorme d’étudiants s’est déclanché après une augmentation de 75% des frais  de scolarité, nous souffrons sous le joug d’un vieux paradigme éducatif, politique, social et économique qui bénéficie le plus petit nombre aux dépends de la vaste majorité. Alors que la première réaction est de défendre le système éducatif qui existe déjà, la solution sur le long terme est de complètement refonder et réorienter notre conception et l’organisation de l’éducation elle-même. Par exemple, lorsque le système universitaire débuta au Moyen-Age, il y avait deux modèles initiaux d’éducation universitaire: le modèle de Paris et le modèle de Bologne.

A Paris, l’école était gérée par des administrations et des élites culturelles régionales. Au fil du temps, alors que l’état-nation et le capitalisme se développaient, ceux-ci devinrent les patrons et administrateurs des universités. A Bologne en Italie, l’école était gérée par les étudiants et son personnel. Pour des raisons évidentes, le modèle de Paris gagna, mais devant la crise actuelle sociale, économique et politique, il serait grand temps pour que le modèle de Bologne gagne sa bataille historique de résurrection. La notion que les élèves et le personnel gèrent et dirigent eux-même l’école est distinctivement anarchiste, de la même manière que les ouvriers autogèrent leur usine. Comme Proudhon le déclara : “L’anarchie c’est l’ordre” et dans un monde où règne tant de chaos, de destruction et d’autorité, il est peut-être temps d’y mettre un peu d’anarchie et d’ordre.

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On Anarchy: An Interview

On Anarchism

Originally posted at: WhatAboutPeace by Devon DB

On Anarchism: An Interview with Andrew Gavin Marshall, conducted by Devon DB.

This is a transcript of an email interview I had with Andrew Gavin Marshall, Project Manager of The People’s Book Project. In it we discuss anarchism, trace its beginnings, delve into some of its history in both the United States and around the world, and conclude by discussing anarchism’s effect on today’s Occupy movement.

Devon DB: Could you provide a working definition of anarchism?

Mr. Marshall: Anarchism is difficult to define simply because it is such a diverse political philosophy, with so many different variants. So the definition tends to alter as the particular brand of anarchism differs. However, at is core, anarchism – in its original Greek wording – means simply to be “without a leader.” Running in opposition to traditional Liberal thought, such as that articulated by Hobbes’ notion of anarchy as a “state of nature” mired in war and conflict, and thus the State was necessary to maintain order, one of the original anarchist thinkers, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon countered, “Anarchy is Order.” Despite the connotation of the word “anarchy” to that of “chaos” and “disorder,” anarchism and anarchist societies are highly organized and ‘ordered.’ The central difference between an anarchist conception of order and others is that anarchy removes the structures of authority, so that society is organized through free association and non-hierarchical organization. It promotes both the individual and the collective, simultaneously. This is opposed to Liberal thought, which promotes the individual above all else, or socialist thought, which promotes the collective above all else. As one of the most influential anarchist thinkers, Mikhail Bakunin, described anarchist thought when he stated, “We are convinced that liberty without socialism is privilege, injustice; and that socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality.” This has often led anarchism to be synonymous with what is referred to as “Libertarian Socialism,” which is where the root of Libertarianism lies, but has strayed quite far from. Ultimately, what underlies all anarchist thought is a heightened and radical critique and questioning of power and authority: if a source of authority cannot legitimize its existence, it should not exist.

Devon DB: Who and where was anarchism first thought of? What was the societal context that anarchist thought originated from?

Mr. Marshall: Anarchism is not like Marxism or Liberalism or other firm and concrete ideas, where the originators can be properly identified and understood. Just as it espouses a philosophy of being “without a leader” so too does a great deal of its historical development take place “without a leader.” Anarchist thought developed – to various degrees – throughout much of human history, in different times and place, often without any contact between the various civilizations themselves. It is, in this sense, an organic idea that can originate within any context. The first evolution of anarchist ideas has been identified as originating in ancient China, among the Taoists. Peter Marshall wrote in his quintessential, Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism, that, “Throughout recorded history, the anarchist spirit can be seen emerging in the clan, tribe, village community, independent city, guild and union.” It emerged in various strains of thought in ancient Greece, and later during the Christian era, most especially with the peasant revolts of the Middle Ages. This all took place, however, before anarchism came to be defined as an ideology or philosophy in and of itself.

This process took place after the end of feudalism, with the rise of Capitalism, and largely brought about by both the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. The Renaissance brought forth the ideas of the individual, and the Enlightenment conceptualized of social progress. It thus arose as a more coherent and distinct philosophy in reaction to the development of centralized States, nationalism, industrialization and capitalism in the late 18th century. Peter Marshall wrote, “Anarchism thus took up the dual challenge of overthrowing both Capital and the State.” William Godwin is largely considered the “father of anarchism” as having first articulated the desire for an end to the state, the German philosopher Max Stirner closely followed, but it was Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in France who was the first to call himself an “anarchist.” Proudhon articulated a number of anarchist ideas and slogans which still have resonance today, such as the concept that, “Just as man seeks justice in equality, society seeks order in anarchy,” and the popular sayings, “Anarchy is Order” and “Property is Theft.”

Next followed the Russian revolutionary Mikhail Bakunin, the father of “Libertarian Socialism,” and the man who became the principle ideological opponent to Karl Marx. Another Russian, Peter Kropotkin, was one of the most influential anarchist philosophers in history, developing it into a more systematic social philosophy. In the United States, Benjamin Tucker was among the first anarchist thinkers, adding a particularly individualistic character to it. Other prominent anarchist thinkers include Leo Tolstoy, who brought in a religious element, and Emma Goldman, who developed a feminist strand of thought in anarchism. All of these thinkers collectively shaped the development of anarchist thought and practice in the 19th century and paved the way for its evolution over the 20th.

Devon DB:  What form did anarchism first take? How did the state and the populace at large react to it?

Mr. Marshall: Anarchism took different forms in different places and times. Throughout its modern history, regardless of location, the State always reacted defensively and often violently. Since one of the main tenets of anarchism is the abolition of the State, the state has in turn sought (with arguably more success) the abolition of anarchism. Anarchists have been demonized, infiltrated, spied on, deported, killed, or had entire movements violently destroyed. Anarchism was arguably most represented in labour and immigrant movements and activism in the 19th and early 20th centuries, particularly among unions and Jewish emigrants out of Eastern Europe. Poor Jewish emigrants who had to flee Eastern Europe and Russia following the pogroms of the late 19th century took with them an ideology which found a deep grounding in a people without a state, a philosophy which reflected a stateless vision of global solidarity. Many of the Jews who fled were also socialists and Marxists, and radicals of all types, but the most prevalent force was with anarchism. These radical emigrants helped spread the ideas of anarchism into Western Europe, to London, France, Spain, to the United States, and even helping facilitate a massive anarchist movement in Argentina, much larger than the local communist movement.

Radical Jewish emigrants who were articulating anarchist philosophies generally incurred two reactions from their new countries of residence: the poor and working class people and immigrants welcomed these radicals, who struggled for the rights of all, and who were often at the forefront of movements for social justice, labour rights, anti-war, and empowerment; and, on the other hand, the State and media would promote the idea of dangerous “foreigners” and often promoted conceptions of anti-Semitism in order to push this idea. Thus, the reaction from among the general (at least poor and working class) populations was to undermine anti-Semitism and promote cross-ethnic solidarity, while the State and established powers further promoted anti-Semitism, anti-immigration laws, and enhanced police responses. This in turn facilitated police cooperation and coordination between various states, from Western Europe, to the United States and Argentina.

Devon DB: How did anarchism evolve over time and spread?

Mr. Marshall: As previously mentioned, a great deal of the spread of anarchism was facilitated by the mass emigration of radical Jews out of Eastern Europe and Russia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The modern history of anarchism is intrinsically linked to modern Jewish history, to a recent history of anti-Semitism, and even to the history of Zionism. This had both negative and positive effects, and promoted two major stereotypes for Jews. On the one hand, it promoted the stereotype of the radical Jewish immigrant, which received a good deal of favour among oppressed populations, but also a great deal of anxiety, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and racism among the ruling classes. On the other hand, Jews were subjected to the stereotype of the rapacious Capitalist, mostly by making reference to the Rothschild banking family.

Many of these stereotypes exist to this very day, but they lack their proper historical context. For example, the Rothschilds in London were very concerned about the radical Jewish emigrants who were entering England and other West European countries from Eastern Europe. These Jews were holding demonstrations and organizing strikes in London and other Western cities, threatening the very interests that the Rothschilds were invested in. The first impulse was to impose immigration restrictions, though this would be perceived as very similar to the expulsions from Eastern Europe, so a new strategy was needed. It was around this time that the Rothschilds became interested in Zionism. Zionism itself had several different brands of thought, and evolved over time. It was originally very radical, and even socialistic. The ideas of Peter Kropotkin and Leo Tolstoy were very influential among many Jewish emigrants in Palestine in the early 20th century, who established the kibbutz movement, a libertarian socialist collective community in Palestine, based originally on agriculture, rejecting the idea of a Jewish nation state and instead promoted Arab-Jewish solidarity.

The Rothschilds had for many years refused to support – whether ideologically or financially – the Zionist movement, and for a number of reasons: it’s radical socialist ideas were opposed to the very nature of how the Rothschilds became the Rothschilds, and perhaps more importantly, because the Rothschilds feared that if they promoted the idea of a Jewish nation, they would be forced to leave Western Europe and go to that very nation. As circumstances changed, however, the Rothschilds promoted a non-radical vision of Zionism, not socialistic or anarchistic, but distinctly Western and capitalistic. It became an opportunity to push the spread of Jewish radicalism into a more controllable ideology, and instead of deporting radical Jews, to support immigration to a new location (the Rothschilds were among the main financiers in personally providing for the means to transport Jews to Palestine).

There were, of course, other representations of anarchism. In Russia, the anarchist movement had a great strength and powerful base of support. During the Russian Revolution, there were three main factions fighting: the Reds (the Communists), the Whites (supported by the West as liberal democrats), and often forgotten from history, the anarchists. Both the Reds and Whites would attack and seek to destroy the anarchist movement during the Russian Revolution and civil war. Trotsky himself led armies against anarchist factions in Russia. The Whites and Reds were fighting for control of the State, while the anarchists were struggling for a society without the state. Ultimately, they were of course destroyed in this battle.

By far the most impressive representation of anarchism in modern history was in Spain. As Peter Marshall wrote, “To date, Spain is the only country in the modern era where anarchism can credibly be said to have developed into a major social movement and to have seriously threatened the State.” Spain was in part specially suited to this because of its long history dating back to the Middle Ages of having many independent communes with their own particular local laws. Anarchism in Spain became popular among the rural poor in the late 19th century, often inciting local insurrections. In time, the philosophy made its way into mining communities and working communities in Barcelona and Madrid. It became popular among young and radical intellectuals, and reportedly even attracted the likes of a young Pablo Picasso. Spanish anarchism was a struggle primarily against both the Church and the State. Just as in France in the 1890s, Spanish anarchism often had violent expressions in bombings and assassinations, met with brutal government repression.

In time, however, the inability of terrorism to overthrow the State became clear, and instead of violence, propaganda became the primary tactic, of spreading the philosophy among workers and peasants. In 1907, in the midst of industrial unrest, libertarian unions in Catalunya, Spain, formed the syndicalist organization, Solidaridad Obrera (Workers’ Unity), and in 1909 it called a general strike. Street battles broke out in which roughly 200 workers were killed, and after which the unions decided to form a stronger and larger organization, the Confederacion Nacional del Trabajo (CNT), which by 1919 had a membership of one million. Between 1917 and 1923 it organized revolutionary strikes all across Spain. In 1919, the CNT adopted the principles of communismo libertario is its main ideology, uniting many unions and workers in opposition to authoritarian socialism.

The highly decentralized structure of the CNT made it resilient to repression, just as several anarchist groups in Russia during the Revolution and Civil War. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the moderates and reformers were pushed out of the CNT, and the more radical Federacion Anarquista Iberica (FAI) took centre stage. Anarchist workers and peasants attempted to form insurrectional communes across Spain in the early 1930s, often leading to violent state repression. More strikes and insurrections were attempted, one of which included an uprising of 70,000 miners in 1934 which was violently crushed (with the help of Moroccan troops), with hundreds killed. In the following two years, Spain was drifting toward civil war. In 1936, a vision of a new society was outlined at the national congress of the CNT, representing half a million workers by this time, promoting libertarian communism in a society of communes, based on free association syndicalism, linked through regional and national federations, void of social hierarchy.

The individual and collective were simultaneously promoted, so that one was not sacrificed for the other, but rather, both were strengthened in support of one another. Diversity was accepted and promoted, understanding that communes would take on different forms and represent different ideological strands. Education was to be concerned with literacy so that people may think for themselves, and there was no distinction between intellectuals and workers. Courts and prisons were without purpose. These resolutions adopted at the 1936 congress were not to be a blueprint, but rather, “the point of departure for Humanity towards its integral liberation.” Between the time of the congress and the end of the year, the membership of the CNT had grown from 500,000 to 1.5 million. Franco rebelled against the Spanish Republic in July of 1936, was his forces were quickly disarmed by popular militias.

Franco still managed to take control of half the country, though the anarcho-syndicalists were running Barcelona, and Catalunya was essentially an independent republic. Ultimately, however, the concept of the social revolution was being sacrificed in order to fight against Franco and his fascist faction. Still, workers and peasants were being organized to manage their own affairs, and Libertarian Communism seemed not only possible, but actual. Anarchists and other groups formed militias to fight against Franco. George Orwell, who was in Spain fighting against Franco, was also correcting the perceptions given about the anarchists, explaining the incredible achievements of Spanish anarchism.

By 1937, roughly 3 million people were living in collective rural communities. Many villages were established, where money was abolished, collectivizing the land, eradicating illiteracy, and the popular assemblies often included woman and children, responsible for electing an administrative committee which would be accountable to the assemblies. There were also some communities which were ‘individualist’, where people would work their own individual plots of land, while Barcelona became the centre of “urban collectivization.” Public services and industries were run remarkably well in a large and diverse city. Between July and October 1936, “virtually all production and distribution were under workers’ control.” However, the social revolution was undermined by the war against Franco, and the increasing struggle with other factions, such as the Communists.

Some anarchist  leaders were being co-opted into government, and the CNT became increasingly ineffective. As the other factions were receiving foreign support, with the Communists getting support from the Soviet Union, Franco getting support from Hitler and Mussolini, and other factions getting support from Western liberal states, the CNT felt that it would have to incorporate with the state in order to get aid in order to win the war. Thus, by the middle of 1937, wrote Peter Marshall, “the greatest anarchist experiment in history was virtually over; it has lasted barely a year.” The communists had begin to replace the anarchists due to their foreign aid from the Soviet Union, who also organized a secret police which began a reign of terror, largely against anarchist groups, and ultimately the government itself crushed anarchist resistance and imposed censorship of the CNT.

The conflict between the Communists and Anarchists was perhaps the central reason why the Republicans lost the war against Franco, who ultimately conquered Spain in 1939, establishing a fascist dictatorship which lasted until 1976, and which had caused half a million radical Spaniards to flee into exile. Thus, Spain represented both the greatest achievement and failure of anarchism in the 20th century.

Though the movement itself was largely debased during the Cold War, the ideas continued to evolve, and new strands emerged, such as ecological anarchism and even anarcho-Capitalism, which came to be a driving force behind the modern American libertarian movement.

Devon DB: What role did anarchism play in the 19th century labor movement? How was anarchism received in the general labor movement and the regular populace?

Mr. Marshall: In the 19th century United States, labour struggles were a consistent historical development. As anarchism became an articulated idea and philosophy, along with Marxism and Socialism, these radical philosophies became increasingly associated with labour movements, especially in the formation and operation of unions. In the 1860s, two anarchist federations were formed in the United States, the New England Labor Reform League and the American Labor Reform League, which, according to William Reichert, “were the source of radical vitality in America for several decades.” Arguably the most influential American anarchist of his time, Benjamin Tucker, translated the works of Proudhon in 1875, and started his own anarchist publications and journals.

From the 1880s onward, many immigrants to the United States, such as Emma Goldman, helped facilitate the growing popularity of anarchism. Anarchist ideas had some grounding in the revolutionary labour movement in Chicago in the period of the 1870s to the 1880s, noted especially in the Haymarket Affair in 1886, which was connected with the struggle for the eight-hour workday. Across the country on May 1, 1886, roughly half a million workers demonstrated in support of this idea, with the most extreme cases in Chicago, with the largest strikes and demonstrations. Three days later, on May 4, a bomb was thrown at a protest rally in Chicago’s Haymarket Square, killing several police officers and leading to the shooting deaths and injuries of an unknown amount of protesting workers by the police.

The bombing, though its origins remain a mystery, led to the Chicago elite leading a crusade against revolutionary workers movements, with over 200 members of the International Working People’s Association (IWPA) arrested and several tried, with the state prosecutor proclaiming, “Anarchy is on trial.” Following the Haymarket Affair, working class organizations and unions became increasingly radical, many of them adopting distinctly anarchist principles of organization and ideology, and in turn, state repression became more violent and pronounced. The reason why radical unions did not survive the following decades was not due to some intrinsically American spirit of “rugged individualism,” and the national mythology dictates, but rather due to the violent and consistent state repression. Thereafter, and until this very day, May 1 has been celebrated internationally (though ironically not in the United States or Canada) as International Workers’ Day (or May Day).

This radical movement that had emerged out of Chicago in this era has often been referred to as a blending of Marxism and Anarchism, as “anarcho-syndicalist,” “revolutionary socialist,” or even “communistic-anarchist.” It did indeed have a profound impact upon all labour struggles in the following era, upon the agitation and strikes, and upon union organization and ideology. However, as it evolved into the 20th century, unions became increasingly crushed, co-opted, and dismembered, so that instead of united and international federations, they became industry and even company-specific, they became reformist, not revolutionary, and they became even corporatist, in which they sought to work with big business and government instead of against.

This is most emblematic today in the organization and ideology of the largest union federation in the U.S., the AFL-CIO, whose leaders are members of the Trilateral Commission, regularly speak at the Council on Foreign Relations, and are involved in foreign imperial policy for the United States, going with U.S. financial backing to poor nations to organize workers along corporatist lines, drawing them away from radical and revolutionary organization and ideology.

Devon DB: How has anarchist philosophy been distorted over time?

Mr. Marshall: This is a very important question. Anarchism is often considered synonymous with violence and chaos, when in truth, it has far more to do with peace and order. Anarchism has been very easy to dismiss and discredit simply because of its vast diversity. It has had no consistent and rigid structure of thought or action. Yes, there have been violent anarchists and violent agitation, terrorism, and assassinations, and this has done a great deal to discredit an entire and incredibly diverse realm of philosophical thought, but there is much more to anarchist ideas and actions. Anarchist history is often written out of official histories, such as with the Russian and Spanish revolutions, such as with Argentina and the spread of Jewish emigrants. Even today, many in the “alternative” media demonize anarchists.

Anarchist groups were among the first documented cases of having police infiltrators in London in the late 19th century. Infiltration of anarchist groups often still takes place, or more common, is that infiltrators in protests or other demonstrations simply aim to appear like “anarchists”, who are often associated with the Black Bloc, wearing black and with faces covered by masks or bandanas. Many in the alternative press blame police infiltrators for all the violence at protests, which is a misrepresentation, and simultaneously they often portray anarchist groups such as the Black Bloc as entirely consisting of police infiltrators, which is also a misrepresentation. In turn, the state and media portray these same anarchistic groups as violent thugs and criminals, and justify state repression against protesters.

Now, while infiltration of such groups has been documented, we cannot conclude therefore that the entire group or its membership is. This is especially true for anarchist organizations, which reject hierarchical organization, and are therefore more challenging to co-opt or control through traditional means. While certain infiltrators may be present, it does not imply that the entire grouping is being led by such individuals, and the groups are often so loosely-knit that they do not even have a traditional organization as we typically understand it. However, such groups are subject to propaganda from all sides, and this has done a great deal to demonize anarchism as a whole.

In Montreal, for example, anarchists have often been blamed for most of the violence and vandalism, when in fact it is the police (in official uniforms) who have been the most violent and destructive against the burgeoning students movement which began back in February. If you look at the “anarchist” violence, it typically consists of vandalism against bank property, such as smashing bank windows, or throwing rocks at police. Some others among the protesters have also participated in these actions, which are almost always reactions against the police brutality that has been taking place. Reading statements of student protesters who were present on the May 4 protest in Victoriaville, Quebec, where several students were shot in the face with rubber bullets by the police and nearly killed, we see another side to the so-called Black Bloc. Students described being tear gassed and falling to the ground as the riot police approached. Then it was members of the “Black Bloc” (or at least identified as looking like members, since there is hardly a membership roster), with their faces covered and goggles on, who would assist these fallen students, bringing them away from the riot police, treating their eyes, getting them to a medic, kicking the tear gas canisters back to the police. In many protests, when the police violence takes place, it is these individuals who appear to be on the “front lines.” And while their specific actions may not be condoned, they do reflect a popular anger among a rather large segment of the students. So in terms of the demonization of anarchists, or very specific anarchist actions of violence, there is a difference between condoning the act, and condemning the anger.

Simply because the act itself may not be helpful in terms of gaining popular support for a cause, or because it “justifies” police repression in turn, does not mean – as many in the alternative press articulate – that the anarchists are “working for the State,” are all agent provocateurs or infiltrators. Though this is the case at times, it is misleading to portray it as exclusive, and it simplifies rather complex situations, circumstances, and reactions. When a police truck was driven into a group of students at Victoriaville on May 4, it was a small group of average student protesters who picked up rocks to throw at the truck.

The vast majority of students were peaceful in the face of police violence and repression, but the fact that some will react violently is not a reason to dismiss, but an important point of understanding: it informs us that the situation is more extreme, that the reaction is more intense, that the circumstances are more dire. In the same way that when you corner an animal it becomes both its most vulnerable and most vicious, we are seeing this emerge in various protest movements and demonstrations around the world. Simply blaming “anarchists” does little to quell the violence and unrest, and does a great deal of harm to properly understanding these situations and how best to resolve them. Ironically, as anarchists in Montreal have been blamed for most of the violence at protests here over the past 15 weeks, the most organized and openly admitted anarchist event was in holding a large book fair.

Anarchism is still an intellectual pursuit, and because of its refusal to become a rigid ideology, and because of its acceptance of diversity, there will always be more radical and even violent elements and tactics, but ultimately, it is a philosophy built around the concept of solidarity and cooperation, of free association, liberty, and peace. The most common argument against anarchism, from those who typically do not understand what anarchy is, is that without some form of “authority,” the world would be chaos, people would be killing each other, and we would have disorder and destruction.

The simplest answer to this, is to ask the person what we have in the world today: we live in a world of extreme authority, of more globalized authority in every sector of human action and interaction than ever before in human history, yet so much of the world is in chaos, disorder, destruction, war, starvation, decimation, division, segregation, exploitation, and domination. It is not a lack of order and authority that has brought this to be, but rather the exercise of authority in the name of order. People see anarchy as a paradox without acknowledging the paradox of the ideology versus reality of the world we currently live in. This has been the greatest success in distorting the philosophy of anarchism.

Devon DB: How has anarchism been used in other parts of the world as a means of resistance?

Mr. Marshall: Anarchism historically spread to London, France, Spain, Italy, the United States, and especially Argentina in Latin America, as some of its most obvious examples. As it was largely destroyed as a powerful movement following the two World Wars, it had a re-emergence during the rise of the New Left in the 1960s. The New Left was pivotal in the political agitation and protest movements in Europe and the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It helped to re-invigorate an anti-Capitalist ideology and thinking, and in some cases, spawned an anarcho-Capitalist ideology itself. As the environmental movement emerged, so too did an anarchistic brand of environmentalism. Thus, as new movements and social agitation emerged and erupted, new brands and ideas of anarchism would adapt and evolve to the changed circumstances, just as it has through a great deal of human history.

Devon DB: What is your opinion on modern-day anarchism, specifically anarchists who are a part of Occupy?

Mr. Marshall: Modern anarchists are simply too diverse to hold a single opinion. It comes down, as it always has, to recognizing the diversity, and forming diverse opinions on different groups and tactics. As I referenced earlier, I may not condone the act, but I cannot condemn the anger. There was a time when I too would portray all violence as destructive and mindless and would even point as those who committed it as mere infiltrators and agents provocateurs. However, after having been witness to and caught in the midst of the student rebellion erupting in the Canadian province of Québec over the past 15 weeks, after having seen the national propaganda campaign against the students and the violent state repression enacted on a daily basis, it does not surprise me to see some people turning to acts of violence in their resistance. It ultimately is not helpful for the student movement as a whole, as it demonizes them and reduces popular support. But what I have come to understand is that it is a symptom of a large and growing anger, frustration, and discontent.

Violence and terror are reactions of the desperate, so instead of demonizing the act itself, we must come to understand the desperation. For if we truly want peace, and peaceful protests, we must understand the origins of violent reactions. Anarchist groups and ideas are re-emerging around the world to a larger and quicker degree than perhaps thought possible. We see anarchists as part of protest movements in Britain, Spain, Greece, Quebec, the United States, in the Occupy Movement, in Iceland and Italy. The tactics and specifics vary from place to place and person to person, of course. For example, in Italy, there was a recent case in which an anarchist group took responsibility for kneecapping an Italian nuclear company executive, and threatened more shootings. I think it is likely we will see a type of historical parallel to what took place in the 1880s in many places around the world, where we see acts of violence and terror which are attributed to or undertaken by individual or specific anarchist groups, and that as these tactics are presented as unhelpful, as counter-productive and problematic, there may be an increased tendency to renounce all forms of violence and to focus on education and “propaganda,” which the vast majority of anarchists focus on already.

Just as a contrast, while it may be the case that an anarchist group has shot at industry executives in Italy, an anarchist intellectual – Noam Chomsky – has for decades been speaking softly and eloquently, writing and reading and agitating not with fists but words. Ultimately, Chomsky has done more to advance anarchism and anarchist ideas than any act of violence has or could. This is the direction that should be most pursued, and along the lines of anarchistic organization. If you simply look at the Occupy Movement itself, there are many cases of anarchistic structure: the lack of hierarchy, the general assemblies, the public libraries, etc. The libraries are a fascinating case, especially in this time of “economic austerity” in which libraries are increasingly coming under the harsh gaze of the State to have their funding cut.

What the Occupy groups have shown is that if the State takes away the libraries, people can simply organize their own. In Greece, the State demanded that a hospital close down due to budget cuts. Workers at the hospital occupied it and began to run it themselves. There are also reports that some communities in Greece are attempting to form their own currency or trading system. Around the world we increasingly see workers occupying factories and taking over the management collectively, demonstrating the lack of need for professional “managers” (who take all the profits), and the amazing ability of workers to be both decision-makers and producers. These cases are not discussed often or reported frequently, simply because they represent the problem of a good idea: other people might notice. In this sense, if we understand but don’t emphasize the violent actions of a few, and instead if we come to examine and understand anarchism for the vast diversity of philosophy and tactics it truly represents, we are able to see a great degree of hope and progress coming from this movement in the future.

Where the State and corporations and banks work against the people (which is everywhere), where they close factories, foreclose on homes, cut education and health care spending, demand increased costs for people, while decreasing taxes for the rich, there are anarchistic answers and possibilities. In regards to where I currently live in Quebec, with a massive student movement sparked by a 75% increase in tuition, we are suffering under an old paradigm of education, of a political, social, and economic system that benefits the few at the expense of the many. While the first response is to ‘defend’ the educational system as it currently exists, the long-term solution is to radically reorient our conception and organization of education itself. For example, when the university system originated in the Middle Ages, there were two initial brands of university education: the Paris model, and the Bologna model.

In Paris, the school was run by administrations and cultural-regional elites. Over time, as the nation-state and capitalism evolved, these became the patrons and administrators of universities. In Bologna, Italy, the school was run by the students and staff. For obvious reasons, the Paris model won out, but it would seem that in the face of our current global social, political, and economic crises, it is time for the Bologna model to win the historical battle in a resurgence. The notion of students and staff running schools is distinctly anarchistic, in the same way that workers running factories is. As Proudhon declared, “Anarchy is Order,” and in a world of so much chaos and destruction and authority, perhaps it is time for a little anarchy and order.

See original interview here.

Origins of the American Empire: Revolution, World Wars and World Order

Origins of the American Empire: Revolution, World Wars and World Order
Global Power and Global Government: Part 2
Global Research, July 28, 2009

This essay is Part 2 of “Global Power and Global Government.” Part 1, “The Evolution and Revolution of the Central Banking System”  published by Global Research can be viewed here:


Russia, Oil and Revolution

By the 1870s, John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Empire had a virtual monopoly over the United States, and even many foreign countries. In 1890, the King of Holland gave his blessing for the creation of an international oil company called Royal Dutch Oil Company, which was mainly founded to refine and sell kerosene from Indonesia, a Dutch colony. Also in 1890, a British company was founded with the intended purpose of shipping oil, the Shell Transport and Trading Company, and it “began transporting Royal Dutch oil from Sumatra to destinations everywhere,” and eventually, “the two companies merged to become Royal Dutch Shell.”[1]

Russia entered into the Industrial Revolution later than any other large country and empire of its time. By the 1870s, “Russia’s oil fields, including those in Baku, were challenging Standard Oil’s supremacy in Europe. Russia’s ascendancy in natural resources disrupted the strategic balance of power in Europe and troubled Britain.” Britain thus attempted to begin oil explorations in the Middle East, specifically in Persia (Iran), first through Baron Julius de Reuter, the founder of Reuters News Service, who gained exploration rights from the Shah of Iran.[2] Reuter’s attempt at uncovering vast quantities of oil failed, and a man named William Knox D’Arcy took the lead in Persia.

By the middle of the 19th century, “the Rothschilds were the richest family in the world, perhaps in all of history. Their five international banking houses comprised one of the first multinational corporations.” Alfonse de Rothschild was “heavily invested in Russian oil at least forty years before William Knox D’Arcy began tying up Persian oil concessions for the British. Russian oil, which in the 1860s was already emerging as the European rival to the American monopoly Standard Oil, was the Baron [Rothschild]’s pet project.” In the early 1880s, “almost two hundred Rothschild refineries were at work in Baku,” Russia’s oil rich region.[3]

By the mid-1880s, “the Rothschilds were poised to become the chief oil supplier, not only to Europe but to the Far East,” however, “the Baku-Batum railroad was already proving inadequate to transport the volume of oil being produced. Another route was needed, and came in the form of the recently opened Suez Canal, which shortened the journey to the Far East by four thousand miles. Palestine was suddenly of interest to the Rothschilds as it provided access to the Suez.”[4] When the Egyptian government was bankrupt in 1874, British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli turned to his close friends, the Rothschilds, “for the colossal cash advance necessary” to buy shares in the Suez Canal Company.[5] By this time, the Rothschilds were already principle shareholders in the Bank of France,[6] and the Bank of England, sitting alongside other notable shareholders such as Baring Brothers, Morgan Grenfell and Lazard Brothers.[7]

The Rothschilds “had long been involved in developing Czarist Russia’s nascent industry and banking system, while that country’s growing network of railroads was largely financed by Rothschild-managed loans.”[8] When the Czar died, he was succeeded by his son, Czar Nicholas II, who instituted anti-Semitic pogroms, discriminating against Jews, which had the effect of stimulating a massive emigration of Jews out of Russia and Eastern Europe and into Western Europe. However, these East European and Russian Jewish émigrés grew up in a newly industrializing nation in which the tyranny of the government and collusion between it and powerful financial and industrial interests left the great majority of people dispossessed and incited more socialist tendencies in thought and action.

The English Rothschilds were very alarmed “when the socialist tendencies of the émigrés contributed to a massively disruptive tailors’ strike in the East End of London in 1888. A young Georgian communist who would become known to the world as Joseph Stalin was already organizing laborers to strike at the Rothschild oil interests in Batum.” The British Rothschilds were very concerned with this wave of Jewish immigrants into Western Europe and Britain, as they were intensely anti-Czarist and progressively socialist, and the Rothschilds were known for their heavy collaboration with the Czarist regimes of Russia. One potential solution considered to the problem of increased socialist-leaning Jewish immigrants in Britain was to institute restrictions on immigration. However, this would likely backlash, in the sense that it would be viewed as comparable to expulsion. So, Edmond Rothschild began his personal campaign to create a Jewish homeland in Palestine in order to create a release valve for Jewish émigrés to put their political action behind a new cause, and to promote them emigrating to Palestine, and out of Western Europe.[9]

On top of this, as the pre-eminent Zionist in Britain, his proposal for the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine served major economic interests of the Rothschilds and of the British Empire, in that several years prior, Rothschild bought the Suez Canal for the British, and it was the primary transport route for Russian oil. Palestine, thus, would be a vital landmass as a protectorate for British and Rothschild imperial-economic interests.

The Rothschilds, despite their overtly pro-Zionist and pro-Jewish rhetoric, did not stop their support of the Russian regime and economic activities within anti-Semitic Russia. In 1895, the Rothschilds, then one of the world’s leading producers and distributors of oil, “had gone so far as to co-sign an agreement with rival producers – including America’s Standard Oil [of Rockefeller interests] – to divide up world markets. It never took effect, presumably because of the opposition of the Russian government.” In 1902, the Rothschilds “entered into a partnership with Royal Dutch and Shell (soon to become a single global company) to form the Asiatic Petroleum Company for exploiting the fields of Southern Russia.”[10]

In the early 1900s, the Rothchilds were the primary oil interests in Russia, second in the world only to the Rockefellers. As industrialization was under way, conditions worsened for the great majority of Russian people. This spurred protests and riots, and a “young Stalin himself led the agitation against the Caucasian oil industry in general, [and] the Rothschilds in particular. Mass action by oil workers in Baku [the major oil fields in Russia] in 1903 was the spark that set off the first general strike across the Russian landmass.” Then with the Russian loss in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904, and further protests, came the Revolution of 1905. In the following years, the Rothschilds sold their Russian oil interests to Royal Dutch Shell, gaining significant shares in the international oil company.[11]

The specter of political and social instability within Russia was high and did not go without notice from international banking, oil, and industrial interests. Naturally, the international banking houses were keeping a close eye on developments within Russia. The Rothschilds had to lessen their overt involvement with Russia, as they could not maintain such a relationship with the most anti-Jewish nation in the world at the time, while also claiming to be the primary advocates of Jewish aspirations for a homeland. This is why they sold their Russian oil interests to Royal Dutch Shell, but then gained significant shares in the company itself. So while publicly cutting their ties with Russia, they still held massive interests in its industrial capacity. Following the Russo-Japanese War, the Rothschilds “refused to participate in underwriting a major loan, this at a time when Russia desperately needed funds to stabilize the regime.”[12]

So, in 1906, John D. Rockefeller stepped in to aid Czarist Russia, and offered $200,000,000, or “400,000,000 rubles for a concession for railroads from Tashkend to Tomsk and from Tehita to Polamoshna and a grant of land on both sides of the prospective lines.”[13] These international financiers were still clearly intent upon maintaining their interests within Russia.

However, the Russian governments refusal to allow the deal between the Rockefellers and Rothschilds and other major oil monopolies to divide up the world’s oil reserves, may well have spurred discontent among these powerful interests. If Russia refused to allow them to control all the oil and have a right to all oil, did this mean that Russia was planning on building a domestic oil industry? If this were the case, it could pose a threat to all the entrenched economic and financial interests, particularly those of the Rockefellers and Rothschilds, as Russia’s significant oil reserves and resources would allow it to possibly even surpass the United States in industrialization. Further, Czarist Russia became an increasingly unstable investment environment, controlled by an increasingly unpredictable monarchy.

The 1917 October Revolution “inspired workers’ uprisings in the oil fields against low wages and harsh working conditions. In 1919, Azerbaijan took advantage of the political unrest to declare sovereignty over the Baku fields. That same year SONJ [Standard Oil of New Jersey] made an agreement with the Azerbaijani government to purchase undeveloped land for exploration in the Baku region. Amidst the chaos, foreign oil companies rushed into Russia hoping to collect concessions at reduced rates. The Nobel brothers sold much of their operations to SONJ (today ExxonMobil) to build an alliance in 1920.”[14]

Antony C. Sutton, economist, historian and author, as well as research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, wrote in Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution, that both fascist and communist systems are “based on naked, unfettered political power and individual coercion. Both systems require monopoly control of society. While monopoly control of industries was once the objective of J.P. Morgan and J.D. Rockefeller, by the late nineteenth century the inner sanctums of Wall Street understood that the most efficient way to gain an unchallenged monopoly was to ‘go political’ and make society go to work for the monopolists,” and that, “the totalitarian socialist state is a perfect captive market for monopoly capitalists, if an alliance can be made with the socialist powerbrokers.”[15] Thus, the major money powers of the west decided to put their money behind the creation of a totalitarian communist state in Russia, in order to create a captive economy, which they could exploit and remove from competititon.

When the Revolution began, Trotsky was in New York, and was immediately granted an American passport by President Wilson, and then given a Russian entry permit and a British transit visa, in order to return to Russia and “carry forward” the revolution.[16] Trotsky, while traveling, was arrested in Canada, but was released as a result of British intervention.[17]

Trotsky traveled on board a ship in 1917, leaving New York, along with an interesting cast of fellow passengers, including “other Trotskyite revolutionaries, Wall Street financiers, American Communists, and a man named Charles Crane. Charles Richard Crane, former chairman of the Democratic Party’s finance committee, whose son, Richard Crane, was an assistant to U.S. Secretary of State Robert Lansing, played a significant part in what occurred in Russia. Former U.S. Ambassador to Germany, William Dodd, said that Crane, “did much to bring on the [Alexander] Kerensky revolution which gave way to Communism.” Kerensky was the second Prime Minister in the Russian Provisional Government, which followed the collapse of the Czarist government, and preceded the Bolshevik. Crane also thought that the Kerensky government “is the revolution in its first phase only.”[18]

The Revolution occurred in the midst of World War I, which broke out in 1914, and had all the major European powers at war. Morgan and Rockefeller interests, organized in Wall Street and centralized in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the most powerful of all the regional Federal Reserve Banks, used “the Red Cross Mission as its operational vehicle” in Russia at the time of the Bolshevik Revolution. The Red Cross Mission in Russia got its endowment from wealthy people such as J.P. Morgan, Mrs. E. H. Harriman, Cleveland H. Dodge, and Mrs. Russell Sage, and “in World War I the Red Cross depended heavily on Wall Street, and specifically the Morgan firm.” When the American Red Cross set up a mission to Russia, “William Boyce Thompson, director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, had ‘offered to pay the entire expense of the commission’.”[19] All expenses were paid for by William Boyce Thompson, who was a major stockholder in Chase National Bank, whose President had Thompson appointed head of the New York Fed.[20]

The Mission was primarily made up of lawyers, financiers, their assistants, people affiliated with Standard Oil and the Rockefeller’s National City Bank.[21] The Mission supported through a loan, the Provisional government of Alexander Kerensky, yet, William B. Thompson of the New York Fed “made a personal contribution of $1,000,000 to the Bolsheviki for the purpose of spreading their doctrine in Germany and Austria.” Interestingly, when the Bolsheviks took control, “The National City Bank branch in Petrograd had been exempted from the Bolshevik nationalization decree – the only foreign or domestic Russian bank to have been so exempted.”[22] Ultimately, the Red Cross mission in Russia “was in fact a mission of Wall Street financiers to influence and pave the way for control, through either Kerensky or the Bolshevik revolutionaries, of the Russian market and resources.”[23]

The American International Corporation (AIC), was “created in 1915 to develop domestic and foreign enterprises, to extend American activities abroad, and to promote the interests of American and foreign bankers, business and engineering.” It was created and controlled by Morgan, Stillman and Rockefeller interests, and its directors were affiliated with National City Bank (Rockefeller), the Carnegie Foundation, General Electric, the DuPont family, New York Life Insurance, American Bankers Association and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Members of its board financially supported the Bolsheviks and urged the US State Department to recognize the Bolshevik government.[24]

In 1920, Russian gold was being siphoned through Sweden, where it was melted down and stamped with the Swedish mint, funneled through the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and into Kuhn, Loeb & Company and Guaranty Trust Company (Morgan), two of the primary banking interests behind the creation of the Federal Reserve System. [25] During the civil war in Russia between the Reds and the Whites, while Wall Street financiers were aiding the Bolsheviks quietly, they also began to finance Aleksandr Kolchak (of the Whites) with millions of dollars, in order to ensure that whoever emerged victorious in the war, Wall Street would win.[26]

As Antony Sutton wrote, “Russia, then and now, constituted the greatest potential competitive threat to American industrial and financial supremacy,” and that, “The gigantic Russian market was to be converted into a captive market and a technical colony to be exploited by a few high-powered American financiers and the corporations under their control.”[27]

Eventually, the Bolsheviks emerged victorious, and Wall Street won. Under Stalin’s Five-Year Plans in the early 1930s, Soviet industrialization “required Western technology and expertise,” and in a “frequently overlooked contribution” that came “from abroad,” American firms aided in the industrialization of the USSR, including Ford, General Electric and DuPont,[28] with Standard Oil, General Electric, Austin Co., General Motors, International Harvester, and Caterpillar Tractor trading heavily with the Soviet Union.[29]

Standard Oil bought “gargantuan quantities of Red Oil,” General Electric received a $100,000,000 contract from the Soviet Union to build “the four largest hydroelectric generators in the world,” Austin Co., got a $50,000,000 contract to erect the City of Austingrad, “complete with tractor and automobile factories involving an additional $30,000,000 contract for parts and technical assistance with Ford Motor Corp.” On top of this, “Other [Soviet] business friends are General Motors, DuPont de Nemours, International Harvester, John Deere Co., Caterpillar Tractor, Radio Corp. and the U. S. Shipping Board, which sold the Reds a fleet of 25 cargo steamers.” Banks with close ties to the Russian economy included Chase National, National City Bank and Equitable Trust, all of which are either Rockefeller or Morgan interests.[30]

World War Restructures World Order

In the midst of World War I, a group of American scholars were tasked with briefing “Woodrow Wilson about options for the postwar world once the kaiser and imperial Germany fell to defeat.” This group was called, “The Inquiry.” The group advised Wilson mostly through his trusted aide, Col. Edward M. House, who was Wilson’s “unofficial envoy to Europe during the period between the outbreak of World War I in 1914 and the intervention by the United States in 1917,” and was the prime driving force in the Wilson administration behind the establishment of the Federal Reserve System.[31]

“The Inquiry” laid the foundations for the creation of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the most powerful think tank in the US, and “The scholars of the Inquiry helped draw the borders of post World War I central Europe.” On May 30, 1919, a group of scholars and diplomats from Britain and the US met at the Hotel Majestic, where they “proposed a permanent Anglo-American Institute of International Affairs, with one branch in London, the other in New York.” When the scholars returned from Paris, they were met with open arms by New York lawyers and financiers, and together they formed the Council on Foreign Relations in 1921. The “British diplomats returning from Paris had made great headway in founding their Royal Institute of International Affairs.” The Anglo-American Institute envisioned in Paris, with two branches and combined membership was not feasible, so both the British and American branches retained national membership, however, they would cooperate closely with one another.[32] They were referred to, and still are, as “Sister Institutes.”[33]

The Milner Group, the secret society formed by Cecil Rhodes, “dominated the British delegation to the Peace Conference of 1919; it had a great deal to do with the formation and management of the League of Nations and of the system of mandates; it founded the Royal Institute of International Affairs in 1919 and still controls it.”[34] There were other groups founded in many countries representing the same interests of the secret Milner Group, and they came to be known as the Round Table Groups, preeminent among them were the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), the Council on Foreign Relations in the United States, and parallel groups were set up in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India.[35]

World War I had marked a monumental period in history in what can be understood as “transitional imperialism.” What I mean by this is that historically, periods of imperial decline and transition (that is, the rise or fall of an empire or empires), are often marked by increased international violence and war.

World War I was the result of the culmination of imperial ambitions by various powers. This was the natural result of the wave of “New Imperialism” that swept the industrialized world in the 1870s. In 1879, the German Empire and Austria-Hungary created the Dual Alliance to combat growing Russian influence in the Balkans with the decline of the Ottoman Empire. Italy joined in 1882, making it the Triple Alliance. In 1892, the Franco-Russia Alliance was made, which was a military alliance between France and the Russian Empire to counteract the German Empire’s supremacy over Europe. In 1904, the Entente Cordiale, a series of agreements between France and Britain, was agreed upon in order to maintain a balance of power in Europe. In 1907, the Anglo-Russia Entente was formed in an effort to end their long-running Great Game by setting the boundaries of their imperial control over Afghanistan, Persia and Tibet. It also acted as a balance to the growing German Empire’s might and influence in Europe. After the signing of the Anglo-Russian Entente, the Triple Entente was cemented between Britain, Russia and France as a significant counter to the Triple Alliance.

The decline of the Ottoman Empire had been a long and slow process. The Ottoman Empire dated back to 1299, and lasted until 1923. “From 1517 until the end of World War I, a period of 400 years, the Ottoman Empire was the ruling power in the central Middle East. Ottoman administrative institutions and practices shaped the peoples of the modern Middle East and left a legacy that endured after the empire’s disappearance.”[36]

In the late 16th century, “Ottoman raw materials, normally channeled into internal consumption and industry, were increasingly exchanged for European manufactured products. This trade benefited Ottoman merchants but led to a decline in state revenues and a shortage of raw materials for domestic consumption. As the costs of scarce materials rose, the empire suffered from inflation, and the state was unable to procure sufficient revenues to meet its expenses. Without these revenues, the institutions that supported the Ottoman system, especially the armed forces, were undermined.” This was largely done through commercial treaties known as Capitulations. The first Capitulation “was negotiated with France in 1536; it allowed French merchants to trade freely in Ottoman ports, to be exempt from Ottoman taxes, and to import and export goods at low tariff rates. In addition, the treaty granted extraterritorial privileges to French merchants by permitting them to come under the legal jurisdiction of the French consul in Istanbul, thus making them subject to French rather than Ottoman-Islamic law. This first treaty was the model for subsequent agreements signed with other European states.”[37]

The Ottoman state had been sufficiently weakened by the early 20th century, which happened to be the same time period that Europeans, particularly the British, were looking at Middle East oil to fuel their empires. The major European alliances sought to take advantage of this weakened Ottoman position. In 1909, Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina, inciting the anger of the Russia Empire. The First Balkan War was fought between 1912 and 1913, in which Serbia, Montenegro, Greece and Bulgaria fought the Ottoman Empire. The settlement that followed angered Bulgaria, which then began to engage in territorial disputes with Serbia and Romania. Bulgaria then attacked Greece and Serbia in 1913, followed by Romania and the Ottoman Empire declaring war against Bulgaria, which was the Second Balkan War.

This further destabilized the region, and Austria-Hungary grew wary of the growing influence of Serbia. When Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in 1914, Austria delivered an ultimatum to Serbia, where the assassin was from, and then declared war. The Russian Empire mobilized for war the next day, with German mobilization following behind, and France behind it. Germany then declared war on Russia, and World War I was under way.

The end of the Great War saw the disillusion of the Ottoman Empire, breaking up its territory, which was carved up between France and Britain at the Paris Peace Conference. The German Empire and Austro-Hungarian Empires also officially ended as a result of the war, for which Germany was given the sole blame for the war and punished through the Versailles reparations. The Russian Empire ended with the Bolshevik Revolution, which resulted in Russia pulling out of the war in 1917, the same year the United States entered the war. The Great War turned the United States into a powerful nation in the world, becoming a leading creditor nation with significant international influence. The British and French maintained their empires, though they were in decline. However, they attempted to maintain significant control over the Middle East.

World War I was thus the culmination of a massive build-up of imperial nations seeking expanded influence and markets for their capital. Entering the War, there were many empires, leaving it, there were two dominant European Empires (France and Britain) and an emerging new force in the world, the United States.

The Great Depression

The modern banking system manufactures money out of nothing. The process is perhaps the most astounding piece of sleight of hand that was ever invented. Banking was conceived in inequity and born in sin . . . Bankers own the earth. Take it away from them but leave them the power to create money, and, with a flick of a pen, they will create enough money to buy it back again . . . Take this great power away from them, and all great fortunes like mine will disappear, for then this would be a better and happier world to live in. . . . But, if you want to continue to be the slaves of bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let bankers continue to create money and control credit.[38]

– Sir Josiah Stamp, Director of the Bank of England, 1927

Benjamin Strong, Governor of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and Montagu Norman, Governor of the Bank of England, who worked closely together throughout the 1920s, decided to “use the financial power of Britain and the United States to force all the major countries of the world to go on the gold standard and to operate it through central banks free from all political control, with all questions of international finance to be settled by agreements by such central banks without interference from governments.” These men were not working for the governments and nations of whom they purportedly represented, but “were the technicians and agents of the dominant investment bankers of their own countries, who had raised them up and were perfectly capable of throwing them down.”[39]

In the 1920s, the United States experienced a stock market boom, which was a result of the commercial banks providing “funds for the purchase of stock and took the latter as collateral,” creating a massive wave of underwriting and purchasing of securities. The stock market speculation that followed was the result of the banks “borrowing substantially from the Federal Reserve. Thus the Federal Reserve System was helping to finance the great stock market boom.”[40]

In 1927, a meeting took place in New York City between Montagu Norman of the Bank of England, Hjalmar Schacht, President of the Reichsbank, the German central bank of the Weimar Republic; Charles Rist, Deputy Governor of the Bank of France and Benjamin Strong of the New York Fed. The topic of the meeting was the “persistently weak reserve position of the Bank of England. This, the bankers thought, could be helped if the Federal Reserve System would ease interest rates to encourage lending. Holders of gold would then seek the higher returns from keeping their metal in London.” The Fed obliged.[41]

The Bank of England had a weak reserve position because of Britain’s position as champion of the gold standard. Foreign central banks, including the Bank of France, were transferring their exchange holdings into gold, of which the Bank of England did not have enough to supply.  So the Fed lowered its discount rate, and began buying securities to equal French gold purchases. Money in the US, then, “was going increasingly into stock-market speculation rather than into production of real wealth.”[42]

In early 1929, the Federal Reserve board of governors “called upon the member banks to reduce their loans on stock-exchange collateral,” and took other actions with the publicly pronounced aim of reducing “the amount of credit available for speculation.” Yet, it had the reverse effect, as “the available credit went more and more to speculation and decreasingly to productive business.” On September 26, 1929, London was hit with a financial panic, and the Bank of England raised its bank rate, causing British money to leave Wall Street, “and the over inflated market commenced to sag,” leading to a panic by mid-October.[43]

The longest-serving Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan, wrote that the Fed triggered the speculative boom through its pumping excess credit into the economy (sound familiar?), and eventually this resulted in the American and British economies collapsing due to the massive imbalances produced. Britain then “abandoned the gold standard completely in 1931, tearing asunder what remained of the fabric of confidence and inducing a world-wide series of bank failures. The world economies plunged into the Great Depression of the 1930’s.”[44]

The Bank for International Settlements

In 1929, the Young Committee was formed to create a program for the settlement of German reparations payments that emerged out of the Versailles Treaty, written at the Paris Peace talks in 1919. The Committee was headed by Owen D. Young, founder of Radio Corporation of America (RCA), as a subsidiary of General Electric. He was also President and CEO of GE from 1922 until 1939, co-author of the 1924 Dawes Plan, was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Rockefeller Foundation in 1928, and was also, in 1929, deputy chairman of the New York Federal Reserve Bank. When Young was sent to Europe in 1929 to form the program for German reparations payments he was accompanied by J.P Morgan, Jr.[45]

What emerged from the Committee was the creation of the Young Plan, which “was assertedly a device to occupy Germany with American capital and pledge German real assets for a gigantic mortgage held in the United States.” Further, the Young Plan “increased unemployment more and more,” allowing Hitler to say he would “do away with unemployment,” which, “really was the reason of the enormous success Hitler had in the election.”[46]

The Plan went into effect in 1930, following the stock market crash. Part of the Plan entailed the creation of an international settlement organization, which was formed in 1930, and known as the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). It was purportedly designed to facilitate and coordinate the reparations payments of Weimar Germany to the Allied powers. However, its secondary function, which is much more secretive, and much more important, was to act as “a coordinator of the operations of central banks around the world.” Described as “a bank for central banks,” the BIS “is a private institution with shareholders but it does operations for public agencies. Such operations are kept strictly confidential so that the public is usually unaware of most of the BIS operations.”[47]

The BIS was established “to remedy the decline of London as the world’s financial center by providing a mechanism by which a world with three chief financial centers in London, New York, and Paris could still operate as one.”[48] As Carroll Quigley explained:

[T]he powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able  to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations.[49]

The BIS was founded by “the central banks of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Japan, and the United Kingdom along with three leading commercial banks from the United States, including J.P. Morgan & Company, First National Bank of New York, and First National Bank of Chicago. Each central bank subscribed to 16,000 shares and the three U.S. banks also subscribed to this same number of shares.” However, “Only central banks have voting power.”[50]

In a letter dated November 21, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt told Edward M. House, “The real truth .. is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the larger centers has owned the Government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson – and I am not wholly excepting the administration of W[oodrow]. W[ilson]. The country is going through a repetition of Jackson’s fight with the Bank of the United States – only on a far bigger and broader basis.”[51]

Banking on Hitler

Throughout the 1930s, with the loans provided through the Dawes and Young Plans, Germany was able to create a few dominant industrial cartels, which were all financed by Wall Street bankers and industrialists.[52] These cartels provided the basis for and main financial backing of the Nazi regime. Collaboration between the German Nazi industry and American industry and finance continued, specifically with Morgan and Rockefeller interests, as well as Ford and DuPont. The Morgan-Rockefeller international banks and companies associated with them “were intimately related to the growth of Nazi industry.”[53] Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Empire “was of critical assistance in helping Nazi Germany prepare for World War II.”[54] On top of this, the Rockefeller Foundation was also pivotal in not only funding the racist and elitist eugenics movement in the United States, but played a pivotal part in bringing the eugenics ideology to Nazi Germany, facilitating the beliefs that brought about the Holocaust.[55]

Hjalmar Schacht, the President of the Reichsbank throughout Weimar Germany, stayed on as President of the German central bank from 1933 until 1939, and was thus a central figure in Nazi Germany, being a major driver being the German plans for reindustrialization, redevelopment and rearmament. Hitler, in 1934, made Schacht his Minister of Economics.

Central banks across Europe began to purchase Nazi gold, which was smuggled and melted down and re-stamped in Switzerland, (much like was done with Soviet gold). Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Argentina, Turkey, France, Great Britain, Poland, Hungary, and the United States all “traded with the Nazis with gold transferred by the BIS.” This was done as a collaborative effort among central banks, as “the BIS did enter into gold and currency transactions with Nazi Germany through its participation with the Reichsbank.” Schacht wielded his significant influence and “had become instrumental in placing high-ranking Nazi officials and foreign collaborators on the BIS Board of Directors.”[56]

Empire, War and the Rise of the New Global Hegemon

World War Two also marked a period of massive imperial transition. The build-up of the Third Reich led to Nazi imperialism throughout Europe and North Africa and the Japanese Empire expanded into China. At the end of the War, the British and French Empires were all but vanished, holding onto remaining colonies in Africa and Asia. The Soviet Union was devastated and Germany, with much of Europe, was in ruins. What emerged from this war that was most significant was the rise of a new empire, the American Empire. America’s intervention into the war and expansion into Europe as a liberating force allowed it to set up bases throughout Europe as well as in Japan on the Pacific. The Soviet Union, having taken Europe from the East, expanded its influence and dominance across Eastern Europe. Following Churchill’s speech that an “Iron Curtain” had fallen across Europe, the Cold War was underway. Thus, World War II ended the age of many European empires, even of those in decline, and created a bi-polar world, which was divided between the USSR and the USA.

Following World War II, the US, as the only major nation in the world whose industrial base survived the devastation of the war, assumed the position of global hegemon. It began to set up the infrastructure, both national and international, to assume the position of global superpower, exerting its hegemony across the globe. The crown had been passed from the British Empire to the American Empire. Ultimately, both were and are owned and controlled by the same interests, primarily represented through the central banks and the private banking interests that make up the dominant shareholders.

Before America had even entered the war in late 1941, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the American branch of the round table groups Carroll Quigley discussed as having originated from the secret society of Cecil Rhodes, was planning on America entering the war. The CFR had essentially captured US foreign policy firmly in the grips of the banking elite. The establishment of the Federal Reserve (1913) ensured that the United States would become indebted to and owned by international banking interests, and thus, act in their interest. The Fed financed the US role in World War I, provided the credit for speculation, which led to the Great Depression, and massive consolidation for the interests that own the Federal Reserve System. It then financed US entry into World War II.

The CFR, established six years after the Federal Reserve was created, worked to promote an internationalist agenda on behalf of the international banking elite. It was to alter America’s conceptualization of its place within the world – from isolationist industrial nation to an engine of empire working for international banking and corporate American interests. Where the Fed took control of money and debt, the CFR took control of the ideological foundations of such an empire – encompassing the corporate, banking, political, foreign policy, military, media, and academic elite of the nation into a generally cohesive overall world view. By altering one’s ideology to that of promoting such an internationalist agenda, the big money that was behind it would ensure one’s rise through government, industry, academia and media. The other major think tanks and policy institutions in the United States are also represented at the CFR. They are constitutive of divisions within the elite, however, such divisions are predicated on the basis of how to use American imperial power, where to use it, on what basis to justify it, and other various methodological differences. The divide amongst elites was never on the questions of: should we use American imperial power, why has America become an Empire, or should there even be an empire? If one takes such considerations to heart and questions these concepts, be it within the foreign policy establishment, intelligence, military, academia, finance, corporate world, or media; chances are, such a person is not a member of the CFR.

The CFR effectively undertook a policy coup d’état over American foreign policy with the Second World War. When war broke out, the Council began a “strictly confidential” project called the War and Peace Studies, in which top CFR members collaborated with the US State Department in determining US policy, and the project was entirely financed by the Rockefeller Foundation.[57] The post-War world was already being designed by members of the Council, who would go into government in order to enact these designs.

The policy of “containment” towards the Soviet Union that would define American foreign policy for nearly half a century was envisaged in a 1947 edition of Foreign Affairs, the academic journal of the Council on Foreign Relations. So too were the ideological foundations for the Marshall Plan and NATO envisaged at the Council on Foreign Relations, with members of the Council recruited to enact, implement and lead these institutions.[58] The Council also played a role in the establishment and promotion of the United Nations,[59] which was subsequently built on land bought from John D. Rockefeller, Jr.[60]

The Rise of the American Empire and Keynesian Political Economy

Within liberal political economy, a prominent individual and British economist, John Maynard Keynes, undertook the process of evolving liberal theory into what later became known as Keynesian economics. Following in the footsteps of the dominance of the liberal order, in which the economic and political realms were viewed as separate, and necessarily so, Keynes sought to re-imagine the political-economic relationship. His work was largely influenced by the events leading up to and following the Great Depression, which was largely seen as a failure of the liberal economic order. Keynes wanted to combine state and market forces, not rejecting the liberal notion of the “invisible hand,” however, relegated that to a more distinct area, and imagined a broader role for the state in the economy.

Keynes advocated for the state to act, or invest, when private individuals would not, in an effort to stave off financial or economic crises. Thus, Keynes would argue, the state strengthens the market. A Marxist theorist would likely point to this as an example of how the state, within a capitalist society, functions as an institutional organ which protects the interests of the capitalist class. Keynes advocated a liberal international order composed of free markets, however he recommended state intervention domestically, particularly to protect jobs and control inflation.

Keynesian political economic theory served in large part as a basis for the creation of the Bretton-Woods System, established in 1944, and his concept of embedded liberalism (promotion of liberal international economy, and state intervention in domestic economy), reigned supreme until the 1970s.

In 1944, representatives of the 44 Allied nations met for the Bretton Woods conference (the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference) in New Hampshire, in an effort to reorganize and regulate the international financial and monetary order following the war. The UK was represented by John Maynard Keynes; with the American contingent represented by Harry Dexter White, an American economist and senior US Treasury department official.  It was out of this conference that the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), now part of the World Bank, and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), now institutionalized in the World Trade Organization (WTO), originated. They were designed to be the institutionalized economic foundations of exerting American hegemony across the globe; they were, in essence, engines of economic empire.

In 1947, President Harry Truman signed the National Security Act, which created the position of Secretary of Defense overseeing the entire military establishment, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff; as well as created the CIA modeled on its war time incarnation of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS); and the Act also created the National Security Council, headed by a National Security Adviser, and designed to give the President further advice on foreign affairs issues separate from the State Department. Essentially, the Act created the basis for the national security state apparatus for empire building.

The founding of the CIA was urged by the War and Peace Studies Project of the Council on Foreign Relations in the early 1940s, and the architects of the CIA, designing the shape and organization of the Agency, as well as its functions; were all Wall Street lawyers, largely made up of members of the Council on Foreign Relations. The Deputy Directors of the CIA for the first two decades were all “from the same New York legal and financial circles.”[61]

Notes

[1]        Edwin Black, Banking on Baghdad: Inside Iraq’s 7,000-Year History of War, Profit, and Conflict. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: 2004: page 105

[2]        Edwin Black, Banking on Baghdad: Inside Iraq’s 7,000-Year History of War, Profit, and Conflict. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: 2004: page 107

[3]        Patricia Goldstone, Aaronsohn’s Maps: The Untold Story of the Man who Might Have Created Peace in the Middle East. Harcourt Trade, 2007: pages 21-22

[4]        Patricia Goldstone, Aaronsohn’s Maps: The Untold Story of the Man who Might Have Created Peace in the Middle East. Harcourt Trade, 2007: page 22

[5]        Niall Ferguson, Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power. Perseus, 2002: pages 193-194

[6]        Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. The MacMillan Company: 1966: page 56

[7]        Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. The MacMillan Company: 1966: pages 499-500

[8]        Herbert R. Lottman, Return of the Rothschilds: The Great Banking Dynasty Through Two Turbulent Centuries. I.B. Tauris, 1995: page 81

[9]      Patricia Goldstone, Aaronsohn’s Maps: The Untold Story of the Man who Might Have Created Peace in the Middle East. Harcourt Trade, 2007: pages 22-23

[10]      Herbert R. Lottman, Return of the Rothschilds: The Great Banking Dynasty Through Two Turbulent Centuries. I.B. Tauris, 1995: pages 141-142

[11]      Herbert R. Lottman, Return of the Rothschilds: The Great Banking Dynasty Through Two Turbulent Centuries. I.B. Tauris, 1995: pages 143-144

[12]      Herbert R. Lottman, Return of the Rothschilds: The Great Banking Dynasty Through Two Turbulent Centuries. I.B. Tauris, 1995: pages 141-142

[13]      NYT, Rockefeller To Aid Czar? New York Times: March 6, 1906

[14]      Toyin Falola and Ann Genova, The Politics of the Global Oil Industry. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005: page 215

[15]      Antony C. Sutton, Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution. Buccaneer Books, New York, 1974: pages 16-17

[16]      Antony C. Sutton, Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution. Buccaneer Books, New York, 1974: page 25

[17]      Antony C. Sutton, Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution. Buccaneer Books, New York, 1974: page 34

[18]      Antony C. Sutton, Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution. Buccaneer Books, New York, 1974: pages 25-26

[19]      Antony C. Sutton, Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution. Buccaneer Books, New York, 1974: pages 71-73

[20]      Antony C. Sutton, Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution. Buccaneer Books, New York, 1974: pages 89-90

[21]      Antony C. Sutton, Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution. Buccaneer Books, New York, 1974: pages 73-77

[22]      Antony C. Sutton, Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution. Buccaneer Books, New York, 1974: pages 82-83

[23]      Antony C. Sutton, Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution. Buccaneer Books, New York, 1974: page 87

[24]      Antony C. Sutton, Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution. Buccaneer Books, New York, 1974: pages 127-135

[25]      Antony C. Sutton, Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution. Buccaneer Books, New York, 1974: pages 159-161

[26]      Antony C. Sutton, Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution. Buccaneer Books, New York, 1974: pages 166-167

[27]      Antony C. Sutton, Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution. Buccaneer Books, New York, 1974: pages 172-173

[28]      Michael Kort, The Soviet Colossus: History and Aftermath. M.E. Sharpe, 2001: page 202

[29]      Time, Russia & Recognition. Time Magazine: August 18, 1930: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,789203,00.html

[30]      Time, Everybody’s Red Business. Time Magazine: June 9, 1930: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,739474-5,00.html

[31]      H.W. Brands, “He Is My Independent Self”. The Washington Post: June 11, 2006: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/08/AR2006060801104.htm

[32]      CFR, Continuing the Inquiry. History of CFR: http://www.cfr.org/about/history/cfr/inquiry.html

[33]      Chatham House, CHATHAM HOUSE (The Royal Institute of International Affairs):  Background. Chatham House History: http://www.chathamhouse.org.uk/about/history/

[34]      Carroll Quigley, The Anglo-American Establishment. GSG & Associates, 1981: page 5

[35]      Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. The MacMillan Company: 1966: pages 132-133

[36]      William L. Cleaveland, A History of the Modern Middle East (Boulder: Westview Press, 2004), 37-38

[37]      William L. Cleaveland, A History of the Modern Middle East (Boulder: Westview Press, 2004), 49-50

[38]      Ellen Hodgson Brown, Web of Debt. Third Millennium Press: 2007: Page 2

[39]      Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. The MacMillan Company: 1966: pages 326-327

[40]      John Kenneth Galbraith, Money: Whence it Came, Where it Went (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1975), 173

[41]      John Kenneth Galbraith, Money: Whence it Came, Where it Went (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1975), 174-175

[42]      Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. The MacMillan Company: 1966: page 342

[43]      Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. The MacMillan Company: 1966: page 344

[44]      Alan Greenspan, “Gold and Economic Freedom” in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. (New York: Signet, 1967), 99-100

[45]      Time, HEROES: Man-of-the-Year. Time Magazine: Jan 6, 1930: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,738364-1,00.html

[46]      Antony C. Sutton, Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler. G S G & Associates Pub, 1976: pages 15-16

[47]      James Calvin Baker, The Bank for International Settlements: evolution and evaluation. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002: page 2

[48]      Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time (New York: Macmillan Company, 1966), 324-325

[49]      Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time (New York: Macmillan Company, 1966), 324

[50]      James Calvin Baker, The Bank for International Settlements: evolution and evaluation. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002: page 6

[51]      Melvin Urofsky and Paul Finkelman, A March of Liberty: A Constitutional History of the United States Volume II From 1877 to the Present 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press, 2002: pp. 674

[52]      Antony C. Sutton, Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler. G S G & Associates Pub, 1976: pages 17-19

[53]      Antony C. Sutton, Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler. G S G & Associates Pub, 1976: pages 19-20

[54]      Antony C. Sutton, Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler. G S G & Associates Pub, 1976: page 51

[55]      Edwin Black, Eugenics and the Nazis — the California connection. The San Francisco Chronicle: November 9, 2003: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/11/09/ING9C2QSKB1.DTL

[56]      James Calvin Baker, The Bank for International Settlements: evolution and evaluation. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002: page 202

[57]      CFR, War and Peace. CFR History: http://www.cfr.org/about/history/cfr/war_peace.html

[58]      William P. Bundy, The History of Foreign Affairs. The Council on Foreign Relations, 1994: http://www.cfr.org/about/history/foreign_affairs.html

[59]      CFR, War and Peace. CFR History: http://www.cfr.org/about/history/cfr/war_peace.html

[60]      UN, 1945-1949. Sixty Years: A Pictorial History of the United Nations: http://www.un.org/issues/gallery/history/1940s.htm

[61]      Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007), 12