virtual insanity cyber, money, ego + art stephan greene -------------- You May Be an Anarchist -And Not Even Know It By Derrick Jensen, interview with Zerzan 2001 enemies of the state ------- The Iron Fist Behind the Invisible Hand Kevin Carson (libertarian); see my comment in indy33.htm --------------- virtual insanity cyber, money, ego + art Virtual Insanity, the title of the 1996 hit-single by Jamiroquai, indicates nicely the perfidities of the term ‘virtuality’. Either you are sick, you pretend to be sick or you are trying to make yourself believe you are sick. And this is hypochondrism, which is kind of 'really sick'. Similarly, you can say ‘cool virtuality’ rather than ‘virtual coolness’, since 'coolness' is a mode of being and can only 'be or not be'. In reference to a title like ‘Cool Ecstasy’, it is interesting to ask what kind of ‘ecstatic state’ are you expecting to find. Maybe a rave club-event or a pill. But the thing that serves as ‘ecstasyfier’, the thing you spent money on, the techno-rave or the dose of MDMA/XTC, is - in some respect - a commodity fetish in the classical meaning of the word. The reified promise, which is sufficient in its state of promise and needs no fulfilling, no einlösung. This is what everybody knows: advanced capitalism is a fireworks of packaging and displays, of distanced self-critical operations of empty-promises, of the fun of being aware of constructions. Questioning the promises of the commodity does not imply its opposite: go for the Real thing, do battle with animals, or: do sex, have sex, since everybody knows: sexuality is no guarantee for happiness or ecstasy, but can be a rather complicated issue. The expression ‘have sex’ is telling: there is no escape from fetishisms, even while performing the ‘real’. buttons + rhetorics To click on the button labeled 'enter cyberspace/internet' opens to a well known and quite homogeneous set of beliefs, images, tastes, sentiments. Cyberspace or Virtual Reality are associated with movement, 'lightness', a strange category of bodily and bodyfree feelings, vague sentiments of globalization, unlimited access and ability. It hints at emancipation from restraints of class, tradition and matter ranging from ‘new democratic utopias’ to new spiritual citizenships. Its adherence to the tradition of the enlightment/capitalistic-project is obvious. The button 'enter cyberspace' works as a rhetorical figure, organizing discourse, destabilizing traditional structures in economical and social life, urging companies all over the world to revamp their enterprises, changing learning-schedules at schools and universities, etc. This figure as well come with preset-condition of the ego, self-images. It enforces a transition from images of the human subject of a rather sociological or psychoanalytical type (the individual having a 'role' in society or as an ensemble of instincts) to a subject whos selfreflexivity and mirror-reflection in the image of a pilot, navigating through the night of the real/cyberspace, detached from bodily needs. This rhetorical figure is ideological, in the foremost meaning of 'ideology' as something that makes something else invisible. Cyberspace-talk is hiding the actual transition in the economic field and in the status of the nation-state. Fun, consumerism, flexible identities(deliberateness), technological reasoning, low-cost-progress, access-for-all and internationalism are topics on the agenda while the new cartographies of abandoned zones, the precarious nature of work, new forms of computer-assisted-euthanasia for lowering costs are not. It makes this development appear as a necessary and automatically running process of differentiation in the means of production. The rhetoric hides the agents of global and national capital who have forced governments give up their political control over money and currency. Therefore money-deregulation became the political answer to the crisis of Fordist production. But the cyberspace-rhetoric has ideological implications insofar as it mingles with the process of subject formation in capitalist societies. The french philosopher louis althusser described ideology as that which is putting subjects in the way they regard themselves: as individual, autonomuous, unitary cells. Ideology makes 'you' act like a subject (+ you are). And it treats you like that, as the proprietor of your property, including all your capabilities and bodily appearances. ‘I’ plus ‘what I am’. This ideological called into social being (interpellation) reappears in the context of New Technologies. It is seen in theoretical debates on ‘techno science’ stating an epochal shift in subjectivity: the digital image (and the digital imagability) enters the inner core of the subject in formation like a virus. The influential french psychoanalysist Jacques Lacan called the mirror-phase the moment when the ‘becoming’ subject, the infant, realizes its own distinctness from the world and its own individual wholeness through seeing itself in the mirror – an alienating medium, or another person, f.e. the mother. The 'techno-culture', in such a model, finds retrojected the new technological devices as ersatz, a digitized phantasm (ghost) mirroring the human appearances in a 'virtual' gestalt, yet paradoxically ready to loose its identity and shape. Others, more critical towards the emerging new technologies, like the us-literary theorist Rowitha Müller, detect here rather a dramatization of absence and schein. production of subjectivity The production of subjectivity is at the heart of the New Technologies. It takes this position for philosophical reasons but also insofar as it is part of new consumption strategies in a society that produces less through material production than through services and leisure-time-gadgets. „Work isn’t working" heralds British Telecom in large advertisement-panels. It was British Telecom who were the first in tradition-bound Europe to be privatized and go public on the stock-market. Deutsche Telekom followed and started a pretentious show of making money out of money investing in the brilliant future of New Technologies. This happened in 1997 when official german politics started to acknowledge globalisation and the deregulation of social policy as the necessary doctrine for the coming decade. When everyone in the society is urged to go private or become corporate, to give up ideas of collective worker unions and is forced to feel the pressure of economical survival without health care as we know it all comes together to determine a new spirit of being-for-oneself. The new stockholder offers from television stations like Pro7 go that way. Make the users identify themselves with their programm.. soft is --concerning 'ware'-- not soft enough for the real virtual What actually is Virtual Reality and what does it have in common with the internet? The answer is more complicated than it seems. While the internet is an easy thing to refer to --the online-data-telephone-complexion that everybody knows-- Virtual Reality is not. The internet is communication that creeps through a kind of 'space', what type of space is that? To name it cyberspace would not be totally on target, because there it does not take much computing of space in building up that mediatic something that enables connection. Considering the MUDs and MOOs, where actors are consensually join to meet in medieval huts, imaginary streets, and certainly to online-rooms to meet, the case is quite different: the 'space' here is verbal and to a certain extent imaginary, but still not very 'cyber', i.e., there is not much cybernetic technology involved. The MUD, the room, where the 'action', the conversation takes place, is virtual. Nevertheless, this is as virtual as any boardgame like Monopoly. The actors are necessary, even if some bots are involved. But, the final consideration is to imagine a game where only ‘bots’ are playing with one another. This is like the other side of the moon, like rocks rolling down hills and nobody watching or caring. Beyond the contradictory and deeply ideological fixing of these terms in a techno-cultural normality, there appears yet still something else to be identified. "At the end of the 20th century comes about the long prophecized convergency of the media, the computer and telecommunication to a hypermedium. Once more the untireable longing of capitalism to diversify and to intensify the creative potentials of man is into changing qualitatively the ways we work, play and live together. Via the integration of different technologies through common protocols there is something being produced that is more than the sum of its parts". This is an excerpt from an text by Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron called "The Californean Ideology". It has been widely acknowledged for its criticality towards the community of "computer-enthusiasts, lazy students, innovating capitalists, engaged politicians, fancy academics, futuristic bureaucrats, and opportunistic politicians" from within the net-community. Barbrook and Cameron trace the contradictionary nature of the new alliance that unifies hippies with capitalists, emancipatory leftists with old-school reactionaries. How can it happen, they ask, that the new ideology brings westcoast drugusers to have the same goals as Ronald Reagan who had them beaten up when he ordered the police in may 1969 to control and suppress protesting hippies. "Who could have seen, that such a contradictory mixture of technological determinism and liberal individualism would become the hybrid orthodoxy of the information age." undeliberate actors To enter cyberspace is therefore a political act - even if you are just playing. That doesn't mean that play in cyberspace should be politicized, but it means that the assumptions and alleged promises which are reproduced in mainstream- and critical discourse have their serious side. All the internet-verbal-amplifiers (press and public relations as well as crticians as ...) like wired-magazine are political actors who are part of a struggle to make the indispensability of virtual reality a process of tautological quality (new techology as the new paradigm because they are) or just a self-fulfilling prophecy. Certain segments of the art world were, if decisively not avantgarde, still sufficiently ahead of the public in discovering the techniology as the 'new' esthetical paradigm to reestablish a myth of the avantgarde, albeit in its techno-cultural version. Artists and Curators became active in the most diverse levels of cultural productions. Peter Weibel’s arts and science shows in Linz as well as Jeffrey Deitch’s exhibition Posthuman are prominet examples. Sometimes incredible naive, like Weibel’s "artificial....", which gave genetic engineering total credit for being able to solve every remaining problem on earth (which are allegedly, to enforce the necessity, outrageously many) or impertinent like Deitch, who subsumes all emancipatory forces of discussions on gender and race under the project of the New Technologies. All of these projects go forward based on the premise that Biotechnics make the total construction of reality (including differences of gender and race), which cultural studies analyzed, de facto and materially true. This discourse is ridiculously void of any insight into the real state of medical arts. As astonishing as cloned animals and flys with artificial eyes on each of its limbs might be, they are effects of trial- and error-experiments and not the result of an easy ‘steering’ of life. But the discourse of bio-techno-emancipation is naive in not realizing the stigmatizing character of techno-determinism: the allegedly ‘bad’ gene is no better as stigma as the skin or the eyes’ colour. Biotechnics, in the mainframe of computer-aided-weltbild like gene-code etc and the naiveté of believing that everything science predicted (as if ancient beliefs were less convincing in their times, for example the notion that matter-energy-transformations make spaceflight possible) and not seeing that the plausibility of the gene-code-paradigm is restricted, might help explain things and most others not - something that the aids-research shows nachdrücklich. flexible agents The art-world models the new demands for the new urban work-force: social beings, acting on their own account, reflexively stylish, nondetermined social identity, and working in all categories at hand. The plausibility of techno-culture is far more esthetically mediated than it is scientific. It has been fabricated through an alliance of consumer-gadgets, the look of trashy detachment, new strategies in advertisements, and commodity-like phantasm of subject-formations. change, labeled: change (globalization) The claim that the internet-talk hides the transition in the economic field is not evident, since internet-culture is about the transition of an era of material production into the so called information age. But the term ‘information age’ with its pseudo-logical appendix of a ‘friction free capitalism’ (bill gates) is radically misleading. While the extent of material production has been lowered (for example Volkswagen makes more than 50 percent of its profit from finance deals) it is still indispensable. Saskia Sassen asks rhetorically "why do they bother to make cars as they make no profit on the cars?" . The answers: "well, the production of the cars is a mechanism for concentrating a vast amount of money in a time-frame of nine-months where you can use it only on a daily basis in your financial division and make money. This has created an enourmous distortion. I mentioned the case of manufacturing, because financial capital is, yes, to a large extent, self-referential. It has invented circuits for its own circulation, which are fairly autonomous from the rest of economic systems. However, manufacturing matters, not just because we are still consuming, no matter how digitized --we all need Bekleidung, we all need cars and tables-- but because manufacturing is one mechanism for bringing in enourmous liquidity into the system." (sassen, 3. hilfe) money The status of money, even from a strictly economical point of view, has not conceptually worked out. This fairly undebated point of blindness might be surprising regarding money’s centrality in economic proceedings, but it is less astonishing with regarding to the classics of economic theory like Adam Smith and Ricardo. There the marketplace and its logic of change are a apriori. In their effort to make exchange more effective and convenient, two parties come together and make use of a mediating device through a wertaufbewahrungsmittel. This might be a contract, a 'future' guaranting the return of the received value to a given time or 'the coin'. In this case money was only a supplement, neutral, without any specificity beyond the logic of the market. Marx didn't go much further on this point, claiming money to be a fetish. But the notion of the fetish remained rather restricted. The fetish deceives concerning the status of value. Money hides the bond between value and human labour, and, in capitalistic societies, this is exploitation. To make the long story of money’s agency in capitalism short: What, if money could be invented, if it could be privaticed, if it is an object of governmental steering or marketplace deregulations like any other commodity? The conservative neo-monetarian F.A. von Hayek claimed: "Money does not have to be created legal tender by government: like law, language and morals it can emerge spontaneously. Such private money has often been preferred to governmental money, but government has usually suppressed it" (Hayek, Friedrich August von, 1978, Denationalisation of Money - The Argument Redefined, Institute of Economic Affairs, Washington D.C.). Can the wertaufbewahrungsmittel engender value by inventing or creating money? In the first place this seems a contradiction: as you can't have 'gedankengeld' (Sohn-Rethel), mental money, since intersubjectivity is money’s precondition (any doubts in its guarantee causes the banking system to collaps as it did in Europe in 1932), you cannot have more money than purchaseable, because this causes inflation whereby money is devalued; inflation occurs until money and goods are equal again. The postwar years in the West were deeply structured by a keynesian state-apparatus, that not only governed the quantity of money-circulation, but subsidized the private sector by spending large amounts of public money there(‘deficit spending’). Schools, hospitals, universities, infra-structure, the military apparatus, research and development are receiving large influxes of governmental capital. To such an extent, that the german economist Elmar Altvater describes it thus: "Public debt is the wealth of the society". But the actual battle around the status of money is difficult to analyse, if possible at all. While neomonetarian positions become stronger, the European Union is deeply involved in a discussion about the regulation and workings of money. The Bundesbank is feared by all of Europe because of its strong position against the loosening ist tightholds on an extremely low-credit policy and ist fixed deflation, while on the other hand the trend of all European states to now lower their debt signals the end of keynesian politics, of subsidizing the private sector. money-aided-ME-design Under given conditions the individual subject finds itself inmeshed in a net of money matters. Housing, life-style, food-consumption, ennui, excitement, satisfaction, affection, self-esteem are all shaped by financial conditions. The individual household is not only connected to a flow of earned or credited money on Christmas. The change in governmental politics concerning welfare and deregulations of employment-restraints is increasing the 'stress', that households undergo by sustaining their survival. The decreasing area of production makes the area of reproduction more important; but reproduction not of workers, but of consumers.The postfordistic production is even more forced to let consumtion happen on a large scale and to go for 'revolutionary' speed in renewing the consumtion goods by help of sophisticated design. The gebrauchswertversprechen, the esthetics of commodities, a notion invented by postmarxists in the 70s, became the core of production. That makes corporations like Nike or Coca Cola economically gigantic. But while the use of a Coca is easy, the use of its Gebrauchswertversprechen, its esthetics, has to be learned. 'Learned' concerning the work that is necessary to stay updated in reklame-reception, and 'learned' concerning the individual fetishistic economy of promise, optionality, ersatz. The amount of work that has been done on behalf of young, independent cultural producers to develop a techno-culture is enormous and cannot be gauged economically. Surely, that was emancipatory work, aneignung, and made people feel good. That is true and it is not true. Laura Mulvey developes in "Some Thoughts on Theories of Fetishism in the Context of Contemporary Culture" a connection between Marx understanding of fetishism and Freud’s. First of all there is the difference: on the one hand a lack of inscription of the working process on the commodity's surface and on the other hand Freud, for whom "the fetish object acts as a 'sign' in that it substitutes for the thing thought to be missing" (p11). "There is nothing intrinsically fetishistic, as it were, about the commodity in Marx's theory", argues Mulvey. Maybe Marx himself failed to explain why a lack of inscription alone made it possible to give the commodity something 'magic', which he himself felt urged to compare with the religious experience. Marx contained himself to explain this psychic 'surplus' with the false anschein of commodities autonomy or the 'life', the commodities seem to contain. This would seem to make Freud necessary for Marx to make some of its implications explainable. What kind of subjects have been produced, that feel sufficiently attracted to go on staring at ersatz-objects of fetishistic sheen, the 'rich sight' (mulvey), the breathing of protoorgiastic exchange, the abstracts of touch, experience, 'beware of your body's sensitivity' on a mediated tape, which are the media in general. In the height days of Hollywood cinema, the dark hole of the movies theatre was the space to feel nourished by a feeding of "beauty that covers lack", of deeds executed by doers on objects of passive gratitude, i.e. a space for somebody, being on the hook of ersatz, on what the ersatz is about: life. The viewer does not necessarily believe in what he sees. It is enough just to act as if. This is exactly the way Althusser defined ideology. Christian Metz conclusion on, who is the one to believe, is interesting not only in analyzing the cinematic apparatus, but to a further explanation of the nature of ideologies impact: "In other words (..) since it is 'accepted' that the audience is incredulous, who is it who is credulous? (..) This credulous person is, of course, another part of ourselves." (Christian Metz, The Imaginary Signifier: Psychoanalysis and the Cinema, London, Macmillan, 1982, p.72). This fragment of a person, this alien gadget of subjectivity, can be traced through an array of different theories. Maybe it has to do with the idealist cogito, that Adorno extracted out of the commodity fetish as ‘falsches bewusstsein’ or what Alfred Sohn-Rethel made clear to be an effect of the praxis of money: the Transzendentalsubjekt. Or finding it with Pierre Klossowskis concept in his forgotten book "La Monnaie Vivante" (the living money). Klossowskis cryptic but extremly interesting book starts with the conception of "le suppot", the carrier, screen, surface of personal identity. This screen is not due to outer zuschreibungen, but is due to the effect of a rejection of pulsive motives. But these pulsions are part of commodity movement, as a source of exploitation, as an extention of what Marx saw as "ursprüngliche Akkumulation". And what happens, when the money-function is not situated any more in the coin, but in what is all consumtion is about, i.e. the feeling that it can auslösen? Money comes close to its own paradoxical core: that it is the real thing on the real media: the empfindung. Klossowskis book is a mise en scene of thinking (michel foucaults „theatrum philosophicum") rather than a theoretical approach. But it reveals a certain insuffiency of the conceptualization of the consumer society as we know it. It is neither a rational process nor a management of work and financial options alone. Because there must be something before to be exploited, to be adressed, to be shaped, to be moved. This is certainly not life in its unalienated state, and it is nothing to be alienated (which setzt voraus anything unalienated, real, pure etc). But still life as the einsatz acts a precondition, or, psychoanalytical speaking, motivation or longing. This is pumped up with fetishism. Because the deepest longing is not any experience, not genuss, since this is timely, but to possess motivation. And this is exactly what the screen is able to be nourished with. When the big V of virtual: space, money, life, sex -- finds itself opposed to life (how parts of the techno-establishment are still dealing with) than because it exchanges change: ------------------------------- You May Be an Anarchist -And Not Even Know It By Derrick Jensen, The Sun May 15, 2001 After the anti-corporate globalization protests in Seattle took the world by surprise a year and a half ago, a number of mainstream journalists looked to a soft-spoken anarchist theorist from Eugene, Oregon, for answers.Indeed, John Zerzan, whose ideas were very influential with some of theyoung protesters, can now credibly claim the decidedly dubious honor of being America's most famous anarchist. All the attention has done nothing to soften Zerzan's view that modern society has subjugated the populace to the point that it no longer even sees the bars of its cage. In this interview, the 57-year-old radical explores the roots of domination, the subtle coercion of the clock, and his hope for a future without progress. Now that the mainstream media have discovered anarchism, there seems to be more and more confusion about what it means. How do you define it? I would say anarchism is the attempt to eradicate all forms of domination. This includes not only such obvious forms as the nation-state, with its routine use of violence and the force of law, and the corporation, with its institutionalized irresponsibility, but also such internalized forms as patriarchy, racism, homophobia. Beyond that, anarchism is the attempt to look even into those parts of our everyday lives we accept as givens, as parts of the universe, to see how they, too, dominate us or facilitate our domination of others. ---::--- But has a condition ever existed in which relations have not been based on domination? ---::--- That was the human condition for at least 99 percent of our existence as a species, from before the emergence of Homo sapiens, at least a couple of million years ago, until perhaps only 10,000 years ago, with the emergence of first agriculture and then civilization. Since that time we have worked very hard to convince ourselves that no such condition ever existed, because if no such condition ever existed, it's futile to work toward it now. We may as well then accept the repression and subjugation that define our way of living as necessary antidotes to "evil human nature." After all, according to this line of thought, our pre-civilized existence of deprivation, brutality, and ignorance made authority a benevolent gift that rescued us from savagery. Think about the images that come to mind when you mention the labels "cave man" or "Neanderthal." Those images are implanted and then invoked to remind us where we would be without religion, government, and toil, and are probably the biggest ideological justifications for the whole van of civilization, armies, religion, law, the state. The problem with those images, of course, is that they are entirely wrong. There has been a potent revolution in the fields of anthropology and archaeology over the past 20 years, and increasingly people are coming to understand that life before agriculture and domestication, in which by domesticating others we domesticated ourselves, was in fact largely one of leisure, intimacy with nature, sensual wisdom, sexual equality, and health. ---::--- How do we know this? ---::--- In part through observing modern foraging peoples, what few we've not yet eliminated, and watching their egalitarian ways disappear under the pressures of habitat destruction and oftentimes direct coercion or murder. Also, at the other end of the time scale, through interpreting archaeological digs. An example of this has to do with the sharing that is now understood to be a keynote trait of non-domesticated people. If you were to study hearth sites of ancient peoples, and to find that one fire site has the remains of all the goodies, while other sites have very few, then that site would probably be the chief's. But if time after time you see that all the sites have about the same amount of stuff, what begins to emerge is a picture of a people whose way of life is based on sharing. And that's what is consistently found in preneolithic sites. A third way of knowing is based on the accounts of early European explorers, who again and again spoke of the generosity and gentleness of the peoples they encountered. This is true all across the globe. ---::--- How do you respond to people who say this is all just nutty Rousseauvian noble savage nonsense? ---::--- I respectfully suggest they read more within the field. This isn't anarchist theory. It's mainstream anthropology and archaeology. There are disagreements about some of the details, but not about the general structure. ---::--- If things were so great before, why did agriculture begin? ---::--- That's a very difficult question, because for so many hundreds of thousands of years there was very little change. That's long been a source of frustration to scholars in anthropology and archaeology: How could there have been almost zero change for hundreds of thousands of years, the whole lower and middle Paleolithic Eraand then suddenly at a certain point in the upper Paleolithic there's this explosion, seemingly out of nowhere? You suddenly have art, and on the heels of that, agriculture. I think it was stable because it worked, and I think it changed finally because for many millennia there was a kind of slow slippage into division of labor. This happened so slowly, almost imperceptibly, that people didn't see what was happening, or what they were in danger of losing. The alienation brought about by division of labor, alienation from each other, from the natural world, from their bodies, then reached some sort of critical mass, giving rise to its apotheosis in what we've come to know as civilization. As to how civilization itself took hold, I think Freud nailed that one when he said that "civilization is something which was imposed on a resisting majority by a minority which understood how to obtain possession of the means of power and coercion." That's what we see happening today, and there's no reason to believe it was any different in the first place. ---::--- What's wrong with division of labor? ---::--- If your primary goal is mass production, nothing at all. It's central to our way of life. Each person performs as a tiny cog in this big machine. If, on the other hand, your primary goal is relative wholeness, egalitarianism, autonomy, or an intact world, there's quite a lot wrong with it. I think that at base a person is not complete or free insofar as that person's life and the whole surrounding setup depend on his or her being just some aspect of a process, some fraction of it. A divided life mirrors the basic divisions in society and it all starts there. Hierarchy and alienation start there, for example. I don't think anyone would deny the effective control that specialists and experts have in the contemporary world. And I don't think anyone would argue that control isn't increasing with ever-greater acceleration. ---::--- But humans are social animals. Isn't it necessary for us to rely on each other? ---::--- It's important to understand the difference between the interdependence of a functioning community and a form of dependence that comes from relying on others who have specialized skills you don't have. They now have power over you. Whether they are "benevolent" in using it is really beside the point. In addition to direct control by those who have specialized skills, there is a lot of mystification of those skills. Part of the ideology of modern society is that without it, you'd be completely lost, you wouldn't know how to do the simplest thing. Well, humans have been feeding themselves for the past couple of million years, and doing it a lot more successfully and efficiently than we do now. The global food system is insane. It's amazingly inhumane and inefficient. We waste the world with pesticides, herbicides, the effects of fossil fuels to transport and store foods, and so on, and literally millions of people go their entire lives without ever having enough to eat. But few things are simpler than growing or gathering your own food. ---::--- You've said that we've also come to be dominated by time itself. ---::--- Time is an invention, a cultural artifact, a formation of culture. It has no existence outside culture. And it's a pretty exact measure of alienation. ---::--- How so? ---::--- Everything in our lives is measured and ruled by time, even dreams, as we force them to conform to a workaday world of alarm clocks and schedules. It's really amazing when you think that it wasn't that long ago that time wasn't so disembodied, so abstract. But wait a second. Isn't the tick, tick, tick of a clock about as tangible as you can get? I really like what anthropologist Lucien Levy-Bruhl wrote about this: "Our idea of time seems to be a natural attribute of the human mind. But that is a delusion. Such an idea scarcely exists where primitive mentality is concerned." ---::--- Which means? ---::--- Most simply, that they live in the present, as we all do when we're having fun. It has been said that the Mbuti of southern Africa believe that "by a correct fulfillment of the present, the past and the future will take care of themselves." ---::--- What a concept! ---::--- Primitive peoples generally have no interest in birthdays or measuring their ages. As for the future, they have little desire to control what does not yet exist, just as they have little desire to control nature. That moment-by-moment joining with the flux and flow of the natural world, of course, doesn't preclude an awareness of the seasons, but this in no way constitutes an alienated time consciousness that robs them of the present. What I'm talking about is hard for us to wrap our minds around because the notion of time has been so deeply inculcated that it's sometimes hard to imagine it not existing. ---::--- You're not talking about just not measuring seconds . . . ---::--- I'm talking about time not existing. Time, as an abstract continuing "thread" that unravels in an endless progression that links all events together while remaining independent of them. That doesn't exist. Sequence exists. Rhythm exists. But not time. Part of this has to do with the notion of mass production and division of labor. Tick, tick, tick, as you said. Identical seconds. Identical people. Identical chores repeated endlessly. Well, no two occurrences are identical, and if you are living in a stream of inner and outer experience that constantly brings clusters of new events, each moment is quantitatively and qualitatively different from the moment before. The notion of time simply disappears. ---::--- I'm still confused. ---::--- You might try this: If events are always novel, then not only would routine be impossible, but the notion of time would be meaningless. ---::--- And the opposite would be true as well. ---::--- Exactly. Only with the imposition of time can we begin to impose routine. The 14th century saw the first public clocks, and also the division of hours into minutes and minutes into seconds. The increments of time were now as fully interchangeable as the standardized parts and work processes necessary for capitalism. At every step of the way this subservience to time has been met with resistance. For example, in early fighting in France's July Revolution of 1830, all across Paris people began to spontaneously shoot at public clocks. In the 1960s, many people, including me, quit wearing watches. For a while in my 20s, I asked visitors to take off their watches as they entered my home. Even today children must be broken of their resistance to time. This was one of the primary reasons for the imposition of this country's mandatory school system on a largely unwilling public. School teaches you to be at a certain place at a certain time, and prepares you for life in a factory. It calibrates you to the system. French situationist Raoul Vaneigem has a wonderful quote about this: "The child's days escape adult time; their time is swollen by subjectivity, passion, dreams haunted by reality. Outside, the educators look on, waiting, watch in hand, till the child joins and fits the cycle of the hours." Time is important not only sociologically and ecologically, but also personally. If I can share another quote, it would be [Austrian philosopher Ludwig] Wittgenstein's "Only a man who lives not in time but in the present is happy." Just last year I came across an account by the 18th-century explorer Samual Hearne, the first white man to explore northern Canada. He described Indian children playing with wolf pups. The children would paint the pups' faces with vermilion or red ochre, and when they were done playing with them return them unhurt to the den. Neither the pups nor the pups' parents seemed to mind at all. Now we gun them down from airplanes. That's progress for you. ---::--- More broadly, what has progress meant in practice? ---::--- Progress has meant the looming specter of the complete dehumanization of the individual and the catastrophe of ecological collapse. I think there are fewer people who believe in progress now than ever, but probably there are still many who perceive it as inevitable. We're certainly conditioned on all sides to accept that, and we're held hostage to it. ---::--- If fewer people believe in progress, what has replaced it? ---::--- Inertia. This is it. Deal with it, or else get screwed. You don't hear so much now about the American Dream, or the glorious new tomorrow. Now it's a global race for the bottom as transnational corporations compete to see which can most exploit workers, most degrade the environment. That competition thing works on the personal level, too. If you don't plug into computers you won't get a job. That's progress. ---::--- Where does that leave us? ---::--- I'm optimistic, because never before has our whole lifestyle been revealed as much for what it is. ---::--- Now that we've seen it, what is there to do? ---::--- The first thing is to question it, to make certain that part of the discourse of society, if not all of it, deals with these life-and-death issues, instead of the avoidance and denial that characterizes so much of what passes for discourse. And I believe, once again, that this denial can't hold up much longer, because there's such a jarring contrast between reality and what is said about reality. Especially in this country, I would say. Maybe, and this is the nightmare scenario, that contrast can go on forever. The Unabomber Manifesto posits that possibility: People could just be so conditioned that they won't even notice there's no natural world anymore, no freedom, no fulfillment, no nothing. You just take your Prozac every day, limp along dyspeptic and neurotic, and figure that's all there is. ---::--- So, how do you see the future playing out? ---::--- I was talking to a friend about it this afternoon, and he was giving reasons why there isn't going to be a good outcome, or even an opening toward a good outcome. I couldn't say he was wrong, but as I mentioned before, I'm kind of betting that the demonstrable impoverishment on every level goads people into the kind of questioning we're talking about, and toward mustering the will to confront it. Perhaps now we're in the dark before the dawn. I remember when [social critic Herbert] Marcuse wrote One-Dimensional Man. It came out in about 1964, and he was saying that humans are so manipulated in modern consumerist society that there really can be no hope for change. And then within a couple of years things got pretty interesting, people woke up from the '50s to create the movements of the '60s. I believe had he written this book a little later it would have been much more positive. Perhaps the '60s helped shape my own optimism. I was at the almost perfect age. I was at Stanford in college, and then I moved to Haight Ashbury, and Berkeley was across the Bay. I got into some interesting situations just because I was in the right place at the right time. I agree with people who say the '60s didn't even scratch the surface, but you have to admit there was something going on. And you could get a glimpse, a sense of possibility, a sense of hope, that if things kept going, there was a chance of us finding a different path. We didn't, but I still carry that possibility, and it warms me, even though 30 years later things are frozen, and awful. Sometimes I'm amazed that younger people can do anything, or have any hope, because I'm not sure they've seen any challenge that has succeeded even partially. ---::--- What do you want from your work and your life? ---::--- I would like to see a face-to-face community, an intimate existence, where relations are not based on power, and thus not on division of labor. I would like to see an intact natural world and I would like to live as a fully human being. I would like that for the people around me. ---::--- Once again, how do we get there from here? ---::--- I have no idea. It might be something as simple as everybody just staying home from work. Fuck it. Withdraw your energy. The system can't last with-out us. It needs to suck our energy. If people stop responding to the system, it's doomed. ---::--- But if we stop responding, if we really decide not to go along, aren't we doomed also, because the system will destroy us? ---::--- Right. It's not so easy. If it were that simple, people would just stay home, because it's such a drag to go through these miserable routines in an increasingly empty culture. But a question we always have to keep in mind is this: We're doomed, but in which way are we more doomed? I recently gave a talk at the University of Oregon in which I spoke on a lot of these topics. Near the end I said, "I know that a call for this sort of overturning of the system sounds ridiculous, but the only thing I can think of that's even more ridiculous is to just let the system keep on going." ---::--- How do we know that all the alienation we see around us will lead to breakdown and rejuvenation? Why can't it just lead to more alienation?. ---::--- It's a question of how reversible the damage is. Sometimes, and I don't believe this is too much avoidance or denial, sometimes in history things are reversed in a moment when the physical world intrudes enough to knock us off balance. [Raoul] Vaneigem refers to a lovely little thing that gives me tremendous hope. The dogs in Pavlov's laboratory had been conditioned for hundreds of hours. They were fully trained and domesticated. Then there was a flood in the basement. And you know what happened? They forgot all of their training in the blink of an eye. We should be able to do at least that well. I am staking my life on it, and it is toward this end that I devote my work. Derrick Jensen is the author of A Language Older than Words (Context Books, 2000). From Alternative Press Review (Spring 2000). Subscriptions: $16/yr. (4 issues) from Box 4710, Arlington, VA 22204-4710. This interview originally appeared in The Sun, subscriptions: $34/yr. (12 issues) from Box 3000, Denville, NJ 07834. HOME ---------------------------  The Iron Fist Behind the Invisible Hand Corporate Capitalism as a State-Guaranteed System of Privilege INTRODUCTION Manorialism, commonly, is recognized to have been founded by robbery and usurpation; a ruling class established itself by force, and then compelled the peasantry to work for the profit of their lords. But no system of exploitation,including capitalism, has ever been created by the action of a free market. Capitalism was founded on an act of robbery as massive as feudalism. It has been sustained to the present by continual state intervention to protect its system of privilege, without which its survival is unimaginable. The current structure of capital ownership and organization of production in our so-called "market" economy, reflects coercive state intervention prior to and extraneous to the market. From the outset of the industrial revolution, what is nostalgically called "laissez-faire" was in fact a system of continuing state intervention to subsidize accumulation, guarantee privilege, and maintain work discipline. Most such intervention is tacitly assumed by mainstream right-libertarians as part of a "market" system. Although a few intellectually honest ones like Rothbard and Hess were willing to look into the role of coercion in creating capitalism, the Chicago school and Randoids take existing property relations and class power as a given. Their ideal "free market" is merely the current system minus the progressive regulatory and welfare state--i.e., nineteenth century robber baron capitalism. But genuine markets have a value for the libertarian left, and we shouldn't concede the term to our enemies. In fact, capitalism--a system of power in which ownership and control are divorced from labor--could not survive in a free market. As a mutualist anarchist, I believe that expropriation of surplus value--i.e., capitalism--cannot occur without state coercion to maintain the privilege of usurer, landlord, and capitalist. It was for this reason that the free market mutualist Benjamin Tucker--from whom right-libertarians selectively borrow--regarded himself as a libertarian socialist. It is beyond my ability or purpose here to describe a world where a true market system could have developed without such state intervention. A world in which peasants had held onto their land and property was widely distributed, capital was freely available to laborers through mutual banks, productive technology was freely available in every country without patents, and every people was free to develop locally without colonial robbery, is beyond our imagination. But it would have been a world of decentralized, small-scale production for local use, owned and controlled by those who did the work--as different from our world as day from night, or freedom from slavery. THE SUBSIDY OF HISTORY Accordingly, the single biggest subsidy to modern corporate capitalism is the subsidy of history, by which capital was originally accumulated in a few hands, and labor was deprived of access to the means of production and forced to sell itself on the buyer's terms. The current system of concentrated capital ownership and large-scale corporate organization is the direct beneficiary of that original structure of power and property ownership, which has perpetuated itself over the centuries. For capitalism as we know it to come about, it was essential first of all for labor to be separated from property. Marxians and other radical economists commonly refer to the process as "primitive accumulation." "What the capitalist system demanded was... a degraded and almost servile condition of the mass of the people, the transformation of them into mercenaries, and of their means of labor into capital." That meant expropriating the land, "to which the [peasantry] has the same feudal rights as the lord himself." [Marx, "Chapter 27: The Expropriation," Capital vol. 1] To grasp the enormity of the process, we must understand that the nobility's rights in land under the manorial economy were entirely a feudal legal fiction deriving from conquest. The peasants who cultivated the land of England in 1650 were descendants of those who had occupied it since time immemorial. By any standard of morality, it was their property in every sense of the word. The armies of William the Conqueror, by no right other than force, had compelled these peasant proprietors to pay rent on their own land. J. L. and Barbara Hammond treated the sixteenth century village and open field system as a survival of the free peasant society of Anglo-Saxon times, with landlordism superimposed on it. The gentry saw surviving peasant rights as a hindrance to progress and efficient farming; a revolution in their own power was a way of breaking peasant resistance. Hence the agricultural community was "taken to pieces ... and reconstructed in the manner in which a dictator reconstructs a free government." [The Village Labourer 27-28, 35-36]. When the Tudors gave expropriated monastic lands to the nobility, the latter "drove out, en masse, the hereditary sub tenants and threw their holdings into one." [Marx, "The Expropriation"]. This stolen land, about a fifth of the arable land of England, was the first large-scale expropriation of the peasantry. Another major theft of peasant land was the "reform" of land law by the seventeenth century Restoration Parliament. The aristocracy abolished feudal tenures and converted their own estate in the land, until then "only a feudal title," into "rights of modern private property." In the process, they abolished the tenure rights of copyholders. Copyholders were de jure tenants under feudal law, but once they paid a negligible quit-rent fixed by custom, the land was theirs to sell or bequeath. In substance copyhold tenure was a manorial equivalent of freehold; but since it derived from custom it was enforceable only in the manor courts. Under the "reform," tenants in copyhold became tenants at-will, who could be evicted or charged whatever rent their lord saw fit [Marx, "The Expropriation..."]. Another form of expropriation, which began in late medieval times and increased drastically in the eighteenth century, was the enclosure of commons--in which, again, the peasants communally had as absolute a right of property as any defended by today's "property rights" advocates. Not counting enclosures before 1700, the Hammonds estimated total enclosures in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries at a sixth or a fifth of the arable land in England [Village Labourer 42]. E. J. Hobsbawm and George Rude estimated enclosures between 1750 and 1850 alone as transforming "something like one quarter of the cultivated acreage from open field, common land, meadow or waste into private fields...." [Captain Swing 27]. The ruling classes saw the peasants' right in commons as a source of economic independence from capitalist and landlord, and thus a threat to be destroyed. Enclosure eliminated "a dangerous centre of indiscipline" and compelled workers to sell their labor on the masters' terms. Arthur Young, a Lincolnshire gentleman, described the commons as "a breeding-ground for 'barbarians,' 'nursing up a mischievous race of people'." "[E]very one but an idiot knows," he wrote, "that the lower classes must be kept poor, or they will never be industrious." The Commercial and Agricultural Magazine warned in 1800 that leaving the laborer "possessed of more land than his family can cultivate in the evenings" meant that "the farmer can no longer depend on him for constant work." [Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class, 219-220, 358]. Sir Richard Price commented on the conversion of self-sufficient proprietors into "a body of men who earn their subsistence by working for others." There would, "perhaps, be more labour, because there will be more compulsion to it." [Marx, "The Expropriation...."]. Marx cited parliamentary "acts of enclosure" as evidence that the commons, far from being the "private property of the great landlords who have taken the place of the feudal lords," actually required "a parliamentary coup d'etat... for its transformation into private property." ["The Expropriation...."]. The process of primitive accumulation, in all its brutality, was summed up by the same author: these new freedmen [i.e. former serfs] became sellers of themselves only after they had been robbed of all their own means of production, and of all the guarantees of existence afforded by the old feudal arrangements. And the history of this, their expropriation, is written in the annals of mankind in letters of blood and fire ["Chapter 26: The Secret of Primitive Accumulation," Capital Vol. 1]. Even then, the working class was not sufficiently powerless. The state had to regulate the movement of labor, serve as a labor exchange on behalf of capitalists, and maintain order. The system of parish regulation of the movement of people, under the poor laws and vagrancy laws, resembled the internal passport system of South Africa, or the reconstruction era Black Codes. It "had the same effect on the English agricultural labourer," Marx wrote, "as the edict of the Tartar Boris Godunov on the Russian peasantry." ["The Expropriation..."] Adam Smith ventured that there was "scarce a poor man in England of forty years of age... who has not in some part of his life felt himself most cruelly oppressed by this ill-contrived law of settlements [Wealth of Nations 61]. The state maintained work discipline by keeping laborers from voting with their feet. It was hard to persuade parish authorities to grant a man a certificate entitling him to move to another parish to seek work. Workers were forced to stay put and bargain for work in a buyer's market [Smith 60-61]. At first glance this would seem to be inconvenient for parishes with a labor shortage [Smith 60]. Factories were built at sources of water power, generally removed from centers of population. Thousands of workers were needed to be imported from far away. But the state saved the day by setting itself up as a middleman in providing labor-poor parishes with cheap surplus labor from elsewhere, depriving workers of the ability to bargain for better terms. A considerable trade arose in child laborers who were in no position to bargain in any case [the Hammonds, The Town Labourer 1:146]. Relief "was seldom bestowed without the parish claiming the exclusive right of disposing, at their pleasure, of all the children of the person receiving relief," in the words of the Committee on Parish Apprentices, 1815 [the Hammonds, Town Labourer 1:44, 147]. Even when Poor Law commissioners encouraged migration to labor-poor parishes, they discouraged adult men and "Preference was given to 'widows with large families of children or handicraftsmen... with large families.'" In addition, the availability of cheap labor from the poor-law commissioners was deliberately used to drive down wages; farmers would discharge their own day-laborers and instead apply to the overseer for help [Thompson 223-224]. Although the Combination Laws theoretically applied to masters as well as workmen, in practice they were not enforced against the latter [Smith 61; the Hammonds, Town Labourer 1:74]. "A Journeyman Cotton Spinner"--a pamphleteer quoted by E. P. Thompson [pp. 199-202]--described "an abominable combination existing amongst the masters," in which workers who had left their masters because of disagreement over wages were effectively blacklisted. The Combination Laws required suspects to answer interrogations on oath, empowered magistrates to give summary judgment, and allowed summary forfeiture of funds accumulated to aid the families of strikers [Town Labourer 123-127]. And the laws setting maximum rates of pay amounted to a state enforced system of combination for the masters. As Adam Smith put it, "[w]henever the legislature attempts to regulate the differences between the masters and their workmen, its counsellors are always the masters." [p. 61]. The working class lifestyle under the factory system, with its new forms of social control, was a radical break with the past. It involved drastic loss of control over their own work. The seventeenth century work calendar was still heavily influenced by medieval custom. Although there were long days in spurts between planting and harvest, intermittent periods of light work and the proliferation of saints days combined to reduce average work-time well below our own. And the pace of work was generally determined by the sun or the biological rhythms of the laborer, who got up after a decent night's sleep, and sat down to rest when he felt like it. The cottager who had access to common land, even when he wanted extra income from wage labor, could take work on a casual basis and then return to working for himself. This was an unacceptable degree of independence from a capitalist standpoint. In the modern world most people have to adapt themselves to some kind of discipline, and to observe other' people's timetables, ...or work under other people's orders, but we have to remember that the population that was flung into the brutal rhythm of the factory had earned its living in relative freedom, and that the discipline of the early factory was particularly savage.... No economist of the day, in estimating the gains or losses of factory employment, ever allowed for the strain and violence that a man suffered in his feelings when he passed from a life in which he could smoke or eat, or dig or sleep as he pleased, to one in which somebody turned the key on him, and for fourteen hours he had not even the right to whistle. It was like entering the airless and laughterless life of a prison [the Hammonds, Town Labourer 1:33-34]. The factory system could not have been imposed on workers without first depriving them of alternatives, and forcibly denying access to any source of economic independence. No unbroken human being, with a sense of freedom or dignity, would have submitted to factory discipline. Stephen Marglin compared the nineteenth century textile factory, staffed by pauper children bought at the workhouse slave market, to Roman brick and pottery factories which were manned by slaves. In Rome, factory production was exceptional in manufactures dominated by freemen. The factory system, throughout history, has been possible only with a work force deprived of any viable alternative. The surviving facts... strongly suggest that whether work was organized along factory lines was in Roman times determined, not by technological considerations, but by the relative power of the two producing classes. Freedmen and citizens had sufficient power to maintain a guild organization. Slaves had no power--and ended up in factories ["What Do Bosses Do?"]. The problem with the old "putting out" system, in which cottage workers produced textiles on a contractual basis, was that it only eliminated worker control of the product. The factory system, by eliminating worker control of the production process, had the advantage of discipline and supervision, with workers organized under an overseer. the origin and success of the factory lay not in technological superiority, but in the substitution of the capitalist's for the worker's control of the work process and the quantity of output, in the change in the workman's choice from one of how much to work and produce, based on his preferences for leisure and goods, to one of whether or not to work at all, which of course is hardly much of a choice. Marglin took Adam Smith's classic example of the division of labor in pin-making, and stood it on its head. The increased efficiency resulted, not from the division of labor as such, but from dividing and sequencing the process into separate tasks in order to reduce set-up time. This could have been accomplished by a single cottage workman separating the various tasks and then performing them sequentially (i.e., drawing out the wire for an entire run of production, then straightening it, then cutting it, etc.). without specialization, the capitalist had no essential role to play in the production process. If each producer could himself integrate the component tasks of pin manufacture into a marketable product, he would soon discover that he had no need to deal with the market for pins through the intermediation of the putter-outer. He could sell directly and appropriate to himself the profit that the capitalist derived from mediating between the producer and the market. This principle is at the center of the history of industrial technology for the last two hundred years. Even given the necessity of factories for some forms of large-scale, capital-intensive manufacturing, there is usually a choice between alternate productive technologies within the factory. Industry has consistently chosen technologies which de-skill workers and shift decision-making upward into the managerial hierarchy. As long ago as 1835, Dr. Andrew Ure (the ideological grandfather of Taylorism and Fordism), argued that the more skilled the workman, "the more self-willed and... the less fit a component of a mechanical system" he became. The solution was to eliminate processes which required "peculiar dexterity and steadiness of hand... from the cunning workman" and replace them by a "mechanism, so self-regulating, that a child may superintend it." [Philosophy of Manufactures, in Thompson 360]. And the principle has been followed throughout the twentieth century. William Lazonick, David Montgomery, David Noble, and Katherine Stone have produced an excellent body of work on this theme. Even though corporate experiments in worker self-management increase morale and productivity, and reduce injuries and absenteeism, beyond the hopes of management, they are usually abandoned out of fear of loss of control. Christopher Lasch, in his foreword to Noble's America by Design, characterized the process of de-skilling in this way: The capitalist, having expropriated the worker's property, gradually expropriated his technical knowledge as well, asserting his own mastery over production.... The expropriation of the worker's technical knowledge had as a logical consequence the growth of modern management, in which technical knowledge came to be concentrated. As the scientific management movement split up production into its component procedures, reducing the worker to an appendage of the machine, a great expansion of technical and supervisory personnel took place in order to oversee the productive process as a whole [pp. xi-xii]. The expropriation of the peasantry and imposition of the factory labor system was not accomplished without resistance; the workers knew exactly what was being done to them and what they had lost. During the 1790s, when rhetoric from the Jacobins and Tom Paine were widespread among the radicalized working class, the rulers of "the cradle of liberty" lived in terror that the country would be swept by revolution. The system of police state controls over the population resembled an alien occupation regime. The Hammonds referred to correspondence between north-country magistrates and the Home Office, in which the law was frankly treated "as an instrument not of justice but of repression," and the working classes "appear[ed]... conspicuously as a helot population [Town Labourer 72]." ... in the light of the Home Office papers, ...none of the personal rights attaching to Englishmen possessed any reality for the working classes. The magistrates and their clerks recognized no limit to their powers over the freedom and the movements of working men. The Vagrancy Laws seemed to supercede the entire charter of an Englishman's liberties. They were used to put into prison any man or woman of the working class who seemed to the magistrate an inconvenient or disturbing character. They offered the easiest and most expeditious way of proceeding against any one who tried to collect money for the families of locked-out workmen, or to disseminate literature that the magistrates thought undesirable [Ibid. 80]. Peel's "bobbies"--professional law enforcement--replaced the posse comitatus system because the latter was inadequate to control a population of increasingly disaffected workmen. In the time of the Luddite and other disturbances, crown officials warned that "to apply the Watch and Ward Act would be to put arms into the hands of the most powerfully disaffected." At the outset of the wars with France, Pitt ended the practice of quartering the army in alehouses, mixed with the general population. Instead, the manufacturing districts were covered with barracks, as "purely a matter of police." The manufacturing areas "came to resemble a country under military occupation." [Ibid. 91-92]. Pitt's police state was supplemented by quasi-private vigilantism, in the time-honored tradition of blackshirts and death squads ever since. For example the "Association for the Protection of Property against Republicans and Levellers"--an anti-Jacobin association of gentry and mill-owners conducted house-to-house searches and organized Guy Fawkes-style effigy burnings against Paine; "Church and King" mobs terrorised suspected radicals [Chapter Five, "Planting the Liberty Tree," in Thompson]. Thompson characterized this system of control as "political and social apartheid," and argued that "the revolution which did not happen in England was fully as devastating" as the one that did happen in France [pp. 197-198]. Finally, the state aided the growth of manufactures through mercantilism. Modern exponents of the "free market" generally treat mercantilism as a "misguided" attempt to promote some unified national interest, adopted out of sincere ignorance of economic principles. In fact, the architects of mercantilism knew exactly what they were doing. Mercantilism was extremetly efficient for its real purpose: making wealthy manufacturing interests rich at the expense of everyone else. Adam Smith consistently attacked mercantilism, not as a product of economic error, but as a quite intelligent attempt by powerful interests to enrich themselves through the coercive power of the state. British manufacturing was created by state intervention to shut out foreign goods, give British shipping a monopoly of foreign commerce, and stamp out foreign competition by force. As an example of the latter, British authorities in India destroyed the Bengalese textile industry, makers of the highest quality fabric in the world. Although they had not adopted steam-driven methods of production, there is a real possibility that they would have done so, had India remained politically and economically independent. The once  prosperous territory of Bengal is today occupied by Bangladesh and the Calcutta area [Chomsky, World Orders Old and New]. The American, German and Japanese industrial systems were created by the same mercantilist policies, with massive tariffs on industrial goods. "Free trade" was adopted by safely established industrial powers, who used "laissez-faire" as an ideological weapon to prevent potential rivals from following the same path of industrialization. Capitalism has never been established by means of the free market, or even by the primary action of the bourgeoisie. It has always been established by a revolution from above, imposed by a pre-capitalist ruling class. In England, it was the landed aristocracy; in France, Napoleon II's bureaucracy; in Germany, the Junkers; in Japan, the Meiji. In America, the closest approach to a "natural" bourgeois evolution, industrialization was carried out by a mercantilist aristocracy of Federalist shipping magnates and landlords [Harrington, Twilight of Capitalism]. Romantic medievalists like Chesterton and Belloc described the process in the high middle ages by which serfdom had gradually withered away, and the peasants had transformed themselves into de facto freeholders who paid a nominal quit-rent. The feudal class system was disintegrating and being replaced by a much more libertarian and less exploitative one. Immanuel Wallerstein argued that the likely outcome would have been "a system of relatively equal small-scale producers, further flattening out the aristocracies and decentralizing the political structures." By 1650 the trend had been reversed, and there was "a reasonably high level of continuity between the families that had been high strata" in 1450 and 1650. Capitalism, far from being "the overthrow of a backward aristocracy by a progressive bourgeoisie," "was brought into existence by a landed aristocracy which transformed itself into a bourgeoisie because the old system was disintegrating." [Historical Capitalism 41-42, 105-106]. This is echoed in part by Arno Mayer [The Persistence of the Old Regime], who argued for continuity between the landed aristocracy and the capitalist ruling class. The process by which the high medieval civilization of peasant proprietors, craft guilds and free cities was overthrown, was vividly described by Kropotkin [Mutual Aid 225]. Before the invention of gunpowder, the free cities repelled royal armies more often than not, and won their independence from feudal dues. And these cities often made common cause with peasants in their struggles to control the land. The absolutist state and the capitalist revolution it imposed became possible only when artillery could reduce fortified cities with a high degree of efficiency, and the king could make war on his own people. And in the aftermath of this conquest, the Europe of William Morris was left devastated, depopulated, and miserable. Peter Tosh had a song called "Four Hundred Years." Although the white working class has suffered nothing like the brutality of black slavery, there has nevertheless been a "four hundred years" of oppression for all of us under the system of state capitalism established in the seventeenth century. Ever since the birth of the first states six thousand years ago, political coercion has allowed one ruling class or another to live off other people's labor. But since the seventeenth century the system of power has become increasingly conscious, unified, and global in scale. The current system of transnational state capitalism, without rival since the collapse of the soviet bureaucratic class system, is a direct outgrowth of the seizure of power "four hundred years" ago. Orwell had it backwards. The past is a "boot smashing a human face." Whether the future is more of the same depends on what we do now. IDEOLOGICAL HEGEMONY Ideological hegemony is the process by which the exploited come to view the world through a conceptual framework provided to them by their exploiters. It acts first of all to conceal class conflict and exploitation behind a smokescreen of "national unity" or "general welfare." Those who point to the role of the state as guarantor of class privilege are denounced, in theatrical tones of moral outrage, for "class warfare." If anyone is so unpardonably "extremist" as to describe the massive foundation of state intervention and subsidy upon which corporate capitalism rests, he is sure to be rebuked for "Marxist class war rhetoric" (Bob Novak), or "robber baron rhetoric" (Treasury Secretary O'Neill). The ideological framework of "national unity" is taken to the point that "this country," "society," or "our system of government" is set up as an object of gratitude for "the freedoms we enjoy." Only the most unpatriotic notice that our liberties, far from being granted to us by a generous and benevolent government, were won by past resistance against the state. Charters and bills of rights were not grants from the state, but were forced on the state from below. If our liberties belong to us by right of birth, as a moral fact of nature, it follows that we owe the state no debt of gratitude for not violating them, any more than we owe our thanks to another individual for refraining from robbing or killing us. Simple logic implies that, rather than being grateful to "the freest country on earth," we should raise hell every time it infringes on our liberty. After all, that's how we got our liberty in the first place. When another individual puts his hand in our pocket to enrich himself at our expense, our natural instinct is to resist. But thanks to patriotism, the ruling class is able to transform their hand in our pocket into "society" or "our country." The religion of national unity is most pathological in regard to "defense" and foreign policy. The manufacture of foreign crisis and war hysteria has been used since the beginning of history to suppress threats to class rule. The crooked politicians may work for the "special interests" domestically, but when those same politicians engineer a war it is a matter of loyalty to "our country." The Chairman of the JCS, in discussing the "defense" posture, will refer with a straight face to "national security threats" faced by the U. S., and describe the armed forces of some official enemy like China as far beyond "legitimate defensive requirements." The quickest way to put oneself beyond the pale is to point out that all these "threats" involve what some country on the other side of the world is doing within a hundred miles of its own border. Another offense against fatherland worship is to judge the actions of the United States, in its global operations to keep the Third World safe for ITT and United Fruit Company, by the same standard of "legitimate defensive requirements" applied to China. In the official ideology, America's wars by definition are always fought "for our liberties," to "defend our country," or in the smarmy world of Maudlin Albright, a selfless desire to promote "peace and freedom" in the world. To suggest that the -real defenders of our liberties took up arms against the government, or that the national security state is a greater threat to our liberties than any foreign enemy we have ever faced, is unforgiveable. Above all, good Americans don't notice all those military advisers teaching death squads how to hack off the faces of union organizers and leave them in ditches, or to properly use pliers on a dissident's testicles. War crimes are only committed by defeated powers. (But as the Nazis learned in 1945, unemployed war criminals can usually find work with the new hegemonic power.) After a century and a half of patriotic indoctrination by the statist education system, Americans have thoroughly internalized the "little red schoolhouse" version of American history. This authoritarian piety is so diametrically opposed to the beliefs of those who took up arms in the Revolution that the citizenry has largely forgotten what it means to be American. In fact, the authentic principles of Americanism have been stood on their head. Two hundred years ago, standing armies were feared as a threat to liberty and a breeding ground for authoritarian personalities; conscription was associated with the tyranny of Cromwell; wage labor was thought to be inconsistent with the independent spirit of a free citizen. Today, two hundred years later, Americans have been so Prussianized by sixty years of a garrison state and "wars" against one internal enemy or another, that they are conditioned to genuflect at the sight of a uniform. Draft dodgers are equivalent to child molesters. Most people work for some centralized corporate or state bureaucracy, where as a matter of course they are expected to obey orders from superiors, work under constant surveillance, and even piss in a cup on command. During wartime, it becomes unpatriotic to criticize or question the government and dissent is identified with disloyalty. Absolute faith and obedience to authority is a litmus test of "Americanism." Foreign war is a very useful tool for manipulating the popular mind and keeping the domestic population under control. War is the easiest way to shift vast, unaccountable new powers to the State. People are most uncritically obedient at the very time they need to be most vigilant. The greatest irony is that, in a country founded by revolution, "Americanism" is defined as respecting authority and resisting "subversion." The Revolution was a revolution indeed, in which the domestic political institutions of the colonies were forcibly overthrown. It was, in many times and places, a civil war between classes. But as Voltairine de Cleyre wrote a century ago in "Anarchism and American Traditions," the version in the history books is a patriotic conflict between our "Founding Fathers" and a foreign enemy. Those who can still quote Jefferson on the right of revolution are relegated to the "extremist" fringe, to be rounded up in the next war hysteria or red scare. This ideological construct of a unified "national interest" includes the fiction of a "neutral" set of laws, which conceals the exploitative nature of the system of power we live under. Under corporate capitalism the relationships of exploitation are mediated by the political system to an extent unknown under previous class systems. Under chattel slavery and feudalism, exploitation was concrete and personalized in the producer's relationship with his master. The slave and peasant knew exactly who was screwing them. The modern worker, on the other hand, feels a painful pounding sensation, but has only a vague idea where it is coming from. Besides its function of masking the ruling class interests behind a facade of "general welfare," ideological hegemony also manufactures divisions between the ruled. Through campaigns against "welfare cheats" and "deadbeats," and demands to "get tough on crime," the ruling class is able to channel the hostility of the middle and working classes against the underclass. Especially nauseating is the phenomenon of "billionaire populism." Calls for bankruptcy and welfare "reform," and for wars on crime, are dressed up in pseudo-populist rhetoric, identifying the underclass as the chief parasites who feed off the producers' labor. In their "aw, shucks" symbolic universe, you'd think America was a Readers Digest/Norman Rockwell world with nothing but hard-working small businessmen and family farmers, on the one hand, and welfare cheats, deadbeats, union bosses and bureaucrats on the other. From listening to them, you'd never suspect that multi-billionaires or global corporations even exist, let alone that they might stand to benefit from such "populism." In the real world, corporations are the biggest clients of the welfare state, the biggest bankruptcies are corporate chapter eleven filings, and the worst crimes are committed in corporate suites rather than on the streets. The real robbery of the average producer consists of profit and usury, extorted only with the help of the state--the real "big government" on our backs. But as long as the working class and the underclass are busy fighting each other, they won't notice who is really robbing them. "The oppressor's most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." THE MONEY MONOPOLY In every system of class exploitation, a ruling class controls access to the means of production in order to extract tribute from labor. Under capitalism, access to capital is restricted by the money monopoly, by which the state or banking system is given a monopoly on the medium of exchange, and alternative media of exchange are prohibited. The money monopoly also includes entry barriers against cooperative banks and prohibitions against private issuance of banknotes, by which access to finance capital is restricted and interest rates are kept artificially high. Just in passing, we might mention the monumental hypocricy of the regulation of credit unions in the United States, which require that their membership must share some common bond, like working for the same employer. Imagine the outrage if IGA and Safeway lobbied for a national law to prohibit grocery co-ops unless the members all worked for the same company! One of the most notable supporters of these laws is Phil Gramm, that renowned "free marketeer" and economics professor--and foremost among the banking industry's whores in Congress. Individualist and mutualist anarchists like William Greene [Mutual Banking], Benjamin Tucker [Instead of a Book), and J. B. Robertson [The Economics of Liberty] viewed the money monopoly as central to the capitalist system of privilege. In a genuinely free banking market, any group of individuals could form a mutual bank and issue monetized credit in the form of bank notes against any form of collateral they chose, with acceptance of these notes as tender being a condition of membership. Greene speculated that a mutual bank might choose to honor not only marketable property as collateral, but the "pledging ... [of] future production." [p. 73]. The result would be a reduction in interest rates, through competition, to the cost of administrative overhead--less than one percent. Abundant cheap credit would drastically alter the balance of power between capital and labor, and returns on labor would replace returns on capital as the dominant form of economic activity. According to Robinson, Upon the monopoly rate of interest for money that is... forced upon us by law, is based the whole system of interest upon capital, that permeates all modern business. With free banking, interest upon bonds of all kinds and dividends upon stock would fall to the minimum bank interest charge. The so-called rent of houses... would fall to the cost of maintenance and replacement. All that part of the product which is now taken by interest would belong to the producer. Capital, however... defined, would practically cease to exist as an income producing fund, for the simple reason that if money, wherewith to buy capital, could be obtained for one-half of one per cent, capital itself could command no higher price [pp. 80-81]. And the result would be a drastically improved bargaining position for tenants and workers against the owners of land and capital. According to Gary Elkin, Tucker's free market anarchism carried certain inherent libertarian socialist implications: It's important to note that because of Tucker's proposal to increase the bargaining power of workers through access to mutual credit, his so-called Individualist anarchism is not only compatible with workers' control but would in fact promote it. For if access to mutual credit were to increase the bargaining power of workers to the extent that Tucker claimed it would, they would then be able to (1) demand and get workplace democracy, and (2) pool their credit buy and own companies collectively. The banking monopoly was not only the "lynchpin of capitalism," but also the seed from which the landlord's monopoly grew. Without a money monopoly, the price of land would be much lower, and promote "the process of reducing rents toward zero." [Gary Elkin, "Benjamin Tucker--Anarchist or Capitalist"]. Given the worker's improved bargaining position, "capitalists' ability to extract surplus value from the labor of employees would be eliminated or at least greatly reduced." [Gary Elkin, Mutual Banking]. As compensation for labor approached value-added, returns on capital were driven down by market competition, and the value of corporate stock consequently plummeted, the worker would become a de facto co-owner of his workplace, even if the company remained nominally stockholder-owned. Near-zero interest rates would increase the independence of labor in all sorts of interesting ways. For one thing, anyone with a twenty-year mortgage at 8% now could, in the absence of usury, pay it off in ten years. Most people in their 30S would have their houses paid off. Between this and the nonexistence of high-interest credit card debt, two of the greatest sources of anxiety to keep one's job at any cost would disappear. In addition, many workers would have large savings ("go to hell money"). Significant numbers would retire in their forties or fifties, cut back to part-time, or start businesses; with jobs competing for workers, the effect on bargaining power would be revolutionary. Our hypothetical world of free credit in many ways resembles the situation in colonial societies. E. G. Wakefield, in View of the Art of Colonization, wrote of the unacceptably weak position of the employing class when self-employment with one's own property was readily available. In colonies, there was a tight labor market and poor labor discipline because of the abundance of cheap land. "Not only does the degree of exploitation of the wage-labourer remain indecently low. The wage-labourer loses into the bargain, along with the relation of dependence, also the sentiment of dependence on the abstemious capitalist." Where land is cheap and all men are free, where every one who so pleases can obtain a piece of land for himself, not only is labour very dear, as respects the labourers' share of the product, but the difficulty is to obtain combined labour at any price. This environment also prevented the concentration of wealth, as Wakefield commented: "Few, even of those whose lives are unusually long, can accumulate great masses of wealth." As a result, colonial elites petitioned the mother country for imported labor and for restrictions on land for settlement. According to Wakefield's disciple Herman Merivale, there was an "urgent desire for cheaper and more subservient labourers--for a class to whom the capitalist might dictate terms, instead of being dictated to by them." [Maurice Dobb, Studies in the Development of Capitalism; Marx, Chapter 33: "The New Theory of Colonialism," in Capital Vol. 1]. In addition to all this, central banking systems perform additional service to the interests of capital. First of all, the chief requirement of finance capitalists is to avoid inflation, in order to allow predictable returns on investment. This is ostensibly the primary purpose of the Federal Reserve and other central banks. But at least as important is the role of the central banks in promoting what they consider a "natural" level of unemployment--until the 1990s around six per cent. The reason is that when unemployment goes much below this figure, labor becomes increasingly uppity and presses for better pay and working conditions and more autonomy. Workers are willing to take a lot less crap off the boss when they know they can find a job at least as good the next day. On the other hand, nothing is so effective in "getting your mind right" as the knowledge that people are lined up to take your job. The Clinton "prosperity" is a seeming exception to this principle. As unemployment threatened to drop below the four per cent mark, some members of the Federal Reserve agitated to raise interest rates and take off the "inflationary" pressure by throwing a few million workers on the street. But as Greenspan [Testimony of Chairman Alan Greenspan] testified before the Senate Banking Committee, the situation was unique. Given the degree of job insecurity in the high-tech economy, there was "[a]typical restraint on compensation increases." In 1996, even with a tight labor market, 46% of workers at large firms were fearful of layoffs--compared to only 25% in 1991, when unemplojment was much higher. The reluctance of workers to leave their jobs to seek other employment as the labor market tightened has provided further evidence of such concern, as has the tendency toward longer labor union contracts. For many decades, contracts rarely exceeded three years. Today, one can point to five and six-year contracts--contracts that are commonly characterized by an emphasis on job security and that involve only modest wage increases. The low level of work stoppages of recent years also attests to concern about job security. Thus the willingness of workers in recent years to trade off smaller increases in wages for greater job security seems to be reasonably well documented. For the bosses, the high-tech economy is the next best thing to high unemployment for keeping our minds right. "Fighting inflation" translates operationally to increasing job insecurity and making workers less likely to strike or to look for new jobs. PATENTS The patent privilege has been used on a massive scale to promote concentration of capital, erect entry barriers, and maintain a monopoly of advanced technology in the hands of western corporations. It is hard even to imagine how much more decentralized the economy would be without it. Right-libertarian Murray Rothbard considered patents a fundamental violation of free market principles. The man who has not bought a machine and who arrives at the same invention independently, will, on the free market, be perfectly able to use and sell his invention. Patents prevent a man from using his invention even though all the property is his and he has not stolen the invention, either explicitly or implicitly, from the first inventor. Patents, therefore, are grants of exclusive monopoly privilege by the State and are invasions of property rights on the market. [Man, Economy, and State vol. 2 p. 655] Patents make an astronomical price difference. Until the early 1970s, for example, Italy did not recognize drug patents. As a result, Roche Products charged the British national health a price over 40 times greater for patented components of Librium and Valium than charged by competitors in Italy [Raghavan, Recolonization p. 124]. Patents suppress innovation as much as they encourage it. Chakravarthi Raghavan pointed out that research scientists who actually do the work of inventing are required to sign over patent rights as a condition of employment, while patents and industrial security programs prevent sharing of information, and suppress competition in further improvement of patented inventions. [op. cit. p. 118] Rothbard likewise argued that patents eliminate "the competitive spur for further research" because incremental innovation based on others' patents is prohibited, and because the holder can "rest on his laurels for the entire period of the patent," with no fear of a competitor improving his invention." And they hamper technical progress because "mechanical inventions are discoveries of natural law rather than individual creations, and hence similar independent inventions occur all the time. The simultaneity of inventions is a familiar historical fact." [op. cit. pp. 655, 658-659]. The intellectual property regime under the Uruguay Round of GATT goes far beyond traditional patent law in suppressing innovation. One benefit of traditional patent law, at least, was that it required an invention under patent to be published. Under U.S. pressure, however, "trade secrets" were included in GATT. As a result, governments will be required to help suppress information not formally protected by patents [Raghavan, op. cit. p. 122]. And patents are not necessary as an incentive to innovate. According to Rothbard, invention is rewarded by the competitive advantage accruing to the first developer of an idea. This is borne out by F. M. Scherer's testimony before the FTC in 1995 [Hearings on Global and Innovation-Based Competition]. Scherer spoke of a survey of 91 companies in which only seven "accorded high significance to patent protection as a factor in their R & D investments." Most of them described patents as "the least important of considerations." Most companies considered their chief motivation in R & D decisions to be "the necessity of remaining competitive, the desire for efficient production, and the desire to expand and diversify their sales." In another study, Scherer found no negative effect on R & D spending as a result of compulsory licensing of patents. A survey of U.S. firms found that 86% of inventions would have been developed without patents. In the case of automobiles, office equipment, rubber products, and textiles, the figure was 100%. The one exception was drugs, in which 60% supposedly would not have been invented. I suspect disingenuousness on the part of the respondants, however. For one thing, drug companies get an unusually high portion of their R & D funding from the government, and many of their most lucrative products were developed entirely at government expense. And Scherer himself cited evidence to the contrary. The reputation advantage for being the first into a market is considerable. For example in the late 1970s, the structure of the industry and pricing behavior was found to be very similar between drugs with and those without patents. Being the first mover with a non-patented drug allowed a company to maintain a 30% market share and to charge premium prices. The injustice of patent monopolies is exacerbated by government funding of research and innovation, with private industry reaping monopoly profits from technology it didn't spend a penny to develop. In 1999, extending the research and experimentation tax credit was, along with extensions of a number of other corporate tax preferences, considered the most urgent business of the Congressional leadership. Hastert, when asked if any elements of the tax bill were essential, said: "I think the [tax preference] extenders are something we're going to have to work on. Ways and Means Chair Bill Archer added, "before the year is out... we will do the extenders in a very stripped down bill that doesn't include anything else." A five-year extension of the research and experimentation credit (retroactive to 1 July 1999) was expected to cost $13.1 billion. (That credit makes the effective tax rate on R & D spending less than zero.) [Citizens for Tax Justice, GOP Leaders Distill Essence of Tax Plan]. The Government Patent Policy Act of 1980, with 1984 and 1986 amendments, allowed private industry to keep patents on products developed with government R & D money--and then to charge ten, twenty, or forty times the cost of production. For example, AZT was developed with government money and in the public domain since 1964. The patent was given away to Burroughs Wellcome Corp. [Chris Lewis, "Public Assets, Private Profits]. As if the deck were not sufficiently stacked already, the pharmaceutical companies in 1999 actually lobbied Congress to extend certain patents by two years by a special act of private law [Benjamin Grove, "Gibbons backs drug-monopoly bill"]. Patents have been used throughout the twentieth century "to circumvent antitrutst laws," according to David Noble. They were "bought up in large numbers to suppress competition," which also resulted in "the suppression of invention itself." [America by Design, pp. 84-109]. Edwin Prindle, a corporate patent lawyer, wrote in 1906: Patents are the best and most effective means of controlling competition. They occasionally give absolute command of the market, enabling their owner to name the price without regard to the cost of production.... Patents are the only legal form of absolute monopoly [America by Design p. 90]. Patents played a key role in the formation of the electrical appliance, communications, and chemical industries. G. E. and Westinghouse expanded to dominate the electrical manufacturing market at the turn of the century largely through patent control. In 1906 they curtailed the patent litigation between them by pooling their patents. AT&T also expanded "primarily through strategies of patent monopoly." The American chemical industry was marginal until 1917, when Attorney-General Mitchell Palmer seized German patents and distributed them among the major American chemical companies. DuPont got licenses on 300 of the 735 patents [America by Design pp. 10, 16]. Patents are also being used on a global scale to lock the transnational corporations into a permanent monopoly of productive technology. The single most totalitarian provision of the Uruguay Round is probably its "intellectual property" provisions. GATT has extended both the scope and duration of patents far beyond anything ever envisioned in original patent law. In England, patents were originally for fourteen years--the time needed to train two journeymen in succession (and by analogy, the time necessary to go into production and reap the initial profit for originality). By that standard, given the shorter training times required today, and the shorter lifespan of technology, the period of monopoly should be shorter. Instead, the U.S. seeks to extend them to fifty years [Raghavan, Recolonization pp. 119-120]. According to Martin Khor Kok Peng, the U.S. is by far the most absolutist of the participants in the Uruguay Round. Unlike the European Community, it would require patent protection for plant and animal varieties, and for biological processes for animal and plant protection [The Uruguay Round and Third World Sovereignty p. 28]. The provisions for biotech are really a way of increasing trade barriers, and forcing consumers to subsidize the TNCs engaged in agribusiness. The U.S. seeks to apply patents to genetically-modified organisms, effectively pirating the work of generations of Third World breeders by isolating beneficial genes in traditonal varieties and incorporating them in new GMOs--and maybe even enforcing patent rights against the traditional variety which was the source of the genetic material. For example Monsanto has attempted to use the presence of their DNA in a crop as prima facie evidence of pirating--when it is much more likely that their variety cross-pollinated and contaminated the farmer's crop against his will. The Pinkerton agency, by the way, plays a leading role in investigating such charges--that's right, the same folks who have been breaking strikes and kicking organizers down stairs for the past century. Even jack-booted thugs have to diversify to make it in the global economy. The developed world has pushed particularly hard to protect industries relying on or producing "generic technologies," and to restrict diffusion of "dual use" technologies. The U. S.-Japanese trade agreement on semi-conductors, for example, is a "cartel-like, 'managed trade' agreement." So much for "free trade." [Dieter Ernst, "Technology, Economic Security and Latecomer Idustrialization," in Raghavan Pp. 39-40]. Patent law traditionally required a holder to work the invention in a country in order to receive patent protection. U.K. law allowed compulsory licensing after three years if an invention was not being worked, or being worked fully, and demand was being met "to a substantial extent" by importation; or where the export market was not being supplied because of the patentee's refusal to grant licenses on reasonable terms [Raghavan pp. 120, 138]. The central motivation in the GATT intellectual property regime, however, is to permanently lock in the collective monopoly of advanced technology by TNCs, and prevent independent competition from ever arising in the Third World. It would, as Martin Khor Kok Peng writes, "effectively prevent the diffusion of technology to the Third World, and would tremendously increase monopoly royalties of the TNCs whilst curbing the potential development of Third World technology." Only one percent of patents worldwide are owned in the Third World. Of patents granted in the 1970s by Third World countries, 84% were foreign-owned. But fewer than 5% of foreign-owned patents were actually used in production. As we saw before, the purpose of owning a patent is not necessarily to use it, but to prevent anyone else from using it [op. cit. pp. 29-30]. Raghavan summed up nicely the effect on the Third World: Given the vast outlays in R and D and investments, as well as the short life cycle of some of these products, the leading Industrial Nations are trying to prevent emergence of competition by controlling... the flows of technology to others. The Uruguay round is being sought to be used to create export monopolies for the products of Industrial Nations, and block or slow down the rise of competitive rivals, particularly in the newly industrializing Third World countries. At the same time the technologies of senescent industries of the north are sought to be exported to the South under conditions of assured rentier income [op. cit. p. 96]. Corporate propagandists piously denounce anti-globalists as enemies of the Third World, seeking to use trade barriers to maintain an affluent Western lifestyle at the expense of the poor nations. The above measures--trade barriers--to permanently suppress Third World technology and keep the South as a big sweatshop, give the lie to this "humanitarian" concern. This is not a case of differing opinions, or of sincerely mistaken understanding of the facts. Setting aside false subtleties, what we see here is pure evil at work--Orwell's "boot stamping on a human face forever." If any architects of this policy believe it to be for general human well-being, it only shows the capacity of ideology to justify the oppressor to himself and enable him to sleep at night. Infrastructure. Spending on transportation and communications networks from general revenues, rather than from taxes and user fees, allows big business to "externalize its costs" on the public, and conceal its true operating expenses. Chomsky described this state capitalist underwriting of shipping costs quite accurately: One well-known fact about trade is that it's highly subsidized with huge market-distorting factors.... The most obvious is that every form of transport is highly subsidized.... Since trade naturally requires transport, the costs of transport enter into the calculation of the efficiency of trade. But there are huge subsidies to reduce the costs of transport, through manipulation of energy costs and all sorts of market-distorting functions ["How Free is the Free Market?"]. Every wave of concentration of capital has followed a publicly subsidized infrastructure system of some sort. The national railroad system, built largely on free or below-cost land donated by the government, was followed by concentration in heavy industry, petrochemicals, and finance. The next major infrastructure projects were the national highway system, starting with the system of designated national highways in the 1920s and culminating with Eisenhower's interstate system; and the civil aviation system, built almost entirely with federal money. The result was massive concentration in retail, agriculture, and food processing. The third such project was the infrastructure of the worldwide web, originally built by the Pentagon. It permits, for the first time, direction of global operations in real time from a single corporate headquarters, and is accelerating the concentration of capital on a global scale. To quote Chomsky again, "The telecommunications revolution... is... another state component of the international economy that didn't develop through private capital, but through the public paying to destroy themselves...." [Class Warfare p. 40]. The centralized corporate economy depends for its existence on a shipping price system which is artificially distorted by government intervention. To fully grasp how dependent the corporate economy is on socializing transportation and communications costs, imagine what would happen if truck and aircraft fuel were taxed enough to pay the full cost of maintenance and new building costs on highways and airports; and if fossil fuels depletion allowances were removed. The result would be a massive increase in shipping costs. Does anyone seriously believe that Wal-Mart could continue to undersell local retailers, or corporate agribusiness could destroy the family farm? Intellectually honest right libertarians freely admit as much. For example, Tiber Machan wrote in The Freeman that Some people will say that stringent protection of rights [against eminent domain] would lead to small airports, at best, and many constraints on construction. Of course--but what's so wrong with that? Perhaps the worst thing about modern industrial life has been the power of political authorities to grant special privileges to some enterprises to violate the rights of third parties whose permission would be too expensive to obtain. The need to obtain that permission would indeed seriously impede what most environmentalists see as rampant--indeed reckless--industrialization. The system of private property rights--in which... all... kinds of... human activity must be conducted within one's own realm except where cooperation from others has been gained voluntarily--is the greatest moderator of human aspirations.... In short, people may reach goals they aren't able to reach with their own resources only by convincing others, through arguments and fair exchanges, to cooperate ["On Airports and Individual Rights"]. The logjams and bottlenecks in the transportation system are an inevitable result of subsidies. Those who debate the reason for planes stacked up at O'Hare airport, or decry the fact that highways and bridges are deteriorating several times faster than repairs are being budgeted, need only read an economics 101 text. Market prices are signals that relate supply to demand. When subsidies distort these signals, the consumer does not perceive the real cost of producing the goods he consumes. The "feedback loop" is broken, and demands on the system overwhelm it beyond its ability to respond. When people don't have to pay the real cost of something they consume, they aren't very careful about only using what they need. It is interesting that every major antitrust action in this century has involved either some basic energy resource, or some form of infrastructure, on which the overall economy depends. Standard Oil, AT&T, and Microsoft were all cases in which monopoly price gouging was a danger to the economy as a whole. This brings to mind Engels' observation that advanced capitalism would reach a stage where the state--"the official representative of capitalist society"--would have to convert "the great institutions for intercourse and communication" into state property. Engels did not foresee the use of antitrust actions to achieve the same end [Anti-Duhring]. "MILITARY KEYNESIANISM" The leading sectors of the economy, including cybernetics, communications, and military industry, have their sales and profits virtually guaranteed by the state. The entire manufacturing sector, as a whole, was permanently expanded beyond recognition by an infusion of federal money during World War II. In 1939 the entire manufacturing plant of the U.S. was valued at $40 billion. By 1945, another $26 billion worth of plant and equipment had been built, "two thirds of it paid for directly from government funds." The top 250 corporations in 1939 owned 65% of plant and equipment, but during the war operated 79% of all new facilities built with government funds [Mills, The Power Elite P. 101]. Machine tools were vastly expanded by the war. In 1940, 23% of machine tools in use were less than 10 years old. By 1945, the figure had grown to 62%. The industry contracted rapidly after 1945, and would probably have gone into a depression, had it not returned to wartime levels of output during Korea and remained that way throughout the Cold War. The R & D complex, likewise, was a creation of the war. Between 1939 and 1945, the share of AT&T research expenditures made up of government contracts expanded from 1% to 83%. Over 90% of the patents resulting from government-funded wartime research were given away to industry. The modern electronics industry was largely a product of World War II and Cold War spending (e.g., miniaturization of circuits for bomb proximity fuses, high capacity computers for command and control, etc.) [Noble, Forces of Production pp. 8-16]. The jumbo jet industry would never have come about without continuous Cold War levels of military spending. The machine tools needed for producing large aircraft were so complex and expensive that no "small peacetime orders" would have provided a sufficient production run to pay for them. Without large military orders, they would simply not have existed. The aircraft industry quickly spiraled into red ink after 1945, and was near bankruptcy at the beginning of the 1948 war scare, after which Truman restored it to life with massive spending. By 1964, 90% of aerospace R & D was funded by the government, with massive spillover into the electronics, machine tool, and other industries [Noble, Forces of Production pp. 6-7; Kofsky, Harry S. Truman and the War Scare of 1948]. OTHER SUBSIDIES Infrastructure and military spending are not the only examples of the process by which cost and risk are socialized, and profit is privatized--or, as Rothbard put it, by which "our corporate state uses the coercive taxing power either to accumulate corporate capital or to lower corporate costs." ["Confessions of a Right-Wing Liberal"]. Some of these government assumptions of risk and cost are ad hoc and targeted toward specific industries. Among the greatest beneficiaries of such underwriting are electrical utilities. Close to 100% of all research and development for nuclear power is either performed by the government itself, in its military reactor program, or by lump-sum R & D grants; the government waives use-charges for nuclear fuels, subsidizes uranium production, provides access to government land below market price (and builds hundreds of miles of access roads at taxpayer expense), enriches uranium, and disposes of waste at sweetheart prices. The Price-Anderson Act of 1957 limited the liability of the nuclear power industry, and assumed government liability above that level [Adams and Brock pp. 279-281]. A Westinghouse official admitted in 1953, If you were to inquire whether Westinghouse might consider putting up its own money.., we would have to say "No." The cost of the plant would be a question mark until after we built it and, by that sole means, found out the answer. We would not be sure of successful plant operation until after we had done all the work and operated successfully.... This is still a situation of pyramiding uncertainties.... There is a distinction between risk-taking and recklessness [Ibid. pp. 278-279]. So much for profit as a reward for the entrepreneur's risk. These "entrepreneurs" make their profits in the same way as a seventeenth-century courtier, by obtaining the favor of the king. To quote Chomsky, the sectors of the economy that remain competitive are those that feed from the public trough.... The glories of Free Enterprise provide a useful weapon against government policies that might benefit the general population.... But the rich and powerful... have long appreciated the need to protect themselves from the destructive forces of free-market capitalism, which may provide suitable themes for rousing oratory, but only so long as the public handout and the regulatory and protectionist apparatus are secure, and state power is on call when needed (Chomsky, Deterring Democracy p. 144]. Dwayne Andreas, the CEO of Archer Daniels Midland, admitted that "[t]here is not one grain of anything in the world that is sold in the free market. Not one. The only place you see a free market is in the speeches of politicians." [Don Carney, "Dwayne's World"]. Big business also enjoys financial support through the tax code. It is likely that most of the Fortune 500 would go bankrupt without corporate welfare. Direct federal tax breaks to business in 1996 were close to $350 billion [Based on my crunching on numbers in Zepezauer and Naiman, Take the Rich Off Welfare]. This figure, for federal corporate welfare alone, is over two-thirds of annual corporate profits for 1996 ($460 billion) [Statistical Abstract of the United States 1996]. Estimates of state and local tax breaks is fairly impressionistic, since they vary not only with each critic's subjective definition of "corporate welfare," but involve the tax codes of fifty states and the public records of thousands of municipalities. Besides money pimps in the state and local governments are embarassed by the sweet deals they give their corporate johns. In my own state of Arkansas, the incorruptible Baptist preacher who serves as governor opposed a bill to require quarterly public reports from the Department of Economic Development on its special tax breaks to businesses. "[K]eeping incentive records from public scrutiny is important in attracting business," and releasing "proprietary information" could have a "chilling effect." [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette 3 Feb. 2001]. But state and local corporate welfare could easily amount to a figure comparable to federal. Taken as a whole, direct tax breaks to business at all levels of government are probably on the same order of magnitude as corporate profits. And this understates the effect of corporate welfare, since it disproportionately goes to a handful of giant firms in each industry. For example, accelerated depreciation favors expansion by existing firms. New firms find it of little benefit, since they are likely to lose money their first few years. An established firm, however, can run a loss in a new venture and charge the accelerated depreciation against its profits on old facilities [Baratz, "Corporate Giants and the Power Structure"]. The most outrageous of these tax expenditures is the subsidy to the actual financial transactions by which capital is concentrated. The interest deduction on corporate debt, most of which was run up on leveraged buyouts and acquisitions, costs the treasury over $200 billion a year [Zepezauer p. 122-123]. Without this deduction, the wave of mergers in the 1980s, or the megamergers of the 1990s, could never have taken place. On top of everything else, this acts as a massive direct subsidy to banking, increasing the power of finance capital in the corporate economy to a level greater than it has been since the Age of Morgan. A closely related subsidy is the exemption from capital gains of securities transactions involved in corporate mergers (i.e. "stock swaps")--even though premiums are usually paid well over the market value of the stock [Green p. 11]. The 1986 tax reform included a provision which prevented corporations from deducting fees for investment 'banks and advisers involved in leveraged buyouts. The 1996 minimum wage increase repealed this provision, with one exception: interest deductions were removed for employee buyouts [Judis, "Bare Minimum"]. Right libertarians like Rothbard object to classifying tax expenditures as subsidies. It presumes that tax money rightfully belongs to the government, when in fact the government is only letting them keep what is rightfully theirs. The tax code is indeed unfair, but the solution is to eliminate the taxes for everyone, not to level the code up [Rothbard, Power and Market p. 104]. This is a very shaky argument. Supporters of tax code reform in the 1980s insisted that the sole legitimate purpose of taxation was to raise revenue, not to provide carrots and sticks for social engineering purposes. And, semantic quibbling aside, the current tax system would be exactly the same if we started out with zero tax rates and then imposed a punitive tax only on those not engaged in favored activities. Either way, the uneven tax policy gives a competitive advantage to privileged industries. POLITICAL REPRESSION In times of unusual popular consciousness and mobilization, when the capitalist system faces grave political threats, the state resorts to repression until the danger is past. The major such waves in this country--the Haymarket reaction, and the red scares after the world wars--are recounted by Goldstein [Political Repression in Modern America]. But the wave of repression which began in the 1970s, though less intense, has been permanently institutionalized to a unique extent. Until the late 1960s, elite perspective was governed by the New Deal social contract. The corporate state would buy stability and popular acquiescence in imperialist exploitation abroad by guaranteeing a level of prosperity and security to the middle class. In return for higher wages, unions would enforce management control of the workplace. But starting during the Vietnam era, the elite's thinking underwent a profound change. They concluded from the 1960s experience that the social contract had failed. In response to the antiwar protests and race riots, LBJ and Nixon began to create an institutional framework for martial law, to make sure that any such disorder in the future could be dealt with differently. Johnson's operation GARDEN PLOT involved domestic surveillance by the military, contingency plans for military cooperation with local police in supressing disorder in all fifty states, plans for mass preventive detention, and joint exercises of police and the regular military [Morales, U.S. Military Civil Disturbance Planning]. Governor Reagan and his National Guard chief Louis Giuffrida were enthusiastic supporters of GARDEN PLOT exercises in California. Reagan was also a pioneer in creating quasi-military SWAT teams, which now exist in every major town. The wave of wildcat strikes in the early 1970s showed that organized labor could no longer keep its part of the bargain, and that the social contract should be reasessed. At the same time, the business press was flooded with articles on the impending "capital shortage," and calls for shifting resources from consumption to capital accumulation. They predicted frankly that a cap on real wages would be hard to force on the public in the existing political environment [Boyte, Backyard Revolution pp. 13-16]. This sentiment was expressed by Huntington et al. in The Crisis of Democracy (a paper for the Trilateral Institution--a good proxy for elite thinking); they argued that the system was collapsing from demand overload, because of an excess of democracy. Corporations embraced the full range of union-busting posibilities in Taft-Hartley, risking only token fines from the NLRB. They drastically increased management resources devoted to workplace surveillance and control, a necessity because of discontent from stagnant wages and mounting workloads [Fat and Mean]. Wages as a percentage of value added have declined drastically since the 1970s; all increases in labor productivity have been channelled into profit and investment, rather than wages. A new Cold War military buildup further transferred public resources to industry. A series of events like the fall of Saigon, the nonaligned movement, and the New International Economic Order were taken as signs that the trans-national corporate empire was losing control. Reagan's escalating intervention in Central America was a partial response to this perception. But more importantly the Uruguay Round of GATT snatched total victory from the jaws of defeat; it ended all barriers to TNCs buying up entire economies, locked the west into monopoly control of modern technology, and created a world government on behalf of global corporations. In the meantime the U.S. was, in the words of Richard K. Moore, importing techniques of social control from the imperial periphery to the core area. With the help of the Drug War and the National Security State, the apparatus of repression continued to grow. The Drug War has turned the Fourth Amendment into toilet paper; civil forfeiture, with the aid of jailhouse snitches, gives police the power to steal property without ever filing charges--a lucrative source of funds for helicopters and kevlar vests. SWAT teams have led to the militarization of local police forces, and cross-training with the military has led many urban police departments to view the local population as an occupied enemy [Weber, Warrior Cops]. Reagan's crony Giuffrida resurfaced as head of FEMA, where he worked with Oliver North to fine-tune GARDEN PLOT. North, as the NSC liaison with FEMA from 1982-84, developed a plan "to supend the constitution in the event of a national crisis, such as nuclear war, violent and widespread internal dissent or national opposition to a U.S. military invasion abroad." [Chardy, "Reagan Aides and the 'Secret' Government"]. GARDEN PLOT, interestingly, was implemented during the Rodney King Riots and in recent anti-globalization protests. Delta Force provided intelligence and advice in those places and at Waco [Rosenberg, The Empire Strikes Back; Cockburn, The Jackboot State]. Another innnovation is to turn everyone we deal with into a police agent. Banks routinely report "suspicious" movements of cash; under "know your customer" programs, retailers report purchases of items which can conceivably be used in combination to manufacture drugs; libraries come under pressure to report on readers of "subversive" material; DARE programs turn kids into police informers. Computer technology has increased the potential for surveillance to Orwellian levels. Pentium III processors were revealed to embed identity codes in every document written on them. Police forces are experimenting with combinations of public cameras, digital face-recognition technology, and databases of digital photos. Image Data LLC, a company in the process of buying digital drivers licence photos from all fifty states, was exposed as a front for the Secret Service. CONCLUSION It is almost too easy to bring back Bob Novak and Secretary O'Neill for another kick--but I can't resist. "Marxist class warfare?" "Robber baron rhetoric?" Well, the pages above recount the "class warfare" waged by the robber barons themselves. If their kind tend to squeal like pigs when we talk about class, it's because they've been stuck. But all the squealing in the world won't change the facts. But what are the implications of the above facts for our movement? It is commonly acknowledged that the manorial economy was founded on force. Although you will never see the issue addressed by Milton Friedman, intellectually honest right libertarians like Rothbard acknowledge the role of the state in creating European feudalism and Amerian slavery. Rothbard, drawing the obvious conclusion from this fact, acknowledged the right of peasants or freed slaves to take over their "forty acres and a mule" without compensation to the landlord. But we have seen that industrial capitalism, to the same extent as manorialism or slavery, was founded on force. Like its predecessors, capitalism could not have survived at any point in its history without state intervention. Coercive state measures at every step have denied workers access to capital, forced them to sell their labor in a buyer's market, and protected the centers of economic power from the dangers of the free market. To quote Benjamin Tucker again, landlords and capitalists cannot extract surplus value from labor without the help of the state. The modern worker, like the slave or the serf, is the victim of ongoing robbery; he works in an enterprise built from past stolen labor. By the same principles that Rothbard recognized in the agrarian realm, the modern worker is justified in taking direct control of production, and keeping the entire product of his labor. In a very real sense, every subsidy and privilege described above is a form of slavery. Slavery, simply put, is the use of coercion to live off of someone else's labor. For example, consider the worker who pays $300 a month for a drug under patent, that would cost $30 in a free market. If he is paid $15 an hour, the eighteen hours he works every month to pay the difference are slavery. Every hour worked to pay usury on a credit card or mortgage is slavery. The hours worked to pay unnecessary distribution and marketing costs (comprising half of retail prices), because of subsidies to economic centralization, is slavery. Every additional hour someone works to meet his basic needs, because the state tilts the field in favor of the bosses and forces him to sell his labor for less than it is worth, is slavery. All these forms of slavery together probably amount to half our working hours. If we kept the full value of our labor, we could probably maintain current levels of consumption with a work-week of twenty hours. As Bill Haywood said, for every man who gets a dollar he didn't sweat for, someone else sweated to produce a dollar he never received. Our survey also casts doubt on the position of "anarchist" social democrat Noam Chomsky, who is notorious for his distinction between "visions" and "goals." His long-term vision is a decentralized society of self-governing communities and workplaces, loosely federated together--the traditional anarchist vision. 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