World stock indexes rebounded strongly last week. The Dow and the Hang Seng were up nearly 10%, the FTSE and DAX were up 13% and the Brazilian Bovespa was up a whopping 17%. Gold pushed passed $800.

In the U.S. retailers reported a better than feared "Black Friday," with sales rising 3% compared to the previous year, although discounts were deep and profit margins low. Black Friday refers to the Friday after the Thanksgiving holiday. It is both the traditional start of the Christmas shopping season and the day that retailers start to make their profits for the year. In recent years it has become a bigger and bigger thing, with families waiting in line outside big box stores and malls the night before waiting to get let in at five in the morning, lured by steep discounts on a few big ticket items. This year with the bad economy it got completely out of hand as a Walmart employee was trampled to death in Long Island when the crowds were let in.

These reports contrast with the predicament of one in ten Americans in nearly half the states who are now relying on food stamps.

The people of Iceland are also in dire straits. The entire banking system has collapsed, Britain has used anti-terror laws to freeze assets and force restitution; the currency has devalued by half, the economy shrunk by 15% causing companies to go bust everyday with thousands of job losses. Naturally the people are calling for a revolution.

In a notionally "free market" system, banks that find themselves in trouble should not be bailed out but allowed to fail - that is what happens to ordinary people, we are never bailed out we become bankrupt with all the attendant horrors of that status. So why is there so much government hand wringing when banks hits the wall? There is a simple solution to this, that there are banks and other corporations that are deemed "too big to fail" which in fact should be allowed to fail and then be broken up and never allowed to rise again. If there were no banks or companies "too big to fail" then bankers would be forced to retain the risk they accumulate as well as the profits. In the current situation that would mean that banks would fail or at least be taken into managed liquidation or administration. This could be achieved and the citizen protected at costs certainly no greater than the current bailouts. But don't expect to see anything so radical on the agenda anytime soon.

Yet, as we discussed last week, it seems that exactly the contrary is likely to arise from the New Bretton Woods system of mega-banks. Many commentators and certainly many US voters have high hopes that Barack Obama is a man who can bring change, who perhaps might even be a "New Dealer" treading in the footsteps of FDR. If Obama really was to implement changes then, like FDR, he will have to break up the 'Great Trusts" starting with the banks.

According to Michael Hudson, all the bailouts to date have been designed to protect claims by the super-wealthy on the surpluses generated by the rest of us. Bad debts are being kept on the books, but they are being transferred in the U.S. to the Treasury and the Fed. Meanwhile, the government's pension fund that insures what private pensions are left, is not being bailed out; and the auto industry is being pushed into bankruptcy precisely so that it can renege on its pension commitments to its workers. Someone is clearly out to get us.
Reality had to raise its ugly head. Barack Obama was elected with overwhelming approval to inaugurate an era of change. And at his November 25th press conference, he said that his decisive victory gave him a mandate to change the direction in which America is moving. But his recent economic and foreign policy appointments make it clear that when he chose "change" as his campaign slogan, he was NOT referring to the financial, insurance and real estate (FIRE) sectors, nor to foreign policy. These are where the vested interests concentrate their wealth and power. And change already has been accelerating here. Unfortunately, its direction has been for the top 1% of America's population to raise their share of the returns to wealth from 37% ten years ago to 57% five years ago and an estimated nearly 70% today.

The change that Mr. Obama is talking about is largely marginal to this wealth, not touching its economic substance - or its direction. No doubt he will bring about a welcome change in race relations, environmental regulations, and a more civil rule of law. And he probably will give wage earners an income-tax break (thereby enabling them to keep on paying their bank debts, incidentally). As for the rich, they prefer not to earn income in the first place. Taxes need to be paid on income, so they take their returns in the form of capital gains. And simply avoiding losses is the order of the day in the present meltdown.

Where losses cannot be avoided, the government will bail out the rich on their financial investments, but not wage earners on their debts...

If you are a billionaire, your first concern is simply to preserve your wealth, to avoid having to take a loss in the value of your financial claims on the economy - claims for repayment of loans and investment, as well as interest and dividends, and enough capital gains to compensate for the price inflation that erodes the spending power of more lowly income-earners.

This year has changed the typical fate of financial wealth in the face of bursting financial bubbles. Traditionally, business booms culminate in a wave of bankruptcies that wipe out bad debts - and the savings that have been invested on the "asset" side of the balance sheet. This year has changed all that. The bad debts are being kept on the books - but transferred from the banks to the federal government, mainly the Federal Reserve and Treasury. The bank bailouts have aimed not so much to protect the banks themselves, but to enable them to pay off on the bad bets they made vis-à-vis the nation's hedge funds and other institutional investors in the derivatives market.

To participate in a hedge fund, one needs to prove that one can afford to lose their money and not be much the worse off for it in terms of actual living conditions. So the $306 billion in federal guarantees of the junk mortgage packages sold by Citibank, and the $135 billion bailout of the insurance contracts written by A.I.G. to protect swap contracts from loss, could have been avoided without much impact on the "real" economy.

In fact, writing down these financial claims ON the economy would have paved the way for writing down its debt burden. If the subprime and other mortgage debts had been permitted to decline to the neighborhood of 22 cents on a dollar they were trading for, this would have made it possible to write down debts to match the price at which mortgage holders had bought these loans for. But the financial overhead of American wealth "saved" in the form of creditor claims on indebted homeowners, industrial companies and junk-insurance companies such as A.I.G. has been protected against erosion by this year's federal bailout program.

Bloomberg has added up these programs and finds that they $7.7 trillion dollars - nearly half an entire year's GDP. By acting to support the market for bad-mortgage loans (but not for real estate itself), the seemingly endless series of Paulson bailouts seeks to keep today's debt overhead intact rather than writing it down. Service charges on this indebtedness will divert peoples' income from consumption to paying creditors. It will help financial investors, not labor or industry. It will keep the cost of living and doing business high, preventing the U.S. economy from working its way out of debt by becoming competitive once again.

With all these trillions of dollars of bailing out the wealthy, one might easily forget to ask what is being left out. For one thing, the government's Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp, whose $25 billion deficit is not bailed out. This year, underfunded corporate pension plans are supposed to "catch up" to full funding so as to protect the PBGC, in accordance with a law passed by Congress two years ago. If underfunded plans don't meet the scheduled 92% coverage for this year, they have to bring their set-asides fully up to the 100% funding level. The stock market plunge has dashed their hopes to do this. The result will be to force many industrial companies into a financial bind.

On the auto front, the Bush Administration has brought pressure to force the big three Detroit companies into bankruptcy as a way to annul their defined-benefit pension plans - with no plans at all bail out money owed to labor by restoring the PBGC to solvency. State and local pension plans are almost entirely unfunded, and are at even more risk as their tax revenues plunge and property tax payments are stopped on housing and commercial buildings that have foreclosed.
All this bailing out of the owners of the FIRE (Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate) sector will most likely effectively bankrupt governments under the current system. Indeed, this is probably one of the main reasons it is being done. Governments will be bankrupt and the biggest financial institutions, those "too big to fail", will have even more control; currencies will collapse from accelerating inflation all conveniently paving the way for the introduction of a new monetary system and a new form of money. As Rob Lee writes,
By the end of next year the US may have near zero interest rates, a fiscal deficit of 8% of GDP or more, and a chronically weak currency. This is a classic recipe for inflation. It is a myth that a weak economy necessarily means low inflation, especially if the size and role of government are expanding. Company failures and low investment weaken the supply side of the economy but improve pricing power for the survivors. Once the credibility of the currency and policy has gone people and businesses seek to protect themselves in real assets. Inflation can rise then very rapidly even in a weak economy.
It may be no coincidence that the only major country not preparing a massive bailout is the one most scarred by memories of hyperinflation, Germany. With banking economists calling for dramatic fiscal stimuli throughout the OECD, "China has announced a stimulus package worth 4 trillion yuan, or roughly $586 billion; Tokyo plans a stimulus worth 5 trillion yen ($53 billion), though it plans only to submit the extra budget to parliament in the new year; Washington has spent or committed trillions of dollars and is expected to come up with another big package -- some economists believe it may be worth upwards of $400 billion -- as soon as President-elect Barack Obama takes over in January and the European Commission has proposed that the 27-country European Union come up with an EU-wide package worth 200 billion euros, or 1.5 percent of EU gross domestic product.

German resistance

German resistance is of course being portrayed by the media as Chancellor Angela Merkel making a big mistake. Merkel says she does not want to get into a "race for billions", but is being accused of not "pulling its weight", a "lack of vision, lack of leadership, and a temptation to free-ride that, if widely mimicked, would truly condemn the world economy to a new great depression"

What is fascinating is to see the economists trying to drive Germany into a corner; Jim O'Neill, chief economist at Goldman Sachs, notes that domestic consumption in export-dependent Germany has barely budged in what will soon be 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. And that is something that should change. "Europe's largest economy should do itself and the rest of the world a favor by raising wages, reducing sales tax, and thereby supporting higher levels of consumption", O'Neill argued in an article in the London Financial Times. O'Neill is of course pressing the Wall Street line that wishes to see every country fall within the trap of a rescue and stimulus package of the type slowly closing around other nations. Maybe Germany has learned from its experiences, not the least of which was the Weimar Republic, and is trying to chart an independent course.

In the United States, much of the bailout activity has been out of the news lately. Remember early in the process where the U.S. Federal Reserve announced that it would lend to institutions besides the banks it usually lent to? We haven't heard much about that lately. But Bill Buckler in his Privateer newsletter reminds us of what has been happening:
We live in astonishing financial times. In its latest reports, the US Fed has let it be known that total Fed lending has climbed above $2 trillion for the first time. That is a rise of 140 percent - or $1.172 trillion - in seven weeks!! The total includes a $788 Billion increase in loans to banks through the Fed and another $474 Billion in other lending, mostly through the central bank's purchase of Fannie and Freddie bonds. Here comes the problem. The Fed has refused to identify the recipients of almost $2 trillion of emergency loans and what the Fed has accepted as collateral!

Bloomberg has sued the Fed under the US Freedom of Information Act, trying to get this information, but the issue is stuck in Federal Court. Somebody out there got this $2 trillion from the Fed but they are not talking. The Fed, in turn, got some financial paper as collateral, but it won't say what it is.
Amid all the money flying around the near collapse of the settlement system for US Treasuries has hardly merited a comment, yet it does not auger well for the future. It is certainly an interesting development when we consider that Timothy Geithner, the next US Treasury Secretary, is chairman of the Bank for International Settlements Committee on Payment and Settlement systems.

The Markets

The markets this week

Previous week's close This week's close Change % change
Gold ($) 791.80 819.00 27.20 3.44%
Gold (€) 628.96 645.59 16.63 2.64%
Oil ($) 49.93 54.43 4.50 9.01%
Oil (€) 39.66 42.91 3.24 8.18%
Gold:Oil 15.86 15.05 0.81 5.12%
$ / € 0.7943 / 1.2589 0.7883 / 1.2686 0.006 / 0.0097 0.76% / 0.77%
$ / ₤ 0.6700 / 1.4925 0.6507 / 1.5368 0.0193 / 0.0443 2.88% / 2.97%
$ / ¥ 95.938 / 0.0104 95.400 / 0.0105 0.538 / 0.0001 0.56% / 0.56%
DOW 8,046 8,829 783 9.73%
FTSE 3,781 4,288 507 13.41%
DAX 4,127 4,669 542 13.13%
NIKKEI 7,911 8,512 601 7.60%
BOVESPA 31,251 36,596 5,345 17.10%
HANG SENG 12,659 13,888 1,229 9.71%
US Fed Funds 0.50% 0.50% 0.00 0.00%
$ 3month 0.01% 0.04% 0.03 300%
$ 10 year 3.20% 2.92% 0.28 8.75%

Equality and Freedom

We've been harping on about Capitalism or rather Free Market Capitalism for a while now yet there is more ground to cover. We have all known nothing but two dominant creeds our entire lives, Capitalism and the other charade Soviet 'Communism'. Both are hollow lies, both concentrate wealth and power in the hands of a small minority, both are fundamentally based on theft.

Let us now go back to some roots, to some basic ideas and to some history. Unless you are an adherent of an elitist or racist creed you will agree that we are all born equal, at least in terms of our civil rights. You will also agree that all people should be free. Quite what we mean by "equal" and "free" has been a matter of debate since before Plato. We have broad conceptions that arise within us of "equality" and "freedom" yet when we seek to define how this "equality" or "freedom" might manifest in the material world we encounter disagreement in understanding and precious little implementation. We regard ourselves as being born equal while we are also born with differing attributes which lead us to wish for different 'things' in life, we are born with differing skills that determine what we can put into life. We are born with differences that will determine what we can do with life but these differences do not detract from the fundamental principle that we are all equally entitled to civil and human rights.

When we look around us however, we find precious little evidence to suggest any true equality. We don't mean the fallacious 'equality' that so many organisations campaign for today for what is the benefit of gaining the rights to be a wage slave, to be taxed or to have a meaningless vote. "Freedom" has become a sick joke for we are all prisoners while our jailers laugh all the way to the bank, literally.

We have fine phrases such as "equal before the law" yet we have ample evidence that we are certainly not equal before the law, for otherwise George Bush, Dick Cheney, Tony Blair and thousands of others would be on trial for crimes against humanity. The reality is that we are subject to innumerable laws that restrict us, fine us and otherwise impose upon us for simply trying to live.

In the UK there are fines for leaving the lid of a trash can open, for putting that trash can in the wrong place or leaving it too early for collection, there are speed cameras everywhere, parking fines abound, whatever a resident of that island seeks to do they will find themselves bound by laws at every turn. Yet the people of Britain believe themselves to be free.

Douglas Reed was a noted British journalist and author who became the subject of a vicious smear campaign because he had the temerity to point out the obvious; that there are dark forces at work in the affairs of man who have as their avowed aims the destruction of all that people of conscience hold dear, the enslavement of the planet and all who dwell upon it and the imposition of their godless and faceless rule. He wrote extensively of what he saw taking place around him in the 1930s, 40s and 50s and told it as he saw it in his books, Insanity Fair, From Smoke to Smother, Lest We Regret and Controversy of Zion to name but four. In 1943 in Lest We Regret he described freedom:-
Freedom is a thing of innumerable facets, but split it, and it has but two halves. The first , ...though not the greatest of all, is a man's freedom to roam and know his own country, to enjoy and use a part of [his] native land. The second half is the greater half, because the first half rests on it. It is, freedom from wrongful arrest and wrongful imprisonment.
So it is to Britain, or rather England the "mother of parliaments", that we would like to turn because the roots of much of what we see around the world originated in that small country.

A brief history of resistance

In 1215 England was subject to an uprising among the nobles in a direct challenge to the absolute authority of the king. The upshot was the Magna Carta. The original document was significantly watered down in the years following its signing by King John with the notable exception of the writ of Habeas Corpus ("the fundamental instrument for safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary and lawless state action."[1] ) which provided in due time the bedrock for that second half of freedom spoken of by Douglas Reed, "freedom from wrongful arrest and wrongful imprisonment". In the decades following Magna Carta the church and the nobility cemented certain freedoms for themselves while leaving the peasantry unrepresented and repressed; most often by the church and nobility themselves. Across Europe, on numerous occasions the peasantry, the common people, sought to wrest elements of freedom from their monarchs, the church and the nobility. The uprisings of the 14th, 15th and early 16th centuries arose from the unremitting pressure upon the poor who were excluded from any share in society or its wealth.

The reasons for these uprisings were those that have driven men to desperation throughout history for they speak of a desire for equality and freedom while labouring under conditions of great economic and social inequality. They are remarkably familiar:-
- The increasing gap between the wealthy and the poor due in great part to the wealth retained by the landed class, the nobility, and the new class of proto-capitalist, the merchant.

- Inflation driven by wars and currency devaluation [2] put pressure on the nobility who resorted to rent rises, theft and thuggery to steal more money from the poor.

- The monarchs and nobility raised taxes and tithes to finance both war and their own expenses.

- Amid this abuse of power there also arose the idea that inequality in property and wealth was against god, that there should be greater equality in society.
One of the most famous of the numerous revolts was the Peasants Revolt or Great Rising in England in 1381. Following the plagues of 1348/49 that ravaged England the shortage of labour gave the peasants some bargaining power which they endeavoured to use to improve their very poor lot. The response of the ruling elite of the time was to enact a law (Statute of Labourers, 1351) fixing wages at the pre-plague level and restricting the ability of peasants to travel. These laws were enforced with widespread severity which, combined with the wealth gap, inflation, taxation and the awakening of ideas of equality, led to the uprising in 1381.

The uprising was ended by the murder of its leaders who were meeting the King and his advisors for negotiations and were therefore subject to the ancient protections afforded to men in such situations and the tricking of the peasants through the outright lies of the King. The surviving leaders were executed.

The structure of land use and holding in England was based on ancient systems that neither the Romans nor the Normans had changed. The idea of title as we know it today did not exist; instead each person has rights and responsibilities relating to the land and those upon it whether they were the lord, the freeholder, the cottager, tenant farmer or squatter. The system gave men the ability to house and feed themselves and their family.

Despite all the inequality within England and the history of the separation of the ruling and ruled, there remained some elements of life based upon the concept of equality for all people had access to common land where they were free to gather wood, forage for food for their animals, and game for their own bellies. Think about that, a man born into poverty had an absolute right to live on common land, to gather fuel from that land and to gather food for himself and his animals and by extension for his family. He had no need to labour for somebody else nor for money for everything that he needed to survive could be found on the common land.

The taking of land through Enclosure prior to the English Civil War was open theft, the primary impediment to which was, strangely, the Star Chamber Court of the King. As the land was steadily stolen the ordinary people often resisted. History records their resistance as rebellion. In all cases the people failed in protection of their rights. The laws of England were used as the means by which theft was enforced, for resistance was grounds for violence against the resisters who were routinely killed while their leaders were hanged and quartered[3].

The merchant class were the first to accumulate capital in England until the Civil War (1642 - 1651) through trade, both domestic and foreign. A key commodity in this wealth creating trade was wool, the price of which rose steeply until the middle of the 17th century. It was this rise in wool prices that drove much of the theft of land so that the land could be used for raising sheep. Thus began an unholy alliance of greed between the ruling elite of the countryside and the merchants. During the war many rural communities took advantage of the weakening of the established order, particularly the fall of the estates of royalists, catholics and the church to recover what was rightfully theirs, namely access to and use of land and its resources of timber, grazing and food[4].

Following the Civil War, despite the illusion that men had fought for greater freedoms, the form of the modern repressive state, particularly the creation of a standing army, took shape and the repression of the ordinary people recommenced as land was steadily expropriated from the ordinary people to the ruling elite.

Two ideas

Two groups of ideas that shape our world today were coalescing during The Enlightenment. One set saw a grand vision of humanity while the other, in two parts, has proven to be absolute evil The former held that, "human beings are perfectible; the right structures of society, at the heart of which is representational government whose power derives from the consent of the governed, facilitate this continual evolution; reason is the means by which ordinary people can successfully rule themselves and attain liberty; the right to liberty is universal, God given, and part of a natural cosmic order, or "natural law"; as more and more people around the world claim their God-given right to liberty, tyranny and oppression will be pushed aside."[5]

The other group of ideas had two parts which were and remain bedfellows, Political Zionism and Communism, together better described by Douglas Reed as the Destructive Principle. The Destructive Principle became publicly manifest in Adam Weishaupt, a German who founded the secret society the Order of the Illuminati in 1776; its avowed aim was the destruction of all nations, monarchs, religions, private property and marriage to bring a New World Order into existence. The creed of the Illuminati is pure psychopathology, a pure, unadulterated pathological evil promoted by a man who was undoubtedly a psychopath. We will be discussing this aspect further next week.

Enclosure - Grand Theft

At the very moment in history when some men's minds were turning to the potential for a better world, and others were turning to evil domination, the expropriation of land, through Enclosure, accelerated in England with arguments of this kind advanced to support the theft of land, "The use of common land by labourers operates upon the mind as a sort of independence ... when the commons are enclosed, the labourers will work every day in the year, their children will be put out to work early, and that subordination of the lower ranks, of society which in the present times is so much wanted, would be thereby considerably secured." More than half the cultivated land of England, before Enclosure, was farmed on the common-field system, and the landless farm labourer was hardly known in the villages of England.[6]

"About a fifth of the total acreage of England was enclosed between 1760 and 1840, and the old village community ... was broken up. Until that time, any man might hope, by his own labour, to acquire property and rise in his village. From that time, we inherit the most unhappy of beings, the landless farm labourer".[7] It is this landless labourer and his family, often then evicted as a further consequence of Enclosure, who became the factory workers of the Industrial Revolution, the men, women and children on whose immense suffering industrial capitalism was built.

Enclosure was justified as a means to improvement. The English countryside and the agriculture practiced on it was said to be in need of reform. The truth was that the expropriation of land from the ordinary people enabled a new form of industrialized agriculture to be practiced which greatly increased the profitability of farming and therefore the wealth of the ruling elite. The ordinary people were reduced to slaves on the land to which they held rights dating from the time of the Druids.

Not only was the theft justified but it was also legal. The process was simple, Douglas Reed again:-
...a petition to Parliament was made bearing the signature of one big landowner for authority to put a fence round some piece of land until then shared by all. The smallholder's only hope of succour was to reach and move the heart of a Parliament packed with great landowners and as distant from and daunting to himself as the Court of the Last Judgment.

In Parliament these petitions were laid before Committees of Members from the districts where Enclosure was proposed - the cronies of the petitioner! Often, petitions affecting the enclosure of thousands of acres, and the fate of hundreds of freemen, were rushed through in a week or two.

The manner in which a large part of England was taken from the many and enclosed by the few was simple and is staggering to look back on. Recent history contains nothing to compare with it. A petition was 'accepted'; that is, the petitioner's friends in Parliament passed it for him. Then, Commissioners, who were appointed by the Enclosers even before they presented their petition to Parliament and were often the lord of the manor's own bailiffs, arrived to put a fence round that 'certain proportion of the land which has been assigned to the lord of the manor in virtue of his rights and the owner of the tithes'. The power of the Commissioners was absolute. This happened in the England in which Pitt was Prime Minister, who declared 'it is the boast of the law of England that it affords equal security and protection to the high and low, the rich and poor'.
That last sentence quoting an English Prime Minister of 200 years ago might just as well have been made today for the same mendacity walks the corridors of power today as walked it then.

The Parliament of the day was a parliament of landlords elected in a corrupt system, many of them being 'elected' through the rotten and pocket boroughs under which, at one point, half (about 200) the members of the House of Commons were elected by just 153 voters (yes, some voters could elect more than one member). Under such a system it is no wonder that the petitions of the ordinary people against the theft of their land rights were buried. Those that resisted were treated as common criminals. Many emigrated while those that stayed became subject to increasingly severe laws against trespass and poaching. At the time when Englishmen, told that they would be enslaved if Napoleon landed in England, fought at Waterloo, "Parliament fixed the penalties for poaching at hard labour, flogging, or transportation. In the year following Waterloo ... a Bill went through Parliament, without debate, which imposed the maximum penalty of transportation for seven years on any person found unarmed but with a net for poaching in enclosed land; and in some of the subsequent years one in seven of all criminal convictions in England were convictions under these Game Laws!"[8]

Not only were the elected members of the House of Commons the landlords and merchants benefiting from the system of legalised robbery but the second house of parliament, the House of Lords, was the shrine of entrenched rights of nobility while the civil administration officials pocketed about £120,000 in fees in fourteen years for assisting the Enclosure Bills through the "legal process". What hope did the ordinary people have?

William Cobbett

There was spirited resistance. William Cobbett was a political activist and journalist who campaigned for political reform in England. Way before his time, he was man who understood the terrible condition of "dense dependent populations incapable of finding their own food, the toppling triumph of machines over men, the sprawling omnipotence of financiers over patriots, the herding of humanity in nomadic masses whose very homes are homeless, the terrible necessity of peace and the terrible probability of war, all the loading up of our little island like a sinking ship; the wealth that may mean famine, and the culture that may mean despair; the bread of Midas and the sword of Damocles. In a word, he saw what we see, but he saw it before it had arrived. Many today cannot see it - even when it is all around them."[9]

The life of William Cobbett is instructive for it exemplifies many aspects of oppression which we seek to shine a light upon today. Cobbett was a moral man who gave his whole life to the battle for those two vital objectives: the freedom of the land, and freedom from wrongful imprisonment. It may not mean much to a modern city dweller, or even perhaps to those who live in the countryside but do not work the land, what an immense loss the loss of ones land is. It is the removal of everything in one go; home, possession, security, income, inheritance and culture. For these English men, women and children dispossessed of everything they knew there was no choice other than to become a member of the new proletariat, depending for subsistence on selling their labour for wages, whether in the city or on the land.

Douglas Reed said this about William Cobbett, "He fought for [freedom] in England, in France during the French Revolution, in America just after the American Revolution, and again in England. ..... he was wooed by a Tory government and offered the editorship of a government newspaper so that he might, for a comfortable salary, laud all that was done by authority and lampoon all who protested."

"He refused, and began to publish the weekly Political Register [in 1802], the most famous independent journal of the next thirty-five years. Sometimes the politicians, sometimes the mob, attacked him. He was fined for criticizing the Government's treatment of Ireland. His windows were smashed."

By 1806 he was a Radical, a vocal proponent of political reform. In 1810 he "angrily protested against the public flogging of British soldiers under a guard of German mercenaries."[10] He was found guilty of treasonous libel, fined a thousand pounds and imprisoned for two years in the infamous Newgate Gaol. In prison, and after he came out, he continued to write, for another seven years, as a fierce and independent critic who could neither be corrupted nor cowed. Notably, he wrote the pamphlet, Paper against Gold warning of the dangers of paper money.

The government, seeking to limit the access of people to news and radical opinion and to generally suppress independent newspapers, heavily taxed all newspapers. This limited circulation of the Political Register so Cobbett changed it from a newspaper to a pamphlet to avoid these taxes. Circulation jumped from just over a thousand to about forty thousand copies a week thus becoming the main journal of the educated working class.

The government, frightened of this voice for change, schemed to charge him with sedition[11] by passing the Power of Imprisonment Act 1817. This act suspended the Habeas Corpus Act of 1679, itself based upon rights enshrined in the Magna Carta. Cobbett fled to America.

England's fight for supremacy against Napoleon in the years leading up to the Battle of Waterloo (1815) had left its finances in a parlous state; Enclosure was proceeding apace, cities and the attendant factories were expanding, the condition of the ordinary people, those people that had "fought for freedom" against Napoleon, was abysmal. The Corn Laws, a tax on imported food, kept food prices high with the inevitable consequences on the ordinary people. In this climate grew an increasing clamour for change, known then as the Radical Movement. The Radicals sought electoral reform and universal sufferage. This made them the enemies of the entrenched order, of the ruling elite, who reacted with ever increasing repression.

The Peterloo Massacre

In August 1819, between sixty thousand and eighty thousand workers, well dressed, highly disciplined and orderly gathered for a meeting in St Peter's Field in Manchester. The authorities arrayed against these peaceful workers 600 elite cavalry, 800 infantrymen, 2 six-pounder artillery guns, 400 militiamen, 400 special police and 120 militia cavalry.

In an attempt to stop the speech of Henry Hunt a famous radical speaker, the militia cavalry rode into the crowd. The ensuing confusion has been used to excuse what happened next but the simple truth is that the crowd was attacked from two sides simultaneously. On one side they were charged by the 600 elite cavalry with sabers drawn while on another by the infantry militia, their only escape route was blocked by the 800 infantrymen.

It is remarkable that only 11 to 15 people died with up to 700 injured. Not content with the slaughter many factory owners fired anybody associated with the meeting while stories abound of the wounded being refused treatment. Women were not spared despite often being dressed in white; of the official 658 casulaties, 168 were women of whom 4 died. The rioting that followed the massacre was used to justify the carnage.

However, unlike other confrontations in this era, there were professional reporters present who faithfully recorded what they saw, they called the event the Peterloo Massacre. This meant that the government was unable to effect a cover up. Despite this, in familiar fashion, the government reaction was even more repression. The speakers and organizers were tried for sedition and jailed. None of the professional soldiers were tried with just four of the militia men tried all of whom were acquitted.

Within one month of reconvening after the massacre parliament passed the Six Acts which treated any political meeting not approved of by the established order as an overt act of treasonable conspiracy. These Acts made meetings of 50 or more subject to license if the meeting was to discuss matters of "church or state" and limited attendees to locals only, thus preventing radical speakers from touring; seditious writing became punishable by fourteen years transportation, essentially a life sentence in Australia; newspaper taxes were increased and broadened to include pamphlets expressing opinions, publishers were required to post a bond; ownership of weapons by the working classes was banned, powers of search, seizure and arrest were granted to magistrates.

As we discussed with regard to the modern Circles of Power, Tony Bunyan summarised with respect to similar circles then, "the ruling class was not monolithic, but comprised several competing and complementary factions. These factions were the merchants, the agricultural capitalists, the small manufacturers and the new industrial [capitalists]. In this period of competitive capitalism it was the merchants and the landed aristocracy who effectively controlled parliament and the state."

"Only later, in the 1830s, when industrial capital became dominant in the economic field, did the [industrial capitalists] begin to challenge the other factions for state power. It was during this struggle between the competing [capitalists] in the 18th and 19th centuries that the foundations of liberal democracy emerged (well prior to an equal voice being accorded to labour). The ideas of neutrality of the state and its institutions were fashioned in this period, less for reasons of democracy than as a means of arbitrating between the warring capitalist factions and combating working class demands."

"In the latter part of the [19th century] capitalism began to move from competitive to the monopoly stage and the twin pillars of its current foundation emerged. One was monopolistic industrial capital and the other centralized bank capital." [12]

Lessons from History

The dreadful history of the ordinary Englishman up until today stands as a testament to the true condition of ordinary people on this planet. The story, which we must leave for the moment, continues with a slow rise in the relative power of ordinary people in England. But it was a rise that was quickly ponerised and misdirected by the same forces that Adam Weishaupt gathered together in his Order of the Illuminati. The ordinary people realised in due course that they held real power but by the time they came to exercise it they themselves had become subject to the thrall and dominance of that great evil, the psychopath, and its attended destruction of good and propagation of evil.

As ordinary people approached the time when they might gain real power under the existing systems the systems changed to move the seats of power always away from them. The outward appearance has remained in the form of parliaments, of Congress, of the judiciary, the police, the military and the other institutions but these have been steadily corrupted and the real seats of power moved ever deeper into the shadows. The role of the intelligence agencies in this move is not to be underestimated.

One aspect of the modern story that we should mention now is the continuation of the great theft that we have described above, Privatisation. Exactly the same argument was put forward for privatisation as for Enclosure, efficiency and improvement. We were told that it was impossible for state enterprises to make the changes necessary to 'modernise'. The fact that within a few short years private ownership achieved many great improvements is held out as proof of the original claim. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Either through their direct labour or indirectly through taxation, generations of our forebears had built the infrastructure, the assets and the systems that made the companies and corporations that provided transport, telephones, water, electricity and numerous other services and resources, many essential to life. With the arrival of Margaret Thatcher in the UK and Ronald Reagan in the US a wave of theft swept the economy. State owned enterprises, many natural monopolies providing essential public services, were packaged up and sold off.

The public were limited to acquiring a small percentage of each company while "professional investors" took the bulk. These professionals were of course the financial powerhouses of the world's financial centers who acquired these essential service companies for their own and their clients gain. Many companies have changed hands, some a number of times, since the original sale, often at many multiples of the original privatization price.

The services that are delivered have in some cases shown a marked improvement while in others they have steadily worsened. The simple truth is that governments could successfully have restructured the companies and made the much needed investments while retaining public ownership. It doesn't matter where you look, whether it is the sale of state housing or of state telecommunications, the tale is the same; the workers and public are far worse off in social as well as monetary terms as a result of privatization while the capitalist elite have made out like the bandits they are.

So you see, dear reader, that there is nothing new under the sun. The theft of our national heritage, our future and the future of our children through 25 years of the privatisation of the infrastructure that was built by our forebears and today through the pillaging of our governments in the form of bank and other corporate bailouts is just another page in the sad annals of history that record, for those prepared to look, the gradual theft of our property, our equality and our liberty. Our rulers have always justified their actions as "improvements" or for our own good while the moral crimes they have committed have been sanctified by the laws that they themselves enact all the while criminalizing resistance to them.

The economic situation we see around us today is no different from the theft of land under the Enclosures. We are bound by laws written by people whose principle motives have been and remain the continuation of the current order from which they and their masters profit; these laws therefore stand not as the bedrock of a just society but as the walls of our prison. Modern law seeks to protect the ruling elites as much today as the laws of historical England, many of which remain in place, protected the thieves of Enclosure. These laws protect our modern thieves and abusers because they have been written by them.

The myriad laws passed under the modern banner of terrorism are not aimed at real terrorists but at us, the ordinary people, while being written by those very forces that we know control and direct the terrorism that they claim to be protecting us from. Just as at 'Peterloo' when we take our displeasure on to the streets we are attacked by armed police for the simple act of holding and expressing views contrary to the established order. In fact we can easily be attacked by the thugs of state in simply going about our daily lives; a fact especially true the poorer a person is.

Today we find ourselves surrounded by the institutions of states built upon principles of theft standing on pillars of law enacted for our repression. We are surrounded by intelligence agencies that track us, watch us and listen to us. We are ensnared in a web of laws that encroach upon our communications and our thoughts. Resistance to the established order, just as in the time of transportation for protecting ones land rights, is punishable with the full weight of the law; a law that is as despotic today as the law of transportation was in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Since 1969 just three clauses of the Magna Carta remain in force in Britain.

Habeas Corpus has been suspended in the US for those that resist the empire, under the Military Commissions Act of 2006. The Habeas Corpus Restoration Act of 2007 which aimed to overturn the Military Commissions Act 2006 was filibustered by Republicans in the Senate and therefore never became law.

Habeas Corpus has been suspended in the UK, as in the US, under the guise of protecting us from terrorism. There is unrelenting pressure in Britain to allow the government to detain anyone it chooses for increasingly long periods without trial and without representation. It should not be forgotten that Britain and the US both have ignominious histories of detaining people without trial for long periods; in the US, the Japanese, in the UK, the Irish.

Whenever Habeas Corpus is suspended we should see it for what it is - the tolling of the bell for freedom. We find ourselves today much as those hapless English found themselves centuries ago; we have been disenfranchised; we are having our "land" in the form of homes, jobs, security, income and inheritance taken from us even as you read this; and we have lost our rights to privacy and to protection from wrongful arrest and imprisonment. We face forces arrayed against us as formidable as any known in history; forces that are preparing, just as those who have come before, to use every tool of repression available to keep us subservient, to keep us ignorant, divided and confused, thereby ensuring our political and economic impotence.

To be continued....


1. Harris v. Nelson, 394 U.S. 286, 290-91 (1969).
2. eg. The Great Debasement of English coin by Henry VIII coupled with inflows of bullion from the New World.
3. Newton Rebellion, June 8th 1608
4. One aspect of the war that has remained cloaked form public attention is the horror visited upon Ireland where Cromwell's New Model Army, the first professional army of modern European history, and those friends of all wars, disease and starvation, were responsible for the death of forty percent of the population.
5. Naomi Wolf, Give me Liberty, 2008
6. Douglas Reed, Lest We Regret, 1943
7. Douglas Reed, op cit
8. Douglas Reed, op cit
9. G.K. Chesterton, William Cobbett, 1925
10. Douglas Reed, Lest We Regret
11. Conduct or language inciting rebellion against the authority of a state (American Heritage Dictionary)
12. Tony Bunyan, The Political Police in Britain, 1976