IMPERIALISM, PLUTOCRACY, FRANCE, USA.
Abstract: One of my American readers is under the impression that I insult my American readers. I try my best to show below that his objections are not as deeply grounded as my observations. I am basically replying to his short note with visions of enormous contexts which change the debate completely. Put an ant in orbit, and its vision of things should change. Thus wishful thinking makes happy.
The concept of “emperors”, and plutocracy, are given meaning through some of the detailed history of Europe, America and the world.
Here are a few of the notions explored: 1) imperialism is, fundamentally, fascism at national, or civilizational level. It just extends military order over a vast territory. Sometimes it is necessary for the continuation of civilization, and there is nothing wrong with that. Europe was mostly at peace during the Middle Ages because of the Imperium Francorum, a gigantic empire with strategi depth that Rome dreamed of, and which kept the savages at bay. When that empire waned, and nation-states rose, so did war.
Fascism evolved as an instinct because it was the only way for groups of savannah dwelling, meat eating primates to survive, as super organisms, when struggling for life was the only way out. So fascism, intrinsically is not any worse than teeth, because one can eat people with them (don’t smirk: at the battle of Cannae, at least one Roman legionary with disabled limbs, left only with a functioning jaw, but still inhabitated with the offensive spirit, ate through his Punic enemy).
2) Most Americans know nothing about plutocracy, because they have been brainwashed into ignoring it, except to pay their respect (every plutocrat has to be called a “philanthropist” by Very Serious Americans). Hence the lamentable show, a sort of Godfather movie, on a continental scale, with everybody paying their respect to the hyper rich. Most American critiques mimic sheep who have never seen wolves, and don’t know what those big teeth are for.
The number one safeguard of plutocracy is to persuade the sheep, that there are no conspiracies, no plots. They live in the best, of all possible worlds. Whereas the evidence to the contrary is astounding. The CIA recruited bin Laden in 1979, the year Carter attacked Afghanistan. Murdoch, the plutocrat from Australia, and England, for years, has been rampaging through minds with his lies, lies which advantaged the plutocracy. And so on.
We even just learned that the FBI was harassing Hemingway. Few noticed. Only Hemingway knew, and his friends thought he was crazy, because he knew, and they refused to know, as good, Very Serious Americans, learn to do, early on. In other words, Hemingway’s friends became a way to drive Hemingway crazy, thanks to the FBI (they tried similar tricks with King). In all these naiveties, the lack of real history in America shines brightly.
But now America has stepped into the flow of history, and ignoring history is tantamount to be carried away by its furious flow. For example, CIA agents encouraged bin Laden to become an abject creature in the 1980s, far away. But that had some consequences in 2001, and thereafter, closer to home. One can pique history, but it may come back to swallow those who riled it up.
Differently from Americans, Europeans lived through history, and bask in its relevance. Or irrelevance. Sometimes too much so (as when the Flemish celebrate frantically a battle Philippe IV of France lost in 1302, which make them cling to a provincial mind set of the sort which could only welcome Nazism with open arms, in 1940; it all started with too much taxes requested by Philippe’s government on the textile industry, to annoy the Anglois; French nobles led a revolt, in 1302, and nowadays the Flemish seem to have gone crazy with the idea of their selfish mini state).
In France, since 1789, the People and the plutocracy have been at war always. This is one of the fundamental truths of France. It is more true than wine, cheese, and, of course, this is not the sort of concept which is brought to the attention of the American populace, with the urgency it merits.
Hostility to hyper wealth does not make France a welfare state, just the opposite: it makes France less of a welfare state for… the hyper wealthy (so they flee to Belgium, see above!) It also makes the country pretty nice, causing, paradoxically, a flocking of world plutocrats to buy real estate in France (making French property the most overvalued real estate in the world, among significant countries).
HOW GEOGRAPHY INFLUENCES PSYCHOLOGIES, AND THE HISTORIES THEREOF:
Countries have psychologies, arising from their geography, their histories, and the solutions they found to address them. Some countries are even more than that: they achieved the status of full civilizations.
Egypt was the first such a case: it was clearly both a country, and a civilization. That it was all along an incredible serpent of fertility unifying Nubia (i.e., Black Africa), the Mediterranean, Arabia, Mesopotamia and the Levant is no coincidence. It is a small example of why Europe became so superior later: as a nexus of ideas. One cannot just be a nexus by sitting there, though. One has to have the appropriate software. Egyptian fascism became too much at some point, and Egypt was taken over, as fascists often are, when they cross the line.
I am not embracing the Jared Diamond’s drift in “Guns, Germs, and Steel” that it was all a lucky accident that the beasts, the plants and god know what else, came to serve the Europeans (who, therefore, got plenty of lucky breaks they had nothing to do with). Actually Jared Diamond changed his music when he wrote “Collapse“. That later book was more philosophically correct (so it became less famous, did not get any Pulitzer prize, etc.).
In “Collapse”, Diamond observed that, faced with ecological collapse, during the Middle Ages, Europe and Japan reacted appropriately with strong governmental intervention (as usual with Americans, Diamond talks a lot about Germany, although the measures taken by the much stronger government in France where much fiercer, and have been unparalleled before or after, except may be in some Polynesian islands; people were interdicted from some regions, to let nature replenish itself, an old Polynesian trick).
My thesis, indeed, is that mental activity of the superior type is necessary, and often sufficient to insure civilizational survival. In the case of Egypt, too much intellectual fascism (perhaps necessary to resist the “People of the Sea” invasion) led to a mental collpase, and then sneaky subjugation by Libyans, and a slow descent into irrelevance. Plutocracy, a form of fascism, can lead to irreversible intellectual fascism.
Imperialism is still another form of fascism. Actually it is the generic fascism of countries and civilizations. But, as we will see below, it is a different notion from plutocracy. Amusingly, in the case of Rome, Roman plutocracy, having lost all control, killed Roman imperialism. Both were replaced by the Franks’ Imperium Francorum (which conquered, or reconquered, most of Western Europe, Jerusalem, and even Constantinople in 1204!) where imperialism long kept plutocracy in check.
What caused Roman decline? Very simple. In the USA the plutocrats and their lackeys in Congress do not want to pay for infrastructure and Medicare, Medicaid, schools, etc. So it was with the Roman plutocrats (it’s called the “Curial” crisis). But Romans plutocrats went further: they refused to pay for the army (and hid behind their private armies instead). Hence the invasions, and the need for the central government to… hire the enemy (and even to hire the Huns!)
China, or India, were other examples of countries which were civilizations. But that is also true for smaller ensembles, such as Japan, Vietnam, or Siam (Thailand), or Indonesia, were other examples of small, but full civilizations.
Some civilizations have known foreign occupation (China, under the Mongol yoke with the Yuan), or denaturation (Egypt, first under the Libyans, then the Greco-Macedonians, then the Romans, and finally, the coup de grace, under the Muslim Arabic overlords).
Other civilizations, of course were annihilated (the Mongols annihilated one Muslim empire, and the strongest Buddhist civilization ever).
The case of Europe is more complicated than anywhere else. Europe is a land of invasions and immigrations (differently from China, or even India, Yuan and Moguls excepted). The many peninsulas, mountains, seas and rivers, smack in the fertile, temperate center of the world (OK, a bit to the side), favored a wealth of mini civilizations interacting (quite a bit similarly, but on a much larger scale, to what had led to the supremacy of the Sumerians, or the Cretan-Egypt-Hittite complex, or the Greeks themselves; Greece had many of the characteristics of Europe, on one tenth the scale).
The Greco-Roman empire did not suppress the myriad of local mini civilizations. It accommodated them; that was central to the genius of the Roman empire. Cities were pretty much independent, as the Roman administration was incredibly efficient.
In the Late Roman Empire, the situation became even more diverse, by a strange twist of fate. The plutocrats basically refused to pay taxes, and it is not the People, addled by Christian fanaticism, pacifism, and a passion for the apocalypse, which was going to contradict them. Christianism acted as a form of anesthesia imposed by the plutocrats to common sense. So the central government made treaties with many small German nations. Some, like the Franks, a vast and multiple confederation, did not stay small very long: for them things were looking up, and they reproduced like rabbits.
Europe had to live with the interaction between local mini civilizations, and invasions, and evolved meta principles, long held ideas and emotions, which allowed the necessary compromises to flourish. This created a mood of openness intrinsic to Europe.
Reading this, Pericles would say:”I told you so! We already had that in Athens, what I called the Open Society!” OK, right, but it did not start with Athens. and also Athens completely contradicted that mood during her long war with Sparta, as she massacred small cities, just because, she could, as she argued at the time, in a rarely attained mix of idiocy, inconscience, and mass criminality.
The Franks were careful to never do such a thing (although, under Charlemagne, three centuries after Clovis, they mass deported some particularly obstinate Germans, from Northern Germany, to South Western France).
Europe’s habit of mixing things up may have started way back, when the Neanderthals fraternized with Africans (their descendants spread all the way to China and New Guinea!)
During the Neolithic, farmers from the Fertile Crescent (Levant plus Mesopotamia) migrated to Italy with their bioengineered plants (we know that from genetic studies). Greece itself was nearly annihilated by steel armed Dorians. Around the same time Etruscans moved from Asia to Italy. And according to legend, Romans and Franks escaped from a burning Troy, also located in Asia. Some will say:”Now you use legend to buttress your arguments?” Well, my point entirely: the Romans and Franks advertized heavily their alleged Trojan origin precisely as a celebration of diversity.
Later Germano-Celts invaded most of Europe. A lot of philosophy came with the Celto-Germans, that the Romans were deprived of (for example the attitude to women). After Caesar invaded the 80% of Gaul that the Romans were not controlling yet, a compromise was found. What came out was a genetically and philosophically mixed civilization.
A point here: Julian (the anti-Christian Roman philosopher-emperor), in an often quoted remark, pointed out that Western Europe was not inclined to philosophy or geometry. However Parisians troops elected him “Augustus” (supreme emperor, instead of just “Caesar”). And that made tremendous sense.
What Julian, a Greek, did not see, was that the philosophy of the West was founded in common sense. One could read all the philosophical treatises one wanted, but if they extolled superstition, or sexism, they were of no use to the Franks. Anyway, they did not read, that came only later. Common sense was the greatest force, as it spared the West from the worst of the Christian insanities, endless debates about this, that and the other thing about Dog God (said insanities directly inspired the Muslim insanities, a few centuries later, although the Qur’an kept them simple; the Qur’an is no more crazy than its direct inspirer Saint Augustine, who believed, and wrote, that most people would go to hell… Augustine did not reveal his sources, but he was believed… even by the Muslims.)
AMERICAN RAGE AND SUFFERING:
One of the commenter who graces this blog, John, took some umbrage from my latest essay. First he quoted the conclusion of the essay:
” France, of course, made a real revolution against its own outrageous plutocracy in 1789, and, ever since, French plutocracy has known that there are boundaries not to be trespassed before the People goes into the street, and all hell breaks loose.”
Then John blasted away:
“…ever since…” Oh, you mean as in the Empires of EMPERORS Napoleon I and III?
How stupid do you think we are? Both these naked imperial plutocracies (Emperors, duh) were only terminated by military defeats for the French. And initially both Napoleons’ military adventures had been ecstatically supported by the French public.
The French even tried to install an Emperor in Mexico in 1862. A Hapsburg, no less. Why? For exactly the same reasons the US is reviled now- economic and political hegemony in a faraway region with plenty of resources and a supposedly docile population.
Then there was the suppression of the Paris Commune- all hell broke loose that time all right…how did that work out for your “People?”
Don’t treat your American readers like fools. It’s insulting.”
IT’S NOT WHAT YOU THINK:
I replied to John in the comments, presenting excuses for giving the appearance of treating my American readers like fools. I don’t see what the interest of that would be. I am honestly searching for the truth. Why France ended with an uncle and his nephew calling themselves “emperors” is a long (his)story.
I have always been highly critical of Napoleon. Like Sade, and a whole current of thought with him, I thought that it was a mistake to try to ram down the French revolution all over Europe (although it worked in many places, such as Italy and Poland, see below). But the revolutionaries had been driven a bit crazy from the attempted extinction of the French Constitutional Monarchy in 1792, by a general alliance of all of Europe’s plutocrats.
John seems unaware of the full context in which the French “empires” arose. For a number of reasons to be evoked below, Napoleon was viewed as anti-plutocratic. Indeed, during the revolutions of 1830, people were crying out, in Paris, Belgium and Poland, for his son, the handsome Napoleon II, a colonel in the Austrian army, to become king of their respective countries. Plutocracy, like democracy, is relative.
There are no excuses for Napoleon III’s coup. However, Napoleon III, an utopian socialist, played an important revolutionary role in Italy, pushing back and out, both Austria, and the Pope’s secular power.
In France Napoleon III’s economic role was quite positive. That he was eaten by a bigger fascist fish (Bismarck) was unfortunate, in light of further developments… Nevertheless, of course, the nephew could have done all this by staying French president. On the funny side, he was the only Swiss national to have reigned over France.
THE WORST IN THE HISTORY OF FRANCE DOES NOT HAVE TO COME FROM FRANCE:
Well, that’s even true for the Germans and Nazis! Murderous anti-Semitism, generally viewed as a typical Nazi characteristic, is really, at the root, a Christian story. Hitler was preceded by 15 centuries of rabid anti-Judaism from the Christian churches. It’s important to know where ideas, especially the nastiest ones, come from.
France being in the middle of Europe, in more ways than one, has a lot to do with whatever goes on in Europe, and gts in a lot of problems, just because of her geographical position. Standing in the middle of the most hyperactive continent is not just exciting, it can be deadly.
Not every nation can enjoy the peace and tranquility of having an entire continent to itself, as the USA does (the real natives having been helped out of this suffering world, to enjoy the pleasures of the great beyond, as explained in the Bible).
in those times when France had the dubious pleasure of suffering two emperors, two kings, and two republics, during the Nineteenth Century, the USA was mostly standing out of history. Now the USA, just like France for 15 centuries and Gaul for three millennia (or the Franks for even longer if you believe them with Troy), is standing in the middle of history.
I am going to give an even more extensive answer to gentleman John here. It is hard to know where to start. Why? History is not just about facts, but how to link them in a logical network, of causes and effects. History has always a psychological aspect. Emotions become an integral part of history.
EMPIRE AND PLUTOCRACY ARE DIFFERENT NOTIONS:
Let me remark first that one should not confuse the notion of empire and the notion of plutocracy. In the original Roman meaning, imperial command was just ultimate military command, which was really very ultimate in Rome. Once, in the dying days of the republic, south of rome, two imperators (one of them the young and famous Pompey) greeted each other, a smile on their lips, with the title of imperators, thousands of legionaries standing behind each.
Caesar, viewed later as the first Roman emperor (he was made “dictator for life“), was the head of the “Populares“, and, although immensely wealthy, embarked on genuine works and reforms benefiting the People. He was assassinated just as he was embarking on an immensely ambitious military plan to secure all Eastern frontiers of Rome, in one stroke of genius.
Since Caesar had by far Rome’s, and the world’s, best army, ever, just then, Caesar’s planned jaunt through the Caucasus could well have worked. The insecure Eastern frontiers, in Germany and Mesopotamia, were probably the most prominent ingredient in the ultimate demise of Rome (so Caesar was right on that one, and his grand nephew of a successor, Augustus was wrong).
The Franks struggled for three centuries of continuous wars to secure the shortest Eastern frontier of Rome the Imperium Francorum in Europe. Exactly where Caesar wanted to have it. That work was completed by 30 years of continuous campaigns by Charlemagne (who got all the credit from those who don’t know the history).
Napoleon I, Napoleon III, and Hitler, all presented themselves as popular, anti-plutocratic leaders. That was the major part of their appeal, as far as the People were concerned. They made very clear declarations to this effect. Whether this was true or not, is a complicated question. It should be answered by noticing that plenty of non plutocratic emperors have existed. Many Roman emperors fall in that category. So do many Frankish kings and queens, or Charlemagne, Genghis Khan (not Kubilai Khan!), or Peter the great of Russia. All those characters tried genuinely to improve the condition of the People (certainly Marcus-Aurelius or Charlemagne, who were constantly at war, on the battlefield, did not wallop in luxury!)
Right now, clearly the West has an empire, a world empire. Various leading countries (USA, Britain, France, Germany, Japan) play the roles of the major cities of the Roman empire. Others play secondary, but still crucial roles (Canada, Australia, all of Latin America, South Africa, Singapore). Others are crucial allies (India). Some are ambiguously associated (Russia, China).
There is nothing wrong in having such an empire. There is actually everything right. Humanity cannot afford just one major rogue country, at this point in technology and ecology. That is one of the reasons why it is important to get rid of mad dogs, one by one (Kaddafi’s days are numbered, and then the pressure can be brought onto Assad’s dictatorship: Assad had plenty of time to make compromises! Attacking the French and USA embassy is not the right route; the French had to fire their weapons.)
What is wrong, though, is that, far from being a world empire of the People (the explicit aim of Rome, by the way), this de facto world empire is turning, as in Rome, into a de facto world plutocracy (see Murderoch, Rupert).
The turning of a society into plutocracy, as I try to explain, is a phenomenon which can, and will happen, in any isolated post Neolithic society, if it is not deliberately and explicitly contradicted (and ALL durable Neolithic societies had anti-plutocratic safeguards, even to the point of involving human sacrifices).
Unfortunately, under Obama’s pseudo democrats, all the levers are on full plutocracy, even more than they were under his predecessor the war mongering torture oriented plutocrat Bush. Obama can explain that whichever way he wants, the plutocratic facts speak for themselves. It is hard to fight plutocracy in Saudi Arabia, when it is venerated, like the new Golden Calf, in Washington and Manhattan.
PSYCHOLOGY, OR WHY THE MONGOLS ALLIED THEMSELVES WITH THE FRANKS:
When the Mongol reached the shores of the Adriatic in the Thirteenth Century, they had defeated, so far all Iranian, Georgian, Russian, Muslim and European forces they had met (and all the Central Asian and Eastern Asian forces too).
Only the army of the king of France and his vassals stood between the undefeated Mongols, and the Atlantic. However, the Mongols decided to push no further. Why? Because the Mongols remembered what had happened to their direct ancestors, the Huns: they had been crushed in “Francia”.
Avoiding Paris (“Lutetia“), Attila’s Huns had pushed as far as Orleans (“Aurelianum“), which they seized, and in which they suffered a severe defeat, the same day. Thereafter the retreating Huns, laden with booty, were shadowed by the army of the Franks, which hindered them until the Visigoths, and the main Roman army, could join the effort. The Frankish-Roman-Visigoth coalition inflicted a terrible defeat to the Huns.
Only the double game of the Roman commander Aëtius, saved whatever was left of the army and nation of the Huns, the next day. Aëtius maneuvered to persuade the Visigoths to leave the battlefield, and refused to let the Franks and the Romans mop up the Asiatic invaders. (Over the next few years, what was left of the Huns was defeated in Italy, and then thoroughly exterminated by the Germans as a military force.)
(Interestingly the Wikipedia articles in English in July 2011, on the subject of the Huns, mostly ignore the Franks, at the cost of a few blanks in the history; I don’t think that is an accident, it’s too blatant; the American anti-French racism has got to the point where the history of France is written, by American historians, about one of the two most important battles in France, without mentioning the Franks! Wow. I am not going to bother trying to enlighten Wikipedia further at this point: been there, done that. Working from inside has its limits: many Jews enrolled in the Wehrmacht, or even the SS, 163,000 of them, in the wehrmacht alone, to try to stop the Nazis from inside: it did not work too well…)
There were eight centuries between Attila’s smashing in France, at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains, and the Mongol invasion under the overall command of Genghis Khan! Thus the Mongols, through eight centuries of oral history (they had just acquired writing and an alphabet) drew lessons, and remembered them well. All the more since their victory in Hungary against all sorts of European knights came close to disaster.
In the end, the Mongols made friends with those Franks they respected so much, manu militari. The Mongols conquered Damascus and Baghdad with Frankish armies (this is often discreetly ignored). The Franco-Mongol alliance melted away, because the Pope and the French king were furious, and refused to accept the entreaties of the Mongols (on completely racist reasons caused by racial physical repulsion, as far as I can see; the fact 2 Mongol tribes were Nestorian Christian did not help; there was nothing the Catholics detested more than another version of Christianity).
The Mongols tried to defeat Egypt’s Mameluks alone. Instead, it’s them who got defeated. Then they did the next best thing to becoming Christian, and became Muslim instead (as the Pope had refused to send enough missionaries, in spite of official Mongol requests).
PLUTOCRACY IN FRANCE, & THE REVOLUTIONS IT LED TO:
Colossal plutocracy, closely tied up to the banking systems, was the essence of Francois I of France and Charles V (the latter was a Bourguignon, that is a “French”, sort of; in any case Charles V’s native language was French). Charles V had been elected emperor of Spain, and he soon ruled over all of Europe except France and England.
The private banking system’s entanglement with politics originated just then, as it allowed François Ier and Charles V to spend more than they had (in exchange for making the bankers ever more powerful; in the following century, no less than two Medicis, that is, daughters of bankers, became reigning queens of France, that is leaders of what was, with Spain, the most powerful state in the world; France was actually more powerful, as she was in the slow process of defeating Spain, an 80 years war which (re)-created the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Italy).
Colossal plutocracy in France, ever more outrageous, proceeded unabated until 1789 CE. The finances of the French government were broken, thanks to the war of creation of America, but fabulous fortunes were all over France, starting with the Catholic Church. (For a contemporary analogy, look at the Greek Church, immensely rich, and untaxed.)
Extravagant plutocracy in France was made blatant by the “Affaire du Collier“, when a besotted cardinal offered a tremendously expensive necklace to an impersonator, a well endowed countess, in the darkest gardens of Versailles, at night, believing she was the Queen he was enamored with (thanks in part to a fabricated correspondence). The thieves were arrested. King Louis XVI allowed the grave mistake of a very public trial.
Louis was less smart than Obama, who hid carefully the miscreants’ shenanigans, their immense thievery, and, for others, violation of human rights, and the laws of war. Just by prosecuting them not. A solution Louis XVI had refused. By honesty. Clearly, he had lost his head, would today’s plutocrats smirk.
In one case, the theft of a necklace. Prosecuted. Consequence: a revolution. On the other hand, 230 years later, astronomical theft, incredible violations: no prosecution, no revolution. So far. But, sometimes, there is worse than revolution, namely stagnation, devolution, decomposition, dissolution, annihilation. That’s where no revolution, ever, leads to. Hubris is not protective, far from it.
The French People did not believe the conclusion of the Affaire du Collier trial, which exonerated the Queen, and, in any case, the People could see the extravagant wealth and corruption in the upper reaches of the Court, and Church.
(By the way, although I gave a link to Wikipedia on the “Necklace Affair”, Wikipedia’s account claims that the Countess de la Motte, the main perpetrator, was not branded. That is not true. La Motte was branded. Just, she struggled so much she got branded on her voluminous breast, instead of her shoulder, so maybe Wikipedia averted its eyes, being American, and that a felony, no doubt; then La Motte bit the executioner, before fainting; these details are well known, and are even in a Dumas historical novel.)
REVOLUTIONS ALL OVER, ALL THE TIME:
The Revolution of 1789 corrected French plutocracy in part. As French and European revolutionary armies later headed by Napoleon expanded all over Europe, the old plutocracy got irreversibly trashed. The old plutocracy tried to reconstitute itself when Napoleon was brought down for good in 1815. But it did not quite succeed. The revolutionary spirit kept on simmering all over.
The July Revolution of 1830, immortalized, even for Americans, by the famous painting of David, Liberty Leading the People, spread its spirit throughout Europe. Belgium revolted against the Netherlands, and became independent in bloody street fighting. Then occupied Poland revolted against Russia. The following year, the Netherlands invaded Belgium, defeated the Belgians, but had to retreat when confronted to a French army sent by the (constitutional) July monarchy.
By the way, Poland had been destroyed by Prussia and Russia in 1795 CE. However, Napoleon recreated it as a state, the Duchy of Warsaw, and that state was, in turn, destroyed again in 1815 by the anti-Napoleon coalition. Poland would be recreated by the Versailles treaty in 1919 (to the horror of German fascists and their American friends), re-destroyed by Hitler in 1939 (with crucial American plutocratic help). Hitler actually tried to exterminate the Poles (first by starving them to death, secondly by creating Auschwitz… The Jewish extermination there was just an afterthought, a sort of multitasking).
WHY PLUTOCRACY WENT OVERBOARD IN FRANCE, BUT NOT ENGLAND:
France was a co-inventor of the modern era, while, like the rest of Europe, been saddled with extravagant plutocracy. France was bigger, and richer, so her plutocracy was bigger there than the one in England. England had gone through rebellions, revolutions, and even a republic, before being saddled with an oral constitutional monarchy of foreign origin in the 17C!
When the English King called Louis XIV of France to the rescue, the latter refused to send his army, the most powerful in Europe, to England. An uneasy alliance was established between the Dutch invaders and the English plutocrats, and soon Dutch and Jewish financial engineering funded on debt and the fractional reserve system, was reigning supreme in the British isles (the leverage provided by financial engineering is much of how France was defeated, as Great Britain was able to muster greater financing than its much smaller economy gave it naturally. In a way, a craftier plutocratic plot defeated France! The Rothschild were on both sides of the deed…)
Great Britain did not return the favor consented by Louis XIV, in 1792. Contrarily to what Louis XIV had done, or, rather, not done, Great Britain invaded France, although the French constitutional King, Louis XVI, had not asked for a British intervention. Of course, Russia, Austria, Prussia, and countless other plutocratic forces were invading France at the same time too. Nobody had asked the British to invade France in 1792, except for the old fashion international plutocracy, the so called aristocracy, which was exasperated by the French revolution’s redistribution of wealth, and the lamentable example it presented to the rest of the Peoples of Europe.
The Prussian army was defeated at Valmy, not far from Paris, by French artillery, using new, secret technology (September 1792). The republic was proclaimed. In the south, a Corsican captain would take care of the British.
PLUTOCRACY: ONE WAY IN FRANCE, THE OPPOSITE IN THE USA:
The recent history of plutocracy in France and the USA is completely different.
The case of the North American English colony was the exact opposite of that of France. It took nearly three centuries for America’s first billionaires. And the earliest of them, Carnegie, had a strong social conscience. Carnegie held that fortune ought to be taxed a minimum of 50%, with a strong inheritance tax, not the 17%, with no inheritance tax, which Obama’s pseudo democrats have made the law of the land.
Rockefeller agreed with Carnegie. But soon, not to be outdone, the wealthy Teddy Roosevelt, youngest American president ever, head of the republican party, embarked the USA on a seriously “progressive” agenda, busting trusts, and advocating enough income for the average American.
Teddy, a cousin of FDR, represented the late father of his spouse as their marriage. So they were close. FDR realized that the banks had violated the fiduciary monopoly they have to create money by leveraging government money, by creating money not for the economy, but for themselves, the banks, directly. That excellent system installed by FDR, was dismantled thanks to the hard work of Summers, Reagan, and Clinton. Obama, understanding nothing, hopefully, about the whole thing, advised by his close friends the kleptocrats, put Summers in power again. The most gigantic transfer of money from the poor to the rich in the history of manking ensued, very discreetly.
All the money which has not been going towards the average American, is now going to the hyper wealthy. The English colony in America, was, for centuries, the richest territory in the world, per capita. For the first time in its history the average real income has been going down, for more than a decade.
How did we get there? The American street, and unions, used to be strong. “May First”, known worldwide, as “Labor Day” celebrates a revolt in Chicago by the workers, and its bloody repression, where the judicial system was used to accuse, and execute, innocent progressives that the rich wanted to get rid of.
Now Labor Day has been moved to the other side of the year (but only in the USA), and Chicago is feted with economic Nobel Prizes to dignify a para-fascist economic doctrine which says that all good things of civilization will follow from tremendous financial profits of the few, and the fewer, and the more tremendous, the better. Obama was intellectually polished there. In that very university. Surprise: he thinks like them.
WHATEVER FRANCE DOES, IT’S IN A MULTI-MILLENNIAL CONTEXT:
French children study history throughout their education. France has much more varied, deeper, older, and fiercer traditions, than the American English colony. That’s a problem with being just a colony, and leaving it at that. The Americans ought to consider that European history is also their history, because it is much more instructive. Besides, it’s the truth.
France has been a great power for at least 15 centuries (and much more if one considers the Gallo-Romans, and the Celts before that). That is plenty of time to be duped by elites, and to constitute an entire library of the ways and means according to which one can get duped by the elites.
What do I mean by this? Here is an example, an inverted example. Just when Caesar conquered Gaul, a wealth of experiences on how to be misled was gathered. For example, a peace was brokered. A young aristocrat, Vercingetorix, disagreed with older leaders, including in his closest family, and restarted a war with Caesar. On paper, he had much larger forces, as Gaul, united, dwarfed Rome, or, at least the forces the Romans could put in Gaul. But Rome, and the bloody Caesar, were on the correct side of civilization. Sure enough, in spite of much higher numbers in his armies, Vercingetorix had to surrender to Caesar. The majority of Gaul had refused to support him. Instead the majority embraced Rome, and rejected the Druids. The majority had embraced the superior civilization.
It would have been a mistake to go all out with Vercingetorix, against the progress of civilization. The wisest Gauls knew this. (The myth of the cartoon “Asterix” is the exact opposite of what truly happened; although Gaul would stay the most unruly part, within the empire, a nexus of revolutions and rebellions; emperor Claudius was born in Lugdunum (Lyons), and soon Gallic senators were elected; thereupon, Gallia was simmering; no doubt that made the symbiosis with the rebellious Franks very easy.)
Another example; in the 16 C, France knew no less than seven religious wars. How did one get there? It is an immensely complicated story. The regency by the Catholic Catherine de Medici has something to do with it: when the daughter of a banker is in over her head, that’s what you get.
Initially the empire of the Franks, although it was led by very rich men, was not a plutocracy, as inheritance was divided equally. Differently from the Roman elites, who deliberately limited their births and intermarried, to foster their own power, the Franks did not care; when they were rich enough, they lived life, and provided for their many children equally, a per the law (this sort of law, of equal inheritance, and loving attitude to life, persists to this day in France, differently from the USA, where the dog can inherit everything, and Prussian style puritanism is still big).
FRANCE’S PERMANENT REVOLUTIONS:
The situation after the colossal French intervention in the American war of independence was extreme: France had won everything, but there had been strictly no profit in it. It’s a bit like the present wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: the USA has, at best, won a colossal defeat. Or two.
By 1789, thanks to investing in America, France was broke. Something had to be done. The Estates-General, having mutated themselves into a Constituent Assembly, found that a remedy was to break the hold of the plutocracy.
In 1789, plutocracy became the official problem of France. As I said, ever since, if lines are crossed by the French plutocracy, the People go in the street, and rebel. Most of the population did not see the revolution of 1789 as finished. After all the monarchy of 1815 was imposed by foreign powers. Cossacks, strutting down the Champs Elysees.
The Paris Commune is the most famous example of these revolutions. There have been four other examples of massive rebellions/revolutions/national cleansings, since the revolution of 1789. And I am not counting minor problems such as the Dreyfus Affair, and the Franco-Algerian civil war, although they were perceived at the time as near, or in the later case, literal, civil wars… When French troops left for Vietnam, in the early fifties, demonstrations were so violent, people got killed.
The Franco-Algerian war caused the death of hundreds of thousands, and the exile of millions. Many French people in full evidence today, quintessentially French, are actually some of these Africans in exile, or now their descendants. My own father was born and raised in Africa. The first time he visited continental France, he was in his twenties, in uniform, with a helmet, and a gun, having known already combat in Italy. Americans have no ideas about those things, nor the fact that Soviet and American intervention in Algeria, much behind the scene, some at the UN, evolved things the way they got. They were helped by de Gaulle’s confused racism (for want of a better word).
THE PARIS COMMUNE DID NOT FAIL:
John above seems to gloat about the failure of the Paris Commune. Failure? That is not clear. Supposing, for a moment, that Jesus existed, it’s not because Jesus died, that Jesus failed. Actually the whole point of that Christian myth is the opposite: sometimes the only, or best, way to succeed, is to die for the cause.
This notion of martyrdom was fully absorbed by the Christo-Islamist tradition, and is perhaps the main reason why this religion dominates the planet.
Even obdurate atheists such as yours truly, subscribe to many of the theses of Christo-Islamism; now, of course, martyrdom, for example, was fully understood, and endured by the Spartans at Thermopylae: thus a lot of Christo-Islamism just brandishes what was there before. Christianism embraced many notions which preceded it, and made them into religious notions. (An even more spectacular example is that Christianism embraced the central notion of Greek philosophy, the logos, namely, logic, as God, to ingratiate itself with the Antiquity’s main philosophical current. This strategy avoided a frontal shock between Christianity and Greek philosophy; if that had happened early, Christianism would have probably been wiped out.)
The Paris Commune was repressed in tremendous blood, true. Nothing to be proud of, for the conservatives. As many as 50,000 may have been executed during the savage repression, in one “semaine sanglante” (which was made in the name of the occupying German army, by the way… It was not that the French suddenly had an inspiration, and tried to kill as many French as they could. The Second German Reich had just been created in Versailles, subjugating both France, and Germany! See what happened in Bavaria…)
The number of people killed to crush the Commune was worse than in the Revolution of 1789. However, the futuristic measures voted by the Paris Commune were implemented later, worldwide. Those measures inspired not just revolutionaries such as Marx, and Engels, or Lenin, but all the democracies, starting with France.
So, ultimately, the Commune was a success. We all profit from it, to this day. The French Third republic admitted that much, by discreetly freeing, a few years later, all the Communards it had so severely punished. Louise Michel, deported to New Caledonia, with another 7,000, went back to France, and were reinstated. Crucial measures of the Commune, such as the separation of church and state, free secular education for all, were made into law.
Something called… Communism, even had some success, for a while. Many of the ideas of communism came from the Commune, were recycled all over Europe, before reaching the USA. The Commune worked very well, for all the People of the world. Premier Chou En Lai, or Chairman Mao, and Deng XiaoPing, or Lenin, explained that themselves. In truth, most of the ideas of the Commune are pretty standard nowadays.
NAPOLEON WAS AN IMMUNE REACTION TO BRITISH AGGRESSION:
John also evokes Napoleon, and brandishes him as an example of plutocracy. Well, not so fast. I personally despise Napoleon. However, if Great Britain had not attacked France in 1792, Napoleon would have not become a dictator. PM Lloyd George admitted that explicitly, more than a century after this tragedy happened.
The British invasion of Provence led directly to Napoleon’s fulgurant ascent. The British held Toulon, and the plan was to march north towards Paris. The French army around Toulon, a city surrounded by extremely sharp limestone peaks and cliffs, had been proven unable to dislodge the enemy. Napoleon, just an artillery captain, came up with an amazing plan. It was implemented, Bonaparte was wounded severely in combat, and the British navy had to flee.
To claim that Napoleon was “ecstatically supported by the French People” is not correct. Napoleon did execute and imprison many. Some were great men. Napoleon was put in power by the bourgeoisie, not the People. He was your basic military dictator, sustained by an oligarchy. He was extremely hated by a large part of the French revolution. During several of the revolutions I alluded to above, the Vendome Column, with Napoleon on top, was brought down.
However Napoleon was long perceived as a friend of the revolution and the revolutionary spirit, because he spent several years, in his early career, in what were basically counter-attacks against the rest of European plutocracy. The fact that Napoleon himself had turned into a plutocracy was such an improbable turn of events, it dawned only slowly on the French people. It would be a bit as if Obama turned into a Tea Party plutocrat, and saved the country by taking out Medicare and Medicaid.
I am unfair: Napoleon introduced many structures of socialist type, which have survived, to this day. Before Napoleon consolidated power, many had advised to not try to export the French revolution throughout Europe. One of the loudest was Sade, already one of the main actors of 1789.
The invasion of Russia by Napoleon in 1812 was forced by the on-going British blockade, which required the continent would act as one. The invasion turned badly, in part, it has been recently said, because of typhus. His army was mostly a pan-European army. Although his army had been annihilated, Napoleon revealed to Metternich, the French losses has been slight. No doubt that, if the West European forces had controlled Russia, Tolstoy, and other Russian nobles, would have been forced to free their serfs: Tolstoy could pose as a patriot all he wanted, but morality was not clearly on his side.
NAPOLEON III WAS A MIXED BAG:
It is easy to look at Napoleon III’s big disasters and spite him (as Victor Hugo did: he moved in England rather than staying under the dictator’s boot). However, it’s not that simple.
Napoleon III, who used to sit on the knees of his uncle Napoleon I, was elected president, but, later, grabbed illegal powers. Napoleon III, although bad, was not as bad as people imagine him to be, even at his worst. He plotted with Italian revolutionaries for decades, taking great risks. Finally Napoleon III defeated Austro-Hungary in a tremendously bloody war in Northern Italy, allowing the creation of an independent Italy, for the first time since Rome. Otherwise, it is possible that Northern Italy would still be under the Austrian yoke.
There was much blood at the battle of Solferino between 156,000 French and Piedmont-Savoy troops on one side, and 160,000 Austrians, on the other. 40,000 casualties, in a few hours. That was after the battle of Magenta when a French army defeated an Austrian army, with only a few thousands killed. The Swiss, alarmed, by this bloodbath on their doorstep, created the Red Cross. Napoleon III was himself deeply shaken. This may explain why he let Bismarck gobble Austria next.
PSYCHOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE USA & EUROPE:
I am not treating my American readers as fools. I am not even more anti-American than I am anti-German, or anti-French. Although I vaguely despise people who admire Napoleon, that does not make me anti-French. Ever since Napoleon became Consul, there has been a sizable part of the French population hating Napoleon.
The USA left the mainstream of history in the 17C, when England, shaken by civil war, left the American colony to its own instruments (England returned, at the point of a gun, after 1700). That made the USA stranger, and less European, in some important ways, than, say, South America (because South America stayed under European control until the 19 C… except for Haiti… where Napoleon distinguished himself by his brute stupidity and the thorough defeat visited upon him Haiti has not recovered from, to this day).
The Paris Commune fought for the future. The roughly contemporary American Secession war fought for against something completely different. A horrible zombie from the past, devouring humanity and civilization. The American Secession war was the attempt to correct a huge historical mistake, a genuinely American mistake, the American institution of slavery.
Slavery was created in 1619, in Massachusetts. The same state were, soon after, the city government paid for Indian scalps. (Thus the French cannot say that Dominique Strauss-Kahn is treated unusually bad! He is just an alien, Wall Street wants its scalp!)
Slavery was peacefully outlawed under the governance of the Merovingian queen, Bathilde (who was herself an ex-escaped slave, later purchased by the King, who then married her, a tale which says a lot about the strangely republican characteristics of the Imperium Francorum). That was in the middle of the seventh Century, a full millennium before the Europeans who had immigrated to America reinstated slavery there.
Why so much psychological and civilizational devolution? Europeans, by invading the deep woods of America, and running with the savages, became themselves savage. It’s not all bad: sometimes savagery resets the priorities right. It’s an important part of American psychological inheritance.
The American revolution was more a rebellion than anything else. De facto, the English American colony was already run as its own republic. It was just a question of expulsing the occupying army. A real revolution changes society deeply.
When asked about the impact of the French revolution, Premier Zhou Enlai (the guy who was running China while Mao frolicked with nurses, and his wife plotted revenge) famously told an American delegation:“Too early to say.” It was assumed he talked about the French revolution of 1789. 1789 too early to say? That would have been a bit surprising, since the Revolution of 1789 is all over China, all over the United nations Charter, and all over the world. Zhou Enlai, who had been educated in revolution in Paris itself, with so many of his colleagues, knew better.
Indeed one of the American officers with Kissinger at the time has just revealed, 30 years later, that Zhou Enlai was referring to May 68. May 68 spread to Prague, and led to the Soviet invasion of August 1968. That event, like the crushing of the Paris Commune, may have looked like a failure of revolution. In truth it was reculer pour mieux sauter (backing up, to further jump). After the Soviet 1968 invasion, a meek form of the bloodbath of the Suez-Hungary invasion (40,000 killed in Hungary), Soviet fascism had lost all and any moral authority.
MAY 68 WORKED:
May 68 did have an impact on Europe. It ushered a new, more thorough critique of society. The old left (of the Communist Party and “Internationale Socialiste”) came under as much condemnation as “capitalism”. Ecology was taken seriously, old framework of thought, shattered. The impact of European construction was immediate, and very deep.
The American supported dictatorships in Southern Europe (Portugal, Spain, Greece) were definitively rendered contemptible and intolerable. They were forced to integrate the European Union as democracies, not American CIA playthings.
And that was just the beginning. Many of the ideas of May 68 led to farseeing efforts in Europe to curb ecological abuse. The USA refused to follow suit (and so did, initially some of its lackeys, such as China; although now clearly China knows that was a mistake, and is going the other way). Actually the USA has been going in the opposite way to May 68 in nearly all ways. But of course, the USA did not go through May 68. There was enough of a spirit of revolt in the USA for Johnson to say he would not run for the presidency. And there were riots. But, differently from France, the entire country did not go on strike, as France did, for four weeks.
World history is complex, it’s not just about nationalistic schemes, and whether America is tops, or bottoms. For example Chancellor Bismarck, who brought down Napoleon III, was himself a fascist. However, Bismarck was not as much a fascist as those who succeeded (and overthrew!) him. Bismarck introduced free, universal health care, in a way which worked, in a way which works to this day, and which was much less plutocratic than Romneybama care. American readers should learn about it, to would feel less foolish. And to try to understand why they great progressive leader treat them less good in the Twenty-first Century than Bismarck treated Germans in the Nineteenth Century.
Right now, in the best French tradition, people have protested in the streets in Greece and Spain. France is eerily calm, as the economy is doing pretty well, and the People understands that things are not simple. The French see even the reviled Sarkozy trying to implement reforms, worldwide, which are blocked by worldwide plutocrats. Ditto with Cameron, who has kept some of the anti-plutocratic measures of his predecessor. Hence London financial pirates are fleeing to Geneva… Now the Swiss can be squeezed into submission, all right, but it won’t help, as long as plutocrats can flee to Singapore, or buy New York justice.
We need anti-plutocratic revolutions more than ever. Rothschild explained, nearly two centuries that, individuals such as himself, who created money, were the real power behind the throne. That creation of money is a monopoly which was kindly given by the People to those peculiar individuals.
I do not like USA president Jackson ( he was as bloody and empire minded as Napoleon, but, of course, his imperial invasion was a success). Jackson was ferocious, and he is one of many American early presidents who saw through bankers’ tricks, and did not let them invade the USA. Instead Europeans financed canals.
Meanwhile plutocratic finance has captured the USA, as FDR’s silent revolution, the Banking Act of 1933 (“Glass-Steagall”) was overturned by the silent coup instituted by Wall Street, using individuals such as Summers.
A new revolution is in order. But to work, it will need a lot of technical knowledge on derivatives and high frequency trading. Most opposition figures are blissfully unaware of these concepts (not Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a top university full professor in economics, which may explain the furor of New York media against him: when the master indicates irritation, his dogs bark against the offending individual).
As long as most people are, blissfully unaware, nothing will happen. Except, of course, if enough people get infuriated, and start to break things, which is what happened during the Revolution of 1789.Peopleo ideas have to win. Mastering all too high high frequency trading is easy: just impose a financial transaction tax. If one can get enough votes to bomb out mass murdering dictators, one should be able to get that passed at the United Nations. Mastering derivatives would be more refined in the details, but there, too, just as with Tax Heavens, the UN should be most helpful.
Right now, pirates have taken control of finance. Democracy needs to put them out of commission, and recover mastery of its economic destiny. In an important, it is indeed too early to know if the fight against outrageous plutocracy started in 1789 has been a success. Right now, with its capture of the American mind, and of the American political system, it looks like a failure, as other plutocrats are all too ready to point out that, should they be left behind, their own countries would be left in the dust with them.
And what is wrong with the idea of a Flemish mini state? Simple: one of the main reason of the defeat of 1940 was the neutral Netherlands, and neutral Belgium. In truth, they should not have been neutral, because they were democracies, and clearly, in danger of being gobbled up by the racist dictatorship next door (which had gobbled up several Germanoid territories). But they were neutral, because they thought France could take care of Nazi Germany, so why should they make any effort?
Hitler, though had a plan taking into account French empathy. So he attacked Belgium and the Netherlands with even more brutality than he had attacked Norway (where war crimes had been committed). The French command, in a debauch of astounding stupidity, sent its mobile reserve army, seven armored divisions better equipped than the ten Nazi Panzer divisions, through Belgium, into the Netherlands. That was a trap. The real Nazi thrust was way south.
When Churchill flew to Paris he asked the French commander, genral Gamelin (an idiot):” Où est la masse de manœuvre?(“Where is the strategic reserve?) To which the idiot replied, and it was the truth:”Aucune”.(“None”) The reserve had been sent to the ingrate, anti-French Flemish, or thereabout, celebrating 1302 CE.
The situation would have been very different if Belgium and the Netherlands had been allied, a few months, or even a few weeks, prior. Similarly, if Sweden had not been busy selling high grade iron ore to Hitler, and 88 mm guns, Hitler would have had no tanks, no guns, and would have been much deprived.
(Britain having an army would have helped too. Let alone some American growling, which would have scared German generals into submission, before they were irreversibly stained by war crimes the Nazis induced them to commit.)
Nowadays France and Britain are squeezing the juice out of Kaddafi, and the bloody Assad is next. However small European countries don’t help much. Their reasoning is the same as in 1940: let France and Britain take care of the local fascists, in the meantime we shall be rich, because we shall pay less tax. Oh, and this time the Americans are in it too, so why us worry?
This is exactly the sort of reasoning which was the proximal cause of the fall of the Roman empire (hyper fascism and Christianized fascism came later, after enough defeats): the fewer taxes, the less army, the less civic sense, the better. Fortunately, this time, the USA stands with France and Britain, yes. However, their resources are not infinite, and they may have to pay themselves, some way. (The French and American ambassadors just displeased Assad by going to visit one of the cities the Assad family already killed more than 20,000 people in recent decades.)
Although it does not look so, there is a global organization of the planet. Here is an example of a global conspiratorial plot. Pakistani nuclear scientist gave North Korea (and Kaddafi, among others…) the means of building nuclear bombs. In turn, USA plutocrats (such as G. W. Bush) directly used U.S. taxpayer money to develop Pakistani nuclear BOMBS. So, basically, through a little intermediary, the military-industrial complex of the USA financed North Korea to threaten the USA, allowing then to have a pretext to build a very expensive anti-ballistic missile system to protect the West Coast of the USA. Just like with bin Laden, but bigger and subtler.
Stand reassured: anti-ballistic defense probably will not work, and that will be an even bigger surprise than 9/11.
Sometimes revolution is the only solution. And not just in Egypt.