economics

Anarchism Which is not Anti-colonialist is Just Racism in Disguise

Saying you are opposed to Capitalism and the State without talking about Imperialism and Colonialism is quite a strange thing to do. It is in fact suspicious, as it indicates not only that you live in an imperialist country and enjoy the benefits of this, but also that you refuse to admit this fact. I am afraid to say this makes you a racist, even if you don’t realist it. Like with drugs, the first step to giving up racism is admitting you have a problem. The UK Anarchist movement has yet to take this first step.

Divide and Rule Affects Anarchists Too

Many people living in Imperialist countries whose armies have invaded other people’s territory to exploit their labour power and resources may feel pissed off at the government for reasons that have nothing much to do with Imperialism.

They may feel that their taxes are too high, for example, or that the government is letting too many immigrants come into the country, or not providing enough public services. In all of these examples such people may actively support even more imperialist government policies to bring more wealth to the country, such as wars of aggression and tightly regulated border controls between imperialist countries and their colonies.

Basic to the age-old Imperialist strategy of divide and rule is the placing of members of certain ethnic groups in privileged positions in relation to others. In settler-colonies such as the modern day Israeli-occupied Palestinian West Bank, the settlers are the group given the privileges by the government, while the indigenous people are subjected to racist oppression. In imperialist “home” countries it is the “indigenous” population which is given privileges by the State whilst migrants from the colonies and their descendants are racially oppressed. Modern day Israel is also a good example of this, as people of Palestinian Arab descent are systematically excluded from political and economic power.

Sticking with the example of Israel, let us examine the Israeli Anarchist movement. Judith Butler, in a lecture available online misleading called “Queer Anarchism and Anarchism Against the Wall” (which in fact barely mentions Queer Anarchism at all) offers a critique of certain sections of the Israeli Anarchist movement which talk about their struggle against the Israeli state as something separate from the Palestinian people’s struggle for self-determination.

Butler points out that many Anarchists, not just in Israeli but all over the world, wrongly understand “self-determination” to mean “the creation of a State”, which is not necessarily the case. Though it is of course true that many Palestinians do wish to see the creation of a new State of “their own” (which to Anarchists would be an impossibility since States are always controlled by elite minorities rather than whole populations) many other Palestinians keep the ideas of self-determination and State-creation deliberately distinct.

This confusion on the part of Anarchists living in Imperialist countries between anti-colonial struggles for self-determination and chauvinistic nationalist struggles for the creation of new States does not just apply to Palestine, but indeed to all anti-colonial struggles. This leads many anarchists from such countries to refuse to support any anti-colonial struggles unless they are explicitly anti-statist, which is very rare.

Point 4 of the UK Anarchist Federation’s Aims and Principles

… is typical of this confusion, stating:

We are opposed to the ideology of national liberation movements which claims that there is some common interest between native bosses and the working class in face of foreign domination. We do support working class struggles against racism, genocide, ethnocide and political and economic colonialism. We oppose the creation of any new ruling class. We reject all forms of nationalism, as this only serves to redefine divisions in the international working class. The working class has no country and national boundaries must be eliminated. We seek to build an anarchist international to work with other libertarian revolutionaries throughout the world.

Notice that there is no distinction made here between different types of nationalism, indeed the first sentence talks about “the ideology of national liberation movements”, as if they were all the same. They do claim to support “working-class” struggles against colonialism, but what does this mean in regions of the world that remain industrially undeveloped or where capitalist modes of labour relations have not been fully established?

The first sentence also mentions “claims that there is some common interest between native bosses and the working class in the face of foreign domination”, but it does not actually offer any argument against these claims, because there is none. No-one can deny for example that the Chinese working class is better off now than they were under colonialism, even if they are still horribly exploited.

But being less exploited is in their interest, and it has come about because of the interests of their “native bosses” in promoting export-led industrial development. The Communist Party has an interest in enriching itself and trying to outcompete the West, and this has led to increases in the standard of living for working class Chinese people as well.

This refusal to provide an analysis of how capitalist economies actually work, beyond the simplistic communist view of that money and wage-labour are inherently wrong and need to be ended, is perhaps part of the reason for these baffling claims against economic nationalism being in the interests of working class people.

What I think the Anarchist Federation mean to say is “being oppressed by native bosses is not as good as being your own boss”. So why don’t they just say this, instead of ruling out support for any anti-colonial movement that calls itself nationalist?

Benedict Anderson argued that “nations” are Imagined Communities, in his book of the same name, because in any nation there are too many people for them to all personally know one another, yet they still think of one another as a community.

Is it not possible, therefore, to imagine a community that you might even use the word “nation” to describe that does not have a State? Anarchism is after all the philosophy that communities don’t need States to exist or manage themselves. But the Anarchist Federation claim that any form of nationalism “divides the working class” and that “national boundaries must be eliminated”.

I would argue on that it is rather Nation-States that divide the working class and that it is the institutions of border control between such States that must be eliminated. If this happens then it really doesn’t matter in economic or political terms whether or not people choose to identify with nationalist concepts.

In the same lecture about Israel, Judith Butler mentions the “age-old” question of whether Anarchy can only exist if there is a State for it to be opposed to, or if Anarchy is instead something that can exist without States, even though it is defined in relation to them.

I would say that of course Anarchy can exist without states, and that just because the word means “without State” it doesn’t mean States have to actually exist for the concept to make sense. Before there were States people obviously didn’t use the word “Anarchy”, because it wouldn’t have meant anything, like how no one used to talk about “organic” food before chemical pesticides and fertilisers were invented. But just because they may have used different words back then it doesn’t mean people’s food wasn’t organic or their societies anarchic by the definitions we use today.

The words “self-determination” are much less confusing, because they are framed in positive terms. Anarchists would perhaps be better off describing their beliefs in such terms, especially when engaging in anti-colonial struggles. If a group of people “imagines” themselves to form part of a national community and organises a political movement calling for their “self-determination”, there is nothing wrong with this in itself from an Anarchist standpoint.

The problem only comes when people start conflating the concepts of “self-determination” with “state creation”, and as anti-statists Anarchists should be the main people voicing opposition to this conflation, rather than conflating it in our own heads as well.

This means instead of closing our eyes and putting our fingers in our ears whenever we hear about a group of people struggling in the name of their national identity, we should actively participate in these movements as much as possible in order to promote an anti-state perspective from within.

It is strange that organisations like the Anarchist Federation do not apply this logic to anti-colonial struggles when it is precisely the same logic they use to justify their engagement with workplace and community struggles more generally. In these struggles, the Anarchist Federation argues, it is necessary for anarchists to be present in order to counteract the tendency of authoritarian and statist groups, whether Marxist, Liberal or whatever, from taking decision making power over the direction of the struggle away from the rank-and-file.

Anarchists do this not only because it provides opportunities to spread our critiques of States and authoritarianism to wider audiences, which is more like a by-product of taking up this role within wider social movements, but also because we believe that if Statists take control of struggles then the rank and file have already lost, whereas we want them to win.

As anti-capitalists, Anarchists desire a world in which the concept of being “working class” becomes meaningless, because there would be no other classes to compare it to. Yet we are happy to call ourselves “working class” right now in order to join in struggles with other people who identify with this label. So why can we not apply the same logic to nationalism?

Just as we criticise Marxists for claiming that working class self-determination can only be achieved by the creation of a Workers State, so should we also be arguing that national self-determination (whatever nation you might be talking about) is not dependent on the creation of a Nation State, but is actually severely damaged by it.

White Supremacist Anarchism

If anarchists living in imperialist countries (such as Russia, Israel, the US and all the EU countries) do not participate in anti-colonial struggles which are being fought against those same states, then we can only conclude that they do not really care about destroying the State they are oppressed by, or in preventing anti-colonial struggles from being taken over by Statists.

If this is so it suggests that they are in fact merely pretending to be opposed to inequality when they really want to maintain their own privileges over colonised people, whom they are also happy to allow to continue to be oppressed by States, whether “foriegn” or “native”. As they will almost always have a different ethnic identity to the colonised people whose struggles they refuse to declare allegiance with, this position must be seen as fundamentally Racist.

I do not mean to suggest that this racism is conscious, and I know full well how quickly people can lose their tempers once accusations of subconscious oppressive attitudes start getting thrown around. In the past Anarchist Federation members have argued that their position is justified because some of their members are from the same countries as the anti-colonial movements which they criticise. This was the apparently the case with an article they produced which criticised the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka for being nationalists, at a time when Tamil civilians were being brutally murdered and one might have expected words of solidarity instead.

If this article was written by somebody of Sri Lankan Tamil descent, then of course it doesn’t make much sense to accuse them as an individual of being racist. But the Anarchist Federation was not a presence at any of the Tamil Solidarity demonstrations going on in the UK at the time, nor has it been very involved in anti-colonialist solidarity activism in general.

Instead they focus mainly on the struggles of unionised workers in the UK, who are predominantly White Europeans of British descent and so are already extremely privileged compared with other ethnic groups. Though the Anarchist Federation is heavily involved in anti-fascist activities, to its credit, it does not emphasise an opposition to racism in UK society more broadly, and is itself a disproportionately White organisation, despite its black (and red) flag.

The main emphasis of the AF is on issues of economic oppression, which also reflects the fact that it is a predominantly White (and Male) organisation. The minority of Female-identifying and Queer members has enabled a shift towards recognising the necessary interconnectedness of struggles against both class society and patriarchy, but so far even this has been limited and no comparable shift towards an anti-racist focus has occurred.

Islamophobic Anarchism and Atheist Chauvinism 

This may also have something to do with the AF’s 10th point in its Aims and Principles, which declares:

We oppose organised religion and cults and hold to a materialist analysis of capitalist society. We, the working class, can change society through our own efforts. Worshipping an unprovable spiritual realm, or believing in a religious unity between classes, mystifies or suppresses such self-emancipation / liberation. We reject any notion that people can be liberated through some kind of supernatural force. We work towards a society where religion is no longer relevant.

Though an improvement on the previous wording of this point which simply said “we are opposed to organised religion and religious belief”, the fact that this is even part of the Aims and Principles is clearly going to disincline the vast majority of the world’s population from wanting to have anything to do with the organisation. When I was a member of the Anarchist Federation I witnessed and participated in many discussions on this issue and found that the Anti-religious faction was simply too powerful within the organisation for there to be much hope of this changing.

This is one of the reasons that I declared in my “Critique of the Anarchist Federation” that the organisation should just be abandoned and a new one formed, because it is too set in its ways to be reformed, much like the State it purports to oppose.

I found many Anarchist Federation members, and other White UK anarchists generally, to hold Islamophobic views almost identical to the fascists they opposed. Many Anarchists fall into the trap of accepting the Fascists’ own terms of the debate, including the assumption that Islam is inherently authoritarian and sexist.

Most Westerners have a very poor understanding of the core teachings of Islam, and Anarchists are no exception. All you need to do in order to be considered a Muslim, according to the most liberal interpretations of the Koran, is declare belief in a single God and Mohammed as the messenger of that God. In itself this has nothing to do with the question of whether or not one is opposed to the state or has a materialist analysis of capitalism.

Going one step further in being a good Muslim than simply saying you think the Koran is genuinely the word of a single God who actually exists, you could also decide to pray 5 times a day (which is mainly just declaring the first point over and over again), give 2.5 per cent of your income to the poor, fast during Ramadan and try to visit Mecca at least once in your life.

That’s it. Those are the 5 pillars of Islam and everything else is pretty much optional (again, according to the most liberal interpretations). Women don’t have to cover their faces, and have the right to divorce their husbands. All races of people are considered equal. Usury and inequalities of wealth are considered immoral. Oppressed people have the right to fight back against oppression.

Rather than being opposed to Anarchism, liberal forms of Islam actually complement it incredibly well. Any religion that emphasises “One God, One Authority” can also be interpreted as an anarchistic statement that “there should be no human authority in the material world”.

Just because you don’t believe in God doesn’t give you the right to say that people who do cannot be true revolutionaries. Just because you were brought up to believe in Christianity – a particularly illogical religion which tries to say that God both is and isn’t human at the same time –  then lost your faith in it later, that doesn’t mean you know everything about all world religions.

Believing in “materialism” as the Anarchist Federation claims to, usually means having been raised in a society where you have been able to achieve a high enough standard of scientific education to be able to get at least the basic gist of both the Biological Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection and the Cosmological Theory of the “Big Bang” as well as the Socio-economic “Labour Theory of Value”.

These theories are all on the State school curriculum’s of many Western countries, and open discussion of them is not punishable by law. This is not the case in most of the rest of the world.

Even if many anti-colonial political organisations may be “secular” this does not make their members Athiests, and secularism is in fact more often used to help people of different religious faiths get along rather than to help them get along with athiests.

I am not going to claim that refusing to work with religious people is actually racist, even though the majority of people who take such a hard line against religion are likely to be from ethnically privileged backgrounds. What I will say though is that it does nothing to help the aims of the movement, which I understand to be the achievement of greater working class unity around the world.

There is no reason why someone cannot have both a materialist analysis of capitalism and a moral one which is prepared to actually call capitalists and governments Evil. The use of moral language in political discourse makes for much more powerful propaganda than just “holding to a materialist analysis of capitalism”. If you say “capitalism is against our interests as a working class people” the obvious response is “So what? Who are we to assert our interests anyway, in a value-free materialistic universe?” but if you also say “revolutionary activity is the only moral thing to do” then you hit people where it hurts, their hearts.

Non-white people living in the UK, or the world in general, are much less likely to be Atheists. This means that most people actively struggling against colonialism – and therefore against presently existing States – have some kind of religious view. Saying that they “worship…an unprovable spiritual realm [which] mystifies or suppresses [their] self-emancipation/liberation” is not only a terrible way to express solidarity with them, it is also quite clearly not true.

Religious faith is often cited by its practitioners to be the only thing keeping them going in tough times, such as when they are fighting revolutionary wars against the State for instance. Far from “suppressing” their self-emancipation, religious teachings often provide a catalyst for it, for example when Malcolm X encouraged Black people in the US to organise for “self-defence by any means necessary”.

This was a most revolutionary idea and one which was based on Islamic religious teachings that legitimise violence against oppressors. Indeed, one of the last things the Prophet Mohammed said to his followers before he died was “do not oppress, and do not be oppressed” which could be considered an elegant summing up of anarchist revolutionary practice.

Again, just because you may see your own society’s dominant religion – Christianity, for most Westerners – as a force keeping down the working class in your country, it doesn’t mean that religious belief necessarily always plays this role everywhere in the world.  Even Christianity has sometimes been used as a catalyst for revolutionary anti-colonial and anti-capitalist struggles, especially in Latin America, where many Catholic Priests influenced by “Liberation Theology” even took up arms themselves against the State alongside poor people.

If the Anarchist Federation, or any other similar organisation, wants to be a private members clubs for atheists only, it should choose another name. Christian, Islamic, Buddhist and Hindu Anarchists have all played roles in world history and will continue to do so. So will anti-statist nationalists involved in anti-colonial struggles.

Anarchists of all ethnic and religious/philosophical identities should unite on the basis of a shared commitment to the self-determination of all people and the negation of all States, and leave religious and national/racial identities out of it.

Then we might just stand a chance of really becoming a global working class movement.

 

 

 

The Key to Understanding Imperialism is Knowing Who Prints Money

Introduction

If you suggest to most people that almost all the political unrest, war and economic crisis in the world is the result of the manipulations of tiny elite groups of people they will probably call you a conspiracy theorist. But the reality is that all the information you would need to prove such a statement is freely available to the public.

The reason people are still largely unaware about the true nature of the Global System is that this information is usually dressed up in jargon that is deliberately designed to be incomprehensible to most people. In this essay I will try to explain some basic economic concepts using only normal English language. If any readers are still confused by anything I write here please let me know by leaving a comment and I will try to explain it in an even simpler way.

The essay begins by explaining who prints money in the Western world, and how these same people can be said to control the governments and economies of the West. Then we will look at how the system for printing money in many countries which oppose the West is organised differently, but still in a way which means that a small minority have all the power over the economy.

Lastly I will explain two completely different systems that I think are much fairer and democratic, and which I believe it is necessary for people to struggle in order to replace the current systems with. Both the systems I will propose can be said to be Anarchist systems, which means they are organised in a way which discourages inequalities of power from forming, and which do not require the existence of governments to function.

I should make it clear at this point that I am writing from an Anarchist perspective. This means I am biased against both governments and capitalists, so readers should bear this in mind. I am also not going to cite any sources, because hopefully once you read this you will already know what kinds of things to type into Google to find more detailed academic information which I am certain will confirm what I am going to tell you.

Central Banks Control the West

By the West I mean the United States and the European Union as well as all the countries around the world which are dominated by them. The most powerful military forces in the Western world apart from the US and the EU States are Israel, Australia and Japan, who should be considered Western countries even though they are not geographically in the Western world. Despite decades of struggles against Western Imperialism, the majority of other former European colonies in the world are still hopelessly weak in the face of Western military and economic power.

Most of these former colonies are in unimaginably huge amounts of debt to two financial institutions which work closely together, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), both of which are run by Western governments and investors. This debt gives the West power to dictate what the economic policies of other countries should be, through IMF “Structural Adjustment Programmes” (SAPs).

These SAPs do in fact sap the wealth from all these countries and convert it into money that ends up in the hands of Western Governments and businesses. This is because, as the name suggests, they adjust the structure of these country’s economies into whatever shape Western governments want them to be in. For example, if the West doesn’t want a rival government to develop its industry by educating it’s people and putting money into new industrial companies, the IMF will tell that government that it must take money away from schools and spend it’s money only on developing agriculture instead.

The IMF also always says that governments must not put taxes on foreign products or investment money being imported into the country. This makes it very easy for Western companies to buy all the best businesses in poorer countries and to make sure everyone in those countries has to buy Western products instead of their own. The poorer governments have no choice but to do what the IMF-World Bank system dictates because if they don’t it will punish them by not letting them borrow more money, or by raising the interest on the money they already owe.

The Treasury Department is the name given to the part of a government which looks after its money. But all of the money that most governments have is actually debt to banks. For poorer countries most of this debt is to the World Bank/IMF but even powerful Western governments are also in huge amounts of debt to their Central Banks.

Central Banks are a special type of bank that has the power to print a country’s money. The US Dollar is printed by a bank called the Federal Reserve, the British Pound Sterling is printed by the Bank of England and the Euro is printed by the European Central Bank.

All of these banks are actually private companies, not parts of the government, even though they have names which make them sound like they are. Western governments all used to print their own money themselves, but starting with Britain in the 1690’s they all gradually changed this to let private companies have this power.

This means that Government Treasuries in these countries don’t actually print money. Instead they print things called “Treasury Bonds”, which are just pieces of paper that basically say “please lend the government some money, and if you do this piece of paper will mean we promise to pay you it back, at interest”. They could just print money themselves, and not have to pay interest at all, because after all, they are the government and have lots of guns, so who is going to argue? But they don’t.

Instead they let these private businesses called Central Banks print lots of their own money and then buy these “Treasury Bonds” with it. This means that the government has money to buy more guns and do all the things governments do and the banks have lots of pieces of paper which say the government promises to pay them back. This gives the Central Banks a lot of power over Western governments to tell them how to run their economies and also what policies they should have in dealing with other countries.

For example, after the Bank of England was created and given the power to print money in the 1690s the country whose government it now controlled – Britain -became a huge empire all around the world which murdered millions of people, enslaved millions more and made lots of money for itself to pay back its debts to the Bank.

Similarly, after the Federal Reserve was created and given the power to print dollars in 1913, the United States government stepped up its own efforts to become an imperial power and eventually was powerful enough to force most of the world to use the dollar to trade in important goods like Oil.

Even now the United States will invade any country with a government that tries to trade its oil in a different currency, because this will mean among other things that the owners of the Federal Reserve will make less money. Since the War on Terror was announced in 2001 there have been Western military and secret service interventions in many Oil producing countries for this very reason: Invasion of Somalia by US 2002, Attempted Coup in Venezuela by US secret agents 2003, Invasion of Iraq by UK and US 2003, Lebanon by Israel 2006, Libya by UK, US and France in 2010 and the ongoing conflict in Syria in which US secret agents are also heavily involved.

All of these Wars were officially described as wars against “Terrorism” and for “Democracy”, both of which are never really defined by Western leaders when they use these words. It seems that their definition of Democracy is “selling Oil in money printed by the Federal Reserve Bank” and that they similarly define Terrorism as “selling Oil in any other currency”.

As well as explaining their Imperialist practices, the Western governments’ debt to their Central Bank also explains most of their policies in their home countries as well. If you have ever been to a Western country, or even seen a movie set in one, you will have noticed that Western culture is largely based on the idea that having lots of money is a good thing to aspire to and is in fact more important to focus on than pretty much anything else.

The result is that many people are really very depressed because they do not have as much money as they think they should, even if they actually have everything they need to survive as well as a community of loved ones, whilst those that have more money than they need seem to always be purchasing ridiculous items and living lives of shocking vanity and disregard for the less fortunate. But the prevalence of this psychologically damaging culture is only partly ordinary Westerners’ own fault.

The people who own the Western Central Banks are Capitalists, which mean that they earn their living from the fact that they have “Capital”, which is just money they choose to use to invest in profitable business rather than spend on something else.

All the money that these Bankers get from governments, and all the money that they print in the first place, will stop being “Capital” as soon as they let it just sit around somewhere without any profit being made from it. This means it is in their interest to force the governments they control to run a system that provides as many opportunities as possible to invest their money and make a profit.

This is why so many things in the West are run by private companies instead of by the government or by Non-governmental organisations. It is also why there are so many Western businesses around that don’t actually produce anything society needs, and often just cause lots of problems by their very existence.

Money in the West is not invested in places where it needs to be if everyone was to have a good job and be able to afford everything they need in life, because the Western governments don’t care about that.

They care about doing what’s good for the Central Bankers and the other capitalists that benefit from the system they set up. In fact, by their own laws they have to care more about that than anything else, because they are the ones who choose to be in debt by selling Treasury Bonds. So we should not be surprised at the class divide in Western countries or the divide between Western countries and the other countries they control.

Central Bankers ultimately profit from any other capitalist business going on in the country that they print money for because the government taxes these businesses and their workers in order to pay off it’s debts to the Bank. That’s right, the only reason the government takes so much of your wages if you work in the formal Western economy is to pay their debt to these banks, not to run public services, which are all paid for by the debt itself, as is the military.

Capitalists in general, and so the Central Banks in particular, need to have cheap workforce to exploit if they want to make a profit. There’s only so much money to be made from just buying something cheaply in one place and selling it for more in another. You make a lot more if in the middle you get someone to do some kind of work to change it into something more valuable, but only if you don’t pay that worker the same as the value that their work adds to the product. Instead, if you pay them a set wage per hour or per year, and make that wage pretty low, you can fool them into putting a lot of “value” into your products for free. (If you understand this paragraph you basically never need to bother reading Karl Marx, who made economics even harder for ordinary people to get their heads around, by making up a load of new jargon of his own).

This is why you see Western and Western controlled governments refusing to just give working class people free access to everything they need to live happy lives without working for someone else: Land, Education, Healthcare, Shelter, Clothing, Civil liberties etc, because they want to keep them in poverty. By keeping us in poverty they make us feel like the only way to survive is by either working for a capitalist business or living off hand outs from other people that do.

If you look at the average wages in Western societies (adjusted for inflation) over the past few decades you will see that they have just gone down and down while the shareholders of Central Banks and the biggest other Capitalist businesses have gone up and up. All of this can be traced back to government policies and the monetary policies of the Central Banks themselves.

The IMF/World Bank and Western Central Banks have deliberately created economic crises in countries all over the world many times in order to further the consolidation of their power, and the power of large capitalist businesses generally, over society as a whole. One simple way they can do this is to print so much money that it starts to lose value. This is the law of supply and demand, which says that in any kind of marketplace something has more value if its supply is low and the demand for it is high and has less when the opposite is true. When this happens with money, which if something that is traded in markets just like anything else, it is called inflation. Inflation has been the root cause of most economic crises in Western Imperialist history, and it is caused by deliberate Central Bank policies.

They cause these crises because in these situations many small capitalists and even poor people are forced to sell their assets, which is a fancy word for “valuable stuff” like their houses or their businesses or their land or their jewels or Treasury Bonds, to the bigger capitalists, including the people who own the Central Banks. This is what is called “Class War”, when one class of people attacks another in order to steal their property, but the suffering inflicted on the poorer classes in order to make them surrender their assets is caused by denying them what they need to survive – in this case money – rather than direct physical violence. But it is War just the same.

This is why you might sometimes hear about people talking about Capitalism or the Capitalist System as the name for the political-economic system in the West, and saying that Capitalism is imperialistic and oppresses the working classes. I prefer to be more precise and call it the Western Imperialist system, rather than “The” Capitalist system, because, as we will see, Non Western societies and theoretically even non-oppressive systems can also be called “capitalist”.

State-Capitalism in the Anti-Western World

State-Capitalism is when a government (State is just another word for government) acts like a capitalist business itself, rather than just being controlled by separate capitalist businesses. This means of course that the government in a State-Capitalist country has to print its own money rather than just get into debt to capitalist banks.

Many Anti-Western governments have understood the power of the Central Banks over the Western Imperialist system and sought to make sure that they have not been able to take over their own countries as well. I have already explained about how many Oil producing States have tried to free themselves from domination by the US Federal Reserve system and been invaded or had their leaders killed by the CIA. There have been two Anti-Western countries, however, which have managed to resist such a fate for many decades due to their size and military capability: Russia and China.

Russia was called the Russian Empire until 1917 and was ruled by emperors called “Tsars”, so this period of history is often called “Tsarist”. In Tsarist Russia the Central Bank was not an independent private business but was actually owned and controlled by the government. After the Russian Revolution in 1917 the new government run by the Communist Party kept this system going. Even today, when Russia is now called the Russian Federation and Communist Party rule is finished, the Russian Central Bank is still heavily controlled by the government, which takes half it’s profits.

Russia’s independence from the Western Imperialist Banking system means it has always been able to run it’s economy in a different way and have a foreign policy that actually challenges the West’s dominance. During the time the Communist Party was in power many revolutionary-minded people in other parts of the world naively thought that the Russian system was actually run for the benefit of the working class and for anti-imperialist struggles in other parts of the world.

In fact Russia’s foreign policy was still as Imperialistic as it was when they called themselves the Russian Empire, and workers in Russia were still deliberately kept in poverty by the government so that they could be exploited, just like in the West. State-Capitalism (which they called Communism to piss off real Communists, who mostly changed their name to Anarchists) just meant they were exploited by State-run businesses instead of private ones.

Nonetheless there was much more social equality (except within the Communist Party, whose leaders lived in luxury) in Communist Russia than in the West, and except for times of severe shortages the living conditions of the working classes were actually better than in the West in many ways. Even though they had less political rights – like the right to free speech or assembly- Russian workers had economic and social rights which Western workers did not have, like the right to have a job and healthcare. The Russian government did not make sure this was the case out of love for the people though, it did it to secure their loyalty and make the West look bad.

The Russian Communist Party did also actually give lots of money to revolutionary groups around the world who were fighting Western Imperialism, and many of the civil wars in what was then called the Third World (Africa, Latin America and Asia) were actually wars between the US and Russia in disguise, with Russian secret agents supporting one side and American ones the other. The Russians were not fighting for the liberation or self-government of these countries though, they just wanted to be the ones exploiting their workers and resources instead of the Westerners.

Russia was able to do all this, and still is able to control the economies of most of its neighbouring countries, because when it wants to start a new industry it can just print money itself with which to do so, rather than having to borrow money from other people, because the government runs the Central Bank. Because Russia has always been a dictatorship as well it has also been able to just force people to work to build up its empire, especially during the time they were led by Josef Stalin. Stalin ordered several “5 year plans” which were successful in revolutionising Russian industry and were only possible because of the State-Capitalist combination of a dictating government with its own State-run central bank.

The other State-Capitalist country is of course China, which was also taken over by a group calling itself the Communist Party, who are still in power today. The Chinese Communist Party was always separate from the Russian one, even though they were obviously inspired by them in many ways. The Chinese dictator Chairman Mao, who brought the Communist Party to power and created the State called the People’s Republic of China, followed similar policies to the Russians when it came to industrialising the country.

China also supported many anti-imperialist and revolutionary movements around the world, and still does, but just like Russia it has always been simply another Imperialist power in itself, supporting these struggles for its own interests rather than out of genuine solidarity.  Just a few years ago a Maoist Communist Party took power in Nepal after a civil war that had gone on for ten years. The Chinese government were supplying them with weapons all throughout the civil war and now that they are in power they are adopting policies that benefit China. This is exactly what the Western Imperialists are trying to do in Syria.

The People’s Bank of China is the Chinese Central Bank which prints the Chinese currency, the Yuan, and is controlled by the State. This Bank’s policies have helped China to become the world’s biggest industrial economy, producing more industrial goods than any country in history.

Here we see an important difference between the Western and State-Capitalist systems. Because the Peoples Bank of China is not simply concerned with making the most profit for itself as possible, but can also have more long term goals in mind they have strategically supported the development of China’s industry in such a way as to provide jobs for most of the working class and to be able to export more products than they import. In China the State doesn’t employ all workers anymore, but let’s private capitalist businesses exist as long as they don’t challenge the Communist Party’s power, and this has helped industry to grow, as private capitalists are greedier than Communist bureaucrats so run their businesses more efficiently.

In the West almost the exact opposite has happened. Western governments, controlled by their need to make money for private capitalist bankers, have allowed the industries of their countries to all but collapse, with terrible consequences for working class people. This has not been a well thought-out strategic long term government policy, and Western governments are probably regretting now that they have allowed this to happen.

Because the bankers always had a short term interest in letting Western factories shut down and be replaced by factories in other countries where wages were lower instead, that’s what Western governments allowed to happen. The bankers had an interest in this because they were always investing in the other companies that ran the factories (as they invest in pretty much everything) so they shared in the increased profits from the cheaper labour in other countries.

This is where the Western Imperialists have fucked up, perhaps so much so that they will soon lose their empires and never get them back. They now have to import goods from China, their Imperial rival, because they cannot produce them by themselves. This means that American Dollars and other Western currencies are flowing into China, as Westerners use them to buy Chinese goods, but not many Chinese Yuan are flowing into the West.

That means that Chinese businesses have more Western currency that they need to convert into Yuan so they can spend them in China than there is Yuan that Western businesses want to change into Western currencies.  In other words: the supply of Yuan is less than the demand for it and the supply of Western currencies is higher than the demand for them. This means that the Yuan should in theory start to be worth more in relation to Western currencies (stop and think about this for a few minutes if you need).

If the Yuan started to be worth more compared with Western currencies then people in the West would have to pay more for Chinese products and so they would stop buying them. For example, if you earn 6 British Pounds an hour, then if that gets you 100 Yuan, you can buy two shirts that cost 50 Yuan in China. But if 6 pounds starts to be worth only 50 Yuan then you can only buy one of those shirts and maybe you will not bother because you can find them cheaper somewhere else.

The People’s Bank of China does not want this to happen so they print more and more Yuan as they earn more and more dollars so that the supply of Yuan will stay the same relative to Western currencies, so that its value will stay the same. They call this “pegging” the Yuan, and just like with the Western inflation crises they do it by simply printing money,

They then use this extra Yuan to change Western currencies that Chinese businesses have earned by exporting products into Yuan, which those businesses need to pay their workers. The Peoples Bank of China therefore keeps earning more and more Western currencies for itself.

Because the Chinese government is like one big capitalist enterprise, they do not want this money to just sit around doing nothing, they want to invest it in something than will earn them even more money. The best things you can buy with Western money are Treasury Bonds from Western governments. If you remember, these  are just pieces of paper the government gives in exchange for loans at interest – a pretty sure way of making a profit as they are backed up by the whole authority of the government. So now the Peoples Bank of China owns huge amounts of Western Treasury Bonds, which means that the Western governments are now increasingly in debt to the Peoples Bank of China, and therefore to the Chinese Communist Party itself.

So although the United States is still the biggest military power and still uses that fact to try and force Oil producing countries to sell in Dollars, as just one example among many forms of imperialist military operations, China may one day own more of the US government’s debt in the form of treasury bonds that the Federal Reserve actually does, making the global Oil markets use of the dollar seem less likely for the future, all because China has used State planning to successfully out-manoeuvre the West’s system of private capitalism.

So What Are We Supposed To Do About All This?

Though Western Imperialism is unquestionably a bad thing, that doesn’t mean that it’s decline is necessarily good if it is just going to be replaced with Eastern Imperialism. The BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) is a political alliance of extremely big Anti-Western countries that already exists and is growing stronger, symbolising the very real threat of a new Eastern Imperialist world system.

So if we don’t want to maintain the old Western System, but are also frightened of the new Eastern one, which after all is led by a totalitarian dictatorship which already has a history of supporting armed groups in other countries, what are we supposed to fight for instead?

The truth is that we don’t need either of these systems, neither Central banks run by governments in the East or visa versa in the West. In fact we don’t need anyone to print money at all, if we just got rid of all these governments and collectively decided that everyone was entitled to all they needed to survive and live a good life, free of charge. There are more than enough resources in the world for that to be possible if no capitalists or “Communists” were around making a profit.

So for me personally, that’s what I am fighting for, a system called Anarchist Communism in which there are neither governments or central banks, neither laws nor money but instead merely a culture, everywhere in the world, in which no-one lets anyone else get oppressed or go without access to food, shelter, clothing, education, healthcare or the wilderness. As I said before, there are enough resources for this to be possible and I genuinely believe that this global cultural revolution is all that would be necessary to achieve it, plus of course the destruction of all the worlds governments and capitalist businesses, which admittedly is a tricky thing to achieve.

But even in such a utopian world some people may still decide that they want to start using money for some reason and there would be no government around to stop them.  The global anarchist communist culture would not be able to stop them either so long as they did not start oppressing people or denying people of access to what they needed.

If everyone’s basic needs were already met for free and people wanted to set up some kind of money based market place for purely unnecessary items, then this would not be a threat to the overall Anarchist Communist system.  Even if they started acting out roles as capitalists and workers the exploitation of the workers would still be truly voluntary if they could just walk away from the job at any moment and still have all they need to survive happily, which is not the case for most workers today.

But I hope I have already convinced you that whenever some kind of system based on money is created it becomes necessary to ask “Who controls the printing of this money?” If we do not want the power to print money to be in the hands of elite minorities, whether they be private capitalists or Communist Party Bureaucrats, then we must ensure that this power is held collectively by ordinary people.

Many small communities around the world have successfully experimented with local currencies that they can only use in that area, but which the decisions about monetary policy (which is policy about money) for are made democratically by everyone who uses the currency. These experiments are a reminder to the world that Central Banks are not necessary even in a capitalist economy. The only thing they are necessary for is an Imperialist economy.

No political party, lobbying group or social movement will ever be powerful enough to get Western Governments to change their banking systems or turn the People’s Republic of China into a genuinely democratic communist system, and small-scale local currency projects, as promising as they are, will never be allowed by governments to grow big enough to really challenge the Central Banks. The only way we can liberate ourselves from the tyranny of bankers and bureaucrats is through Revolutionary Direct Action against the power of all governments.

We cannot fight against the West without fighting the East at the same time, or else we will just find that we have been helping the East to take over our lives. We must work on building the global cultural shift towards a world where no one accepts poverty of oppression any longer, and at the same time work on building a united global insurrectionary movement against all the power of all States.

Even if you do not agree with me about the need for Global Anarchist Communist Revolution against all States and Empires, I hope I have at least convinced you that we do indeed live in a world of empires, and of the importance of the role of Central Banks in explaining global inequalities of wealth and power.

I hope I have also convinced you never to become either a capitalist or a member of a Communist Party, but rather to try and live your life in as free a way as possible from their systems.

You don’t have to try to get rich, and if you can find ways to get what you need to survive for free then you don’t even have to use money at all. Money and the laws of governments are not real things and you don’t have to treat them like they are. The more you do, the more you make them real. Sure, you can pretend to believe in them when it suits you but you don’t have to lose your sense of self because of them like so many people have. Revolution begins in the mind.

Even if you do not want to join in with any revolutionary activity to do with actually bringing down or sabotaging governments, I hope you will at least be as free from them in your own life as you can and that you will encourage others to do the same.

I hope you will put your trust in love for all people, in your own self-reliance and in strengthening that of your community, whatever that might mean for you, rather than in money, governments or the murderous ruling class fuckers that they are controlled by.

Good luck, and Power to You.