"Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" John 8:31
The anti-colonial era that began in the 'fifties led many to suppose that the age of imperialism was over. Britain, France, Germany, Portugal, Belgium and others were forced to divest themselves of their colonies. Newly emergent nations - most without any heritage of the rule of law and economic viability - thronged into a young United Nations. Few foresaw that they would soon be trapped into a completely new form of imperialism, cloaked in the deceiving garb of "foreign aid", and "development loans".
Bereft of any sense of true service, tin-pot dictators, from Kwame Nkrumah to Idi Amin and, more recently, Robert Mugabe, stashed billions in Swiss bank accounts while their peoples starved and fought. Great North-South conferences pontificated on the need for a New International Economic Order, without ever touching upon the core of the issue confronting them - how such an achievement was to be financed. This was the confusing scenario behind which the new form of imperialism exerted itself - centralization of the power of money, and those who had carved for themselves a monopoly in debt-creation.
Nations old and new began to lose control of their own title-deeds and their sovereignty. Power shifted to the legions of the new monopoly - the multinationals. These had no national stamping ground. They invested wherever labour was cheapest, politicians were most easily manipulated, and profits most attainable. They spent fortunes on their own images, sponsoring sport and the arts, funding political parties and advertising their caring outlook.
Control of trade
They extended Adam Smith's 'free-trade' nostrums into an art form, convincing every national economy that it was "export or perish". Emerging countries that should have looked first to self-sufficiency in food, clothing and shelter for all, were persuaded to snatch the food out of the mouths of their suffering in order to export, goaded by the ever-increasing need to pay debts. Usually, they couldn't keep up with interest. After years of debt-rescheduling, they were forced into "debt-for-equity swaps".
The key to all this was the Almighty Dollar, which the world had misguidedly been seduced into accepting as the sole means of payment for trade. It has gradually become clear to an increasing number of commentators that the current world struggle, while played out in terms of "East versus West" or "Christianity versus Islam", or even George Bush's preferred "Good versus Evil", is really a struggle to maintain the dominance of the American Dollar as the world's trading currency.
Kenneth Davidson, writing in The Age
on March 20 gave as a major reason for the war against Iraq:
Dr. Gavin Putland, from the Queensland University
of Technology, wrote:
Clash of currencies
Well known Canadian author and writer, Professor
Michel Chossudovsky, sets out the scenario:
Chossudovsky's explanation was part of an extensive analysis of the strategic position of Europe, led by Germany, Russia, the US and an emerging China for control of Central and Far Eastern Asia. The excerpt is taken from his book "War and Globalisation; the truth behind September 11". It can be ordered online from https://www.globalresearch.ca
Interestingly, the nations threatening to abandon the US dollar have been listed in Bush's "axis of evil". A behind-the-scenes titanic struggle is under way for control of the world's reserve currency. It may be tempting for ditherers like Tony Blair and John Howard to believe they must throw in their lot with either the Dollar or the Euro. When the Islamic nations produce their own reserve currency - the gold dinar - there will be three choices, as George Orwell foresaw in "Nineteen Eighty Four".
But what a chance for an imaginative and well provisioned state such as Australia to re-think the need for being corralled into a financial and political bloc! We don't have to export to survive. We can trade the surplus of others for our own - on fair and just terms. We don't have to have foreign investment or a world-approved credit rating for a stable future. We need to go back to first principles, which start from the 2000-year old proposition that none of us can serve two masters. That stark choice is more obvious than ever before.
THE PEOPLE MUST DECIDE THEIR FATE
The Spectator (UK) April 25, 2003, The government must not be allowed to adopt a European constitution without the consent of the governed, says Paul Robinson. Here he explains how we can hold our own referendum
In 1825 Russian Decembrist revolutionaries in St Petersburg tried to inspire the peasant masses with the slogan 'Constantine i constitutsia' (Constantine and a constitution) as they pressed for Tsar Nicholas I to abdicate in favour of his brother Constantine. Unfortunately, their pre-spin audience simply assumed that Constitutsia was Constantine's wife, and failed to see the advantage of a different Romanov and his lady over the one already reigning. Here today, Britain is about to get its first ever written constitution, drafted by the obliging Eurocrats of the Convention on the Future of Europe, and binding on us all. Yet 'we the people' in whose name this document is being produced have not been asked for the slightest whisper of a comment.
Our Dear Leader Mr Blair seems to be hoping that the British are as ignorant and uninterested as the Russian peasants of 1825. Consulting Agreed, the British people are more likely to vote on Pop Idol than to debate the latest directive from Brussels about the Eurobanana. It would be remarkable, though, if a whole new system of government were to be implemented without any reference to their views. But that is what our national leaders seem poised to do.
Asked if the government would hold a referendum to ratify the new European constitution, Foreign Office spokesman Neill Sharp hedged that, 'In the UK the government is committed to the existing system of parliamentary democracy, rather than public referenda.' According to my cereal-box decoder ring, that means 'No way, José.' Mr. Blair seems determined to ratify whatever nonsense the Convention produces without so much as asking the people of Britain their opinion. We should not be surprised.
The two sentiments heard most often among the peace marchers in London on 15 February were: 'The government lies to us, and it doesn't listen.' And how right they are. The response from Tony Blair was: 'I want them to listen to the arguments.' Sorry, Tony. They did listen, they didn't believe you, and now they want you to listen to them. The 'demos ' part of democracy is not just a verbal frill.
Referendum voting is a relatively recent innovation, but referendums are now an accepted part of the political process, especially with regard to constitutional issues. The current government and its predecessors have held votes on diverse issues such as EEC entry, Scottish and Welsh devolution, and the establishment of a London mayor. Outside the circles of a few dedicated proponents of Victorian-era parliamentary procedure, nearly everyone now accepts that significant constitutional changes need to be ratified by a popular vote to gain legitimacy.
Even the government accepts in theory the principle of popular consultation. It is committed to holding a referendum on the single currency, even though that is an issue of policy content rather than one of constitutional change. It seems that the public is allowed a say on whether Hartlepool can have the right to elect a monkey as mayor, but not on whether our Queen should find herself subordinated to a European president (one of the likely clauses in any European constitution).
Already a small band of dedicated democrats are endeavouring to make their voices heard. The Frankfurt-based European Referendum Campaign has established groups of activists in a dozen European countries including the United Kingdom, and is planning a series of meetings to mobilise the public to demand a Europe-wide referendum on the proposed constitution. One must hope that even those supporting the new constitution have seen the benefit of this: to have legitimacy their constitution must have proof of public approval.
Referendums are not without peril. In 1995, for instance, the Quebec government held a slyly worded referendum which asked the people whether they wanted their government to negotiate a 'new partnership' with Canada. Many voters thought that they could vote 'Yes', and still remain part of Canada, while in practice the government planned to interpret a 'Yes' vote as a mandate to make an immediate declaration of independence. As the Quebec premier Jacques Parizeau notoriously gloated, the people would be caught 'like lobsters in a pot'. Those particular crustaceans swam away, but the danger of putting governments in charge of popular consultations is clear.
Extrapolating the above figures to the United Kingdom, the citizens of the UK could solicit a similar percentage of votes in a private referendum held in all 650 constituencies across Britain for a cost of only £6.5 million.
Compared with parties
Representative democracy made sense in past eras, when problems of distance and communication made it impossible for Members of Parliament to consult their electors on every intricate detail of national government. Even today, most of the general public are content to let their representatives get on with the day-to-day running of the country. But in the modern era of easy and instant mass communication, there is no excuse for not consulting the people on matters of great significance. The people should insist on their right to be heard, and for once not take 'no' for an answer. Send comment on this article to the editor of the Spectator.co.uk