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Fait Accompli?

Several times on this and other sites, I have said that; “once the upper middle-class speculator/entrepreneur gains control of political governance, it marks the beginning of social and State collapse.”

I do not say this lightly, or without consideration. I referred to history for my source of confirmation … from the results of the actions following the rise of the Oligarchs in ancient Athens, to the rise of the power of the Equestrian Order (upper middle-class) merchants and bankers of ancient Rome, to the so called “Captains of Industry” in the industrial revolution of England to these times where capitalist barons and stock-market “Masters of the Universe” call the shots and corrupt the governance of three Anglo-democracies of the west … the UK, the USA and Australia.

Now … I’ll open another line of discussion here about the relevance of ancient history as an example of the political and social direction of these post-modern times.

We have to ask ourselves, in the light of so many films, theatre and stories about those ancient characters, why are we so attracted to them … because over many centuries those stories and tales have drawn audiences again and again to the box-office to pay their money to see the show. The reason, I believe, is because the stories repeat that human interest gossipy intrigue that we are all familiar with in pub/club and workplace so common to all of us, ie; we are a part of that history repeating itself into our every-day lives. That being so, we can read of those times with all the intuition that an experienced adult can apply to all that accrued knowledge of life that we have lived and find ourselves in comfortable company with those situations and characters from ancient history.

History does not only inform us, it reassures us that there is a continuity of behavioural thread that joins our action in these times in a humanist, civil society even in the most extreme circumstances of war or plenty with those fellow travelers from so long ago. So we can truthfully say that while the repetition of history is not as simple as re-reading the turning pages of history, it is more closely following the “organic structures” of human behaviour of when people from any time or demographic are confronted with a similar set of circumstances; disaster, plague, even forlorn love or betrayal … the resulting behaviours will be very similar … hence we can confidently proclaim … “What goes around, comes around.”

Keeping this in mind, I have also suggested a time-line to be aware of when things start going downhill, based on my reading of the impending collapse of the Roman Republic in the time of Julius Caesar … when it could be seen that two rival groups of “citizen militia” formed to cause havoc in the metropolis, led on the right-wing by one Titus Annius Milo Papianus … and on what could be called the left-wing by Publius Clodius Pulcher. These two groups would meet on the streets of that capital and exchange blows, just as today, on the streets of our capital cities, we have the “Alt-right” and the “Antifa” exchanging blows … each group enjoying a degree of support among their political brethren. Except now, with the politicising of the policing forces by the far-right minister for immigration and border control, Peter Dutton, there appears to be more strategic support moving to the far-right militias … we all saw that high-five “yo-bro” hand-clasp between the neo-Nazi militia-man and the police officer at one fracas.

What fueled the rise of the monetary middle-class in ancient Rome was an increased flow of wealth that came into the capital with the plunder of loot from the wars on the frontier … the “Romanisation” of these new frontiers created roads and cities that were soon filled with tax-collectors and merchants keen to deliver ever increasing luxury commodities to the metropolis. The increase of the want for these novel goods and services, soon produced a strata of society that borrowed heavily to finance a lifestyle that they had become accustomed to.

“As Tacitus remarked, usury and debt were inveterate evils in Rome and the Roman world, and they were never totally eradicated. Nevertheless, whenever the public authorities were firmly resolved to reduce them severely, they managed to do so, as the examples of Cato in Sardinia and Lucullus in Asia certainly show.

A.Gara stresses the fact that in Egypt Roman domination produced a fall in the interest rate and a more effective weapon against usury. But the affair of the loan to Salamis in Cyprus shows how even a relatively honest governor, anxious not to oppress the natives, could be led to procrastinate and pre-varicate so as not to displease his peers (one of whom, Brutus, was creditor to the people of Salamis).“ (Jean Andreau; Banking and business in the Roman World).

The above quote demonstrates that loans and usurious interest rates were an established item and were a problem in need of regulation farther back than even Roman times: Banking and mercantile business was firmly in the hands of the upper middle-classes then as it is now. These business people differed from the aristocratic class that managed loans and “favours” amongst themselves … until the funding of so many armies in so many wars reduced them to borrow from the middle-class bankers at ruinous interest rates.

Again:

“Livy has plenty to say about the difficulties of the public exchequer in this period. But it is hard to put any figures on them. Using what are known as ‘hypothetico-deductive’ methods, Marchetti has nevertheless attempted to do so. On the basis of the number of soldiers called up by Rome,he has estimated the outlay for the equipment and food supplies of the army and the fleets, and also for wages; he has calculated the total income provided by taxes, to which he has added the booty, the value of which is frequently known. He concludes that there was a definite deficit. The figures that he suggests (62,000,000 sestercies of income , 65,000,000 of expences) are disputable (the deficit was probably over 3,000,000 sestercies). However, the reality of the deficit is in no doubt. In this situation, what measures did the city take? In 216,Rome asked Hieron of Syracuse for money and wheat. In 215,it obtained credit from its suppliers, in particular the tax-collectors ( publicani). They agreed to make the city a free loan (commodare ) for supplies for the army in Spain, using the money they had won from adjudications in their favour. Contracts were drawn up with them; Livy observes that the Republic was thus administered by means of private money (privata pecunia res publica administrata est).” (ibid)

Whatever the accuracy of the figures, it shows the chaos that ensured from the State being in the debt of private lenders and to what extent those bankers, under the pseudonym of “tax collectors” could then manipulate the governors of the State to grant them favours and monetary freedom to do almost as they pleased. It was the beginning of the end for the Empire.

So with the political situation being one of power having shifted from the floor of the House of the Senate, to the barracks of the military, with the financial management of the State being manipulated by the private banking sector there was only one thing standing between total control of the managerial business-class and the people and that was but a faint nod of obligation to the national culture of believing the Senate … or Parliament in these times … was the legitimate authority that made and obeyed the “rule of law”.

We are now in that space that has been occupied by so many empires … so many republics … so many nation states and so many dismal failures of the same. We are held captive and as hostage to an insatiably greedy and manipulative upper middle-class demographic that seeks no empathy and will offer no mercy … demands total obedience and will tolerate no dissent. We are at a moment in history where soon we; the people, will have to bend our neck completely to their yoke or throw off their chains of economic bondage and regulate and restructure the whole manifesto of the State.

The choice will be ours as will the resulting history … and as the saying goes: “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”


9 comments

  1. Andreas Bimba

    The majority of Australians apparantly consider themselves to be working class by heritage but far too many of them vote for the Conservatives. Howard’s battlers and many tradies come to mind as well as shopkeepers and small business owners. The Conservatives are probably the most popular party bloc for the middle class. Regional voters overwhelmingly support the National Party – junior partner of the Conservative Coalition.

    Give these voters a few crumbs off the table like negative gearing, CGT concessions, super contributions concessions, diesel fuel rebates, loose tax laws and enforcement, the promise of a few tax cuts, a two tier system of education/housing/healthcare/justice/policing, the lie of fiscal responsibility, scare them with refugees arriving by boat and terrorists and carbon taxes and like ignorant sheep they will happily walk to the slaughter house while the top few percent run off with most of the nations wealth.

    The upper middle class are not running this scam; the bankers, corporations both local and foreign a few foreign powers and our top few percent aided by a corrupt mass media are but they are now on the losing side of history.

  2. johnF

    Michael Hudson has written extensively on debt and the long history of debt jubilees; “In addition to preserving economic solvency for the population, rulers thus found debt cancellation to be a way to prevent a financial oligarchy from emerging to rival the policy aims of kings.”

    “Debt jubilees occurred on a regular basis in the ancient Near East from 2500 BC in Sumer to 1600 BC in Babylonia and its neighbors, and then in Assyria in the first millennium BC. It was normal for new rulers to proclaim these edicts upon taking the throne, in the aftermath of war, or upon the building or renovating a temple. Judaism took the practice out of the hands of kings and placed it at the center of Mosaic Law.

    By Babylonian times these debt amnesties contained the three elements that Judaism later adopted in its Jubilee Year of Leviticus 25. The first element was to cancel agrarian debts owed by the citizenry at large. (Mercantile debts among businessmen were left in place.)

    A second element of these debt amnesties was to liberate bondservants – the debtor’s wife, daughters or sons who had been pledged to creditors. They were allowed to return freely to the debtor’s home. (Slave girls that had been pledged for debt also were returned to the debtors’ households.) Royal debt jubilees thus freed society from debt bondage, but did not liberate slaves.

    A third element of these debt jubilees (subsequently adopted into Mosaic law) was to return the land or crop rights that debtors had pledged to creditors. This enabled families to resume their self-support on the land and pay taxes, serve in the military, and provide corvée labor on public works.

    Commercial “silver” debts among traders and other entrepreneurs were not subject to these debt jubilees. Rulers recognized that productive business loans provide resources for the borrower to pay back with interest, in contrast to consumer debt. This was the contrast that medieval Schoolmen later would draw between interest and usury.”

    http://michael-hudson.com/2018/01/could-should-jubilee-debt-cancellations-be-reintroduced-today/

  3. paul walter

    Cicero’s descriptions of the operations of a powerful oligarchy throughout the provinces during his governorship of Cilicia were an eye opener for me at uni…anyone get a chance, read them. They show how little the coercive methods have changed in two millennia.

  4. Joseph Carli

    johnF …The description of debt enslavement in your above post give moire than a hint of how rapacious was the money-lending system in those ancient times…I believe Julius Caesar placed limits on interest rates in his short time as imperator…probably one reason he got assassinated!….several emperors in the Roman times were compelled to cancell debts to whole communities and even cities as the impossibility to repay had become too onerous.

    In these times, we again see the moneyed classes moving in on governance and framing economic laws and styles of governance more suited to money-harvesting and impoverishment of the already poor rather than social needs. Their continued avarice in spite of the obvious poverty they are creating will be the downfall of the State..what can we expect when the Prime Minister is a holder of an offshore tax haven horde of wealth and most of his cabinet holding enormous property portfolios?

    Paul…At one point in those times, the peasant farmers of Italy were driven off their lands through high mortgage interest .

  5. helvityni

    I’m always surprised with this Aussie phenomenon; many poor working class people vote for Liberals…

    Why? Are they happy with few dollars thrown their way before elections….???

    Also it goes the other way too, if those people think that you are all right financially , they don’t understand why you support Labor…

  6. townsvilleblog

    helvityni, and Joe, I have never believed in “the middle class” or for that matter “the upper middle class” as far as I’m concerned both tags are simply a capitalist idea so that one working person may be afraid that the people who live accross the road may have more than the people who live on the other side of the road, who bloody cares! In my humble opinion there are only two classes, the working class, which you belong to if you have to get out of bed at least 5 days a week to earn a living, and the other, the rich.

    In my opinion for working people to classify themselves as “middle class” it simply shows an inferiority complex, and I have noticed that some people classify themselves as middle class if they have a car under 5 years of age, even if that car is a Hyundi, and also a microwave oven. I have always classified myself as working class, even though I have much more than some of those who class themselves as middle class, I feel sorry for those people, they attract my sympathy. Helvityni I have never worked out why working class people vote for the tories, perhaps it is for the same reason, they feel better about themselves having voted tory?

  7. Joseph Carli

    townsville…the title of “middle-class” may give many people that tragic badge they wish to be identified with, but in reality, it is a practical measure of what strata has what political influence on making policy. The working class has to group together to form a voting block to create change..be it within union action for a variety of social needs, or as a demographic that takes its vote to this or that political party.

    The middle-class on the other hand, and depending on how far up the wealth ladder that person is, has the power to influence political policy via personal contact and their capacity to remove donatives to this or that political party and can operate within a “club” environment …

    The Upper middle-class in some cases “owns” the political party. Their management of mega corporate enterprises gives them the luxury of a certain anonymity of influence and can only be seen to corrupt through a kind of “thumb-print” of their repeated actions in that area..

    So the title of “class” is not necessarily there for personal identity, but more for the identification of a potential influential demographic.

    The danger that is overlooked with the upper middle-class demographic, is that anonymity that undermined every society they have control over..Their world is not the world of social inclusion, nor social equality..on the contrary..division, jealousy and want is their absolute demand…

    “Wars and panic on the stock exchange,
    machinegunfire and arson,
    bankruptcies and warloans,
    starvation,lice,cholera and typhus:
    good growing weather for the house of Morgan.” (USA 1919…John Dos Passos)

  8. Malibu Mick

    Joe – the John Dos Passos quote is interesting but didn’t he campaign for Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon in the 64 and 68 US presidential elections? I don’t think you would have supported the election of either of these candidates?

  9. Joseph Carli

    I’ll have to take your word on that , Mick..and no I wouldn’t have supported them…since I am in Australia…but I get your drift..cynical as it is…I get it…but since you want to nit-pick…It wasn’t Dos Passos who wrote those little cameos in his book, he recruited a researcher to pen them from real events and he just dickied them up artistically…and I suspect YOU’D support art, eh?

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