Sunday, September 27, 2009
The day of the nation-states has all but passed. Bearing in mind our “pretty-long-so-far” tenure on earth, it passed quickly. Kropotkin published his definitive volume on the subject, The State: Its Historic Role in 1897, and it has only been since 1899 that every known piece of dry land on this planet has been formally claimed as property by some nation or another.
While states, governments, their agents and agencies continue to exist, the power equation has continued to evolve, so that the main functions of the nation-state today lie not in defending or looking after the well-being of citizens, but rather in ministering the wants and needs of global banking syndicates and mega-corporations the banks finance.
It’s not surprising that the state has become the weak sister in the world power dance. A nation-state, with fixed borders to defend and (mostly) growing populations to feed, house and manage is at a distinct disadvantage compared to the central banks (the US Federal Reserve chief among them) which are not so burdened, and are free to create unlimited amounts of capital and move it around the globe at the click of a mouse.
Capital. Vast amounts. If a country or corporation or individual wants to buy, just for instance, oil, it is first necessary to buy enough Dollars to do business with.
Seventy-five percent of all transactions on earth today are conducted in US dollars. The manufacture of US Dollars is the exclusive privilege of a private company: the US Federal Reserve Bank. This has been the case since December 1913, when the bankers stripped the US Congress of its Constitutionally-mandated right to issue currency. This particular turn of events has been blamed for precipitating two World Wars, the Great Depression, and for creating and maintaining the underlying causes of the current global recession.
Most of us know something about the enormous trade deficit the US has accrued over the past decades, and that China and other nations are currently in possession of trillions upon trillions of US dollars. The rub is, these big players are tired of holding all these dollars, in large part because the US has behaved so irresponsibly since the early 1980’s (and truth be told, since the end of WWII).
They don’t trust the Americans or their money any more.
Yes, the role of the nation-state has changed, so much so that the USA is no longer in the business of defending, protecting or listening to its citizens. Every single elected official in the US today has a crippling money habit. Every man-and-woman Jack-or-Jacqueline requires tens of millions or hundreds of millions of dollars, all the time (the figures depend on the office). This is what it takes to run for office and win, and keep winning once you’re in.
Elected officials don’t worry about listening to, defending or protecting citizens- they listen to the people who can give them the money they need. The formerly-middle-class citizenry couldn’t raise those amounts of cash between them if they had to. Not anymore, anyway. Most are deep in debt to the same bankers who finance the election campaigns.
Today, the primary function of the United States of America is in holding the military portfolio for the banks. The Pentagon and the industries that service it make, store and deploy the military muscle for these mega-banks, and bring to bear colossal violence, or the threat of violence in order to keep the world’s population in line. That’s one of the definitions of “the State”: a political institution claiming a monopoly on the right to use violence.
Rarely now do nations field armies, navies or air forces against each other. Practically all warfare today is “asymmetrical”. Enormous, unimaginable violence is used against all-but-defenseless civilian populations – “terrorists” - if any one or more of these human beings dare to imagine how he or she or they might defend themselves. The recent rape of Gaza allowed us to witness a half-starved population actually trapped and unable to flee as they were systematically slaughtered by a 21st century military machine populated by soldiers convinced they were doing the Lord’s Work, who were in fact being employed to clear valuable real estate for theft planned by developers.
Of course this scenario was not entirely unique. It’s standard practice for soldiers, sailors, cops, marines and civilians who provide logistical and other support to be told from early childhood they are performing a “patriotic” (or religious) duty.
It’s an obscene con-game, easy to understand once you focus on the bigger picture. But if we continue to think only in terms of nation-states, with all their various names and confusing ideologies, we are not likely to see the picture- only the masks.