Usury the Primary Issue

‘Usury’ by its strictest definition is any interest charged on a loan. It is regarded as a sin by Islam and by Catholicism, and Judaism prohibits usury charged to fellow Hebrews. Aristotle condemned usury, and so does Buddhism. Dante consigned the usurer to a special place in hell. The usurer in many nations throughout history was regarded as among the lowest specimens of humanity. Usury was alien to Western Christendom at the height Western civilisation but was introduced by the Knights Templar who learnt banking from their sojourn in the East , where it had been known since Babylonian times, and was taken up by Jews and Lombards. Usurious banking was centered in The Netherlands and spread over the world through Dutch mercantilism, and then became centred in the City of London, where the Bank of England was established. From here finance-capital spread further through the Old World and the New, and established another world centre in New York.

Wizards of Finance

These wizards of finance had come across a most remarkable conjuring trick: by loaning out more money than what they had on deposit from savings, and charging interest on that, they could make real money from baseless credit. If the debtor cannot afford to pay back the interest, then he borrows again, and so on, compounding the interest. That today remains the basis of the banking system, to which individuals, families, businesses, farms, nations; much of the world, are in thrall. Few dare say, and few now understand, that the whole system is a malicious con. Few dare ask why a nation cannot create its own credit based on its productive requirements, as a public service, while private banks can create credit as an interest-bearing commodity? We are not supposed to ask why private bankers have this power, while governments do not.

Credit and currency are supposed to be a convenient means of exchanging goods and services, instead of giving someone a bag of potatoes for a box of eggs. What makes money a commodity, much less credit, which is nothing but a data entry? It is merely a token like a train ticket, yet is has assumed power over everything and everyone.

Because of the parasitic character of the banking system, which literally crawls up its own backside in devouring itself, there are cycles of booms and busts, depressions and recessions, and bursts of the ‘debt bubble’. We had the Great Depression starting in 1929, which was overcome by war spending primarily by the USA, then the recent ‘debt crisis’, where Greece tried to extricate herself by selling assets to Goldman Sachs, and the E.U. and USA bailed out the banks that had created the debt crisis by reckless lending. Indeed, what we call ‘privatisation’ is the process of a nation selling its utilities and resources to pay its debts.

Today Goldman Sachs, despite its role in the debt scandal, pretty much runs the world, its latest advance being the appointment of Goldman Sachs eminences as the top financial advisers of the Trump Administration, despite President Trump’s electoral advertising castigating Godman Sachs and other plutocrats and calling for a revolt to ‘drain the swamp’ in Washington. The world will soon know whether Trump can pursue his nationalist agenda when he has such people as advisers. As for Clinton, she never made any pretence about being anything but a plaything of the plutocrats, but her Leftist backers, being what they are, wee and remain fine with that.

Left has no answers

In Greece the ‘Marxist’ Syriza Party was elected to deal with the debt crisis. Their party platform included nationalisation of banks. Nationalisation of banks per se is worse than useless as it gives the impression that the state has assumed authority over the nation’s money and credit supply. Unless specifically issuing state credit, such as the Labour Government did in New Zealand in the 1930s, after it nationalised the Reserve Bank, a state bank will achieve precisely zilch if it is merely a medium by which the state continues borrowing from private finance-capital. This is what most state banks do, including New Zealand’s despite the auspicious start during the Depression.

So the election of a Marxist party in Greece was about as meaningful for solving the debt crisis and servitude to international financed as the banal histrionics of the ‘Occupy Movement’.

Historically Marxism has been worthless in dealing with international finance-capital. Perhaps it was because Karl Marx had a loathing of small traders because they expected to be paid, and that his focus was limited by the discomfort caused by the sores on his backside and groin. What he stated of banking and credit in Das Kapital was that dealing with this central issue would derail the historical dialectic of class struggle. Indeed it would, as the hidden factor of usury remains concealed and safe while employees and employers are kept in conflict arguing over crumbs. Hence, Marxist parties regard banking reform as a diversion and as harmful to class struggle, despite Marx’s brief description of ‘fictitious credit’. (Karl Marx, Capital (1894)Vol. III Part V, ‘Division of Profit into Interest and Profit of Enterprise. Interest-Bearing Capital’, Chapter 36). The Left offer banalities of the simplistic ‘Occupy’ movement type, such as ‘tax of the rich’, while leaving the prerogative to create and issue credit to the international banking system.

Syriza became what Marxist parties generally are : the last resort of capitalism. Syriza party leader Alexis Tsipras had gone to Washington several years prior to his election to assure the USA that despite his rhetoric he was no threat, and furthermore that his party was the best option for thwarting the rise of the Golden Dawn ‘fascists’. There is a hint as to whom the plutocrats really regard as their enemies. Brookings Institution commentators wrote of Tsipras in Washington, in regard to a similar ‘radical leftist’ in Brazil:

…In that regard, many noted his recent trip to Brazil, where he met with former President Lula da Silva. In the 1990s, Lula famously shed his militant image to become a beaming and gregarious icon for a globally integrated and competitive Brazil. Should Tsipras become prime minister some day, he seemed to say, he would be just such a leader. [1]

The Prerequisite of Europe’s Freedom

Traditionally it was the Conservative Right that opposed finance-capital. Marx in The Communist Manifesto railed against the class collaboration between landed gentry, village priests and artisans as a ‘reactionist’ subversion of the historical dialectic. Parties of the Right made opposition to usury central to their programme. Since 1945 in particular, the Right has been diverted from that mission by preoccupation with symptoms rather than causes. It knows as little of the financial system as the Left. The ‘Left’ and the ‘Right’ have long since become the two wings of international finance. If there is to ever by a liberation of Europe from the inner traitor and outer enemy, it can only be done by those such as Casa Pound in Italy, and others presently mainly in Central and Eastern Europe, who are fully awake to the character of international finance.

 

K R Bolton

[1]   William J. Antholis and Domenico Lombardi, Mr. Tsipras Comes to Washington, Brookings Institution, 25 January 2013, http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/up-front/posts/2013/01/25-tsipras-washington-antholis-lombardi