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Imperialism, Today and Yesterday

in

 


                     


 


 


 


 


 


 


Imperialism, Today and Yesterday


 


or


 


How Europe Saved the Day


 


by


 


Fernando García Izquierdo


 


----ooo00O00ooo----


 


 


                                                   1


 


Possibly the reader will be asking herself (himself), as I do, how come a country like Spain (Greece, Portugal, etc.) stuck in the doldrums and no hope of a slight breeze approaching, manages to remain afloat somehow and  go on as though nothing had happened?  


To me, obviously, capitalism is dying, a cadaver, and if it lingers on and on… only evil can come out of it, pure rottenness, bacteria, “like wither’d leaves to quicken a new birth”, as the poet says.  


Very important international conferences are convened (every week or so) to save Greece, to save Ireland, to save Portugal, etc.  Today the great deciders are intent on saving Spain, keeping her alive within the concert of the civilized nations, that is, the rotten “free” world.  It has been always the aim of capitalism, mountebanks!... to make-believe, liars!... to eliminate the possibility of any real revolution by the people, the workers, the exploited masses. 


Ever since the spectre of communism so frightened the rich all over “la vieille Europe”, causing them to form “a holy alliance” to exorcise such spectre, they have been getting ready to fight.  That is their speciality, war in all its manifestations.


The alliance is now stronger than ever, and some three or four of its members are the possessors of most terrific arsenals of weapons of mass destruction.  This is one of the reasons why capitalism lingers on.  They also possess means of controlling even the most insignificant of their subjects.


Reverting to the Spanish question, we have seen at the latest conference that, once again, bankers, financiers, politicians and others of the same breed   got together to DECIDE.  They spoke at length about the situation in the Peninsula.  I saw them on television in a friend’s house.  As on other occasions, they all became rather agitated, and I gathered that some messages were sent here and there.  The transfer of big amounts was called for; strange to say for we had been given to understand that enough was enough, and some NY “agence de notation” or other had said that Spain was on the brink of bankrupcy.  All the same, the talks went on; words were spelt in different languages; virtual talk too (whatever this means), statistics, mathematics, bigger and bigger numbers all the time. 


Thousands of millions of euros were newly printed, and our wonderful sorcerers, with their magic wands, produced the expected excellent results, as always, by the way (one only needed to consult the stock-exchange.)  The corporation presidents played with their own stock, the media talked of German GROWTH.  Obama promised something and…  Back to square one!


But, as regards essential changes of structure (I am referring now to Spain) nothing!  Clearing the deck of a sinking wreck and setting the Spaniards to work on new sane bases, nothing.  Even if everyone miraculously began to  talk of growth all of a sudden (the vulgar economists had now learned that the wealth of the nation could only come by the WORK of the workers), nothing was expected any more from the politicians, save new slogans.   


As for the measures the government was instructed to take, after the conference, this was one: “to make the Spanish workers be more productive”, by which they really meant that penury was to be the lot of  the working classes.  More productive, more competitive, more hours, less rest, it is horrible to hear the capitalists talk in this way, when they know that the rich (dirty rich) have centuplicated their profits precisely by making their workers redundant!


Turning now from the clever theories of our wise men to the real life of a nation condemned to destitution, one cannot but observe “the ghosts” in the streets of the Spanish town in which I am now staying… and start weeping.


       Soon there may be famine (the people are eating almost exclusively cheaply manufactured rubbish, starch, carbohydrates, etc.)  And even this horrible thing is not the worst.  Among the young (unless God Almighty comes down to save His people) generalised madness is sure to be the result of all this capitalistic wickedness…  or else, premature death.


And yet no real change is envisaged.  Economists still give the public some fresh slogans.  They are very smart fellows at the service of their masters, very well paid for their rubbish. Or film-makers, good propaganda films:  stories about Stasi agents and their victims in DDR; or a new film about “Stalin’s crimes” (one per month or so) and so on.


And the corollary always is that Democracy (sic!) may have some shortcomings, but it is still the best and the most democratic (redundancy apart) of all possible systems, and much better that communism.   Oh, big liars!


Anyhow, after this common conference, to which we have referred above, all the known mountebanks went back to their respective homes, and don Mariano Rajoy returned to Madrid.  The Spain that welcomed him back was the same sweet fatherland he had left, only much poorer (in three days the number of indigents had shot up.)  There were the usual religious processions in the land: as well as other Easter festivities and April Ferias.  Lots and lots of prayers.  The Spaniards had expected that God would have come to their aid, sending lots of foreign tourists like other years.  The churches and museums had been refurbished… but Our Holy Father ignored their prayers and it happened that, after a rather long drought, heavy rains ensued during the Fiestas precisely; not that many tourists came (assuming that tourism could ever have been the solution), so that not even the fact that all North Africa had become unmanageable after the spring revolutions would help Spanish hotels, with abundant tourism as before.


We do not have a single euro in our coffers!! “la Hacienda Pública está vacía,” they heard.  The cupboard is bare, repeated the ministers and other hirelings.  Nothing with which to pay the yearly interest on the DEBT, never mind thinking of ever being able to reimburse the principal!     


 “¡Españoles, no hay dinero!  Get ready to consume less!  More unemployment is necessary!  Reduction of salaries needed, like in Germany.  More REFORMS!!  hospitals, medical supplies, public schools, books, university only if the students pay, forget Beethoven and art galleries for ever more; there will be soup kitchens for the time being, charity, that is all.”  Spaniards listened spellbound.  And what could they have replied to this official message?   Nothing, for the time being nothing.  Capitalism has sent them to sleep.  Perhaps tomorrow the spectre of communism, etc. 


Now, another general strike?  What for!  Almost like in the Middle Ages during the plagues, or like when Napoleon invaded Central and Eastern Europe and gathered a million French, Italians and so on to lay waste millions of square miles…  For the rest… let us be ready to die in peace and in the grace of God, that is all.


Nevertheless, there IS money.  A lot.  Didn’t we hear, that day last May, that the director of an international monetary joint (very fond the guy of organised sexual games in palace hotels) was led handcuffed into a New York jail; and afterwards boasted of having the most expensive team of lawyers who would spend millions to extricate him from all the difficulties?  And what about signore il presidente, with castles in Sardinia and elsewere, importing maiden girls from Morocco and also spending millions because, after a day of so much intensive work, he needed to rub his dirty face all over the rosy skin of a young tender female?  And these are only TWO EXAMPLES, out of a couple of hundreds, or more.


A few years ago, I saw a film by Stanley Kubrick (it was his last), which I consider to be a sublime work of art.  In my opinion it faithfully depicts what capitalism is.  The setting is a big sumptous castle.  A dark world with glittering golden spots here and there and a background of mystery and crime.  Rascal traders and other thieves were there, and off-shore pirates with decorations from the queen, presidents and vicepresidents of corporations, holders of speculative capital, army officers and members of the police.  All were men, aged and wrinkled though perhaps among the cads some ladies, generals and younger people.  Even those that were in the prime of their lives looked aged.


They had at their disposal a set of victims, young statuesque naked females, who seemed to have been infected somehow with the ugliness of the men.  Scenes of great depravity: the nude girls bending down like bitches, the palms of their hands on the carpeted floor.  The men were “tackling them” from behind, like dogs.  All the horrors of our system were represented there.


 


 


II


 


Let us now go back to the question we asked at the beginning of this article.  How come Spain, a country which has fallen so rapidly and absolutely “in decay”, is still boasting of being one of the big powers and acts generally as if nothing had happened?


The anwer comes in one word, colonialism.  When you see European countries sending troops to Afghanistan, Libia and elsewhere, it is because they want to dominate; and their strength derives from the wealth accumulated in Europe during the past centuries. 


Wars, exploitation of man by man, servitude, slavery of whole nations by others, and many more horrors have always existed.  Marx explains that without slavery the Pyramids could not have been built.  The history of mankind is full of contradictions.  Capitalism, which in the course of time became Imperialism, is as savage as any of the preceding states of human society; only the Europeans accumulated more of the robbed riches for a longer time.


Modern imperialism started with the Spaniards with the discovery of what came to be known as America.  The Spaniards who had been fighting the Moors for centuries, as soon as they “liberated” their soil from the Moslem invasion, went west across the ocean to find and conquer new territories.  The Conquistadores arrived in the New Continent looking for gold, yellow, shiny, precious metal! And they converted it into MONEY. The conquering sword was always accompanied by the evangelising cross, to show God that they were not too bad.  But that did not mean that they were not prepared to commit all kinds of crimes (under our religion there is always the possibility of contrition, which is followed by divine pardon.)  


Not only the Iberian Peninsula benefited from the genocide (read The Conquest of Mexico (and Peru), the whole of Europe was flooded with the gold and other riches brought from the Americas (the Spaniards were prepared to bring even a mountain of gold, El Dorado, but they never found it.)  This new wealth  quickly changed the face and soul of each and every one of our civilized countries, to say nothing of the havoc that all these riches caused particularly in Spain and Portugal (they were united then), where the noblemen became a race of very idle hidalgos, while the common people were thoroughly ruined with, among other things, inflation: agriculture, handicrafts, incipient industry (machinery, pottery, ceramics, textile) could not continue normally in an atmosphere of abundance of gold and siesta; to say nothing of the continued war even on the high sea, and emigration.)


Holland (the low lands were a Spanish colony then) profitted from all this.  They were more industrious by far than the haughty Spaniards, and it was their way that all that wealth turned, making of the Netherlanders the hardworking people that they are today, and far richer (in banking too) than their masters.


The important thing to retain here is that Europe in general became suddenly immensely rich.  But it was the English, a race of shopkeepers, as Engels who knew the English well said, that took advantage of the Spaniards’ “conquistas”. They built solid craft, war-ships; they became scavangers of other people’s wealth, the gold that freely circulated from west to east across the ocean in London ended.  Wonderful pirates were the English!  Quickly honoured by the Queen or King, as the case might be.  They were instrumental in the patriotic exploit of transferring little by little most of the stolen gold into the City.  And not only from the Spanish caravelles, invading the mainland too, and Asia, Africa, Oceania, the world.  They built an Empire where the sun never set. The riches accumulated then still serve to maintain the United Kingdom (in total recession today) “in the concert of the DECIDING nations of the world.”  The conquest of the Indian subcontinent, three or four centuries ago, is a most fantastic story of power, chicanery and cunning, all together.  As for the different native sovereigns of all those chunks of territory they conquered, what can we say of “them”, maharajas, sultans, emirs and other local kings or chiefs.  Always the same story, they are willing to be vassals as long as they are allowed to accumulate in their turn some gold. 


Though the great accumulation was made by the incipient capitalists (mercantilists), the so-called East Indian Company, which made the City of London still wealthier. A gang of traders already.   Afterwards Wall Street would have some “joint” to emulate.


Whereas in Spain imperialism was the cause of the ruin of the country and its people, the hardworking English learned a lot. This mercantilism  produced among other things the industrial revolution, GROWTH, accumulation, as we have been saying.  In reality, not gold but cotton was what the colonisers brought from the colonies, destroying by the way the magnificent and beautiful textile industry of the Indians (apart from the fact that these always kept their inventions hidden, with only possible disclosure from father to son, while the ingenious English invented the Patent Office.)   


It was the English WORKER, who had always been very productive (competitive would say a modern exploiter), who created the great inventions.  As a class, however, they were most miserably exploited at home, or forced to die abroad for the Empire.  But the Brits did not exclusively use the sword and the cross (the Bible in their case) like the Spaniards.  They also employed the law.  In North America some English conquerors proffered “to PURCHASE the land.”   “The land,” came the reply from the mouth of one of the elders, all sitting with their long pipes in the brilliant sunshine under a leafy tree, “the land, English Misters, cannot be sold, because the land does not belong to us.  On the contrary, it is us who belong to the land.”   Never mind.


And what about the French, buccaneers, legionaires and other humble soldiers, whether at the service of Louis XIV or Napoleon?   Not like the English, where pirates became lord-admirals.  Here they were filibusters, and filibusters they remained.  They conquered Canada, some Caribbean islands (les Antilles) and other parts of America, then Africa and Asia, and they stuck longer to their colonies (save Canada, lost to the English.)  When the Japanese descended upon the French colonizers in South East Asia, in the forties, the  colonizers left quickly for fear of losing their skins.  Then, when World War II was over, a war which was supposed to liberate mankind from the scourge of exploitation of man by man, the colonizers scrambled back, with their republican army. The natives, who loved their independence and wanted to live in dignity and peace with the rest of the world did not accept that submission, and the French conducted a cruel war against them for years, a war which, besides, was stupidly conducted.  Until they were thoroughly beaten at Dien-Bien-Fu, in 1953.  This gave occasion for the Yanks to try and become the new colonizers of South East Asia.  You see, the “back yard of America”, fifty thousand miles away, was being threatened by communism!  The war which the US Army, Air Force and Navy conducted, with all the weapons of mass destruction imaginable, for over twenty years against the Vietnamese people was the greatest caculated evil done during all the history of our species.  They lost, the Yanks did.


We could go on and on describing new horrors, century after century of  conquests, more thievery, more plunder, pillage, sacking and poisoning of towns and cities, jungles and deserts.  In time all the Europeans were involved, Dutch, Italians and Portuguese too. The Russians turned east; they thought they had ample fiield there: the Caucasus, and central Asia, sometimes fighting the Turks who were no better.  Until the Russian-Japanese war right at the beginning of the twentieth century.  Madness!


It all meant in the end capital accumulation.  That is what everybody was looking for. Little Belgium also sent its royal army to the most suffering continent, looking for spoils.  And took possession of a big chunk of central Africa.  All the countries this little kingdom conquered later on suffered immensely.  The massacre of the elected president Lumumba, the war between the Hutus and the Tutsis.  Travelling across Belgium by car towards the end of the last century, I was surprised to see the most beautiful “autoroutes” all over the kingdom (I had visited the country, hitch-hiking in the fifties.)  I was informed then that early in the twentieth century the conquering army had donated to their king Leopold the then called Belgian Congo, as his personal property, for him to use and dispose of at his will and then pass to his heirs for evermore.  Only the king was found to be a nazi.  Now the new king had passed  the accumulated wealth to the nation, and it had been decided to build the highways very quickly.  The person who told this to me was a respected professional.  In any case, whether joke or reality, this gives us an idea of what imperialism is.


Germany is a case apart. Historically the Germans had never constituted one nation (except in the sense of race) the way the French did.  The invaders of France in the eighteen seventies were Prussians. The Junkers had conquered the territory for the Germans.  Their tendency was to go east. At the close of the nineteenth century they saw that other European countries possessed colonial empires and became jealous.  They too went into Africa, etc.  And this was one of the factors which finally pushed all Europe into the carnage of World War l. It was a war for the acquisition of new territories, raw materials…  In a word for the acquisition of wealth (World War II was quite a different thing.)


What I want to emphasise is that all this search for accumulation of wealth to which mercantilism always leads is, in my opinion, the reason why these impoverished peoples of Europe can see their upper classes survive undisturbed.  There is a lot of capital belonging to them, the power elite, who while their peoples are are becoming a richer and richer class, all the time. 


A former French minister, speaking this morning on the radio, said literally: “Nowadays the state is obliged to borrow every day five hundred million euros.”  Where does this money come from?  How long is the game going to last?


 


 


Fernando García Izquierdo


LE CHESNAY, France


fg.izquierdo@yahoo.es


 


           


Imperialism, Today and Yesterday


 


or


 


How Europe Saved the Day


 


by


 


Fernando García Izquierdo


 


----ooo00O00ooo----


 


 


                                                   1


 


Possibly the reader will be asking herself (himself), as I do, how come a country like Spain (Greece, Portugal, etc.) stuck in the doldrums and no hope of a slight breeze approaching, manages to remain afloat somehow and  go on as though nothing had happened?  


To me, obviously, capitalism is dying, a cadaver, and if it lingers on and on… only evil can come out of it, pure rottenness, bacteria, “like wither’d leaves to quicken a new birth”, as the poet says.  


Very important international conferences are convened (every week or so) to save Greece, to save Ireland, to save Portugal, etc.  Today the great deciders are intent on saving Spain, keeping her alive within the concert of the civilized nations, that is, the rotten “free” world.  It has been always the aim of capitalism, mountebanks!... to make-believe, liars!... to eliminate the possibility of any real revolution by the people, the workers, the exploited masses. 


Ever since the spectre of communism so frightened the rich all over “la vieille Europe”, causing them to form “a holy alliance” to exorcise such spectre, they have been getting ready to fight.  That is their speciality, war in all its manifestations.


The alliance is now stronger than ever, and some three or four of its members are the possessors of most terrific arsenals of weapons of mass destruction.  This is one of the reasons why capitalism lingers on.  They also possess means of controlling even the most insignificant of their subjects.


Reverting to the Spanish question, we have seen at the latest conference that, once again, bankers, financiers, politicians and others of the same breed   got together to DECIDE.  They spoke at length about the situation in the Peninsula.  I saw them on television in a friend’s house.  As on other occasions, they all became rather agitated, and I gathered that some messages were sent here and there.  The transfer of big amounts was called for; strange to say for we had been given to understand that enough was enough, and some NY “agence de notation” or other had said that Spain was on the brink of bankrupcy.  All the same, the talks went on; words were spelt in different languages; virtual talk too (whatever this means), statistics, mathematics, bigger and bigger numbers all the time. 


Thousands of millions of euros were newly printed, and our wonderful sorcerers, with their magic wands, produced the expected excellent results, as always, by the way (one only needed to consult the stock-exchange.)  The corporation presidents played with their own stock, the media talked of German GROWTH.  Obama promised something and…  Back to square one!


But, as regards essential changes of structure (I am referring now to Spain) nothing!  Clearing the deck of a sinking wreck and setting the Spaniards to work on new sane bases, nothing.  Even if everyone miraculously began to  talk of growth all of a sudden (the vulgar economists had now learned that the wealth of the nation could only come by the WORK of the workers), nothing was expected any more from the politicians, save new slogans.   


As for the measures the government was instructed to take, after the conference, this was one: “to make the Spanish workers be more productive”, by which they really meant that penury was to be the lot of  the working classes.  More productive, more competitive, more hours, less rest, it is horrible to hear the capitalists talk in this way, when they know that the rich (dirty rich) have centuplicated their profits precisely by making their workers redundant!


Turning now from the clever theories of our wise men to the real life of a nation condemned to destitution, one cannot but observe “the ghosts” in the streets of the Spanish town in which I am now staying… and start weeping.


       Soon there may be famine (the people are eating almost exclusively cheaply manufactured rubbish, starch, carbohydrates, etc.)  And even this horrible thing is not the worst.  Among the young (unless God Almighty comes down to save His people) generalised madness is sure to be the result of all this capitalistic wickedness…  or else, premature death.


And yet no real change is envisaged.  Economists still give the public some fresh slogans.  They are very smart fellows at the service of their masters, very well paid for their rubbish. Or film-makers, good propaganda films:  stories about Stasi agents and their victims in DDR; or a new film about “Stalin’s crimes” (one per month or so) and so on.


And the corollary always is that Democracy (sic!) may have some shortcomings, but it is still the best and the most democratic (redundancy apart) of all possible systems, and much better that communism.   Oh, big liars!


Anyhow, after this common conference, to which we have referred above, all the known mountebanks went back to their respective homes, and don Mariano Rajoy returned to Madrid.  The Spain that welcomed him back was the same sweet fatherland he had left, only much poorer (in three days the number of indigents had shot up.)  There were the usual religious processions in the land: as well as other Easter festivities and April Ferias.  Lots and lots of prayers.  The Spaniards had expected that God would have come to their aid, sending lots of foreign tourists like other years.  The churches and museums had been refurbished… but Our Holy Father ignored their prayers and it happened that, after a rather long drought, heavy rains ensued during the Fiestas precisely; not that many tourists came (assuming that tourism could ever have been the solution), so that not even the fact that all North Africa had become unmanageable after the spring revolutions would help Spanish hotels, with abundant tourism as before.


We do not have a single euro in our coffers!! “la Hacienda Pública está vacía,” they heard.  The cupboard is bare, repeated the ministers and other hirelings.  Nothing with which to pay the yearly interest on the DEBT, never mind thinking of ever being able to reimburse the principal!     


 “¡Españoles, no hay dinero!  Get ready to consume less!  More unemployment is necessary!  Reduction of salaries needed, like in Germany.  More REFORMS!!  hospitals, medical supplies, public schools, books, university only if the students pay, forget Beethoven and art galleries for ever more; there will be soup kitchens for the time being, charity, that is all.”  Spaniards listened spellbound.  And what could they have replied to this official message?   Nothing, for the time being nothing.  Capitalism has sent them to sleep.  Perhaps tomorrow the spectre of communism, etc. 


Now, another general strike?  What for!  Almost like in the Middle Ages during the plagues, or like when Napoleon invaded Central and Eastern Europe and gathered a million French, Italians and so on to lay waste millions of square miles…  For the rest… let us be ready to die in peace and in the grace of God, that is all.


Nevertheless, there IS money.  A lot.  Didn’t we hear, that day last May, that the director of an international monetary joint (very fond the guy of organised sexual games in palace hotels) was led handcuffed into a New York jail; and afterwards boasted of having the most expensive team of lawyers who would spend millions to extricate him from all the difficulties?  And what about signore il presidente, with castles in Sardinia and elsewere, importing maiden girls from Morocco and also spending millions because, after a day of so much intensive work, he needed to rub his dirty face all over the rosy skin of a young tender female?  And these are only TWO EXAMPLES, out of a couple of hundreds, or more.


A few years ago, I saw a film by Stanley Kubrick (it was his last), which I consider to be a sublime work of art.  In my opinion it faithfully depicts what capitalism is.  The setting is a big sumptous castle.  A dark world with glittering golden spots here and there and a background of mystery and crime.  Rascal traders and other thieves were there, and off-shore pirates with decorations from the queen, presidents and vicepresidents of corporations, holders of speculative capital, army officers and members of the police.  All were men, aged and wrinkled though perhaps among the cads some ladies, generals and younger people.  Even those that were in the prime of their lives looked aged.


They had at their disposal a set of victims, young statuesque naked females, who seemed to have been infected somehow with the ugliness of the men.  Scenes of great depravity: the nude girls bending down like bitches, the palms of their hands on the carpeted floor.  The men were “tackling them” from behind, like dogs.  All the horrors of our system were represented there.


 


 


II


 


Let us now go back to the question we asked at the beginning of this article.  How come Spain, a country which has fallen so rapidly and absolutely “in decay”, is still boasting of being one of the big powers and acts generally as if nothing had happened?


The anwer comes in one word, colonialism.  When you see European countries sending troops to Afghanistan, Libia and elsewhere, it is because they want to dominate; and their strength derives from the wealth accumulated in Europe during the past centuries. 


Wars, exploitation of man by man, servitude, slavery of whole nations by others, and many more horrors have always existed.  Marx explains that without slavery the Pyramids could not have been built.  The history of mankind is full of contradictions.  Capitalism, which in the course of time became Imperialism, is as savage as any of the preceding states of human society; only the Europeans accumulated more of the robbed riches for a longer time.


Modern imperialism started with the Spaniards with the discovery of what came to be known as America.  The Spaniards who had been fighting the Moors for centuries, as soon as they “liberated” their soil from the Moslem invasion, went west across the ocean to find and conquer new territories.  The Conquistadores arrived in the New Continent looking for gold, yellow, shiny, precious metal! And they converted it into MONEY. The conquering sword was always accompanied by the evangelising cross, to show God that they were not too bad.  But that did not mean that they were not prepared to commit all kinds of crimes (under our religion there is always the possibility of contrition, which is followed by divine pardon.)  


Not only the Iberian Peninsula benefited from the genocide (read The Conquest of Mexico (and Peru), the whole of Europe was flooded with the gold and other riches brought from the Americas (the Spaniards were prepared to bring even a mountain of gold, El Dorado, but they never found it.)  This new wealth  quickly changed the face and soul of each and every one of our civilized countries, to say nothing of the havoc that all these riches caused particularly in Spain and Portugal (they were united then), where the noblemen became a race of very idle hidalgos, while the common people were thoroughly ruined with, among other things, inflation: agriculture, handicrafts, incipient industry (machinery, pottery, ceramics, textile) could not continue normally in an atmosphere of abundance of gold and siesta; to say nothing of the continued war even on the high sea, and emigration.)


Holland (the low lands were a Spanish colony then) profitted from all this.  They were more industrious by far than the haughty Spaniards, and it was their way that all that wealth turned, making of the Netherlanders the hardworking people that they are today, and far richer (in banking too) than their masters.


The important thing to retain here is that Europe in general became suddenly immensely rich.  But it was the English, a race of shopkeepers, as Engels who knew the English well said, that took advantage of the Spaniards’ “conquistas”. They built solid craft, war-ships; they became scavangers of other people’s wealth, the gold that freely circulated from west to east across the ocean in London ended.  Wonderful pirates were the English!  Quickly honoured by the Queen or King, as the case might be.  They were instrumental in the patriotic exploit of transferring little by little most of the stolen gold into the City.  And not only from the Spanish caravelles, invading the mainland too, and Asia, Africa, Oceania, the world.  They built an Empire where the sun never set. The riches accumulated then still serve to maintain the United Kingdom (in total recession today) “in the concert of the DECIDING nations of the world.”  The conquest of the Indian subcontinent, three or four centuries ago, is a most fantastic story of power, chicanery and cunning, all together.  As for the different native sovereigns of all those chunks of territory they conquered, what can we say of “them”, maharajas, sultans, emirs and other local kings or chiefs.  Always the same story, they are willing to be vassals as long as they are allowed to accumulate in their turn some gold. 


Though the great accumulation was made by the incipient capitalists (mercantilists), the so-called East Indian Company, which made the City of London still wealthier. A gang of traders already.   Afterwards Wall Street would have some “joint” to emulate.


Whereas in Spain imperialism was the cause of the ruin of the country and its people, the hardworking English learned a lot. This mercantilism  produced among other things the industrial revolution, GROWTH, accumulation, as we have been saying.  In reality, not gold but cotton was what the colonisers brought from the colonies, destroying by the way the magnificent and beautiful textile industry of the Indians (apart from the fact that these always kept their inventions hidden, with only possible disclosure from father to son, while the ingenious English invented the Patent Office.)   


It was the English WORKER, who had always been very productive (competitive would say a modern exploiter), who created the great inventions.  As a class, however, they were most miserably exploited at home, or forced to die abroad for the Empire.  But the Brits did not exclusively use the sword and the cross (the Bible in their case) like the Spaniards.  They also employed the law.  In North America some English conquerors proffered “to PURCHASE the land.”   “The land,” came the reply from the mouth of one of the elders, all sitting with their long pipes in the brilliant sunshine under a leafy tree, “the land, English Misters, cannot be sold, because the land does not belong to us.  On the contrary, it is us who belong to the land.”   Never mind.


And what about the French, buccaneers, legionaires and other humble soldiers, whether at the service of Louis XIV or Napoleon?   Not like the English, where pirates became lord-admirals.  Here they were filibusters, and filibusters they remained.  They conquered Canada, some Caribbean islands (les Antilles) and other parts of America, then Africa and Asia, and they stuck longer to their colonies (save Canada, lost to the English.)  When the Japanese descended upon the French colonizers in South East Asia, in the forties, the  colonizers left quickly for fear of losing their skins.  Then, when World War II was over, a war which was supposed to liberate mankind from the scourge of exploitation of man by man, the colonizers scrambled back, with their republican army. The natives, who loved their independence and wanted to live in dignity and peace with the rest of the world did not accept that submission, and the French conducted a cruel war against them for years, a war which, besides, was stupidly conducted.  Until they were thoroughly beaten at Dien-Bien-Fu, in 1953.  This gave occasion for the Yanks to try and become the new colonizers of South East Asia.  You see, the “back yard of America”, fifty thousand miles away, was being threatened by communism!  The war which the US Army, Air Force and Navy conducted, with all the weapons of mass destruction imaginable, for over twenty years against the Vietnamese people was the greatest caculated evil done during all the history of our species.  They lost, the Yanks did.


We could go on and on describing new horrors, century after century of  conquests, more thievery, more plunder, pillage, sacking and poisoning of towns and cities, jungles and deserts.  In time all the Europeans were involved, Dutch, Italians and Portuguese too. The Russians turned east; they thought they had ample fiield there: the Caucasus, and central Asia, sometimes fighting the Turks who were no better.  Until the Russian-Japanese war right at the beginning of the twentieth century.  Madness!


It all meant in the end capital accumulation.  That is what everybody was looking for. Little Belgium also sent its royal army to the most suffering continent, looking for spoils.  And took possession of a big chunk of central Africa.  All the countries this little kingdom conquered later on suffered immensely.  The massacre of the elected president Lumumba, the war between the Hutus and the Tutsis.  Travelling across Belgium by car towards the end of the last century, I was surprised to see the most beautiful “autoroutes” all over the kingdom (I had visited the country, hitch-hiking in the fifties.)  I was informed then that early in the twentieth century the conquering army had donated to their king Leopold the then called Belgian Congo, as his personal property, for him to use and dispose of at his will and then pass to his heirs for evermore.  Only the king was found to be a nazi.  Now the new king had passed  the accumulated wealth to the nation, and it had been decided to build the highways very quickly.  The person who told this to me was a respected professional.  In any case, whether joke or reality, this gives us an idea of what imperialism is.


Germany is a case apart. Historically the Germans had never constituted one nation (except in the sense of race) the way the French did.  The invaders of France in the eighteen seventies were Prussians. The Junkers had conquered the territory for the Germans.  Their tendency was to go east. At the close of the nineteenth century they saw that other European countries possessed colonial empires and became jealous.  They too went into Africa, etc.  And this was one of the factors which finally pushed all Europe into the carnage of World War l. It was a war for the acquisition of new territories, raw materials…  In a word for the acquisition of wealth (World War II was quite a different thing.)


What I want to emphasise is that all this search for accumulation of wealth to which mercantilism always leads is, in my opinion, the reason why these impoverished peoples of Europe can see their upper classes survive undisturbed.  There is a lot of capital belonging to them, the power elite, who while their peoples are are becoming a richer and richer class, all the time. 


A former French minister, speaking this morning on the radio, said literally: “Nowadays the state is obliged to borrow every day five hundred million euros.”  Where does this money come from?  How long is the game going to last?


 


 


Fernando García Izquierdo


LE CHESNAY, France


fg.izquierdo@yahoo.es