A 2005 Update/Digest of the E.V. Debs Speech at the 1925 Conference for Progressive Political Action at the Lexington Hotel in Chicago; Plus The Cashless Utopia
The kernel of great human movements has always involved just a few individuals. What's the pop adage from back in the nineteen eighties? ... It only takes four people to start a new hairdo.
Perhaps there'll be a few gallant souls, women and men, who have ideas in advance of their time, who'd show the mettle to profess ideas that spawn radical socio-economic revolution ,individuals having the moxie to stand firm and to pave the way by their clear-sightedness and in so many cases simply their adeptness at articulating really quite obvious truths that the rest of society deep down already know .As often as not , time finds such lonely prime movers who say ..The time is now...we can't move fast enough...It can happen. ....it must happen... with their names in indelible letters in the annals of mankind, permanent foot-prints on the "sands of time." The more cautious rank and file will say that the time has not come , it's too soon , it won't happen ,you're moving too fast , it's impossible. In the course of time however the minority becomes the triumphant majority and sweeps into power and seizes the reins of government in the name of the people and transfers the title deeds from the Rockefellers, Goulds, Vanderbilts,Carnegies,Mellons,and Morgans to the people in their collective capacity, and then for the first time in the history of this republic we will have democracy and self-government .
Right now, 20% - 1.2 billion of the world's people exist on less than $1 per day. (World Bank) .More than 3 billion people exist on less than $3 per day. (World Bank)
Most in this country cannot even imagine what it feels like to work 12 or more hours for $3.00 a day for basic survival.
1.5 billion people live in 100 countries that are poorer now than they have ever been before in their history..' (UNDP Human Development Report)
One thing that is really appalling is that the world's 225 richest individuals (of whom 60 are Americans with total assets of $311 billion), have a combined wealth of over $1 trillion -- equal to the annual income of the poorest 47 percent of the entire world's population - some 3.1 billion people. Now let that bounce around in the old gray matter for a moment or two; 225 individuals with more wealth than the total yearly income of 47% of the population of the earth. The estimated additional cost above what is now privately contributed in order to provide everyone on earth with basic education, basic health care, reproductive health care, adequate food and clean water, and safe sewers for all, is roughly $40 billion a year -- or less than 4 percent of the combined wealth of the 225 richest people in the world.(UN) . Just three of the world's richest families the Walton family, owners of the Wal-Mart supermarket and retail chain; the Warren Buffetts, a leading American investor; and the Bill Gates of Microsoft's family have between them assets estimated in the region of $140 billion, exceeding the combined GDP of the 48 least-developed countries.
The gap between the rich and the poor is wider than ever. In 1976, Switzerland was 52 times richer than Mozambique; in 1997, it was 508 times richer. (DP Human Development Report)
It should come as no surprise that the former Soviet Union is where we see just about the sharpest increase in the level of poverty .Poverty has increased by some 700% there since 1988 .The USSR lost its revolutionary spirit years ago and allowed the capitalist free market cancer to creep in .Now look at them .
There's widespread myopic refusal to see what the problem is. This earth possesses plenty enough resources to provide everyone with food,clothing,safe water ,adequate sewage,transportation,shelter,medical care,culture,art,education, a richness of interpersonal relationships -you name it .And, the peoples of the earth would have these things if monopolistic free market capitalism didn't by its very nature dole out the earth's treasures so disproportionately. And, moreover this is so barefaced. It is so obvious .Western imperialism and particularly US imperialism does all it can to exacerbate this imbalance. On this subject, I highly recommend Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins ISBN: 1-57675-301-8 / 1576753018.
Humankind needs to ascend above this lunatic free market economy that so restricts any semblance of fair distribution of the benefits of the earth's resources .Again, the few get most of it , the rest of humanity get what's left .As long as a people permit a relative few riding the wave of the socio-crippling right to privately own the sources and means of wealth, and the tools of production, the free market capitalist exploiters will be in power ,the plebeians will be in servitude , subjugated victims of free market capitalism's barbarous claptraps . Under this foolish system the actual workers are regarded by the exploiting class as mere beasts of burden .The proletariat will produce the wealth and the bourgeoisies who are in the minority ,will posses it .Wresting the power of monopoly from the hands of these few who hold sway in our affairs is the springboard of revolution .
The mechanism that enriches the rich and impoverishes the poor is now in power and will not rule honestly. This instrumentally must rule corruptly. Those bloodsuckers that reap benefits from this mess are in the minority. They have not the votes of their own to put them in power, but they have the money with which to corrupt the electoral system. They have the money with which to corrupt the courts and to buy the legislators, and to debauch all our institutions. They have the power to do this because they have the money, and they have the money because they own the means of production and distribution. Money reinforces power .The great mass of the workers depend upon these abusers for employment. We boast of every man's having the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and yet in this system no man has a real right to survive. He or she can only survive as long as he or she can work on conditions that the master who owns the tools he works with grants him permission to work, and the man who works by permission lives by permission, and is in no sense a free man , not fit for anything better than slavery and for cannon fodder. The chattel slave is sold once for all time; the proletarian must sell himself or herself daily and hourly .Capitalism is all Satan needs to vex the earth.
Under a capitalist free market economy the power that the few have over the hoi polloi never can be abolished while this handful of individuals are in possession of the instruments that give them that power. That is the private ownership of the means of our common life. They own the railroads; they own the telegraph, the telephone; they own all these great agencies of production and distribution, the mines and the mills and the factories that have been socially produced, that are socially operated, and that are socially necessary and still are held in private hands. The owners of the railroads have nothing to do with their operation. If every owner of an American railroad took a ship, an airship tonight, and left this planet, the people would never know it, for every train would come and go on time, and so with all of the great industries. Their private owners have no more to do with their management or their operation if they lived upon Mars. Now, if the people, in their collective capacity can develop these great industries, if they can operate them socially, and if their very lives depend upon them, can't they also develop intelligence enough to make themselves the owners and the masters of these industries and operate them, not to produce multimillionaires and billionaires, but to produce wealth in abundance for all of the people?
Each day, 25,000 people die of hunger. (World Vision) 90% of these starvation deaths happen where food is plentiful but people simply cannot afford to buy it. War, disaster, and famine account for only 10% of all starvation deaths - the real problem is poverty. (United Nations).Is it not strange that in this land of fabulous abundance there is such widespread poverty and misery that to defies the power of all language to properly describe? Even here in America where we live in perhaps the most favored land beneath the bending skies .We can boast of vast areas of the richest and most fertile soil, and all of the raw materials in inexhaustible abundance .Having the most marvelous productive machinery on the face of the globe, and the million of workers, men and women and children. Profit, is infinitely more important under this cruel slave and master system than the working man's life. So many millions of our people's lives consist of a long, hard, fierce struggle all the way from youth to age and at last death comes to the rescue and stills the aching heart and lulls that victim to dreamless sleep awaiting resurrection, and a new earth that's perfect beyond our present capacity to comprehend.
One would think that the workers would be up in arms about most of this. You'd expect more of a culture of resistance, wouldn't you? Cushioning of descent and paralyzing any organizing of workers is the lifeblood crutch of the controlling bourgeois .The machine has the power through its ability to use government to -as I said- paralyze labor unions, to exile,jail, discharge, and blacklist "trouble makers" and ...let's not sugar this over...to stage "accidental"deaths.The machine just loves "accidental" small aircraft crashes just in case you haven't noticed .This oppressing subjugating mechanism has the power to control the education, a large part of which consists of mis-education, the purpose of which is to keep the people in ignorance and ,through their ignorance, in servitude , flattering their ignorance in hopes of to keeping them ignorant.
While on the other hand, the Socialist agitator is despised and persecuted, because he or she has the guts to tell the workers that they are ignorant and that they will remain where they are so long as they are ignorant, indifferent, and unorganized. Shut up, we don't want to hear it says the exploited American workers taking issue against their own best interest. After all, what have we the American public been fed all our lives except pro-capitalist propaganda especially in the history, sociology, and economics classes we took in school? We see no culture of resistance in spite of the repression of this plutocratic corporatocracy getting worse virtually day by day. The poorest 40% of the US population only controls 1% of the wealth .While the wealthiest 1% has more wealth than the bottom 94%. Could we see a bit of revolution beginning to creep in when the top 1% have 99.9% of the wealth and the bottom 99% is forced to be content with 0.1%?
Eliminating poverty is not an abstruse unreachable goal. The revolution starts by eliminating the monopolization of land, technology, and finance capital and equalizing pay for equally productive work, both within internal economies and between trading nations. Once all nations and all people have access to technology and their labor is paid equally for equally productive work, the buying power of labor in different nations, and within nations, will equalize. Eliminating those monopolies will instantly distribute a share of the wealth to all members of society even as economic efficiency increases and produces more wealth.
One very very unpopular but downright straight-forward ,superlative in its inherent logic-a dialectic if you will ,the ultimate "quick fix" - one might say- your basic instant Fabian style socialist revolution is to let everyone on the face of the earth (individuals ,corporations, as well as governments)have access to and share the same bank account .One world ,one bank account . Money reinforces power. Bill Gates, the Sultan of Bruneian,Paul Gardner Allen, King Fahd Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud,Warren Buffet,Michael Dell, and Amir Jaber Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Alsabah will all have access to and share in that account. They forfeit nothing. Those eight to ten year old girls that today are slaving away in the diamond mines in India working for no pay to pay off family debts while facing amputation of their hands should they fail to meet productivity quotas will have access to and share in the global account .Those 1.2 billion of the world's people who exist on less than $1 per day will have access to and share in that account .They gain what they were due all along .Those 25,000 people who under the present system are dying of hunger each day will live on under the one world one bank account hierarchy and in so living have access to and share in that account. Instantly, everyone's a trillionaire.How young? You ask, as soon as they have a name. No want .No hunger, the emancipation of humanity. There will be no money outside the universal account and, there won't need to be.
Alright, alright, OK I know what you're thinking .You're thinking that not enough people will choose to perform any kind of labor under this drastically new order. Here's that age-old worn out misapprehension that has helped keep the world enslaved by the free market system.
Everything will be so much better for everyone under this new social hierarchy that people will be knocking one another out of the way to work .People will work because they won't want to go back to the old global monopoly produced commodities and slave wage system .People will generally be obsessed with not wanting to go back to that repressive enslaving old order. They'll work like dogs to make sure mankind doesn't go back to the maggot infested cesspool that's capitalism .And ,if you don't think the former proletariat in the third world will work their fingers to the bone to insure that there's no returning to the old nightmare of free market capitalism you're way off-track.No one will have to work in order to survive. No one need beg the grace of those who own the instruments, materials ,and means of survival for a job.
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The production of global monopoly produced commodities will cease under this new system .All work will be done to increase the total material wealth of society not individuals; and for the first time mankind will be forced to do exactly that .Now, the entire earth shares the same bank account. And, we will see under this new dictate latent creativity explode from the human spirit both individually and collectively. The government of France,I.B.M. ,and little Johnny all sharing the same account That tendency to over-produce will at least weaken under this wonderful new emancipating celebration of life.
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Sharing and cooperating will triumph .No one will want to return to, the old system. The Warren Buffets of the world -keep in mind- will have more wealth under the new system than the old. Buffett will have all the money in the world but, so will you and I. Each individual essentially has all the money in the world. Utopia!
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The one world one bank account system likewise has an advantage over other revolutionary models in that the global account acts as a buffer against bourgeois elements creeping into the fabric of the early stages of the revolution .The one world one bank account system makes the transition much easier, much less conflict riddled than other revolutionary models .We won't have to opt for either compensational or non-compensational expropriation during the early stages of the revolution.Even if some capitalist elements contaminate certain aspects of the early part of the revolution, such elements won't enrich anyone relative to the rest of the earth's population because everyone on earth is sharing in the mono-global account.
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Most will welcome and celebrate robotics and labor saving devices because there will no longer be social pressure to provide employment .Labor saving devices and automation will no longer be feared because full employment will not even be an issue .Each person already has all the money in the world .Hey, the more labor saving devices the better in the new fun global bank account world.
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More than likely ,there would need to be a commission or regulatory body of some sort to somehow limit the size of the global account .It's hard to not envision stratospheric inflation ,limitless purchasing ambition ,and inflated wages with the one world one bank account new world order in place. Maybe the gross world product plus all outstanding debts, including derivative debts would be a good starting point.
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Why children? You ask. There'll be no cash outside the account. The third world is overrun with orphans.Hey, plenty reasons : lunch money,movies,etc.They (the children that is)can write checks, or pretend to write checks; It shouldn't matter rather they write them or not. The money stays in the mammoth global account regardless. It doesn't go anywhere. I can foresee
in time,a simple wave of the hand sufficing for a signed ,physical check.
Poverty in Third world countries with their enormous natural resources in the absence of Western Imperialism will quickly disappear. That sheep herder's young son who under the old pre- global bank account society lived on 40 cents a day will have all the money in the world. Utopia.
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The reason this works so perfectly well is because money has never been any more than a medium of exchange. The guy with the spring gives water rights to the guy with the tillable land who buys dock space from the guy that lives by the river. They use money as a medium of exchange. The mono-global account forces an imitation of the perfect economic model plot of land that has everything .If every plot of land was the perfect economic model with absolutely everything needed for high quality human life (The Garden of Eden) there would be no need for commerce. The one world one bank account model forces the entire earth to imitate a planet that's a collage of perfect economic model plots of land.
We could become somewhat less service oriented; somewhat more communal in our social personality. Maybe we will see a decline in the nuclear family. Picture twenty people sharing the same washboard and tub, rather than twenty people with ten washers and dryers in nuclear family situations. Perhaps there'll be fewer toys. Instead of buying shoes -for example- from some multinational global monster corporation like Nike, a guy buys shoes from a family, or small group, from a few families that live a block or two away , that make shoes. This smacks of a partial return to pre-industrial revolution times when manufacturers produced on little plots of land and each handicraftsman used an instrument of production owned by that small individual operation. More third world style market places could grace our cities and towns .We could see a sharp decline in animals for food; more goats and chickens for pets, a whole new look. Volkswagen buses and peace shirts abound. (just kidding).
War? , boy, will that be a relic? The eagle learns to be a condor. The era of the condor reigns until I Thess 4:16-17.
Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living things, and made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest of the earth .I said then ,I say now ,that while there is a lower class ,I am in it ;while there is a criminal element ,I am of it ;while there is a soul in prison ,I am not free .
- Eugene Victor Debs