Monetary science and healing for white supremacists and other confused Americans



This is an edited and expanded version of a private comment sent to Eric K. Ward, whose June essay went viral during the weekend of Aug. 11, 2017 (as events were unfolding in Charlottesville, VA and as initiated by a gathering of white supremacists, neo-Nazis, etc.).

Monetary science and healing for white supremacists and other confused Americans:
Historical, intellectual, and social errors regarding money, banking, and government — OR — legitimate anger, misplaced hate?

Posted August 18, 2017
Written in response to Skin in the Game: How Antisemitism Animates White Nationalism (Political Research Associates, June 29, 2017)
by Eric K. Ward, Senior Fellow at Southern Poverty Law Center

For the record, I am not excusing anyone’s racist, anti-semitic, misogynist words and actions or any other group-think hate. Nor is the title of this blogpost meant to be humorous. I am a Jew, a 66-year old woman, a lifelong activist, and I think it’s time for some plain speech.

I am grateful to other Americans and non-Americans — especially women — who are drawing clear lines against intentional terror and over-privilege of all kinds. Since January 21, 2017, the folksong Which Side are you On? (Florence Reece) is the anthem that has been playing in my head. And after a lot of self-examination, I’m pretty sure that the side I’m on is called “Life on Earth for All” — or “Let me know when you want to sit down and talk — because even though I’m a woman, Jewish, fat, old, and a bicyclist, I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.  I claim my home on Earth, my space on the road, and my seat at every decision-making table — including the one that designs our U.S. money and banking system.”

The events in Charlottesville, along with a Chicago event coming up in September, have spurred me to write about our collective confusion about money and how 99% of us Americans have legitimate reasons to be very angry in 2017 — going back hundreds of years. There is a difference between legitimate anger and misplaced hatred. But I believe that there are three reasons that American white supremacists might be legitimately angry.  Like most of us Americans, they have been brought up under (a) patriarchy, which promotes toxic masculinity and a toxic alpha male theory, (b) a highly manipulated and engineered money and banking system, privately controlled by overly rich people and would-be overly rich people of all kinds, and (c) a general mainstream culture that promotes spiritual paralysis and mental flatlining.

The amazing thing in 2017 is that people (especially Americans) have been waking up and questioning everything — including our individual roles in a toxic culture. What’s been really exciting to me is that for the last two years I have started to see (thanks to many researchers and thinkers in many fields) some very simple and foundational errors that we’ve all been making about the nature of money, prices, “free” markets, business cycles, etc.  After a lifetime of looking for the kinks in history — where did humans go wrong? where did the U.S. go wrong? — this one was a huge relief.  And even though I had to go through some very difficult financial moments to get here, I can truly say, “Thank goodness. This might be be the way forward.”

At this historical moment, most of us are in pain from a variety of confusions, buried under generations of human-created artifacts, beliefs, traditions, unexamined assumptions.  In the hope of healing us all (including the Earth), here’s how I’m connecting the dots.

Why do white supremacists think that they hate Jews?
One of the overt reasons that white supremacists say they hate Jews is because of Jews’ long-time connection to business, especially the development of finance as business, and later finance as business as government. Of course, Jews were not the only religion or ethnic group to participate in that development (especially in the “West’).  According to Stephen Zarlenga, author of the 700+ page 2002 book, The Lost Science of Money, the list of individuals and groups is long who developed our 21st century U.S. business-financial-government structures and theories. On a very quick scan, Zarlenga mentions:  Jews, Muslims, Christians of all kinds (including but not limited to Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists, Episcopalians), deists, and people from nearly every European nation (including but not limited to English, Dutch, Germans, Austrians, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Greeks, Italians).

But, inasmuch as the development of finance as business as government is the source of most of our current American confusion and stress, Jews have been an easy, knee-jerk target around which to spin ignorant tales and to project guilt-riddled blame.

The good news is that there are more and more scholars, independent researchers, journalists, and grassroots organizers who are literally “following” the money — back to the historical roots of money, the definitions of money, the theories of money, and the science of money. Along the way, they are uncovering all sorts of errors that have beset the fair use of money as a human construct. Combining the intellectual and social errors about money, intentional bad behavior by many different kinds of people over hundreds of years (especially leaders), and the legitimate anger of most 21st century Americans, I think we get a partial understanding of Charlottesville, VA in August 2017.

Charlottesville, VA – August 2017
Here are three short paragraphs that make direct reference to this current historical moment (August 2017), even though the book’s author is recently deceased (April 2017):

From The Lost Science of Money: The Mythology of Money — the Story of Power (American Monetary Institute, 2002)
by Stephen Zarlenga

p, 260 Writing about England in the 1200s, Zarlenga first quotes another researcher, James Parkes (The Jew in the Medieval Community) and then adds his own commentary (and his own italics):

“ ‘The main responsibility not merely for Jewish usury, but for all medieval usury, must lie with the intellectual leaders of the age, who made no proper provision for a universal want.’  (Parkes)

“At the bottom of this failure — then and now — was the error in their concept of money: viewing it as a commodity, failing to recognize the legal nature of money, and to act upon that knowledge and set up honest money systems based in law. Even today one anticipated side effect of healthy monetary reform would be a meaningful reduction in the still continuing tension between Jewish and non Jewish communities.

“If one now finds it important to determine on which side the greater blame lay, in fairness one would have to weigh who had the greater understanding of money and of the results of usury (especially if that knowledge was being obscured), with who had greater freedom of choice.”

The Nature of Money: Common errors in banking, economics, and law unpacked
The key errors that have been made by different people at different times (going back hundreds of years) and that the money scientists are now unpacking are:

1. Erroneous belief in money as a natural commodity (gold, silver, grain, etc.) vs. money as an abstract social and legal construct — a relationship or a commons.
2. The commercial banking and investment industry has usurped the public power to create and control the money supply, primarily through fractional reserve lending, usury, and macro usury (interest on fractional reserve loans).
3. In order to create money (out of thin air), commercial banks need to “lend” to big, capital intensive projects — such as war, such as big construction projects (pipelines, factory farms, prisons), etc.
4. The Nobel prize for economics is not part of the original Nobel legacy. The Nobel prize for economics was itself created to provide a smokescreen for more-and-more privatized control of finance-as-government.
5. Many economists are part of the confusion in that they work primarily in theory, the abstract, and the mathematical — without actually measuring their work against short- or long-term reality. Mainstream training of economists (as well as public schools K-12) includes very little education about the history and science of money (currency).
6. Over-use of land and other natural resources (water, air, mining, etc.) is directly caused by usury, fractional reserve lending, and other financial mechanisms. Collectively, humans produce more than we need in order to pay back illegal and immoral debts.
7. The Federal Reserve system is not a public institution.

It’s not completely clear how much of our American confusion has to do with us
— getting snookered or brainwashed
— being spiritually paralyzed or asleep
— trying to make public decisions without the community of half of the adult population (women)
— trying to make public decisions without the community of most of the other half of the adult population (men who are not in the 1%)
— making some other avoidable error

But it is 100% clear to me, at the age of 66 in 2017, that getting clear on the science of money is one of the most effective mental health treatments there is — for any 21st century American.  There are good reasons to be existentially angry in 2017 — for 99% of us.  Let’s refocus the hatred into undoing one of the deepest and most collective causes of that anger — the current disfunctional, very undemocratic, immoral, and illegal U.S. money and banking system.

Here are some hyper-current resources to continue the healing process.

RESOURCES FOR MONETARY SCIENCE & HEALING

1. BOOK. Stephen Zarlenga’s book, The Lost Science of Money. is 700+ pages and a pretty deep read, given our collective confusion about money and banking and our general American disinterest in history. But it’s also highly informative and entertaining. I definitely recommend it.

2. CONFERENCE.  13th annual  American Monetary Institute conference
Sept. 14-17, 2017, downtown Chicago

This is the organization that Stephen Zarlenga co-founded and led as the primary visionary for 21st century monetary and banking reform. This is the first AMI conference since the 2016 presidential election and the organizers are feeling the need to get their learning and proposals out to a larger public. The conference will:

— Discuss a variety of monetary reforms, primarily the NEED Act (a bailout for the people and infrastructure plus restructure of the Federal Reserve system, introduced into Congress by Dennis Kucinich in 2012)
— Celebrate and memorialize the author of The Lost Science of Money (Stephen Zarlenga), who died earlier this year (April 24, 2017, in his Chicago-area home).
— Feature international speakers on many aspects of money, banking, and democracy

3. VIDEO. The New Abolitionism: Monetary Reform, Democracy, and the Future of Human Rights
36-minutes
Rev. Delman Coates is a Black Baptist pastor at a megachurch in Clinton, Maryland who got sensitized to discrepancies in our financial and banking systems through the 2008 foreclosure crisis. He is now becoming an advocate for monetary reform. He believes that had Martin Luther King, Jr. lived he would have honed in even more deeply on structural money reform (he mentions Dr. King’s call for a “bank-in” in Memphis).

Rev. Coates’s presentation (August 4, 2017) was one of a number of sessions on “Money and Democracy” at the Democracy Convention in Minneapolis. He is planning events on banking and money in October 2017 and April 2018.

4. ORGANIZATION. Life after Hate
A Chicago-based organization that helps people in hate groups disengage and heal. The organization recently lost some funding when the Trump Department of Homeland Security removed the group from the Countering Violent Extremism program approved by the Obama administration.   So far as I know, they have not been using monetary reform as a healing technique, but I have made the suggestion.  Whether they decide to add this to their toolkit, they are an organization worth knowing about:

See the August 17, 2017 Democracy Now! segment:
Life After Hate: Trump Admin Stops Funding Former neo-Nazis who Now Fight White Supremacy

Or donate to Life after Hate here:  Donate.

5. OTHER. There are many other resources — books, articles, podcasts, videos, organizations — as well as legislation and projects, especially at the state and local levels. I will be adding details in future posts.

 

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Evanston, Illinois – Equity & Empowerment Plan: What happened to “Access”?



Evanston, Illinois – Equity & Empowerment Plan:  What happened to “Access”?
Posted August 15, 2017

Early in 2017, the City of Evanston, IL created an Office of Equity and Empowerment. According to the Office’s webpage, “The City of Evanston has embarked on a new mission to more intentionally address issues of access, equity and empowerment. Diversity and inclusion are core values of the Evanston community. To achieve lasting change and better outcomes for our community, we must leverage our diversity and actively practice inclusion. In addition to being the right thing to do, it is the smart and necessary thing to do.”

In June 2017, the Equity and Empowerment Coordinator (Patricia A. Efiom) released a Draft plan of action and through August 11, 2017 invited comments (Do you have any comments, questions, or concerns about the Equity Plan?). People have also been making public statements at City Council meetings, committee meetings, etc.  Much discussion is still taking place through various social media sites.

Below are my questions and comments, which I posted on the City’s website on August 11, 2017. I do not know whether these comments will be made public, but I am sharing mine here. They have been slightly edited for clarity.

CONCLUSION
The gist of my questions and comments can be boiled down to one further question: If the new citywide mission is articulated as more intentionally addressing issues of “access, equity, and empowerment”, why is the Office called “Equity and Empowerment”? Why is the staff title “Equity and Empowerment” Coordinator? Why is the draft proposal titled “Equity and Empowerment” Plan of Action?

In other words, what happened to “access”?

I don’t really know what the City means by “access” because none of the term have been defined.  To me, being more intentional about access means making sure everyone has a seat at every public decision-making table. That’s grassroots democracy. Logistically, that may sound like a nightmare. But it’s actually what we should be fighting for.  A worse nightmare is doing constant damage control when everyone does NOT have a seat at the table — witness the entire history of the United States, including every day this year. Luckily we have a model of grassroots democracy on this very land — the Iroquois League, also known as the Haudenosaunee.

Hint to those who are concerned about fitting 75,000 seats into the City of Evanston Council Chambers: Not everyone wants to participate in every decision. But we do need to know that we can participate if we want to.

I, for one, am willing to help figure the logistics out.

 
QUESTIONS & COMMENTS ABOUT EVANSTON’S PROPOSED EQUITY & EMPOWERMENT PLAN OF ACTION
Submitted to the Office of Equity and Empowerment, August 11, 2017 by Debbie Hillman

Thank you for putting so much time into this and for asking for feedback. I have some questions and some comments.

A. QUESTIONS

1. What is the current working definition of “equity” and “empowerment” for this Plan?

2. Other than workforce equity, what relationships does this Plan address? Is this Plan dealing with equity
— within City government?
— between City government and residents, businesses, institutions, etc.?
— among residents, businesses, etc. (in which case the City’s job is to maintain a level playing field)?
— some other relationships in Evanston?
— all of the above?

3. Privilege in 2017 Evanston takes many forms. In addition to white privilege, does the Plan recognize and plan to address any or all of the following:
— male privilege
— Christian privilege
— human privilege (vs. non-humans, including the land, air, and water)
— ownership privilege
— money privilege
— adult privilege
— “expert” privilege (degree, title vs. life experience)
— privilege of a name (e.g., Tanya vs. John)
— privilege of “stakeholder”
— privilege of organization (vs. individual)
— employer privilege
— other ?

4. Will there be a place within the City of Evanston to file discrimination complaints — e.g., a Human Rights or Human Relations Commission? What about complaints about city employees?

5. What is the budget of the office of Equity & Empowerment office for implementing the Plan over its timeline (18 months)? Can a portion of that budget be allocated through a public participatory budgeting process — which would demonstrate equity-in-action?

 
B. COMMENTS

My experience in equity issues is that most inequitable situations arise from inadequate or incomplete democracy, i.e., decisions that get made without the benefit of everyone’s input and everyone’s personal authority (a vote). Problems arise especially when those who would be impacted by a decision are (a) not included from the very beginning, and/or (b) excluded from some or all of the process.

So far as I can tell, the draft plan does not question many of our existing processes both within city government and elsewhere. This includes:
— the structure of city government, looking specifically at how decisions get made
— structure of boards, commissions, etc.
— the electoral process
— deep cultural traditions of all kinds that impact our everyday decision-making processes (e.g., absence of women’s public authority, public education teaching to the test rather than living skills, fear of public discourse)
— other places where decisions are made (e.g., county, state, federal government)

Thus, I would recommend reviewing, at minimum, three specific areas of public decision-making to see how they inhibit equity and participation in the decision-making process:

1. “Representative” democracy a contradiction. The deepest problem is the belief that someone can represent someone else or represent an entire community — or that nine people can represent an entire community in all ways. Logically, that is not truly possible. Politically, “representative democracy” is an oxymoron that we have all bought into for far too long. No one can represent me but myself. No one can represent the community except the totality of all the community members.

2. Boards, commissions, etc. Our systems of boards and commissions — appointed by one person (the mayor) and approved by nine others (the City Council) — creates a second level of distance between my voice and any public decision.

3. Private meetings by public officials. Public decisions in Evanston are often thrice removed from most voters’ voices by the quantity and frequency of private meetings that take place between officials and private interests regarding a project, an ordinance, an allocation of city resources, etc. Often these meetings take place long before any public meeting, hearing, or announcement.

This issue of private meetings has become more insidious since the expansion of Evanston’s Economic Development Department. The insidiousness lies in the conflict between (a) the City’s legitimate concern about the global extraction economy’s impact on the City of Evanston (and on Evanston’s residents, businesses, and neighborhoods), and (b) the City’s key purpose as a governmental jurisdiction in the U.S. — to maintain level playing fields in all areas, including economic development.

Recently it seems as if City staff have been encouraged to have “internal working groups” where the public is included only by invitation. No agendas or minutes are posted. This may violate our current Illinois Open Meetings Act. It most certainly violates modern trends towards more participatory democracy.