75 march on Feinstein & Pelosi Homes on Sunday, February 19

2-Hour March on Feinstein & Pelosi Homes:

Despite fearful predictions of stormy and wet weather that didn’t prove true, approximately seventy-five direct democracy community activists came together outside of Sen. Feinstein and Rep. Pelosi’s manors in San Francisco’s wealthy Pacific Heights district, organized by the People’s Town Hall Project.

The primary message for them and their dozens of publicly-funded aides was we demand public engagement they should already be doing: hold formal and consistent town halls.

We gathered first at the public garden in front of Feinstein’s mansion, our third time, where a one-hour town hall was held.

A diverse roster of speakers addressed concerns including blocking all Trump nominees especially to the Supreme Court, voter suppression, getting friends out on the streets, supporting the water protectors at the Standing Rock, and resisting Democratic Party lethargy.

The most popular chant of the day was “Money Out, Votes Count!” and a few pushed Rep. Keith Ellison as head of the Democratic National Committee.

Afterward, we marched along Broadway to Pelosi’s manor where we were greeted by two members the Capital Police of Washington, DC, on duty to protect the Minority Leader of the House, who were stationed on the street in a four-door, tinted-glass Suburban SUV. Also present were seven members of the local police force.

At Pelosi’s house, we again assembled on the sidewalk and claimed public space with an enormous rainbow flag, displaying our signs and hold another open mike session.

Calls were made for the congresswoman to fully back the legislative and social organizing agendas of Sen. Bernie Sanders. Activists addressed her tightly scripted Feb 18 Saturday morning chat before a friendly audience packed with local Democrats, where she selected fans to make statements.

Pelosi was roundly booed for this charade of public engagement that in no way qualifies as a genuine town hall.

A super yuge thanks to all our friends and cohorts for braving the threatening skies to keep the pressure on our federal public servants to better represent San Francisco progressive values. This is what direct democracy looks like, as shown in our photos and videos.

More info on the People’s Town Hall Project: https://www.facebook.com/PeoplesTownHall/

View the two videos from today here: https://www.facebook.com/benjamintbecker/videos/10101210757988575/

and here:

Ben Becker, Brandon Harami, Agatha Varshenka
The People’s Town Hall Project

All photos courtesy of Mirka Morales.

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Free trash!!!

Request for help:

First They Came for the Homeless needs some help removing trash.  They are located at the HERE/THERE signs at the Berkeley / Oakland border as you go up MLK, where Adeleine and MLK intersect.  While the City of Berkeley has not raided this site for over a month, they have not provided any services – like trash pickup or portapotties.  Stop by and take a bag of trash!  Free!

–JP Massar

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‘Not on our watch’: Trump resistance catches fire in Bay Area (mercurynews.com)

(Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)  Annette Madden, of Concord, from left, and her husband Tim Smith, sit with Carol McKenna, of Bay Point, as they attend a huddle meeting at the home of Judi Herman, in Concord, Calif. on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017. Donald Trump’s election has sparked a grassroots movement of progressives and moderates around the country. The Women’s march organizers have called for people around the country to start “huddle,” small gatherings in people’s homes and elsewhere to organize people to take specific actions.

Bay Area residents fed up with President Donald Trump huddle up to take action.  (Bay Area News Group)

OAKLAND — Before Donald Trump was elected president, Dave Emme had no idea who his congressional representative was. The 32-year-old environmental engineer, who lives in Oakland, was so disengaged from national politics that the first time he voted for president was for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Now, not only does he know Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, represents his district, he has her number on speed dial. Emme is a co-organizer for Indivisible Lake Merritt  one of many grassroots groups that have sprung up in recent weeks to resist the Trump agenda. It’s part of a mass movement sweeping the Bay Area and the nation since the inauguration of the 45th president.

It might seem like visiting Lee’s office would be preaching to the choir. She’s already one of the most liberal legislators in Congress and a vocal Trump opponent. Yet grass-roots organizations want to make sure their allies don’t get complacent and are fighting as hard as they can. They’re also seeking to build a strong coalition in left-leaning areas that can in turn support those seeking to flip red congressional districts.

“Everyone is just trying to figure it out,” Emme said. “Its a bunch of people who weren’t politically active and said we have to do something.”

Strangers connecting through social media and Slack are crowding into living rooms in Concord and San Jose. They’re spilling out of rented church space in Berkeley and gathering at co-working office spaces in Oakland. What they all have in common is their visceral reaction to Trump and fears that he is leading the country down a dangerous and authoritarian path.

“You have this unprecedented response because Trump is hitting the nerve around our democratic principles and values and what our nation stands for,” said San Jose State sociology professor Scott Myers-Lipton, citing in particular the president’s continuing attacks on the press and the judiciary.

Myers-Lipton, who teaches a class on effecting social change, says opposition isn’t just focused in more liberal parts of the Bay Area.

“There were 10,000 people at the Women’s March in Walnut Creek and over 35,000 in San Jose, which is not seen as a hotbed of political activity,” he said. “It’s Democrats, Republicans and independents that say, ‘No, you’ve crossed our democracy.’ ”

The question now for grass-roots organizers, he said, is how to harness that energy into a long-term strategy.

Indivisible is a national network of individual chapters inspired by a guide authored by former congressional staffers. It explains how to use tactics the tea party employed with great success to block Barack Obama, to resist his successor. The basic playbook calls for organizing lots of small but dedicated local groups to turn up at congressional district offices and call representatives about key issues.

Indivisible and other groups turned up the heat under U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, recently after she voted to approve Trump’s first five cabinet picks. A Feinstein aide joked that Indivisible blew up his Blackberry and almost broke his laptop. Feinstein did vote against Betsy DeVos, Trump’s education pick, and Jeff Sessions for attorney general.

“If politics is the castle, you look at these walls and this moat, and you say I can’t influence anything that’s going on in there,” Emme said. “And then suddenly you get this treasure map that tells you how to sneak through this secret passageway and have an impact. That’s how I felt when I read that document.”

Within a few days, he and Rob Norback had launched Indivisible Lake Merritt. They held their first official meeting Wednesday in a conference room at the Port Coworking space in downtown Oakland where Emme works. Nine people came.

Meanwhile, the Women’s March on Washington organizers urged people to start small gatherings called “huddles” in homes Feb. 2 through Feb. 12 to build on the organic momentum from the national and sister marches that drew millions of people.

Judi Herman decided to host a “huddle” in her Concord home because when she went on the website, all the ones near her were full.

On Friday, 17 people squeezed into her living room. They introduced themselves and why they had come. They spoke of Trump’s divisiveness. His attacks on immigrants. The GOP’s assault on abortion rights.

“I can either sit in my living room alone and scream at my TV or I can do something,” said Annette Madden, a 72-year-old Concord retiree.

They wrote up specific actions and strategies they would like to see taken over the next four years and posted them on Post-Its on the wall.

“It’s like mass therapy,” Herman said. “You meet other people, and you feel like I’m necessary, I can do something.”

Daphne White, a freelance journalist in Berkeley, started an Indivisible group with a Facebook page. She rented a room at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists church on Martin Luther King Day weekend. Thirty-seven people attended. By the second meeting, a week after Trump had been in office, five times as many showed up.

“We had people standing outside on the balconies looking into the windows,” she said. “It was so awesome and so unbelievable.”

Unlike the Occupy movement, Indivisible is developing a structure with specific tasks for people. These range from sending out emails and calling and visiting congressional representatives, such as they did to urge Feinstein to vote against DeVos.

“That’s been a benefit to me and has made me feel less panicky and more focused as the days go forward,” said Liz Kelley, a 31-year-old Oakland office manager who helps coordinate media for Indivisible East Bay.

Other Bay Area residents are finding individual ways to resist Trump’s policies.

When Iris Kokish, a 27-year-old Oakland labor and employment attorney, found out on social media about all of the people stranded at San Francisco International Airport due to Trump’s travel ban, she headed there to offer her pro bono legal services. When she arrived at SFO, she walked through the crowd of protesters to the speaker, announced that she was an attorney and asked how could she help.

For starters, she was told, she could help distribute the 20 pizzas that had just been delivered to feed those working to help those caught up in the ban. She did, and soon received an email from an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer.

“They said, we’re going to be announcing every once in a while to protesters if you have a friend or family member or know someone detained we have lawyers here for you to talk to,” Kokish said. “And I was given a list to collect the flight number people were on, their arrival time, how large the family was and what country they were coming from. Then I passed that off to the ACLU.”

She stayed from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m. that Saturday.

Kokish said she has since gone from someone who was not even remotely politically active to having her congressional representatives numbers programmed into her phone. And she calls them regularly.

“Sometimes their  voicemail is full, but sometimes I get to talk to someone,” she said. “I really feel like it’s working. I feel like everyone is becoming a little bit more militant.”

One thing is certain. Trump’s election has jolted many people out of complacency. They’re taking an interest in their government and how it works. They’re searching for ways to get involved and influence the political process. Could it be that the man so many fear will destroy America could end up unwittingly helping to strengthen it?

That optimistic thought has crossed Emme’s mind.

“It could be that he ends up being the thing that unites, rather than divides us,” Emme said.

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Analysis: New US state chief a perfect fit for Russia

Friendship between Putin and Rex Tillerson dates back to 1990s when the Texas oilman established a US energy presence.


Moscow, Russia – The appointment of Rex Tillerson, ExxonMobil’s chief executive, as the new US secretary of state was a shock to many – mostly because of his lifelong employment at one of the world’s largest oil companies and friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The friendship between the former KGB spy and the Texan oilman – they’re both 64 now – dates back to the late 1990s when Tillerson established the biggest presence of a US oil company in Russia, and Putin was a fledgling politician who had just been appointed prime minister in ailing president Boris Yeltsin’s government.

In 2013, Putin handed Tillerson a pentacle-shaped Friendship Medal, one of Russia’s highest award for foreigners, for “special merits in development of bilateral ties with Russia”.

Donald Trump names Rex Tillerson as secretary of state

A year earlier, Tillerson presided over a multibillion dollar deal that was designed to help Moscow tap into the immense oil Bonanza in the Arctic – but fell through because of Western sanctions imposed after Crimea’s 2014 annexation. Tillerson lambasted the sanctions that cost his company billions of dollars in lost profit.

And now, when Tillerson is a fledgling diplomat and Putin is a seasoned, iron-fisted politician, Kremlin critics wonder whether these amicable ties will mark a U-turn in Washington’s dealings with Moscow.

Trump reveals new controversial cabinet nominees

“This appointment is very beneficial for Putin,” Vladimir Milov, Russia’s former deputy energy minister now in opposition to the Kremlin, told Al Jazeera.

Tillerson will create “an environment that is much more comfortable for Putin that the previous architecture of transatlantic cooperation, a certain unified West with its own certain values”, he said.

Russia’s annexation of Crimea, support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, and the pro-Damascus operation in Syria has brought ties with the West back to Cold-War lows.

But the jingoistic, neo-conservative, and pragmatic course chosen by president-elect Donald Trump starkly contradicts years of Washington’s policies towards containing Russia – and strangely fits the Kremlin’s own political agenda.

No more lectures on democracy?

For most of his rule, Putin wanted the West to treat Moscow as an equal and detested reprimands for his crackdown on opposition figures, corruption, and concentration of key industries around state-run corporations.

Analysts insist Trump’s approach will be much more businesslike.

“Russia’s leadership proclaimed pragmatism as the basis of its foreign policy a long time ago. If the US will share the same foreign policy principle, I don’t think there will be any problems,” Alexey Mukhin, head of the Moscow-based Centre for Political Information think-tank, told Al Jazeera.

Pro-Kremlin pundits are already ecstatic about the appointment.

“This is a positive development so unexpected that we still don’t believe it’s happening,” Kremlin adviser and political analyst Sergei Markov told Al Jazeera.

Profiting on Russia

In 1998-1999, Tillerson served as vice president of Exxon (before the company’s merger with Mobil) in charge of operations in the Caspian Sea and on Sakhalin, Russia’s largest Pacific island north of Japan.

Dealings with Russian authorities weren’t always easy. In April 2015, the company sued Russia at the Stockholm arbitrage court claiming it overpaid profit tax on the Sakhalin project.

But Tillerson soon found himself among Moscow’s most trusted Big Oil executives.

In September 2005, Putin met Tillerson – ExxonMobil’s president at the time – as well as with the company’s then-chief executive Lee Raymond, and top managers of Conoco-Phillips and Shevron-Texaco.

Months earlier, oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovskywas sentenced to nine years in jail for alleged fraud in what was widely seen as the Kremlin’s revenge for his financial support of the opposition. International investors were worried about the imprisonment, and the meeting was an attempt to reassure them that Moscow was still a reliable partner.

Trump taps climate change denier to lead EPA

Most of Khodorkovsky’s oil company, Yukos, soon became the bulk of state-run Rosneft, ExxonMobil’s main Russian partner and its nation’s largest oil company. Igor Sechin, a former Portuguese translator and Putin’s key ally often described as the second-most powerful man in Russia, heads Rosneft now.

He is also a good friend of Tillerson, according to Russian and western media reports.

Arctic oil dream

In 2011, ExxonMobil outmaneuvered oil giant BP to help Russia develop the world’s largest treasure chest of untapped hydrocarbons.

The Arctic Circle holds some 90 billion barrels of yet undiscovered but technically recoverable oil, about one-seventh of the world’s undiscovered oil reserves – as well as billions of cubic metres of natural gas, according to a 2008 assessment by the US Geological Survey.

Russia’s share of the reserves is at least 41 percent of oil and 70 percent of gas, accordingto Norwegian officials. But Moscow lacked the deep-drilling technologies and equipment – and that’s where ExxonMobil stepped in.

In 2011, Putin oversaw the signing of a “strategic” deal between Rosneft and ExxonMobil to develop three oil-and-gas fields in Russia’s Arctic – in exchange for shares in six ExxonMobil projects in the United States.

“I’d like to emphasise the exclusiveness of these decisions for Russian companies … that until today were not able to develop existing deposits in the US,” Sechin told the Interfax news agency.

Russia: Alexei Ulyukayev arrested over $2m bribe

Tillerson attended the ceremony and said in a statement that the deal “takes our relationship to a new level and will create substantial value for both companies”. ExxonMobil said it would spend $3.2bn to explore the fields that would give it access to tens of billions of barrels of oil.

The drilling began in 2014 but the deal – along with another joint development in western Siberia – was frozen because of sanctions over Crimea, and ExxonMobil reportedly lost $1bn.

Sechin and Rosneft were blacklisted as part of the sanctions.

Tillerson told ExxonMobil’s shareholders “we always encourage the people who are making those decisions to consider the very broad collateral damage of who are they really harming with sanctions”.

The sanctions did not stop him from visiting Russia at least twice to meet the energy minister and attend an economic forum in St Petersburg, Putin’s hometown.

Bright future?

So, the big question now is whether Tillerson will be instrumental in the lifting of sanctions, which will undoubtedly benefit ExxonMobil’s current and future operations in Russia.

“He and Donald Trump will initiate the lifting of sanctions with a probability of 70-80 percent,” analyst Mukhin predicted.

Trump doubts President Barack Obama’s claims that Russia meddled in the November presidential vote through hackers and propaganda, and spoke in favour of lifting the sanctions and respecting Russia’s interests.

“With him, a certain ‘reset’ is possible,” Andrei Kolesnikov of the Carnegie Moscow Centre, a think-tank, told Al Jazeera.

His boss at Carnegie, Dmitri Trenin, said in a tweet that Tillerson’s tenure as the fourth-most powerful man in the US would signify “the greatest discontinuity in US foreign policy since the end of the Cold War”.

How Trump may change US foreign policy

Source: Al Jazeera News

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Berkeley approves plan for fast-tracked 100 units for the homeless

Prime opportunity for local micro developer’s prefab module homes

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WED, 2/15/2017 – BY NORMAN SOLOMON (Occupy.com)

The momentum to impeach President Trump is accelerating.

On Thursday, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) filed a “resolution of inquiry” that amounts to the first legislative step toward impeachment.

new poll shows that registered voters are evenly split, at 46-to-46 percent, on whether they “support” or “oppose” impeaching Trump. Just two weeks ago, the pro-impeachment figure was 35 percent.

Since inauguration, more than 800,000 people have signed a petition in the first stage of the Impeach Donald Trump Campaign, which will soon involve grassroots organizing in congressional districts around the country.

Under the Trump presidency, defending a wide range of past gains is both necessary and insufficient. Fighting for impeachment is a way to go on the offensive, directly challenging the huge corruption that Trump has brought to the White House.

From the outset, President Trump has been violating two provisions of the U.S. Constitution – its foreign and domestic “emoluments” clauses. In a nutshell, both clauses forbid personally profiting from presidential service beyond receiving a government salary.

Some believe that the Republican-controlled Congress is incapable of impeaching Trump, but history tells us what’s possible when a president falls into wide disrepute. On July 27, 1974, seven GOP representatives on the 38-member House Judiciary Committee voted to impeach a fellow Republican, President Richard Nixon.

As for objections that impeaching and removing Trump from office would make Mike Pence the president, that concern is apt to bypass one set of key considerations after another. Along the way, in political terms, people need to think through the implications of the fact that Trump could only be removed from office with the help of many votes from Republicans on Capitol Hill.

Even if every Democrat in the House voted in unison to impeach Trump, impeachment would only be possible if at least two-dozen Republican members of the House voted in favor. Likewise, a vote in the Senate (requiring two-thirds) to remove Trump from the presidency would only be successful if at least 19 Republican senators voted for conviction. Such events would badly splinter and damage the Republican Party – causing divisive bitterness, putting GOP leaders back on their heels and hobbling a Pence presidency.

Arguably most important of all, democracy requires that no one be above the law – a principle that’s most crucially applied to the holder of the most powerful office in the U.S. government. Extreme abuse of power from the top of the government must be seen and treated as intolerable.

The Constitution that Trump continues to flagrantly violate is supposed to be “the supreme law of the land.” To give Trump a pass would be to wink at his merger of vast personal wealth and corporate holdings with vast governmental power.

From the grassroots, it’s crucial for constituents to push back with determination. As the Impeach Donald Trump Now campaign’s website documents in detail, Trump’s personal riches are entangled with countless policy options for his administration. That precedent must be resisted and defeated.

So far, the Democratic Party’s leadership in Congress has shown scant interest in impeaching Trump. With escalating pressure from constituents, that may soon change.

Congressman Nadler’s unusual resolution of inquiry will be able to avoid some of the standard roadblocks in the House. As his website explains, “A Resolution of Inquiry is a legislative tool that has privileged parliamentary status, meaning it can be brought to the floor if the relevant Committee hasn’t reported it within 14 legislative days, even if the Majority leadership has not scheduled it for a vote.”

Nadler has just put a big toe in the impeachment water. Yet no members of the House have taken the plunge to introduce an actual resolution for impeachment. They will have to be pushed.

Norman Solomon is national coordinator of the online activist group RootsAction.org, which is co-sponsoring with Free Speech For People the grassroots impeachment campaign at ImpeachDonaldTrumpNow.org.

Donald Trump, Trump impeachment, Impeach Donald Trump Campaign, emoluments clause
Donald Trump, Trump impeachment, Impeach Donald Trump Campaign, emoluments clause
Donald Trump, Trump impeachment, Impeach Donald Trump Campaign, emoluments clause
Donald Trump, Trump impeachment, Impeach Donald Trump Campaign, emoluments clause
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February 17 — General Strike for Democracy!

Friday, February 17 from midnight (February 16) to 6 PM PST


Media Contact:  Eric Williams
Follow us @F17strike
Join us at the F17 event page at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1756631744665376/
Join us at our F17 group page Strike4Democracy: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1816330771961327/
#F17 #Strike4Democracy
Strike4Democracy: National Day of Strike Actions to Push Back Against Assaults on Democratic Principles

On Friday, February 17, 2017, Strike4Democracy will coordinate over 100 strike actions across the United States, and beyond, that show support and encourage planning a series of even larger strikes to stand up for America’s democratic principles. As the nation suffers through ICE raids, travel bans, Trump’s mobilization on the border wall, as well as attacks on the rights of workers, women, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and our environment, February 17th provides a beacon to those who are searching for a way to protect and defend our shared humanity. People across the country have begun to realize that we must diversify tactics, as protests and marches are only the first step. Strike4Democracy amplifies a new chapter of nonviolent resistance ushered in over the last six weeks by calling for strikes that grow in number and power.
We call on participants in Strike4Democracy to rise up in their local communities on February 17th to hold events that build towards a series of mass strikes. February 17 is a day of strike actions that preview an even larger mass strike planned for March 8, organized by International Women’s Day and The Women’s March. We also anticipate strikes on May Day and a heightening resistance throughout the summer.

Strike4Democracy’s message to the Administration and Congressional leaders is clear:
§ STOP the authoritarian assault on our fundamental, constitutional rights, the very principles that have truly made America great;
§ STOP attacking and victimizing women, Muslims, immigrants, racial and ethnic groups, the LGBTQ+ community, working families, journalists, and all who offer criticisms of the Administration’s policies including the U.S. judicial branch;
§ REALIZE that America’s true strength lies in the values of inclusivity not exclusivity.
As citizens and supporters come together to register their deep dissatisfaction with the President and the current administration’s unconstitutional, inhumane policies and behavior, February 17th marks a heightened effort to provide a beacon for those who share our concerns and who search for a way to “do something.” Together we speak with one voice. We say:
▪ NO to attacks on our marginalized communities
▪ NO to attacks on the sovereignty of indigenous peoples
▪ NO to attacks on constructive critics within and outside government
▪ NO to attacks on our constitutionally guaranteed rights
▪ NO to attacks on our environment
▪ NO to attacks on working families
▪ NO to attacks on public education

Register your local events here at this crowdsourced doc: https://docs.google.com/…/1NZR6mqImkoOHWpbTHdkC…/mobilebasic

Who we are:
Strike4Democracy (www.strike4democracy.com) is a national day of action on Friday, February 17, 2017. We intend to build an unassailable force of Americans from all walks of life and all parts of this great country who will, if necessary, participate in a series of massive strikes to persuade the President, his administration, and his supporters in Congress, to heed our message: Stop the authoritarian assault on our fundamental, constitutional rights. Over 100 coordinated events will take place across the nation and beyond. Find an #F17 event near you at www.strike4democracy.com/events.

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Pelosi’s home is site of robust People’s Town Hall (by Michael Petrelis)


Pelosi’s Home is Site of Robust People’s Town Hall

On a brisk and sunny San Francisco Saturday, February 11th, about 75 activists gathered outside of Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s mansion in San Francisco for a lively 90-minute direct democracy action.

Speakers included ordinary citizens new to street activism and seasoned political organizers. Many folks were from the San Francisco Berniecrats, the No Dakota Access Pipeline network and the People’s Town Hall Project.

“Pelosi hasn’t held a town hall since 2006 so we took it upon ourselves to show her how to conduct a forum in her district. If she can stage a scripted town hall on CNN in Washington, she must also hold weekly listening sessions with we, the people and her constituents,” said Brandon Harami, one of the organizers of today’s action.

“When Pelosi finally hosts a town hall in San Francisco, I will be there to say she doesn’t represent her constituents when she accepts money from Wall Street financiers,” said Claire Lau, another of the organizers.

This is the third such town hall organized by the People’s Town Hall Project, and the first at Pelosi’s home.

Join us on “Not My President’s Day,” February 20th at 3:00 pm, as we revisit both Feinstein’s and Pelosi’s mansions in Pacific Heights and demand they hold formal town halls.

Please watch the video of the Pelosi home visit here:https://www.facebook.com/seejake/videos/10158434301175647/

More info: https://www.facebook.com/PeoplesTownHall/

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“Is Central Banking a Capitalist or Communist Concept?” by Valentin Schmid, Epoch Times

Central banks look capitalist on the surface, but have their roots in communist literature

The right doesn’t like central banks because of their centrality. The banks centralize power over interest rates, and the right doesn’t like central control over pretty much anything. The left doesn’t like central banks because they represent money, capitalism, and “too big to fail” banks.

However, despite the confusion and complicated hybrid setup of the Fed and other central banks, these institutions are more communist and socialist in nature than capitalist.

Contrast these two statements from two important historical documents.

One calls for the “Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.”

The other one gives Congress the power to “coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures.”

Karl Marx and Frederich Engels penned the former statement in 1848 in their infamous “Manifesto of the Communist Party.”

Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson were responsible for the inclusion of Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, the source of the latter statement.

So which camp is the Federal Reserve in—manifesto or Constitution?

National Monopoly

The Fed is a national banking system and has an exclusive monopoly on issuing the U.S. dollar credit instrument in paper and electronic form.

The Communist Manifesto furthermore calls for “gradually substituting paper money for gold and silver coin.” This objective was achieved, gradually, from the beginnings of the Fed in 1914 until the revocation of the Bretton Woods modified gold standard in 1971. Since then, the world has operated on a global paper dollar standard.

Furthermore, the manifesto wanted the “paper issues [to be] legal tender,” a principle dutifully incorporated into the Federal Reserve Act of 1913.

Under the act, “the said notes shall be obligations of the United States and shall be receivable by all national and member banks and Federal Reserve banks and for all taxes, customs, and other public dues. They shall be redeemed in lawful money,” where “lawful money” means legal tender.

The U.S. Constitution, on the other hand, calls for Congress to “coin money,” referring to the issue of gold and silver coins and the standardization of their measurements. The Department of the Treasury still issues American Gold and Silver Eagles, but the Fed neither coins money nor concerns itself with the standardization of weights and measures.

Hybrid Ownership

What about ownership, capital, supervision, and credit? This is where the Fed does not meet the strict manifesto standard. Legally, the Federal Reserve System is a public/private hybrid, with private banks owning the shares or capital of the system and the government providing some, though not all, of the supervision.

So the Fed does not operate on state capital. However, it shares its profits with the Treasury and most of the important decisions are made by publicly appointed officials. The president appoints seven of the 12 members of the Fed body that decides monetary policy (the Federal Open Market Committee) and they are then confirmed by the Senate. So it does sound like the “centralization of credit in the hands of the state,” or at least the power to manipulate credit.

Credit is not centralized in one bank, but rather in the one Federal Reserve System, which includes thousands of privately owned banks that issue credit to their customers. This goes against the call for “suppression of all private banks and bankers,” because they still exist. However, the system has central control over credit due to regulation and tinkering with the interest rates.

The Fed can control how many reserves the system banks must hold and how much money (credit) they can lend. The open market operations that determine the interest rate on the reserves also incentivize banks to free up or contract credit.

In fact, setting short-term rates and manipulating long-term rates centrally through large-scale asset purchases, like the Quantitative Easing program, is akin to communist central planning.

In the free market, private banks compete for savings, and the interest rate is set in a competitive bidding process between different economic actors. Not so in a centrally controlled system.

Lastly, Marx and Engels got their wish written in 1848: “In most advanced countries, the following will be pretty generally applicable,” with “the following” including centrally controlled credit and other demands of the manifesto.

Today, the only countries without central banks are the micro states of Monaco, Nauru, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Palau, Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Communism is estimated to have killed around 100 million people, yet its crimes have not been compiled and its ideology still persists. Epoch Times seeks to expose the history and beliefs of this movement, which has been a source of tyranny and destruction since it emerged.

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