EnclosureUSA

- On Neo-Slavery In the `Free Market,' the latter-day `Soft Cage' of Surveillance and Social Control,
and the Implications For Freedom, Democracy, and Economy -
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Driven off the land, corralled in the urban economy, no exit from the daily grind, no refuge on a personal or communal plot, dissent and protest criminalized, fired for joining a union, job exported, surveillance everywhere, in the unemployment line for smoking off the job, imprisoned for smoking a plant, bankrupt from healthcare expense, no way to counter the power of employers or ability to escape the "free market" for any length of time?   Welcome to EnclosureUSA

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- Enclosure Thru The Ages -

"The royal policy of disafforestation and enclosure... involved disrupting a way of life, a brutal disregard for the rights of commoners... a consequence of the policy was to force men to sole dependence on wage labour, which many regarded as little better than slavery."

Christopher Hill

 

"In England, the beginnings of capitalism lie in the ‘Enclosure Movement’ during which large landlords deprived peasants of tenant rights and right to use common land. This gave the landlords more property but made poor peasants property-less and drove them into the towns."

Arjun Makhijani

Enclosure is the historical term applied to the efforts over the centuries by the rich and powerful to drive local farmers and indigenous peoples off their land and commons, all in order to gain control and privatize in the hands of the already wealthy more fertile farm lands, water supplies, timber, oil, and mineral resources. In effect, it has meant an imperialism writ large in the name of "greater productivity" and ruling-class policies of outright theft and judicial piracy - ongoing for centuries and serving to eliminate natural freedom, diversity, democracy, and cooperative enterprise.

The reason for this re-examination of enclosure and its socio-economic implications is to better understand both the sordid history and oligarchy-tinged philosophy of the "free market," it's origins in English Aristocracy and imperialism, and to generally aid in discerning where we have come from and where we are headed today.

Of primary importance to free markets and democracy is the relative power of labor and capital. Wherever one "factor" is able to suppress the other then markets and democracies are neither free nor economic. Without a larger perspective and better understanding of history our very definitions of freedom and free markets are increasingly meaningless. As defined by capital these terms simply redound to the benefit of those who would enclose the world in their corrupt, self-interested, and empty meanings of "freedom" "liberty" and "democracy".

As a rule, apologists for "free market" economics (as defined and controlled by capital) have mostly ignored and buried the less glorious history of capitalism. In fact, all too many economists still see both history's, and our latter-day, enclosures as allowing for more economical and productive uses of the land and resources - i.e., a privatization uber alles. Of course, this is as if a greater and greater productivity - measured in amoral, ecologically corrupt, and labor-denying statistics - is somehow the Sina Qua Non of our existence, or even comes close to defining the root meaning and broader aspect of the word "economics."

"A wage-earner who had lost his common rights would be much more dependent on his employer than one who had not. Enclosure... will give the poor an interest in toiling, whom terror never yet could enure to travail."

Adam Moore, 1653

Clearly, capital's apologist's continue to ignore the effects of labor's diminished and disenfranchised estate, and its effects on economy and democracy. As a result of enclosure's long-lasting effects, economics and capitalism in all too many locales has become inherently fascist and "democracy" remains little more than a sham.

While there is surely truth in the greater productivity assertion, and the power of private property, nevertheless, what dismal economists refer to are productivity increases gained via removing labor's natural freedom and independence, eliminating survival plots, foisting on labor a wage rather than a share, and generally creating a more desperate labor and wage-slavery. Today, as well, such "productivity" is largely achieved by labor arbitrage, by exporting jobs and forcing " free trade" with the greater slave - and this despite the lack of support for such policies by the vast majority.

The productivity argument/excuse also ignores the socio-political consequences of enclosure, its destruction of natural freedom and refuge for millions, its reification of aristocracy and oligarchy, and its crude, society-twisting and democracy-destroying, imbalance of power between labor and capital.

As a result of centuries of enclosure (driving newly landless peasants into wage slavery in urban hells and, as well, many more moving to cities to voluntarily work in factories) we are now a world of mostly urbanized wage slaves without retreat, refuge, or un-mortgaged freedom on the land... all from which we might better bargain a truly free entry into a marketplace of similarly enfranchised, landed, and free souls. The latter condition is the salutary estate of enfranchised beings, and condition we could truly call a free market. However, it remains an estate of mankind much too infrequently seen over the many centuries of imperialism and warfare over resources.

"The lands of Italy, which had been originally divided among the families of free and indigent proprietors, were purchased or usurped by the avarice of the nobles; and in the age which preceded the fall of the republic, it was computed that only two thousand citizens were possessed of any independent substance."

Edward Gibbon

Today, it is capital's "interdependence" that is the buzzword of a top-down globalization manufactured by ruling elites and not mandated by the people via National Initiatives. Clearly, there is nothing wrong with interdependence per se as it defines a modern economy and the benefits of specialization. But we cannot have free trade without the ability not to trade and/or to balance markets and economies via rifle-shot compensating tariffs rather than all being forced to suffer currency ruin.

Unfortunately, to date, given the pervasive lack of Factor Balance in a post-enclosure society, and today's undemocratic `free trade' globalization processes, the interdependence of capital is, and will remain, essentially forced - and so markets are neither free or voluntary nor truly democratic. In short, corporate fascism reigns.

"What turned an England economically free into the England which we know today, of which at least one-third is indigent, of which nineteen-twentieths are dispossessed of capital and land, and of which the whole industry and national life is controlled upon its economic side by a few chance directors of millions, a few masters of unsocial and irresponsible monopolies?"

Hilaire Belloc

Without a far more pervasive and salutary condition of natural freedom and landed enfranchisement or communal retreat, the need arises for a pervasive "Factor Balance" (i.e., balance of power between labor and capital) in our economic and political institutions.

A balance of socio-economic power between labor and capital - in media, markets, and legislatures - serves to offset the historic loss of natural freedom by the majority. Otherwise, the great majority of wage-earners in the "free market" are, and will remain, at a great disadvantage within their so-called democracy. The diminished estate of labor prepares the way for a corporate fascism and oligarchy to arise and reign supreme the world over.

"Adam Smith argued the invisible hand guides economies toward maximum efficiency and mutual benefit only when there’s `perfect liberty’ - `where every man is perfectly free both to choose what occupation he thinks proper, and to change it as often as he thinks proper."

D. Breton & C. Largent

The very subject of enclosure, and even Adam Smith's diminished idea of `Perfect Liberty,' remains a forgotten and buried tale in today's corporate controlled media and academia. Only "privatization" and further concentration of resources in fewer and fewer, profit-seeking, hands is given credence and media applause.

Yet, if Adam Smith's "perfect liberty" is to mean anything it must mean that labor is in some fashion enfranchised - as opposed to landless, dependent, and desperate - and so may come and go from the marketplace without being under duress. No contract is legal, moral, ethical, or valid wherein one of the parties is under any kind of duress or disadvantage. Yet this is the on-going estate of labor... the vast majority.

If Smith's perfect liberty is to mean anything it surely must also mean a Factor Balance in society and the power of National Initiatives - a device giving the people the power to override their representatives, who are so often bought off in a corrupt, corporate controlled, media, nomination, campaign, and voting machine process. Short of these conditions, Smith's so-called liberty is only for capital and not for the great majority of human beings - and so the free market is myth.

"When William of Normandy came over to England in 1066, the first thing he did was to occupy the land... Any person who pre-empts the land controls the labor of everybody living on the land. He divided the land into baronies and distributed it around among those other banditti that he brought over with him. They constituted an aristocracy and made the people work for them. That was economic exploitation."

Albert Jay Nock

 

"Modern capitalism is the first important system of property rights to allow property owners to make decisions which result in large scale unemployment. The much vaunted freedom of modern capitalism is largely a matter of the freedom of property owners from social responsibility for the consequences of their economic choices. It is a matter of the freedom of property owners not to invest their savings if the profit incentive is not considered sufficient. To say that it is also a matter of the freedom of the worker to abstain from work is to utter a shallow mockery of human necessity... The poor man is never free in any but a legal and absurd sense to withhold his labor... so to withhold his labor is to starve."

Lawrence Dennis, The Coming American Fascism, 1936

Enclosure's legacy and socio-economic impacts, and the dependent and desperate condition of modern labor, mandate a pervasive Factor Balance. Otherwise, society and economy remain corrupt, oligarchic and fascist. Without factor-balanced, democratic, institutions, and wage-earning majorities exercising their rightful control over media, then ruling elites have simply perfected a no-exit `free market' of dependent and indebted souls.


- The The 'Soft Cage' of Information-Age Despotism -

"The proliferation of closed-circuit tv and similar technologies threaten to reshape our culture and public spaces and therefore our very minds in ways that preclude progressive social change, cultural experimentation, and basic liberty... Information on people and objects in time and space can be constantly updated and recorded passively and automatically in real time to create a ubiquitous self-generating infrastructure of the dossier. The implications of this for the politics of mobility could be rather intense. In a thoroughly tagged world, geographic maneuver and escape become difficult. Escape from the past or persecution, the freedom to reinvent, resist, and restart, will all be severely curtailed in the fully digitalized landscape of the possible future."

Christian Parenti, The Soft Cage

 

"Nothing is efficient in Oceania except the Thought Police. A Party member lives from birth to death under the eye of the Thought Police. Even when he is alone he can never be sure that he is alone. Wherever he may be, asleep or awake, working or resting, in his bath or in bed, Wherever he may be, asleep or awake, working or resting, in his bath or in bed, he can be inspected without warning and without knowing that he is being inspected. Nothing that he does is indifferent. His friendships, his relaxations, his behaviour towards his wife and children, the expression of is face when is alone, the words he mutters in sleep, even the characteristic movements of his body, are all jealously scrutinized. Not only any actual misdemeanour, but any eccentricity, however small, any change of habits, any nervous mannerism that could possibly be the symptom of an inner struggle, is certain to be detected. He has no freedom of choice in any direction whatever. Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull. The person in the next table could be a spy of the Thought Police. There was no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live - did live, from habit that became instinct - in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness every movement scrutinized. ...The most deadly danger of all was talking in your sleep. There was no way of guarding against that, so far as he could see. Thoughtcrime was not a thing that could be concealed forever. You might dodge successfully for awhile, even for years, but sooner or later they were bound to get you."

George Orwell, 1984

In the name of fighting terrorism - but not state terrorism - Americans and many others around the world have given up their liberties for the promise of security. As a result, we've entered George Orwell's dismal world via the "Patriot" Act.

Around the world, ruling classes are using the new tools to strengthen their hold on society and prevent dissent... terrorism in the name of fighting terrorism. If Osama did not exist he would likely have been invented and funded by the CIA... or was he?

Today, the onslaught of new technology and the ability to secretly observe people and objects around the globe is upon us. In effect, it largely serves to increase capital's power over labor, and a despot's power over democrats. The stolen elections in the USA are now a model for the new fail-safe format for a global tyranny by capital... just in case owning the media, central banks, and defining the "free" trade laws does not quite work to the ruling elites satisfaction.

Enclosure has gone digital... first the land and now the body, mind, and thought. Not only are we commons-less, mortgaged to debt-money private central banks but now our every move can be observed and tracked. The new "anti-terror" technology gives governments and ruling elites the power to observe, disrupt, dissuade, and imprison dissenters, and interfere with First Amendment freedoms of speech and assembly. Such powers will be used and abused, and so must be greatly limited if not revoked.

In effect, the anti-terror powers give the oligarchic state the power to terrorize. Had such powers existed in 1775 we would still be a colony of England, and our Constitution would never have emerged. The tragedy is that despite our Constitutional freedoms they are now obviated by police powers unimagined 200 years ago. Are we facing a thousand-year Fascist Fourth Reich powered by capital's media and control of voting machines?

While history's enclosures created and reified monarchy, oligarchy, and the global imperialism of ruling elites, today's "soft cage" of surveillance and "anti-terrorist" police state tactics generates evermore power for ruling classes to protect the cruel, cancerous, and environment-devastating, conditions they inflict upon society. As history reveals, however, ruin and revolution emerge as a result of any on-going imbalance of power between capital and labor. Today's "soft cage" simply guarantees a future terrorism against the rich and powerful as a result of mankind being backed up against the wall.

"More problematic still is a `no-fly' list... ostensibly designed to keep terrorists from boarding and taking down planes, the list has also been used to harass and limit the mobility of peace activists and other dissidents - twenty activists from Wisconsin were prevented from flying to Washington to meet their congressional delegation... What are the deeper implications here? Clearly this `swarming of disciplinary technologies' has a chilling impact and helps deepen a culture of obedient quiescence. The emerging surveillance landscape brings with it very serious political implications: mobility is an integral to democratic politics as is freedom of speech or the right to assembly... The "enclosure" of one relatively anonymous roads by means of cameras and automatic vehicle identification marks a radical transformation."

Christian Parenti

 

"All citizens are inhabitants of the electronic concentration camp...Indeed, The government is already preparing electronic dossiers on virtually every citizen... Anything that you've ever said or done… can now be tracked, collected, catalogued, analyzed, and placed in an electronic file… Under so-called "civil commitment" laws in place in all fifty states, tens of thousands of arrests are taking place across the country, with Americans being made to "disappear" into mental institutions."

John W. Whitehead, A Government of Wolves


The Electronic Police State
2010 National Rankings

The USA closes - only 2/100ths of a point behind Russia.
Americans have the same online freedom as Putin’s subjects.

When we produced our first Electronic Police State report, the top ten nations were of two types: 1. Those that had the will to spy on every citizen, but lacked ability. 2. Those who had the ability, but were restrained in will.

This is changing: The able have become willing and their traditional restraints have failed. The United States, with the UK and France close behind, have now caught up with Russia and are gaining on China, North Korea and Belarus. The key developments driving this are the following:

• The USA has negated their Constitution’s fourth amendment in the name of protection and in the name of "wars" against terror, drugs and cyber attacks.
• The UK is aggressively building the world of 1984 in the name of stopping "anti-social" activities. Their populace seems unable or unwilling to restrain the government.
• France and the EU have given themselves over to central bureaucratic control.

For those who are new to the Electronic Police State Report, we will re-state our definitions: An electronic police state is characterized by this: State use of electronic technologies to record, organize, search and distribute forensic evidence against its citizens.

The two crucial facts about the information gathered under an electronic police state are these:

1. It is criminal evidence, ready for use in a trial.

2. It is gathered universally ("preventively") and only later organized for use in prosecutions. In an Electronic Police State, every surveillance camera recording, every email sent, every Internet site surfed, every post made, every check written, every credit card swipe, every cell phone ping… are all criminal evidence, and all are held in searchable databases. The individual can be prosecuted whenever the government wishes. Long-term, the Electronic Police State destroys free speech, the right to petition the government for redress of grievances, and other liberties. Worse, it does so in a way that is difficult to identify.

CrystoHippie.com

"The popular conception of the police state, derived mainly from works of science fiction, revolves heavily around the deployment of exotic technologies for keeping the populace firmly under the thumb of an authoritarian government. Winston Smith and the characters of 1984 were surveilled by the omnipresent telescreens. The inhabitants of the Brave New World were controlled by their government-administered soma drugs and hypnopædia indoctrination. Enemy of the State introduced the viewer to worldwide telephone and satellite surveillance. Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report had its robotic tracking bugs. And all manner of science-fiction has featured pain devices and bracelets that cause the protagonist to double over in pain at the click of a button. Perhaps it is the frequency with which these devices are presented to us in fictionalized form that prevents many from noticing that this technology is not the stuff of sci-fi fantasy, but increasingly a part of our everyday lives."

James Corbett, Corbett Report

 

"I never thought I would have to write this: but - incredibly - Congress has now passed the National Defense Appropriations Act, with Amendment 1031, which allows for the military detention of American citizens. The amendment is so loosely worded that any American citizen could be held without due process. The language of this bill can be read to assure Americans that they can challenge their detention - but most people do not realize what this means: At Guantanamo and in other military prisons, one's lawyer's calls are monitored, witnesses for one's defense are not allowed to testify, and one can be forced into nudity and isolation. Incredibly, ninety-three Senators voted to support this bill and now most of Congress: A roster of names that will live in infamy in the history of our nation, and never be expunged from the dark column of the history books. They may have supported this bill because - although it's hard to believe - they think the military will only arrest active members of Al Qaida; or maybe, less naively, they believe that 'at most', low-level dissenting figures, activists, or troublesome protesters might be subjected to military arrest. But they are forgetting something critical: History shows that those who signed this bill will soon be subject to arrest themselves."

Naomi Wolf, The End of America

 

"A society whose citizens refuse to see and investigate the facts, who refuse to believe that their government and their media will routinely lie to them and fabricate a reality contrary to verifiable facts, is a society that chooses and deserves the Police State Dictatorship it's going to get."

Ian Williams Goddard

- Yet More Enclosures Of Freedom -
On Drug Wars, Thought Control, Right To Die,
Religious Dogma & Overpopulation

In addition to control of media and information by corporate forces, more control of mind and body means preventing access to natural substances which may influence thought - particularly psycho-active plants and others of natural's bounty once the very foundation of Mystery School learning for society's solons.

The idiocy we see today means that ruling elites, and "moral majority" fanatics, have outlawed plants! Despite millions of years of mankind's freedom with Nature's pharmacopeia, in many countries today you cannot possess, smoke, or otherwise cook certain plants - particularly those used since the beginning of time for various things... like opening one's mind, or for simple relaxation, stress relief, revealing doorways to meditation, or making the hemp-based paper on which is written our Constitution.

In practice, the "drug" laws have one purpose in preventing knowledge of being, and another in decimating labor and democratic forces, particularly in the developing world.

This anti-nature activity should be evidence enough of the certifiable insanity of the "moral majority" but today's drug pogrom continues. People are imprisoned for years, decades and even for life for plant violations. Meanwhile, those that steal your money, health, and despoil the environment either get rich and/or receive light sentences.

We once made a costly and cruel mistake with Prohibition I, but we have done it again with Prohibition II. It's a very sick world, and we never seem to learn.

Historically, we can also say land enclosures bred imperialism as they fed the power and monetary might of ruling monarchies and aristocracies. Democracy, being the truly effective power of the vast laboring majority, could not flourish wherever so much of the land, wealth, and economic product flowed into a few hands.

Today's lack of public campaign financing continues to reify oligarchy and plutocracy. One Supreme Court decision (Buckley V. Valeo, a 5-4 decision which defines money as "speech" rather than power) sets the stage for continued ruling elite power and corruption on a massive scale. Rather than properly defining money as power, and ownership of media as even vastly more power, the hapless "Supremes" cannot seem to figure it out, or they are closet fascists with no interest in meaningful democracy.

Added to the socio-economic cage, and new control of dissidents, is the on-going Religious tyranny of true believers - i.e., those who assume they can, and should, control others due to their special favor from a male sky-God. As fewer and fewer beings have any acquaintance with Enlightenment, enlightened beings, or the idea of spiritual evolution, the Dark Ages of Belief continue. Both ancient and latter-day crusades, are testament to the mad house of believers the world has been, and has become. History is one long dismal tale of the cruel slaughters they have imposed upon the innocent and the unbelievers... always in the name of God. Beware of enclosure by dogma... in the name of religion.

As for morality, we have other's "morality" forced into our lives on a daily basis. The Right-To-Die cases reveal the fascist mentality of those who, in effect, believe the state owns your body and its issue. So many of these phony "conservatives" seek to control your sex life, your reproductive life, and how you choose to end your life. Clearly, if you do not own your own body, and possess the right to commit suicide, and have relatives or friends freely assist in this effort, then the State owns your body - and so you are not a free human being, or a true conservative, by any measure.

While the world environment and yesterday's Better Estate collapse from overpopulation, and resource wars abound, these same "religious" persons continue to prevent birth control and contraception - the idiocy of irresponsible idiocies in a collapsing world. Dogma knows no responsibility, freedom of dissent, or response to changing conditions - and thus it proceeds to ruin, our mutual ruin.

Overpopulation is stealing the better world from everyone, your children and mine. The only real morality is to leave the next generation a balanced budget, a balanced environment, and a balanced population. This is real progress and morality - i.e., leaving the world as we find it or better.

Population growth simply produces evermore enclosure in the form of a continual per-capita drop in space, arable farm land, and share of water, open space, and natural resources. Population growth breeds social chaos and environmental ruin, the worst of "external" negatives. In short, Beyond Replacement Reproduction is nothing less than what I call Population Takings - i.e., as each generation takes more from the next. So-called "growth'" (on-going per-capita diminution) is thus a kind of uncompensated crime. Economist Emeritus, Paul Samuelson, also called growth a "ponzi scheme." Indeed. Growthism is the corporate way to ruin and a complete enclosure for a once free humanity.

In sum, enclosure takes many forms and has been on-going for centuries. The only way life can improve, freedom prevail, and effective democracy emerge is to bring a halt to, and reverse the effects of, all the foregoing enclosure problems.

- Quotes On `The Servile State' -

"There is a story, which is fairly well known, about when the missionaries came to Africa. They had the Bible and we, the natives, had the land. They said "Let us pray," and we dutifully shut our eyes. When we opened them, why, they now had the land and we had the Bible."

Desmond M. Tutu

 

"The servile state is that in which we find so considerable a body of families and individuals distinguished from free citizens by the mark of compulsory labor as to stamp a general character upon society, and all the chief characters, good or evil, attaching to the institution of slavery will be found permeating such a state, whether the slaves be directly and personally attached to their masters, only indirectly attached through the medium of the state, or attached in a third manner through their subservience to corporations or to particular industries... and the distinguishing mark of the slave proceeds from the special action upon him of a positive law which separates within the general body of the community one body of men, the less free, from another, the more free, in the function of contract... we are re-establishing the slave."

Hilaire Belloc

 

"The state did not originate in any form of social agreement... The state originated in conquest and confiscation, as a device for maintaining the stratification of society permanently into two classes - an owning and exploiting class, relatively small, and a property-less dependent class... No state in history originated in any other manner, or for any other purpose than to enable the continuous economic exploitation of one class by another."

Albert Jay Nock

 

"It was the new poor in seventeenth-century England who ensured the success of the Puritan Revolution. During the movement of enclosure thousands of landlords drove off their tenants and turned fields into pastures... It was this mass of the dispossessed who furnished the recruits for Cromwell’s new-model army... In Germany and Italy the new poor coming from a ruined middle class formed the chief support of the Nazi and fascist revolutions."

Erick Hoffer

 

"{Enclosure} produced a sweeping redistribution of wealth, carried out by an unscrupulous minority using the weapons of violence, intimidation, fraud, and succeeded by an orgy of interested misgovernment on the part of its principal beneficiaries, it aggravated every problem, and gave a new turn of the screw which was squeezing peasant and craftsman."

R.H. Tawney

 

"The so-called `world of work’ has gradually invaded all areas of social and personal life. Today’s capitalism is totalitarian in nature, endeavoring to own all of humankind body and soul, its `free’ time as well as its labor. Every social relation, every private mood or personal habit must be mobilized and integrated into the pattern of international business competition - the olympic games of wage-slavery. Leisure, and even childhood itself, are against the unwritten law promulgated by the financial, industrial and political elites who ultimately author and enforce the unwritten as well as the written codes. The daily suicides, irrational shooting sprees and bizarre killings that are the supreme hallmark of life in `Crazy America’ today expose for all who can stand to read about it the non-stop wacko factory that this society has become."

Joseph Jablonski

 

"The fight against enclosure of the common land was an issue that drove the revolution. The poor, who had no land, the wage labourers and artisans depended on common land to survive, as did the smaller farmers. The poor had been squatting on the commons and wastes since before the beginning of the century. The landlords--led by the king who was, after all, the biggest landlord of them all--were enclosing the commons by fencing them in to create large fields. These new farms were often leased to the larger farmers to produce food to be sold on the market... In the process of enclosure the squatters on the commons were evicted... enclosures were the new farming method of the rich."

Duncan Brown

 

"We have no one on earth to thank for this mischievous rebellion except you, princes and lords, and especially you blind bishops and mad priests and monks, whose hearts are hardened against the Holy Gospel, though you know that it is true and that you cannot refute it. Besides, in your temporal government, you do nothing but flay and rob your subjects, in order that you may lead a life of splendor and pride, until the poor common people can bear it no longer... Well, then, since you are the cause of this wrath of God, it will undoubtedly come upon you, if you do not mend your ways in time... The peasants are mustering, and this result must result in the ruin, destruction, and desolation of Germany by cruel murder and bloodshed, unless God shall be moved to by repentance to prevent it."

Martin Luther

 

"The hardships that had already spurred a dozen rural outbreaks still agitated the peasant mind, and with feverish intensity now that Luther had defied the Church... The collapse of ecclesiastical prestige and power removed a main barrier to revolution... Circulation of the New Testament in print was a blow to political as well as to religious orthodoxy. It exposed the compromises the secular clergy had made with the nature of man and ways of the world; it revealed the communism of the apostles, the sympathy of Christ for the poor and oppressed; in these respects the New Testament was for the radicals of this age a veritable Communist Manifesto. Peasant and proletarian alike found in it a divine warrant for dreaming of a utopia where private property would be abolished and the poor would inherit the earth."

Will Durant

 

"The spirit of the system is suggested by its treatment of the burning question of pauperism. The reform of the traditional methods of poor relief was in the air... the secular authorities all over Europe were beginning to bestir themselves to cope with what was, at best, a menace to social order, and, at worst, a moral scandal."

R.H. Tawney

 

"Underneath this evolving (trade) economy, class war seethed between country and city, lord and serfs, nobles and businessman, merchant guilds and craft guilds, capitalist and proletarians, clergy and laity, Church and state. Where peasants had earned their freedom by clearing wilderness, serfdom was restored in the fifteenth century by a martial aristocracy... Treaties were made with neighboring governments for the extradition of fugitive serfs... and craft guilds were reduced to subjection and prohibited from unified action... As in England and France, proud craftsman were turned into defenseless proletaires. The stage was slowly prepared for the Peasants War of 1525."

Will Durant

 

"You Lords, let down your stubbornness... and give up a little of your tyranny and oppression, so the poor people get air and room to live."

Martin Luther

 

"The economic revolution of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, like those of the eighteenth and twentieth, caused a revolution in society and government... Out of old political traditions and new administrative needs an assembly of citizens and a corps of officials took form; and more and more of this "commune" - the body politic regulated the affairs of the city - the body geographical... The townsmen used diverse means to achieve municipal freedom: they took a solemn oath to refuse and resist baronial or episcopal tolls or taxes, they offered the lord a flat sum, or an annuity, for a charter; on the royal domain they won autonomy by money grants, or services in war; sometimes they bluntly announced their independence, and fought a violent revolution... The nobility from their castles in the countryside fought a losing war against the communal movement; yielding, they took up residence in the city, and swore loyalty to the commune... By the end of the twelfth century the communal revolution was won in western europe. The cities, though seldom completely free, had thrown off their feudal masters, ended or reduced feudal tolls, and severely limited ecclesiastical rights... The mercantile bourgeoisie now dominated municipal and economic life... For the first time in a thousand years, the possession of money became again a greater power than the possession of land; nobility and clergy were challenged by a rising plutocracy. The mercantile bourgeoisie turned its wealth, energy, and ability to political advantage... it eliminated the poor from assemblies or offices. It oppressed the manual worker and peasant, monopolized the profits of commerce, taxed the community heavily, and spent much of the revenue in internal strife, or in external wars to capture markets and destroy competitors. It tried to suppress artisan associations, and refused them the right to strike, under penalty of exile or death. As in the French Revolution, the defeat of the feudal lords was a victory chiefly for the business class. Nevertheless, the communes were a magnificent reassertion of human liberty."

Will Durant

 

"Of course our whole national history has been one of expansion... that the barbarians receded or are conquered, with the attendant fact that peace follows their retrogression or conquest, is due solely to the power of the mighty civilized races which have not lost their fighting instinct and which by their expansion are gradually bringing peace into the red wastes where barbarian peoples of the world hold sway."

Theodore Roosevelt

 

"The basic difference between the Indian and the European worlds may have been the attitude toward property. The European way of life was basicly one of individual competition for the acquisition of property... The basic Indian attitude seems to have leaned more often toward cooperation in the use of property in common, rather than competition to acquire private property... It might be said, in sum, that the Indian world was devoted to living, while the European was devoted to getting."

William Brandon

 

"The cause of all this wretchedness and beggary in the common weal are the greedy gentlemen, which are sheepmongers and graziers. While they study for their private commodity, the common weal is like to decay... So they may be enriched they care not who be impoverished. They are right brothers of Cain, which had rather slay his brother Abel, that he should have any part with him of worldly possessions."

William Tate

 

"{Enclosure] produced a sweeping redistribution of wealth, carried out by an unscrupulous minority using the weapons of violence, intimidation, fraud, and succeeded by an orgy of interested misgovernment on the part of its principal beneficiaries, it aggravated every problem, and gave a new turn of the screw which was squeezing peasant and craftsman. Since it released a torrent of writing on questions not only of religion, but of social organization, it caused the criticisms passed on by the changes of the past half-century to be brought to a head in a sweeping indictment of the new economic forces and an eloquent restatement of the traditional theory of social obligations. The center of both was the land question... The worst side of all sudden and sweeping redistributions is that the individual is more or less at the mercy of the market, and can hardly help taking his pound of flesh."

R.H. Tawney

 

"In the open field village the entirely landless labourer was scarcely to be found... From the poorest labourer to the richest farmer, there was, in the typical open field village, a gradation of rank. There was no perceptible social gap between the cottager who worked the greater part of his time for others, and the smaller part of his time on his own holding... It was easy for the efficient or fortunate man to rise on such a social ladder. After enclosure the comparatively few surviving farmers, enriched... faced, across a deep social gulf, the laborers who had now only their labour to depend upon. In the early part of the nineteenth century it was almost impossible for a labourer to cross that gulf... As for the other side of this social change, the labourer’s side, it seemed so serious an evil to many, even of the progressive landlords, that they busied themselves to find a remedy."

Gilbert Slater

 

"The same cause gradually led them to dismiss the unnecessary part of their tenants. Farms were enlarged, and occupiers of land, notwithstanding the complaints of depopulation, reduced to the number necessary for cultivating it... By the removal of the unnecessary mouths, and exacting from the farmer the full value of the farm, a greater surplus was obtained for the proprietor."

Adam Smith

 

"A change by which a whole village of peasants who consumed nearly all the food they produced, was swept away and replaced by one or two highly rented farms, producing a less quantity of food, but sending more to market, did supply the state with additional resources for the maintenance of its forces."

Gilbert Slater

 

"The `Freedom of Property’ from feudal fetters, now veritably accomplished, turned out to be, for the small capitalists and small proprietors, the freedom to sell their property, crushed under the overwhelming competition of the large capitalists and landlords, to these great lords, and thus, as far as small capitalists and peasant proprietors were concerned, became `freedom from property’."

Frederich Engels

 

"For a dubious economic benefit, an amazing number of people have been reduced from a comfortable state of partial independence to the precarious condition of mere hirelings, who when out of work immediately come on the parish."

David Davies

 

"You tell me you have improved the land, but what have you done with the laborers?"

J.C. de Sismondi

 

"Ever since the dissolution of the primeval communal ownership of land, all history has been a history of class struggles, of struggles between exploited and exploiting, between dominated and dominating classes... This struggle has now reached a stage where the exploited and the oppressed class can no longer emancipate itself from the class which exploits and oppresses it."

Frederich Engels

 

"Once the Greek system of autonomous city-states based on agrarian notions of small farming, constitutional government, and infantry militias vanished, classical Greek culture was lost... Taxation and military expenditure soared. Authoritarianism replaced popular government. Without the agrarian infrastructure there was no middle to frame, support, and mend an egalitarian society. All that is a historical fact, not a romance, not an agrarian yarn."

Victor Davis Hanson

 

"Lycurgas second, and most revolutionary, reform was his redistribution of land. For there was dreadful inequality: many destitute people without means were congregating in the city while wealth had poured completely into just a few hands. In order to expel arrogance, envy, crime, luxury, and those yet older and more serious political afflictions, wealth and poverty, Lycurgas persuaded the citizens to pool all the land and redistribute it afresh. Then they would all live on equal terms with one another, with the same amount of property to support each, and they would seek to be first only in merit."

Plutarch

 

"The land of France belongs to the fifteen or twenty million peasants who farm it; the land of England belongs to an aristocracy of thirty-two thousand individuals who have others farm it for them... France is a land of justice... England, on the contrary, has ruled in favor of the lord and driven off the peasants. She is farmed only by hired laborers."

Jules Michelet

 

"In the ancient state of Europe, the occupiers of land were all tenants at will. They were all or almost all slaves; but their slavery was of a milder kind than that that known among the ancient Greeks and Romans, or even in our West Indian Colonies. They were supposed to belong more directly to the land than to their master. They could, therefore, be sold with it, but not separately. They were not, however, capable of acquiring property. Such slaves could acquire nothing but their daily maintenance... The experience of all ages and nations, I believe, demonstrates that the work done by slaves, though it appears to cost only their maintenance, is in the end the dearest of any. A person who can acquire no property, can have no other interest but to eat as much, and to labour as little as possible."

Adam Smith

 

"How does this strange phenomenon arise, that we find on the market a set of buyers, possessed of land, machinery, raw material, and the means of subsistence, all of them, save land in it’s crude state, the products of labor, and on the other hand, a set of sellers, who have nothing to sell except their laboring power, their working arms and brains? That the one set buys continually in order to make a profit and enrich themselves, while the other set continually sells in order to earn their livelihood? The inquiry into this question would be an inquiry into what economists call `Previous, or Original Accumulation," but which ought to be called Original Expropriation. We should find that this so-called Original Accumulation means nothing but a series of historical processes, resulting in a Decomposition of the Original Union existing between the Laboring Man and his instruments of Labor. The separation between the Man of Labor and the instruments of Labor once established, such a state of things will maintain itself upon a constantly increasing scale, until a new and fundamental revolution in the mode of production should again overturn it and restore the original union in a new historical form."

Karl Marx

 

"In that original state of things, which precedes both the appropriation of land and the accumulation of stock, the whole produce of labour belongs to the labourer. He has neither landlord nor master to share with him. Had this state continued, the wages of labour would have augmented with all those improvements in its productive owners to which the division of labor gives occasion. All things would gradually have become cheaper. But this original state of things, in which the labourer enjoyed the whole produce of his own labour, could not last beyond the first introduction of the appropriation of land and the accumulation of stock... and it would be TO NO PURPOSE (italics mine) to trace further what might have been its effect upon the recompense or wages of labour."

Adam Smith

 

"This original engrossing of uncultivated lands, though a great, might have been but a transitory evil."

Adam Smith

 

"The starved workmen, whose mills were idle, whose employers could give them no work, stood in the streets in all directions, begged singly or in crowds, besieged the sidewalks in armies, and appealed to the passersby for help; they begged, not cringing like ordinary beggars, but threatening by their numbers, gestures, and words. Such was the state of things in all the industrial districts."

Fredrich Engels

 

"The labourer, whose only source of income is the sale of his labour-power, cannot leave the class of his purchasers. i.e., the capitalist class... So long as the wage-worker remains a wage-worker, his lot is dependent upon capital."

Karl Marx

 

"Nowadays [Bellamy’s future] it is an axiom of ethics that to accept a service from another which we would be unwilling to return in kind, if need were, is like borrowing with the intention of not repaying, while to enforce such a service by taking advantage of the poverty and necessity of a person would be an outrage like forcible robbery. It is the worst thing about any system which divides men, or allows them to be divided, into classes and castes, that it weakens the sense of a common humanity."

Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward

 

"The proletariat in any capitalist state retains to a greater or lesser degree some memories of a state of society in which its ancestors were possessors of property and economically free."

Hilaire Belloc

 

"Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination, not to raise the wages of labour.... Masters, too, sometimes enter into combinations to sink the wages of labour even below this rate... in all such disputes the masters can hold out much longer."

Adam Smith

 

"You are all aware of the Ten hours Bill [1848]... that was one of the greatest economic changes we have witnessed. It was a sudden and compulsory rise of wages... all the other economical mouthpieces of the middle class asserted the twelfth hour you wanted to take from the capitalist was exactly the only hour from which he derived his profit. They threatened a decrease in accumulation, rise of prices, loss of markets, stinting of production, ultimate ruin... What was the result? A rise in money wages of the factory operatives despite the curtailing of the working day, a great increase in the number of factory hands employed, a continuous fall in the prices of their products, a marvelous development in the productive power of their labor, and an unheard of progressive expansion of the markets for their commodities... all official propounders of economic science had been wrong while the instincts of the people had been right?

Karl Marx

 

"Nature never brought one class into being for the purpose of working all their lives just for the comfort and enrichment of another class... Since wages of any sort imply exploitation, which is a polite name for robbery, and all exploitation, from a worker’s point of view, is bad, it follows that all wages are bad. Yet, workers carelessly use the term "good wages" but there really is no such thing... The battle to maintain, or increase, real wages, to maintain living standards is a constant struggle for the workers... Competition for jobs, especially over a long period, reduces the workers to a starvation minimum. For the workers in the long run, the `natural’ wage is the minimum wage."

John Keracher

 

"All argument in favor of free competition rests on one tacit assumption which corresponds but little to reality, namely that from the beginning all men are equal. If that were so, everyone would be equipped with the same working power, education and, above all, the same economic assets, and much could be said in favor of free, unhampered competition; each person would have only himself to blame if he did not succeed. But if all conditions are unequal, if some have good hands from the beginning and others hold only low cards, free competition does nothing to stop the former from winning every trick while the latter pay the table."

Knut Wicksell

 

"So long as the wage-worker remains a wage-worker, his lot is dependent upon capital."

Karl Marx

 

"The bourgeoisie has gained a monopoly of all means of existence in the broadest sense of the word. What the proletarian needs, he can obtain only from the bourgeoisie, which is protected in its monopoly by the power of the state. The proletarian is, therefore, in law and in fact, the slave of the bourgeoisie. It offers him the means of living, but only for an `equivalent’ for his work. It even lets him have the appearance of acting from a free choice, of making a contract with free, unconstrained consent... Fine freedom, where the proletarian has no other choice than that of either accepting the conditions which the bourgeoisie offers him, or of starving, or freezing to death!" The bourgeoisie, on the other hand, is far better of under the present arrangement than under the old slave system; it can dismiss its employees at discretion without sacrificing invested capital, and gets its work done much more cheaply than is possible with slave labour, as Adam Smith comfortingly pointed out."

Frederich Engels

 

"We live at present under the rule of capitalist production, under which a large and steadily growing class of the population can live only by working for the owners of the means of production - the tools, the machines, the raw materials, and the means of subsistence - in return for wages."

Karl Marx

 

"The blind, perverse and murderous passion for work transforms the liberating machine into an instrument for the enslavement of free men. Its productiveness impoverishes them."

Paul Lafargue

 

"Work takes all the time and with it one has no leisure for the republic and his friends."

Xenophon

 

"If a man walk in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer; but if he spends his whole day as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making earth bald before her time, he is esteemed an industrious and enterprising citizen... if I should sell both my prenoons and afternoons to society, as most appear to do, I am sure that for me there would be nothing left worth living for."

Henry David Thoreau

 

"Capital is concentrated social force, while the workman has only to dispose of his working force... The only social power of the workman is their number. The force of number, however, is broken by disunion. The disunion of the workman is perpetuated by their unavoidable competition amongst themselves."

Karl Marx

 

"Any concerted effort by employers to hold down increases in money-wages will result in purchasing power growing more slowly than the quantity of goods... This would result in falling sales volume, lower profits, and the eventual possibility of lower prices once the slump has got into full swing... But the capitalist employers are saved from this suicidal course to the extent the trade unions continually push for higher money-wages... In this sense the unions help to preserve stability by making sure some of the increased productivity accrues as higher money-wages, higher purchasing power, and higher sales."

J.A. Kregel

 

"We uneasy-payment peons `buy our chains with nothing down’ and work overtime or take second jobs so we can spend our reduced leisure time more frantically, more expensively. It is a cultural compulsion keyed to the expansion of industry... reduction in the hours of work has not resulted in an increase in leisure time... politics has arranged we work in one place, sleep miles away in another, and seek recreation in still other places... Our culture is one in which we hunt for an employer to exploit us, pick a politician to rule us, and experience all this arrangement of our lives as freedom."

Fred Thompson

 

"Wages are only another name for the price of labor-power, usually called the price of labor... Labor power is, therefore, a commodity which its owner, the wage-worker, sells to the capitalist. Why does he sell it? In order to live... His life activity is thus for him only a means to enable him to exist. He works in order to live. He does not count the work itself as a part of his life, rather it is a sacrifice of his life."

Karl Marx

 

"What occasions so much want and misery? It is the employment of men and women in works that produce neither the necessaries nor the conveniences of life, who, with those who do nothing, consume the necessaries raised by the laborious. Look around the world and see millions employed in doing nothing or in something that amounts to nothing... If every man or woman would work for four hours each day on something useful, that labor would provide all the necessaries and comforts of life."

Ben Franklin

 

"After visiting the slums of the metropolis, one realizes for the first time that these Londoners have been forced to sacrifice the best qualities of their human nature... The brutal indifference, the unfeeling isolation of each in his private interest becomes the more repellent and offensive, the more these individuals are crowded together, within a limited space. This isolation of the individuals, this narrow-self-seeking, is the fundamental principle of our society everywhere, it is nowhere so shamelessly barefaced, so self-conscious as just here in the crowding of the great city... The social war, the war of each against all, is here openly declared... Everywhere barbarous indifference, hard egotism on one hand, and nameless misery on the other, everywhere social warfare, every man’s house in a state of siege, everywhere reciprocal plundering... Since capital, the direct or indirect control of the means of subsistence and production, is the weapon with which this social warfare is carried on, it is clear all the disadvantages must fall upon the poor man... Who guarantees that willingness to work shall suffice to obtain work? Many have died of starvation... The English working men call this `social murder,’ and accuse our whole society of perpetrating this crime perpetually. Are they wrong?"

Frederich Engels

 

"In the midst of the old division of labor, grown up spontaneously and upon no definite plan, which has governed the whole of society, arose division of labor upon a definite plan... now the owner of the instruments of labor appropriated the product to himself... The first capitalists found, alongside other forms of labor, wage-labor ready-made for them. But it was exceptional, complementary, accessory, transient wage labor. The agricultural laborer, though upon occasion hiring himself out by the day, has a few acres of his own land on which he could at all events live in a pinch. But all this changed as soon as the means of production became socialized and concentrated in the hands of the capitalists... The wage-worker for a time became a wage-worker for life. The number of these permanent wage-workers was further enormously increased by the breaking up of the feudal system that occurred at the same time, the eviction of the peasants from their homesteads, etc."

Frederich Engels

 

"Man did not enter society to become worse than he was before, nor to have fewer rights than he had before, but to have those rights better secured. His natural rights are the foundation of his civil rights... Natural rights are those which appertain to man in right of his existence... Society grants him nothing. Every man is proprietor in society, and draws on the capital as a matter of right."

Thomas Paine

 

"For these reasons, the National Assembly doth recognize and declare, in the presence of the Supreme Being, and with the hope of his blessings and favor, the following sacred rights of men and of citizens: I. Men are born free, and always continue, free and equal in respect of their rights. II. The end of all political associations, is, the preservation of the natural and imprescriptable rights of man; and these rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance of oppression... XVII. The rights to property being inviolable and sacred, no one ought to be deprived of it, except in case of evident public necessity, legally ascertained, and on condition of just indemnity."

Declaration of The Rights of Man

 

"In England, the gentry and younger sons of the landed oligarchy studied law in the Inns of Court and obtained a feeling for tradition... this class became the landed class in England because they obtained control of the bar and the bench and were in a position to judge all disputes about real property in their favor. Control of the courts and parliament made it possible for this ruling group to override the rights of the peasants in land, to eject them, to enclose the open fields of the medieval system, to deprive cultivators of their manorial rights and reduce them to the condition of landless rural laborers or tenants. The enclosure movement made possible agricultural Revolution, greatly depopulated the rural areas of England and provided a surplus population for the cities, the mercantile and naval marine, and for overseas colonization."

Carroll Quigley

 

"With the rich and the poor overthrowing each other, you cannot tell the rulers from the slaves."

Lao-Tzu

 

"To be sure, the strongest succeed in completely demolishing the weakest, or in subordinating them. But if the conquered, for a time, must suffer subordination under compulsion, they do not consent to it, and consequently this cannot constitute a stable equilibrium."

Emile Durkheim

 

"From time immemorial access to these places has been free to everybody. Even if the land is owned by private individuals, the owners have no right to close it to tourists and mountain climbers or ask an entrance fee... This land serves human well-being and is appreciated accordingly. The ground is subject to an easement that entitles everybody to pass along and to camp on it."

Ludwig Von Mises

 

"The glebe [land] is much more than a mere factor of production. It is the inexhaustible source of human energy and human life... The soil not only bears the fruits that nourish our bodies; it produces first of all the moral and spiritual forces of civilization. The cities, processing industries, and commerce are phenomena of depravity and decay; their existence is parasitic; they destroy what the ploughman must create again and again."

Ludwig Von Mises

 

"No man should be allowed to own land he does not use"

Robert G. Ingersoll

 

"Laborers ought never to look on themselves as independent of their superiors. It is extremely dangerous to encourage such infatuations in a commercial state like ours, where perhaps seven-eights of the population have little or no property. The cure will not be complete until our laborers are contented to work six days for the same sum which they now earn in four."

Anonymous Essay, 1770

 

"The authority of riches... though great in every age of society, is perhaps greatest in the rudest age of society which admits of any considerable inequality of fortune... Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all."

Adam Smith

 

"Assuming England retained the monopoly of manufactures, that its factories perpetually multiplied, what would be the result? The crisis would continue, and grow more violent, more terrible with extension of industry and multiplication of the proletariat. The proletariat would increase in geometrical proportion, in consequence of the progressive ruin of the lower middle class and giant strides with which capital is concentrating itself in the hands of the few; and the proletariat would soon embrace the whole nation, with the exception of a few millionaires. But in this development there comes a stage at which the proletariat perceives how easily the existing power may be overthrown, and then follows a revolution."

Frederich Engels

 

"Issues thought to have been buried by the discretion of centuries have shown they were not dead, but sleeping... The ground which is vacated by the Christian moralist is quickly occupied by the theorists of another order. The future for the next two hundred years is not with the attempt to reaffirm, with due allowance for altered circumstances, the conception that a moral rule is binding on Christians in their economic transactions, but with the new science of Political Arithmetic, which asserts, at first with hesitation and then with confidence, that no moral rule beyond the letter of the law exists."

R.H. Tawney

 

"We start with assumptions: what do we assume economies are all about?... If economies are about who gets how much of which resource, then ownership is the name of the game, and hoarding is the way to secure our interests... a win-lose strategy becomes inevitable. Guided by win-lose strategies, we respond with domination and control... Ideas such as truth and justice, or values such as reciprocity and compassion, just get in the way... Better to ignore and to limit the context of economies to things we can buy, sell, and stockpile."

D. Breton & C. Largent

 

"Step by step the small and middle landownership of the farmers, the basis of the whole political constitution, is succumbing to the competition of giant farms; simultaneously, a mass proletariat and a fabulous concentration of capital are developing for the first time in the industrial regions."

Karl Marx

"Industrial-scale farming displaces and alienates people, creates few jobs and causes social disruption."

James Siggs, British Farmer




The World Turned Upside Down,
Radical Ideas During The English Revolution
Christopher Hill




The Soft Cage
Christian Parenti




A Government of Wolves
John W. Whitehead


- Videos of Interest -
Police State Gadgets and the Technology of Enslavement
Obama Signs MDAA Martial Law


For a thorough discussion of Enclosure and other related topics
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