Revolution #281, September 23, 2012
The Basic Points On...
The Myth of the Illuminati, the Reality of Capitalist Oppression, and the Solution of Communist Revolution
A lot of people are all caught up in the idea that the world is totally controlled by a secret group called the Illuminati. They’ve read all kinds of books and theories claiming to show this is so. We’ve written a longer article that goes into depth on all this—showing how these theories are not only wrong, but poisonous, and lead people away from a real understanding of the problems we face and how to deal with them. (See “The ‘Illuminati’ Is a Myth! Wake Up and Deal With the REAL Problem!,” Revolution #272, June 17, 2012.)
Meanwhile, readers have asked for a short summary. Here goes:
What is the problem?
The idea that there is a group of “Illuminati” (or some other group of super-secret conspirators, or even supernatural beings like vampires or space aliens) who control things is just WRONG.
The problems we face don’t come from a few people perverting the system. The problems we face are all actually built into the system of capitalism—that is, the relations governing how people produce and exchange the necessities of life in modern society.
Here is how this system works: There is a class of billions of proletarians who create the vast wealth of society, but who live on the edge of ruin, owning or controlling very little, if anything. They live only by selling their ability to work. And often they cannot even find a job.
Then there is a much smaller class—the capitalist-imperialists—who profit from the labor of these billions. These capitalist-imperialists employ the proletarians in order to exploit them. That means that they reap enormous wealth from the labor from the workers but pay them only enough to survive; the difference is profit, owned and controlled by the capitalists.
On the basis of that exploitation, the capitalist-imperialist class dominates armed force, and the overall political and cultural direction and character of society. And then there is a class in the middle, owning a little wealth or a skill they can “market,” and scrambling to stay out of the proletariat.
It is the BASIC RELATION OF EXPLOITATION whereby capitalist-imperialists exploit the proletariat—and not currency manipulation, interest rates or other corrupt practices which grow up on top of it—that lies at the ROOT of things.
Exploitation is built into capitalism. That is the first rule for everyone with capital—it only makes money if it is used to exploit others. And the second rule is this: Unless you expand, your competitor will—and you will go under. For these reasons, capitalism has always meant the most brutal, vicious practices: the enslavement of Africans and the genocide of the native peoples of this continent; the plunder and domination of most of the world, enforced by untold—and almost unbelievable—levels of horror and violence; world wars; ecological destruction; the list goes on. And where it has found pre-existing forms of oppression—like the age-old oppression of women—it has adapted and reinforced them for its own purposes.
The political institutions, the armies and the police, the relations where one or a few nationalities dominate other peoples and nationalities, and where men dominate women, the rotten look-out-for-number-one ideas of the culture—all these “serve and protect” this basic set of economic relations. Those relations—capitalism-imperialism—THIS IS THE SOURCE OF THE PROBLEM!
But the Illuminati theorists paint it as if there are small, unknowable forces that have corrupted a system that could work just fine on its own. The logic of their argument is that if we only got rid of this small group, then capitalism would work just fine. And sometimes they straight-up trumpet this.
THIS IS WRONG. The problem is NOT that some people are cheating; the problem is the rules of the game itself.
The only solution lies in a whole new “game”:
- a society based on eliminating exploitation and overcoming the centuries of oppression...
- a society based on getting rid of the institutions of white supremacy, of imperialist domination of whole nations, of the oppression of women, of antagonism toward gay people, and all sorts of other ignorance...
- a society based on overcoming the division between those who work with their minds and those who are locked out of the realm of ideas...
- a society in which the vicious ideas and values that this system pounds into people are seen for what they are, and people think about the world and relate to one another in a whole new way.
This is what communism is all about... and this is what humanity needs.
To put it another way: suppose you have a garden that is overrun with deadly weeds. If you just go through with a lawnmower, chopping off the tops of those weeds, you will at first think they are gone; but within a little while those weeds will grow right back. If you really want to get rid of the weeds, you have to dig them out by the roots. Only then can the garden flourish. The Illuminati theory keeps you focused on the top of the weeds; communism gets you to the roots.
To get to communism we need revolution... not just a change of rulers. And we need a scientific view and method to enable us to build a movement for revolution and then—when conditions emerge to do it—to actually dismantle the institutions of the old power and bring into being a new power. A scientific viewpoint and method based on understanding the world as it really is and transforming it and learning more as we do... not some poisonous bullshit that points things in the wrong direction.
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