The Great Scampede or The Iron Heel Revisited

16 September 2020 – Investigating Imperialism

By William Bowles

Virus stats


[T]he great majority of people will not die from this [virus] and I’ll just repeat something I said right at the beginning because I think it’s worth reinforcing:

Most people, a significant proportion of people, will not get this virus at all, at any point of the epidemic which is going to go on for a long period of time.

Of those who do, some of them will get the virus without even knowing it, they will have the virus with no symptoms at all, asymptomatic carriage, and we know that happens. – Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England, 11 May, 2020

But this is not what the British public have had been told (as well as a host of other countries who have been railroaded into joining the Great Scampede). The government and the mainstream media have presented the Virus to us as something akin to the Bubonic Plague, and of course the public have responded by behaving as though it is the Bubonic Plague. This is why the government changed the name of the virus from SARS-COV-2 (its correct designation) to COVID-19 in order to sever the connection to the Influenza virus, its possible ancestor. The state (and of course, big Pharma) had to present this virus to us as ‘novel’ and infinitely more dangerous than the Flu, which it’s not, it has about the same death rate as seasonal Flu, although it is especially dangerous to a vulnerable minority, average age 85 with multiple health issues, who should be protected and by-and-large, aren’t, itself a entirely preventable crime of vast proportions. (Each year, about 1 Billion people come down with the Flu globally and up to a 1 million die from it but still less than those who die from another highly infectious disease, Tuberculosis which in 2017 killed nearly 1.5 million).

But why has the world been shut down? Why destroy most of the world’s economies in order to quell (conquer, defeat?) a virus which is not dangerous to the great majority of us, perhaps 95% or more? Has some kind of mass psychosis taken hold of the political classes of the major (read imperialist) economies of the world who kicked this off? You really have to ask, ‘what’s in it for the ruling class’ that would lead them to deliberately inflict such mayhem on hundreds of millions of people and appear to destroy the economies of the leading capitalist states? What is it that the rest of us are not seeing or being prevented from seeing?

…The financial crash of 2020 was not only anticipated but planned and pushed forward with clear understanding of its instrumental role in the Great Reset sought by self-appointed protagonists of creative destruction. The advocates of this interpretation place significant weight on the importance of the lockdowns as an effective means of obliterating in a single act a host of old economic relationships. – ‘Was COVID-19 a Cover for an Anticipated or Planned Financial Crisis?’ By Prof. Anthony Hall

Whatever it is, it’s being presented to us as the ‘New Normal’, without however, telling us what this ‘New Normal’ actually consists of. But let me hazard a guess that whatever the ‘New Normal’ is it wont be nice for a great percentage of the world’s population. Already, it’s estimated that at least 1 billion people are in great danger of dying from starvation and disease caused directly by the lockdown, not the Virus.

Too late did the socialist movement of the early twentieth century divine the coming of the Oligarchy. Even as it was divined, the Oligarchy was there—a fact established in blood, a stupendous and awful reality. Nor even then, as the Everhard Manuscript well shows, was any permanence attributed to the Iron Heel. Its overthrow was a matter of a few short years, was the judgment of the revolutionists. – The Iron Heel, Jack London, 1910.

It would appear that the major capitalist classes of the world have waged total war on the planet’s people without firing a shot and at the same time set up the infrastructure needed to enslave us, and all in order to preserve the rule of a bankrupt Capitalism. The ‘New Normal’ really is Jack London’s The Iron Heel made real.The Virus is all about saving capitalism from itself.

How ironic then, that the catalyst for this global coup d’etat was China and one has to ask the question, why China? Could it be that China is a major obstacle to the establishment of the ‘New Normal’ and if so, it gives us an insight into what this ‘New Normal’ is really all about.

What the government knew (and planned for)

These are just some of the UK government’s documents prepared for the ‘New Normal’. Most deal with the ‘security’ aspects of an alleged pandemic rather than the health issues, except of course when it comes to considering vaccines. So aside from the clampdown on our civil liberties in the name of fighting the Virus, the goverment failed to deliver on every other key issue!

So what is the ‘New Normal’?

Australian Police Go FULL NAZI, Smashing in Windows of Civilian Cars Just Because Passengers Wouldn’t Give Details About Where They Were Going.” – Sky News, August 13, 2020

Undoubtedly, capitalism is in crisis, perhaps its final crisis, though what might follow may be even worse (a new form of Fascism?), at least judging by how the state has responded to ‘rule breakers’. But what does shutting down the global economy achieve (aside from much pain and death for the vast majority) and what is the objective once you dismiss the idea of ‘defeating’ the virus as the rationale behind it? After all, it’s already clear that the global shutdown is causing many more deaths than the Virus has, or will ever do.

But why?

Some talk of a global conspiracy, the imposition of a world government (engineered by George Soros and co.) and no doubt somewhere, there’s talk of the Illuminati being involved. But undoubtedly, there is a conspiracy and at the very highest levels of the ruling political classes. Others have compared the Virus to 9/11 and look what that did to us! Is it really our health and well-being that occupies the minds of the elite any more than the War on Terror was about protecting us from terrorists.

Jump to 2020. Let me start in reverse while color-coded designs are fresh in our minds. As the COVID-19 lockdowns were under way, a funny thing happened as people were wishing that life could return to normal and they could be let out of their cages. Similar color-coded designs popped up everywhere at the same time. They showed the step-by-step schedule of possible loosening of government controls if things went according to plan. Red to yellow to green. Eye catching. Red orange yellow blue green. As with the terrorist warnings following September 11, 2001. In Massachusetts, a so-called blue state where I live, it’s color chart ends in blue, not green, with Phase 4 blue termed “the new normal: Development of vaccines and/or treatments enable the resumption of ‘the new normal.’” Interesting wording. A resumption that takes us back to the future. – ‘From Terrorists to Viruses: Dystopian Progress‘ by Ed Curtin, 7 September 2020

It’s clear now, that the only way to sell the ‘New Normal’ (or the ‘Great Reset’), was to create an abject fear of our existing life. Thus social distancing, the compulsive hand-washing, masks and of course the Lockdown, all serve, not as health aids but to destroy the old order. It’s now reached the point where rather than ‘seeking our permission’ via the government’s ‘nudge unit’, force is now needed. To that end a new kind of ASBO (Anti-Social Behaviour Order) has been created:

To help enforce the new measures, [Boris] Johnson…announced that he would be recruiting thousands of new ‘COVID Marshalls‘. The first group of England’s newly deputised Marshalls could be seen on Monday enforcing meticulous social distancing orders, one-way system on pavements, and telling people to wear masks in shops and at takeaways venues. They will also be handing out masks and hand sanitizer in order to “keep everyone safe.” – ‘UK ‘Coronaphobia’ is Pushing the Country Towards a Stasi-like State’, 21st Century Wire, 15 September 2020

The objective being the undermining of the existing social and economic relations but critically, without replacing capitalism with something better. In other words, these new and enforced conditions of existence have nothing to do with health or with the virus and its spread but everything to do with Capitalism attempting to reinvent itself. The Virus is simply a convenient and very useful excuse, assuming you can convince the world of its danger to life, which explains the censorship and suppression of any views that challenge this fictional narrative, called COVID-19 or, as BBC News, the Guardian, the Australian government and a host of others now call, that “deadly virus”.

That the rest of the world went along with it, is simply testament to the power of the Imperialist states to cajole and threaten any country that resists. Sweden for example, was made to look like some kind of mass murderer of its population, simply because it refused to implement a Total Lockdown (instead, it relied on obedience).

So what do the ‘masters of the universe’ have planned for us?

Well, they know where they want to go, the question is, can they get there?

The Great Reset is immensely ambitious, spanning over 50 fields of knowledge and practice. It interconnects everything from economy recovery recommendations to “sustainable business models”, from restoration of the environment to the redesign of social contracts.

The beating heart of this matrix is  – what else – the Strategic Intelligence Platform, encompassing, literally, everything: “sustainable development”, “global governance”, capital markets, climate change, biodiversity, human rights, gender parity, LGBTI, systemic racism, international trade and investment, the – wobbly – future of the travel and tourism industries, food, air pollution, digital identity, blockchain, 5G, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI).

In the end, only an all-in-one Plan A applies for making these systems interact seamlessly: the Great Reset – shorthand for a New World Order that has always been glowingly evoked, but never implemented. There is no Plan B. – ‘From 9/11 to the Great Reset. From Al Qaeda to Covid The Virus…’ By Pepe Escobar, Asia Times

As I’ve stated before, there will be a massive shakeup of corporations; bankruptcies, mergers, new governments and new social orders and of course the further destruction and reformation of working and middle class life. Critically, and of great importance to the imperialist states, will be ‘The Great Reset’s’ devastating impact on the Global South, the consequences of which we are already witnessing. The Great Reset implements the objectives of the Club of Rome (COR) initiated in 1965, that saw one, if not its major objective, a vast reduction in the populations of the Global South, a process that has reached its apotheosis in the Global Lockdown.

“We believe in fact that the need will quickly become evident for social innovation to match technical change, for radical reform of the institutions and political processes at all levels, including the highest, that of world polity. And since intellectual enlightenment is without effect if it is not also political, The Club of Rome also will encourage the creation of a world forum where statesmen, policy-makers, and scientists can discuss the dangers and hopes for the future global system without the constraints of formal intergovernmental negotiation.” – The Limits of Growth.

This was from the COR’s first publication in 1972. It sold 12 million copies. Many of COR’S executive members were drawn from NATO, that should give you a good idea where COR stands in the scheme of things.

It’s been calculated that the capitalist economies in the so-called developed world, can survive with perhaps 20% of the working population, the managerial class, kept in work to maintain the capitalist order for its masters. As for the rest? Well it will be a vastly enlarged ‘precariat’, thus the ‘experiments’ with so-called universal basic income (rather than letting great chunks of the formerly employed starve to death, keep them alive on a subsistence ‘wage’).

And what of our putative left?

What I do find really depressing (though not at all surprising), is the degree to which the left and organised labour have been sucked into this nightmare but then again, they’ve been bitten by the fear bug as well. Organised labour of course, has a vested interest in maintaining the existing order, most of its members work directly or indirectly (via privatisation) for the corporate, capitalist state, hence their (assumed) interests coincide. The term ‘labour aristocracy’ has never rung so true.

The left, such as it is, has bought the ‘Great Reset’, hook, line and sinker. All rational thinking appears to have fled, as the Great Scampede wreaks its havoc.

The omens are not good. Without a coherent and organised opposition to this insanity, it looks like what we should really should call the The Iron Heel will succeed in reshaping the world according to its own desires while the rest of us look on, powerless to stop it and simultaineously grappling with the ravages of climate change, also caused by a rampant capitalism.

‘K’ Metamorphoses into ‘G’ By William Bowles

19 February 2019 — Investigating Imperialism

[I think it’s time to republish a piece I wrote 15 years ago, in 2004, though clearly very few took notice of it then, will it be any different this time? I doubt it, it’s probably already too late to do anything about it. What the Labour government initiated in 2004 has now reached, not only fruition but is now sweeping the ‘democratic’ West as the crisis of capital intensifies and opposition to neoliberalism intensifies. I call it what it is, Fascism. Maybe not the Fascism of Hitler or Mussolini, there are no jackboots, they don’t need them this time, they have built the corporate-security state, a state that has us all on file, a state that records our movements, a state that knows what we read, who we see,  a state that now works in tandem with its corporate masters just as Mussolini’s Fascism did, a state that makes Orwell’s 1984 amateurish by comparison.  Reading through it, I don’t think I need to alter one word. WB.]

24 April 2004

“Someone must have slandered Joseph K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested.” – Franz Kafka, ‘The Trial’

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This is for the Guardian, NYT and the BBC: 1939 to 2018 By William Bowles

21 January 2018 — InvestigatingImperialism

Before I go any further with this let me state that I’m not a Trotskyist, or a Leninist, or a Stalinist or a Maoist (but I might have been all of the above, with exception of Maoist, at one time or another). However, I might be a Zapatista, at least in spirit, but I’m definitely a Socialist Revolutionary (or is that a Revolutionary Socialist?). I’m not sure if I’m a Marxist either, but I’m definitely an admirer of the old man, he was a great artist and thinker, and possibly, along with Charles Darwin, the greatest mind of the 19th century. Whatever you call it, we need a socialist revolution and we need one now, we are running out of time!

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The End of the road for capitalism or for us all? By William Bowles

13 January 2018 — InvestigatingImperialism

“…we have the certainty that matter remains eternally the same in all its transformations, that none of its attributes can ever be lost, and therefore, also, that with the same iron necessity that it will exterminate on the earth its highest creation, the thinking mind, it must somewhere else and at another time again produce it”. —
Frederick Engels, from the introduction to ‘The Dialectics of Nature’, 1883.

In 1945, following the second ‘war to end all wars’, or something like that, the people of Britain put their faith, at least temporally, in an alleged socialist, Labour government. A government that vowed that there would be no return to the ‘bad old days’ of prewar Britain. So we got the National Health Service, public housing, a nationalised transport system, even the canal network was nationalised (telecommunications was already a state-owned monopoly, the capitalists weren’t prepared to risk their capital in its development).

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Trashing the Planet for Profit By William Bowles

8 January 2018 — investigatingimperialism


Before I began this essay I read through some of my past forays that mentioned climate change and capitalism, the first I think, being in 2006 where I opined in a piece on the ‘War on Terror’:

Perhaps the impending climate catastrophe as well as the genocidal actions of the US will force us to finally start thinking and acting ‘outside of the box’ but without a clear idea of where we are heading or how to get there, currently the situation looks dire. — WOT is to be done?  2 November, 2006

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The Two-Faced Book By William Bowles

7 January 2018 — investigatingimperialism

At the end of the 1970s, when I first started using and investigating digital media, it quickly became apparent to me, that what became the World Wide Web, was very much a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it afforded independent journalists and investigators, a vehicle for reaching a public outside the control of corporate/state media and whose only parallel lay back in the 17th century, with the invention of the printing press and moveable type, broadsheets and later the so-called Penny Dreadfuls. Sold on street corners and in coffee houses, and produced in literally hundreds of small printing shops, they challenged the status quo in ways previously impossible. Often banned and their writers/publishers thrown in jail under the then new sedition laws, they heralded the arrival of modern capitalism.

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Capitalism: what a load of rubbish! By William Bowles

18 October 2011

Something has to be done about a world rapidly filling up with the (often poisonous) rubbish that capitalism produces in vast abundance. Rubbish that will be with us for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Even the middle of the Atlantic Ocean is carpeted with the stuff, mostly plastic waste of all kinds. Even the remotest corners of our once, largely pristine planet are now poisoned with the excreta of capitalism’s insane and so far, unstoppable and largely arbitrary productive capacity.

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Video review of ‘Plunder – the crime of our time’ By William Bowles

23 September, 2010

Review of Plunder – the crime of our time directed by Danny Schecter

The spirit of graft and lawlessness is the American Spirit. – Lincoln Steffens, The Shame of the Cities, 1902[1]

Capitalism – it’s a racket, literally:

“I’d like a fair shake at the American Dream” – foreclosure victim

This quote comes from near the beginning of Plunder – the crime of our time and illustrates one of the problems of dealing with the capitalist nightmare: everybody wants a piece of the action, even those who have lost everything they own believe incorrectly that everyone can share in the ‘American Dream’ if only they work hard enough. Worse, one victim of the sub-prime crisis even believes that it was his own fault!

Hedging your bets

Selling short, credit default swaps, credit derivatives, collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), mortgage backed securities…the same companies who created these exotic financial ‘instruments’ are also the same companies that profited from selling these worthless products to unsuspecting investors worldwide.

Even worse, these same companies, knowing that their ‘products’ were in fact worthless, actually bet on them being worthless! This is called hedging your bets, so they made money, trillions of dollars in fact out of betting against their own worthless bits of paper (actually nothing more than electrons).

“trading the paper…essentially creating liquid cash from nothing”

Plunder paints—after a couple of viewings—a very accurate picture of how the financialization of capitalism actually works. And this is part of the problem of getting the message across, it’s fiendishly complex, and this is also the problem with Plunder as I hope to show, crime though it may be, the criminal activities of the speculators are symptoms, not causes of a much deeper malaise that affects capitalism.

All those university trained whizzkids, the brightest of the bright, eager and hungry to succeed, were given free rein by their masters to dream up these complicated investment packages. So complicated in fact that even the bosses of companies such as Bear Stearns, Learmann Brothers, AIG, and the like, didn’t understand them either. But then they didn’t need to as long they worked, as long as they made a profit.

I have very mixed feelings about Plunder as Danny Schecter has decided to present the crisis of capital as a crime and Wall Street as the crime scene and investment brokers and hedge fund scam artists as the criminals. It’s a clever analogy but is it actually true? Is the crisis all down to a bunch of criminal fraudsters? Has there ever been a ‘free market’? Is not capitalism fraudulent by definition?

In 1929 the same scene unfolded, albeit using different ‘instruments’ (the computer didn’t exist in 1929, nor was the global circuit of capital up-to-speed). The crash resulted in the US government instituting some controls over how capitalism worked (largely because of the fear of a socialist revolution occurring).

And then, just as now, it was the banks that were at the centre of the crisis. One of the main reforms was to split off investment banking from retail banking as it was the banks, using depositors money, invested in all kinds of speculative schemes, that triggered the crisis. The deregulation that took place in the 1980-90s, reversed this, setting up the system for a fall all over again. Or is this really true? Is it lack of regulation or something systemic to capitalism itself, with or without regulation that is bound to happen? Crashes such as the current one have been occurring for hundreds of years with the same awful results.

It’s always happened this way and eventually it always pops” – Jim Rogers, George Soros’ hedge fund partner, talking about how financial speculation works.

“gambles on the market versus gambles in the market”

Jim Rogers knows of what he speaks. Rogers and Soros founded the very first hedge fund company, knowing full well that betting on the future ‘value’ of a share or securities package created money out of nothing. This is what hedge funds are all about. The creation of value is not predicated on the production of goods and services but on what a piece of paper will be worth in the future.

“$140 trillion of nothing”

There is no doubt in the minds of many who have actually tried to untangle the complex processes employed, that fraud has been and still is, being committed. Some, like Bernie Madoff whose multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme finally unraveled, ended up in the slammer, but as Plunder points out, the federal oversight body charged with ‘regulating’ the financial sector (SEC), knew about Madoff’s fraud for at least ten years and did squat about it. And as one of the people in Schecter’s video points out, he only got thrown in jail because he’d ripped off the rich! The offending corporations that did get busted, got let off with fines, not even admitting to their criminal culpability. The ruling class looks after its own.

“$596 trillion, AIG’s total loan guarantees”

“$54 trillion, the world’s total gross national product”

The AIG figure needs some explaining: AIG was using investors’ money to guarantee loans made to all those fraudulent hedge funds on the basis that the investments were solid. Money would be made, and for a while money was made until the banks, pension funds etc who had bought the fraudulent financial ‘instruments’ realized they’d bought trillions of dollars of toxic debt, at which point the bottom fell out of the market and AIG was broke.

Insider trading and betting on ‘shorts’ (that a share price will fall) are intrinsic to the way the stock market works and insider trading especially, is impossible to stop no matter what regulations are in place as it’s extremely difficult to prove that an individual had inside information on a company’s activities except in rare cases.

“Criminal prosecutions over insider dealing have had an unhappy history in the UK. The Serious Fraud Office and the Department of Trade and Industry were involved in a series of flawed cases until the responsibility for prosecuting was handed to the FSA in 2001. But the City regulator has fared little better, mounting just one case in almost eight years. That ended earlier this month in the first conviction for Ms Cole and her team.” — ‘Net tightens on insider trading‘, The Independent, 6 April, 2010

And this is the one problem I have with Plunder. It accurately explains what triggered the current crisis and documents the awful consequences for millions of people around the world but ultimately it implies that had capitalism been properly regulated, the crisis would not have occurred.

However, buried in the movie are inklings of what really happened and the causes and herein lies the one, crucial weakness of the movie namely, unpacking why exactly, capital instead of investing in real products and services ‘chose’ instead to bank on financial speculation in all its weird and wonderful forms in order to maintain the level of profit.

Financialization of capitalism

Capital needs to keep on reproducing itself either through finding new markets or through keeping down the cost of wages (or both), hence the relocation of manufacturing to cheap labour areas such as China.

By the time Reagan had been elected at the beginning of the 1980s, the ‘neo-liberal’ agenda was well underway and the process of deindustrializing the economy was established.


Accompanying this was the (fortuitous?) arrival of the IT revolution that enabled the true, real-time globalization of the financial sector, that along with its deregulation created exactly the right conditions for the invention of the above-mentioned financial ‘instruments’, all of which are based on the invention of wealth but without adding any real value to the economy. Trillions sucked out of the real economy and transferred to hedge funds, private equity companies and the results are all around us: massive unemployment, collapse of entire sectors of the real economy.

The paradox is surely obvious: as capital fled into the fantasy world of speculation, the entire basis of the economy that produced the capital in the first place, collapsed. Without consumption, fueled not only by credit but by the incomes from (the now non-existent) jobs, the real economy collapses. It’s so obvious that it’s inconceivable that the ‘experts’ were not aware of the consequences and undoubtedly they were aware as the comments by Jim Rogers above illustrates.

The question to ask of Plunder is: without recognizing the fundamental contradictions of capitalism, that regardless of whatever ‘safeguards’ are put in place, or removed for that matter, does Plunder convince viewers that capitalism is a broke-down system that needs to be replaced?

Watch the trailer for the movie here.


1. For an historical overview of capitalism as organized crime see my review, ‘Gangster Capitalism – The United States and the Global rise of Organized Crime‘ by Michael Woodiwiss.

Danny Schecter, Editor,
Author, The Crime of Our Time
Globalvision PO Box 677 NY NY 10035

Keynes with a neo-liberal twist? By William Bowles

10 November 2008

dollars“Just imagine saying, “production for use leads to stagnation; production for death leads to exchange value and profits.” Now don’t jump on me! Wait, I have to go into capital expansion and its being “the breath of capitalism” and, as yet, no forseeable future opportunities for capital reproduction to the magnitude needed for its expansion.”

The above excerpt from a short note from my compadre Patricia in the am triggered a thought about how the state, at least in the UK and in much of the EU, has reacted to the latest, and undoubtedly the worst crisis capital has yet faced. For unlike earlier crises, especially those of the 1970s which presaged the so-called neo-liberal revolution, the nature of Britain’s working class has undergone a profound transformation (along with other ‘advanced’ economies). And, at the risk of repeating myself, or anyway repeating the quote I’ve used before, I think it speaks reams about the real fear the ruling political class feels about the current situation.

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