I have been travelling for most of today so I have to keep this post…
Here are a couple of Wednesday snippets on my (alleged) no blog post day. I have a great tip for the Remainers in Britian who are struggling to make any sense in their quest to hang on to the European dream (nightmare!). It is not a new argument but it has resurfaced in the US recently. Apparently, “the top US intelligence official” (words have meaning and intelligence usually means having some brain power) has told the US Congress that “the ballooning national debt … posed a ‘dire threat’ to … national security”. He told the Congress that the “fiscal crisis … truly undermines our ability to ensure our national security”. Truly used to mean something also. So here’s the thing all you so-called British Remainers. This will top your claims that Brexit will increase the rate of cancer in the UK. Just start raving on about threats to national security. A sure winner. It is the argument you introduce when you have run out of any semblance of an argument. Meanwhile, we now know that the British government, while in the EU, helped the right-wing forces (including the CIA) to kill the democracy in Chile in 1973, in what should be considered one of the more disgusting historical episodes. But then Salvatore Allende was clearly a threat to national security. What with all those Chileans that were improving their material standards of living under Allende and all!
The filthy Chilean conspiracy becomes more obvious
On January 23, 2018, the British historian, Mark Curtis, who specialises in the analysis of declassified government documents to analyse British foreign policy, produced a new archive for our benefit – Chile: Declassified.
He collates public articles and also documents that were previously classified under Government rules.
His file (drawn from the National Archives) – Chile, 1971-3 – provides some stunning revelations that bear on this sordid period in World history.
See also the excellent report from Sputniknews (January 23, 2018) – UK’s Secret Support of Murderous Dictator Pinochet – which goes into more detail than I do here.
The democratically-elected government in Chile was overthrown by a military coup (planes, bombs, murders etc), which was instigated by the US CIA and global financial interests.
You can read the declassified CIA documents on their involvement – HERE.
I was always interested in Chile not only because I was deeply angered by the actions of the Right and the brutality that accompanied and followed the Coup.
It was also became a laboratory for Milton Friedman and his goons from the Chicago Economics Department to impose their ridiculous policies onto a nation wtih the help of the IMF, who around then was trying to reinvent itself (after the collapse of the Bretton Woods system).
The behaviour of the IMF in Chile in the early 1970s clearly demonstrated its growing neo-liberal credentials. Their role in the Chilean overthrow of democracy was an early manifestation of their willingness to add their name, authority and resources to the development of the neo-liberal attack on the Keynesian orthodoxy.
Chile was the first notable action by capital to attempt to arrest the falling profit rates in the 1960s, which had arisen as income distribution became less skewed towards to the top end and workers enjoyed increasing employment security and prosperity under the full employment framework.
David Harvey in his 2007 article – Neoliberalism as Creative Destruction – wrote that “the economic threat to the position of the ruling elites and classes was now becoming palpable”.
He recounts how:
The US had funded training of Chilean economists at the University of Chicago since the 1950s as part of a Cold War programme to counteract left-wing tendencies in Latin American. Chicago-trained economists came to dominate at the private Catholic University of Santiago. During the early 1970s, business elites organized their opposition to Allende through a group called ‘the Monday Club’ and developed a working relationship with these economists, funding their work through research institutes. After General Gustavo Leigh, Pinochet’s rival for power and a Keynesian, was sidelined in 1975, Pinochet brought these economists into the government, where their first job was to negotiate loans with the International Monetary Fund. Working alongside the IMF, they restructured the economy according to their theories.
Harvey notes that the Chilean coup demonstrated how profit rates could be restored if trade unions were smashed and public assets sold off to the private sector.
The Chicago Boys and their mentors accepted theories, which were, of course, at the extreme end of Monetarism and free market deregulation. They were Milton Friedman’s intellectual soldiers and together with the military soldiers of the Chilean army, co-opted by Pinochet, they destroyed the democratic movement in Chile and wrecked the economy.
There is no doubt that the IMF was keen to do the bidding of the US government, which was prosecuting the neo-liberal agenda with vehemence on behalf of the large Wall Street firms, which provided massive funding to the Congressional members.
Milton Friedman and his gang at Chicago, including the ‘boys’ that went back and put their ‘free market’ wrecking ball through Chile under the butcher Pinochet, have really left a mess of confusion and lies behind in the hallowed halls of the academy, which in the 1970s seeped out, like slime, into the central banks and the treasury departments of the world.
They forced governments to abandon so-called fiscal activism (the discretionary use of government spending and taxation policy to fine-tune total spending so as to achieve full employment), and, instead, empower central banks to disregard mass unemployment and fight inflation first.
Later, absurd notions such as rational expectations and real business cycles were added to the litany of Monetarist myths, which indoctrinated graduate students (who became policy makers) even further in the cause.
The term “shock policy” originated with Milton Friedman who used the term “shock policy”. It was first applied in Chile by the so-called – Chicago Boys (Friedman’s doctoral graduates).
Of course, they first required the help of the CIA and the Chilean military to overthrow the democratically-elected Allende government and then brutalise the population (torturing and murdering dissenters who wanted respect for the democratic voice of the people) into submission.
This approach was then taken up by others, including Jeffrey Sachs who coined the term “Shock Therapy” in the mid-1980s, when he was hired to turn these mad ideas loose on Bolivia (1985), who were unable to meet the harsh debt repayment schedules demanded by the IMF.
Sachs is now parading as a progressive. A rat is a rat.
But now we have more understanding of the role that Britain played in the Chilean coup courtesy of some declassified material that Mark Curtis has collated.
I won’t go through it in detail but among other things we learn that:
1. Britain was upset that its “major interest in Chile … copper” was under threat because Allende wanted to nationalise the sector.
2. The British Ambassador to Chile at the time wrote to the UK Foreign Office on September 3, 1973 about his “first impressions” on Chile.
He wrote just before the Coup was that “One option for Chile future is a coup”:
If this were followed by a military-guided regime, or subsequently by elections bringing in a moderate, democratic government, I suppose one could look to an eventual revival with the help of American credits and some kind of Marshall Aid. It is on this that the business community are pinning their hopes.
He acknowledges that the “business community” were pushing for a military dictatorship to get rid of Allende.
In the same Memo, he wrote:
… many people in the poorer and depressed sections of the community have, as a result of President Allende’s administration, attained a new status and at least tasted, during its early days, a better standard of living,
On September 14, 1973, three days after the Coup, the British Ambassador wrote:
The coup was carried out efficiently and with a cold-blooded, surgical approach untypical of the Chilean character … It is likely that casualties run into the thousands, certainly it has been far from a bloodless coup”.
But the British government already knew that.
On September 13, 1973, the British Foreign Secretary Alec Douglas-Hume wrote:
Circumstances of Allende’s overthrow and death render this case delicate… Accordingly we consider that it would not be in anyone’s interest to identify too closely with those responsible for the coup … But we still have enough at stake in economic relations with Chile to require good relations with the government in power.
So, never mind the murders and the slaughter. We adopt the ‘blind eye’ approach and get on with business as usual with the dictatorship.
Seven days after the Coup (September 18, 1973), the British Ambassador wrote:
I think I should make clear that, whatever the excesses of the military during the coup, the Allende administration was leading the country into economic ruin, social disorder and political chaos.
Yes, because the poverty was being reduced and the vast majority of people were starting to enjoy a “better standard of living”.
Can’t have that, can we?
And, next day (September 19, 1973), he showed his true colours:
Most British businessmen, whether they have investments here or are interested simply in exporting to Chile, will be overjoyed at the prospect of consolidation which the new military regime offers … Those British subsidiaries and investments which have emerged from the last three years relatively unscathed – [various including Shell] … – are all breathing deep sighs of relief … One thing does seem certain to me. Now is the time to get in. If we delay too long, while we may not miss the bus, we are likely to have difficulty in finding a comfortable seat”.
The correspondence continued and it was clear that the British government was seeing the new military dictatorship as a major source of export revenue via arms deals.
The UK Ambassador wrote on October 1, 1973:
Circumstances also will push them into directions which British public opinion will deplore. But this regime suits British interests much better than its predecessor …
Various other exchanges between British officials confirms that the British export of arms (Hawker Hunter planes etc) would accelerate to the Dictatorship.
Never mind that:
1. During the Coup, “Chilean Air Force Hawker Hunters were putting on an impressive show of force… the Hawker Hunters dived down at the Moneda Palace and with remarkable accuracy released their aerial rockets. These did much damage and set the Palace on fire. The President’s residence on the outskirts of the city, where resistance was encountered, was similarly attacked”.
2. “There are lots of stories of deliberate killings and brutalities … There were reports of summary executions of some of those who resisted the Armed Forces, and the large-scale round-up of government supporters and sympathisers, particularly foreigners. Several thousand were held in the football stadium where some received very rough treatment.”
3. “As to the ruthlessness of the coup, the military would argue that half-measures or a ‘soft’ coup would not only have been ineffective but would have led to prolonged civil war.”
But “the current regime has infinitely more to offer British interests than the one which preceded it. The new leaders are unequivocally on our side and want to do business, in its widest sense, with us. I hope that Her Majesty’s Government will respond”.
And so it goes.
This was a case where a nation that was ‘reclaiming its state’ to enhance the lives of normal people was invaded by foreign capital using the military. It set a scary precedent.
Here is my band – Pressure Drop – recalling the event (I wrote this song in 1978, this version was recorded live in May 2011).
Play it loud and get angry.
This is what I am listening to while working today
Now, to calm us all down after thinking about Chile, here is something.
This is the complete CD – In the Mood for Love – by Japanese composer https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shigeru_Umebayashis, which was released in 2000.
Upcoming fundraising event – Melbourne, Friday, February 16, 2018
I will be talking about our latest book – Reclaiming the State: A Progressive Vision of Sovereignty for a Post-Neoliberal World (Pluto Books, 2017) – in Melbourne on February 16, 2018.
This event is to help the Bookshop which has been one of the only places you can buy alternative literature in Australia. It has been around for decades and is my favourite bookshop. I receive nothing from the entry fee.
Here is the flyer. The Bookshop tells me that they are happy for this to be circulated widely.
MMT University Logo competition
I am launching a competition among budding graphical designers out there to design a logo and branding for the MMT University, which we hope will start offering courses in October 2018.
The prize for the best logo will be personal status only and the knowledge that you are helping a worthwhile (not-for-profit) endeavour.
The conditions are simple.
Submit your design to me via E-mail.
A small group of unnamed panelists will select the preferred logo. We might not select any of those submitted.
It should be predominantly blue in colour scheme. It should include a stand-alone logo and a banner to head the WWW presence.
By submitting it you forgo any commercial rights to the logo and branding. In turn, we will only use the work for the MMT University initiative. It will be a truly open source contribution.
The contest closes at the end of March 2018.
That is enough for today!
(c) Copyright 2018 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.