The hidden forces and the French Revolution 1789
In Great Britain cabinet ministers are often curtailed by shady individuals, Permanent high civil servants specially in the case of Labour Governments: with the result that Right and Left are practically the same. Who are they, those hidden forces?
The Hidden Forces and the French Revolution 1789
Fernando García Izquierdo
A short foreword.
A man who knew well all matters concerning the government of men by men wrote towards the middle of the last century that “The issue which more than any other stands in the way of social progress in the West is the inherently undemocratic nature of our basic institutions”. I think I am not changing the meaning of that sentence if, paraphrasing what I’ve read, I say that the basic institutions of the so-called Free World are wholly undemocratic.
The form of society in which we live in our capitalist world and which, reading the history books, we learn has existed in most of the world since the time when our most remote ancestors abandoned ‘primitive communism’, is the State. The institutions of the State are generally considered to be the government or executive, the legislative, the judiciary, the law, the army, the civil service or administration, the police, and many others. But this is not, for me, a very important point. Semantics apart, there is certainly in our western society a problem, not in what are the basic institutions, but in their wholly undemocratic nature, as we have said.
Undemocratic and undemocratically controlled, as we shall see, by hidden forces. This is the theme of our article today. The nation’s constitution, the law, those are things in principle made and used by the power élite in order to perpetuate exploitation, colonisation, wars and the destruction of all that the Rich consider the Enemy.
Famous parliamentarian and Cabinet of Labour governments
Tony Benn, that was the man. He knew all this, being well acquainted with matters of government, and politics. He found how undemocratic our “free” world was. We find this in the pages of several books he wrote.
It is easier for us to discover this in today’s capitalist-imperialist West, which for years sent destruction into East and Central Asia, the Middle East, Palestine and a hundred places in Africa and the Americas besides.
But we are not going to discuss this today. It would take us away from the present subjet. Only to advise the reader to observe, analyse this matter with eyes wide open, not letting himself (herself) be led like sheep by official propaganda.
Democracy and the Hidden Forces.
“What terrifies the establishment today is not, as they contend, that democratic socialism may endanger personal freedom, but that they realise that at last they are facing a democratic challenge to the legitimacy of their own undemocratic privileges. In short, the real enemy perceived now by the British establishment is democracy itself.”
This was written in the early eighties of the twentieth century by Tony Benn, who was roundly vilified by the hidden forces that control society, because of his being a great democrat, when our politicians were mainly mere liars and opportunists, traitors many times to the people who had sent them to parliament.
On the contrary, he was a politician who really represented the people who had elected him. You just have to look at recent history and at is happening today around our world. Great sycophants, rushing to represent the Great and Powerful who own the country. It sounds strange to these bandits that a man, instead of seeking to maximise profits, devoted his life to fight for the betterment of our society. That is what (to me) represents the struggle for socialism of which he often spoke. Socialism, by the way, is the system of society for which the people of the United Kingdom clearly opted in successive general elections. But once more, writing about this today would take me outside my subject, which is to examine which unknown (not publicly known) elements command in our society, finance, economy, the military, etc.
The kind of society that generally exists among us
I suppose that at this stage, once I have entered plainly in the matter of democracy and the hidden forces that seek to destroy this democracy, I shall have to write about matters which professors and other well-paid wisemen never explain to the public. And the reader will allow me to explain what has come my way and I have learnt my own way, perhaps with a little fantasy, but never a liar.
We talk a lot about free elections that are not such. I repeat, everywhere we go, but particularly our ‘institutions’, the very functioning of the State, causes that, while the capitalists get richer and richer the workers become poorer all the time. Indeed today, when our capitalists and their wisemen are wasting time and seeking to make robots with artificial intelligence, the workers are going down a cliff towards complete unemployment (more about this on another occasion.)
Reverting to Tony Benn
It was while reading Tony Benn that I asked myself, “Then, who the hell commands here?” I felt enthusiastic about Labour having won the election in 1964. Tony Benn, who was an important member of the labour movement, studies all these matters quite thoroughly, lived all the moments and all the emotions and work he talks about in his books.
For he provides the evidence of the existence of such diabolical form of government as is government by hidden forces. This evidence is palpably supplied in some of his books; perhaps the most important one in this respect is “Arguments for Democracy”, edited by Chris Mullin, published by Jonathan Cape, 1981.
A very well known figure in British politics, he was referred to, in his earlier life, as ‘the reluctant peer’. Having inherited from his father a post in the House of Lords, the young Honourable Anthony Wedgwood Benn would not have it. In a word, he did not accept the title. And he had to fight, so to say, to get clear of the infection. He was already, when his father died, and all his ife thereafter, a fighter for workers’ rights and real democracy, in a continuous struggle for socialism, as I have said. He should have become the British Prime Minister after the general elections of 1964, won by Labour. Instead Harold Wilson occupied the post, was appointed by Her Majesty the Queen to head Her (Labour) Government, and history does now tell us what Wilson did. To me he betrayed Socialism. No need for me to say anything more about him.
But let us go back to when Labour was returned.
After decades of government by the Conservatives, under an ever-reigning set of aristocrats, a trail of celebrated figures like Sir Winston Churchill, scion of the Marlborough family, and Sir Anthony Eden, his relative; or multimillionaires, like Harold Macmillan, Labour was one day “returned to power”. We are going to see what happened.
On the other hand I have read about the struggles of the British people for a better life and about the Labour Movement. This movement, which from the outset had been a working-class movement was constituted in the eighteenth century to support and sustain the exploited classes in their march precisely towards equality and democracy, in their confrontation with Capital. In mills and factories, workshops and handicraft shops, in the fields and mines, etc., the process of production was a confrontation between Labour and Capital, where the latter possessed all the cards. There was irreconcilable antagonism between these two factors and for once the workers had their own party.
The programme under which Labour was returned by the electorate, in 1964, was a programme for socialism: a fight against exploitation.There is no need for us to say that the progress in the struggle for the liberation of the working classes had always been slow, full of sacrifices, fights, persecution, unemployment, etc .
Liberation, what we call liberation which is only that the workers ceased to be “hands without a head, had required a long fight and there had been in the course of history many defeats. All the same, there were also victories. For me, who lived in England at the time, the result of the elections of 1964 was a tremendous victory.
And yet, reading Tony Ben, I have learned that a Labour Minister (after that victory), found his way barred for action, found he had behind him, a more-or-less secret figure, a permanent something who had the helm of the ship we cheekily named DEMOCRACY, dictating the policy he (Benn) had to follow. Is this normal, is this what we NAME democracy? Labour in Power? Is that what Churchill had promised the masses, in consideration of great sacrifices, during the world war against fascism.
Again and again Tony Benn, in his book, is proving to the world that there is a High Permanent Civil Servant to the Queen that commands, who can prevent socialist measures, including those in the Labour Party’s programme that won National Elections.
“Internal Forces,” we are told, forces unknown to the public, hardly known to ministers, the government and, I suppose, to anybody but those who belong to the nebulous set that Benn calls the Establishment, “pettifoggingly” govern, conduct the affairs of government every time there is a Labour “executive”. Officially they are called (by Her Majesty inclusive) PERMANENT civil servants. I call them hidden forces.
That Tony Been should tell us that there is no democracy in the West is truly a disenchantment. Indeed, we have been acting with the Yanks, since the end of the world war, as Policemen of the World: against North Korea, Vietnam and even the Soviet Union herself (supposedly because these countries’ leaders did not respect democracy, OUR democracy. Witness the precipitation with which that other “Tony”, newlabour Tony Blair sent his army into Irak to kill with Bush and Cheney as many Sunnites as they could find around Bagdad, Falujah, etc.
But let us stick to our subject. Establishment says Tony Benn. Funny, establishment also means commerce, and commerce means mercatilism, which ultimately means capitalist-imperialism. Where does all this need for power, possession come from? We shall see hereinafter. In the meantime let us proceed with Tony Benn.
Hidden forces. It is a senior Minister who so speaks. Six ministerial posts, successivly, Member of Parlament and member of a Cabinet which is supposed to govern.
And we learn, surprisingly enough, that the very set of nobles of the kingdom, a set by definition, non-elected and never seen by the poor but as a set of privileged exploiters, are always “permanently” employed.
Some further evidence.
“We asked ministers to decide (Lord Armstrong speaking about the Labour Party which had been returned by the people) and it would have been very difficult for any minister to change the framework. So, to that extent, we had great power.”
The hidden forces “had great power”. The Labour Ministers, on the contrary, could not change the plans instituted by the PERMANENT civil servants, it seems to me. This is serious, almost public fraud. As powerful a person as was Lord Armstrong, a man obviously of the Right, said when he was asked about who commanded in the Labour Ministry:
I repeat: It would have been very difficult for any labour minister to change, to act as they thought necessary. The framework. “Not to change the framework.” What does this mean? An elected Government must follow instructions from those hidden forces: the FRAMEWORK in the dictionary is defined as “the fabric that supports anything” if not the policy to be followed. The Permanent Civil Servants, it appears, fix the framework. And who are these permanent individuals, elected members of parliament? Are they Tory? Are they Whig, Liberal, Conservative, Fascist. Only one thing is sure, they are not Communist, not even half-socialist.
They are the permanent fellows; probably they are settled for life, with a tremendously good salary. By whom are they settled? Certainly not by the working classes.
Great power, much power, all the power… Now, in what kind of world are we living? Nobody seems to notice anything, know anything important. Have we all the time been living in ignorance, believing that we lived in the best of all possible worlds? Was September 2008 a ‘réveil’, waking up. Not even.
Anticommunism sent us asleep for decades, and now that there is no Soviet Union, we are still swallowing the lie.
When, as a student, I first arrived in England, (a rarity of an individual then in my country; I mean I crossed the Spanish-French frontier with difficulty: there were few like me, say in England), students flocked round me and asked questions concerning the sole country then in Europe under the boot of fascism, Spain. I explained to them, the best I could, how horrible the fascist system was.
There was once a professor, or lecturer (this happened sixty odd years ago), who looked at me with self-sufficiency, and answered learnedly: “But Franco saved you from communism, didn’t he?
There exactly lies the problem. In England the hidden forces had all the time been pleased with Franco, the Fascist. He barred the way to communism in Spain.
A bit more about Labour.
Mr Ramsay MacDonald, of the Labour Party, became Prime Minister in1924, and, after a brief uncertain pause, the party at last, in 1929, came to power.
In the past, there had been biparty elections. That is, for every seat in parliament there were two persons competing of the same or similar tendency and class. Queen Victoria herself, eternal Queen of England, Empress of India, etc. (also Head of State) treated the elections as a pure joke. “My Boys!!” she used to boast, when the two together came before her. Eternal Gladstone and Disraeli, one so-called Whig, the other Tory. Always the same persons.
The two alternative cabinets (I have said above) “represented the same interests, and undoubtedly I will taxed as a revolutionary and a liar. I shall say the same thing more clearly. That set of wealthy people, exploiters of the working classes whose accumulation started long ago, the upper class of the Kingdom, had always been represented by a party, now called Conservative. We are going to see in this article, not only that there are hidden forces behind them, but exactly who are these nobles.
On the other hand something happened at the end of the eighteenth century (more about this later), which changed the habits of the aristocracy. In a word, the traditional accumulators, whom Marx called “primitive accumulators” found one day that, on their side, others had always worked hard in counting-houses (jewellers and financiers), not bothering about land and instead concentrating on gold and silver and later on in banking. These newcomers broke through into high society and formed their own party. Not very different from that of the aristocratic set, in reality.
That Is why the Labour Party was constituted towards the end of the nineteenth century. A change was necessary. Unfortunately, it did not occur to the British Islanders of the peasant and working classes that that change is called REVOLUTION. That is what they needed.
The inveterate exploiters of the poor resorted to chicanery and cunning and they won. To calm the poor, they introduced “reforms” instead of real changes. And this was the end of the adventure: revolution, reform, higher salaries, charity, and finally collapse and disaster.
Anyhow, for a while the Rich panicked. The idea of a labour movement, gosh! and it was worse still when in the twenties, there was talk of a Labour Government! Enough to send some of them nuts. Their lusty love for money, their quest for accumulation, their constant need of sucking the workers’ blood, and specially now (with the MacDonald Cabinet) the knowledge that, even at their game, they could be bitten, that there was talk now of governmemt by the naked and the uncouth: all set the elegant and the great thinking.
“Havoc, friends, to war!”
The cry among the great warriors has always been the same: “To spill our enemies’ blood!” Let it be lawful that our Sacred Ancient Laws bar their way to power. Down with socialism! A merciless neverending propaganda war to smash the labour movement, to eradicate the words ‘communism’ and ‘socialism’ from public life: absolutely necessary for the survival of nobles and bankers alike.
As far as a figure head of Her Majesty’s Government, Ramsay MacDonald was acceptable, (no different, say, from Disraeli. He had many honourable imitators, all through the rest of the twentieth century. Such figure-heads as Gaitskell, Wilson, Blair, Zapatero in Spain, Hollande in France and a hundred others, counting the twenty-first century too.
The Wilson period.
Let us revert to Tony Benn. In the above-mentioned book, at page 10, we read, among many extremely interesting sentences, the following:
“My personal experience of this kind of conduct, from the mid-1960s as Minister of Technology to the late 1970s as Secretary of State for Energy, convinced me of the colonial status which the multinationals have succeeded in imposing upon Britain.”
(And not only the multinational or transnational corporations. A wise writer whose name I have forgotten was writing about the same time: “Today economical and political power is entrenched in a network of interest groups whose influence on” political and economical power is unlimited;” and the author goes on, saying more or less, that the government is controlled by those forces, that the military is there, all bound to industrialists and banks, finance, academia, regulatory agencies, all under control… by whom? HIDDEN FORCES.
At any rate, Tony Benn, an important Minister, member of the Cabinet, was controlled. We have just seen that. Member of a government elected by the people in general elections and which had in consquence (we were told) a socialist inspiration, a socialist plan and the mission of reconstituting society on a saner basis than the exploitation of the workers by the capitalist. In other words when the hidden forces massively interfered in the conduct and work by the United Kindogm government, of a Labour character, it was not only the multinationals that put the brake on the Labour Government, but some hidden forces employing a web of interlocking interests, including vassals, stooges, professors and sycophants for the greater benefit of Capitalism, accumulation, maximising profits while causing havoc, slaughter and ultimately the destruction of the earth.
The influence and authority (even above elected ministers) of the Higher Civil Servants have grown to such an extent – says Tony Benn – as to threaten the workings of British democracy (page 44.) The most senior Permanent Officials are in actual fact ‘the government,’ the obscure men and women who under instruction (by whom?) conduct the policies of the Kingdom.
Always the same.
It has always been so in England since the early Middle Ages when a warring Aristocracy usurped power from the people. Today’s high civil servants are no idealists. They are acting in the name and on behalf of the real performers in the shade.
These Civil Servants are the Crown’s servants. They are permanent and are not there to serve the people which is the mark of democracy; but to keep an eye on the minister and to work for the continued domination of an elite over the people (the working classes.)
“Day after day, week after week, and month after month,” says Tony Benn (page 51), “the same analysis is fed to ministers and it would be surprising if it did not have an influence. Its influence is all the greater because all these papers and despatches are heavily classified and the public do not know what officials really think, cannot challenge their analysis and are continually assured that the mandarins are politically neutral, which they are not.”
I wanted to make these quotations, out of a hundred or so which I could have pointed out, to close the Chapter of the Evidence and pass onto another equally important subject. As a materialist, I don’t believe that things happen out of immaterial effluvia floating in the air, a superior spiritual force moving the world.” What happens today, briefly speaking has its origin in History.
Looking out for effects and the origin of things.
In the Middle Ages it happened in England that the kingdom, instead of developing as an absolute monarchy, as happened in France and other parts of continental Europe, developed into an Aristocracy. In the year 1066 England was invaded by the Normans, a people of Scandinavian origin settled in the west of France.
The Norsemen now occupied the country, displacing the previous invaders, the Saxons, struggling to get ownership of the land and the use of a previous race of Celtic extraction, the Britons, as slaves. These were the people who invaded England after the Battle of Hastings.They now gave more importance to England, which had the best, most fertile soil in Europe. From then on they were (though not exclusively) Kings of England. For a time, however, King Richard Coeur-de-Lion joined others to plunder the Middle East and slaughter the Saracens; but he returned to Normandy, where he died in a joust with young knights, having hardly been in England.
At his death, his younger brother inherited the Crown. Jean Sans Terre, he was called, because until then he had owned no land, “King John” of Shakespeare’s plays), a rather sickly fellow, whose ambition henceforward was to accumulate land and own suffiicient serfs to work it. At the time agriculture was the way to become rich.
This may seem unimportant in the present state of THE CRISIS, but it is from King John of England, consuming his life in a continued search for landed property, that all comes, inclusive of the present Queen, who is said to be one of the richest landowners of all.
The Carnage we see in History.
The great little king who started his royal existence as John I, was like so many other aristocrats, queens and kings, during his short existance, a primitive accumulator (using the Marxian term.) Wars, devastation, slaughter and robbery. His miserable existence as the sovereign of England is very sad however. He started by murdering his young nephew Arthur, who had a better right to the crown than him, and ended being murdered himself; some say by a priest, other by the doctor.
The English feel proud of their King John I, because this worthless sovereign is supposed to have given them their ancestral rights. He did give them the Carta Magna. But what happened is that Noblemen, seeing he was a weakling, forced him to share power with them. Aristocracy pure and powerful. After this robber-monarch, there was a string of kings, surrounded by a multitude of nobles, all of one family, brothers, cousins and children, nephews and nieces: constantly engaged in civil wars, trying to get supremacy over the others, sending destruction into the farthest corners of the kingdom, blows, blood and death. Such savages who very nearly killed one another in combat or assassination to the very end, leaving no descendant for such a glorious kingdom.
Another tragedy is that even fortified cities all over were devastated, razed to the ground in some cases, and yet they still went on calling one another cousin, etc.) until there was nothing left to fight for. And the worst was that the indigent masses were slaughtered by the thousand, those who were forced to join in the wars as soldiers, and the innocent serfs. Some of the nobles talked of the slaughter fertilising the soil. Manure to make the land more valuable, says a character in one of Shakespeare’s tragedies.
This explains, perhaps, the existence of such class antagonism in Great Britain even today. It does not explain why in politics there is that marked characteristic of the hidden forces.
Panic visited England after Bastille Day.
It was after the French Revolution and the period of “la Terreur” that followed Bastille Day (1789-1793) that the English Aristocrats learned a certain lesson they would never forget. “It will not happen to us!” they cried decidedly.
After decades of abuse and crime by the privileged set, one day the people of Paris, armed only with knives and cudgels, came out into the streets, ready to kill, crying loud: “Les aristocrates on les aura!!”
The aristocrats were a bad race. They were faithful to the Monarch. Among them (some say “les cinquante familles”) they owned nearly all the country.
Now, if you think of the way in which modern “democracy” conducts the business of taxation and compare it with yesteryears, you will see that, whereas nowadays, the State imposes taxes on the exceedingly rich in order to assure the existence of some public services, in the France of the Roy Soleil, the thing was the other way round. If the king, say, wanted to get money to offer his lover an expensive jewel, he first sent his men to the villages to make the peasants pay a special tax. The favourites among his Nobles were given handouts by the Monarch, to help them with their expenses.
They all possessed, inter alia, an excellent carriage-and-six, and when they went in the evenings to their banquets and balls, from palace to palace, crossing villages at full speed, they did not respect any law, A child was killed, playing on the road, and the aristocrat did not even order his coachman and footmen to stop, to see. Who cared? On the contrary, the guards appeared in the village the following day and took away for punishment the weeping parents, because they had not been careful enough, letting their children cause obstruction in the middle on the road.
Then, one day, in 1789, a trail of nobles, coming from across the Channel, was seen in England, arriving famished and half naked. They were called “émigrés”, escapees rather. The once powerful French aristocrats were begging from the English aristocrats.
The people of France had already murdered tens of thousands of them, the celebrated Guillotine. Democrats of all kinds (in the etymological sense of the term) had come out into the streets of Paris, to try another sort of society.
That day, at that historical moment, the British Monarchy and the British Aristocracy, in what might had been the most important gathering of British History, swore all and everyone of them together, that the same would never happen to them. That day the story of the hidden forces began.