"Behind every great fortune there lies a great crime."
- Honore de Balzac
"... they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." (1 Tim. 6:9-10)
THE ELITES: CUT OFF FROM AVERAGE PEOPLE
Two recent events demonstrate what we have been talking about in articles that have appeared lately on our website - specifically, the precarious position of the corporate elites (and, ipso facto, the United States) vis a vis "ordinary people" throughout the world. [We refer you especially to our article of October 3, 1999 - "The Versailles Phenomenon; Tension In The Empire: Building Up To The 'Great Deception'" (Vol. 6 No. 2).]
In "The Versailles Phenomenon," we wrote:
"It is the great curse of all elites that they fail to perceive (until it's too late) the "disconnect" between themselves and the great bulk of "ordinary" people, and the resulting loathing and disgust they eventually elicit from those over whom they rule. This is what happened between the French Aristocracy and the French people on the eve of the French Revolution; it's what happened between the Russian Aristocracy and the Russian people on the eve of their revolution. It's what I call the "Versailles Phenomenon."
"Versailles is located just outside Paris in a beautiful expanse of French countryside; it was built by Louis IV as an exquisite and very sumptuous hideaway (really, "playground") for the French Aristocracy who wanted to escape the mean, narrow streets of the vast slum that was Paris in those days, and the filthy, evil-smelling and nauseous rabble which populated those streets. The lawns and gardens which surrounded Versailles were supposed to be (and were in fact) the most magnificent in all world, and were filled with exotic plants and animals from all over the earth. It is reputed to have been the most beautiful place in Europe - indeed, it was much more than a simple palace (like Buckingham in England or Potsdam in Germany), but was in fact a magnificent and lavish series of apartment complexes where the whole of the French Aristocracy could meet and entertain itself without ever having to be concerned with (let alone see) the poverty which was everywhere apparent throughout France in the years preceding Louis VI.
"So completely cut-off was the French Aristocracy at Versailles on the eve of the French Revolution, that when Marie Antonette, the French Queen, was told that the rabble in Paris had no bread to eat, she was reported to have said, "Let them eat cake." But what most people do not realize today is that she did not mean that as a cynical jest, she said it as one who - when told that a neighbor had run out of a particular brand of coffee - would tell them that they should drink tea instead (which she would have reason to presume they had on hand). She had no idea that what was meant here was that the people had NOTHING to eat. This is how great the "disconnect" between the French Aristocracy and the French people had become in France on the eve of the Revolution; neither had that self-same aristocracy any real idea of how hated they were by the French people. They were soon to find out! - the "Terror," which the Revolution unleashed, would make all that plain."
CHAOS IN ATHENS
The first event that demonstrates what we have been talking about occurred on November 19, 1999 when Bill Clinton arrived in Greece like a thief in the night. His motorcade moved down darkened boulevards carefully cleared of people. Armies of police guarded him against any contact with ordinary Greeks. Clinton had come to Greece from Turkey, where he had dominated the conference of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (the OSCE). Why the United States, which is not part of Europe, should have been there at all the president did not explain. But the demonstrators had an answer: according to them, the reason was that Europe had become nothing more than a mere province in the American Empire; and American participation in NATO was the justification for America's on-going military presence on the contnent - a presence the American elites felt was necessary to insure that continued dominance. According to the protesters, the OSCE was merely a tool of NATO, and - ipso facto - the United States; a device that had been constructed by the U.S. military / commercial conglomerate in conjunction with their elite lackeys in Western Europe to give ordinary Europeans the illusion of independence from the United States, but which was in fact nothing more than an empty facade.
As the U.S. president was wined and dined later that night by Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis [America's "eunuch" in that particular Satrap (province) of the empire (please see our article, "The American Empire")], police loosed barrages of tear gas against thousands of workers, students and retirees who were trying to march to the U.S. Embassy. Despite the gas and repeated police attacks, protesters regrouped again and again and continued their march through downtown Athens to the city's central Omonia Square. Over 80 people were arrested, many of them at pharmacies where they had gone for medical aid. But as bloody as this rally was, it was only one of many.
On November 8th - about a week and a half before Clinton's arrival in Greece - 10,000 people had stood in the rain in Athens's Constitution Square for a mass "trial" of the U.S. president. The American president had been "subpoenaed" a week earlier to appear at the "trial," but, of course, he had spurned the "subpoena." After hours of eyewitness testimony about the U.S. bombing of Yugoslavia, the presiding judge asked if Clinton were guilty of war crimes. The entire crowd responded "Guilty!"
Then on November 17th - about a week later - tens of thousands of additional marchers, mostly youth, filed past the U.S. Embassy. They loudly denounced Clinton as the "Butcher of the Balkans," called for an end to NATO and demanded that the U.S. military get its bases out of Greece and its troops out of Yugoslavia.
And it wasn't just in Greece that Clinton was met with this kind of reception. While he was in Turkey, police beat and arrested thousands of protesters in Ankara, the capital. In Sofia, Bulgaria, where Clinton went after leaving Athens, protests were banned and over 100 people arrested. Blagoesta Doncheva, a former anti-communist dissident who has written eloquently (including a recent op-ed piece for the New York Times) about the Bulgarian people's suffering under the new "free-trade" regime the International Monetary Fund (the IMF) has forced down Bulgaria's throat, was thrown into a mental ward.
Clinton also visited the NATO-occupied Yugoslav province of Kosovo where David Holley of the London Times reports that Serbs, Roma people (i.e., gypsies) and other non-Muslim minorities are being systematically murdered and driven from their homes by KLA-sponsored gangs, and where Albanian drug lords are systematically turning Kosovo into a major transit point in the heroin-smuggling route from Afghanistan and Turkey to Western Europe and the United States [please see David Holley, "Kosovo Battles Resurgence of Organized Crime" in the Times of London, Saturday, November 27, 1999] - a situation that the U.S. had been repeatedly warned would occur if Kosovo were turned over to the Albanians (which is, in fact, what has unofficially happened). But drugs aren't what oil company executives were worried about when they goaded the American military to help out the Muslims in Kosovo; only one thing had interested them then, and that was placating their Muslim allies in the Middle East and preserving the flow of oil revenues into their corporate coffers [please see our report on all this in our article, "Kosovo and America: What's Going On," Vol. 8, No. 4 ( March 27, 1999)].
Most Americans have probably never heard about all this - but what else would one expect from people whose major source of news is the corporately-controlled media that dominates American society today [please see our article on the mass media, "The New Corporate Media" (Vol. 9, No. 1, April 24, 1999)]. And insofar as any of this was reported at all, those who participated in these protests and rallies were portrayed largely as loonies and left-wing radicals. But that's absolutely a lie - a deceitful contrivance by the mass media. The fact is, twenty justices of the Council of State - the Greek Supreme Court - participated in the demonstration of the 19th of October, as did innumerable ordinary Greeks from all walks of life including housewives, shipbuilders, transit workers, bureaucrats, students, etc. These were not left-wing loonies, they were ordinary people; indeed, among those gassed by the police on the 19th of November were elderly veterans of the Greek anti-Nazi resistance of World War II. Filip Karamalis, a young worker who took part in the November 19th protests, told one journalist, a staff writer for the International Action Center -
"U.S. imperialism will not pass. We shall stand fighting. All the Greek people are against ... U.S. policy. Clinton is trying to act like Hitler. But Hitler could not conquer the Balkans and neither will ... (the U.S.)."
Rioters and protesters in the streets while the elites dine on pheasant-under-glass and sip expensive wines in sumptuous surroundings behind high walls and locked gates? - the parallel here to what happened to the Russian Czar and Louis XVI at Versailles is pretty hard to miss!
THE BATTLE FOR SEATTLE
And it's not just happening in Europe, it's happening here in this country as well - that's plainly what's occurring in Seattle! The similarity of the reception Clinton got in Athens to the one he received in Seattle at the WTO meeting is difficult to ignore. As in Athens, when the President arrived early Wednesday (December 1st) - a little less than two weeks after his visit to Greece - he was whisked through empty streets with smashed and boarded up windows similar to the ones he had seen earlier in the Greek capital to a four block area in downtown Seattle that had been walled off by a ring of police barricades - again, just like the presidential palace of Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis had been cordoned off in Athens.
Clinton's arrival in Seattle had been preceded by a night of rioting. It seemed to the "richy-riches" who were attending the WTO conference as though the peasants had come to Seattle uninvited and breathing slaughter; what's worse, they were now circling the barricades with murder in their eyes. It seemed as though that all that stood between this rabble and the elites in the barricaded area of Downtown Seattle were the police and the National Guard. The worst nightmare of the Donald Trumps, the William Buckleys, the Paul Gigots, the Bob Doles and the George Bushes of this world had come true - there were mobs in the streets!
It had all started when anti-free trade activists had taken their criticism to the streets on Tuesday, clashing with police. In scenes reminiscent of the U.S. civil rights and anti-war protests of the 1960s, police in riot gear had sprayed tear gas and shot rubber pellets called "stingers" to clear the protesters, who had clogged streets and blocked access to the convention center where the WTO sessions were being held. In retaliation, angry bands of protesters began smashing windows at NikeTown, a Planet Hollywood restaurant, Nordstrom, a McDonald's, a toy store, a Starbucks coffee house and other businesses, littering the streets with glass and vandalizing police cars. King County Executive Ron Sims said several transit buses had been boarded by angry protesters who assaulted drivers, slashed tires and removed batteries to disable the vehicles.
Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, was trapped by a screaming mob as he headed to a WTO meeting, and had to be dragged to safety by bodyguards as protesters pummeled a state trooper bending over Vilsack to protect him. "It was a little bit more frightening than the earthquake I was in," Vilsack said. "You could see the faces of people screaming at you." The governor later said that neither he nor his security aides had been injured, but he had been shaken by the events.
The street protests forced the cancellation of the planned opening ceremonies of the trade conference. At the posh Westin Hotel, where U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky and her Japanese counterparts were staying, guests were told to go to their rooms for fear demonstrators might storm the building. Outside, police officers with batons were trying to clear the streets. They chased demonstrators down a city street and pepper spray was used in one incident. Other officers forced protesters to the ground and handcuffed them. They used megaphones to warn crowds to disperse. The demonstrators chanted: "The whole world's watching." One man being handcuffed face-down said: "We want our opinions heard" and accused the police of using tactics of "the evil empire."
As in Greece, the elite media tried to pass these demonstrations off as the work of left-wing loonies, anti-capitalists, "ner-do-wells," and crazed thugs; people who represented only the fringe of society. But again, as in Greece, that simply wasn't true. One CNN reporter stood at a street corner interviewing as many people as she could as the protesters streamed by - and to her amazement found that most of those she interviewed were normal, "everyday" Americans - housewives, steel workers, students, etc. These were not the crazed loonies she thought she would find. They were simply people who were fed up with the selfish, self-serving policies of the elites which were forcing mothers - even those with working husbands - into the work force just to "maintain their family financially." Where were all the "high-tech" jobs they had been promised? As one demonstrator said, "yes, there were plenty of jobs, I hold three of them - all low paying, part-time, temporary ones; and my wife holds another two." Where was all this prosperity the mass media was talking about? According to the thousands of protesters that were "out and about," they hadn't seen any of it. No doubt the elites were prospering, but it hadn't dribbled down to them as yet!
BE CAREFUL: DON'T GET CAUGHT!
What all this portends is that there is a prolonged and extremely intense clash coming! Indeed, it is already here; the fact is, it's been going on for a long time now, it's just that the corporate media has been concealing it. But despite all their efforts, it is beginning at last to break out of the shadows, and is starting to impress itself onto the consciousness of average Americans. What's going on in Seattle is only the start. In the months and years to come, this clash will expand and intensify - and there is nothing that any of us can do to escape. Essentially, it will be a clash between the "haves" and the "have nots" of society.
As this clash intensifies, Christians will be pressed by their elite allies to align themselves with them. All sorts of blandishments (mainly money and the promise of political power) will be offered as inducements to do so - and, unfortunately, most will take the bate. [Again, we URGE you to read or re-read the article, "Creating a Common Partnership Between the Moneyed Elites and the Religious Elites (Vol. 6, No. 3, November 24, 1999); in addition, we also urge you to read (or re-read) "The Versailles Phenomenon: Tension in the Empire; Building Up to the Great Deception" (Vol. 6, No. 2, July 8, 1999).]
And what is our point in telling you all this? - of bringing this to your attention? It's simply this: You MUST resist the temptation to take the elite's bate here; of succumbing to their blandishments! Remember, the kingdom we serve is not of this world. (Please see our article on our Religion in Politics website, "Political Christianity.")
A WONDERFUL, GOD-GIVEN OPPORTUNITY
Moreover, If you can get beyond this - of only seeing the negative in what's happening, and only being concerned on how all this will impact you on a personal (and financial) basis - then I tell you the truth, you will come to see that a great opportunity has been laid out in front of you!! - THE GOSPEL!! And not just simply the inane and pointless chance of preaching the Gospel to other believers, which is what so much of what passes for evangelism in today's Christianity is all about, but the opportunity to preach the Gospel to the unsaved!! After all, you won't find the unsaved in church sanctuaries (which is where most Gospel meetings are held) but in the streets and among the "have nots" of society.
The "have-nots" of society? Yes! - them. The fact is, it's not the rich that are open to the Gospel, it's the poor - a fact that most American evangelicals, ensconced as they are in their split-level homes, green lawns, etc. find it hard to accept. But the Bible is quite clear on this matter; it says:
"... Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!"
"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." (Mark 10:24-25)
And, again, it says:
"For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called." (1 Cor. 1:26)
Believe me when I say (and contrary to what most Christian leaders will tell you) the ones who are really open to the Gospel are the ones who are in the streets in Athens and in Seattle - not the ones sitting around the conference tables of the WTO dressed up in thousand dollar suits, sipping Champaign and eating caviar.
It's the people in the streets - the ones whose lives have been shaken by their own impoverishment and the injustice they have experienced at the hands of the world's elites - who have no trust in the world or the things of the world. These are the ones who are prepared to receive the Gospel, not the rich. You must give up on the world before you can really become a disciple of Christ!! I say again, YOU MUST GIVE UP ON THE WORLD BEFORE YOU CAN EVER REALLY BECOME A DISCIPLE OF CHRIST.
This is a hard saying, but it is the truth!
Why did the Gospel so prevail during the turmoil of the Vietnam War and the civil unrest that accompanied those years? - it prevailed because people's lives had been turned upside down (Please see our article on the "Jesus Revolution."). They had been brought to a place where they were confronted with the uncertainties of life and (for those who were being drafted) the reality of death. These things (uncertainty and death) are REAL! But for the most part, we tend to sublimate them - to push them out of our minds; and so long as we do that, we will look on this world as something permanent. When we do, we become, willy-nilly, citizens of this world (or at least permanent residents) - and no person who is a friend of this world can really be a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ! The Bible says:
"Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." (James 4:4) [Please see our article, "The Elite, Money, and the End of Days" (Vol. 6, No. 1, December 12, 1998).]........
God bless you all!!