Saturday, August 11, 2012

Corporate Roots of European Imperialism

From The Ramparts
Junious Ricardo Stanton

"A chartered company is an association formed by investors or shareholders for the purpose of trade, exploration and colonization. Companies enabled merchants to band together to undertake ventures requiring more capital than was available to any one merchant or family. Typically, these companies were formed from the sixteenth century onwards by groups of European investors to underwrite and profit from the exploration of Africa, India, the Caribbean and North America, usually under the patronage of one state, which issued the company's charter. But chartered companies go back into the medieval period. Chartered companies enabled states to use private resources for exploration and trade beyond the means of the limited resources of the treasury, which is a liberal form of indirect rule; some companies did themselves employ a form of indirect rule of territories through traditional leaders, such as princely states with whom they (not the European state) made treaties. Chartered companies were usually formed, incorporated and legitimised under a royal or, in republics, an equivalent government charter. This document set out the terms under which the company could trade; defined its boundaries of influence, and described its rights and responsibilities."

            The Occupy Movement has helped raise consciousness about the role giant Wall Street banks and major corporations play in shaping government policy; how these entities have assumed a major influence over the operation of governments and the lives of ordinary people. Contrary to what most people think, this is not a recent phenomenon. European merchants, money changers, nobles and monarchs melded together to form trading companies and grant virtual monopolies to themselves to explore and establish colonies designed to expropriate the resources of the indigenous people every where they went on planet Earth. These monopoly trading companies are the forefathers of the international banks and giant corporations of today.
            Western history books tell a far different story than what really happened when resource starved, war torn, disease ravaged Europeans first began to covet the riches of foreign lands in the fifteenth century.  Beginning in elementary school, we are forced to learn outright lies, memorize and regurgitate myths and fairy tales about the Pilgrims, and the other early colonists who ventured beyond the shores of Europe in search of "the new world". In school books the Europeans are depicted as noble, ambitious industrious beings searching for trade and commerce, freedom from persecution, they are the good guys seeking to spread civilization and Christianity to the "heathen" in far off lands.
How can you spread or give what you don't have? There is a saying "everywhere you go, there you are"; meaning the Europeans who ventured forth seeking riches brought with them their values, their cultural disposition towards selfishness, greed and love of war. It was only a matter of time before conflict, strife and war broke out between Europeans and the aboriginal people they encountered around the globe. This is well documented and we are seeing the vestiges and consequences of those conflicts played out in today's current events.
Between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries, merchants, financers and European blue bloods formed monopoly trading companies to facilitate and augment their ruthless dealings with indigenous people around the world. We've heard of them but we never told what they did and how they did it. Companies like: The Massachusetts Bay Company, The Hudson Bay Colony, Royal West Indian Company, Royal African Company (England) , Dutch East India Company, Dutch West India Company (Holland)  Brandenburg African Company (Germany), Compagnie du Mississippi (France)  and numerous others were the forces behind much of the early European colonization of the world.
These companies needed men to work the fields, mines and clear the land to extract its resources. The trading companies also needed canon fodder to lead the invasions and fight to expand their "settlements". So the merchants and financers colluded with the monarchs to empty the jails and press the dregs of European society into service of the monopoly trading companies. The Europeans tried to enslave the indigenous inhabitants and raped their women; was it any wonder genocidal wars broke out almost immediately between the whites and the aboriginal inhabitants everywhere the Europeans went? If you want to know the truth about European contacts with indigenous people read: Race and Culture Contacts in the Modern World by E. Franklin Frazier Beacon Press 1957, Afrikan People and European Holidays A Mental Genocide (books one and two) by Rev. Ishakamusa Barashango IV Dynasty Publishing Co 1980 and How Europe Underdeveloped Africa by Walter Rodney, Howard University Press 1982.
Now even whites are beginning to tell the truth about their history and their centuries' old legacy of genocide, pillage and plunder. "The first true war attributed to British colonists in North America was 'King Philip's War,' so called, of the 1670s, and was blamed entirely on the natives, who were depicted as brutal savages, who betrayed the colonists' trust. The Wampanoag, Nipmuc, Narragansett and other peoples of Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Connecticut had actually been exceedingly generous to the newcomers, effectively sharing land and teaching them how to cultivate it according to local climate and soil conditions. But English notions of land usage, particularly that of private enclosure, quickly brought the colonists and natives into conflict. Increasing European migration, coupled with competition over land, led to attacks by aboriginals on British settlements, then into all out war. Native populations had already been extremely diminished by contact with European diseases to which they had no immunity, and this coupled with the efforts of colonists to exacerbate conflict between tribes, and to thwart intertribal unity, made victory over the British impossible. When the colonists eventually prevailed they inflicted a horrible slaughter on men, women and children alike. For a quarter century the severed head of Metacomet, the son of the colonists' benefactor, Massasoit, remained impaled on a pike in Plymouth town square, a reminder of the implacability of those who intended to be masters of the land. English victory cleared the natives of southern New England and 'allowed the uninterrupted growth of England's northern colonies right up to the American Revolution,' and became as well 'the brutal model for how the United States would deal with its native population.' And, one could add, for all of America's non-white enemies yet to be. Doctrines of Anglo-Saxon racial superiority, fostered to rationalize genocidal attitudes, and to justify the enslavement of Africans, quickly percolated into the culture, to be refined continually up to the present." War and Empire Are and Always Have Been the American Way of Life By Paul L. Atwood
            The chartered monopoly trading companies spawned banks and insurance companies in Europe to hoard the profits, safeguard the investments of the partners, their ships and cargos. They also prompted mercenaries and expeditionary armies/navies owned by the trading companies to carry out their greedy agendas and ruthless policies in the name of profit. Sound familiar? The policies of the original trading companies are not all that different from their latter day descendants. "In order to carry out their many tasks, which in many cases included functions - such as security and defence - usually reserved for a sovereign state, some companies achieved relative autonomy. A few chartered companies such as the British Honourable East India Company (HEIC) and Dutch Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC) had military and naval forces of their own that dwarfed even the average European state's armed forces, and adequate funds to buy the best men and equipment, in effect making them a state within a state. More chartered companies were formed during the late nineteenth century's 'Scramble for Africa' with the purpose of seizing, colonising and administering the last 'virgin' African territories, but these proved generally less profitable than earlier trading companies. In time, most of their colonies were either lost (often to other European powers) or transformed into crown colonies. The last chartered company to administer territory directly in Africa was the Companhia de Moçambique in Portuguese East Africa (now Mozambique), which handed over rule of the colonies of Manica and Sofala to the Portuguese republic's colonial government in 1942."
            Do you see their pattern? The economic interests of the elites drive public policy, even war. While the fifteenth century trading companies depended on the various monarchs' and Papal cooperation to grant them monopolies to discover and expropriate raw materials, minerals and labor, their twenty-first century heirs now own the governments and use their treasuries, military and covert ops to invade and control new markets, resources, financial systems and labor to fuel their global vampire economy.  Anyone who stands in their way gets demonized and neutralized or is used as a pretext to invade, install quislings and puppets, rob and steal other people's lands and resources and control their markets. (Think US CIA British MI6 and NATO)
"Throughout the former European empires the real problem for Washington was de-colonization. Sometimes the movements were communist but often not. Nationalism and the movement toward 'non-alignment' were equal threats, though anti-communism provided the ideological cover for Washington's global military response to any and all emerging movements that might frustrate the overall goal of a unitary, integrated American-managed world-system. Thus in the name of anti-communism the newly minted Central Intelligence Agency, violating the congressional mandate that had created it, and domestic and international law as well, overthrew the parliamentary government in Iran in 1953 and Guatemala in 1954. In that year Vietnam was divided, supposedly temporarily, in order to allow nationwide elections but, since the CIA knew that Ho Chi Minh would easily win, the division was really to buy time to prevent Ho from achieving his movement's goal of independence and national unity. In fact Washington moved to prevent national elections agreed to by all great powers, except the U.S., in the Geneva Accords of 1954, and in contravention of them 'invented' a new state, South Vietnam, and then pretended that it was the choice of a majority of Vietnamese. Throughout the 1950s the U.S. also intervened covertly to thwart the rise of Arab and Muslim secular nationalism, particularly Nasserism, whom the CIA tried to assassinate because he nationalized the Suez Canal, as well as Qassim in Iraq for doing the same to that nation's oil industry. The strategy of attempting to overthrow governments that stood in the way of American corporate dominance of key national industries in the Muslim world backfired by creating a vacuum into which Islamic fundamentalism flowed, in what the CIA today calls 'blowback.'"  War and Empire Are and Always Have Been the American Way of Life
Globalization is nothing more than monopoly imperialism, it's colonialism and neocolonialism on steroids. Instead of several monarchs and trading companies fighting and vying for resources and labor, the power behind the scenes is a small cabal working in collusion and cooperation to control the global financial system, national governments and the whole world. They've come a long way since the 1400's.


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