by Amir Taaki
Financial Freedom versus the Stability-Stagnation-Surveillance State
David Cameron, the UK prime minister, has been caught pants down. His tie is not on straight and he begins his speech grasping for straws. “We do live in a dangerous world. We live in a world of terror and terrorism”, he says playing on people’s fear. He references a recent attack on a British soldier before launching into praise for the UK’s security apparatus. Cameron gives a firm defence of the secret services.
An explosive leak of documents has been exposed out of the shadow of darkness detailing the full extent of the global surveillance state. The US, it turns out, has been spying not just on the world but on its own citizens as well. Americans are angry. What an outrageous flagrant abuse of their rights! The American people have discovered that the ring of gangsters in power does not include them. They are outside that inner circle. The vested, powerful interests do not exist for their benefit.
After the sinkhole of university debt, the rhythm of life becomes a steady climb up the property ladder into a deeper hole of debt against the steady backdrop of the humdrum march of salaried work.
Workers will never be free. Bosses will always rule. Asking the state to gift you the privilege of shorter hours and high wages is a fantasy. In the fairy-tale of Cinderella, a poor working girl is whisked off her feet into a glamorous kingdom of wealth and riches. The message is a pathetic hope of vanity and acceptance.
Employees, don’t be slaves! The boss will always reap the rewards of your work. You will never own the products of your work. You will never own your dignity. You will always be owned.
Take back your work. We need a world of entrepreneurs and small businesses. Creating your own business to challenge the power of a corporation is the most subversive thing you can do.
Bitcoin is a tool towards this goal. Anyone can engage in trade.
When the odds are uncertain, the ballsy gain. But when you start your demand for certainty, you start following what everyone else is doing and nothing new gets made. An economy can’t progress if we’re all doing the same, and any profit there is not real (probably from exploitation).
There is a centuries-old conflict since the beginning of history between a side that wants to systematise and centralise, and a side that challenges established tradition and culture. “Work within the rule of law,” they say. Place your trust in experts to judge for us they say. Put limits on what can or cannot be done, and abide by them, they say. But for all their posturing and alluring talk, that attitude is and always will be one of servile following and faceless lack of identity.
The power of the state derives from a self-certification of serving the national interest. And the more that we give up our power as free individuals, the more we become dependents in the hands of an elite class asking to be gifted higher wages and better working conditions.
When the system becomes centralised, it becomes a magnet for powerful economic actors. Corporate lobbyists subvert democratic mechanisms, huge cartels dominate and small businesses are forced out. Tools of oppression like patents and copyrights grant huge amounts of power over the economy. And that is how the system becomes corrupt.
The co-opted watch television, work 9-5 to pay off debt for the car and the house just mortgaged, and keep voting for politicians who support global tyranny and the destruction of individual freedom (“Well, the other guy is worse, right?”). And, worst of all, they keep paying taxes to fund the architecture of oppression. They will defend positive aspects while downplaying the impact or severity of the reprehensible.
I want to address tax avoidance. Tax avoidance is a legitimate form of protest. There is no reasonable excuse for supporting an organisation whose policies you fundamentally disagree with. Using a moral imperative to compel citizens to offer their financial consent to morally corrupt organisations (such as the state) is the biggest myth of our time. At best it’s a logically fallacious conflicting condition. At worst it’s bare-faced manipulation.
Bitcoin is a powerful tool to withdraw financial support for organisations we disagree with on a moral level. Forget its financial benefits (of which there are many). It has a deeper fundamental argument. This is why financial anonymity and lack of financial censorship is important.
We need the ability to choose to whom we make our payments. Payment is a form of speech – financial speech. When you pay someone, you are consenting to their work. A payment is giving approval to the recipient. This is the basis of the free market, and one lost with compulsory payment like the taxation process.
When the ability for freedom of financial speech is totally compromised, then we have lost a fundamental power. Our payments landscape is dominated by a cartel.
In December 2010, an arbitrary and unlawful financial blockade was imposed on Wikileaks by Bank of America, VISA, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union. WikiLeaks had published the biggest leaks in journalistic history, which triggered an aggressive retaliation from powerful groups. The attack has destroyed 95% of their revenue, and Bitcoin was their single lifeline.
The ongoing blockade is outside of any accountable public process. It is without democratic oversight or transparency. The blockade of WikiLeaks by politicized US finance companies continues regardless.
And Wikileaks is not an odd case. Financial censorship is a regular tool of control.
Anonymity is another important factor. Anonymity preserves individual dignity. When the rule of law outgrows the moral judgement of its population, black markets emerge. Trade moves underground and the counter-economy establishes itself as a thriving bazaar of fast-moving creatives.
Revolutionary ideals materialise when society protects individuals. Can a society which rigidly enforces all its complex conflicting laws progress? Women and gay rights were radicals less than a century ago. History shows us that many guilty figures in hindsight turned out to be luminaries and heroes before their time.
David Cameron continues by asserting that the UK secret services abide by a strict framework of law. He is on the defensive and makes a series of statements that are no less than lies. He tells how the UK government values the privacy and respect of its citizens in the highest regard, despite that the UK has the highest density of surveillance anywhere.
Just this week the leaders from the 8th wealthiest nations met in London for the G8 summit amidst protests across the capitals. The response was swift. Police heavy-handedly suppressed dissent, arresting over 50 people and breaking up demonstrations. Their excuse: if the protestors had only collaborated to plan a ‘proper’ protest with the police, then it would be a legal protest.
Let’s build our own markets.
Let’s find ways of constructing systems that don’t need corrupt authorities.
The counter-economy is here and now. A market of over a billion people: exchanges, markets, all over Europe. Bitcoin is booming. Bitcoin is not the revolution, but it is a big tool towards a grander future. One full of vision, empowerment, liberty and progress. We have a chance to take things forwards, to reconstruct our financial system (a powerful oppressor of people worldwide). Don’t fuck it up. Be part of it. Engage with this growing market otherwise you’ll be left behind.