The capitalist system has money as the main factor in power. The greater the amount of money you have, the greater your influence.
Particularly, purchasing power can be transformed into political power when those with wealth utilize their money to secure positions within the corridors of power by attending elite private schools and exclusive social clubs or events at which they can form relationships with other interests that are monetarily related.
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The wealthy can also attain control over the political system by either financing those already in power who have opinions that favor them, by using expensive PR and marketing campaigns to shift opinions in ways that are in their favor or by forming pressure groups to influence political leaders directly, in addition to any number of other methods.
The phenomenon is usually referred to as corporate lobbying, nepotism and corruption, cronyism or ‘the old boys’ club’. However, all these terms refer to the same conduct.
It is because those with a lot of money can use these resources to create societies that suit their preferences.
An excellent example can be seen in the cases of the Koch brothers as well as the Mercer family.
Charles and David Koch, American billionaires are the principal owners of America’s second-largest privately-owned company.
Since 1953, they, their relatives, as well as other wealthy donors have spent many hundreds of millions of dollars (probably even billions) on the creation of think tanks and political action committees that pursue the Koch brothers’ political agenda of deregulation, low taxes, less environmental protections, and so on.
The Mercer family is a significant contributor to right-wing think-tanks and publications across the USA as well as Breitbart News and Heritage Foundation.
On the opposite side of the political spectrum the Hungarian billionaire George Soros founded the Open Societies Foundation and is believed to have donated over $32 billion to the organization since its founding. George Soros is a bad reputation for a lot of right-wing European and American politicians because of his aid to asylum seekers in Western countries and its lobbying for legal immigrants to gain citizenship in the USA.
‘The Are Willing to Do What They Have The Ability To Do, and The Weak Will Take the Things They Have to Accept’ The Melian Dialogue, Thucydides, The Melian Dialogue
Sometimes, military power is combined with the theme of financial power being employed to advance their own interests.
Consider the United Fruit Company as an example. The rulers of Latin America ensured that the United Fruit Company had a favorable business environment. This allowed the company to start lucrative business operations throughout Latin America before World War II.
In 1944, United Fruit experienced difficulties in Guatemala, one of their largest bases. The Guatemalan President, Jorge Ubico, a dictator who was closely aligned with US interests and a strong fan of the United Fruit Company, was deposed in a popular uprising.
In the following 10 years, many of the presidents who followed Ubico enacted land reform measures which returned vast swathes of the land owned by United Fruit back to the Guatemalan people.
In 1954 in the year 1954, the United Fruit Company had seen enough and was heavily lobbying the American government to do something. Partly because several of US Dwight D. Eisenhower’s staff members had ties with United Fruit, they were just too eager to help.
The CIA orchestrated a coup in Guatemala which deposed the President who was elected and replaced with an additional dictator who was more amenable to American interests. The result was four decades of brutal civil war between Guatemala’s poor and a succession US-backed dictatorsthat resulted in the deaths of 200,000 civilians.
In March 1999, the US President Bill Clinton apologized to Guatemala for the atrocities perpetrated by American-backed dictatorships. He stated that it was important to ensure that the United States clearly state that they would not be supporting troops or intelligence groups which engaged in violence and massive repression.
But, Guatemala was by no not a singular instance. The trail of destruction and bloodshed that the United Fruit Company – together with their powerful allies in the government and the military left across a series of Latin American states is almost staggering in its scale.
Not That Long Ago, But Not Far From Home
The instances of corporate interests becoming militarily and politically active is not restricted to long-gone Latin American states.
In the example of Harold Wilson, the British Prime Minister, many high-ranking British military officers as well as political people plotted for a long time to install the coalition government that they wanted to form.
The majority of people think that this is a bizarre conspiracy. However, Peter Wright, a whistleblower with MI5 has verified the conspiracy in Spycatcher. The book was banned in England following its publication in 1987.
Other people who have confirmed sources of the plot to kill Wilson are Hugh Cudlipp, the former editor of the Daily Mirror, and the former intelligence officer Brian Crozier.
The theory of conspiracy is that they planned to choose a particular person to lead the government that was not elected. It was Lord Mountbatten who was a cousin both of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip.
As Patrick Sawer, a Senior News Reporter for the Daily Telegraph has written:
Lord Mountbatten was a dangerously close candidate for the industrialist cabal, generals, and tycoons planning a coup against a Labour government. Mountbatten and his conspirators believed that 1968 was a year of national crises. The plot was to remove Harold Wilson as Prime Minister with a coalition.
The events were featured in Season 3 Episode 5 of the TV show The Crown, which was appropriately titled ‘Coup’.
In the USA an identical plot was created in 1933.
Following the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who had pledged to end the gold standard and enact a raft of left-wing economic policies that became known as the “New Deal”, magnates behind huge corporations like Chase Bank, Standard Oil, General Motors, Goodyear, Dupont, Heinz, and many others, conspired to create an army of as much as half a million veterans from the military to overthrow Roosevelt’s government and establish a fascist-led government to replace him.
This was later known as the Business Plot, and the conspirators approached Major General Smedley Butler – a 34 year veteran of the US Marine Corps, who at the time was the most decorated Marine in US history to head their own private army.
Butler was unhappy with his experience in the US military and decided to not take part in the plot. Butler also testified on the issue in the United States House of Representatives in 1934.
Despite Congress concluding that they could verify all of Butler’s claims however, no one was charged or convicted. None of the key actors who were part of the plot were called to testify before Congress.
Smedley Butler published a book entitled War Is A Racket shortly after. The book’s summary reads:
War is an act of racket. It always has been. It’s possibly the longest-running, easily the most profitable, surely the most dangerous. It is the only worldwide one. It is the only one in which the profit is expressed in dollars and deaths of people are recorded in the form of lives. Rackets are, in my opinion, anything that isn’t what it seems to the vast majority of people. There is only a small segment of “insiders” that know the nature of. It’s done for the benefit and cost to the affluent. Certain individuals make huge fortunes from the war.