. 18
( 85 .)


these powerful opponents, the Bankers Manifesto recommended a
tactic still used today:
[While] our principal men . . . are engaged in forming an
imperialism of the world . . . , the people must be kept in a state
of political antagonism. . . . By thus dividing voters, we can get
them to expend their energies in fighting over questions of no
importance to us . . . . Thus, by discrete action, we can secure all
that has been so generously planned and successfully
The voters, then as now, were kept pacified with the right to vote
for one of two or three candidates, all manipulated by the same pup-
peteers. As Indian author Arundhati Roy would complain of the elec-
tion process a century later:
It™s not a real choice, it™s an apparent choice, like choosing a
brand of detergent. Whether you buy Ivory Snow or Tide, they™re
both owned by Proctor and Gamble. . . . Those in positions of
real power, the bankers, the CEOs, are not vulnerable to the
vote, and in any case they fund both sides.2
It was this sort of disillusionment with the political process that
prompted Howard Zinn, Professor Emeritus in Boston University™s
history department, to state in 2001:
For progressive movements, the future does not lie with electoral
politics. It lies in street warfare “ protest movements and
demonstrations, civil disobedience, strikes and boycotts “ using
all of the power consumers and workers have in direct action
against the government and corporations.3
The tradition of the street protest dates back to 1894, when Coxey™s
Army marched from Ohio to Washington D.C. to petition Congress to
revive the Greenback system . . . .

Web of Debt

Petitions in Boots

In striking contrast to the rag-tag army he led, “General” Jacob S.
Coxey was a wealthy Populist who owned a sand quarry, bred horses,
and wore hand-tailored suits. He was in it for the cause, one to which
he was so committed that he named his son “Legal Tender.” Like
Frank Baum, Coxey was a follower of the new theosophical move-
ment that was all the rage in the 1890s. He said his monetary solution
had come to him fully formed in a dream.4 He didn™t just dream it but
took it right to the Capitol steps, in the sort of can-do spirit that would
come to characterize the Populist movement. He called his protest
march a “petition in boots.”
When Coxey™s Army, some 500 strong, entered Washington D.C.
and marched down Pennsylvania Avenue, the perceived threat was
so great that 1,500 U.S. soldiers were stationed to resist them.5 Coxey
attempted to deliver his speech on the Capitol steps but was prevented
by the police. He wound up spending 20 days in jail for trespassing
on the grass and for displaying a prohibited “banner” (actually a 3
inch by 2 inch lapel pin).6 His prepared speech was later entered into
the Congressional record by his supporters. It was quite eloquent and
moving, revealing the extremity and the despair of a people who had
become progressively poorer as the bankers had become richer. Coxey
Up these steps the lobbyists of trusts and corporations have passed
unchallenged on their way to committee rooms, access to which we,
the representatives of the toiling wealth-producers, have been denied.
We stand here to-day in behalf of millions of toilers whose
petitions have been buried in committee rooms, whose prayers
have been unresponded to, and whose opportunities for honest,
remunerative, productive labor have been taken from them by
unjust legislation, which protects idlers, speculators, and
gamblers: we come to remind the Congress here assembled of
the declaration of a United States Senator, “that for a quarter of
a century the rich have been growing richer, the poor poorer,
and that by the close of the present century the middle class will
have disappeared as the struggle for existence becomes fierce and
. . . We have come here through toil and weary marches,
through storms and tempests, over mountains, and amid the

Chapter 11 - No Place Like Home

trials of poverty and distress, to lay our grievances at the doors
of our National Legislature . . . .We are here to petition for
legislation which will furnish employment for every man able
and willing to work; for legislation which will bring universal
prosperity and emancipate our beloved country from financial
bondage to the descendants of King George.
. . . We are engaged in a bitter and cruel war with the enemies
of all mankind “ a war with hunger, wretchedness, and despair,
and we ask Congress to heed our petitions and issue for the
nation™s good a sufficient volume of the same kind of money
which carried the country through one awful war and saved
the life of the nation.7
Coxey proposed two bills, one primarily to help farmers, the other
to help urban laborers. Under his “Good Roads Bill,” $500 million
would be issued in legal tender notes or Greenbacks to construct the
roads particularly needed in rural America. For city dwellers, Coxey
proposed a “Noninterest-Bearing Bonds Bill.” It would authorize state
and local governments to issue noninterest-bearing bonds that would
be used to borrow legal tender notes from the federal treasury. The
monies raised by these transactions would be used for public projects
such as building libraries, schools, utility plants, and marketplaces.8
Coxey was thus proposing something quite new and revolution-
ary: the government would determine the projects it wanted to carry
out, then issue the money to pay for them. The country did not need
to be limited by the money it already had, money based on gold the
bankers controlled. “Money” was simply a receipt for labor and ma-
terials, which the government could and should issue itself. If the
labor and materials were available and people wanted the work done,
they could all get together and trade, using paper receipts of their
own design. It was a manifestation of the theosophical tenet that you
could achieve your dreams simply by “realizing” them “ by making
them real. You could realize the abundance you already had, just by
bringing its potential into manifestation.
When Coxey™s Army failed to move Congress, other “industrial
armies” were inspired to take up the cause. There were over forty in
all. Some 1,200 protesters managed to overcome the resistance of the
railroad companies, federal marshals, the U.S. Army, and judicial in-
junctions to arrive in Washington in 1894. One group, called “Hogan™s
Army,” began its march in Montana -- too far to walk to the Capitol,
so the protesters commandeered a train. When the U.S. Marshall and

Web of Debt

his men attempted to stop them, a gun battle resulted in several inju-
ries and one death. The U.S. Army finally seized the train. “Hogan™s
Heroes” were arrested, and Hogan spent six months in jail.9
Over the next century, progressively larger street protests were
built on the precedent Coxey™s Army had established. In 1913, woman
suffragists sponsored a national march on Washington that had fed-
eral support. In 1932, approximately 20,000 starving unemployed
World War I veterans and their families marched for the “Bonus Bill”
drafted by Congressman Wright Patman. The bill sought to give vet-
erans the present value of their bonuses, which had been issued in
1924 but were not to be paid until 1945. When their demands were
turned down by President Hoover, the “Bonus Army” camped out in
shantytowns called “Hoovervilles” across the Potomac. The camps
did not disband until Hoover sent in troops, led by his brightest and
best “ Douglas MacArthur, Dwight Eisenhower, and George Patton.
The veterans were routed and their camps set ablaze, killing three
and injuring about a thousand.10 On April 25, 2004, in the largest-
ever protest march recorded up to that date, more than one million
people filled the Capitol petitioning for women™s rights. The day be-
fore that, thousands marched to protest World Bank/IMF policies.11

Popularizing the Money Question

When the Greenback Party failed to achieve monetary reform,
many of its members joined the Populist Party. The Populists felt that
they rather than the older political parties represented the true
American principles of the Founding Fathers, and one fundamental
principle they felt had been lost was that creating the national currency
was the sole prerogative of the government. The Populists also favored
retrieving for the Common Wealth certain public assets that had been
usurped by private corporate cartels, including the banks, railroads,
telephone, and telegraph; and the public lands that had been given
away to private railroad and other corporate monopolies.
The Populist movement of the 1890s represented the last serious
challenge to the bankers™ monopoly over the right to create the nation™s
money. In 1895, popular interest in the money question was aroused
by a book called Coin™s Financial School, which quickly sold a million
copies. Its author, Chicago journalist William Hope Harvey, expressed
the issues in a way that common people could understand. He
maintained that the attempt to restrict the coinage of silver was a
conspiracy designed to enrich the London-controlled Eastern financiers

Chapter 11 - No Place Like Home

at the expense of farmers and debtors. He called England “a power
that can dictate the money of the world, and thereby create world
misery.” The “Crime of ™73” “ the Act limiting the free coinage of
silver “ took away the silver money of the people and replaced it with
the gold of the British bankers. Harvey observed that the United States
was then paying England 200 million dollars in gold annually just in
interest on its bonds, and that the devaluation of silver as against gold
had caused Americans to lose the equivalent of 400 million dollars in
property to meet this interest burden.12
Coin™s Financial School set the stage for William Jennings Bryan™s
“Cross of Gold” speech, which met with a receptive audience; and
Harvey became an important economic adviser to Bryan in his bid for
the Presidency. In 1896, Populist supporters and Silverites dominated
the Democratic convention. All they needed, said one reporter, was
“a Moses.” Bryan appeared to fill the bill; but William McKinley, his
Republican opponent, had the support of big business, including a
$250,000 contribution from Rockefeller™s Standard Oil, then an
enormous sum. The election was close, but McKinley won; and he
won again in 1900.
Although McKinley had the support of big money, he was also a
protectionist who favored high tariffs to keep foreign marauders out.
He accepted the pro-British Teddy Roosevelt as his Vice President over
the vigorous objection of Marcus Hanna, the power behind McKinley™s
Presidency and the man identified by later commentators as the
“Wizard of the Gold Ounce (Oz).” Hanna told McKinley that his
chief duty in office was just to stay alive, to save the country from
“that madman” Roosevelt. But in 1901, McKinley failed in that
endeavor. He was the third President to be assassinated since the
Civil War. Although no conspiracy was proved, suspicious
commentators noted that the elimination of the protectionist McKinley
was highly convenient for pro-British interests. The door had been
opened to an Anglo-American alliance backed by powerful financiers
on both sides of the Atlantic, something that would not have happened
in the nineteenth century, when England was still regarded by loyal
Americans as the enemy.13
According to a historical treatise by Murray Rothbard, politics after
McKinley became a struggle between two competing banking giants,
the Morgans and the Rockefellers. The parties have sometimes changed
hands, but the puppeteers pulling the strings have always been one of
these two big-money players.14 No popular third party candidate has

Web of Debt

had a real chance of winning because the bankers, who have the
exclusive power to create the national money supply, hold all the trump
Teddy Roosevelt called himself a “trustbuster;” but while the anti-
trust laws were on the books, little harm came to the powerful corpo-
rate monopolies called “trusts” during his administration. The trusts
and cartels remained the puppeteers with real power, pulling the
strings of puppet politicians who were basically bribed to stand back
and do nothing, while the powerful conglomerates the antitrust laws
were designed to regulate manipulated the laws. Roosevelt complained
in 1906:
Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible
government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no
responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government,
to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and
corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.

Web of Debt

Chapter 12

“But I don™t understand,” said Dorothy, in bewilderment. “How
was it that you appeared to me as a great Head?”
“That was one of my tricks,” answered Oz. . . . He pointed to a
corner in which lay the great Head, made out of many thicknesses of
paper, and with a carefully painted face.
“This I hung from the ceiling by a wire,” said Oz. “I stood behind
the screen and pulled a thread, to make the eyes move and the mouth
“ The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,
“The Discovery of Oz the Terrible”

T he idea of an “invisible hand” controlling the market was
first advanced by Scottish economist Adam Smith in The
Wealth of Nations in 1776. But Smith™s invisible hand was a benign
one, a sort of mystical force that would make everything come out
right if the market were just left alone. The invisible hand alluded to
by later commentators was of a more insidious sort, a hand that wrote
the pages of history with its own secret agenda. President Woodrow
Wilson, who signed the Federal Reserve Act into law in 1913, said:
We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most
completely controlled governments in the civilized world -- no
longer a government of free opinion, no longer a government by
. . . a vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and
duress of a small group of dominant men.


. 18
( 85 .)