As we saw in the 18th February blog of this series, a booklet published in 1988/9, tells the story of how local government of the people, financed by the people and for the people was wrecked by lies, treachery and self-interest of politicians under the control of global financial interests. It is a world-wide story that was repeated over and over again during the course of the 20th century. Ever since Rudolf Steiner spoke on The Karma of Untruthfulness during the First World War, corruption has disempowered ordinary people in their home territories. "It is a story of intrigue and double-dealing, ambition and power, sex and money, conspiracy and corruption, betrayal and blackmail!" The "Bradford Revolution", as told in The Pickles Papers is of utmost importance to the future of every locality across the world.
Up to the Local Government Reorganisation of 1974, the English system of local provision of health, education, welfare and culture was evolved by local people to meet the needs of local people in all walks of life. As such, it was second to none in the world. Through that system local people were able to work together on terms dictated by the needs of the people in the locality in which they worked. The Bradford Revolution took financial power clean out of the hands of the people who create wealth and welfare, and put it into the hands of the creators of war, poverty amidst plenty and ecologically disastrous infrastructures. That is not 'progress'. On the contrary, it spells disaster. So - where do we go from here?
In the last blog of this series (27th February) Terry Boardman was quoted as saying "We are finally beginning to realise ... that unless we change our way of life significantly, our so-called post-industrial civilisation may well not see the end of the 21st century; the human race will have committed suicide."
What is now vitally necessary is to re-establish local government of the people, by the people and for the people. Quite simply, we need to secure local authority and control over local economic resources. That means land, capital of all types, and, above all, our own labour. And that means thinking outside the box of mainstream, neoclassical economic orthodoxy. Thankfully, since that has been done before, there is no need to re-invent the wheel.
Set within the body of the Douglas/New Age literature is the Draft Mining Scheme. More accurately termed the Draft Finance Scheme, it was designed to be applied to farming, arts and crafts, industrial production, schools, colleges, hospitals, health clinics, land management, infrastructure provision and so on. Already, when the Scheme was first devised, and circulated through the educational arm of the trade union movement, the dangers of centralisation of financial power were being noted, observed and understood. Times were very different. Nevertheless, the importance of local control over banking and money supplies was well understood.
Details of the Draft Mining/Finance Scheme are given in What Everybody Really Wants to Know About Money and The Political Economy of Social Credit and Guild Socialism, await study by forward-thinkers of the 2020s. The proposals, which first appeared in Credit-Power and Democracy (Clifford Hugh Douglas,1920) were a century ahead of their time.
The correctly named ‘Draft’ Mining/Finance Scheme was a revolutionary proposal to bring industry under the economic control of workers’ banks, monitored by a central clearing house scheme. The abolition of the traditional antagonism between capitalist and worker combined with social control of prices was a novel concept. Douglas and Orage were aware that their work constituted an introduction to a new political economy. The development of a working blueprint would require the co-operation of leading thinkers, the trade unions and the wider community over an extended period. In 1922 Orage recognised the impossibility of further development in the short term. In 1923, as Douglas observed, the economic system was founded on outmoded financial mechanisms, which dictate economic growth based on the wasteful use of natural and material resources. Now:
"it is necessary to decide whether you wish the economic system to be made the vehicle for an unseen government, over which you have no control, which you did not elect, and which you cannot remove so long as you accept its premises; or whether, on the other hand, you are determined to free the forces of modern science, so that your needs for goods and services may be met with increasing facility and decreasing effort. This would permit humanity to expend its energy on altogether higher planes of effort than those involved in the mere provision of the means of subsistence." (See The Political Economy of Social Credit and Guild Socialism p77).
Douglas posed the rhetorical question: if this scheme appears complex and incomprehensible, is it any more so than the present financial system?