A former communist party member on how Bitcoin may help avoid the violence that historically accompanies economically-induced social unrest.
This is an opinion editorial by Frank Kashner, founder of UnChainDemocracy.org.
In 1971, I joined a communist party while working in the factory of the highest-paid General Electric (GE) defense plant in the country. I was repulsed by pictures of our military dropping napalm on Vietnamese children, convinced that the justifications of our government were lies, and I was drawn to the idea that “the working class” would soon take over the world and create a utopia.
The group that I joined was split off from the American Communist Party. It was supposed to be “democratic and centralist.” I quit the group after two months when it tried to give me orders without understanding what was actually happening. I saw that it was all about Centralism without any democracy. But I stayed in the GE factory for 13 years, participating in movements that reformed both the worker’s union and GE.
But what about “revolution” and who are the “workers”? I did not have a violent bone in my body, and treated the terms “revolution” and “workers” like metaphors, not taken seriously by me or anyone else (including our probable FBI monitors). But the need for dramatic social and political change stayed with me, and my notion of the “workers” grew to include almost everyone who is not a billionaire or flunky.
Over the years, I have participated in personal, union, community, school, environmental and political reform efforts, always aware that, even though we often won victories, we were shoveling shit against the incoming tide of empire, greed, militarism, autocracy and disintegration.
In 2017, I met Bitcoin and was entranced by the idea of money that was independent of corporations and governments, that was limited to 21 million, created by solving math problems, guarded by vigilant nodes, decentralized and not rigged by and for the elite. Over this past year, I have learned from the brilliant Bitcoin community, including people like Jeff Booth and Jason Lowery. Bitcoin is a tool of international, non-violent economic revolution against corruption. Bitcoin strikes at the heart of corporate and governmental theft from our families, of our labor, our property and our intellect.
Wake Up To Bitcoin
This applies to every governmental fiat, debt-based system in the world. In his magnificent book, “Debt: The First 5,000 Years,” David Graeber shows us how national, debt-based systems always result in inflation, and then in war and revolution. Bitcoin does not replace the need for political organizing and resistance, but I am now convinced that political and economic reform cannot succeed peacefully without Bitcoin. For the first time in history, Bitcoin offers a non-violent path to stable and increasing value of our labor, in all of its forms, for we “workers of the world.” Progressives have been slow to do the work to understand economics and Bitcoin, and to join this movement. To them, I say, “wake up!”
Many of you reading this have tried to reach friends and relatives about Bitcoin, often without success. For some of them, I have a possibly more compelling message.
Graeber points out that our economy has depended upon military spending as great as all of the other nations of the world combined. This spending has in turn depended upon the dollar being the global reserve currency. Other nations are now moving away from the dollar. That movement, plus the billionaire wealth gap (grab), plus our current mountain of debt and the resulting inflation, is running out the clock of our economic system. This result follows:
Our crumbling infrastructure, insurance-dominated healthcare, insufficient housing, schools under attack, racism, misogyny, religious nationalism, an inability to respond to the destruction caused by global warming, and our dissolving social fabric are problems that cannot be solved under our current debt-based economic system. As our economy inevitably declines, every other just cause suffers. If you care about any of those things and the future of our children, then you need to learn about Bitcoin.
Every government in the world, capitalist and communist, is now deep in debt, the money stolen from current and future generations. They are all unsustainable, economically and environmentally. They are all Ponzi schemes. And like all Ponzi schemes, they depend upon our knowledge, belief and acceptance to keep going. Historically, systems that reached high levels of misery and inequality, ended in revolution, war or both.
Bitcoin Changes Things
For the first time in human history, we have a vehicle that goes to the heart of our financial and economic system. It is increasingly available for both savings and transactions. It steps around police and military batons, guns and tanks, and establishes unimpeachable value for our labor, for our remittances home, for our savings and our retirement. Lowery posits that Bitcoin can replace much of our over reliance on violent military (non)solutions.
The corruption of our political systems sits atop patronage and cultural hierarchies, some, centuries old, some modern. The hierarchies, dominating both U.S. political parties, are designed to shield and obscure those responsible (remember Jeffrey Epstein and his client book?) and limit participation in organizations for change, including Bitcoin. Our ability to have a say in how we are governed, at the federal, state or city levels, is decreasing as schools and towns face budget shortfalls, in step with the declining value of the money in our pocket.
Our democracy is under attack. At every level. This decline, as measured by groups that track freedom worldwide, corresponds to the U.S. dollar’s decline in purchasing power. The dollar (including the value of our labor) goes down, freedom goes down! Massive strikes, demonstrations and resistance to the disintegrating world order are occurring in other countries, but are poorly covered in our corporate media.
Teachers, medical and healthcare workers, farmers, machinists, retail workers, transportation workers, the underemployed, the unable to work, of all countries: it is time to unite. We have nothing to lose but the chains of billionaires, their flunkies, their rotten financial and political system and their often cruel or clueless managers. For the first time in history, we have a tool that values our labor and ideas, that steps around their corruption, that enables us to transfer value at the speed of light, to avoid their fees, to make use of stranded and wasted energy.
Bitcoin is a peaceful, worldwide economic revolution with profound social and political implications. No weapons other than your learning, imagination, courage and participation are required. And you will have to see through all of their propaganda, their fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) aimed to delay, devalue and defeat it.
This is a guest post by Frank Kashner. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.