“Without big banks, socialism would be impossible.” – Vladimir Lenin
Socialism is not crafted solely on the backs of standing human or robotic armies, police, and bureaucracy.
The modern state must also possess an apparatus of big banks, as Lenin wrote at the onset of the Bolshevik Revolution, for it is banks which perform most accounting and financial recording. In socialism, banks must be expanded, made more comprehensive and, in our globalized age, reach worldwide.
And so naturally, the Obama administration plans to give all US spy agencies full access to a large database containing the financial data on US citizens and those who bank in the country, according to a Treasury Department document dated March 4th.
US financial institutions and any financial institution on Earth where an Amerikan does his or her banking must already file “suspicious activity” reports for certain customer transactions (you’re considered suspicious if you conduct “large money transfers”) to the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Makes sense in the context of Lenin who championed show trials of rich capitalists from the beginning of the Soviet experiment simply to make them confess to their greed and the millions it was costing Russia.
Financial institutions in the US already file more than 15 million “suspicious activity” reports every year, according to the Treasury Department. That is on top of each and every required report on all personal cash transactions in excess of $10,000.
Moreover, as Reuters points out, the FBI already enjoys full access to this database. The CIA and NSA must make case-by-case requests for information to FinCEN.
The Treasury program gives spy agencies more raw financial data than ever. Calling for an all-out data-sharing orgy, the Treasury planning document reads, “For these reports to be of value in detecting money laundering, they must be accessible to law enforcement, counter-terrorism agencies, financial regulators, and the intelligence community.” So, from local law enforcement to, possibly, the global intelligence community, your financial transactions will be monitored.
The USA Patriot Act and Bank Secrecy Act ensure that these programs are perfectly legal.
The move “raises concerns as to whether people could find their information in a file as a potential terrorist suspect without having the appropriate predicate for that and find themselves potentially falsely accused,” said Sharon Bradford Franklin, senior counsel for the Rule of Law Program at the Constitution Project, a non-profit watchdog.
So, the more than 25,000 “financial” firms, like banks, securities dealers, casinos, precious metals dealers, and money and wire transfer agencies regularly file “suspicious activity reports.” Many of these firms over-report. Those who run them are sufficiently brainwashed, anxious and fearful like their wage-slave employees have grown to become. So your local bank teller might be “dutifully” informing on you for national security purposes.
This is fasco-communism, comrade. The state doesn’t outright own everything. But it does control everything. And it’s watching.
In Lenin’s mind, “Capitalism had created an accounting apparatus in the shape of banks, syndicates, postal service, consumers’ societies and office employees unions.” He made sure to illustrate the importance of big banks to Socialism:
“The big banks are the state apparatus which we need to bring about socialism, and which we take-ready made from capitalism; our task here is merely to lop off what capitalistically mutilates this excellent apparatus, to make it even bigger, even more democratic, even more comprehensive…A single State Bank the biggest of the big, with branches in every rural district, in every factory, will constitute as much as nine-tenths of the socialist apparatus. This will be country-wide book-keeping, country-wide accounting of the production and distribution of goods, this will be, so to speak, something in the nature of the skeleton of socialist society.”
Now, the US isn’t heading for the same sort of communism seen in the SU (the US will have the indirect control of business seen in fascism), although the SU is a great guide for how such a society functions. With that said, we ought to look as well to characteristics of China’s commercial communism of the past twenty years or so. Under this system, a front of banks seemingly compete, but truly cooperate behind-the-scenes, as if they were Lenin’s “single State Bank” in the name of “worker control.” (The Russian word, kontrol, implies ‘checking’ and ‘regulation’ and not empowerment.) What do all these banks have in common, behind their exterior of competition? Well, for one, they all keep copious records of you. (That’s why here at TDV we urge you to get as much of your financial business offshore as possible.)