Early American Resistance to Hamilton’s Capitalist Policies

From the Beginning:
Early American Resistance to the Capitalist Policies of Alexander Hamilton

A 5 week study and discussion with Jim Costanzo, founder & director of the Aaron Burr Society
Mondays, March 11—April 8
7:30 – 9:30 Pm @ The Brooklyn Commons

Was the U.S. Constitution a betrayal of the American Revolution? Did the founders intentionally frame the Constitution to establish a financial aristocracy based on patriarchy and white supremacy?

Following independence, there were five armed rebellions against the newly formed Republic in response to debt, financial speculation and foreclosures. This course will examine how the working classes, small farmers and veterans of the revolution organized to address grievances against the rise of American capitalism. Though different, the 21st Century’s Great Recession is a continuation of the ongoing struggles against capital formation, debt and democratic processes. The concentration of economic power was built into the Constitution and enhanced by Hamilton who imposed different forms of British capitalism upon the former colonies that had just rebelled against those policies. Appropriating the Collective Wealth of the Nation to establish an aristocracy is reflected in the phrase “too much democracy” which is often associated with the French Revolution but was popular since the end of the American Revolution. This aristocratic phrase is applicable today with radical return of gerrymandering and voter suppression.This five-week study and discussion will explore the political economy behind post-colonial American class struggles.

The main book for this class will be Founding Finance: How Debt, Speculation, Foreclosures, Protests and Crackdowns Made Us a Nation by William Hogeland. Other references will be from various sources that will include my original research from the Pittsburgh Gazette from 1789 to 1803. Another book will be referenced but not required is Fallen Founder: the Life of Aaron Burr by Nancy Isenberg.

The Aaron Burr Society: Since 2008 the Aaron Burr Society has been dedicated to exposing the myths of the Free Market and Free Trade. Wall Street and their Corporate Cronies use myths in order to subvert the Sovereignty of The People in an attempt to usurp the Collective Wealth of the Nation. In addition to financial derivatives and other fraudulent monetary policies, they divert your tax money for their profits while privatizing public programs, like education, designed to promote universal prosperity. Wall Street and their cronies make billions in bonuses and trillions in subsidies while we the people, our nation and the world goes bankrupt. The real reason for the escalation of personal and national debt are the crimes committed by Wall Street and conservative politicians of both parties.The Society maintains relationships with individuals and organizations from Occupy Wall Street. However, the crisis of capitalism has morphed and expanded by embracing 21st century forms of authoritarianism and corporate fascism.

Suggested donations are sliding scale. No one turned away for inability to pay

Marx, Capital, and the Madness of Economic Reason, Part 2

Capital Studies Group

We are extending our study of David Harvey’s recent Marx, Capital, and the Madness of Economic Reason. Those who convened starting on January 6 have decided to continue reading the book at a slower pace to allow for a full discussion of all that is contained in the chapters. We will finish reading this book and then begin reading Marx’s Volume 1 of Capital beginning Saturday, March 3.

We will begin chapter three on January 20.
$10 per session for January 20 and 27, no one turned away for paying less or the inability to pay. Registrations for Part 2 allow for attendance on January 20 and 27.

Day 2, Session 3: Public Banking

A Marxist Response to the Financial Crisis and the “Financialization” of Capitalism?
Presentation and discussion with Dan Karan

Financial crises and “financialization” are nothing new for capitalism. Yet, the vast majority of self-proclaimed “Marxists” have only two responses: Revolution or reregulation i.e., a new 21st “Glass Steagall” that once again separates commercial and investment banks. Reregulating the banks, however, is the very (Einsteinian) definition of insanity i.e., doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. The private banksters will always be at least two steps ahead of the regulators. Moreover, it doesn’t get to the fundamental question of who should control public monies and decide how they should be invested. There is a third alternative however: Public Banking. There is also an existing model: The Bank of North Dakota. Founded in 1919 after populist North Dakota farmers organized the Nonpartisan League and won both houses of the state legislature in the elections of 1918, The Bank of North Dakota is the only public state bank in the country. It collects state tax revenues and then invests them in public projects. There should be 50 state banks along with a public federal bank so that all public monies (taxes and public pension funds) are deposited in them and invested for public purposes. In New York, for example, the public pension funds of New York City municipal workers has over $160 billion in assets. Imagine what “we” could do with $160 billion invested in everything from affordable housing to rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, to making all of our buildings energy efficient to reduce our use of fossil fuels and creating a 21st century clean-energy economy to supporting worker-owned cooperative businesses to give workers ownership over the means of production etc.

This session will explore the concept of public banking as an organizing and programmatic strategy for fighting the power of the private banksters and for raising the fundamental question of who should control public monies and decide how they are invested.

Dan Karan has worked for NYC housing and community development organizations for 25 years and studied Marxism for nearly 40.

Beyond Capitalism: Art, Performance & Politics

A presentation by Jim Costanzo (a/k/a the Aaron Burr Society)

In 2008 artist and activist Jim Costanzo began appearing on Wall Street as the Aaron Burr Society, drawing upon a little-known figure from America’s past as a way of critiquing and offering alternatives to the current dysfunctional capitalist system. In this talk illustrated with slides and video, Costanzo will analyze some of the artistic and political interventions he has undertaken, highlighting the Free Money Movement, launched on April Fool’s Day 2009.

The ABS distributed 100 one-dollar bills on Wall Street stamped with “Free Money” on one side and “Slave of New York” on the other. The Federal Reserve Bank was authorized to bail out Wall Street Banks with tax dollars from the 99% that was given as Free Money after the 2008 crash. Government deregulation and the subsequent corporate fraud caused the crash and resulted in people losing their jobs and homes.

In 2013 the Society added another stamp: “Common Good/Commonwealth”. According to the ABS, there are now two choices: either we have Free Money for the Common Good of the 99% paid for by the nation’s Commonwealth, or we can continue to be Slaves of Wall Street with unending bailouts for the 1%. Today the Common Good would include environmental sustainability based on economic and social justice.

Jim Costanzo continues to work with Occupy Wall Street working groups Strike Debt and Making Worlds based on the Commons. He has participated on panels organized by the Union for Radical Political Economics and the Eastern Sociology Society, and was a presenter at the Public Banking Institute conference “Funding the New Economy.” He recently helped organize and participated in panels for Free University’s “Decolonize Climate Justice” initiative.

Suggested donation: $6 / $10 / $15
No one turned away for inability to pay