It may sound like a joke as Watford is not a very glamorous place. But the meeting is taking place in a expensive countryside manor house/hotel, with all the luxury its rich and powerful members are accustomed to.
They do this every year, and every year the conspiracy theorists come out of the woodwork to denounce something that looks mysterious and secretive. There is no secret. This is the international (mostly Western) economic para-state. The rich bankers and industrialists, royalty, corporations and most powerful politicians of the world get together to decide how everybody else will be living their lives.
Like torture, which is always the worst kept secret, (because if nobody knew about torture it would only affect those who are being tortured but if everybody knows about it then it becomes an instrument of social control affecting everyone through fear) the Bilderberg Club announces publicly (and the more secretive they look the more public interest they excite) that they are going to meet, far from the eye of the Press, and then invite the politicians and all those that they wish to manipulate, coerce and bribe in order to exercise their power. They do not discriminate. Amongst those invited this year we can find both the Chancellor of the Exchequer (British Economy Minister) and his opposition counterpart. Their influence is constant, but on display only once a year. Just in case there was someone not aware yet.
We cannot give ourselves the luxury of fearing this network of moguls and power-mad because they are also human and they also experience fear. For instance they fear anybody capable of thinking independently, they fear Springs, they fear Occupy, Indignados and the dispossessed, they fear people who are not too attached to material things or who refuse to define themselves exclusively through money.
But fear is not good. They may fear the desire for revenge from the people they know they are harming and their biggest fear is one of the factors, not just pure greed, that makes them behave in such a dehumanised way, as if they really did not see or care about anybody else.
Although the desire for revenge is understandable for people who have been trampled by the ‘1%’ and even justified, it is the wrong strategy. The reasons are twofold:
1. A desire for revenge makes one’s own life more internally violent. We are defined by the “enemy” and have no internal freedom to develop a meaningful existence, whether socially, psychologically or spiritually. We simply cease to exist and become ‘the avenger’, a stranger who lives purely as a function of making someone pay for what they have done. But more often than not success in the quest is empty, because our loss is irrecoverable, and we have wasted in it so much of the time and energy we needed to become the person we wished to be.
2. The threat of Revenge leads to fear in ‘the other’ who becomes even less able to experience compassion and more inclined to entrench their position of power so that their wealth and security are not taken away. Revenge locks us in an eternal struggle, in a kind of dialectic materialistic nightmare in which we are all prisoners. Some years ago I heard in Latin America a little poem from the (violent) revolutionary left to the very wealthy: ‘when the Revolution dawns you will be the first one to be shot by firing squads’. I thought then that if I were rich I would invest the whole of my wealth in making bloody well sure that the revolution doesn’t dawn. Fear would divert any kind of compassionate desire to improve the lots of other people selfishly and exclusively towards my own safety. Here is where the Mandela-Tutu model of Truth and Reconciliation would be a good starting point to think about how to plan a change in the division between the haves and have-nots in order to emerge to a world of equal rights and opportunities for all. Whilst the rich hide their money in tax Havens, useless to a world in economic crisis and largely useless to themselves serving only as a kind of psychological comfort blanket, we are all stuck in this moribund dehumanised neoliberal capitalism. Economic violence at its worse.
This is the right time for inspirational utopias, new (some in fact very old, like Commoning) forms of organisation of production must go hand in hand with agreements to recover the coffers from the Treasure Islands (although we understand Governments want to do this to patch up the system rather than changing it) and a strong image of how such wealth invested in the future of the whole of humanity would help us take a huge leap in the struggle against the real enemies of the whole of humanity: sickness, loneliness, meaninglessness, old age and death.
This is the proposal for a much more positive outlook about living together in the new world, in that universal human nation where there is no longer a dotted line between 1% and 99% but an awareness that ‘progress for just a few ends up being progress for no one’ (Silo).
So little of the vast wealth created (mostly whilst creating also poverty) and stored is being invested into solving the most important issues of humanity and so much is wasted in the realm of the vacuous and the trivial, not to mention the real brain drain of dedicating humanity’s best minds to the design of killing machines, speculation in the stock market and developing the most effective advertising gimmicks to make us buy useless stuff, that only a massive campaign of awareness about the tremendous possibilities of humanity to leap over some of the most horrendous diseases and the most horrendous poverty will create such awareness. Human beings could then spend most of their unimaginably long lives in leisure, learning wonderful things, enriching themselves with other experiences and cultures, discovering and exploring the most diverse spiritual traditions as well as other worlds, if only we could eliminate the greed and fear that promote accumulation and concentration. It is an error of ignorance and poverty of imagination that the wealthy comfort themselves with having ‘the best health money can buy’, in fact a very primitive level of health compared to the one a truly developed humanity could make available to all the inhabitants of the planet. We might as well change the name from Bilderberg to the Suicide Club.
So many of those dedicated to accumulation of wealth reach a point where they feel either really ‘safe’ or really ‘sickened’ and then they begin to set up foundations and charities to help others, often others they themselves put in a situation of need due to their ruthless corporate practices. But whilst they were feeling insecure, high on success as the perfect compensation for their fear, they were blind to the suffering of others. Fear, I repeat, does not let us feel compassion. Hatred, revenge, getting even, retributive ‘justice’ and ‘us and them’ cannot create a new humanised economic system. The dispossessed must expressed their demands creatively, nonviolently and inclusively. Giving way to some cathartic desire for revenge would create, again, another layer of revenge-seeking social subgroup, ad infinitum. We want to create a new world, for everyone, because this one is no longer working. I have no doubt, in spite of the ‘secret’ surrounding the talks in Watford, that one of the questions these seemingly all powerful figures will be asking themselves is ‘how are we going to get out of this mess!‘
The answer is: ‘by realising that we are actually all in the same boat’.