The Assassination of Julius Caesar
Michael Parenti (2012)
In this presentation, Michael Parenti discusses the fraudulent history we are taught about the late Roman Republic. In particular, he focuses on the popular resistance movement that led to the rise of the Populares in the Roman senate in the second century BC. The revolt of the Roman proletariat was largely a reaction to the privatization of Rome’s collective agricultural lands as latifundia (plantations owned by Roman aristocrats). Historically there was no private land ownership in Rome until thugs hired by aristocrats drove the peasants off their land around 200 BC.
Parenti starts by demolishing the myth promulgated by mainstream historians that Rome was a republic. The Roman senate was a self-appointed oligarchy. For the most part Roman senators paid no taxes though. Instead they loaned money at interest to the Roman government (sound familiar?). The lower classes, in contrast, were heavily taxed.
The first great Populares to serve as consul was Tiberius Gracchus in 133 BC. He and his brother Gaius, who succeeded him, fought for land reform to break up the latifundia and redistribute them to the landless. Despite their aristocratic background, all the Populares consuls challenged a Roman economic system that was rigged in favor of the elites All were assassinated by aristocratic death squads.
Julius Caesar would be the last Populares consul, and he, too, would be assassinated in 44 BC. Among the reforms he enacted were
- Lowering interest and fines on debts
- Building exceptional public libraries to be used by all Roman citizens
- Guaranteeing freedom of religion to Roman Jews
- Ending the practice of forcing people with unpaid debts into slavery
- Introducing a democratic constitution
- Creating state jobs in Rome and the colonies for the unemployed
- Ending Cicero’s* witch hunts and extrajudicial executions
The aristocrats in the senate, who detested Caesar because he threatened their wealth and privilege, responded by labeling him a brutal tyrant and assassinating him. Ironically the emperors who succeeded him were far more tyrannical. Yet the senate aristocrats supported them as they protected their wealth and privilege.
What strikes me most about this presentation are the clear parallels with the current period, with the liberal elite and intelligence establishment portraying Trump as an unspeakable fascist tyrant based on little evidence other than his rhetoric. I’m aware that much of the liberal establishment is justifiably frightened of the ultraconservative bent of Trump’s appointees. However most of the strident anti-Trump rhetoric seems over the top to me.
For me the two main ways the parallels break down are 1) the absence of a genuine reform movement from below similar to the Roman resistance movement that led to the formation of the Populares 2) the absence in Trump of the towering intelligence, charisma and military and political ingenuity that Caesar displayed. Trump’s lack of political experience raises the vital question whether he or his conservative cabinet will be in control. Despite his promise of numerous populist reforms, I’m extremely skeptical whether the prominent conservatives in his cabinet support them.
Reblogged this on rudolfblog and commented:
Trading Drumpf for Ceasar is like smuggling dung for chocolate.
I find the novel of Parenti completely distortive of History. More it is Anti – Historic tout court.
Cesar inaugurated the habit of sharing the land, giving it to his soldiers,who had been fighting alongside with him in his campaigns,
He was assassinated by enemies who had granted her clemency from friends to whom he had granted honors and glory, by those who had appointed heirs in his will.
The people of Rome wept for him.
(Mommsen, History of Ancient Rome – Book V – Chap. XI)
This is true – Caesar, like the Gracchi brothers, was greatly loved by the people of Rome. They were all committed to improving the lot of the common people.
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But Trump is promising things that he just cannot make happen and his supporters are in for a yuuuge disappointment since the millions of jobs that Trump has promised them are not going to materialize. And since that is one of his campaign promises and is what motivated millions to vote for him, if something did happen to him, there’ll be no mourning; not on a massive scale, I don’t think.
In fact, I do believe that this immigration thing is just the thing to distract his supporters from his promises of jobs, jobs and jobs; good paying jobs at that.
I think you’re absolutely right Shelby – there’s no way he can make good on the jobs promise without ending all foreign wars eliminating the right of private banks to create money (which will immediately eliminate the debt). And there’s no way the people who control the deep state are going to let that happen.
You make a good point about the immigration issue being a distraction from his jobs promise – I hadn’t thought of that.
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THE WHOLE WORLD IS NOW A PART OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE AND THE RISE AND FALL OF BABYLON. AT LEAST THESE “LEADERS” LIVED A LIFE AND DID NOT DIE HELPLESS AND HOMELESS ON THE STREETS. TRUMP AS A BILLIONAIRE AND KNOWING THE GLOBAL ELITE THAT HE IS A PART OF, HAD HIS EYES WIDE OPEN GOING INTO THE PRESIDENCY. JUST LIKE MANY OF US THAT ARE GOING TO DIE FOR CHRIST, SO THE SATANIST WILL DIE FOR THEIRS. ONE IS OF RIGHT AND THE OTHER IS OF WRONG.
Futuret, sometimes I wonder how much Trump understands about foreign policy and economics. – he seems to defer to his cabinet a lot in those areas.
THE NEW WORLD ORDER SELECTED HIM TO HAND THE BANKRUPTCY AND THE FUNERAL OF THE USA. HE IS HERE TO ESTABLISH CHAOS, MANY OF HIS CABINET MEMBER ALIGN THEMSELVES WITH THE NEW WORLD ORDER. MEANWHILE HIS INTERNATIONAL EMPIRE IN BOOMING WITH BUSINESS AND SECRET ALLIANCES WITH WORLD LEADERS. YOU CAN NOT POSSIBLY BE A NATIONALIST, AND HAVE THE EMPIRE THAT HE DOES, YOU HAVE TO BE A GLOBALIST. IT WOULD BE DIFFERENT, IF EVERY BUSINESS HE HAD, WAS STRICTLY SITUATED IN THE USA. HOW CAN YOU HAVE COMMERCIAL BUSINESS PROPERTY ELSEWHERE, AND CLAIM YOU ARE PUTTING AMERICA FIRST, THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE. DOES ANYONE THINK, HE IS GOING TO RISK HIS EMPIRE THAT HE STOLE AND WORKED HARD FOR, JUST FOR US UNITED STATES CITIZENS, AND JUST GIVE IT UP??? THIS IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN, IF ANYTHING HE MAY RESIGN AND GIVE THE PRESIDENCY TO PENCE, IF HE CAN NOT ADVANCE HIS EMPIRE THROUGH THE WHITE HOUSE. THIS IS NOT OUT OF THE REALM OF AN EVENT. PENCE I WOULD SAY IS SLIGHTLY HUMBLE AND COMPARATIVELY HIS RICHES ARE MORE “MODEST”. PENCE MAY BE CLOSER TO THE VANISHING MIDDLE CLASS AND POOR THAN TRUMP, BUT THEN AGAIN THERE IS NO GUARANTEE IN GOVERNMENT. THE LEFT HAS BEEN DUPED BY OBAMA, AND NOW THE RIGHT HAS A TURN OF BEING DUPED BY TRUMP, WE ARE ALL SURE GETTING OUR SHARE.
That whole adulation of the pagan Roman Empire was perpetrated by the industrialising elite in Western Europe. What kind of democracy did the Romans (or ancient Athenians etc) have? What %ge of the population had a say in anything? Sons of the ruling classes had a blind love for all things “Greek” and Roman beaten into their backsides.
Despite their “Christianity”, they refused to accept that the Roman Empire continued in the east for 1000 years after the fall of Rome to the “barbarians”. Then, when the Ottomans finally finished it off, the West refused to get involved. Then, they proceeded to demonise the Ottomans as evil barbarians.
“The aristocrats in the senate, who detested Caesar because he threatened their wealth and privilege, responded by labeling him a brutal tyrant and assassinating him.” As their modern-day counterparts have been doing in Turkey for 20 years. If he hadn’t kept two steps ahead of them, RT Erdoğan would have been dead meat long before now.
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Good point, Alan. There seems to be a big effort to demonize Erdogan, just the way they demonized Noiega, Qaddafi and Sadam Hussein.
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