The US Occupation: Japan’s Post War Miracle

Princes of the Yen: Central Banks and the Transformation of the Economy

Directed by Michael Oswald (2014)

Film Review

Based on Richard Werner’s book by the same name, this film examines the economic forces responsible for the Japan’s post war economic miracle. The US occupation of Japan (1945-1952) was characterized by heavy censorship and US control of all political appointments, including central bank governors.

Mindful of the peasant uprising that led to revolution in China, US occupiers immediately implemented major land reform, breaking up large estates to hand the land over to their tenants. In 1951, under US oversight, Japan declared an amnesty for all war criminals. Thus while Nazi war criminals were being tried and hung at Nuremberg (or secretly smuggled into the US or Latin America), Japanese war criminals were forming (with major CIA support) the Liberal Democratic Party, which would rule Japan continuously until 1993.

Because they mainly held war bonds or loans to industries that had been destroyed, private Japanese banks had collapsed. Under US supervision, the Japanese central bank purchased these worthless assets in exchange for bank reserve (a process that would come to be known as quantitative easing).

They then set up a system known as “window guidance” to guarantee the rapid credit creation necessary for economic recovery. Under window guidance, the Bank of Japan issued quarterly directives to each bank on the amount of credit they needed to create for specific industries. The goal was to maintain a war economy with a focus on consumer goods instead of weapons. Growth skyrocketed, producing rapid income recovery with reasonable income equality for Japanese citizens.

By the 1970s, Japan was the world’s second largest economy and held major investments in the US and other western countries. In addition to owning 75% of US treasury bonds, in 1986 Japanese investors owned Columbia Pictures, Rockefeller Center and Pebble Beach Golf Course near Monterey, California.

All this changed in the 1990s, when the Bank of Japan colluded with the IMF, World Bank and Goldman Sachs for the right to be independent of the Japanese government like western central banks. As part of this scheme, which would hand Japan’s central bank over to  western speculators, the BOJ deliberately (according to Werner) created a massive asset bubble which collapsed in the mid-1990s. Between 1991 and 1996, 212,000 Japanese companies went bankrupt, stocks and land lost 80% of their value and over 5 million Japanese became unemployed.

The Japanese economy continues to be in recession to the present day.

Coups R Us – American Regime Changes and Their Aftermath

Coups R Us – American Regime Changes and Their Aftermath from Hawaii to Libya

RT (2018)

Film Review

Narrated by former New York Times foreign correspondent Steven Ginzer, this documentary covers three major US-orchestrated coups: the 1954 CIA coup in Guatemala, overthrowing democratically elected Guatamalan president Jacobo Arbenz; the 2011 US/NATO military intervention to overthrow Libyan president Muamar Gaddafi;  and the 1893 US invasion of the independent nation of Hawaii.

  • 1954 CIA coup in Guatemala – relying on troops from neighboring Honduras, the CIA overthrow the Arbenz government at the behest of United Fruit Company. They objected to  land reform initiative which sought to purchase vacant United Fruit Company land to transfer to landless peasants. The aftermath of the coup was 30 years of brutal dictatorship and the deaths of tens of thousands of indigenous peasants.
  • 2011 Libyan regime change – after touching briefly on Libya’s ongoing civil war and its current failed state status, this segment follows the lives of two volunteers who devote hundreds of hours a year defusing landmines and unexploded shells left behind by ISIS militants.
  • 1893 invasion of Hawaii – few Americans aware of the illegal US invasion and occupation of Hawaii, a highly advanced constitutional monarchy that installed electric lights and telephones before the US did. This segment also explores the growing indigenous movement seeking to end the US occupation of Hawaii.

The State Department/CIA Psy-Op Against North Korea

The Haircut – A North Korean Adventure

Hokusai Films (2017)

Film Review

The Haircut is a 20-minute classic Aussie satire exposing the blatant western propaganda aimed at demonizing North Korean leader Kim Jung Un. Prior to seeing this film, it never occurred to me that constant propaganda churned out about Kim Jung Un is virtually identical to the psy-ops painting Saddam Hussein, Manuel Noriega and Bashar al-Assad as insane monsters – and used to justify US invasion of their countries.

The video begins by reviewing jathe US-directed split of Korea in 1945 (similar to the US-British directed split of India-Pakistan and of Vietnam) to thwart the establishment of a unified nationalist socialist government unfriendly to western interests. Following the Korean War (1950-53), land reforms (ie returning land to landless peasants) continued under North Korean leader Kim Jung Il. Meanwhile South Korea was placed under the control of a US puppet dictator. South Korean troops remained under the control of the US military until 1994, a year after the South Korean people overthrew the last US-installed dictator (see The Long US War Against the Third World).

The filmmakers proceed to expose a number of specific lies the CIA, State Department and corporate media aggressively propagate to portray North Korea as a dangerous rogue state, starting with the myth that all North Korean men are required to wear their hair like Kim Jung Un. They trace this particular psy-op back to the CIA’s own Radio Free Asia – which credits the claim to “unnamed sources.”

They go on to examine the oft repeated slur about North Korean prison camps, pointing out that no country in the world comes close to the US record for imprisoning its population.

The film finishes with an actual visit to various North Korean tourist sites.

How to Have a Revolution

Wretched of the Earth

by Frantz Fanon (1961)

Free PDF:Wretched of the Earth

Book Review

Wretched of the Earth is a sociopolitical analysis of how revolution happens, based on the author’s personal experience in Algeria and his study of nationalist revolutions in sub-Saharan Africa, Vietnam, Latin America and Cuba.

Many Marxist scholars consider Fanon’s work to be the first major expansion of Marxist theory after Lenin. His primary contribution is to delineate the potential revolutionary forces of third world countries. His chief disagreement with Marx concerns the revolutionary potential of the lumpenproletariat, the urban beggars, petty criminals, prostitutes and gang members who lack access to formal work. According to Fanon, the lumpenproletariat make up the majority of the population in third world countries (and increasingly, in 2017, the industrialized world)  thanks to first world colonizers who have driven them off their land.

Marx believed the lumpenproletariat were incapable of achieving class consciousness and thus of no use in the revolutionary struggle. In contrast, Fanon feels they help to instigate revolution owing to their high proportion of young people and their belief they had nothing to lose.

Unlike Marx, Fanon believes third world revolutionary struggles must originate with rural peasants (like the Chiapas uprising in Mexico), that city dwellers are too “colonized,” ie too invested in existing political and economic structures to want to dismantle them.

Wretched of the Earth also describes the phenomenon of economic colonialism, as manifested in Latin America (and later South Africa). In these cases, a country achieves political independence but continues to be economically (and militarily) oppressed by first world multinational corporations.

Fanon makes a number of recommendations for preventing this, including

  1. immediate nationalization and decentralization (via the creation of wholesale and retail cooperatives) of the economy
  2. mass political education aimed at enabling the masses to govern themselves,
  3. rapid economic restructuring aimed at developing soil and other natural resources for national use (as opposed to first world benefit),
  4. land reform to stem the migration of peasants to the city,
  5. guarding against feudal traditions that view men as superior to women, and
  6. avoiding the trap of political parties.

Frantz Fanon was born in 1925 of mixed heritage in Martinique. He fought with the French resistance during World War II and received a scholarship to study medicine and psychiatry in France. In 1953, he was offered a hospital position in Algeria, where he joined the Algerian National Liberation Front. He died of leukemia in 1961, shortly after the publication of Wretched of the Earth.