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larry_shoup-150x230LUMPENPROLETARIAT—One of the most pressing issues facing world peace and prosperity for humanity the world over is the persistent scourge of imperialism.  Just as capitalist modes of production manage to shape-shift over time in order to survive, zombie-like, repeated economic crashes and crises, the imperialist mode of geopolitics continues to shape-shift to perpetuate its aims, often white-supremacist aims, of geopolitical hegemony and conquest.

Imperialism may be viewed through an economist’s lens, revealing monetary and productive forces, which demonstrate the power to subjugate sovereign nations through sheer concentration of capital and, thus, power.  [1]  But imperialism may be viewed through a political scientist’s lens as well, revealing the political and governmental forces, which have historically subjugated popular desire for democracy by capturing the ship of state through political, intelligence, and military power.  A few groups, or think tanks, have been predominantly influential in these spheres, including the Council On Foreign Relations, the Bilderberg Group, the Trilateral Commission, and the Bohemian Club, which meets yearly at Bohemian Grove, a 2,700 acre campground sheltered within old-growth redwood trees in northern California.

Here is where the scholarship of one Dr. Laurence Schoup comes in.  Dr. Laurence Schoup decided to focus his Ph.D. dissertation on the power elite behind the USA’s foreign policy, i.e., behind the USA’s imperialism, namely the Council On Foreign Relations.  Adding to his canon of work, Dr. Schoup has now published a new book entitled, Wall Street’s Think Tank: The Council on Foreign Relations and the Empire of Neoliberal Geopolitics, 1976-2014.  In support of his new book, as well as the liberating and enlightening work of free speech radio KPFA, Dr. Schoup has given one of 2016’s most interesting lectures (we’ve encountered).  Listen to (or download) excerpts of that lecture here. [2]



[Transcription by Messina for Lumpenproletariat, Project Censored, and Flashpoints]

FLASHPOINTS—[22 FEB 2016]  “Today on FlashpointsWall Street’s Think Tank: The Council on Foreign Relations and the Empire of Neoliberal Geopolitics, 1976-2014.  That’s Henry Kissinger’s group.  That’s the guy Hillary Clinton loves.  I’m Dennis Bernstein, all this ahead on Flashpoints.  Stay tuned.

“And you’re listening to Flashpoints on Pacifica Radio.  And I am delighted to be able to present to you a brand new speech by Laurence Schoup.  Laurence Schoup has just authored Wall Street’s Think Tank.  This is an extraordinary book.  Let me tell you what some people have said about it.  Here’s what [Noam] Chomsky has to say about it:

“‘A revealing account of how a small group of planners drawn from sectors of concentrated private and state power, closely linked, along with experts, whose commitments are congenial to their ends have set the contours for much of recent history, not least the neoliberal assault, that has had a generally destructive impact on populations, while serving as an effective instrument of a class war.  A welcome and very valuable contribution.’

“And Michael Parenti says:

“‘Lucidly written and deeply informed, a treasury of insights, that seldom gets the attention it very much needs.

“Well, it’s gonna get a lot of attention now because we are delighted and proud to present to you a recent speech by Laurence Schoup, who was really speaking for KPFA/Pacifica Radio.  Listen to this.”  (c. 2:05)

[Audio from Laurence Schoup speech presented by KPFA and Project Censored on 20 JAN 2016 at The Hillside Club in Berkeley, California]

DR. LAURENCE SCHOUP:  “Thank you, Bob, and thank you KPFA, the progressive left voice in the [SF] Bay Area here for 67 years, for organising this event tonight.  Thank you all for coming.

“The Council On Foreign Relations is a behemoth. And it took, I took, 352 pages and 798 footnotes to document it.  And it could’ve been a lot bigger book.  I will endeavor, tonight, to cover it in one hour.  My talk will have five parts.

“The first part is some anecdotes, impressionistic statements by people, or information about the Council On Foreign Relations, its importance and some aspects of the Council On Foreign Relations.  So, first, just kind of anecdotal information.

“The second part will be a portrait on the Council On Foreign Relations, its organisational history, its network, its funding, its activities.  So, you know about the organisation itself.

Thirdly, I’ll go into the Council On Foreign Relations’ worldviews, which I call Neoliberal Geopolitics, by way of three examples:  the Iraq War, US-China Policy, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Fourth, I’ll go into the world, that’s been created, by this world-view and the Council On Foreign Relations’ power, how what kind of world we have is developed out of this.

Fifth, my opinion on the world we need to strive for and create.  (c. 3:29)

“So, first the anecdotes:  When I was a graduate student in 1972, I had decided to write a dissertation on the Council On Foreign Relations.  So, I was at Northwestern University.  And I was having dinner one night with a French student, who had just arrived from France.  He phoned in just a few days before.  And we had mutual friends.  And he came to dinner.

“And, so, we had casual conversation around the dinner table.  And this French student said, ‘Larry, what are you writing your dissertation on?‘  I said, ‘Well, I’m interested in the ruling class forces behind American foreign policy.’  And this French guy says, ‘Oh, you mean the Council On Foreign Relations?‘ [laughs]  And I said, ‘Yes, you’re right.  But I didn’t say anything about the Council On Foreign Relations.  No one around this table said anything about the Council On Foreign Relations.  How do you know?‘  He said, Oh, my uncle is the head of the French CIA.’ [laughs; audience laughter]  And he said, ‘I worked for my uncle.  And I was in the official French CIA archives.  And I was looking to—because I was coming to the United States to study at Northwestern.  I wanted to see what they had said about the power structure of the United States.  I looked there.  And it says the shadow government of the United States is the Council On Foreign Relations.‘  The official French government analysis, according to this guy.

“Now, how can I prove that?  No, I can’t prove it.  But it’s an interesting anecdote.  And, together with other anecdotes, it shows that the power structures of other countries know that the Council On Foreign Relations is important.  And that’s reflected, if you look at the Council On Foreign Relations annual report and you see who has come to visit the Council On Foreign Relations, you’ll right away see:  Wait, a minute.  They seem to know something, that maybe us, we, don’t know so well.  An example of that—the foreign governments being aware of the Council On Foreign Relations’ importance—when the Iranian president, [Hassan] Rouhani, was elected he came to the United States.  He spoke with Obama on the phone.  He met with the Council On Foreign Relations. [chuckles]  He went to speak before them; and he met with the president of the Council On Foreign Relations.  He didn’t meet with the president of the United States.  He met with the president of the Council On Foreign Relations.  It’s interesting, huh?

“Then, when Fidel—even revolutionaries are aware of this.  When Fidel Castro came to power in late 1959, and he came to speak to the UN, he was invited to speak to the Council On Foreign Relations, and, apparently, he knew it was important to go there.

“So, Fidel Castro went to speak before the Council On Foreign Relations.  And, after his speech, they began to ask him questions about: What was gonna be the result of my property ownership with your revolution?  I own a lot of sugar plantations in Cuba.  I own the nickel factory.  I own some oil facilities.  What happened?

Fidel said:  Well, if you took a poor man, which does he care about?  Legal technicalities or a plate of beans?

“And, then, they kept asking him the same kind of questions.  Finally, they said, one of the CFR people said:  Fidel, how much does Cuba want?  And Fidel took a deep breath and said:  We don’t want your money.  We want your respect.

“And, then, the same kind of questions continued.  And Fidel walked out of the Council On Foreign Relations.  He said:  I can see I’m not among friends.  And he walked out.

“Now, this story came from someone who was there, but interestingly enough didn’t wanna say that they were reporting on it because an aspect of the Council On Foreign Relations is secrecy.

“It can be overstated.  You can find out a lot.  And I have learned a lot about the Council On Foreign Relations.  But they have an annual report, for example.  And they have a website, that has a lot of information available.  If you’re interested, CFR.org is where you can find out a lot more information about the Council On Foreign Relations, current things.  (c. 6:53)

“So, anyway, these other countries, the leaders of these other countries, know that the Council On Foreign Relations is important.

“The Council On Foreign Relations likes to downplay its own importance.  And, here, I have a little anecdote from the co-author of my first book, Imperial Brain Trust, on the Council On Foreign Relations. [3]  It came out in 1977.  Bill Minter was able to interview the ex-president of the Council On Foreign Relations, Henry Wriston.  And he asked the ex-president of the Council On Foreign Relations:  Well, isn’t the Council On Foreign Relations a very powerful organization?  And this ex-president said:  Oh, no.  We’re not powerful.  We’re not powerful at all.  I’ll give you an example of how we have no power.  This is an example from the president of the Council On Foreign Relations of how they have no power.  Okay; let’s see what he said.

“He said:  Well, when Eisenhower was president of Columbia University in the late ’40s, he became active in the Council On Foreign Relations And he was at a—he came to a study group—and I’ll talk about the study groups at the Council in a minute—he came to the study group at the Council and he was very angry.  And he started cursing like only an army general can curse.  He was swearing a blue streakAnd Allen Dulles saw him in the corner swearing.  Allen Dulles was there at the meeting and went over and said, Ike, what’s the problem?  He said, well, Truman just appointed me to be the Supreme Commander in Europe.  But he put on limitations, that I don’t like.  I’m really angry about these limitations, no political contact, other limitations.  The President of the United States has appointed me.  I have to take the job.  I’m an ex-general.  But I don’t like the conditions.  And Dulles said, look, we have a nice group here at the Council, important people, no problem.  Sit down and write out what your conditions are.  We’ll go over it.  I’ll take the night train to Washington, D.C..  And we’ll see what can be done.

“So, Allen Dulles did that.  They wrote another—Eisenhower wrote out his conditions.  The group modified them.  It was typed up.  Allen Dulles took the night train; and had breakfast with W. Averell Harriman, a director of the Council On Foreign Relations, who was also Harry Truman’s Chief of Staff. [4]  Gee, what a coincidence.  [chuckles]  This is how the system works:  In and out.  You know?  W. Averell Harriman was a big businessman.  He went into the government.  Then went out of the government, and so on.  This time, he was in the government as Harry Truman’s Chief of Staff.  So, Dulles gave him the memo.  The memo was the first thing on President Truman’s desk in the morning.  And W. Averell Harriman says, you should sign this.  Truman says, you think so, W?  Okay.  He signs it.

“That’s an example of the presidents of the Council On Foreign Relations’ having no power.  The presidents of the Council On Foreign Relations saying they have no power.  [laughs] 

“So, my co-author, Bill Minter said:  Wait a minute.  That looks like a lot of power to me.  You get right to the president.  And he makes a decision in your favour.  Isn’t that a lot of power?  [Harriman replies:] No, no.  That’s not power.  It’s the people at the Council, that have a lot of power, not the Council.  The Council doesn’t have any power.  It’s the people at the Council.  That’s what this ex-president [of the Council On Foreign Relations] said.  Of course, the Council organises these people, brings them to the same table.  They work as a network.  And this is how it works.  So, that’s an example of how they have no power, according to the ex-president of the Council.  (c. 10:02)  [SNIP]

(c. 21:04) “Another aspect is they have meetings, the continuous Conference On International Affairs, they call it.  And I mentioned previously examples, where Fidel [Castro] came and so on.  They have [Hassan] Rouhani of Iran.  Whenever a big, foreign dignitary comes to the United States they almost invariably go speak before the Council On Foreign Relations.  So, they have many hundreds of meetings every year talking to important people from other countries.

“Then, they have a vast network.  I have a whole chapter on their network.  It’s incredible, their network.  Of course, it’s starts with the corporations, as I’ve already alluded to; they have corporate members.  But, beyond that, they have corporations, that have board of directors, that are also members of the Council On Foreign Relations.  Some corporations, of course, are closer to the Council.  The Wall Street ones, of course, are the closest.  And also some other ones, you know, Berkshire Hathaway, for example, Warren Buffet; his son is also a member of the Council On Foreign Relations, another director is a member of the Council On Foreign Relations.  Berkshire Hathaway has a big stake in a lot of corporations.  And a lot of them are big on the Council, like Coca-Cola.  Coca-Cola has a lot of interests abroad, so they’re interested in being in the Council.

“Then, I go into, in the book—oh, I should mention a couple of other things, I guess, before I do that:  The foundations are important in donating to the Council.  There is [sic] risk advisory groups of different kinds heavily interlocked in the Council, like [Henry] Kissinger or the Albright Stonebridge Group, other groups, that do risk assessments for corporations.  They get paid big money to assess risks.  They’re heavily interlocked with the Council On Foreign Relations.  Unions, some unions, are interlocked with the Council, including the AFL-CIO are interlocked with the council. [5]  The AFL-CIO head was a director of the Council.  This was true for a number of years.  And, of course, this is business unionism.  And I think that is a corruption.  Unions should be organisations by, and for, working people, fighting for working people, fighting for the entire working class, not cooperating as junior partners to imperialism, junior partners to the corporations.  So, that’s something—[scant applause].  Thank you.

“So, we need to fight business unionism.  I’ve been a union member, every chance I’ve got my whole life.  I’m a member of the United Auto Workers, 1981, retired, the writers union.  I’ve been a member of two other unions.  I’ve always fought for industrial unionism.  (c. 23:25)

“The universities, of course, I already mentioned.  There were a lot of interconnections with the universities.

“In the book, I cover the international side because it’s very interesting, the international side of the Council On Foreign Relations.  Now, you’ve heard, probably, the Bilderberg Group.  And that’syou knowright wingers are always talking about this as an international conspiracy of socialists or something.  It’s ridiculous.  It’s actually a group—and you can go on their website and you’ll find—because Bilderberg have a website now.  So, you can look at and see who the leaders are.  And you’ll find that they’re European nobles. [laughs]  That’s who the leaders of the Bilderb—along with the CFR.  92% of the U.S. members of the Bilderberger meet—people that meet at the Bilderberger, 92% are members of the Council On Foreign Relations.  So, it’s an alliance between the Council On Foreign Relations and the European Nobles.  And, unless you define socialism as, you know, roads, or schools, or, you know, water systems or something, if you define socialism as that, well, then, I guess the Bilderbergers and the Council, in general, wants the big state.  They want the big state for their, for corporate benefits, for corporate welfare, to protect themselves, to conquer other countries, so they can get markets there.  You know, that’s—they like the big state.  So, they’re in counter-distinction to the Koch Brothers approach or a more Libertarian part of the capitalist class, that doesn’t like the big state.  The Koch Brothers are not in the Council On Foreign Relations.  They don’t have very many connections.  There may be.  A few of their advisors might be; but it’s very small.

“So, the Bilderbergs is one group.  And it’s interesting that [David] Rockefeller was one of the main Bilderberg people that started meeting.  It started in 1954.  It’s named after the hotel where they had their first meeting.  And it’s a policy group, that meets and talks about policy.  But they don’t have ongoing study groups.  It’s not the same as the Council On Foreign Relations, of course.

“But, at one meeting in the early 1970s, Rockefeller, who was a director and was the chairman of the Council On Foreign Relations by then, and Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was a director of the Council, went to the Bilderberger.  And they said—you know.  They said:  You know, the Japanese are becoming important.  So, we should really bring them into the Bilderberg dialogue, don’t you think?  And these European nobles:  No.  We don’t want Japanese in our group, not at all.  We’re against it.  So, Rockefeller’s memoirs said:  We raised it.  We tried to persuade them. But we were politely, and firmly, told: No, we’re not gonna have Japanese in the Bilderberg Group, period.

“So, Brzezinski and Rockefeller went on to form another group, that would include the Japanese.  It’s called the Trilateral Commission.  So, the Trilateral refers to the Japanese, Western Europe, and North America.  So, that’s the Trilateral Group.  And it was more like the Council On Foreign Relations, in terms of planning policy, etcetera.  That’s what the Trilateral Commission does.  And, of course, they got some unwelcome publicity early on because they, uh—the Trilateral Commission had a report that said there was an excess of democracy in the west, in the United States and other countries.  It was too much democracy.  We oughta take care of that. [chuckles]  Well, neoliberalism has worked pretty hard to take care of the democracy in the United States and other places.  So, that’s what they’re doing.

“So, anyway, now you see Davos, of course.  Davos [i.e., the World Economic Forum] is now going on in Switzerland.  Of course, that’s a meeting of big businessmen.  You have to pay something like $500,000 dollars to your group—you know, maybe five people or something like that, that go there.  But, still, you gotta pay vast amounts of money to go to Davos.  I saw [current U.S. Vice President under Obama] Joe Biden is there; I guess he’s paying to go to Davos.  Or, maybe, they’re giving him a free pass.  But, anyway, that’s where the big businessmen network and plan policy and think about policy.  Well, there’s no list of all the people that have gone to Davos.  It’s way too big.  But if you look at the report that they did have one year, almost all of them were from the Council On Foreign Relations.  It’s amazing, the overlap, the Council Directors, Council Members, all kinds of ’em. (c. 27:41)

“Then, finally, there’s some other things, of course, in that chapter of the international.  But, moving on, the Council has an International Advisory Board of about 40 people.  And, if you look at this International Advisory Board—it started in 1995; it had a different name then—but, anyway, if you look at it over time—and I’ve been collecting Council On Foreign Relations’ annual reports since the early ’70s, so I can look at all these things and analyse ’em.  It’s very interesting that there’s a number of fascists, actual fascists, for example, that have been on this International Advisory Board.  Giovanni Agnelli, fought with the Italian Blue Division against the Russians on the Eastern Front in World War II. [6]  And he was a fascist.  And he killed, you know, Russians, who were fighting for Russian ind—you know, not being defeated by the Nazis.  He was fighting for the Nazis.  And he was on the International Advisory Board.  He was a very good friend of David Rockefeller.  And he was on the Chase Manhattan International Advisory Board, too.

“And there’s a lot of billionaires on this International Advisory Board in the Council.  One of them, just to cite an example—and I could go on and on about these billionaires.  One of them is pretty interesting because he has the biggest private home on Earth.  It cost a billion dollars to build his private home.  It’s in Mumbai.  It’s, uh, was it 40 stories high?  I forget all the details.  But it’s just an amazing place.  It’s got hanging gardens, you know, three different gyms.  It’s got three helicopter pads, you know, so they can fly in.  So, they have to have their own, uh, you know—what do you call those, to make sure—air traffic control.  They have their own air traffic control.  They have 600 servants.  He’s on the International [Advisory Board].  The guy who owns that is on the International Advisory Board of the Council.

“So, in terms of funding, I could go on on the Council’s funding.  But it’s a plutocracy.  I have on my website.  I also have a lot of information on my website, that I didn’t wanna put into the book because it seemed to be overkill.  So, if you go to my website, LaurenceSchoup.org you’ll see the listing of all the plutocratic donors. [7]  And it’s the typical, you know, the Vanderbilts, the Rockefellers, the Mellons, the Du Ponts, you know, I could go on and on and on.  It’s the old plutocracy that’s funded. (c. 30:12) [SNIP]  (c. 30:46) Okay.  So, there’s the plutocracy.

“Okay.  Let’s go on to Section II: The Council’s Worldview.  What’s the Council’s worldview?  Now, the Council’s worldview is neoliberal geopolitics.  And those are two distinct things.  One is an economic idea—neoliberalism.  The other is world politics—geopolitics.  So, the Council focuses on the richest and most powerful three sections of the world in their neoliberal geopolitical framework, or worldview:  North America, Western Europe, and East Asia, including China. (c. 31:23)  [SNIP] (c. 31:49)

“So, neoliberal geopolitics is dedicated to promoting the expansion of US economic power abroad and trying to create pro-capitalist utopias around the world where free market capitalist fundamentalism can dominate, resulting in high profits due to low labour costs and low costs to resources.  And the best way to explain it is to give a couple of examples.  And I’ll give three brief ones:  Iraq, China, and the TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. (c. 32:26)  [SNIP]

Learn more at FLASHPOINTS.

[This transcript will be expanded as time constraints allow.]


[1]  Of course, those of us trained in economics at a high quality heterodox economics department, such as the University of Missouri-Kansas City, understand the importance of taking an interdisciplinary approach to adequately address economics.  Other notable heterodox economics departments in the USA include:  the New School for Social Research (New York City), UC Riverside (Riverside, California), University of Massachusetts-Boston, University of Utah, Levy Economics Institute of Bard College, and the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies, among others.  Unfortunately, most economics departments throughout the USA, and much of the world, model their economics departments after neoclassical orthodoxy, as exemplified by the Chicago School of Economics, which seeks to constrain the discipline of economics within narrow mathematised boundaries, completely divorced from the real world and real human behaviour, so as to serve the interests of capital, those who horde capital, and the ruling classes.

[2]  This particular radio broadcast is entitled, “Laurence Schoup: Wall Street’s Think Tank” and broadcast by Flashpoints (KPFA, 94.1 FM, Berkeley, CA).  But, perhaps, this speech was originally broadcast by KPFA’s Project Censored radio show.  Excerpts of this lecture were also broadcast on:

Also see the docudrama The American Ruling Class (2005) for more information and somewhat of an insider’s view of the Council On Foreign Relations.

[3]  For a PDF file of Dr. Schoup’s book, co-authored with William Minter, Imperial Brain Trust, see herehttp://goodtimesweb.org/overseas-war/0595324266_ImperialBrain.pdf

[4]  W. Averell Harriman (1891-1986) was also a core member of the group of foreign policy elders known as “The Wise Men“.  Notably, after attending Groton School in Massachusetts he went on to Yale where he joined the American ruling class elite’s secretive Skull and Bones society.  Ater graduating in 1913, Harriman inherited the largest fortune in America at the time and became Yale’s youngest Crew coach.  Harriman took his fortune to expand into various business ventures, including dealing with Nazis.  Harriman’s banking business was the main Wall Street connection for German companies and the varied U.S. financial interests of Fritz Thyssen; who was a financial backer of the Nazi party until 1938. The Trading With the Enemy Act (enacted on October 6, 1917) classified any business transactions for profit with enemy nations as illegal, and any funds or assets involved were subject to seizure by the USA’s government.  The declaration of war on the U.S. by Hitler led to the U.S. government order on October 20, 1942 to seize German interests in the USA, which included Harriman’s operations in New York City.

[5]  Perhaps, deservedly, the AFL-CIO is also known as the AFL-CIA.

[6]  Perhaps, Dr. Schoup meant a descendant of Giovanni Agnelli, as Giovanni Agnelli died in 1945.  Yet, Dr. Schoup says that the International Advisory Board of the Council On Foreign Relations “started in 1995, although it had a different name then.”  So, perhaps the International Advisory Board was named differently prior to 1995 and after the founding of the Council On Foreign Relations circa 1918-1921.

[7]  Perhaps, Dr. Schoup meant LaurenceSchoup.com because LaurenceSchoup.org doesn’t seem to exist.


[25 FEB 2016]

[Last modified  13 APR 2016  13:58 PDT]