(This is the second of a series of posts about ending the right of private banks to issue money.)
The Secret of Oz (William Still 2009) primarily addresses the long battle to strip banks of their power to issue money. In the US, this struggle dates back to the Revolutionary War.
The title refers to socialist writer L. Frank Baum’s 1900 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. According to numerous scholars, the book is loaded with symbols related to monetary reform, the core demand of the Populist movement and the 1896 and 1900 presidential bids of Populist Democrat William Jennings Bryan.
The yellow brick road represented the gold standard, the Scarecrow represented farmers and the Tin Man represented industrial workers. The Wicked Witch of the West was Cleveland banker J.D. Rockefeller and the Wicked Witch of the East New York banker J.P. Morgan. The Cowardly Lion depicted William Jennings Bryan, who abandoned the call for monetary reform. The Emerald City represented (government issued) greenback money and Dorothy’s silver slippers (changed to ruby slippers in the movie) represented Bryan’s call to introduce silver coins to ease the money shortage during the 1890s depression.
Still traces the politics of monetary reform back to 30 AD, when a Nazarene carpenter engaged in violent direct action in a Jerusalem synagogue to evict the private bankers who sold silver coins which were used to pay a compulsory temple tax.
He also explores the use of state-controlled money in the American colonies and the early United States. He focuses particular attention on periods in which private banks deliberately shrank the money supply to trigger depressions (to increase profits or achieve specific political objectives), as well as efforts by Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson to end private corporate control of money.
Both Jackson and Lincoln oversaw periods in which federal and/or state government issued debt-free money.