American Feudalism - 4
|Serfs break dancing out on Highway 61|
We also looked at the morphing dynamic within the feudalism of Europe that developed after Rome fell.
There, a morphed form of feudalism emerged which fused the older secular feudalism with the Church to form the new Holy Roman Empire version of feudalism which eventually made a vassal out of that church (American Feudalism - 2).
Later in this post we will see some detail about how feudalism eventually made a vassal out of the Church, which added the notion of jihad or holy war to the feudal mix (see Crusades).
Then in the most recent post, we looked at how those dynamics are alive in the upper classes today, operating "successfully" with impunity in modern day America (American Feudalism - 3).
Now, since one more main pillar of feudalism remains to be discussed, "serfdom," let's take a look at that pillar of feudalism:
Serfdom is the status of peasants under feudalism, specifically relating to manorialism. It was a condition of bondage or modified slavery which developed primarily during the High Middle Ages in Europe and lasted in some countries until the mid-19th century.(Wikipedia, "Serfdom", emphasis added). The somewhat voluntary enslavement of the peasant class into the service of the lords and vassals -- the upper classes -- was serfdom.
Serfs who occupied a plot of land were required to work for the Lord of the Manor who owned that land, and in return were entitled to protection, justice and the right to exploit certain fields within the manor to maintain their own subsistence.
MOMCOM (Maggie) & Hoi Polloi
A freeman became a serf usually through force or necessity. Sometimes freeholders or allodial owners were intimidated into dependency by the greater physical and legal force of a local magnate. Often a few years of crop failure, a war, or brigandage might leave a person unable to make his own way. In such a case a bargain was struck with a lord of a manor. In exchange for protection, service was required, in cash, produce or labour, or a combination of all. These bargains were formalized in a ceremony known as "bondage" in which a serf placed his head in the lord's hands, akin to the ceremony of homage where a vassal placed his hands between those of his overlord.
To become a serf was a commitment that encompassed all aspects of the serf’s life.
Moreover, the condition of serfdom was inherited at birth. By taking on the duties of serfdom, serfs bound not only themselves but all of their future progeny.
This lowest class was another aspect of the wars that created all classes in the dynamic we call feudalism:
"Warfare was endemic in the feudal period, but feudalism did not cause warfare; warfare caused feudalism." - American FeudalismWe described a tiny bit of the details of modern U.S. serfdom in the first post of this series.
"And as war begat the King and the military noble, so it also begat the slave." -American Feudalism - 2
In other Dredd Blog series we have made reference to how modern serfs are controlled by information the lords and vassals gather by keeping a spy's eye on the peasants:
* Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.(The Homeland: Big Brother Plutonomy). The knowledge gathered and studied by that vast military NSA spy realm, knowledge about our private lives, allows the lords to use "persuasion" to keep all the underlings properly controlled (The Queens of Stalingrad - 3, The Queens of Stalingrad - 2, The Queens of Stalingrad).
* An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.
* In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings - about 17 million square feet of space.
* Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks.
* Analysts who make sense of documents and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year - a volume so large that many are routinely ignored.
To do so they are granted a very large budget, a secret budget up until now, which we serfs pay for with our taxes:
The $52.6 billion “black budget” for fiscal 2013, obtained by The Washington Post from former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, maps a bureaucratic and operational landscape that has never been subject to public scrutiny. Although the government has annually released its overall level of intelligence spending since 2007, it has not divulged how it uses the money or how it performs against the goals set by the president and Congress.(Black Ops Spy Budget). Serfs can keep some of their money, but they must work the vassal or lord's "lands" [the corporations of the lords] so the ruling class lords, the 1%, can also perform and strengthen their machinations of war and thereby increase the power of their lordship (A Closer Look At MOMCOM's DNA - 4) while weakening the people (The Greatest Source Of Power Toxins?).
The 178-page budget summary for the National Intelligence Program details the successes, failures and objectives of the 16 spy agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community, which has 107,035 employees.
The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.