Who controls the world: the Illuminati or the Market? by Adam Buick

Dandelion Salad

by Adam Buick
Socialist Standard
September 2007

Capitalism is a system where the means of production are owned by a minority class and are used to turn out goods for sale with a view to profit. As a result market forces come into operation. These ultimately determine what is produced, how it is produced and where it is produced. As they used to say of God: Man proposes, God disposes. Under capitalism, Man proposes, the Market disposes.

Faced with this situation, the socialist draws the conclusion that capitalism can only work in the way it does work, that is, as a system which puts profits before the needs of the working class, and that the most constructive thing to do is therefore to work to end it and replace it with a system of common ownership, democratic control and production for use.

But what about the non-socialist? At one time, many workers in Europe used to believe that it was possible to reform capitalism and make it work in the interest of the majority. That was the time of mass Labour and, in other countries, Communist parties. But as these failed to deliver – as socialists had always predicted they would – workers began to give up any hope of changing things collectively and on a national scale. Or, put another way, they gave up any belief in the efficacy of political action to tame market forces. This hasn’t just affected the workers who merely voted for mass Labour and Communist parties but also those who were activists in them.

This is the sort of atmosphere – a feeling of helplessness in the face of uncontrollable forces – in which conspiracy theories can flourish. Not just conspiracy theories, but other attempts to give meaning to a situation where people feel they have no control over what happens to them such as religion, gambling and astrology.

These amount to attempts to make some sort of sense of a situation where people know they have no control over what happens to them and want to understand what’s happening to them and why. The socialist understands that we are in the grip of uncontrollable impersonal economic forces, the Market, and knows that this grip can be broken only by establishing socialism and production for use not sale. Some non-socialists seek an explanation in the mysterious hand of God, the Stars, Fate or Luck. Other non-socialists can’t accept the socialist view that our lives are controlled by the impersonal forces of the Market. They find it easier to think that these forces are personal; in other words, they personalise the Market and you have some shadowy group – financiers, Jews, the Illuminati – controlling the world and manipulating events.

This view and the socialist view are rival explanations of the same experienced happenings – economic slumps, financial crises, political revolutions, wars. In one sense perhaps the conspiracy theory is the easier to grasp: that some group of people are deliberately causing these events rather than their being the result of impersonal forces acting as if they were forces of nature. It is what in religion is called “anthropomorphism” – the attribution of human form to a natural force or thing – as, for instance, in the Ancient Greek, Roman and Norse gods, which everywhere preceded the more abstract concept of a single god. In other words, conspiracy theories are a more primitive explanation of current events than the socialist theory of impersonal economic and historical forces. Or, as the pre-WWl German Social Democratic leader, August Bebel, put it less generously, anti-semitism is the “socialism of the fool”. It would have been better if he had said it was “the anti-capitalism of the fool” but his meaning is clear: anti-semitism attributes the problems of the worker – or farmer or small businessman – not to the capitalist system but to the machinations of a particular group of people, in this case the Jews.
On further reflection, however, attributing economic and historical events to a conspiracy doesn’t seem so simple or so reasonable. The conspiracy theory needs to explain how the conspiratorial group bring about these events and how they can keep their existence secret. To control the whole world – plot economic crises, wars and revolutions, let alone spreading AIDS and causing global warming – would require hundreds of thousands of operatives and some of these must be expected to spill the beans at some point. The fact that none ever have – and that therefore there is no verifiable or even unverifiable evidence that the conspiracy exists – is a powerful refutation of it.

The Illuminati

Most people have heard the theory that it is the Jews who control the world and manipulate events. Since the consequences of Nazism, to embrace this view is now bad form, though a glimpse at the internet will show it still exists. Nowadays, it is the ‘Illuminati’ who are often said to control things.

The Illuminati were a group that really did exist mainly in the German-speaking world for a short period in the late 18th century, but there is no evidence whatsoever that they continued to exist after that or that they still exist today. But who were they and why did some people distrust them so much?

One of the features of the 18th century was what in English is called the “Enlightenment”. It is mainly associated with French thinkers such as Voltaire, Diderot and Rousseau who used “reason” to try to dispel the superstitions of the Dark Ages as propagated in particular by the Catholic Church. The word “Illuminati” is the Latin word for the “Enlightened” and those who formed the secret society (masonic-type lodge) of this name in Bavaria in 1776 aimed to spread and implement the ideas of the Enlightenment in Germany and Austria.

The founder and chief of the Illuminati was Johann Adam Weishaupt, a professor of canon law at the University of Ingolstadt, a town to the north of Munich. No biography exists of him, but we do know that he was born in 1748 and that his father was a professor at the same university. What we know of the ideas and ceremonies of his organisation comes from the writings and correspondence of members who fell out with him and from his own writings justifying his actions after the group was banned by the King of Bavaria in 1786. These formed the basis of two books which were published in 1797, one in English, the other in French, and which argued that the French Revolution had been engineered by the Illuminati as part of their plan to overthrow all religion and all governments and establish a universal republic, or cosmopolis.

What they were accused of is well summed up in the full title of one of these books, by John Robison:

“Proofs of a Conspiracy against all the Religions and Governments of Europe, carried on in the Secret Meetings of Free Masons, Illuminati, and Reading Societies, collected from Good Authorities, by John Robison, A. M., Professor of Natural Philosophy, and Secretary to the Royal Society of Edinburgh”.

This book and the other, by Abbé Barruel, which in English was called Memories illustrating the History of the Jacobins, are both on the internet in full but there’s a need to distinguish between what the Illuminati said they stood for and what they were accused of standing for.

What they said they stood for was the happiness of the whole human race, to be achieved by “enlightening” them by freeing them from “superstition” (i.e. supernatural religion and loyalty to dynastic rulers). This done, a world society of liberty and equality would come into being in which all men would be brothers and citizens of the world.

As to their methods, the form of organisation chosen was the hierarchical secret society and the tactic was to infiltrate and seek recruits from the freemasons. There were the usual oaths, ceremonies and degrees of membership that exist in freemasonry generally. Weishaupt called himself – and this must mean something – “Spartacus” after the leader of a slave revolt in Ancient Rome.

The aim seems to have been what they said it was, i.e. to dissipate “superstition”, by winning over people of influence, rather than by them seizing power and trying to impose this on people.
However, the secret and hierarchical nature of their organisation did lay them open to the charge and that they wanted to become new rulers through conspiratorial methods.

There is of course nothing wrong with the stated aim of achieving a world society – a cosmopolis – in which people would be politically free and morally equal (i.e. of equal worth). Nor with terms such as “Brotherhood of Man” and “Citizen of the World”. Socialists are in some ways the direct descendants of such ideas.

Barruel devoted Volume Three of his 5 volumes to the Illuminati and says that in it he is exposing “the conspiracy of the sophists of Impiety and Anarchy against all religion and all government without exception not even republics, and against all civil society and all property whatsoever”. Later, he summarised the views of the Illuminati as follows:

“Equality and Liberty are the essential rights which man, in his original and primitive perfection, received from nature; the first attack on this original Equality was brought about by property, and the first attack on Liberty was brought about by political societies and governments; the only supports of property and government are the religious and civil laws; so to re-establish man in in his original rights of equality and liberty, one must start by destroying all religion, all civil society, and end by abolishing all property”.

The Illuminati probably didn’t go this in reality. Barruel was trying to frighten his readers into opposing the French Revolution which he regarded as an antichristian plot.

Robison’s aim seems to have been to cleanse freemasonry from the taint of “illuminism” (though he was also a loyal supporter of the British monarchy and State against revolutionary France). He records what some former members told the King of Bavaria the Illuminati stood for:

“The Order was said to abjure Christianity, and to refuse admission into the higher degrees to all who adhered to any of the three confessions. Sensual pleasures were restored to the rank they held in the Epicurean philosophy. Self-murder was justified on Stoical principles. In the Lodges death was declared an eternal sleep; patriotism and loyalty were called narrow-minded prejudices, and incompatible with universal benevolence; continual declamations were made on liberty and equality as the unalienable rights of man. The baneful influence of accumulated property was declared an insurmountable obstacle to the happiness of any nation whose chief laws were framed for its protection and increase”.

Here again, the suspicion must be that this is something attributed to them in order to prejudice people against them. Robison and Barruel also questioned the motives of Weishaupt and the others, saying that the real aim was not the happiness of the human race but their own rule over them.

That the French Revolution was the result of a conspiracy organised by the Illuminati was the first conspiracy theory, and it should be noted whose interests it served. As we know, the French Revolution was an anti-feudal, bourgeois revolution and, as such and at the time, a progressive historical development. Those who sought to discredit it were supporters of feudal privilege and dynastic rule. In short, reactionaries trying to turn back the clock of history.

Of course the French Revolution was not a conspiracy, but the outcome of a class struggle, arising out of a clash of economic interests between the rising bourgeois of emergent capitalists and the privileged feudal aristocrats. The ideological reflection of this was the battle between the ideas of the Enlightenment and those of the Catholic Church.

To single out the Illuminati as Utopian plotters aiming to rule the world is to fight yesterday’s battles on behalf of the aristocracy and the Catholic Church against those of the bourgeoisie and the philosophers of the Enlightenment. It is a reactionary position.

Modern-day conspiracy theorists have invented a link between the Illuminati and the Jews. Thus, one conspiracy website has said that the Illuminati were set up and financed by “the House of Rothschild”. Another says that Weishaupt’s father was a rabbi. Another that he was a converted Jew. Even the Spanish-language Wikipedia article on him says his ancestors were of Jewish origin. There is not a shred of evidence for any of this.

Conspiracy theorists can’t offer an adequate explanation of what’s going on it the world. If we are going to change the world successfully we are going to need to understand it properly. And the only way we can do this is on the basis of verified evidence and logical thinking. This is what socialists do (or at least try to do). Using this method, we can see no evidence of world events being organised by a conspiracy. In fact, we can see that the world is not organised at all. We can see everywhere the anarchy of capitalism and its effects.

Competition is built-in to capitalism. This brings into being the World Market which ultimately determines what happens. But it’s an impersonal mechanism not a conspiracy. And it is the cause of wars, revolutions and other conflicts in that these are by-products of capitalist competition, not the machinations of some occult group. That’s the socialist analysis.

So the enemy is not the Illuminati (or the Jews, the Jesuits or Aliens from Outer Space). It’s not even the individual members of the capitalist class. It’s the capitalist system. What needs to be done, to put things right, is to move on to another system, one based on the common ownership of the world’s resources with production to meet people’s needs, not for profit. On that basis, all the things that the conspiracy theorists attribute to their chosen group of conspirators will no longer exist.


Ralph Nader: Who Runs The World? (1998)

18 thoughts on “Who controls the world: the Illuminati or the Market? by Adam Buick

  1. Do you really believe that there are no personal forces controlling the market.I’m mean even if there´s no relation to Illuminati or New world order certainly there are personal interests and efforts behind it.

    I find hard to believe most of the things in conspiracy theories, but the 10% the may be believeble are enough to sacares me.

    Have you ever heard of the Bohemian Grove, a club that many powerfull people attend?And the secrecy of the Bildenberg group also disturbs me.

    Also there is at least one FACT in commom in all the conspiracy theories about the illuminati:

    The symbolism on TV and movies, although there’s no way to prove who request that all those symbols are put in those, it is certainly wealthy and powerfull people with an objective behind it that can’t be good or it wouldn’t be in so many videos, and always with zero acknowlodge or explanation from the people who make it.

    I would like to know what’s your opinion on this, even if the post is old.Sorry for my english, is not my first language.

  2. I know there are many conspiracy theories out there, but let’s not forget that those people that own the big companies, banks and land are from the same families that owned them before.

  3. Pingback: What is Socialism? (archive of posts) « Dandelion Salad

  4. What happen to freedom of speech? Evidently you do not believe the bible & you don’t want to hurt feelings huh?

    • It has more to do with legal issues, T. R. As the editor of this blog I have to moderate the comments. Wish I didn’t have to, it takes up a lot of my time.

      What does believing in the Bible have to do with your comment about killing people? Not following you there at all.

      Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. Please keep the conversation civil.


      There is no “freedom of speech” on privately run blogs.

  5. Continuing Marx

    “How does it happen that trade, which after all is nothing more than the exchange of products of various individuals and countries, rules the whole world through the relation of supply and demand – a relation which, as an English economist says, hovers over the Earth like the fate of the ancients, and with invisible hand allots fortune and misfortune to men, sets up empires and overthrows empires, causes nations to rise and to disappear – while with the abolition of the basis of private property, with the communistic regulation of production (and, implicit in this, the destruction of the alien relation between men and what they themselves produce), the power of the relation of supply and demand is dissolved into nothing, and men get exchange, production, the mode of their mutual relation, under their own control again?”

    Marx, German Ideology

  6. “History as a Continuous Process

    In history up to the present it is certainly an empirical fact that separate individuals have, with the broadening of their activity into world-historical activity, become more and more enslaved under a power alien to them (a pressure which they have conceived of as a dirty trick on the part of the so-called universal spirit, etc.), a power which has become more and more enormous and, in the last instance, turns out to be the world market. But it is just as empirically established that, by the overthrow of the existing state of society by the communist revolution (of which more below) and the abolition of private property which is identical with it, this power, which so baffles the German theoreticians, will be dissolved; and that then the liberation of each single individual will be accomplished in the measure in which history becomes transformed into world history. From the above it is clear that the real intellectual wealth of the individual depends entirely on the wealth of his real connections. Only then will the separate individuals be liberated from the various national and local barriers, be brought into practical connection with the material and intellectual production of the whole world and be put in a position to acquire the capacity to enjoy this all-sided production of the whole earth (the creations of man). All-round dependence, this natural form of the world-historical co-operation of individuals, will be transformed by this communist revolution into the control and conscious mastery of these powers, which, born of the action of men on one another, have till now overawed and governed men as powers completely alien to them. Now this view can be expressed again in speculative-idealistic, i.e. fantastic, terms as “self-generation of the species” (“society as the subject”), and thereby the consecutive series of interrelated individuals connected with each other can be conceived as a single individual, which accomplishes the mystery of generating itself. It is clear here that individuals certainly make one another, physically and mentally, but do not make themselves.”

    Karl Marx, German Ideology

  7. I have no doubt Ken Webber is illuminati, the only question is at what level of the hierarchy does he rank. If he’s not at the top levels then he’s just an idiot fooled by those at the highest levels of the hierarchy.

    “Capitalism is not the problem.” Whats next? Will you also tell us that greed and excessive selfishness is good?

    ” Communism is defined as: A system in which economic and political power are concentrated in one party or ruling class.”

    Wrong again. Communism is an economic system where the state owns all or most domestic businesses and private property is outlawed. Last time I checked in the large majority of countries there’s no ban on private property and the large majority of businesses are privately owned by individuals. The current exceptions would be Cuba and North Korea.
    Privately owned central banks has to do with capitalism not communism. Anything privately owned has to do with capitalism. There’s nothing wrong with issuing paper money. The problem lies with the privately owned central bank loaning the money and charging interest on it.The other problem with the banking system is that it is a fractional reserve system so the bank never has enough money in reserve to cover its loans so its a ponzi scheme.

    Socialism doesn’t eliminate profits. It just has profit as a secondary priority instead of being the main or only priority. Socialism isn’t against innovation. If anyone’s clueless its you.

    The Illuminati aren’t against government. They are only against systems they can’t control. The illuminati are selfish, greedy, elitist bastards who believe they have the divine right to rule.

    You illuminati are guilty of everything you accuse governments of doing. You reveal information but only to your elitist friends to those you deem worthy. I guess you destroy or kill anyone who uses the information against your organization’s interests.

  8. So basically the Illuminati not the market controls the world since the illuminati control the market since they own the means of production. Capitalism cannot be responsible for all the world’s problems since the world was full of problems before Capitalism was established. Does the Dark Ages ring a bell? The Vatican once again controls the world although covertly and seeks a new Dark Age.

  9. The Illuminati and other secret societies are behind all major events. The Illuminati established the feudalist system but the feudalist system had its limits and the people were getting fed up with it. So the Illuminati needed a new plan to maintain their control of the world. So they introduced the capitalist system and decided to replace monarchies with republics. This way they could fool the masses into thinking they were finally being liberated from tyranny through capitalism and representative government. In reality though the illuminati were switching from an overt system of control to a covert system of control where they could control governments and the economy behind the scenes without the people finding out. The reason they chose capitalism was because capitalism was the only economic system that could be used to create the process of economic globalization and establish a global economy. Through capitalism they could also gain control of the media, education, and other institutions. They refer to capitalism as the “free market” because its free for them to control without government interference. They have also used capitalism to degrade society so they can assimilate us by programming us to be as corrupt as they are. They seek to establish global government through political integration of countries through regional unions such as the European Union and the planned North American Union and then eventually merging these regional unions into a single world government. They also seek to dramatically reduce the world population since they only need a limited amount of slaves and of it course makes it easier for them to maintain control of the world. Obviously they do this through wars, famine, disease, unnatural disasters, and destruction of the environment through poisoning the water supply and the atmosphere as well as the land and the food supply. Their main method of controlling the world is through privately owned central banks and transnational corporations. The main threat to their plans is the internet where people can expose their secrets to a mass audience. This is why they seek to severely restrict the internet and gain complete control of it.

  10. follow the money
    UK federal reserve and Central Bank of England
    follow the media
    follow the western foreign policy and you can see where we are headed.
    the majority of people in the world are slaves to a system, and they don’t even know it. sort of like matrix the movie

  11. I am sad when I read an article like this. There are a lot of statmens that is without any logic, only old belifs.

    “As we know it….” What do we know? Not mush if the “we” is the simple man on the street.

    Of course there is conspiracy at every corner. Why wouldent it be? Ta have a monipol marcet is a good way to earn money, and money is nothing but a controll mechanism for the world.

    Wake up. If you are awake you are not hurt mush at all. If you wake your family they will be better of. If we wake the world. There would be no one to fool.

  12. Honestly, I don’t think it matters what type of “system” any nation is controlled by because if the governing parties are corrupt, the system is corrupt. And to keep people in power from becoming corrupt, they have to have such a strong moral code, that very few can stand up and say they have these days. The few that do have it are usually “removed” by the larger group of people that are all for greed and power.

  13. First of all, people such as yourself are part and parcel to our problem due to your efforts at misleading the populace on the real events occurring in the world.

    The conspiracy to usher in a ‘one world government’ with only a few in control has been fomenting for the last several centuries. These people are nothing if not patient. More recently, on February 17, 1950, James Paul Warburg confidently declared to the United States Senate: “We shall have World Government, whether or not we like it. The only question is whether World Government will be achieved by conquest or consent.” I suggest that you read Deanna Spingola’s 23 part essay entitled, “THE ONE WORLD ORDER, BY CONQUEST OR CONSENT?” published on the internet at News With Views.

    Then read the 1975 interview of Harold Wallace Rosenthal. He was killed shortly after this interview obviously because he said far too much and revealed the “elitist” Jewish conspiracy to usurp the United States. Today, it would appear that their plans are nearly complete. The U.S. government including Congress and Senate have effectively been neutered and are basically being controlled lock, stock, and barrel by AIPAC, the ADL, and the JDL. More of our tax dollars are being shipped to Israel than ever before. The U.S. is a conquered nation paying a hefty “tribute” to a tiny country in the Middle East, which is the most racist nation on the planet and anything except a democracy.

    If people would only open their minds they would see that you’re promoting socialism as the answer to the world’s problems. I don’t know what is worse, Jewish world hegemony or a Socialist/Fascist state. Regardless of which one wins out, both ideologies are a threat to humanity on every scale, especially when ‘freedom’ is one of the main proponents of man’s existence.

  14. First of all, I AM Illuminati, and second, you are so full of both bullshit AND ignorance. Let me “illuminate” a few truths for you and your readers. Capitalism is not the problem, far from it. The ruling system in EVERY nation on this planet today is not capitalism but… communism. Communism is defined as: A system in which economic and political power are concentrated in one party or ruling class. That ruling class is the central banking mechanism. Every nation on this planet now operates through a central bank issuing their usurious fiat so every nation on this planet is communist and has been communist for a long time, though some governments maintain the lie that they’re “free” or capitalist ruled, or socialist, or whatever. The truth is, they are communist, including the USA.

    Socialism, by removing profits, also removes incentives and innovation in business resulting in stagnation that eventually deteriorates into tyranny. That’s where you’re trying to steer people? That’s your solution? Get a clue clueless.

    The only opponent of central banking is enlightened capitalism. Read the precepts of Adam’s own words and you’ll read that the illuminati oppose governmental rule. The reason is because governments lie, suck wealth from the working class, and as of late, create “false flag” acts of terrorism and murder that they use to create phony wars, wars that are quite profitable for the central banks.

    The Illuminated of today do not control or dominate through this or that system. Illumination is the process of revealing hidden information to others, those who deserve it, that can set them free if used wisely and damn them if misused. Illumination never removes an individual’s choice, their free will. The Federal Reserve is not the only ones who know the secret of creating “money” out of thin air!

Comments are closed.