Jeffery Epstein, Jay-Z, and the Miserable World Created by the Billionaire Ruling Class
Epstein and Jay-Z are representatives of the class responsible for much of the misery on this planet.
“Jay-Z can masquerade publicly as an arbiter of justice while doing nothing to stop the destruction.”
Jeffery Epstein and Jay-Z are not the same, but they have the same class interests. These interests have been the subject of much debate in recent weeks, with Epstein’s reported death and Jay-Z’s lucrative collaboration with the National Football League (NFL) dominating headlines. Epstein’s supposed suicide in a Manhattan cell served as a catalyst for heightened suspicions about foul play and whether his connections to prominent ruling elitessuch as the Clinton family, Donald Trump, and Israeli intelligence rendered him vulnerable to murder. Jay-Z’s deal with the NFLinserted Colin Kaepernick’s protest of racist policing back into the political conversation. What isn’t being talked about is how Epstein and Jay-Z are much more than mere “bad actors.” They are representatives of the billionaire ruling class responsible for much of the misery that exists on this planet.
In the case of Epstein, the corporate media immediately called those who questioned his death “conspiracy theorists.” This was a desperate attempt to cover up all responsibility for the decrepit conditions that the billionaire ruling class has created for the rest of us. When former Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta stated that Epstein “belonged to intelligence”and thus was compelled to grant the billionaire a generous plea deal in 2008 for his sex trafficking crimes, he was admitting what has been a reality since the creation of the National Security State. The Lords of Capital have historically collaborated with intelligence agencies to secure their interests, even if it means spying on their own class to level competition and facilitate favorable policy. It is public record that the so-called hostage crisis in Iran was prolonged with the help of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in order to ensure Ronald Reagan’s defeat of Jimmy Carter in the pending presidential election. And Israel’s Mossad has every reason to monitor the corporate, military, and political activities of the U.S.’ elite to guarantee continued aid for its colonial project, which the case of former U.S. Navy analyst and Mossad spy Jonathan Pollard exemplifies.
“The Lords of Capital have historically collaborated with intelligence agencies.”
Often lost in the intrigue of the billionaire ruling class’ covert operations are the very overt impact that they have on the downtrodden and exploited working classes. Epstein and his ilk’s leading role in the sex trade industry has terrorized the lives of millions of poor youth, especially in the former Soviet Union and Asia. Beyond the machinations of the sex trade, billionaire ruling elites and intelligence agencies have every interest in working together to ensure that the world is “safe” for plunder and profit. The main goal of the intelligence agencies is to serve the dictates of multinational corporations, banks, and themselves in the process. It was the C.I.A. that engineered the bloody coup in Chileon September 11th, 1973. This event opened the Latin American nation to full-scale privatization. C.I.A. and Mossad intelligence operatives worked together to collect intelligence on the Soviet Unionfor decades and helped pressure its collapse (alongside many other factors) through a full-scale media blitz against the socialist country. The Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991 led to the policy of “shock therapy,” a particularly brutal form of austerity that caused so steep a decline in living standards that life expectancy for men in Russia decreased from 67 to 58 by the mid-1990s.
Compared to Epstein, Jay-Z’s role within the billionaire ruling class is more peripheral but no less important. Jay-Z’s modest wealth (in billionaire measures) is the result of his loyal service to the long-standing ruling class objective of neutralizing Black America’s struggle for self-determination within the belly of U.S. imperialism. Jigga man’s career began as a petty drug dealer whose rhymes in the mid-1990s caught the interest of corporate record labels seeking to profit from the racist War on Drugs. Jay-Z has since become a “businessman” with a whole host of investments, including a share in the Brooklyn Nets. The Brooklyn Nets’ stadium, the Barclay’s Center, has immeasurably increased the gentrificationand the expulsion of Blacks from the city. In 2019, Jay-Z entered the billionaire capitalist class and made the conscious decision that the three-year anniversary of Kaepernick’s protest of police brutality represented another lucrative source of profit.
“Jay-Z’s wealth is the result of his loyal service to the ruling class objective of neutralizing Black America’s struggle.”
Jay-Z and Epstein fulfill different roles within the billionaire capitalist class. Jay-Z is an ambitious member of the Black misleadership class whose primary role since the end of the Black liberation movement has been to manage and effectively suppress Black America’s anti-war and socialist leanings. Jay-Z and the rest of his class can credit their fortunes to the patronage of the white capitalist class. In this case, the NFL needed to pay someone like Jay-Z to sell a neoliberal model of social justice as part of the league’s public relations strategy. Unlike a legitimate capitalist class, however, the status of Jay-Z and other Black capitalist entertainers is by no means stable. Melissa Harris-Perry, for example, saw her MSNBC show promptly canceledafter Barack Obama finished his second term.
Black capitalism is a derivative of imperialism and is meant to create miserable conditions for the oppressed majority. Black workers have been at the bottom of imperialism’s social order since the first African slaves were shipped to colonized Virginia in 1619. In the current period, the Black misleadership class enforces and protects the policies that facilitate Black immiseration. Black mayors, city council members, and Congressmen have presided over the mass Black incarceration regime and the plunder of Black wealth to near zero status. For Jay-Z, the widespread popularity of Kaepernick’s stance against racist policing is not a social justice issue; rather, it is an opportunity to cash in on an “actionable item.”
“Jay-Z and the rest of his class can credit their fortunes to the patronage of the white capitalist class.”
There would be no Jay-Z/NFL collaboration without Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and the hundreds of young, mostly Black men around the country whose lives have been taken prematurely by way of police murder. Disaster capitalism feeds off Black death.And to protect the inevitability of Black death, the real billionaire capitalists such as Epstein who control the means of production (including fictitious finance) must operate in relative secrecy while Jay-Z and the rest of the Black misleadership class publicly shame and condemn any independent and politically left striving that emerges from the Black polity. Whether Epstein killed himself or was killed is not the primary question. The actual question to be answered is why billionaires such as Epstein have been able to get away with sewing chaos and misery the world over with very little resistance from the downtrodden in the United States.
The principle reason is that the control of the means of production by billionaire oligarchs like Epstein and Jay-Z includes the state and the media. Endless austerity and war have been preserved by mass incarceration, police state terrorism, and the always expanding National Security State’s surveillance regime. The corporate media demonizes poor Black youth and erases the existence of the working class while valorizing billionaires such as Epstein. Despite Epstein’s heinous sexual crimes, the shady billionaire financier was treated by the media in the same way that white supremacist mass shooters are treated: as troubled individuals who had hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. In other words, Epstein could guarantee that his humanity would be preserved by the billionaire class even if large sections of the establishment wanted to silence him.
“Disaster capitalism feeds off Black death.”
This is the miserable world created by the billionaire capitalist class. It is a world where millions can go without healthcare while corporate insurance and pharmaceutical corporations rake in billions in profit. It is a world where prison conditions are discussed when a singular billionaire dies inside of a cell but the lives of the eighty thousand prisonersin the U.S. subject to the torture of long-term solitary confinement in the U.S. receive no such attention. It is a world where trillions in military, prison, and police expenditures can destroy the lives of workers at home and abroad, yet Jay-Z can masquerade publicly as an arbiter of justice while doing nothing to stop the destruction. It is a world where Julian Assangeand Mumia Abu-Jamalrisk death inside of prison for their political and journalistic activities while war criminals such as Barack Obama collect millions from book deals, non-profit tax breaks, and university speeches.
The popularity of Bernie Sanders, the word “socialism,” and Colin Kaepernick’s courage are just a few examples of how there is a groundswell of people in the U.S. sick and tired of a world dominated by the whims of an elite class whose very existence requires mass misery. The Jeffery Epstein and Jay-Z stories will likely fade into the background as the Democratic Party gets closer to choosing its preferred corporate candidate for the 2020 election. Their cases should remind us that the miserable world that billionaire oligarchs have created won’t be transformed by the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party is wholly committed to squashing the hopes and dreams of not-so socialist Bernie Sanders and his large band of supporters. It is abundantly clear that only an independent, socialist-oriented movement can set this world aflame so that a new world can emerge.
Danny Haiphong is an activist and journalist in the New York City area. He and Roberto Sirvent are co-authors of the book entitled American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People’s History of Fake News -- From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror (Skyhorse Publishing).He can be reached at [email protected], on Instagram at danny_haiphong, and on Twitter at @SpiritofHo.
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