Emancipate Yourself From Mental Slavery

 

This is a book alert. This book has new thinking you haven’t seen before. Hopefully these ideas will spread.

 

Gerald Horne’s recently-released “Counterrevolution of 1776” upends the prevalent US creation myth. It is a truly revolutionary study, a rare and precious thing, Doing away with the intellectual basis of domination is a major step toward destroying the system of domination itself.

 

Horne, a respected and prolific historian of slavery, tells the story of a British colonial economy in the Americas, (including the Caribbean as well as the mainland colonies) based on the highly profitable slave trade. Leading up to 1776, slaves’ relentless rebellions threatened this colonial system, and were, in effect, a revolutionary movement to end private property – the slaves themselves were the private property.

 

Horne shows the growing fear among colonists of upheaval in their enslaved work force. At the same time England, to maintain its Empire, was forced to move to abolish slavery. England’s moves toward abolition made the colonists’ fears of slave rebellion greater and were a significant factor in the colonists’ decision to declare their independence.

 

In 1763, England had also placed Indian land west of the Appalachians off limits to the colonists. George Washington, the richest man in the colonies, and other Founders were already heavily invested in land speculation in this area. Colonial leaders considered this restriction a grave offense against the colonies’ economic interests. As it turned out, soldiers in the Continental Army were later paid with stolen Indian land.

 

These moves by England fueled the call for independence, and made  “the American Revolution” a counterrevolution against the aspirations of the slaves – not to extend freedom, but to preserve slavery. The counterrevolution also opened the way for unhindered expropriation of Indian lands by the colonists.

 

We’ve known for a long time that the official US mythology was nonsense. The story, that a group of wise and enlightened slave owners and their lawyers gathered to declare independence in the name of the inalienable rights of man and then to draft a constitution to guarantee these rights in their new republic, has been suspect for a long time. Slave-owners could only come up with a twisted system of “freedom.” Horne effectively explodes the official creation myth by showing that 1776 was a counterrevolution.

 

Along the way he throws light on other dark aspects of the nation’s history. Leaders of the Confederate States of America said that by seceding from the Union they were only following in the Founders’ footsteps. Horne shows they spoke the truth. He also muses on how the Confederacy lost the War Between the States militarily but won politically.

 

This is a history that can explain today’s headlines, as police continue to murder unarmed black youth with virtual impunity.

 

This is the most important book to come out since the rulers dispersed Occupy Wall Street.

 

Horne’s effort to set American history right reminds us: what has been taught as US history is little more than fairy tales and lullabies suitable only for putting children to sleep. Time to wake up.

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The old order is dying

The old order is dying. For too long it has enslaved, abused and hollowed out humanity, ruling with lies to conceal its exploitative heart. For generations it has brought endless war, misery and suffering. For what? To enrich a tiny handful beyond all reason.

 

It has dominated us for too long. Its continuation threatens all life on Earth. Its end is long overdue. We must help it to a peaceful and speedy death.

 

The world is in great turmoil. Country after country rises up against the old forms, but nowhere have we been able to overthrow existing arrangements. The disintegration of the world revolutionary movement – seen in the failure and later breakup of the Soviet Union – has left confusion in its wake. But the old revolutionary movement had to collapse – it had become part of the decaying system. Its disintegration was a prelude to the end of the old order.

 

Occupy Wall Street was a foretaste of a new system and a new way to get there.

 

The rulers sensed this and dispersed OWS before we could retire them. Though today’s movements show great promise, they are also likely to be co-opted by the system’s vast and still active capacity to absorb and stifle opposition.

 

A new politics is necessary, for survival and transformation. We must craft a new language to pursue this end. We must discard the “Leaden Language of the Official Left” (Galeano).

 

This blog hopes to promote discussion to pursue these goals.

Why We Should Dis Columbus

Some believe we should celebrate Christopher Columbus’s “discovery” of America. Lost and utterly confused about where he was, Columbus thought he had landed on the South Asian subcontinent of India. Hence, it appears, he called the people he saw “los indios.”

 

While Columbus made no real discovery, he was under immense pressure to bring back wealth. His main supporters, the Spanish royals Ferdinand and Isabella, were nearly bankrupt from recent military adventures. Backed up by the Pope’s Law of Discovery, in four successive voyages Columbus claimed all he saw in the name of the Spanish monarchy. He claimed the land, the resources and the people of the “New World.”

 

This colossally presumptuous act was directly followed by some of humanity’s greatest crimes. After being greeted with gifts and kindness by the welcoming Tainos/Arawaks, Columbus famously recorded in his journal, “They do not bear arms and do not know them…They would make fine servants… With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”(1,2)

 

Columbus sought slaves. He captured 1500 Taino/Arawaks and sent 500 of the best physical specimens back to be sold as slaves in Seville. Two hundred died en route. He put the remaining captives to work as slaves in the mines and plantations established by his men. Any resistance was met with summary mass executions.

 

In this way Columbus initiated not only the genocide of the First Nations but also the Trans Atlantic slave trade, which soon started a similar genocidal destruction of the African people. Untold millions of Indians were killed by European diseases and by the wanton murders of all who resisted. Abduction, transport and enslavement wantonly killed millions of Africans.

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Columbus’s was also preoccupied with finding gold. Indians who failed to bring the amount of gold demanded had their arms cut off and allowed to bleed to death.

This toxic brew of insatiable greed and murder marked the arrival of the modern capitalist world system on the shores of the “New World.”

Columbus’s landings began several trends that continue to poison the US to this day: the racist contempt that underlies US government behavior, both domestic and foreign. The US government incarcerates people of color at far higher rates than it does “whites.” The so-called War on Drugs is actually a war on poor people, especially people of color. And the US government – from all 2 political parties – typically lectures the darker nations of the world on the true meaning of democracy as it declares war on them, invades their lands and forcibly seizes their resources.

 

This is not a legacy we should celebrate. To change the world today we need to understand how it developed and how our current problems arose. Understanding and exposing Columbus’s legacy is a vital part of any movement for social transformation in America.

 

NOTES

  1. Weatherford, Jack: Examining the reputation of Christopher Columbus http://alturl.com/rqhvv
  2. Zinn, Howard: A People’s History of the United States excerpt at: http://www.historyisaweapon.com
  3. Alexander, Michelle: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, New Press, 2010.