A Day of Awareness

INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY MORE TIMELY THAN EVER

By Dinizulu Gene Tinnie

It is a fair guess that most Americans consider slavery to be a thing of the past, officially ended in the US in 1865, although more thoughtful minds among us are keenly aware that “the peculiar institution” of slavery, which defined most of this country’s history, lives on today in many forms, such as the prison system, sharecropping, migrant labor camps, under the cover of the foster care system, and among the millions of workers who are not paid a living wage. 

And perhaps most Americans are vaguely aware of global worker exploitation to produce everything from raw materials and components for our most sophisticated technological gadgets to the cheapest novelties and trinkets possible, but few dare call this system of production by its truthful name of slavery.

It may also be easily forgotten that slavery, as we will recall from the history of the Middle Passage which forcibly brought millions of Africans across the ocean, also includes human trafficking, and the brutal, exploitative practices of that barbaric business, such as extortion of the wages of the survivors who find illegal employment in wealthy nations, not to mention those, often children, sold into sex trafficking.

A Day of Awareness

It is with such concerns in mind that the United Nations, has designated December 2 (a date known in American history as the anniversary of the 1859 hanging of Abolitionist John Brown) as an International Day of awareness to call global attention to the pervasive crimes of slavery in our time.

According to the UN, “The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, 2 December, marks the date of the adoption, by the General Assembly, of the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (resolution 317[IV] of 2 December 1949).”

The UN further explains:

Slavery is not merely a historical relic. According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) more than 40 million people worldwide are victims of modern slavery. Although modern slavery is not defined in law, it is used as an umbrella term covering practices such as forced labour, debt bondage, forced marriage, and human trafficking. Essentially, it refers to situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse or leave because of threats, violence, coercion, deception, and/or abuse of power.

In addition, more than 150 million children are subject to child labour, accounting for almost one in ten children around the world.

Facts and figures:

• An estimated 40.3 million people are in modern slavery, including 24.9 in forced labour and 15.4 million in forced marriages.

• There are 5.4 victims of modern slavery for every 1,000 people in the world.

• 1 in 4 victims of modern slavery are children.

• Out of the 24.9 million people trapped in forced labour, 16 million people are exploited in the private sector such as domestic work, construction or agriculture; 4.8 million people in forced sexual exploitation, and 4 million people in forced labour imposed by state authorities.

• Women and girls are disproportionately affected by forced labour, accounting for 99% of victims in the commercial sex industry, and 58% in other sectors.

(Further information from the UN is available at these links:

On the Homefront

While the International Day is welcomed for calling attention to the many forms and magnitude of modern slavery, it is even more important as an occasion for awareness of actions and solutions, as those who are victimized, directly or indirectly, find ways to address the problem.

For example, in a timely fashion, the regular “Building Bridges” program on independent nonprofit New York radio station WBAI-FM, shares this notice via the Internet:

Farmworker women launch their “Harvest Without Violence” campaign to end sexual violence in Wendy’s fast food supply chain featuring The Coalition of Immokalee [Florida] Workers

Now, amidst the stories that are surfacing about sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape against women, too often low-wage woman workers have been subjected to sexual violence against their person in their workplace, but their voices have oftentimes been eclipsed.  And, we barely think about the workers who are responsible for the bounty of food on our tables. 

So, “Building Bridges” is off to join the formidable farmworker women leaders of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (“CIW”) for a major “Harvest without Violence” march.  The CIW Women’s Group traveled to the Big Apple to demand a meeting with Wendy’s Board Chairman and major shareholder Nelson Peltz to share their powerful stories and demand Wendy’s do its part to end sexual violence in the fields. Join the farmworkers in their Boycott Wendy’s march through Midtown Manhattan to Trian Partners, the multi-billion dollar asset management firm founded by Nelson Peltz, the non-executive chairman of The Wendy’s Company, based in New York.  Declare that farmworker women should not have to surrender their dignity for the right to put food on their families’ tables!

 

Year-Round Awareness, Action, and Support

This single example, like the single day dedicated to the Abolition of modern Slavery, serves as a reminder of how many similar situations exist and how many more days of the year there are which demand awareness and resolve by thoughtful citizens everywhere to abolish all forms of modern slavery and ensure social justice, as articulated in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In America, these concerns become increasingly timely as traditional jobs are increasingly lost to automation or shipped overseas, real wages remain flat while living costs increase, graduates enter limited job markets burdened with student loan debt, and the great divide between the wealthiest few and the vast majority continues to widen, aided and abetted by complicit political leadership, all of which threaten us with new, much broader forms of actual slavery by other names.

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The Myth of White Ownership

Herein is a discussion with my good friend Dinizulu Gene Tinnie on the validity of the claims of Her Highness Divine: Empress Wendy Farica Washitaw (1927-2014), the late reigning empress of the Washitaw de Dugdahmoundyah Empire and leader of the Emperial Washitaw de Dugdahmoundyah Nation. SHE WAS THE LEGAL HEIR to the Maison Rouge land grant that was skillfully willed to her great-great-great-grandfather Henry Turner, son of the Marquis de Maison Rougethe child of French Nobility was rescued by Baron Philip de Bastrop at the beginning of the unrest culmination with the French Revolution.

washitaw-verdiacee2

Her Highness Divine: Empress Wendy Farica Washitaw

washitaw-land

Washitaw Land

 

Dear Gene,

Have you heard about this? Washitaw Nation Comes Under Investigation
Dear JC,
So, whatever happened to objective reporting?  (I have always had a kind of mixed respect for the SLPC, for its fine work on the on hand, but with what has always struck me as a self-aggrandizing motive.  They have established themselves as a recognized force identifying, monitoring,and exposing hate groups and actions.  It seems that the strength of their work, and the respect it has earned, has been rooted in their scientific, objective, and unbiased presentation of the data they have collected, or at least so it seemed from what encounters I have had with their work over the years.  The openly snide and lurid tone of this report is a definite departure from that perception.)  By American law, regardless of how much or how little respect for it that even the defendants caught up in its snares may have, still declares all defendants to be innocent until actually proven guilty “beyond the shadow of a doubt” in a court of law, and therefore need to be respected as such in public discourse (such as journalism), not least in order to protect potential jurors from allegations of having prejudicial views fueled by negative news reporting, like this.
That said, I only have the most casual and passing knowledge of the Washitaw nation, and have heard of the Empress and come across some of her pronouncements and political positions, only enough to know that she and her organization are linked to the Moorish Science Temple, founded by Noble Drew Ali, whole members have “-El” appended to their surnames.  (It, like the Nation if Islam, the Coptic Church, and other such organizations originated in the Garvey movement.)  I have had interesting conversations with some of the more doctrinaire members who actually contend that we (Africans/Moors) have been in these lands since before the continents separated, and who deny that the Middle Passage ever existed, as if millions of Black people, having been through what we have endured, could be duped by a hoax of such proportions, but I still consider myself as one who has more to learn than to question.)
I will share this with folks who definitely do have more knowledge of the Washitaw Nation (and other such organizations) who I am sure can shed some light on these proceedings.
I look forward to learning and sharing more of what I can find out.
Best all ways,
DGT
Gene,

I appreciate your observation of the slanted journalism here. The snide remarks of this reporter are in line with the malaise of so many white people who believe that all people of color of full of criminal tendencies, which, in fact, is mere projection in the Freudian sense of their own criminal minds that caused them to commit genocide all over this planet.
I spoke with an old friend Denise Wilson-El this week who spent lots of time with the Empress even traveling with her to the UN Conference on Indigenous Peoples in Geneva, Switzerland. She has fond memories of the Empress but regretted that documents proving the origin of the Muurs, here in this land were not copied and circulated before government renegades ramshacked the Empress’ home and destroyed the evidence.
The term “The devil never sleeps” certainly applies here. These white devils know the truth and are bent on our people never awakening to it. However, truth is the only constant and all is coming to light.
I will await the response of some of your colleagues.
Yours in the struggle
Mamayah El Molina Bey
aka Joan Cartwright
JC,

One of the folks I reached out to, wouldn’t you know, is Denise Wilson-El’s son, Guy Forchion, who is the executive director of the Virginia Key Beach Park Trust, asking him if his Mom might have some insights on this state of affairs as described in the article.  The other is Jeanette Stephens-El, aka Raining Deer, who, by the way, has a new book out called “On Eagles’ Wings: Prayers for the President” (whomever [s]he might be, going forward), and is looking for venues in which to present it in SoFla (or SoFlo in ASALH newspeak) before the election, so all ideas and insights are welcome. 

Thank you for reminding me about the UN Conference on Indigenous Peoples.  That is not where I last heard news of the Empress, but I believe she was at another event, possibly the webcast following the unveiling of “The Ark of Return” Permanent Memorial to the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade on the UN Headquarters Visitors Plaza last year.

As you know, one (of many!) of the disturbing phenomena in this land of (selective) opportunity, where the questionable bourgeois-driven concept of “ragged individualism” has taken root, is that “people without a place” (or who at least perceive themselves as being without a place on earth) find fertile ground here to take ownership, a la Columbus, of anything they think they can claim and control access to.  This is often land, of course, but also any necessary goods and services, which they make available at a price (which they set, of course), holding the needy hostage, and, of late, this tendency has spread to include “intellectual properties” (including such absurd madness as Monsanto claiming exclusive patents of GMO agricultural products with which they hope to replace the natural food supply), and even, to get to the point of where all this is leading, rightful and worthy political causes, particularly those which are not already “taken.”  Thus we find self-appointed authorities on “Indian Tribes” and their history, and even more ignobly, supposed non-profit “Foundations” trading quite profitably in “Indian Artifacts” that supposedly benefit the Tribes, but a reading of the fine print reveals that Indian Poverty is big business, and therefore needs to be kept going.

Such, it has long been my suspicion, is the Southern Law & Poverty Center, which focuses supposedly on much of the injustice that is visited upon the African American community and on identifying, cataloguing, and monitoring “hate groups,” but not without an agenda of carving out a market niche in the oppression business for themselves.  Moreover, in the spirit of non-hateful, non-pathological paranoia — by which generations of Ancestors wisely survived to give life to us and our progeny — it is not difficult to read into that organization, at least on the part of some elements within it, an agenda to use African Americans as a front for seeking out and identifying anti-Jewish, or anti-other-ethnic hate groups.

America was built from its foundations on “slick,” questionable, and outright criminal business practices (and we have a Constitution written to protect them), so, as you point out, there is much Freudian psychosis and collective guilt in the land, accounting for the ever-so-self righteous posturing of the most criminal minds in seeking to “root out crime.”  Specifically, as Malcolm X, as sharp and astute observer of the society which brought so much havoc to his own family as there ever was, once stated, “White people are artful at making the criminal look like the victim and the victim look like the criminal.”  I mean, we are in a country in which for most of its history, holding “slaves” — imprisoned forced laborers who could be violated and exploited at will and denied all human rights with impunity — was NOT considered a crime, whereas escaping from such pathological barbarity WAS a crime, punished in the most barbaric ways, as would be any act of being free and brave long after slavery had supposedly ended.

White supremacy equates equality with oppression.  What is the whole point of being white if all you are going to have is the same rights and opportunities as everyone else, if there are no exclusive neighborhoods, job opportunities, healthcare, etc.  The late brilliant South African author Jordan K. Ngubane (whose novel, modeled on the traditional Zulu umlando, or epic format, entitled “Ushaaba: The Hurtle to Blood River” is a most enlightened work) very incisively dissected the Apartheid system and its motivations, and the radical distinctions between White and Black concepts of law and value systems,  In the latter case, he wisely observed that for the invasive White settlers — people without a place — a thing had value because they possessed it ant other people did not.  It mattered not whether there was the intrinsic or natural value attached to whatever it was, only that exclusivity was established, usually by inflating the price and controlling the distribution of money. 

So how does such a society, particularly when slavery was being openly upheld and enforced as a legal institution, view something like Maroon communities, daring to survive without either being dependent on or giving profit to the parasite class?  Of course that class would see this as nothing less than a “threat to national security,” as would be any uncontrolled or uncontained Native American presence.  Should these Maroons go so far as to not only survive but to acquire some of the things (the parasites only live in a world of things – to have, to do, to be – which reduces everything to commodities) that are supposedly exclusively reserved for themselves, then insane mode is switched on, and literally anything goes, as we would see in Tulsa and Rosewood.

This is what I am reading in the snide sarcasm and cheap shots that this article about the Washitaw Nation by the SLPC has produced (in such stark contradiction to its prominent logo of balanced scales. Supposedly of justice).  The resentment is palpable, responsibility is cast to the wind, and the pretense of law becomes nothing more than a propaganda weapon against a group of people who have escaped outside control and ownership.

All of the above, of course, just forms Chapter 26,473 of the indictment against the invaders, which can barely keep up with the continuous production of evidence.  But that is all “their problem.”  Our issue is of another nature and importance.  We do not like to hear things like “No crime is ever committed without some participation on the part of the victim,” any more than we want to hear that in an auto accident where one driver is clearly at fault that the other had some degree of voluntary participation, perhaps by not being sufficiently observant and defensive, perhaps even by being in the wrong place for the wrong reasons.  That kind of stuff gets too abstract and philosophical and messes up our feelings of righteousness and lets our guilty-as-sin adversaries off the hook a bit, and we don’t need to hear that.

Yet, we, and especially those who comprise the Global Elite of Descendants of Middle Passage Survivors, like the Descendants of Trail of Tears and Genocide Survivors – those whom “History has forced, obligated, challenged, and blessed to be Truth knowers, Truth keepers, and Truth tellers,” are nobody and nothing if we are not a people who is committed to “keepin’ it real” even when everybody all around us is going nuts, and calling that a normal state, questioning our right to be alive.  We, who are formed of an intelligence honed and refined and polished and kept alive and vibrant over countless millennia of serious village palavers beneath the sacred iroko tree, during which self-determination was not even a word or a term because there was no alternative to it, we who have the responsibility to honor all those Ancestors and all those generations Yet Unborn who are alive within us, depending on our every action to make the world right for them, we may “Wear the Mask” and do much of what it takes to survive, but we have to be responsible and accountable.

We cannot, as we negotiate the delicate path from where we are to where we need to be through a yard full of rabid dogs, cannot relax our guard, cannot consider any one(s) of us to be disposable, cannot make silly compromises with demonic forces.  We have to be very astute and wise in what we, as Maroons, in hostile territory, with limited resources, do to maintain our freedom and sanity.

It is on THOSE standards that we have to weigh the actual decisions and actions taken by the leadership and the body of the Washitaw Nation.  We have inherited wisdom.  We have divination systems and proven ways to seek and receive Ancestral Guidance.  We have to evaluate the validity of strategies, the costs vs. the benefits, the reasons why we do the things we do, because we have always known to focus on the actions, not the persons (“Hate the deed, not the doer.”  “You don’t have to be a horrible person to do horrible things,” etc.) 

This is less about judging the allegations being made against the Washitaw Nation regarding past actions than about formulating a strategy for dealing with those allegations that serves our future – the future of ALL of us. For this reason, this case will bear close watching and a strong infusion of knowledge (light rather than heat) for us to fully be responsible players in the fate of our people going forward.

DGT

 

Proclamations

Who really built the United States of America?

What’s the matter with white people?

Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation Dilemma

“Now we are engaged in a great civil war,” said Lincoln at Gettysburg, “testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure.” Lincoln was fond of drawing attention outward, from local events to world import, from the crisis in America to the larger question of whether any democracy could survive the test the divided United States then faced. The Civil War, he argued, “embraces more than the fate of these United States.” Before issuing the Emancipation Proclamation — which would free slaves only in the seceded states that remained beyond the president’s immediate control — he fretted about “a document that the whole world will see must necessarily be inoperative, like the Pope’s bull against the comet,” referring to Callixtus III, who supposedly excommunicated Haley’s Comet because it was a bad war omen.

And when he had finally signed the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation in September of 1862, he spoke to celebratory crowds gathered outside the White House: “It is now for the country and the world to pass judgment.”

This was more than a rhetorical trope, and not just a reminder that the world was watching. Lincoln’s agonizing over the proclamation reflected a host of worries about self-government, practical politics, the future of the newly free African Americans and very possibly his own racist misgivings.

But foremost among these was the question of legitimacy and the constitutionality of the document. Even if issued as a war measure, a mere confiscation of enemy property, it was sure to be seen by many — perhaps even by Lincoln himself — as extraordinary medicine, even extra-legal. His Hamlet-like vacillating and deception during that period 150 years ago, when he pondered the document, wrote it, hid it in a drawer and finally issued it can best be understood in terms of Lincoln’s deep-seated fears about the viability of democracy: Was it capable of fixing itself?

In the late 19th century, as white Americans tried to exorcise the memory of slavery, the Emancipation Proclamation lost luster, replaced in the popular imagination by the more eloquent Gettysburg Address (which didn’t even mention slavery). And today it seems strange that we celebrate the proclamation at all, except as a precursor to the far more sweeping and triumphant accomplishment of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which two years later banned slavery everywhere in the country, without qualifications or geographical exceptions. We have mostly forgotten the reality of the document itself, its ignominious origins in military crisis, its lack of moral certainty, its dull rhetoric and all the other faults that led historian Richard Hofstadter to complain that it “had all the moral grandeur of a bill of lading.”

And yet this document of war remains a sacred document of democracy, testament to the messiness rather than the ideals of governing. In an age when Western democracies are confronted by new forms of authoritarianism, which offer prosperity and security in exchange for political quiescence, the Emancipation Proclamation forces us to think about the fundamental vexations of representative government: Is democracy capable of resolving grand crises? Can we defend against terrorism without compromise to liberty? Can we reform our economies and free ourselves from crippling debts? Can we stave off environmental apocalypse? In short, is democracy capable of great things?

Both celebrated and condemned

If you can make your peace with the Emancipation Proclamation, you can make your peace with Lincoln. The president claimed it as the signal accomplishment of his administration, and it established him in the minds of free slaves and the annals of popular history as “the Great Emancipator.” Parsing the document may be the most productive and inconclusive franchise in Lincoln scholarship. Over the past 150 years, it has been celebrated as the death knell of slavery yet condemned as an unconstitutional usurpation of power, a capitulation by the president to his radical left flank, proof of Lincoln’s slow and inadequate evolution toward racial justice, a mere tool in the prosecution of the war, a political gambit to demoralize the South, a reckless invitation to race war, and both the least and the most that a cautious, deliberate leader could manage at the moment.

During his presidential campaign, Lincoln promised that his personal opposition to slavery wouldn’t affect the institution where it was legal. And while the Civil War was first prosecuted with assurances that the goal was the restoration of union, not abolition, Lincoln began dropping hints of of a general emancipation in the summer of 1862.

His record on slavery up to that time had been mixed. He had countermanded or discouraged orders by Union generals freeing slaves in Missouri, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, citing presidential prerogatives and the necessity of placating the slave-holding but still-loyal border states. But he had also signed an April 1862 bill that abolished slavery in the District of Columbia, and a few months later he freed slaves throughout U.S. territories.

His rhetoric was equally ambivalent. Lincoln’s opposition to slavery often seemed lukewarm. As Frederick Douglass said years after the war, “Viewed from the genuine abolition ground, Mr. Lincoln seemed tardy, cold, dull and indifferent.”

Historians have attempted to square these apparent contradictions in different ways. John Hope Franklin, in his 1963 history of the Emancipation Proclamation, gave Lincoln the credit of most doubts, depicting the president besieged on all sides, from radical abolitionists who denounced an urgent moral evil to slaveholders still loyal to the Union who constantly threatened to join the South if Lincoln wavered on his promise to pursue only reunification. “The pressure of individuals and groups added to the President’s woes without contributing to a practical solution of the problem,” wrote Franklin.

No matter his feelings on slavery, Lincoln felt compelled to present and defend the Emancipation Proclamation as a military necessity — a strategic blow to the South, where the economy and thus the war effort depended on slave labor — rather than a moral statement. When it came, it was essentially two documents, beginning with a threat issued on Sept. 22, 1862, that he would emancipate slaves in any state still in rebellion on Jan. 1, 1863. He shared the preliminary proclamation with his Cabinet on July 22 but withheld it on the advice of Secretary of State William H. Seward, who feared it would look desperate to issue it in the midst of the summer’s military disasters. Lincoln waited two months, until after the battle of Antietam — by no means a decisive Union victory, but at least not a disaster — to make it public. The actual proclamation, greeted by ecstatic Jubilee celebrations on New Year’s Day by African Americans and abolitionists in the North, made good on the earlier threat.

Version one

The first proclamation wasn’t universally popular in the United States or abroad. It angered abolitionists for its half measures, for being merely an instrument of military policy, for its vague promise of compensation to slave owners and for its mention of colonization — Lincoln’s scheme to send freed blacks to other countries after liberation. The working class in England loved it, but their leaders, deeply embroiled in Colonial projects, saw it as a dangerous invitation to black-on-white war and fundamentally hypocritical. “The principle asserted,” said the Spectator, “is not that a human being cannot justly own another, but that he cannot own him unless he is loyal to the United States.” Between the preliminary threat and the actual emancipation, however, feelings softened, especially among abolitionists.

Yet nothing that troubled Lincoln in the first document was cleared up by the second. Lincoln repeatedly said he believed that the proclamation was constitutional, but it was immediately declared not so by editorialists throughout the North and the South. Even former Supreme Court Justice Benjamin R. Curtis, who had dissented in the notorious 1857 Dred Scott case and resigned from the court in part because of the decision, attacked Lincoln’s proclamation as an unjust extension of executive power. When Lincoln had a chance to appoint a new chief justice in 1864, he chose the stalwart anti-slavery Republican Salmon Chase, in part because Chase could be counted upon not to overturn the proclamation.

Regardless of Lincoln’s motivations and true feelings, his delay and mixed messages had a serious impact on African Americans, according to some scholars.

“There is no making sense of such a perverse record,” writes historian Mark Neely Jr., who has convincingly demonstrated the miserable effect Lincoln’s equivocating had on free blacks. The nation was riven by race riots, and some African Americans in the North were seriously considering leaving the country: “A truthful revelation of the government policy embodied in a document in Lincoln’s desk might have changed the course of their lives.”

But likely, Lincoln was no less consistent than any other man, and though a gifted logician in argument, he was not necessarily logical in his own views on race and slavery. If he could be transplanted from his age into ours, his racial views would sound like the soft-core animus of a genteel “Bell Curve” racist: Intent on basic fairness, but convinced that whites are more civilized and better adapted to self-governance than blacks. His view on abolition might remind us of the sincerely halfhearted way that many people today embrace environmentalism or vegetarianism, convinced of their moral necessity yet unwilling to zealously oppose an entrenched way of life. This is either hypocrisy or moderation, depending on one’s perspective.

In fear of great power

Throughout his career, Lincoln was haunted by an almost superstitious fear of executive fiat, which may best explain his anguish before signing the proclamation. It showed up early, in an 1838 speech to the Young Men’s Lyceum in Springfield, Ill., in which he imagined a Nietzschean superman rising up within American democracy and threatening it with dictatorial ambition: “Is it unreasonable, then, to expect that some man possessed of the loftiest genius, coupled with ambition sufficient to push it to its utmost stretch, will at some time spring up among us? And when such an one does, it will require the people to be united with each other, attached to the government and laws, and generally intelligent, to successfully frustrate his designs.” This “towering genius,” Lincoln feared, might exploit the demagogic potential of slavery: “It thirsts and burns for distinction; and if possible, it will have it, whether at the expense of emancipating slaves or enslaving freemen.”

This was Lincoln in fear of a man just like himself. The idea of great power often seemed to flummox him. “If all earthly power were given me, I should not know what to do, as to the existing institution,” he said, as preamble to some of his more overtly racist and despairing remarks about slavery. His comparison of emancipation to a papal “bull,” and his frequent reference to it as a “thunderbolt” suggest how keenly he felt it might set a dangerous precedent for a nation of laws, even if limited in scope and justified as an act of war. Perversely, he yielded often enough to the temptation he abhorred, suspending habeas corpus and arresting a political opponent for giving a speech that might discourage the war effort.

And yet there is almost universal agreement — and Lincoln felt so, too — that while the 13th Amendment abolished slavery legally, the Emancipation Proclamation had killed it symbolically, and, short of a Southern victory, in all practical senses. So while a magnificent act of human justice, it was hardly an accomplishment of democracy. By the summer of 1862, Lincoln had despaired of a purely democratic process to abolish slavery, through compensation, containment and a natural withering away. Slavery would require an extraordinary response, a “thunderbolt” from outside the system of laws and representative government. He himself would have to hurl that bolt.

A crisis he envisioned

The unruliness of democracy, bitter sectional feeling, entrenchment of the slave system and Southern moral defensiveness had led America to the place of crisis Lincoln so feared in his Lyceum speech. Secession and war were failures of the democratic system, and the emancipation order underscored that failure.

This was not the way things were supposed to work in the City on a Hill, which looked impotent and broken in a world still full of vigorous autocrats. In 1861, a year before the American emancipation, Alexander II of Russia freed more serfs, and promised them more opportunities, than Lincoln did the slaves. In 1879, as Reconstruction was failing, the czar compared his thoroughly authoritarian solution with Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, saying he could not “understand how you Americans could have been so blind as to leave the Negro Slave without tools to work out his salvation.”

Lincoln was long dead. But he might have said it wasn’t a matter of being blind to the problem or unaware of the dangers. He had done what he could, which might be more than the Constitution allowed. And in so doing he had righted a great wrong, paved the way for the union to survive and set a precedent that deeply troubled him.

We can sympathize today, living in a democratic system that is even larger and more unwieldy, and growing more polarized. It is a common theme of political speculation that large, Western democracies may be endangered, today: by the lethargy with which they respond to crises, the half measures and sausage making that vitiates most efforts at reform, and the sheer accumulation of threats — environmental, political and social. The Emancipation Proclamation is a terrifying reminder that sometimes the only way to fix the system is to let it break down and then hit the reset button.

What does America mean to you?

 

One Woman’s Voice

Absurdity Rules the World By Siv O’Neall

July 20, 2012

The absurdity of the world today is so blinding that we can barely see through the fog to discern what went so wrong.

Plans had been spun for years in the dark underground caves by the enemies of man. The Neoconservatives had it all planned, but one factor was missing.
Propaganda had already been working its insidious misinformation. The mass media were already more than willing to play the game of Big Money.

Americans were thoroughly indoctrinated to toe the line of Big Power. Respect for power and blind obedience were the result of the U.S. educational system. “I pledge obedience to the flag of the United States of America …” Millions and millions of yes-men had been molded out of the clay of propaganda and history books.

Yes, the Neoconservatives had it all in hand. Ronald Reagan had taken the first big step to load the dice. Anybody with a conscience was now going to be deprived of any realistic means of resetting the scales to a just balance. This was the beginning of the policy of ‘starving the beast’. The little people had no say. Only Big Money weighed heavily enough to tip the balance. Bill Clinton continued in the steps of his predecessors and the famous climbing ladder, supposed to be available to all Americans, became more and more of an illusion.

But the real introduction of lawlessness and the total contempt for the needs of the masses, that were soon to follow, were still only in the sick minds of the Neocon cavemen. In order to carry out their destructive projects, one factor was standing in their way. The people might become a powerful force against their openly unconstitutional planned take-over. Could even the Supreme Court be relied on to take the side of the Neocon monsters? The Project for the New American Century (PNAC)[1] may well have as its goal the promotion of American global leadership, but would the end justify the means? Could this little clique of psychopaths do their deeds and clear the hurdles that were still in clear view?

The path to world domination is made possible

September 11 made it all possible. Whatever really happened on that fateful day will probably never be known to the public, even though theories abound. But what we do know is that mass hysteria was awakened in the American people and the surgeons could now come in and chop away at human rights, spread fear instead of showing a reasonable calm, and all this without being hampered by any humanitarian considerations. The homeland had been attacked. All means were from now on considered legal.

The cheerleaders were in full swing, flags were waving all over America the beautiful. National pride was steered towards revenge with an unstoppable force, constantly nurtured by radio, television and bumper-sticker propaganda.

Patriotism had its field day and barely any questions were asked. The tiny clique of cavemen made preposterous statements, unsupported by any real facts and the citizens lapped it up blindly, without the slightest attempt at verifying the truth of the accusations. Mass hysteria snowballed.

A country was pointed out as being behind this incomparably heinous deed. It made absolutely no sense whatsoever, but people didn’t pay any attention. The propaganda channels were screaming: “Never in the history of mankind has a deed been wrought that was more evil, more undeserved, more incomprehensible.

What do they have against us?

There’s absolutely nothing in the world that we have done that would deserve an attack like this one.”

The rah-rah chorus got louder and louder. “Our country, the most civilized, the most moral and the most powerful country in the world has been attacked by an evil country. How did they dare?”

The patriotic screams covered over any voice that dared point out that the entire show didn’t make any sense.

The ingenious invention – the WAR ON TERROR

Now the doors were open for the United States of America to put their underground plans into action. From that day on, any lies were accepted without so much as a question as to the logic and credibility of the claims brazenly made.

The U.S. President became an ever more powerful actor on the world stage. He could wage wars that were not wars. He could kill civilians who were not civilians. He could initiate invasions of nations that were not invasions. Up was down and down was up. Sense and logic had given up the stage to hysteria and illusions. Non-sense is the rule of the day.

How was this possible? Because of an attack on two skyscrapers that collapsed like sand castles because two airplanes flew into them and a third one that did so without anything hitting it? No, that wasn’t enough. It wasn’t quite that simple.

They had to invent a WAR ON TERROR. Never was a shrewder invention made in human history. Everybody who opposes our holy war on terror is a terrorist. Et voilà. As simple as that.

The fear and pride in their country made Americans blind to what was really going on in the aggressive U.S. politics. Countries were invaded and torn apart, hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed, lost their homes, were made to flee their countries. Families were disunited, parents were searching for their children, children were crying for their lost parents. The horror that spread through the world was hidden from the American people due to the corruption of the mass media. What they saw on their television screens was theater à la carte. What they heard and read was that the United States was saving the world from tyranny and introducing freedom and democracy.

The overall purpose of the PNAC people, the Neoconservatives, is to control the planet At whatever cost. Cost in human lives, cost in destruction of the environment, cost in the destruction of other people’s cultures. Millennia of traditions are of no importance.

To this end slogans are made up that fit their goal. Muslims are terrorists. Everybody who is against the War on Terror and Washington’s all-means-justify-the-end principle is a terrorist and should be sent to lifelong imprisonment or killed outright. Drug traffic is evil, unless it’s run by the United States. U.S military are all good people and are justified in doing whatever they are doing. Except for a few bad apples, of course.

Whatever country does not cooperate fully with the United States is corrupt and should be made to see the light.  See Libya.  See Syria.  See Iran.  And first of all there was of course Afghanistan and Iraq. Any country which has valuable resources that they don’t willingly turn over to U.S.-centered corporations must be taught to rethink their policies. Or they will become the victims of invasions and ghastly killing sprees.

Washington’s sore toe

Latin America was once considered the U.S. backyard and it is against nature itself that those countries now have the gall to run their own business. So Paraguay happens. So Mexico happens. How long will they be able to run business in Colombia? When will the freedom fighters (the ‘terrorists’ of course) manage to stop the corrupt and deadly U.S. influence over the running of this nation?

When will the other September 11 be repeated, the one in Santiago, Chile, in 1973, when Salvador Allendewas killed and a murderous dictatorship installed? Oh yes, the neoliberalism of Milton Friedman and the Chicago boys dates back much farther than to the Neoconservative fanatics.

coup was tried again in April of 2002, this time against Hugo Chávez, but the rage of the people made this coup a miserable failure. Chávez was reinstalled after two days of rightist brainless celebrations.  If the mass media had done their job, the power behind the coup, that is the United States, would have become a worldwide laughingstock.

Caring for the people is communist-inspired soft-headed nonsense

Socialism is for the weak of heart, and a strong nation doesn’t need nationalized enterprise. Private ownership is what makes for progress and private profit is what makes the world go round. Real men are capitalists.

The people are of no importance. They are all collateral damage. Who needs the local store owner? Who needs the industrial worker since labor is so much cheaper elsewhere. Who needs the small farmer since agribusiness is so much more profitable to the corporations?

The United States is busy wielding its secret power in any country that becomes a threat to the Empire – any country that might possibly be won over to democracy in a popular uprising. Egypt looked at first like a promise to the world of freedom, but there is not a chance that a new regime will ever heed the voice of the people who fought so bravely in Tahrir Square over a year ago. The military and the Muslim Brotherhood will no doubt do whatever Washington tells them to do.

Libya was callously and stealthily destroyed. Tripoli and much of the rest of the country was bombed to smithereens. And what had Qaddafi made himself guilty of? Making Libya the richest country in Africa after its having been the poorest. But he threatened to nationalize the oil and gas and that is strictly verboten if the U.S. can have a say. And they made sure they did. Qaddafi had to go since Libya is essential for U.S. control over the Middle East [2].
And then comes Syria, an increasingly bloody mess, waiting for its turn to be submitted to the same destiny.

And who is in collusion with Washington in all this western imperialism? NATO, of course. The EU with all its puppets called Barroso, Christine Lagarde (IMF), Cameron, Sarkozy/Hollande (in spite of Hollande’s empty talk of ending austerity measures), Merkel, who might well be the one honest prime minister/leader in Europe, since she seems to be acting for Germany more than for the Empire.

But Washington is the preserver of freedom and democracy in the world and no country is as free or has the moral rectitude of the United States. Follow the example of Washington and all will be well. We will all be little Americans and we will all be eating big Macs at MacDonald’s and buying our T-shirts at Walmart’s.

The way the Empire runs its mission of saving the world is by ignoring any humanitarian needs at home or abroad. The standard of living is steadily going down in the Western world. Who cares? People are dying by the hundreds of thousands all over the world and in particular in the countries that have become the special targets for Washington since they are considered essential for U.S. absolute global domination.

The corporations are getting together to make the poor farmers in Africa a mass of starving slaves of Big Money, the victims of the monstrous proceedings of the totally immoral corporate agribusiness.

The absurd world

We are living in a theater of the absurd. Our world has been emptied of all real meaning. The substitute for real living is accumulating – whatever. Mainly money, of course, or things. Anything. In the absence of money, we accumulate debt. Our reason for living has become adding one gadget to another, or one million to another, and then, finally, sitting on top of a tower of failed hopes and ambitions.

Communication is getting limited to incessant blabber on our mobile phones to say – nothing. People have let their own hearts and minds go stale and they are now only occupied with a semblance of communication which has become an obsession without any meaning, with no ideals, no goals in life.  What are we going to become? Empty vessels of hate and fear, exactly the robots that the monsters in power were planning on.

Politics have become entertainment, another soap opera to distract the masses. There is no sense in participating in the election game since all elections are rigged in advance. The stage is set for the Corporations to run the planet Earth into the ultimate abyss.

Have people even noticed that democracy is dead?

Conclusion

The predator hawks are flying across the skies, swooping down to attack wherever there is a vague sign of populism, combined with resources of any kind that can be turned into money.

All this is made possible in the thick fog spread over the world by the WAR ON TERROR. Anything goes. People are totally ignorant of how the Corpocrats are busy destroying their lives and the environment. The blind and deaf people, the propaganda victims, are the perfect, easily manipulated human robots that the Neocons were depending on for their total success.

Unless we can relearn to use our brains and our critical sense, our ability to see the reality through the fog of fear and indolence, not only will we ourselves be done away with through the gradual ‘starving of the beast’, but the whole planet will be made a sterile desert. At the end of the day the predators will be found begging for the crumbs of food left over from the few self-supporting farmers who managed to withstand the corporate predators.

[Source]

 

You didn’t get mad!

After The 8 Years Of The Bush/Cheney Disaster, Now You Get Mad?

You didn’t get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed  a President.

You didn’t get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate  Energy policy and push us to invade Iraq.

You didn’t get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed.  You didn’t get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.

You didn’t get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to  us.

You didn’t get mad when we spent over 800 billion (and counting) on said illegal  war.

You didn’t get mad when Bush borrowed more money from foreign sources than the  previous 42 Presidents combined.

You didn’t get mad when over 10 billion dollars in  cash just disappeared in  Iraq.

You didn’t get mad when you found out we were torturing people.

You didn’t get mad when Bush embraced trade and outsourcing policies that  shipped 6 million American jobs out of the country.

You didn’t get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.

You didn’t get mad when we didn’t catch Bin Laden.

You didn’t get mad when Bush rang up 10 trillion dollars in combined budget and  current account deficits.

You didn’t get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.

You didn’t get mad when we let a major US city, New Orleans, drown.

You didn’t get mad when we gave people who had more money than they could spend,  the filthy rich, over a trillion dollars in tax breaks.

You didn’t get mad with the worst 8 years of job creations in several decades.

You didn’t get mad when over 200,000 US Citizens lost their lives because  they  had no health insurance.

You didn’t get mad when lack of oversight and regulations from the Bush  Administration caused US Citizens to lose 12 trillion dollars in investments,  retirement, and home values.

You finally got mad when a black man was elected President and decided that  people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick.

Yes,  illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, job losses by the millions, stealing  your tax dollars to make the rich richer, and the worst economic disaster since  1929 are all okay with you, but helping fellow Americans who are sick.

Oh, Hell  No!!

 

Freedom vs Slavery

The injustice suffered by Africans in America and around the world at the hands of vile and vicious European slavers is coming to bear with the rough reality of the shooting of 20 people in Arizona, murder of two Miami police officers, natural disasters that are destroying luxury properties owned by Europeans in Europe, Australia and other parts of the world. That there is justice in the Universe is evidenced by the rebellion of poor people everywhere. There is no vile act that will not be reconciled. As poor people, black, brown, red, yellow and white awaken, the powers that be need to pay attention and accept that their actions reap reaction, not only from people but nature, itself.

In response to the article below, Helen B wrote:

This is why it is so important to hold our Saturday classes where all these facts can be brought out so our children understand the price paid for them to have so many opportunities available to them. Also, I agree with you that today’s Blacks are lacking in courage; but, additionally, they have adopted the white man’s ways to the extent that keeping up with the Jones and conspicuous consumption causes them to have a false sense of security.They have become “comfortable” and are satisfied with the fact that they can own and drive expensive foreign cars and homes they can’t afford to pay for. It’s all about appearance instead of reality. No Black person in America is free and will NEVER be free until we understand how our history and culture were stolen from us; and, we are no longer original people. We are the white man’s slaves and clones. The more we emulate him, the more satisfied we are with ourselves. We must seek and embrace our own culture because our roots are not only deep, but they are richly profuse in every aspect of human advancement in every area and aspect of life. We are the original people; but, we’ve allowed ourselves to be relegated to an inferior status. Never, will any white person make me think I’m inferior to him or her. If I were to take a more subjective view, I would say that the Black race is the superior race. No race of people has been able to endure the horrendous treatment to which we have been subjected and still we rise! Additionally, there are false assumptions based on education, color and other shallow values that keep us separated, unlike other ethnic groups who come together to support each other as they help the other one to advance. We are so busy pulling each other down that we don’t take time to realize that together we are stronger than we are as one. I pray daily for my people and pray that I can live long enough to see them open their eyes, their hearts and their minds to realize that we are our brothers’/sisters’ keepers.

The history that your teacher never taught!

Our ancestors did not have TV or Newspapers and most could not read but they understood the difference between existing as slaves or living as free men. This is a value and a courage that is non-existent in today’s society. It appears that one thing is certain, there will never be another Crispus Attucks in this country!!!!

MAAT
Kariba
http://www.thestar.com

Untold story of U.S. slave rebellion retold centuries later
January 23, 2011

Details of paintings depicting 1811 Louisiana slave revolt by New Orleans folk artist Lorraine Gendron.

By Mitch Potter Washington Bureau
DESTREHAN PLANTATION, LA.—A long-lost chapter in American history is being written anew, today, as southerners begin to come to terms with the previously untold story of the continent’s largest slave revolt.

And, while historians today debate the details, a consensus is forming around just how close New Orleans came to becoming a free black colony precisely 200 years ago when a makeshift army of some 500 slaves, some just a few years out of Africa, rose up in carefully calculated unison with epic consequences.

Here at the pastoral Destrehan Plantation, the aftermath of the January 1811 insurrection was especially brutal — newly unearthed colonial records show the estate was the epicentre for a judicial reckoning, with the white slaveholders ordering as many as 100 ringleaders shot or hanged.

The black rebel leaders then were decapitated, with their heads mounted on stakes in a horrific necklace of retribution stretching 70 kms down the Mississippi, all the way to the gates of what was then America’s most crucial frontier city.

“It is one of the most striking moments of amnesia in our national history. What you had in the end were plantation owners sitting down to sumptuous five-course meals as they looked out the window at their own beheaded slaves,” said historian Daniel Rasmussen, who began his investigation as an undergraduate student at Harvard.

“The planters were outnumbered and terrified. They thought of their slaves as sub-human and they saw ritual beheading as a prime way to get their message across.

“And what followed this gruesome display was a concerted attempt to write it out of the history books. The southern newspapers suppressed the story, either refusing to publish or delaying for months. Only a few papers much further north published small paragraphs condemning the savagery of the planters.”

Tulane University, the African American Museum in Treme and Destrehan Plantation all are filling in the blanks with the launch of a yearlong look at the 1811 uprising.

But it is Rasmussen’s riveting new book, American Uprising: The Untold Story of America’s Largest Slave Revolt that is turning the most heads, in academia and beyond.

Collating clues from dust-encrusted plantation ledgers, colonial court records, obscure snippets of antebellum correspondence and the oral memory of slave descendents, Rasmussen’s study recreates the intense planning and careful timing that underpinned the audacious bid for freedom, involving slaves from a dozen plantations, along the river.

Two Asante warriors, Kook and Quamana, likely battle-hardened from wars in Africa, conspired with Charles Deslondes, a mulatto slave-driver of mixed parentage, who Rasmussen describes as “the ultimate sleeper cell.”

All had been, in one way or another,  “sold down the river” — a cliché first conceived to describe the especially horrific nature of slavery at the southernmost end of the Mississippi, where extreme violence underpinned the extreme wealth of the lucrative French sugar plantations.

Spiked collars were the norm for the uncooperative — the spikes pointing inward to prevent sleep. Deslondes, working on behalf of his plantation owner, was responsible for administering punishment, including the lash for those who would dare refuse the backbreaking labours of harvesting, beating, boiling and refining the sugar cane.

Haiti was also a factor. The slave revolution of 1791 was, in its own way, a shot heard round the slave world, as French colonial refugees and their slaves washed into New Orleans. It remains unclear whether Deslondes came from Haiti.

Louisiana was a vital American territory 200 years ago, but just barely — Napoleon had sold France’s claim to the vast Mississippi watershed to the United States a few years earlier for a paltry $15 million, a gift that would ultimately open the drive to the Pacific. But Louisiana’s French colonial class had nothing but contempt for its new American overseers, who were in January 1811, preoccupied in battles with the Spanish to secure a tract of west Florida. New Orleans was nearly defenceless.

“The attack came at just the right moment — the Americans were fighting the Spanish and with the harvest completed, the French planters were focused on the month-long series of lavish carnival balls and all-night parties leading up to Mardi Gras. And several days of steady rains had turned the road to mud, impeding any counterattack. Their guard was down,” Rasmussen said in an interview with the Toronto Star.

“Scarcely a resident in New Orleans had a musket. The city had a weak detachment of 68 troops.”

The rebels rose first at André Plantation, after sunset on January 8, 1811. And within hours, they were on the march to New Orleans. A ragtag army, perhaps, but one that marched in uniform, having seized militia clothing and weapons from plantation armories. Their numbers grew as the march advanced and as rumor of the uprising swept down the river road, the ruling class fled for the safety of the city.

“The planters couldn’t understand it — the idea that the slaves were not just savages, but that this was something planned. You had an army marching in military formation, wearing military uniforms, carrying flags and banners and chanting, “Freedom or death,” said Rasmussen.

New Orleans was on the edge of chaos — not least because its own population was 75 per cent black, awakening the fears of a second front rising up within the town itself. The city would order its taverns closed, imposed a curfew on all black males and summoned able-bodied whites to arms. Simultaneously, fleeing French planters regrouped on the West Bank of the Miscopy upstream from the city.

The two forces, American regulars and French planter militia, ultimately were able to confront the freedom fighters from both sides in a series of pitched battles beyond the city gates in the days that followed. Surviving slaves fled to the swamps and manhunts ensued, with dozens rounded up for the rough justice to come.

In the end, 21 slaves were interviewed by their colonial overseers in a bid to piece together the roots of the conspiracy and assign criminal blame. Elements of the story, says Rasmussen, survive in the oral histories of slave descendents, passed down and told “even to the present day at family reunions.” But the main snippets are to be found, refracted through the writings of the white ruling class, which show extent of fears never before told.

“They were sitting on a powder keg and, when it exploded and was put down, everything changed. Instead of a mini-Haiti, Louisiana society became militarized. The revolt pushed this old aristocratic society into the hands of the American government,” said Rasmussen.

“What you see is that the foundations of American power in this part of the deep South were built upon the commitment to restore and uphold slavery. Essentially, the French planters decided to cling to the United States as an ark of safety.”

As for Kook, Quamana, and Charles Deslondes, only now are historians weighing how to elevate them alongside the likes of far better known revolutionaries like Nat Turner and John Brown as major figures in the American struggle for emancipation.

“None of this has ever been taught in American schools and the hope now is that these men, who were executed for the strongest ideals will take their rightful place in history,” said Rasmussen.

“They were political revolutionaries, they deserve a place in the national memory and there is a sense now that they are getting it. We need to wrestle with this history if we are ever to truly understand it.”