The US Confederacy was the Islamic State of its day and its flag is an affront to decency

confederate-flag-1-1400x650If ever a cause was unworthy, that cause was the US Confederacy. If ever a cause was righteously defeated, it was the cause of the US Confederacy. And if ever a flag was and is an insult to human decency and dignity, it is the US Confederate flag.

The mere fact this is still being debated in the United States, the fact there are those who continue to accord a nobility, valour, and romanticism to the Confederacy – regarded wistfully as the ‘Lost Cause’ by its adherhents – this is evidence of the deep polarisation that divides a society yet to fully come to terms with its legacy of slavery, racial oppression, and barbarism.

When white racist fanatic, Dylann Roof, slaughtered nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, he unwittingly exposed the truth that the US Civil War remains the defining event in the nation’s history, which still today informs a cultural divide between North and South.

The reason for this lies not so much in the legitimacy of the Confederate/southern cause – indeed, how could a cause defined by the right to keep human beings as slaves ever be considered legitimate? – but in the weakness of progressive forces in succumbing to the mythology that has been ascribed to the Confederacy and to those who fought and died for it. Indeed if ever a nation was crying out for the aggressive assertion of human rights, racial equality, and justice, it is the United States.

Racial oppression, whether delivered from the gun of a mass murderer in a South Carolinian church, or the gun of a police officer, has yet to be expunged in the land of the free, even though 150 years have passed since the Confederacy was defeated in battle.

There are historical reasons why this is so, but one in particular: namely the decision of the 19th President of the United States, Rutherford B Hayes, to end Reconstruction as a condition of his entry into the White House with the support of southern Democrats, a tawdry political deal known to history as the Compromise of 1877. It marked the end of a decade in which so-called Radical Republicans (referred to pejoratively as Black Republicans), in control of the US Congress, had driven forward a federal programme to promote and uphold the rights of former slaves throughout the South, according them the full civil and political rights that their status as free men and women demanded. This was absolutely necessary immediately upon war’s end, when local politicians assumed control of state legislatures across the South and enacted ‘black codes’ with the objective of keeping the newly freed blacks in as close to a state of slavery as was possible, refusing to grant them their rights or the vote.

The reaction of the North was to divide the former Confederate states into military districts and occupy them with federal troops to ensure the protection of blacks from white racists and to enforce their civil rights. This was accompanied by the demand that those former Confederate states support the passage of the three post-civil war amendments to the US Constituion – the 13th, 14th, and 15th – outlawing slavery and granting rights of citizenship and the vote to every person born in the United States regardless of race or colour, and in every state.

The end of Reconstruction in 1877, and the withdrawal of federal troops from states such as South Carolina, resulted in the plight of blacks in said states suffering a sharp reverse. The Klu Klux Klan’s influence and power as America’s first terrorist organisation instantly made its presence felt, measured in the rise and entrenchment of white supremacy as a state and culture of segregation returned across the South. Blacks were lynched, murdered, and tortured with impunity from then on, and their status as second-class citizens entrenched.

This mindset remains a fact of life not just across the South but across the United States, carried in the hearts and minds of right wing Republicans (one of the ironies of US politics is that where the Republicans were once the progressives and the Democrats conservatives when it came to racial equality, today the situation is the exact reverse) and a reactionary media that on a daily and nightly basis whips up divisions and spews prejudice and racial stereotypes with blithe disregard for common decency.

By far the most compelling evidence of this culture of racial prejudice, however, has been the treatment of the nation’s first black president, Barack Obama, since he entered the White House in 2009. Never has a US President been subjected to such a sustained campaign of demonisation and hate as he has.

In the face of this campaign, his dignity has never wavered, nor his understanding of the racism that scars the country to this day. His eulogy at the funeral service of South Carolina senator and pastor Clementa Pinckney, one of the nine victims of the recent slaughter, culminated in an inspiring rendition of Amazing Grace, reminding us of what might have been if he’d been president of a truly post-racial America.

At the start of the Civil War in 1861 four million men, women, and children were being kept as chattel across the Confederacy. They were sold, raped, beaten, tortured and murdered upon the whim of their owners, men and women whose barbarity finds its modern day equivalence in the barbarity of the followers and members of the Islamic State.

There was nothing noble or romantic about the Confederacy, and its defeat marked a victory for human progress. But the waging of total war that ensured its defeat was not followed by the waging of total peace to ensure that the culture which gave rise to it was likewise consigned to history.

The plight of blacks and other minorities across the US today is a daily reminder of that failure, a measure of the weakness of generations of US progressives in their attempt to foment unity and reconciliation when they should have been fomenting justice.

The most passionate Radical Republican of them all, Thaddeus Stevens, put it best: “There can be no fanatics in the cause of genuine liberty.”

 

 

50 comments on “The US Confederacy was the Islamic State of its day and its flag is an affront to decency

  1. Karl Stewart on said:

    I don’t diagree with anything you’ve written there. But is what the Confederate flag stand for really any worse than the ‘Stars and Stripes’?

    The so-called “American Civil War’ was a war among European-Americans.

    I’m not aware that there was any disagreement between them over how indigineous American people should be treated – was there?

  2. John on said:

    Karl Stewart: But is what the Confederate flag stand for really any worse than the ‘Stars and Stripes’?

    You don’t think the war to end slavery was significant, Karl? Are you sure? One side was fighting for the institution of human slavery, the other fighting to destroy it. You don’t think there was any appreciable difference between both?

    At the time progressives and communists across the world certainly did. Have you read Marx and Engels’ writings on the Civil War. Marx wrote for example: “While the workingmen, the true political power of the North, allowed slavery to defile their own republic, while before the Negro, mastered and sold without his concurrence, they boasted it the highest prerogative of the white-skinned laborer to sell himself and choose his own master, they were unable to attain the true freedom of labor, or to support their European brethren in their struggle for emancipation; but this barrier to progress has been swept off by the red sea of civil war.”

    Marx considered the US Civil War to be nothing less than a second American Revolution that succeeded in destroying the southern slaveholding class, thus preparing the way for the struggle between the working class and capitalist class in the industrialised North. He was in no doubt of the stakes involved, as were Manchester mill workers, who voted to continue to implement an embargo on southern cotton in solidarity with the North, despite it causing them great hardship. Lincoln was minded to respond to their gesture of solidarity in a letter, part of which reads:

    “I know and deeply deplore the sufferings which the working-men of Manchester, and in all Europe, are called to endure in this crisis. It has been often and studiously represented that the attempt to overthrow this government, which was built upon the foundation of human rights, and to substitute for it one which should rest exclusively on the basis of human slavery, was likely to obtain the favor of Europe. Through the action of our disloyal citizens, the working- men of Europe have been subjected to severe trials, for the purpose of forcing their sanction to that attempt. Under the circumstances, I cannot but regard your decisive utterances upon the question as an instance of sublime Christian heroism which has not been surpassed in any age or in any country. It is indeed an energetic and re-inspiring assurance of the inherent power of truth, and of the ultimate and universal triumph of justice, humanity, and freedom.”

    Karl Stewart: The so-called “American Civil War’ was a war among European-Americans.

    Try telling that to the 200,000 Africans who took up arms and fought for their freedom, 40,000 of whom perished. These men were heroes and don’t deserve to be written out of the history of that epic war. Spartacus himself could not have done more.

  3. Karl Stewart on said:

    John: Try telling that to the 200,000 Africans who took up arms and fought for their freedom, 40,000 of whom perished. These men were heroes and don’t deserve to be written out of the history of that epic war. Spartacus himself could not have done more.

    Yes, that’s an excellent point and wrong of me to have not considered it or mentioned it in my post.

    African-American soldiers who took up arms in that war to fight for their own liberty certainly were heroes and fought incredibly bravely, while being treated appallingly by their own side.

    Your article describes how the hopes of equality among African-Americans were cruelly dashed just a few short years after the war.

    So I think I’d say that the war heroically fought by African-Americans was lost at that time and it was another 100 years before African-Americans won even formal equality in the USA.

    Of course the war between the two European-American states was extremely significant, had the European-Americans remained divided into two separate and antagonistic nation-states, it’s possible they might not then have expanded west of the Mississippi River.

    The north American sub-continent might then have developed along very different lines.

  4. Karl Stewart on said:

    John: Marx considered the US Civil War to be nothing less than a second American Revolution

    Marx was wrong.

  5. jim mclean on said:

    Karl Stewart: The north American sub-continent might then have developed along very different lines.

    Probably a number of smaller nation states, Mexico would not have lost so much territory but still think coal and iron would have given the Northern States the best economic outlook.

  6. Vanya on said:

    How genuinely significant are those 3 words, “Boo, boo boo!” A question that always comes to mind when this subject arises.

  7. lone nut on said:

    Karl Stewart,

    Well Marx would be wrong on just about everything in your view, I guess. After all, the central thesis of Marxism would be that the huge expansion in the productive forces which took place in the 18th and 19th century meant that world socialism was actually a viable prospect rather than a utopian pipe dream. That expansion would have been unthinkable without the development of capitalist agriculture and industry in the United States, which is why Marx was such an enthusiastic supporter of US expansion through the Mexican wars. It is hard to think what world history would have been like if north America had remained at the hunter gatherer stage of development, which is what you seem to desire.

  8. Vanya on said:

    #8 I thought the Cherokee Nation was split and it was only a minority who supported the Confederacy?

    Nevertheless I do think there has been a tendency to romanticise Native American cultures- understandable given some of the atrocities perpetuated against them by Europeans and then white Americans, and the destruction of their way of life, and something I’d fallen into myself.

    It reminds me a bit of the way buddhism is held up as a religion of peace and enlightenment.

  9. Karl Stewart on said:

    jim mclean:
    The Cherokee fought for the Rebels and American indians were often Slave Holders, even before thearrival of the European.

    From what I know – from what I’ve read of the history of that period – yes, there were examples of Americans fighting with both sides.

    As to Indians owning slaves, yes, I wouldn’t be surprised if there had been slavery in India at the time of the late 19th century, but I don’t think there was any significant emigration from India to America then.

    lone nut:
    Well Marx would be wrong on just about everything in your view, I guess.

    No, of course Marx was not “wrong on everything.” He was wrong in his enthusiasm for European-American expansionsm. And he was wrong to ignore the genocide committed by the European-Americans against America’s indigenous people that was an integral part of European-American expansionism.

    The article John’s written is absolutely right. I don’t disagree with anything in it. His description of what that racist murdering, slaveowning, white supremacist, banner symbolises is spot on. And protests against it should be supported. In southern states of the USA, it must take a lot of courage to openly protest against this symbol and people who do are to be admired.

    My point is not to take issue with any of that, but to make the point that the official USA flag – the ‘Stars and Stripes’ is equally abhorrent. It also symbolises European-American supremacism, genocide, the world’s most ruthless capitalism, imperialism, genocide, and the world’s only use of the nuclear bomb.

  10. John on said:

    Vanya: Nevertheless I do think there has been a tendency to romanticise Native American cultures-

    Indeed, similar to the way clan life and culture in the Scottish Highlands has been romanticised. Often abstracted is the fact that at the Battle of Culloden more Scots fought on the Hanoverian side than on the side of Bonnie Prince Charlie.

  11. John on said:

    Karl Stewart: is equally abhorrent.

    No it’s not, this is the point. In its representation of the struggle to destroy slavery and the southern slaveowning class it was a progressive symbol. What you don’t grasp is the role of contradiction in historical events and processes. That flag came to symbolise the atrocities you mention, but to those 200,000 Africans who took up arms under that flag, and the 4 million freed from the immeasurable cruelty of chattel slavery, that flag was heaven-sent, despite what came after.

    We are not moralists we are socialists, and socialism, if based on the materical conception of history, is concerned with the advance of the working class as the potential agent of social change and transformation. For this to take place there needs to be a working class in the first place. This is where Marx and Engels viewed the destruction of slavery as a progressive advance, and why for example the defeat of the Jacobites at Culloden was a progressive event.

  12. Karl Stewart on said:

    It isn’t “romanticism” to object to, and insist the world should never forget, and feel that recompense should be made for, a genocide commited against a whole people.

    This is simply being human.

    Would anyone dismiss those who object to, and insist we never forget, and the recompense should be made for, the 20th century genocide against European jews?

    No of course nobody would. This genocide is, quite rightly, not forgotten. Quite rightly, no-one who raises this historical atrocity is dismissed as a “romanticist”.

    And equally, the genocide of a whole people, a whole indiginous people, that the flag of the USA primarily symbolises, must never be forgotten, or dismissed as “romanticism”.

    (And the Battle of Culloden??? Seriously??? WTF??)

  13. John on said:

    Karl Stewart: Would anyone dismiss those who object to, and insist we never forget, and the recompense should be made for, the 20th century genocide against European jews?

    That recompense has already been made and is being made every single day in the suffering of the Palestinians.

  14. John on said:

    Karl Stewart: It isn’t “romanticism” to object to, and insist the world should never forget, and feel that recompense should be made for, a genocide commited against a whole people.

    And btw Karl, I’m not going to let this go. No one in the course of this exchange claimed it was ‘romanticism’ to object to genocide – no one. This is another example of how you continually attempt to distort people’s words and meaning, thereby smearing them.

    Don’t do this please. It’s dishonest and unacceptable.

  15. John grimshaw on said:

    Vanya:
    #8 I thought the Cherokee Nation was split and it was only a minority who supported the Confederacy?

    Nevertheless I do think there has been a tendency to romanticiseNative American cultures- understandable given some of the atrocities perpetuated against them by Europeans and then white Americans, and the destruction of their way of life,and something I’d fallen into myself.

    It reminds me a bit of the way buddhism is held up as a religion of peace andenlightenment.

    As usual life is more complicated than some would have it. In the war against the French in the eighteenth century a lot of Native Americans supported the French because French mercantilism was less of a threat than British settlers. In the War of Independence most Native Americans supported the British government because they were less of a threat to their land ownership than the American colonists. They were probably right as well. Of course by the time of the civil war the Eastern Native American tribes had largely been destroyed. Technically however they were still “free” so it wouldn’t surprise me if some still owned slaves and following the same logic it wouldn’t surprise me if some would’ve preferred to support the confederacy rather than the Federacy.

    Indeed. The Sinhalese Buddhists have hardly showed an enlightened view in their treatment of Rohingya Muslims.

  16. John grimshaw on said:

    John: Indeed, similar to the way clan life and culture in the Scottish Highlands has been romanticised. Often abstracted is the fact that at the Battle of Culloden more Scots fought on the Hanoverian side than on the side of Bonnie Prince Charlie.

    The treacherous Campbells aren’t called that for no reason.

  17. John grimshaw on said:

    This has been much quoted from Marx. The question is how do you interpret it?

    “Direct slavery is just as much the pivot of bourgeois industry as machinery, credits, etc. Without slavery you have no cotton; without cotton you have no modern industry. It is slavery that has given the colonies their value; it is the colonies that have created world trade, and it is world trade that is the pre-condition of large-scale industry. Thus slavery is an economic category of the greatest importance.

    Without slavery North America, the most progressive of countries, would be transformed into a patriarchal country. Wipe out North America from the map of the world, and you will have anarchy–the complete decay of modern commerce and civilization. Cause slavery to disappear and you will have wiped America off the map of nations. Thus slavery, because it is an economic category, has always existed among the institutions of the peoples. Modern nations have been able only to disguise slavery in their own countries, but they have imposed it without disguise upon the New World.”

  18. Karl Stewart on said:

    John: No one in the course of this exchange claimed it was ‘romanticism’ to object to genocide – no one.

    No-one directly said: “It is romanticist to object to genocide.” That’s true.
    But the reference to the suffering of the American people at the hands of the European settlers was the only context in which the American people were introduced into this debate.
    There was no reference made to their ‘culture’. No-one had said anything positive or admiring about the ways inwhich the American people lived. The only reference made to the American people was the genocide waged against them by the European settlers.

    So Vanya said:

    Vanya: I do think there has been a tendency to romanticise Native American cultures

    What ‘romanticising’ of ‘culture’ was her referring to? There had been no mention of ‘culture’ in the preceding comments, whether ‘romanticised’ or not.

    And then when you agreed with him by saying:

    John: Indeed, similar to the way clan life and culture in the Scottish Highlands has been romanticised.

    …what ‘romanticising’ were you refering to?

    So, what has happened here is that you’ve written an excellent article attacking the racist murdering, KKK-terrorism-supporting, underage-cousin-shagging, redneck filth symbolised by the Confederate banner.

    I totally agreed with you – good stuff and it needs to be said.

    And then I made the further point that the symbol of the Confederates’ enemy in that war, the ‘USA’ and its ‘Stars and Stripes’ banner is equally abhorrent, given that it primarily represents genocide (this is a nation founded, yes founded, on genocide), European-American supremacism, and then imperialism, and the military use of nuclear weapons.

    Vanya and you respond to this by saying that people have a tendency to ‘romanticise’ what you refer to as ‘Native’ American ‘culture’.

  19. John grimshaw on said:

    John grimshaw: Technically however they were still “free” so it wouldn’t surprise me if some still owned slaves

    “Only in Georgia and South Carolina, where white women were scarce, was there some sexual mixing of white men and Indian women.. In general the Indian was pushed out of sight, out of touch. One fact disturbed: whites would run off to join Indian tribes, or would be captured in battle and brought up among the Indians, and when this happened the whites, given a chance to leave, chose stay in the Indian culture. Indians, having the choice almost never decided to join whites.”
    Page 53 A People’s history of the United States _ H. Zinn

  20. John Grimshaw on said:

    President Jackson (1829)
    “I informed the Indians inhabiting parts of Georgia and Alabama that their attempt to establish an independent government would not be countenanced by the Executive of the United States, and advised them to emigrate beyond the Mississippi or submit to the laws of those states.”

    Cherokee Nation (1830)
    “We are aware that some persons think it would be to our advantage to remove beyond the Mississippi. We think otherwise. Our people universally think otherwise….We wish to remain on the land of our fathers. We have a perfect and original right to remain without interruption or molestation…..Our only request is, that these treaties may be fulfilled, and these laws executed….”

    President van Buren (1838) After the Trail of Tears – To Congress
    “It affords sincere pleasure to apprise the Congress of the entire removal of the Cherokee Nation of Indians to their new homes west of the Mississippi. The measures authorised by Congress at it’s last session have had the happiest effects.”

  21. George Hallam on said:

    John grimshaw: One fact disturbed: whites would run off to join Indian tribes, or would be captured in battle and brought up among the Indians, and when this happened the whites, given a chance to leave, chose stay in the Indian culture. Indians, having the choice almost never decided to join whites.

    “When an Indian Child has been brought up among us, taught our language and habituated to our Customs, yet if he goes to see his relations and makes one Indian Ramble with them, there is no perswading him ever to return. [But] when white persons of either sex have been taken prisoners young by the Indians, and lived a while among them, tho’ ransomed by their Friends, and treated with all imaginable tenderness to prevail with them to stay among the English, yet in a Short time they become disgusted with our manner of life, and the care and pains that are necessary to support it, and take the first good Opportunity of escaping again into the Woods, from whence there is no reclaiming them.”

    Benjamin Franklin to Peter Collinson, May 9, I753,
    Quoted in http://www.shsu.edu/jll004/colonial_summer09/whiteindians.pdf

  22. Vanya on said:

    #10 In fact I referred to “Native American cultures” (plural) because as someone who has studied the subject a little (including reading Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee for the first time over 30 years ago, I am aware that there were significant differences among the various nations.

    I also object to the idea that by making the comment I did that I was in any way minimising the scale of what was perpetrated on those peoples.

    The reason I raised the issue was that someone made a reference to some Native Americans having slaves.

    The error of seeing the Confederacy and the United States as essentially as bad as each other arises in part from an oversimplified demonisation of the USA as a uniquely evil and oppressive power. Not wishing to go along with that is not to play down or excuse any of its crimes against indigenous people.

    I suspect that at the time your arguments would have been used as an excuse not to support the war against the Confederacy. I’ve certainly heard them used retrospectively, including by people who point to the fact that African American soldiers particpated in the “Indian wars” and including by people who clearly have both a romantic afinity with Native Americans and a pretty negative attitude to Black people.

    It was also used by some to justify opposition to the US participation in the war against fascism.

    For the avoidance of doubt, I do not allege that you fall into the latter categories.

  23. John Grimshaw on said:

    Vanya: from an oversimplified demonisation of the USA as a uniquely evil and oppressive power.

    Clearly this is true, But in more modern times the USA has become the hegemonic imperialist power. We can’t ignore that fact and that of course it is anti-working class.

    “You don’t understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it. It was you, Charley. “

  24. George Hallam on said:

    John Grimshaw: Benjamin Franklin was of course really a radical.

    ??
    My post was intended to support what you had said with an contemporary source. I used that particular quote because Franklin was a prominent figure. Other, less well-known, people had made the same point.

  25. George Hallam on said:

    John Grimshaw,

    Please ignore my last post.

    Thank you for raising the important issue of the attraction of Native American society for ‘Europeans’ in the 18th and early 19th Centuries.

    Best Wishes

    George

  26. Andy Newman on said:

    Phew, I totally cannot be bothered to engage with Karl’s ultra leftism.

    I recommend Eric Foner’s book “Reconstruction, America’s unfinished revolution.”

    Foner makes an excellent point about the self activity and agency of slaves and ex slaves themselves in using the opportunity of the war to shape the north’s agenda, for example by deserting the plantations in their thousands and joining the camps of the USA’s armies, forcing the “contraband” issue onto the North; and then forcing the issue of arming former slaves, and later by acts of insurrectionary violence, of political engagement through the Republican Party, and self organisation of black churches.

    The unsatisfactory outcomes were partly due to Lincoln’s assassination and him being replaced by a Tenessee drunkand, partly due to over hasty readmission of rebel states to the union, but also because the war was forced over the issue of free labour over slave labour, whereas former slaves wanted mainly to be self sufficient farmers, and frankly were not well prepared for wage labour.

    Furthermore, the backlash was terrorist from beginning, which is where John argues well, not only racial terror against blacks, but also terror and lynchings of members of the Republican Party.

    Generally, i think Ulysses Grant was a great president (though clearly the unfirtunate anti semitism he displayed in his military career was notable even in his own day). however what he encountered was that sentiment in the nOrth was simply unwilling to back the executive in military or administrative action against the rebel terrorists.

    In my view it was not the American state or Republican Party which failed, but that political realities in a democracy meant that racist terrorism beat them

  27. Karl Stewart on said:

    Andy Newman: Phew, I totally cannot be bothered to engage with Karl’s ultra leftism.

    It puzzles me the importance that some on the left seem to attach to being able to cling to a view that there is something ‘progressive’ somewhere in the formation of the USA nation-state.

    Surely the genocide committed against the original inhabitants of north America is the primary essential basis upon which the USA nation-state was founded.

    Any struggle for a socialist future must include the dismantling of this state and real restitution being made to the descendants of America’s original inhabitants.

  28. lone nut on said:

    I take it you won’t be celebrating Canada Day today then Karl? And come to think of it, if this doctrine of original sin is applied to all nation states in the Americas few should ‘scape whipping – least of all Cuba, where the indigenous population was destroyed in its entirety and slavery persisted almost into the 20th century. On a random calculation, the European nation states whose foundation/consolidation involved genocide and/or massive ethnic cleansing would include Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Turkey, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Turkey, Greece, Russia and doubtless many others – none of them have made “real restitution”, whatever that might mean.

  29. John on said:

    Andy Newman: I recommend Eric Foner’s book “Reconstruction, America’s unfinished revolution.”

    Yes, this is considered the definitive work on Reconstruction, I believe. WEB DuBois’s ‘Black Reconstruction in America’ is another very good source.

    Andy Newman: partly due to over hasty readmission of rebel states to the union, but also because the war was forced over the issue of free labour over slave labour, whereas former slaves wanted mainly to be self sufficient farmers, and frankly were not well prepared for wage labour.

    There were inevitable problems due to former slaves now competing with white wage workers in an agricutultural economy. But the underlying issue, I believe, was the emphasis on reconciliation rather than the administration of justice, which the end of Reconstruction ushered in. It made a rod for the back of future generations, though this of course is said with hindsight.

    One thing that intrigued me while researching this piece was the autobiography of Frederick Douglass, where he describes an anti-slavery tour he made of the UK in the 1840s to packed out audiences. It included an appearance in Edinburgh, where he also attended a debate at the General Assembly of the Free Presbyterian Church in the Canonmills area of the city, close to where I live. In fact, I’m around the area most days.

    The issue being debated was the acceptance of the church of donations from southern slaveowners and the campaign to force them to send the money back. I was unaware of this. It reveals the extent to which southern slavery was a major issue in Britain and a how the abolitionist cause received huge support and solidarity here.

    I may write something on it later.

  30. Karl Stewart on said:

    Andy Newman:
    Karl Stewart,

    I am sure that a lot of things puzzle you Karl

    Indeed they do.

    Anyway Andy, I want to ask you about something offline if possible (unrelated to this debate).
    If you get a moment, could you email me so I can respond please? Thanks.

  31. Karl Stewart on said:

    Vanya,
    Some excellent points there Van. I only read “Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee” a few months ago and I found it heart-breaking. It left me wondering: What can we do about this?.

    lone nut,
    No, the USA is exceptional. A whole original people wiped out by a settlers from a completely different continent, who imported slave labour wholesale from another continent.

    And the settlers who carried this out did this in the name of ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ and took as their founding principle that ‘all men are created equal’. While enslaving Africans and massacring Americans.’

    None of that applies to any of those other examples you cited.

  32. John Grimshaw on said:

    Karl Stewart: No, the USA is exceptional. A whole original people wiped out by a settlers from a completely different continent, who imported slave labour wholesale from another continent.

    Australia?

  33. Karl Stewart on said:

    John Grimshaw:
    None of you have got back to me about my quote from Marx?

    Are you sure that quote was Marx?

    Sounded more Terry Malloy to me.

  34. John Grimshaw on said:

    Karl Stewart,

    It was. Check it up. Who’s Terry Malloy?

    Seemingly it is used (out of context I suspect) to show that Marx was a racist by certain black American people.

  35. Karl Stewart on said:

    John Grimshaw
    Who’s Terry Malloy?

    Terry Malloy (1954): “You don’t understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it. It was you, Charley. ”

  36. Karl Stewart on said:

    Does anyone on here know of a contemporary movement/organisation/campaign for north American nations’ rights to which we could give solidarity and support?

  37. Karl Stewart: Does anyone on here know of a contemporary movement/organisation/campaign for north American nations’ rights to which we could give solidarity and support?

    No, but I can offer you this obliquely related pinnacle of rock and roll achievement

  38. lone nut on said:

    Karl Stewart,

    As you frequently point out in other contexts, large scale movements of population have been a feature of human history since there have been human beings, and why these should be restricted to one continent is unclear to me. Such population movements have more often taken the form of savage wars of conquest and dispossession than amiable tourism, and that would be true also of those which helped create the native American cultures and civilizations which existed prior to the arrival of the Europeans – and of course these indigenous cultures were formed by those who came in successive waves from another continent, Asia. As far as we know, the world that existed in the Americas prior to 1492 generally owed more to Hobbes than to Rousseau.
    As regards “genocide”, the vast majority of indigenous deaths in north America were attributable to disease, often on the basis of minimal contact with Europeans, and would have taken place before the USA was created. That doesn’t mean that enormous savagery wasn’t shown towards the natives, it’s just that even if the behavior of Europeans had been much more benign a lot of people would have died. You’d also have to show some evidence of intention on the part of the Federal government, a planned program of extermination of native Americans, and there isn’t any such evidence. In relation to slavery, the north American form was more benign than that of the Latin American countries – so it’s hard to see how, say, Brazil or Peru would be more legitimate as states than the USA on the basis of your original sin argument.