AFRICANGLOBE – While watching The African Americans: Many Rivers To Cross on WTCI PBS I was struck by many of the underpinnings of Slavery, and by how familiar they feel to me. These are points that I have never read in a book, and that definitely are not taught in any History Class that I ever attended.
Slavery existed in the New World, almost from the beginning, as an extension of British Imperialism. During the Revolutionary War, the British attempted to free as many slaves as possible, so that they might fight on the side of the British. Some were freed, and at the end of the war, transported out of the fledgling United States. Most were left behind, and were doomed to lead their lives as slaves.
The British Government finally outlawed slavery in Britian and in her colonies. But, by then, the cotton gin had been developed, making Cotton King in the United States. So much wealth was tied to the production of cheap cotton, that slavery became a financial institution in the United States. Granted, most Northern States gradually outlawed slavery. Unfortunately, the Federal Government continued to allow slave owners to pursue their “property” and recapture it, even in free states. Many free Black Americans were captured by bounty hunters, and illegally transported south and sold as slaves.
The greed of plantation owners, fed by the wealth that King Cotton could provide, formed the platform upon which slavery was built. The cotton gin, an invention meant to improve the quality of life, actually led to slavery being sustained for longer than it might have been. After the war, it led to the continuing financial enslavement of Blacks, and to the relocation and slaughter of Native Americans.
How does this parallel what is happening today? Join me below the fold for more discussion.
Today, the working poor provide the cheap, easily exploitable workforce that the wealthy need at their disposal. To continue raking in the billions of dollars in profits that they have banked in the past twenty years, the working poor must be “chained” to their low paying jobs.
An eight prong attack has effectively done just that.
1. Destabilize the family. Among the poor of almost every culture, a strong family connection gives individuals the inner resources to rise above their birth. In the sixties, public housing, aid for dependent children, and, for a time, food stamps, required that the father, consided the main wage earner, be absent from the home, in order for the family to collect benifits. Generations have grown up with no father at home, and we have started to accept this as normal.
2. Remove Religious Influences. We have seen religious observances removed from our society as a whole. This takes away a “Higher Power” for individuals to turn to in times of stress.
3. The Proliferation of illegal drugs. The use of both legal and illegal drugs drains resources from the community which could be used to raise citizens out of poverty.
4. The wholesale imprisonment of large segments of our male population in horrific conditions. This tatic is meant to squelch any armed backlash. It also gives industry almost free labor. Any society that feels it is acceptable to make a profit from putting citizens in jail, is morally corrupt.
5. The militarization of police. This gives the wealthy establishment armed enforcers. If we object, they shoot us or stick us in jail.
6. The unavailability of any saftey net. This forces people to take whatever job, at whatever wage and benifits, as is quickly available. The working poor are now afraid to leave a job for a better job.
7. Make education almost impossible to afford. The children of the working poor can not afford to go to college, so they are relegated to another generation of menial labor.
8. The credit scam. We are all forced to pay whatever we are billed, almost without question, for fear of lowering our credit score. Without good redit, you can’t rent an appartment, get a car, get a student loan, get a credit card, get a cell phone, get DirecTV, turn on cable, internet, or electricity, or purchase a home. For many jobs, you must have almost perfect credit. In today’s economy, credit is king.
Ladies and gentleman, we are wage slaves. We cling to our little jobs, never allowed to make a real living wage, afraid to loose what little we have. I don’t claim that this is in any way as terrible as the slavery Black Americans experienced in the past, but it is slavery. When ever, and where ever we are compelled against our desire and our will, that is slavery.
Shall we eradicate it all? I think, yes.
In the fight that is to come, and I pray we have the will to fight, I hope to see more Black Americans take front leadership roles. This segment of our population has been at the forefront of the fight for freedom for over two hundred years now. We can learn so much from each other, if we will quit the squabbling among the poor, and join forces to achieve actual freedom for all Americans.