Thursday, January 24, 2008

History Lessons

It's that time again. MLK birthday and Black history month approaching. Everyone, particularly liberals, pull out MLK phrases to show their progressiveness. So rather than rewriting the usual platitudes at this time of year I'm posting reaction to recently read articles. I know, I know, I sound crotchety sometimes, and harp on others but ..... they so deserve it.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson. A blogger/contributor at Huffington Post and elsewhere. Wiki says: Earl is a journalist and author. And respected and educated I might add, with a Piled Higher and Deeper in sociology from Pacific Western University (I was going to say Pacific is unaccredited but that might sound catty.)

In this Huffington Post, Ron Paul is Scary, But Those that Cheer Him are Even Scarier, Hutchinson says : "Then there's Paul's now infamous slavery quip that he made on Meet the Press. Paul claimed the Civil War was an unnecessary bloodbath that could and should have been avoided. All Lincoln had to do was buy the slaves. Other slave promoting countries, asserts Paul, didn't fight wars and they ended slavery peacefully. Paul's historical dumbness would have been laughable except for four things. One, he was dead wrong. Lincoln twice made offers to the slave owners to buy the slaves. They turned him down flat. The countries that freed the slaves without war, presumably France and England, unlike the U.S., did not practice slavery in their countries. And France did fight a war-- Napoleon's ill-fated invasion of Haiti to put down the slave revolt there."

My problem with part of the above statement is most of it's wrong.

In January 1861 the southern states began secession. In March 1861 at Lincoln's inaugural address he stated he had no plans to end slavery in those states where it already existed, and said he would not accept secession.

A year later in 1862 Lincoln's offer was to compensate $4 billion in market value with $1.5 billion from the government. Hardly a deal 19th century businessmen would go for; as a lawyer Lincoln could do the math. In 1862 Lincoln presented the Compensated Emancipation : United States ought to cooperate with any state which may adopt gradual abolishment of slavery, giving to such state pecuniary aid, to be used by such state, in its discretion, to compensate for the inconveniences, public and private, produced by such change of system." As the January 1861 link above shows over a dozen states had already seceded and the war begun.

Would today's wealthiest folks/corporations accept compensation of 1/3 the value to gradually change the system that creates wage slaves around the world?

The Civil War, as all wars, was about wealth. All wars need a noble cloak. A righteous cover. Abolition, states' rights, sovereignty, and both sides accused the other of endangering national security. Once southern wealth was transferred to the north it was national segregation, Jim Crow, lynchings - the abolitionist North was little better than the south. It was a money grab that took the lives of 600,000 Americans. Slave revolts would have ended slavery; and there were many although you'd never know it by reading standard American history. If the north had refused to honor fugitive slave laws hordes would have headed north. As Charles Dickens put it : "The love of money is the root of this as of many other evils....The quarrel between the North and South is, as it stands, solely a fiscal quarrel". Leaders today call such ideas revisionist history. (Also look at the north/south argument over wealth from the newly opened western territories stolen from native Americans. Another north/south "quarrel".) And what taxes would Lincoln levy on Joe Blow to cover Compensated Emancipation?

Hutchinson states : "... France and England, unlike the U.S., did not practice slavery in their countries."

Apparently Earl has not read of Jonathan Strong, or that "Thousands of black slaves were brought to Britain by slave ships. In the 18th Century it was the height of fashion for rich ladies to have a black child servant." The Church of England cited Biblical passages to justify slavery in England, as did Christians in the colonies. The Brits and Europeans in general preferred slave trading to slave owning; google the Zong Massacre, but they did practice slavery in their countries.

In 1792 the Constituent Assembly abolished slavery in France but not in the colonies. On the surface Britain and France appear progressively ahead, abolishing slavery before their American brothers and cousins. Did the French and English abolish slavery at home from goodness or necessity? I believe necessity. England and France were much smaller land masses and their nation's wealth came from their colonies in the Caribbean, Americas, West Indies, Louisiana French territory, from breeding and/or importing slaves to develop the plantation economies. They could afford to be genteel on the home front.

Hutchinson is also a defender of Hillary; believing there's a "media vendetta against her." Obama Needs a History Lesson about Hillary and King. Hutchinson says : "The Obama camp did it again. They manufactured yet another issue out of a non issue when they pounded Hillary Clinton for supposedly defiling Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by minimizing his role in the civil rights struggle. ... The Civil Rights Bill [LBJ], not King's marches and demonstrations, broke the back of legal segregation in America and became the watchword for progressive, visionary social legislation for decades to come."

As a senator Lyndon Johnson killed a 1956 civil rights bill in congress and diluted the 1957 Civil Rights bill. Johnson's anti-integration stance changed for political reasons. Regarding the 1964 Civil Rights act: "In conversations with Johnson, King made clear his willingness to seek out dramatic confrontations in the Deep South and to risk his safety if necessary to get government action. He knew it would take presidential leadership, he said, and he shrewdly held out the potential of supporting Johnson in the 1964 campaign."

Johnson "woke up" smelling the votes, and the violence brewing if Civil Rights were not coming forthwith. Voting stats on the bill Yes/No format:

House vote:
Democratic Party: 153-91 (63%-37%) - Republican Party: 186-35 (80%-20%).

Senate vote:
Democratic Party: 46-22 (68%-32%) - Republican Party: 27-6 (82%-18%).

The bill was written to end discrimination in hiring and housing and segregation in schools and public facilities, and gave birth a few months later to the Voting Rights Act - apparently a majority of pols caught an early whiff of more votes come puppet election time.

After King focused on the Vietnam war LBJ referred to him as "that nigger preacher." King was assassinated within months of turning his attention to Vietnam. Personally, I believe King and others, and the '60s being an era of change, "broke the back" of segregation; dogs and water hoses televised into homes shamed decent white Americans with their own racial ignorance and brutality. Before his death King wanted to unite all the poor; an even bigger threat to TPTB - potential class war.

As for Earl's opinions, I suppose someone has to apply gloss on that miserable Hillary Wannabe a History Maker along with the vulgar, crude, Texas bigot LBJ. Someone has to powder Hillary's bruises after those Obamic media poundings for political sideshow meow meow.

I was wondering Bubba ... do you get a warm fuzzy when you hear the story of Honest Abe's comment to Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1862 : "So you're the little woman who wrote the book that started this Great War!" That's as sweet as George Washington's cherry tree. Hopefully, I won't live long enough to read history's textbook fluff regarding the Bush and Clinton legacies.

1 comment:

Shutter said...

As an goddam limey knows - end of Civil War = end of slavery .

Well I recommend "Age of Betrayal - the triumph of money in America " by Jack Beatty Knopf isbn 978-1-4000-4025.8. which I have just completed and can now claim to know more about canals, rilroads, the northwards diaspora than I did, or maybe even want to know.

Like the events at Colfax, Luisiana 1873.

WE do teach kids about slavery in the UK which majors on what a perfidious insincere bunch of bible tumping bastards the slave ship owners were.

However those same kids are taught bullhit abour St Valentine / love / firendship and go out an buy roses grown by modern wage slaves in Kenya using chemicals the US / EU ban, sterilising Naivashu lake at the same tiime destroying the protein (fish) source which they need to work in the heated ( yes geothermally heated greenhouses on the Equator)greenhouses to pay for.

The when they see the TV - never having learnt to read so that they can read it in the newspaper - the riots in Naivashu - rape, robbery are easily confalted with corrupt politicians rather than the developed perverted view of commercial needs.

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