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BS: slavery, poverty and culture

nelagnelag 16 Mar 04 - 04:21 PM
Amos 16 Mar 04 - 04:30 PM
nelagnelag 16 Mar 04 - 04:38 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Mar 04 - 04:38 PM
nelagnelag 16 Mar 04 - 04:44 PM
LadyJean 17 Mar 04 - 01:05 AM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Mar 04 - 06:38 AM
GUEST 17 Mar 04 - 07:23 AM
The Shambles 18 Mar 04 - 04:30 AM
GUEST 18 Mar 04 - 06:46 AM
The Shambles 18 Mar 04 - 12:58 PM
Strick 18 Mar 04 - 01:16 PM
The Shambles 18 Mar 04 - 01:52 PM
Strick 18 Mar 04 - 02:08 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Mar 04 - 04:04 PM
Strick 18 Mar 04 - 04:26 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Mar 04 - 05:00 PM
Strick 18 Mar 04 - 05:03 PM
Amos 18 Mar 04 - 06:46 PM
Gareth 18 Mar 04 - 07:05 PM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Mar 04 - 07:30 PM
GUEST,satchel 18 Mar 04 - 11:23 PM
Amos 19 Mar 04 - 12:00 AM
greg stephens 19 Mar 04 - 04:43 AM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Mar 04 - 08:07 AM
Bobert 19 Mar 04 - 09:27 AM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Mar 04 - 09:44 AM
Strick 19 Mar 04 - 10:48 AM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Mar 04 - 12:59 PM
Chief Chaos 19 Mar 04 - 01:08 PM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Mar 04 - 01:21 PM
Bobert 19 Mar 04 - 01:26 PM
Strick 19 Mar 04 - 01:34 PM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Mar 04 - 01:59 PM
The Shambles 19 Mar 04 - 07:49 PM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Mar 04 - 08:04 PM
Bobert 19 Mar 04 - 09:37 PM
The Shambles 20 Mar 04 - 06:08 AM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Mar 04 - 07:57 AM
The Shambles 20 Mar 04 - 09:06 AM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Mar 04 - 01:23 PM
Strick 20 Mar 04 - 03:21 PM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Mar 04 - 04:14 PM
Strick 20 Mar 04 - 04:49 PM
McGrath of Harlow 20 Mar 04 - 07:07 PM
Bobert 20 Mar 04 - 08:48 PM
Greg F. 20 Mar 04 - 10:42 PM
Strick 20 Mar 04 - 11:28 PM
Greg F. 21 Mar 04 - 10:42 AM
Strick 21 Mar 04 - 02:29 PM
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Subject: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: nelagnelag
Date: 16 Mar 04 - 04:21 PM

Hi, I posted this on this thread:
oral tradition - 'celtic' singing in usa

but it didn't fit super-directly into that, so I've ripped it out and created a new thread:

------

I'll just throw in that I'm reading about the underground railroad right now, and it's pretty interesting. I'm sure I'll run into connections with all of this.

I do get a sense that many of the people who came to the americas came straight from a very rural background, under extreme duress - financial/health/family/religious hardship - , were very parochial in their thinking, and moved to rural areas, where they could continue to be parochial in their thinking. By parochial I mean "tribal", only aware of their own kind of people and way of thinking.

This is why I mentioned the book by Ms. Musick. (Green hills of magic - about european folk-tales in the west-virginia highlands)

So, you end up with a culture that has a limited/local horizon of understanding about the human experience, who often came here under extreme duress, often in a position of power over another group of people who also came here under extreme duress. No wonder slavery was such an incredibly brutal horror.

best,
G


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: Amos
Date: 16 Mar 04 - 04:30 PM

Galen:

Too right.

Life was extraordinarily rugged, and the lack of genuine education in lots of parts of the world made it a self-reinforcing vicious circle.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: nelagnelag
Date: 16 Mar 04 - 04:38 PM

So, I'm also interested in our own "blind spots" about all of this these days. Do we live under the illusion that we are "less tribal"?

(I hope I'm not touching on a very sore spot, but unfortunately I think I am, and maybe it needs to be addressed a bit.)


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Mar 04 - 04:38 PM

I'd be inclined to question whether having limited knowledge of a wider world than your own neighbourhood would really have been a significant factor in making people capable of the kind of detachment from human values that chattel slavery as developed in the USA required. It could well work completely the other way about.

The people who drew up the American Constitution, and ensured that it left slavery alone, seem to have been quite a sophisticated and kwowledgeable bunch. That kind of sophistication can be quite handy in enabling people to have that sort of detachment.


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: nelagnelag
Date: 16 Mar 04 - 04:44 PM

McGrath, very interesting point!

One must acknowledge that there was a very wide range of wealth and education at that time (as there is today), which had all kinds of results.

G


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: LadyJean
Date: 17 Mar 04 - 01:05 AM

My seven generations back grandfather was the son of an Irish immigrant, who lived in Abbeville South Carolina, a small town. He was a Presbyterian minister. He preached against slavery in 1810. When that didn't go over in his neighborhood, he packed up his family and left for Ohio. Half his congregation went with him. The town they built is called Fairhaven. It's a nice drive up Ohio 177, near Miami.

Slavery happens when labor is in short supply. The first settlers enslaved Native Americans, Blacks, orphans, debtors, prisoners of war, and assorted others.
The first Black in Maryland began as an indentured servant, and ended up on the governing council. Benjamin Bannacker was the grandson of an Irish woman who married the slave she bought to work her land. Slavery on the big plantations became a hellish institution because the planters couldn't afford to think of their slaves as humans, anymore than the American who owns a factory in Calcutta can think of his employees as human.


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Mar 04 - 06:38 AM

Thanks for posting that LadyJean - never heard of the man before, but your post prompted me to Google, and here is a page with lots of stuff about him.

What a fitting way to get into St Patrick's Day - an Irish American who is also as African American. A good combination.


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Mar 04 - 07:23 AM

If one showed Solomon Nothup the present day USA he would perhaps lament at the blood, sweat, tears and time it took to get where we are now; but i'm sure he would be very proud of the accomplishments.
"If Virtue and Knowledge are diffused among the People, they will never be enslav'd. This will be their great Security." -- Samuel Adams


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 04:30 AM

So, you end up with a culture that has a limited/local horizon of understanding about the human experience, who often came here under extreme duress, often in a position of power over another group of people who also came here under extreme duress. No wonder slavery was such an incredibly brutal horror.

No doubt about the the horror of slavery. But there is little point in US folk wearing the 'hair shirt'for dubious honour inventing it. Sadly it was a long established concept - long before the settlement of the US.

The concept of educated folk - who should have known better - ignoring it when drafting a constitution was not invented at that point either. Although it did present a golden opportunity to address it - one that would later prove to be very costly.


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 06:46 AM

It took 13 years of peacefull negotiation, from 1776 to 1787 to draft a Constitution that all 13 colonies would sign. Throughout history there has been no examples of Republics that ever accomplished anywhere near as good a product. Slavery was an issue that divided people on economic and social principles, and could not be completely eliminated at the founding of the nation. As you rightly point out, it was eventually discarded at great cost. However it was addressed from the begining of the nation. Slaves who fought for the country where free men in 1776.


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 12:58 PM

Slavery was a sad fact long before this all this but it is a little known and interesting fact that people in the coastal villages of England (many in Cornwall) and Ireland were taken into slavery in raids by Barbary Pirates.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/society_culture/protest_reform/white_slaves_01.shtml


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: Strick
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 01:16 PM

"I'd be inclined to question whether having limited knowledge of a wider world than your own neighbourhood would really have been a significant factor in making people capable of the kind of detachment from human values that chattel slavery as developed in the USA required. It could well work completely the other way about.

"The people who drew up the American Constitution, and ensured that it left slavery alone, seem to have been quite a sophisticated and kwowledgeable bunch. That kind of sophistication can be quite handy in enabling people to have that sort of detachment."

But there's no denying that they were largely British in their outlook and education or that at the time the US Constitution was being drawn up, slavery was still legal in other British colonies. It wasn't fully banned by the British until much later (and bless the British, their solution to the problem was so much better than a Civil War). Not condemning, just pointing out that the framers of the Constitution weren't the only sophisticated people detached enough to let slavery continue.

What's more appalling is that slavery still exists in the US and other parts of the world. Oh, it's clandestine now, but I've read estimates as high as 50,000 for women held as slaves for the sex trade in the US alone. Some 150 women from South America were "freed" a couple of years ago not more than 25 miles from where I'm sitting. Migrant workers are often treated no better. Apparently you don't even have to have lived 230 years ago to find enslaving people economically attractive. Even some modern sensibilities are detached enough.

I can't think of a single excuse for condoning slavery at any point in history. No one accused of practicing it today would want me on their jury.


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 01:52 PM

I can't think of a single excuse for condoning slavery at any point in history.

Was anyone doing this? It was pointed out that many people throughout history and all over the world - when given an opportunity - could and still can find many practical reasons (or excuses) not to do very much to prevent it.

I am not making any excuses as the British Empire has little to be proud of - but it it is difficult to see how "the British" in outlook or education can be blamed for every wrong in the world. Especially for creating a concept like slavery which seems to have developed independently in every part of the world.

Or are all "the British" also to be blamed for the example given of their own people being enslaved by Barbary Pirates?


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: Strick
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 02:08 PM

Stating the obvious more related to modern slavers, The Shambles, not speaking about anything anyone's said here.

I wasn't blaming the British for the compromise on slavery in the US Constitution, just pointing out the framers of the Constitution were a product of their time and environment and weren't alone in rationalizing slavery in their institutions. I'll repeat that I wish the US had found a way to follow the British model for abolishing slavery in their colonies.


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 04:04 PM

Maybe the pity is that they didn't put off dealing with the relatvely minor afront to freedom constituted by the British link until they had sorted out the major afront that was involved in slavery.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

First things first...


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: Strick
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 04:26 PM

The evil in a man own heart is often harder to see than the acts of a tyrant 3,000 miles away, McGarth. ;)

(Down with King George! No taxation without representation! Don't Tread On Me!)


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 05:00 PM

I'm not criticising, just puzzled.

What kind of blazing inconsistencies are we guilty of that are going to make our descendants gasp with astonishment in the same way as we surely have to, thinking of people who could put their name to a document like that, and go home to a slave plantation?


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: Strick
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 05:03 PM

A wise question.


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: Amos
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 06:46 PM

I think many of them were also ahead of their times in releasing their slaves from bondage; but it is still a telling question. Power corrupts absolutely.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: Gareth
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 07:05 PM

An interesting thread.

If you visit the Bahamas, or Barbados you will find many descendeds of those UK "Citizens" condemed to slavery. Thier crime ? Being on the wrong side, or in the wrong place, after a rebellion.

Shambles has it right, the Corsairs were not unknown for thier swoops on the West Country, Wales or Ireland looking for slaves.

I fear that slavery was not a "White on Black" historical problem only, no matter what the "politically correct" may say.

Incidently, for the seafaring fans, just what was the infant US of A Navy doing in the Mediteranean in the 1800's ?

Nelson himself was full of praise for the actions of the US of A Navy at that time.

Or again, for the seafaring fans, what was the RN's "Blackbird" patrols off West, and East, Africa doing ?

Gareth


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 07:30 PM

The difference with chattel slavery, as it developed in the USA, was that it was happening in a technologically advanced country that was also very conscious of being a democracy, with a constitution that guaranteed this democracy.

That was pretty well unique, and that is what is strange about it, and very frightening. It is an indication that formal democracy, and constitutions and courts and all, are not necessarily the guarantee of freedom that we might like to think.


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: GUEST,satchel
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 11:23 PM

First, let's not forget about the waves of immigrants that stayed in the eastern seaboard cities after coming out of rural conditions. Some remained parochial, others were influenced by the cosmopolitan environs into which they came.

The constitution was drafted to bring together a group of very disparate states that were failing miserably under the articles of confederation. It was drafted in the summer of 1788 in Philadelphia as a reaction to the previous 13 years of paralysis under the articles.

In the 18th century, ideas like "liberty" meant different things than we think of today(See Bailyn, Idoelogical Origins of the American Revolution). Liberty to the founders was the liberty to own property, including slaves. "Life liberty and the pursuit of happiness" was really a lot more like "life liberty and the pursuit of profit" (see Jack Greene, Pursuits of Happiness). So, there's really not a question of knowing better--they knew, but it was really outside the realm of 18th century thinking on the subject. This is not an excuse, merely an explanation.

Even so, people like Jefferson accepted slavery as a necessary evil. However, as the South became increasingly alienated from the rest of the country, many enthusiastic but misguided defenses were made as to the "positive good" of slavery--e.g. had a civilizing effect, etc. These "positive good" defenses were only undertaken by Southern politicians at the very end, right before the beginning of the Civil War. The cost paid to end slavery in the US was indeed high, in much more than lives and dollars.

The origins of slavery in the US are complex. One of the best books on the subject is Edmund Morgan's American Slavery American Freedom oer 30 years old and still a seminal text. One of the key points that Morgan makes is that until indentured servants revolted in 1676 in Virginia (Bacon's Rebellion) race was a much more fluid concept in the colonies. For example, Anthony Johnson, a black man, owned a plantation complete with slaves on the eastern shore of MAryland in the 17th century (Breen and Innis, Myne Owne Ground)until "black" became associated with "slave" in the late 17th/early 18th century.

Finally, the indians of Virginia didn't make very effective slaves--they had the home field advantage and could easily remove themselves from the tobacco fields of early Virginia.

Keep readings, boys, keep reading!


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: Amos
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 12:00 AM

I believe the US Navy was trying to protect trade against the corsairs of the eastern Med.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: greg stephens
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 04:43 AM

The orignial posting on this thread, about tribalism and its effects on immigrants arriving in a new country, has considerable relevance to Britain at the moment. The cockling tragedy in Morecambe Bay, and a similar incident involving the death of a lot of immigrant workers in a van accident a while back, brings to public notuce aspects of life we are not generally aware of.
    There are quite a lot of disparate ethnic groups establishing themselves here at the moment, often to a considerable extent mutually antagonistc, and without the normal backup systems of land, long-standing culture,legal systems of their own etc. An inevtable outcome of this is the rise of what are often termed "gang-masters": people who can operate at the interface between cultures and deliver labourers for badly-paid exploitative and often illegal work.
    I am in contact with this sort of thing very regularly as I am involved with musical projects with a lot of recently arrived people. A lot of what I am doing makes me very sad, though the thing that cheers me is the wonderful music that happens in these circumstances, a bit of culture that people have in their heads that they can cling on to in a strange and threatening new world. Thinking about all this, and my relation to it(am I being helpful, or am I an exploiter??) gives me a whole new angle into the world of slavery and colonialism.


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 08:07 AM

Our obsession about national borders, and the different ways, tied in with that, that we treat each other - I think that is going to be one major thing our descendants will find hard to understand about us today, in the way we find it hard to understand how people previous generations had this moral blindness towards slavery.


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: Bobert
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 09:27 AM

Semantics, folks...

Take you a visit to many areas of the South and you'll find that conditions haven't changed much since slavery... I vividly remember working in Fulton Bottom in Ricmond in late 60's and there were folks livin' in cabins with dirt floors and no running water. Last year I was in the Hill Country of Mississippi on a blues expedition and played music at a house very similar, 'cept this house didn't even have electricity...

Now, witness "Two-Tierism" where Boss Hog, eith the massive support of the Bush administration is negotiating labor contracts with unions which in essence, much like Bush's thoughts on Social Security, says, "okay, we'll let you *have* the same benefits you *have had* but the next generation of employees won't be so lucky!"

Yeah, folks, we are moving ever and ever closer to Boss Hog's cotton plantations... one step at a time......

(But, Bobert, what about "Personal Responsibily"?)

Oh yeah, for those of you tempted to throw out the Boss Hog's "personal responsibility" PR crap let me interpret that cutesy little phrase. Translated it means "I was born rich and will reamin rich. You weren't, so get over it..."

See you all in the cotten fields...

Commie Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 09:44 AM

The trouble is, when you build on shaky foundations, you've got a building that has a built-in instability.


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: Strick
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 10:48 AM

"I vividly remember working in Fulton Bottom in Ricmond in late 60's and there were folks livin' in cabins with dirt floors and no running water. Last year I was in the Hill Country of Mississippi on a blues expedition and played music at a house very similar, 'cept this house didn't even have electricity..."

You mean like my grandparent's house before they passed away in my youth? The only poor are in the South? Been to any projects in the North lately?


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 12:59 PM

Poverty isn't to be identified with slavery, true enough. It would be quite possible to have slaves kept in luxury, but they'd still be slaves.

But the attitudes that underly a slave system - the ability to draw a line between ourselves and other humans that means we see them as less than human, that still exists inour society, and that does relate to the way people can shrug off appalling inequality of all sorts, as if it wasn't something that concerned them.


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: Chief Chaos
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 01:08 PM

First - Slavery is bad, evil, no doubts about it!
Second - Although bad and evil it was LEGAL
Third - The economy of the North was based on large numbers of immigrants (thus negating the need for slaves or high wages for workers) working in a more highly technological area making textiles from cotton.
Fourth - The economy of the South was based on the production of Rice, Cotton, Tobacco and Sugar Cane. All of which at the time were very people intensive in that they needed planters and harvesters. Immigrants for the most part did not come south. Meaning that slavery was still acceptable because it was necessary to the economy. Machines to do this work did not exist at the time and were not even introduced until after the American civil war.
Fifth - The northern section of the Union wished to strike down terriffs against cotton and the other agricultural products of the southern section of the union, coming from India and other nations/colonies (which by the way were also being planted and harvested by slaves or near as much to slaves as it made no difference.

Now, knowing these five facts, can you just for a moment put yourselves into the shoes of a plantation owner that has been raised believing that slaves were property that you must now set them all free, losing your investment (you paid top dollar for them you know)with no recompense? With no guarantee that they will return to work for you at whatever wages you can afford? And at the same time the price of your commodity (the source of income and hence your ability to pay those wages) is going to drop like a stone because the northerners want to be able to buy cheap foreign imports?

I'm not defending the people who had slaves but I can sure see why they wouldn't want to just set them free.


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 01:21 PM

The fact that it was legal, in a democratic and law-based society, was the thing that was peculiarly horrible about it. In the same way there is something more horrible about a state-authorised pogrom than a race riot.

It's one of the reasons why Nazi Germany is such a chilling precedent - it was in many ways formally a democaracy. The government was only there because of the results of an election, and parliament and the courts were all still in place.


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: Bobert
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 01:26 PM

Point well made, Strict, and I'm not sayin' that poverty is exclusively a Southern problem but not long ago I saw the listing of states by the percentage of their respective populations that lived in poverty and not surprisingly the Southern states occupy the top of the list. What I did find surprising is that my state, Wes Ginny, topped the list at 16.5% beating out Mississippi and Alabama...

And good points, Chief Chaos... Just a couple of other points somewhat related. The Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves *only* in the Southern States...

Secondly, it was the Union's degrading burning of Southern cities by Sherman and Co, the total destruction of the South's economy, the killing off of so many of the South's educated and a dozen years of occupation that insured that the Civil War (which it wasn't) would never really end, which, with the exception of the physical violence, it hasn't. Jim Crow is alive and well. Anti-Union/governemnt feelings are alive and well and with the current president, those states that formed "the Union" are in Johnny Reb's sigths....

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: Strick
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 01:34 PM

But McGrath, we've seen in thread that shall remain nameless, Hitler began to disassemble all Germany's civil liberties almost as soon as he came to office. Certain, he was in complete control even befor Hindenburg's death.

But cheer up. Hitler was appointed Chancelor, not elected. No doubt someone will make a comparison to the Supreme Court and Florida, but it's that's much more the working of a Constitutional democracy than what happened in Germany starting in 1933.


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 01:59 PM

I'm not saying that the two situations were identical. I'm drawing a parallel. Another one is with apartheid South Africa. In all cases the constitutional formalities of democracy were maintained, and used as a way to extinguish whatever civil liberties needed to be extinguished.


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 07:49 PM

I am in contact with this sort of thing very regularly as I am involved with musical projects with a lot of recently arrived people. A lot of what I am doing makes me very sad, though the thing that cheers me is the wonderful music that happens in these circumstances, a bit of culture that people have in their heads that they can cling on to in a strange and threatening new world. Thinking about all this, and my relation to it(am I being helpful, or am I an exploiter??) gives me a whole new angle into the world of slavery and colonialism.

The only thing we can do is to learn from all this and try to prevent it now and in the future. For we can't really do anything else now about all the bad aspects, except to openly talk about it but still manage to feel bad and apportion blame.

We can't do anything now either about the cultural and musical benefits - except celebrate these. I feel that it would be sensible to try and feel good about all the fine music that has resulted from transplanting whole cultures into a alien ones - if not about the motives, the manner of it and all the resulting suffering.

If we can't feel good and free from guilt, or not feel we are possibly exploiting this positive musical aspect - perhaps all the suffering od so many, will have served no purpose at all?


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 08:04 PM

Guilt about the past is pointless and silly - it's not as if any of us were about, and we have no more responsibility for what people a couple of centuries ago did than we do for what people did ten thousand years ago. And if you found someone feeling guilty, or angry, because of the things that happened in Ancient Egypt. you'd tell them to lie down and take a rest.

What matters is to learn from the things that have happened in the past, and recognise when things that happen in the present (that we could try to do something about), show a family resemblance to the evils we hope have gone for ever.


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: Bobert
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 09:37 PM

Well, guilt, no. But collectively we do have a responsibility to not only talk about slavery but to try to "repair" the inequities of "wealth" created by the *slave class*....

This is what is called repairations...

No, I might not have personally been involved in slavery but the reality is that, with the "industrial revolution" on the 1840's much of America's wealth was created on the backs of black slaves. This is not an arguable fact. Nor is the fact that after "Reconstruction" in 1876 Johnny Reb was cut loose to intimidate and exploit these black slaves and their children. They called this Jim Crow...

Problem is is that Johnny Reb is still intimidating and exploiting the descendants of slaves. The 1954 Brown V. Boeard of Education Topeka, Kansas only ordered states to desegregate as quickly as they saw fit, which meant, like never... Earl Warren wrote the majority opinion and became the villian of Johnny Reb until the day he died... But di the schools desegragate? Nope... Most scholls today are virtually segregated as is our society...

And in every major city in America there are desendants of slaves livin' in poverty, without opportinuties, without access to a decent education, without food for that matter. Their is so little hope that their kids just go left. They do drugs and become involved in crime. And we sit back and look at whats going on askin' "Jus' why these folks that way?"

Geeze, like Bob Dylan so appropriately said, "it don't take a weatherman to tell ye which way the wind blows..."

Yeah, if the United States is going to become a great antion or another flash in the pan it's going to have to come to terms with its past and make a better attempt tp *REPAIR* the damage...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 06:08 AM

The only thing we can do is to learn from all this and try to prevent it now and in the future. For we can't really do anything else now about all the bad aspects, except to openly talk about it but still manage to feel bad and apportion blame.

Yeah, if the United States is going to become a great antion or another flash in the pan it's going to have to come to terms with its past and make a better attempt tp *REPAIR* the damage...

The USA or "it" does now consist of all the direct descendents of all those that suffered from this slavery. "It" also now consists of the direct descendents of those indigenous people who did survive the attempted genocide. Looking to the past and coming to terms with this past damage is one important thing but not the only thing.

All these people do now have a vote and their efforts now, along with everyone else in the USA will decide if the USA is going to be judged as a great nation. Or if it is to follow the worst examples of the vested interests of previous empires that have come to dominate the world for a short time (like the British)..........


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 07:57 AM

Reparations is a different matter from guilt. It's recognising that our current collective wealth, and other people's collective poverty is to a considerable extent founded on theft exploitation and injustice. And the implication of that is that a large part of that existing wealth ought to be available to make things better.

That seems eminently fair, as a guiding principle in economic affairs. Applying it in a legalistic way, sorting out who owes what on anineuvidual or local basis, and picking out particular historic injustices and ignoring others, that is something else.

Essentially what it comes down to is that we have to think in terms of collective wealth, and collective responsibility to use that respopnsibily, and that is a hard notion for some people to accept.


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 09:06 AM

I fear that blame alone does not repair anything.

I fear also that money alone does not repair anything or make things better, even if it is thought that the later redistribution of money somehow ought to.

Attempts to provide money for past injustice only make divisions between factions making present claims (no matter how justified those claims) and simply leads to yet more feelings of guilt and jealousy - when/if such claims prove successful. This concept may appear to just but I feel that it simply ties us permanently to arguments about the past and prevents present and future problems from being addressed.

If the thought is that you can always pay money later for inflicting injustice - there is no real way of preventing us from just carrying on inflicting injustice. All you have to do is to ensure that you exploit big enough in the first place.

I think that repairation should be made in terms of honestly and openly accepting that mistakes were made but I don't think that repairation should have anything to do with money. When it was money or rather greed that was usually the cause of the mistakes in the first place.


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 01:23 PM

"money alone does not repair anything or make things better" - deoends on what you mean by that. You can never "repair" the past or make it better than it was, because it's gone. But you can certainly use money to repair things today and make them better.

And if you are profiting today from crimes done before your time, that's where that money rightfully belongs. Individually in some cases, but more especially, collectively. Not using it that way is a kind of theft.

However, seeing all this as a matter of repaying debts to the legal heirs of the people who were enslaved or exploited or whatever, that's not the way to go. That's just a recipe for enriching lawyers.


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: Strick
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 03:21 PM

I was more open to the idea of reparations before I heard some of the legal arguments explaining who owed what for what. I was struck by the "case" against a particular wall street brokerage. It seems the brothers that founded one of the it's anticedents had owned four slaves but sold them prior to moving to New York and going into a completely different kind of business. The was the line used to decide that the brokerage house owed an extraordinary amount of money in reparations. The case against IBM, a company not even in existance until long after slavery was abolished, was even more interesting. Frankly you could get the idea that either argument was just a rationalization for suing companies with sufficiently deep pockets to be worthwhile, not an attempt to go after the real people who supposedly benefited from slavery in proportion to their "crimes".

Assessing the truely guilty might be hard to do now, of course. By and large those people who didn't lose all they had earned on the back of slavery in the Civil War certainly did during the Reconstruction. Lost it all to those Carpetbagging, Scallywagging scum who... ops, sorry, skip that part.


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 04:14 PM

Precisely - that's why you can't do it on an individual level. What you can say is that a country has built its relatively wealthy present position on a base of money acquired through the slave system, which was largely how the Industrial Revolution in Britain was financed.

And this means that money paid to help poor countries develop isn't generosity, it's using a tiny fraction of the money that we only have because it was unjustly acquired in the past, to help in the present. Not necessarily primarily to help the descendants of people who were exploited in the past. It's not that kind of debt that can be measured out in legalistic ways - but it is a debt.


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: Strick
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 04:49 PM

Ah, but there's a host of problems with that McGrath. A simple one. It's not enough to just give money to poor countries, even assuming the money won't get skimmed off before it does any good. Giving money to poor countries alone doesn't solve the basic problems that cause it to be poor. They benefit only when the money is invested in education, infrastructure, factories and other things that create long term jobs. The catch is that those investments can't really be productive on their own; the country's too poor to buy what it produces from that investment, at least in the beginning. The investment will only pay off if you drop trade barriers as well, open your markets to the poor country until it can become rich enough sustain the investments.

Unfortunately, that will look as if you're exporting jobs to the poor country. I'm not saying that the current export of jobs from the rich, developed world is intentional, that corporations are trying to help developing countries out of the goodness of their hearts, but if you don't drop trade barriers to those countries so they can sell you what they produce for less than you make it for yourself, you will straggling any investment you do make in them. You can't help a poor country by just sharing your money or technology with them. You have to share your jobs, too.

That's not a politically popular observation, at least in the US, but I believe it's true.


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 07:07 PM

Agreed. The system is set up so that the burden will always tend to fall on those who have the least.


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: Bobert
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 08:48 PM

Yeah, Strick, yer observations seem purdy reasonable... 'cept there's one thing that we are grossly overlooking here...

This thread was about "slavery, poverty and culture" and well, on the first tow of those "slavery and poverty", like why should developed countries accept exploitation, quasi-slavery and poverty of anyone who is producing the goods that we consume? Hmmmmmm? See where we are going with this? If China, for instance, can *force* it's people to produce widgits with child labor, and even adult labor, fir peanuts, this is *not* a free or open market. In essence, because of the condition in China, labor becomes a manipulated variable much like the protectionism that is becoming an issue in the US... If the playing fields are level, then fine. But they aren't. Think about it.

There are all kinds of variables which border on protectionism that exist in this so-called global free market. The US subsidizes its pet industries making them attractive. It also spends lots of dough on military eguipement and in doing so makes these corporations more competative on the world market... So when we talk protectionism, I hope we will take in the big picture...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: Greg F.
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 10:42 PM

Lost it all to those Carpetbagging, Scallywagging scum...

You actually ignorant enough to believe that 'lost cause' fairytale, or you jus' funnin'?


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: Strick
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 11:28 PM

Actually my knowledge of the history of The Reconstruction, at least in Texas, is fairly detailed. For example, since veterans of the Confederate Army couldn't get their right vote back until after the state ratified the 14th Amendment and since they'd all vote for Democrats anyway (remember, this far back, reverse the parties), the Republican controled state legislature refused to approve the amendment until virtually forced to by the Federal government. Texas was the last state to do so.

That done, the Republican Governor and legislature were voted out of office. The Governor refused to give up power, going so far as to wire Grant for Federal troops to put down the "rebellion" and locked himself in the Governor's mansion. Ex-Texas Rangers (the Rangers were disbanded during The Reconstruction and replaced by what what has been generally described as "secret police") climbed into a second story window of the mansion and helped escort the former Governor out of Austin, tarred and feathered on a rail. Texas didn't elect another Republican Governor for nearly one hundred years.

Say what you will about the Civil War, the South's hatred for the North did not mature to full flower until The Reconstruction. That impoverished the South as much as the march to the sea. And some of the Jim Crow laws were pure vengence for it once the Yankees were driven back north.


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: Greg F.
Date: 21 Mar 04 - 10:42 AM

I was afraid of that; yer not funnin'.

The whole "evil carpetbagger/scalawag" & "po' white folks bein'oppressed by the 'Nigras' and Yankees" bullshit is the invention of racist & Jim Crown historians writing in the late 19th/early 20th Century to justify the "lost cause" and rationalize the "redemption" of the South- i.e., the return to the ante-bellum situation as far as Blacks were concerned. This nonsense made it into the textbooks used all over the U.S.- North as well as South- up through the early 1970's. (It may STILL be in textbooks used in the South- i've no first-hand knowledge of these). And it worked like a charm- lots of people-yourself included, it seems- still believe the fairy tale; lots also believe that "Gone With The Wind" and "The Birth of a Nation" (a.k.a. "The Klansman") are documentaries.

You've got the chronology reversed as well. "Reconstruction" measures was imposed BECAUSE the rights of Blacks & other citizens were being sytematically disregarded; support for secession had NOT been monolithic anywhere in the South either before or during the 'War of the Rebellion'; Blacks and (non-seccessionist) Whites were being killed n a regular basis. Read the House Committee reports on the Klan, for instance- plenty of other primary documentation out there, all disregarded and/or suppressed in the Jim Crow "histories"[sic] mentioned above).

As an example, your anecdote of the Republican Texas governor thus leaves out the fact that he was "voted"[sic] out of office because a substantial number of the populace entitled to vote-Black AND White- were terrorized out of voting or were dead.

There's plenty of information out there & readily available if you'd like to check out the truth of the situation- both primary documentation from the pre-Jim-Crow-History era, and newer studies from the 1960's on; the documentation is overwhelming. And no,these studies are NOT all by "prejudiced Yankees"- the majority of them are coming out of Southern Universities.

This is not to say the North was blameless- both sections of the country united after 1876 with the purpose of selling the 'Nigras' back down the river.

By the way, I can't tell from what you've written: are you proud of the fact that Texas was the last to ratify the 14th Ammendment?

Regards, Greg


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Subject: RE: BS: slavery, poverty and culture
From: Strick
Date: 21 Mar 04 - 02:29 PM

"By the way, I can't tell from what you've written: are you proud of the fact that Texas was the last to ratify the 14th Ammendment?"

Quite the contrary. I'm indignant that the Radical Republicans, the party of Lincoln who held the majority of power in Texas for over 9 years, refused to ratify it in order to maintain their power as long as possible.

"Reconstruction brought great lawlessness, aggravated by the appearance of roving desperadoes. Radical Republicans, carpetbaggers, and scalawags controlled the government for several years, during which time they managed to lay the foundations for better road and school systems. Texas was readmitted to the Union in Mar., 1870, after ratifying the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments. Although Texas was not as racially embittered as the Deep South, the Ku Klux Klan and its methods flourished for a time as a means of opposing the policies of the radical Republicans"

Texas History - Infoplease

"The 1869 gubernatorial election was one of the most turbulent and controversial in Texas history. Favoritism by the military for candidate Davis over A.J. Hamilton caused Governor E.M. Pease to resign September 30. General J.J. Reynolds ordered the drawing up of a new voter registration list, eliminating many of those who had qualified in 1867. Troops stationed at the polls probably prevented many Democrats from voting: only about half of the registered white voters actually cast a ballot, and many polling places were either not opened, or ordered closed. Irregularities were reported but never investigated, and official returns reported that Davis won by slightly more than 800 votes."

Texas Governors - Texas State Archives and Library Commission

I see what you mean. Who prevented whom from voting?


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