There are few more intrinsically brutal facts than slavery’s role in the building of European, and then subsequently, its various settler empires. As a system, it became the peculiar institution, as it was euphemistically termed, in the American south. It signified a demographic theft that the African continent has struggled to overcome, a shock of exponential proportion.
Slavery was always lucrative, not merely because it filled the pockets of owners and investors, but because it was literally a state-building enterprise. The development of the southern US states, be it in terms of infrastructure, would have been inconceivable without slave labour. In 1776, it was estimated that 40 members of the British parliament were deriving earnings from enslaved entities of the Caribbean.
This historical burden has been handled in an assortment of ways. Caribbean voices were particularly angered at the end of September when Prime Minister David Cameron ducked and weaved around the issue about how to deal with slavery’s legacy. He was not coming empty-handed – but an apology for Britain’s slaver past was not on the cards.
A certain hierarchy of interest was noted by the former Jamaican Prime Minister, P J Patterson, who suggested that it was time to acknowledge “the black experience” in addition to such commemorations offered for past injustices against the Jewish people.
“The refusal to apologise is a refusal to take responsibility for the crime. In a law-abiding world, this is not acceptable.” Patterson also had a side swipe at Cameron, noting that the overall “package he offered had discretely omitted any mention of a £25-million contribution to the building of a prison.”
Cameron’s DNA was doing much of the talking on that score. In 1833, when the Abolition Act was passed, mechanisms of compensation were instituted – for former slave owners. The shock to the economy with this sudden disruption saw claims made by individuals such as Cameron’s own ancestors, including a certain Gen. Sir James Duff, MP for Banffshire in Scotland. Chattels had suddenly become human subjects. It was a hard economic reality to swallow.
Cameron’s entire trip to Jamaica was beset by a self-imposed historical vacuum. Coming out with a direct apology was never going to figure, despite the 15 member states of Caricom (Caribbean Community Secretariat) having agreed to establish working committees investigating the prospects of reparations by European powers for genocide, trafficking and chattel enslavement based on racial principles.
The reparations argument goes back a good way, with compensation taking such forms as “40 acres and a mule”. In 1964, Trinidad’s representative on a UN committee on colonialism, Sir Ellis Clarke, argued that reparations should be made to former colonies as an inseparable part of gaining independence. “An administering power is not entitled to extract for centuries all that can be got out of a colony and, when that has been done, to relieve of its obligations by the conferment of a formal but meaningless – meaningless because it cannot possibly be supported – political independence.”
For Clarke, the reparations issue was inextricably linked to that of viable political independence. The former imperial power had to do its bit in forking out some form of compensation, an acknowledgment both financial and psychic, for the newly released colony to thrive.
“Justice requires that reparation be made to the country that has suffered the ravages of colonialism before that country is expected to face up to the problem and difficulties that will inevitably beset it upon independence.”
A distinction should be drawn from the principle of reparation itself, an economically and legally sound argument, to the form such modern reparation might take. The handing over of raw cash in contrition has already been pooh-poohed in various circles. Glenn C. Loury, writing in 2000, felt it a mistake to take the route of pure monetary compensation, claiming that it would let conservatives off the hook.
Such packages become unduly reductionist, placing no onus on the former colonial power to truly atone. One falls into the old trap of assuming that money solves all. Loury, writing specifically about African-American efforts to seek reparations, suggested the need for lingering reminders.
“The heirs to this atrocity – long established Americans and newly naturalized citizens alike – should be confronted continually with the horrors of what their country wrought.”
This is not to say that various theatrical precedents have not taken place, though they suggest that compensation is all too easily politicised. Those two thespians of international politics, Silvio Berlusconi of Italy and Muammar el-Qaddafi, certainly gave the historical precedent a go. In that case, Italy’s colonial spectre became a matter of a $5 billion compensation package, comprising construction projects, student grants and pensions for Libyan soldiers who served with Italy during the Second World War.
The process, rather, should be a systematic network of alleviating fair trade – a point made by that long time student of brutality in Africa, Adam Hochschild. While various countries find themselves marching to the wrenching tune of free trade and undemocratic finance, a restructured system of fair trade can act as a form of tangible, and constructive contrition. Caricom’s 10 point plan, created last March, points to a variant of this, focusing on technology transfer and debt cancellation in addition to the sought after apology.
For all that, the human tendency to resort to forms of enslavement, and the monetising of human beings for profit, remain. The echoes of slavery find shape in debt bondage, indentured labour, and the modern phenomenon of disposable labour. Life may well be cheap, but human labour remains highly, and irresistibly valuable.
About the author:
Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Unification of Europe has brought about radical new divisions within Europe. The most significant split is between the people and their political leaders.
The June 23 British majority vote to leave the European Union has made strikingly evident the division between the new ruling class that flourishes in the globalized world without borders and all the others who are on the receiving end of policies that destroy jobs, cut social benefits, lower wages and reject as obsolete national customs, not least the custom of democratic choice, all to make the world safe for international investment capital.
Actually, the lines are not quite so clear-cut. Political choices never correspond completely to economic interests, and the ideological factor intervenes to blur the class lines. Globalization is not merely a process of economic integration regulated by flows of capital, which is deepening the polarization between rich and poor in the Western countries. It is also ...
Here we go again. Earlier this year, some were surprised to see Project For The New American Century (PNAC) co-founder and longtime DC fixture Robert Kagan endorse former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for president.
They shouldn’t have been. As is now clear from a policy paper [PDF] published last month, the neoconservatives are going all-in on Hillary Clinton being the best vessel for American power in the years ahead.
The paper, titled “Expanding American Power,” was published by the Center for a New American Security, a Democratic Party-friendly think tank co-founded and led by former Undersecretary of Defense Michèle Flournoy. Flournoy served in the Obama Administration under Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and is widely considered to be the frontrunner for the next secretary of defense, should Hillary Clinton become president.
The introduction to Expanding American Power is written by the aforementioned Robert Kagan and former Clinton Administration State Department official James Rubin. The ...
Only when we refute the monolithic interpretation of Zionist theory and practice can we approach an understanding of the contested relationship between anti-zionism and antisemitism.
Israel - BDS. Flickr/ Takver. Some rights reserved.The relationship between anti-Zionism and antisemitism is a vexed and controversial question. My starting point is to elucidate an understanding of the meaning of Zionism; a term and a political concept which is rarely defined and frequently misunderstood. This is hardly surprising given that today in the 21st century, Zionism/ist is construed as an insult by some and is often equated with apartheid and even worse, Nazism. My understanding of Zionism seeks neither to exonerate, praise nor condemn. Rather we must seek to comprehend the Zionist movement and concomitant ideology in its historical, material and constantly evolving context.
A form of nationalism
Put simply Zionism is a form of nationalism which developed under two sets of linked influences in the ...
Since the end of the Cold War, the United States of America has systematically violated the prohibition against the threat or use of force contained in the UN Charter and the Kellogg Briand Pact. It has carved out a regime of impunity for its crimes based on its UN Security Council veto, non-recognition of international courts and sophisticated "information warfare" that undermines the rule of law with political justifications for otherwise illegal threats and uses of force.
Former Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin B. Ferencz has compared current U.S. policy to the illegal German "preemptive first strike" policy for which senior German officials were convicted of aggression at Nuremberg and sentenced to death by hanging.
In 2002, the late U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy described post-September 11th U.S. doctrine as "a call for 21st century American imperialism that no other nation can or should accept." And yet the U.S. government has succeeded in assembling alliances ...
“There was no battle and no resistance (and no Egyptians). The first conquerors killed from eighty to a hundred Arabs [including] women and children. The children were killed by smashing of their skulls with sticks. Is it possible to shout about Deir Yassin and be silent about something much worse?” For the first time ever, a letter quoting one of the Israeli soldiers who were part of the Al-Dawayima massacre in October 1948 is published in full.
On Friday, February 5th 2016, Haaretz published an article in Hebrew by Israeli historian Yair Auron, which covers one of the biggest massacres of 1948. The massacre is of Al Dawayima, west of Al-Khalil (which is often referred to as Hebron). In a 2004 interview with Haaretz, Israeli historian Benny Morris refers to this as a massacre of “hundreds”.
After the massacre, a letter was sent to the editor of the leftist affiliated newspaper Al-Hamishmar, but ...
The Arctic has in recent weeks become a focal point of geopolitical tensions between Russia and the United States. Given the present rate of global warming, scientists anticipate that the region will be ice-free by the summer of 2030. It is believed to contain a large portion of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas reserves. It is also an important maritime route, one that is increasingly accessible due to the thawing of its ice cover.
The Arctic is one of the most resource-rich regions of the world. According to a study commissioned by the US government, some 30 percent of unexplored natural gas reserves and 13 percent of undiscovered oil and gas condensate are located there. Only Russia has a greater supply of raw materials.
The Northeast Passage, which extends beyond the Arctic, is regarded as an alternate sea route from Europe to Asia to the southern route, which runs via the ...
MP3 & SHOW NOTES: http://themindrenewed.com/interviews/… Dr. Paul Craig Roberts (former US Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy) returns to the programme for an extended interview on the ongoing tensions between Washington and Moscow.
Drawing upon his extensive experience in government, academia and journalism, Dr. Roberts explains how Washington’s current hostility towards Russia, with its demonization of Vladimir Putin, is a bitter fruit of the neoconservative ideology of world hegemony that came to dominate US centres of power from the early 1990s onwards. Assessing the geopolitical landscape with an eye to historical, economic and political realities, Dr. Roberts judges there to be only two hopes for the world to avert nuclear Armageddon: a Europe decisively resistant to Washington diktat, or economic collapse of the US empire itself.
We also discuss the murder of Boris Nemtsov, prospects for Washington-agitated colour revolutions in Central Asia/Caucasus, MH17 and the growth of the police state ...
Professor Noam Chomsky said it would be “no small trick” for the Ferguson protests to turn into an anti-racism and social justice movement, considering America’s founding principles are slavery and the extermination of the indigenous population. In a sweeping interview covering everything from Iraq and Syria to China, capitalism, and the protests in Ferguson, MIT linguistics professor Chomsky told GRITtv’s Laura Flanders that events in Ferguson and the protests that have followed show how little race relations in the United States have advanced since the end of the Civil War.
“This is a very racist society,” Chomsky said. “It’s pretty shocking. What’s happened to African-Americans in the last 30 years is similar to what Baptist (Edward E. Baptist in The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and The Making of American Capitalism) describes happening in the late 19th Century.” Chomsky said constitutional amendments were supposed to free African-American slaves, which they ...
On Monday, February 8, the human rights organization Amnesty International published a 48-page report accusing the Syrian government of mass executions and tortures in Saydnaya prison. According to the watchdog, between September 2011 and December 2015, an estimated 5,000 and 13,000 people were extrajudicially executed.
The methods used by the report to count the alleged ‘victims’ is quite contradictory. Amnesty International admits it had little direct evidence for its claims. Instead, the report was based on conjectures and the words of former prison detainees and commentators who are linked to the Syrian opposition and have lived outside the country for a long time.
Amnesty International could name only 375 people who allegedly died as a result of ill-treatment in Saydnaya. However, even that information is compromised due to its source–the UK-based Syrian Network for Human Rights. According to that foreign-based agency’s website and Twitter feed, it has nothing positive to say about ...
Andrew Bacevich has written a series of books on the topic of U.S. imperialism and U.S. military power. His latest work, America’s War for the Greater Middle East [the GME War] is the latest in this series and as with the previous works is clearly written and logically presented. It covers more narrowly than the previous works the military aspects of U.S. military endeavours in the Middle East (greater – as in including East Africa and Afghanistan et al). Generally he succeeds well and this work is a good ‘primer’ for anyone interested in a quick historical overview of U.S. military actions in the region.
However it is not one of his better works, and perhaps that is because of the narrowness of focus and the resulting tie ins that could have been made and that without do not provide a perspective of this war amongst all the other wars instigated ...
Britain’s lavish state reception for Chinese President Xi Jinping is a dash-for-cash that shows how desperate the crumbling former empire is for foreign investment.
British Prime Minister David Cameron is laying on the finest trappings of the state to impress his Asian visitor – even as it causes misgivings within British society and tensions in Britain’s “special relationship” with Washington. But Cameron has no choice. Britain is broke and badly needs capital investment.
Even the normally supportive rightwing British media appears to be taken aback by the Conservative government’s hypocritical fawning.
The Daily Express reported how premier David Cameron and his Tory government are “rolling out the red carpet to beg for cash” during the Chinese leader’s first state visit to Britain. Meanwhile, the Financial Times gave prominence to critics accusing Britain of “kowtowing” to China.
President Xi and his wife were this week treated to a state banquet at Buckingham Palace, where the couple stayed as special guests of Queen Elizabeth. Throughout the visit, Cameron and his Chancellor George Osborne are to accompany the ...
Donald Trump certainly lies more often, and sometimes for the most trivial or ego-driven reasons. But presidential prevaricating is a common tactic dating back to the nation’s early days.
After escalated provocations with Mexico until he obtained the necessary pretext in 1846, President James Polk announced, “War exists,” thus explaining away how it really happened. After defeating Spain, William McKinley said he wanted to “uplift and civilize and Christianize” the Filipinos, and “by God’s grace do the very best we could by them.” But they’d already declared independence, so doing the “best” actually meant allowing the worst — killing and burning villages during a 12-year war of resistance.
In 1947, Harry Truman (image right) wanted to “assist free peoples to work out their own destinies in their own way.” But the pledge didn’t stop him from approving CIA manipulation of elections in Greece and Italy. And when asked about a US operation ...
A hegemonic power never says sorry.
Three recent episodes underscore this truism.
When US President Barack Obama offered a floral wreath at the cenotaph of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on 27 May 2016, some peace advocates in the United States, in Japan and in other parts of the world hoped against hope that he would say “sorry” for the Atom bomb that the then US President, Harry Truman, had ordered to be dropped over Hiroshima on the 6th of August 1945. The deadly bomb claimed 140,000 lives. Three days later a second Atom bomb destroyed the city of Nagasaki killing another 80,000.
There is a view advanced by a number of scholars and activists that based upon documentary analysis Japan had already indicated to the US Military Command in the Pacific a couple of months before 6th August that it was prepared to surrender if there were some safeguards for the position ...
Historically and intuitively, Russia has fought for the survival of humanity. Of course, things are not always pronounced or defined in such terms. However, already on several occasions, this enormous country has stood up against the most mighty and evil forces that have threatened the very survival of our Planet.
During the Second World War, the Soviet people, mainly Russians, sacrificed at least 25 million men, women and children, in the end defeating Nazism. No other country in modern history has undergone more.
Right after that victory, Russia, alongside China and later Cuba, embarked on the most awesome and noble project of all times: the systematic dismantling of Western colonialism. All over the world oppressed masses stood up against European and North American imperialist barbarity, and it was the Soviet Union that was ready to give them a beacon of hope, as well as substantial financial, ideological and military support.
As one oppressed ...
Exclusive: U.S. mainstream media sees itself as the definer of what’s true and what’s “propaganda,” but has gotten lost in a fog of self-delusion and is now the principal purveyor of “post-truth” news, writes Nicolas J S Davies.
For several months, Western officials and media outlets repeated thousands of times that there were between 250,000 and 300,000 civilians trapped under Syrian and Russian bombardment in East Aleppo. Western reports rarely mentioned the Syrian government’s estimate that there were only one-third that number of civilians in the rebel-controlled enclave – nor that its estimates were solidly based on what it had found in Homs and other rebel-held areas after it restored state control.
Once East Aleppo fell to government forces, it turned out that there were less than 90,000 people there, about what the Syrian government estimated but only a fraction of the much higher numbers confidently repeated ad nauseam by Western officials and media.
Part of the reason for ...
Part 1: The Intermarium and the Russian Revolution
by Clara Weiss 31 May 2016
May 12 to 14 marks the 90th anniversary of the coup by Józef Piłsudski in Poland with which the Polish bourgeoisie tried to save its rule from the threat of socialist revolution. Today, he is being idealized by large sections of the Polish bourgeoisie and the US imperialist elite.
In large measure, this is bound up with the increasing popularity of his conception of the Intermarium, a pro-imperialist alliance of right-wing nationalist regimes throughout Eastern Europe that was primarily directed against the Soviet Union. The resurgent interest in the Intermarium has been bound up with the increasing drive toward a new world war, which, as the ICFI stated in its resolution “Socialism and the Fight Against War,” has been accompanied by a revival of geopolitics among the ideologists of imperialism.
This series reviews the history of the Intermarium, the main ...
The conditionality of the Soviet Union’s agreement to allow East Germany to be taken by West Germany and for the Cold War to end, was that NATO would not expand «one inch to the east». This was the agreement that was approved by the Russian President of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, a great man and a subsequent hero to democrats around the world.
He agreed then to end the Soviet Union and abandon communism and thus to end the entire Cold War; he agreed to this because he had been promised that NATO would expand not «one inch to the east,» or «one inch eastward,» depending upon how the promise was translated and understood — but it has the same meaning, no matter how it was translated. He trusted American President George Herbert Walker Bush, whose friend and Secretary of State James Baker made this promise to Gorbachev. With this ...
Imagine – the European Union were to collapse tomorrow – or any day soon for that matter. Europeans would dance in the streets. The EU has become a sheer pothole of fear and terror: Economic sanctions – punishment, mounting militarization, the abolition of civil rights for most Europeans. A group of unelected technocrats, representing 28 countries, many of them unfit to serve in their own countries’ political system, but connected well enough to get a plum job in Brussels – are deciding the future of Europe. In small groups and often in secret chambers they decide the future of Europe.
Take the TTIP – under pressure from their masters in Washington, behind closed doors under utmost secrecy – and most likely against their own personal good – a small group of European Commission (EC) delegates without scruples, without any respect for their co-citizens, without consideration for their children, grand-children and their ...
THE GLOBALIZATION OF NATO
Author: Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
Clarity Press (2012)
Pages: 411 with complete index
Available to order from Global Research
The world is enveloped in a blanket of perpetual conflict. Invasions, occupation, illicit sanctions, and regime change have become currencies and orders of the day. One organization – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) – is repeatedly, and very controversially, involved in some form or another in many of these conflicts led by the US and its allies. NATO spawned from the Cold War. Its existence was justified by Washington and Western Bloc politicians as a guarantor against any Soviet and Eastern Bloc invasion of Western Europe, but all along the Alliance served to cement Washington’s influence in Europe and continue what was actually America’s post-World War II occupation of the European continent. In 1991 the raison d’être of the Soviet threat ended with the collapse of the USSR and the ...
USAID is spending $300,000 to fight traditional Christian morality in the Republic of Macedonia (a href=”http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-367912520/stock-photo-puzzle-with-the-national-flag-of-macedonia-and-dollar-banknote-concept.html?src=1NQf52M43o22eQ682DptgQ-1-66″>esfera/Shutterstock).
A reader passes along a government document putting out bids for a contract. Here’s the top of the document:
Apparently the (former Yugoslav) Republic of Macedonia, a small Balkan nation that emerged from the breakup of Yugoslavia, is insufficiently progressive on LGBT issues. So the American government is spending $300,000 to undermine the traditional Orthodox Christian culture of the country. Excerpts from the document (emphases mine):
Macedonia has ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Human Rights Convention. Through ratification of these human rights treaties, Macedonia has assumed obligations and duties under international law to respect, to protect, and to fulfil human rights. Despite the adoption of international human rights principles, which are incorporated in domestic legislation, Macedonia has made little progress towards meeting European Union criteria in strengthening the rule of law and respect for human rights according ...
European Unification Divides Europeans: How Forcing People Together Tears Them Apart
Hillary Clinton’s Project For A New American Century
Contestation between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism
Appeal from U.S. to World: Help Us Resist U.S. Crimes
‘Barbarism by an educated and cultured people’ — Dawayima massacre was worse than Deir Yassin
US Imperialism And The New Race To The Arctic
Paul Craig Roberts 2015: Washington’s Path to War with Russia
Chomsky on US: ‘This is a very racist society’
Amnesty International publishes a fabricated report on mass executions in Syria
America’s War for the Greater Middle East – A Military History
Best Of British Values… Hypocrisy
U.S. Presidential Lying Is Nothing New
Hiroshima, Vietnam, Cuba: A Hegemonic Power Never Says Sorry…
Why The West Can Never Defeat Or “Forgive” Russia
The ‘Post-Truth’ Mainstream Media
The Strategy of the Intermarium
How America Double-Crossed Russia and Shamed West
The Collapse of the European Union: Return to National Sovereignty and to Happy Europeans?
NATO: Proudly Delivering Death Since 1949 – A Book Review
America’s Culture War Mercenaries