Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Counter-Revolution of 1776

The Counter Revolution of 1776:
How America Declared Independence To Preserve Slavery and Wage Genocide

   America is founded on myth and is in fact largely run on myths. Hollywood has been nearly as important for American hegemony as the Pentagon. Trillions have been spent indoctrinating the world into an entirely false consciousness. This mythology is incredibly dangerous as it creates an almost schizophrenic duality between reality as the majority of the US population sees it and reality as it truly is. In the last 15 years alone millions have been slaughtered, tens of millions forced to flee for their lives, hundreds of millions perhaps billions have been impoverished all thanks to America's policies but many americans are as convinced as ever that their country is a force for good in the world. They believe that America was founded on freedom, they believe that we are fighting in defense of democracy, they believe that the US is fighting ( instead of funding) "terrorism." They believe that America is a "Global force for good" Others who still subconsciously believe the myth wonder where did it all go wrong. Once for example the moment was seen to be the establishment of a national security state in 1947 with the beginning of the cold war. Now doubtless the new myth is that America went bad as a result of 9/11. To hear some commentators you'd think nobody was tortured by the CIA until the Bush administration. This is why many call the US the "United States of Amnesia." It goes back to what I said at the beginning the power of Myth the belief that america somehow "lost it's innocence" a fairytale.

   Thankfully Gerald Horne is here to remind us how and why the United States of America was truly founded. In his book he destroys for ever the myth of our noble "Founding Father's" who built this nation because of their love of freedom but by a strange accident forgot about the slaves in their quest to build their new democracy. Instead as he shows preserving slavery and expanding  genocide were the prime motives behind the "American Counter-Revolution of 1776" It was launched to avoid the danger of a real revolution by the slaves that would have overturned the order of society. It was launched out of fear that Britain was moving towards abolition, that Britain saw the need to expand the rights of blacks in order to preserve their empire. Thus it is no surprise that the United States later became a literal Counter-Revolutionary Superpower installing fascists and overthrowing progressive democracies. Waging unrelenting war on the communist countries, and training the police and armies of the world on how to brutally suppress their own people to prevent revolutions. Nor is it any accident that America was a close ally of apartheid South Africa, and is a close ally of Israel. America was their prototype a vicious settler-colonial society founded on slavery and genocide. For Horne the the best parallel was the declaration of independence of Rhodesia (Now Zimbabwe)  by Ian Smith in 1965 who modeled his closely on the 1776 Original. Smith's Counter-Revolution was aimed at preserving the settler colonial apartheid system against the wave of liberation sweeping Africa and mistrust of London's more pragmatic approach to the issue. Smith failed thanks to the heroic struggle of the ZANU-PF Guerrillas (with help from China and North Korea) who managed to liberate the country renaming it Zimbabwe. The Americans however succeeded they built a slave empire and went on to ravage the world.

   In order to prove his thesis Horne begins his story not in the 1770's as is common but at the end of the 17th century. In 1688 England's so called "Glorious Revolution" opened the door to what Horne calls "Free Trade in Africans" when this setback in royal power also lead to the challenging of the Royal Monopoly on slavery that had operated under the Royal African Company. As I discussed in my February 2016 article "Capitalism & Slavery" this fueled the explosive growth in wealth and power of the English merchant class fueling the growth of capitalism and later the industrial revolution itself. England like America would owe it's  tremendous wealth and power it's global empire to slavery. However as Horne points out the pressures of maintaining this global empire would force Britain to take a more progressive view of blacks for purely pragmatic reasons. First Slavery was a very dangerous and unstable system because the terrible conditions forced the Slaves to constantly rise in attempted revolts. Second in order to compete with it's rivals Britain needed to arm blacks because it's rivals were doing so to great effect. Much of the book is based on showing Britain's growing awareness of these facts by presenting a completely revised picture of 18th Century History.

    Part of Horne's genius is his ability to put the history of the mainland colonies into their proper International context. The World was then deeply involved in what I have dubbed World War Zero. World War 1 erupted in 1914 when the competing Imperialist powers ran out of new territories to conquer and turned their guns on each other. World War Zero began sometime in the mid 1400's when Portugal launched it's attacks on Africa and Asia and Spain began it's conquest of the new world. World War Zero was the war of conquest Europe launched on the planet it lasted centuries for the rest of the world it was a never ending series of apocalypses. The Death Toll was doubtless hundreds of millions sadly the west still hasn't bothered to count the victims let alone care. But in addition to conquering new territories the imperialist countries were constantly battling each other to steal one another's conquests. Mainland North America South America and the Caribbean  were an important theater in these wars. It Pitted the English against the Spanish and the French and briefly the Dutch. Another layer of this conflict was what Gerald Horne dubbed the "Religious Cold War" of Catholics versus protestants. Spain and France were catholic powers for example while Britain was a Protestant Power. In Yet another layer of the conflict there were ethnic divisions. These would be an important factor in the eventual need to arm blacks (and Indigenes). Spain for example had Catalonians who were not necessarily trusted by the crown leading to a manpower shortage that would make Spain the first to arm blacks. Britain had it's own ethnic conflicts between  (often open wars) between the english the Irish and the Scotts. Thus tiny Britain faced a constant shortage of reliable manpower. The Irish and the Scotts having suffered brutal "dirty wars" at the hands of the British Empire were often  tempted to side with Britain's rivals.

   The Colonists would make skillful use of these resentments in fueling their later counter-revolution. Finally of Course there were Class conflicts. These would help fuel the rise of African slavery as a replacement for white servitude. Again the mainlanders would make skillful use of these in the ugliest manner possible. America was a "land of opportunity" the opportunity for poor whites to get rich by slaughtering the natives and importing african slaves. The whole concept of whiteness was the ideology that underlay the counter-revolution. Ethnic and religious divisions were supposedly to be ended as the new Ideology made race the supreme factor uniting the English, the Scottish, The Irish and later the French, and eventually immigrants from all over Europe against the blacks, the indigenes, and later later latin americans, asians, arabs etc as the empire marched on making more and more enemies. It occurs to me that this presaged americas increasing absorption of the formerly competing imperialist powers of Europe during World War 3 (The Cold War) and especially today during World War 4 (which began with the fall of the Soviet Union). It was no doubt manifest destiny that the US would one day lead the west in waging war on the rest of the planet. The War on Terror a racist return to form (One could write a whole book on the origins of the "war on terror"  in colonialism, fascism, cold war ideology and of course Israel) The full implications of Horne's book are only beginning to be explored clearly but to avoid completely derailing this discussion I must leave them for another time.

   To return to Horne's book all these contradictions and conflicts made for a dangerous and chaotic situation of almost constant war. The massive profits that could be made from the sugar plantations meant that the Caribbean islands became increasingly full of black slaves in ever greater proportions to their masters. This created an extremely dangerous situation for the plantation owners. Much of Horne's book is dedicated to resurrecting the forgotten history of these slave revolts and rebellions. These events have been deliberately erased from history as I've discussed more then once. Thus this is a good place to discuss the many forms slave resistance could take. First there was poisoning in which african women were extremely prominent in. The Africans like the Indigenes had a massive knowledge of herbal medicines and also of poisons. They were far in advance of the europeans in this knowledge. Thus slave masters and their families lived in constant fear of poisoning. Arson was another favorite weapon of the slaves. In fact slaves nearly burned manhattan to the ground twice in a plot that sent the colonists into a panic one of many "Black Scares" as Horne calls them. Worse from the colonists perspective they were joined in their conspiracy by some of the poor whites and were secretly backed by the french in Quebec. Arson was along with "murder" a common feature of escape attempts by slaves.

  Escaped slaves were especially dangerous when they began to band together forming independent kingdoms. Jamaica was a scene of a series of endless counter insurgency wars which tried and failed to conquer the maroons as the former slaves were called. The Maroons were so successful the British were forced to sign treaties with them. Not Surprisingly the British started recruiting these tough fighters into their forces angering the mainlanders who were always terrified to see armed africans.   But Jamaica was only the most dramatic example throughout the Americas independent black areas existed constantly waging a guerrilla war against their former masters seeking to free more slaves. Often they allied with the local natives. They could also become allies with rival empires. Florida would provide the best example for this on the mainland. To destabilize the Carolinas which Spain believed belonged to them but which the British had settled and filled with slaves the Spanish king declared that any slave who escaped to Florida would be granted their freedom. The escaped slaves allied with the seminoles and the spanish who armed them trained them and sent them back to liberate more slaves and wreak revenge for their years of slavery. Florida would be a danger zone for the english mainlanders for over a century and would later see the blacks and Indians inflict a humiliating defeat on the new republic during the Seminole Wars.

   Of course one of the colonists greatest fears was a full scale uprising and the Slaves often conspired to kill their masters and turn the social order on it's head. This would have been the true revolution and it was to prevent this at any cost that the colonists would demand their independence. They lived in a constant state of paranoia over both real and imagined plots. This was because the Caribbean had become what Horne calls a "catastrophic success" for slavery. It was a success in that it generated massive fortunes but it was a catastrophe because the blacks soon came to vastly outnumber the whites and were constantly threatening to kill their masters. There were massive slave revolts in Antigua and Jamaica. In Fact as Horne points out many slave owners were forced to flee to the mainland where the ratios were lower but they brought with them memories of burning cane fields and dead masters. They quickly joined the elite of the new society spreading their fears throughout the land. But they also brought with them their slaves who with their knowledge of the successful revolts spread rebellion throughout the mainland. The mainland was constantly importing more and more slaves and so the dangers of slave revolts continuously grew. To give only one example as the book is packed with these various plots and failed uprisings there was Stono's Revolt. Again Florida would play a role the Colonists later executed a Spanish priest who they believed had been responsible for provoking this plot by spreading the news via a black servant who spoke excellent english that any slaves who killed their masters and escaped would be welcomed in Florida. 29 Settlers were killed by the rebelling slaves near the Stono River and the colonists were reduced to outer panic.   Often these plots were only narrowly foiled and the colonists only solution was to introduce cruel new tortures. Horne gives one horrifying example a slaves ear would be nailed to a post for an hour then sliced off then the other ear would receive the same treatment.

   Many Slaves revolted before they even reached the Americas and shipboard slave insurrections were also common. In one particularly memorable example the Slaves  seized control of their vessel while it was still in african waters, they then managed to capture another slave ship freeing the slaves and enslaving the crew who later managed to escape. Thus thanks to Horne we have a truly global view of this African front in World War Zero. A war for freedom by Africans conducted from the coasts of Africa, throughout the islands of the Caribbean and in what was to become Slavery's greatest stronghold the future United Staes itself. To understand the wars of the 18th century it is important to understand the geography of the American Theater of conflict. On the Mainland the main threats were from the french in Quebec to the north and even more dangerously Florida with the City of St. Augustine home to Spanish allied blacks and indigenes. Actually Canada and Florida would continue to pose problems after the revolution as both offered sanctuary to escaped slaves. While we are discussing geography I should note that the northern colonies were deeply involved in the Slave Trade even though they had fewer slaves then the southern colonies. Newport Rhode Island was a major competitor of Bristol and Liverpool for control of the Slave Trade.  Off the coasts were the islands especially Cuba from which the Spanish could also spread subversive ideas of black rebellion and where it had armies of black troops with black officers ready for invasion and ready to spark slave uprisings. I'm reminded of the more recent Story of Robert F. Williams who was forced to flee Jim Crow America for Cuba where for a time he was given Cuban support as he tried to spark a black revolution.   This Global perspective is one of the major themes in Horne's work which charts the many alliances blacks have made in their struggle for freedom Spain, England, Japan, Kenya, Ghana, Russia, Cuba, India, Canada, and Mexico, are only some of the alliances he has charted. Horne is one of the most prolific historians of our times having written more then 30 books on a wide range of topics.

    Thus the colonies faced the ever growing danger of slave revolts, arson, and poisoning. Horne quotes frequently from the records, letters, and journals of the time driving home the reality of this constant "black scare". Worse from their perspective France and Spain were also constantly threatening invasion and were coordinating these plans with efforts to instigate slave revolts and even to arm train and then send back former slaves to wreak havoc on the colonists. Worse still both the africans and the rival empires were also forming alliances with what Horne calls the Indigenes i.e. the Native Americans. This was their ultimate nightmare an invasion from abroad, combined with a slave revolt internally, combined with attacks by the Indigenes. As Horne points out their worst fears were actually frequently realized and actually they faced complete ruin on a number of occasions. Most Notably the French and Indian War (aka the 7 Years War) the american counter-revolution, and the war of 1812. As Horne explains in his book "Negro Comrades of the Crown" during the war of 1812 blacks rebelled joined the British and looted and burned the white house forcing the president and first lady to flee like refugees. Slavery was the source of the colonists wealth and power but it was also their Achilles heel. Both they and their enemies knew it.

    This brings us to why the British were forced to adopt a more progressive attitude towards blacks. They needed to exploit them in a different way if they were to compete with the Spanish. The Spanish had relied more on creating a buffer between the slaves and the whites for one thing by creating a large class of "free People of Color". The Spanish system  was based as much on class as race and allowing for free blacks and mulatos as well as slaves who could be bought off with privileges to side against the oppressed. The American Colonists were moving in the opposite direction they wanted to expel or re-enslave any free blacks. London was beginning to see that the Spanish system what Horne Calls the "Havana Model" was more stable. Plus it allowed the Spanish to arm Africans to wage it's wars. Tiny Britain seeking to rule the world but having huge tensions with the Irish, the Scotts and the catholics needed to start arming africans as well if it was going to compete and it did so. The white colonists were  unreliable recruits they wanted to wage their war at home on the Indigenes and also were afraid to leave their dangerous slaves unsupervised. They often offered violent resistance to attempts to conscript them for England's imperial wars. Greedy Capitalists they also refused to foot the tax bill even though these wars were waged in their defense. As if that wasn't bad enough they were smugglers constantly trading with London's enemies the french and the Spanish. To skip ahead London's victories in these wars culminated in the 7 years war  which ejected the French and Spanish from North America and proved another catastrophic success. This was because by eliminating these dangerous adversaries they eliminated the colonists need for the protection of the British empire. They began to dream not just of their own independence but in the conquest of the Americas and the Caribbean the creation of a massive slave empire. Dreams that in many ways came true incidentally as Horne discusses in his books on Cuba and Brazil. After gaining independence the United States would seize control of the lucrative slave trade and oversee a massive expansion in slavery in Cuba and Brazil. They would seize half of Mexico to impose slavery.

   While the colonists were dreaming of expanding slavery the British were already thinking of ending it. Constantly having to send redcoats to the caribbean to put down never ending slave revolts was getting in the way of their conquests in South Asia especially India. Abolition was a way to sabotage the increasingly wealthy french sugar colonies like what is now Haiti. Three main events would signal this to the colonists and inspire their rebellion. First there was the Somerset case which seemed to abolish slavery in England itself. This happened in 1772 and it outraged the colonists. James Somerset was born in Africa captured by slave traders and brought to Virginia where Charles Steuart purchased him taking him first to Boston the London. But in England Somerset constantly tried to escape his master who decided to sell him in Jamaica. Luckily for him some english abolitionists heard about his plight and intervened and a major court battle ensued with Somerset's case being argued by Lord Mansfield. Mansfield's eloquent condemnation of Slavery energized the abolitionists and enraged the colonists. They were outraged that their sacred right to property (enslaved Africans) was being challenged in fact slave holders in the islands and colonies paid the legal fees for their fellow slave master. The Americans including famous future founding fathers both northerners and southerners argued in the press on behalf of slavery. When Somerset won his case slavery became de facto outlawed in Britain and the colonists became terrified that Britain might extend this abolition throughout the British empire which step by step actually would happen in the next century with the Somerset case widely seen as the beginning of this process  which would next outlaw the slave trade in 1807 and would abolish slavery in 1833.

   Another important controversy that drove the colonists into revolt was the Gaspee Affair. The colonists had a talent for smuggling and as Horne remarks their greed often drove them to break the law. They carried on a lucrative smuggling trade with the French and Spanish colonies against the wishes and laws of London. The British decided to send their navy in to crack down on smugglers enraging the colonists. Just days before the verdict in the Somerset case John Brown led a mob of 500 colonists in an attack on the british ship killing some of the crew and burning the british ship when it tried to stop and board the Gaspee returning from Africa. This John Brown was not the radical abolitionist but instead one of the biggest slave traders in Rhode Island in honor of whom Brown University is named. The mob had foolishly forced a black man Aaraon Briggs to join them and he decided to testify against the mob. The Idea that a black man would be allowed to testify against a white further enraged the racist colonists. It seemed to imply that Africans were human beings with legal rights an idea that threatened their entire slavery based economy. Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry vigorously attacked this dangerous idea of a black being allowed to testify in court. Do I even need to add that this refusal to grant equal legal rights to blacks continues to this day in the american injustice system. The Colonists viewed the case as a dangerous provocation and it drove them further towards revolt.

   But the most dangerous outrage from the colonists perspective, and the greatest opportunity from the blacks perspective came in November 1775 when fed up with dealing with the insults and disobedience of the colonists Lord Dunmore issued an edict offering freedom to slaves who would agree to fight to put down the counter-revolution. Dunmore had first been briefly beloved for his ruthless war against the indigenes but then fell out of favor when he blocked settlers from conquering more Indigenes Territories which he feared could provoke new wars with the Indigenes. Then he further enraged them by raising taxes on imported slaves although his only real motive had been to reduce the danger of a slave uprising. This made him hated and subject to constant death threats and insults. Finaly he announced the plan that he had long contemplated of arming the blacks to put down the colonists insurrection. This would prove a disaster for the British as the white colonists united in horror at the concept plus the danger that the British would also make alliances with the indigenes against them. It could have been a great success and the constant train of slaves escaping to British lines proved a major drain on the colonists embittering them for years to come as they endlessly demanded the return of their "property" long after the war ended. Unfortunately an army of black  troops that could have proved decisive were struck down with smallpox or the war could have ended much happier for the africans. Nonetheless the blacks would prove fierce fighters especially brave since they knew capture meant re-enslavement. As Horne discusses in "Negro Comrades of the Crown" These black troops would later prove vital in protecting Canada from the schemes of the americans to conquer it. Horne points out that Canada with it's Socialist Health Care is a bit more progressive then the Counter-Revolutionary United States. Sadly it is waging an ugly dirty war on it's Indigene population which nearly everyone ignores, supports fascists in Ukraine, and helps arm Saudi Arabia against Yemen but of course in comparison to the United States, Canada is a small time criminal.

    Dunmore's Edict would win England the friendship of US Blacks for more then a century. Since by a lucky coincidence I just listened to Gerald Horne discuss his new book on Paul Robeson I'm reminded that it was England that made him Robeson a star and England which forced the state department to finally return his passport allowing Robeson to travel the world once again thus ironically nearly 200 years later Britain still remained ahead of the backwards americans. England  offered a more sophisticated and subtle brand of racist imperialism then the ugly brand practiced by their more reactionary american "cousins." They had a global empire to take care of and had to be more flexible. However what would prove more decisive was the hatred Dunmore's edict inspired in the white colonists. They saw their worst nightmare about to come to pass Britain allying itself with the Indigenes and the Slaves against them and deploying armed africans to suppress their rebellion. According to Horne this is what unified the colonists against the British. In order to defend slavery the source of their ever expanding riches they decided to ally with Britain's enemies and the mainlanders long time customers the Spanish and French empires who still resented their recent defeat in the 7 years war little over a decade earlier.

  Unfortunately for the Africans the Indigenes, and their many future victims the counter-revolution eventually emerged victorious. The United States was born a country founded on the principle that all men were created unequal some were destined for genocide and slavery. It set out to conquer the world on behalf of slavery. Ironically it was their frantic slave trading that would contribute to the Revolution in Haiti by dangerously increasing the ratio of Slaves to masters on the island. They would flood Brazil and Cuba with slaves as well. They would steal half of Mexico to introduce slavery and earlier they attempted to conquer Canada nearly bringing about their own destruction when Britain retaliated.  This is what lead to the war of 1812 which they nearly lost because of the number of blacks who sided with the British against their hypocritical masters. Britain would seize on the issue of slavery to discredit this american counter-revolution and the issue of slavery nearly brought the two countries to war more then once. Britain used it's navy to try to stamp out the slave trade while the US became the worlds biggest slave traders.

   For blacks the victory of the counter-revolution of 1776 would prove disastrous and the effects are still being felt to this day. As Horne observes blacks came to be perceived as dangerous internal enemies an attitude that remains to this day. This is why the police act like an occupying army in the black community, why courts offer far harsher sentences to blacks, and consider their testimony far less credible. To bring up yet another 20th century example the gagging of Bobby Seale during the Chicago conspiracy show trial in the late 60's is a logical extension of the Gaspee affair.  Above all the ever increasing mass incarceration the wide scale use of psychological torture (solitary confinement) The brutal beatings by police and prison guards it all follows from the nations origins in the counter-revolution of 1776. Racism is the inevitable result of the Settler Colonial mindset a process on horrifying display today in Israel.

  For the rest of the world the results were equally disastrous the creation of counter-revolutionary superpower that continues to be motivated solely by greed and racism. It is still prepared to inflict untold suffering in the name of property rights and still uses hypocritical talk of "freedom and democracy" in order to defend exploitation and inequality. It has overthrown untold numbers of governments to prevent even minor reforms from being put in place. From a Slaveocracy it eventually evolved into a capitalist oligarchy but it has become even more dangerous then before. But since this is my usual topic I'll end leave it at that. For Horne there is another lesson to be learned he believes only a return to black internationalism as practiced by people such as Paul Robeson, William Patterson, Robert F. Williams, and Huey P. Newton. Only by bringing outside pressure to bare can this racist society be forced into making even minor reforms. Blacks should look for friends in China, Russia, Africa and any place that dares to defy the empire. I'd advise the victims of American propaganda to emulate the British constantly reminding the world of the brutal and racist nature of american society in no position to judge anyone.  American Blacks and their allies should bring their plight constantly before the United Nations. As Horne points out the success of the Civil Rights movement was because American Blacks succeeded in gaining allies in newly independent African Nations. Of course I would expand Horne's call for a new Black Internationalism to both a third (and 4th ) world internationalism like that of Sukant Chandan, and even further to good old fashioned communist internationalism. The people of the world must unite to smash the imperialism of the American-NATO empire. Only then without the counter-revolutionary super-power dominating the planet will another world be possible.


I highly recommend Gerald Horne's "Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and The Origins Of The United States of America." I also Recommend Horne's "Negro Comrades of the Crown:  African Americans and The British Empire Fight the U.S. Before Emancipation" which carries the story forward to 1865.

I First Learned about this book thanks to this interview with Gerald Horne conducted by  Solomon Comissiong of Your World News


A Lecture by Gerald Horne on the "Counter-Revolution of 1776"


A Review of "The Counter-Revolution of 1776" By T. P. Wilkinson


Another Review By T. P. Wilkinson on "Negro Comrades of the Crown"


Also Check out my related Articles First Revolution in Haiti


And Next Capitalism and Slavery



Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Victory in Aleppo

      Victory in Aleppo: The Syrian Arab Army is on the Offensive

   The Syrian Arab Army Recently achieved a major victory in Aleppo, and is on the offense all over Syria liberating terrorist occupied territories and preparing for an even wider offensive. Meanwhile the empire of chaos (the US) and it's allies the axis of chaos ( the NATO-GCC-Israel forces) are so desperate they are threatening open war. We can only hope that they are bluffing and do not plan to destroy the world in a childish temper tantrum over their inability to destroy Syria. The Geneva peace talks collapsed to the surprise of no one as the so called "opposition" (front men for terrorists) seemed unable to adjust to the reality that they are loosing and continued to make demands. Obviously the longer diplomacy is delayed the better although Russia and Syria had no plans to interrupt their offensive even if Geneva III had not collapsed. The only way to restore peace to Syria is to drive the terrorists out of Syria once and for all, and to cut off all their routes into the country. Thanks to the bravery of the SAA (Syrian Arab Army)  this is exactly what is taking place. Aleppo which a year ago Erdogan bragged had become a new turkish province and which he looted whole factories from to enrich his gangster friends and family, Aleppo is on the verge of being liberated from the terrorists. Aleppo is not alone Latakia is almost completely liberated, the terrorist stronghold of Daraa is under assault, they are preparing an offensive in Idlib. Clearly the SAA's offensive is only expanding in strength and momentum.

    First I'll discuss the threat of expanded Imperialist intervention in Syria. Most Outrageously the US decided to illegally occupy Syrian territory and build a base against the wishes of the Syrian people and government on Syrian soil. They also announced plan to send an ever expanding force into Syria supposedly to fight ISIS but in reality to aid them and other terrorists. Their motives are so transparent the more victories Syria and Iraq win against their terrorist proxies the more desperate they are to intervene in both countries. Yet what are a few thousand troops going to accomplish when more then a hundred thousand proved unable to contain the Iraqi resistance. They will be used to advise and support the terrorists but they have been doing that all along. In response to the Russian intervention the Axis of Chaos began pouring weapons troops and advisers into but aside from achieving some temporary successes early on they now face utter defeat. Lets hope this new scheme proves equally futile. Ironically they are building the base in kurdish territory but the Syrian Kurds are moving closer and closer to Russia and Syria. Thus Russia was able to counter by building it's own base in Kurdish territory. Currently the YPG are on the offensive trying to seize the terrorist held area separating the two halves of their autonomous zone. This leads to the next danger Turkey is threatening to invade northern Syria. For Erdogan YPG control of his precious terrorist highway is a red line. Yet such an invasion would lead him into a confrontation with Russian and Syrian airpower. It would probably end in disaster for Turkey. In reality of course Turkey invaded long ago it's troops pretend to be rebels and fight shoulder to shoulder with the terrorists.

  The final threat is the most absurd of all the saudis are threatening to invade "to fight terrorism" fooling only the most ignorant. The saudis are the top ideological and financial source for terrorism in the world as even the New York Times admits. Of course they carry out all this out with the full cooperation of western intelligence. Saudi Arabia is nothing more then the islamic state in a more respectable (simply because it's older) form as everyone knows. But what makes it truly absurd is that it is a hollow threat. Saudi Arabia is already loosing in Yemen where despite overwhelming military superiority they have completely failed to reconquer the country to reinstall their ousted puppet al-Hadi. Despite starving the populace, destroying schools, hospitals, and Yemen's historical heritage they are loosing. Despite unleashing their terrorist proxies they are loosing. The Saudi Army reportedly doesn't even dare fight itself hiding in bases while foreign mercenaries especially veterans of Colombian death squads do the fighting and have suffered heavy losses. The Saudis can't even protect their own territories the Houthi's control parts of Saudi Arabia. In other words I almost hope they do invade Syria where they have funded so much mayhem and destruction. This would allow the SAA to take a terrible revenge on the notoriously soft saudis and would hopefully hasten the end of the treacherous Saudi Monarchy those puppets of the UK, the US, and Israel.

    Unfortunately the Saudis would invade with an entire alliance but they also invaded Yemen with an alliance. We will have to see how far the axis of chaos is willing to go, they risk plunging the world into nuclear war as the Russians have not so subtly threatened to protect their forces in Syria by any means necessary including nuclear. Unfortunately since the start of the war in Ukraine and the beginning of Cold War 2.0 the "new normal" apparently involves keeping the world permanently on the brink of Nuclear War. Such is the perpetual state of madness we live in under the Empire of Chaos. Syria has been surrounded by enemies and under constant threat since it gained it's independence. Whatever threats it faces it will remain defiantly ready to fight to retain that independence. As Walid al-Moallem Syria's Foreign minister said "Any aggressor will be sent back to their country in a wooden box."

    All these threats, diplomatic schemes, and of course a propaganda campaign absurd in it's selective outrage are motivated by the axis of chaos' current inability to do anything to stop the triumphant offensive of the Syrian Arab Army and it's allies as they reclaim town after town and city after city. The province of Lattakia is almost completely liberated. The SAA recently captured the terrorist stronghold Salma which they had spent 2 and a half years and lost many brave fighters trying to capture. Aleppo is on the verge of being the next liberated territory. The  terrorists forces there began to collapse a month ago and now the SAA have won a stunning strategic victory that will bring doom to all the various terrorist militias. By capturing Ratyan and Mayer the SAA have managed to cut off the Aleppo-Gaziantep Highway the main terrorist supply route into the province and beyond. Cut off from food and ammunition, surrounded by the SAA, and with nowhere to hide as everywhere the locals are hungry for revenge for the horrors they suffered under terrorist occupation they will be lucky if they escape alive and thousands are already fleeing. The SAA also broke the Siege of Nubbul and al-Zahran where the locals had been starved and terrorized for years they were greeted with tremendous joy it was one of the most uplifting moments since the lifting of the siege of Kuweires airbase last fall.

   Far to the east in Deir Ezzor the heroic defense continues with the SAA forces and the local civilians resisting the attempts by ISIS to destroy this loyalist foothold in the midst of their territory. Luckily the defense of Deir Ezzor is being lead by the legendary General Issaam Zahraadeen who fights on the front lones with his men manning a machine gun. ISIS has been desperately trying to seize Deir Ezzor and the americans even helped them at one point bombing the base then blaming the Russians. Yet Deir Ezzor is still standing and ISIS's many attacks have only lead to repeated defeats. Remember the heroes of Deir Ezzor their heroic resistance is symbolic of the whole Syrian war surrounded by enemies and under constant attack they have not only survived they have triumphed. Elsewhere the SAA seem to be advancing or preparing to advance on almost every front. Even in Raqqah the ISIS capital (or it was until the leaders fled due to Russian airstrikes) the Syrian forces delivered devastating strikes today.

    Thanks to their Russian allies the Syrian Arab army has been rearming and retraining. Russia has clearly been subtly increasing it's presence on the ground and the first Russian adviser recently lost his life. Unfortunately I can't record his name here as it is classified. He may have been from Chechnya and Russia in one of it's famous "non-denial" denials recently denied there were Chechen Special forces in Syria while basically just objecting to the term and pretty much admitting it. Of course Russia has always had advisers in Syria but clearly they are now openly waging a covert war in aid of their Syrian allies.In addition their artillery advisers and supplies or new artillery battery have helped the SAA offensive gain momentum and even western experts are using the word "cauldron" to describe what is about to happen to the terrorists. Whoever this unknown soldier was I salute their willingness to risk their lives in defense of Syria. I also hope that Russia will increase it's ground forces in Syria both to counter the American special forces and to guard against any reckless moves by the "Sultan of Chaos" as Pepe Escobar calls Erdogan. And I'm thankful Ramzan Kadyrov  has sent in his feared Chechens to battle ISIS.

   These are only some of the fronts in Syria's war yet on every front Syria is either making dramatic advances or laying the groundwork for future advances. They are on the offensive against the terrorist stronghold of Daara. They are preparing an attack on Idlib province. We can only hope that the coming months will bring further victories from the SAA and it's allies  Hezbollah, Iran, Iraq and the Russians. They are aided by masses of volunteers from the Syrians public who have joined the NDF militias and who have the important job of securing the recaptured territories so that the SAA can move on to further offensives. Victory to Syria!

    Before I end I'd also like to remember the heroic people of Yemen who are battling the Axis of Chaos and against all the odds managing not just to survive but to inflict terrible punishment on their invaders. And Sadly I must warn of a grave danger to Libya where western powers are planning to reinvade on the excuse of battling ISIS when they are the ones who installed ISIS to occupy the former green resistance stronghold of Sirte. We must oppose any second invasion of Libya under the phony excuse of battling the terrorists that NATO itself put in charge of the country. And of course we must keep a close eye on Venezuela where fascism threatens to seize control of the country and destroy the Bolivarian Socialist Revolution. Last month the Fascists murdered prominent loyalist journalist Ricardo Durant another in the seemingly endless list of victims of Operation Condor/ The Phoenix Program. In Argentina Fascism is already on the rampage. Amidst such grim news the continued victories of the SAA provide a beacon of hope for the world and an example of heroic struggle. No matter the odds against them they have refused to surrender and the people of the world must follow this example if we ever hope to end this empire of chaos before it decides to end the world.


 I Highly Recommend the book Asad the Struggle for the Middle East By Patrick Seale on Syria's heroic history. And Tim Anderson's definitive book on the topic "The Dirty War on Syria" is now available in E Format at Global Research.


Subscribe to Eric Draitser's You Tube Channel every Sunday he appears on Don Debar's CPR Sunday as a guest with Mark Sleboda for an hour long discussion and Syria is usually the main topic a must listen for those following the war. It usually appears a couple days later.

A Wonderful Site with news on Syria, Palestine and Yemen is Vanessa Beeley's The Wall Will Fall


Eva Bartlett printed this great account from a Syrian on the Liberation of Salma


 A must read Article on the strategic significance of the victory in Aleppo


al-Moallem gives Syria's defiant response to anyone threatening to invade


A mocking assessment of Saudi Arabia's Syrian invasion plans in the context of their failures in Yemen


Turkey's Fascist Gray Wolves are playing an increasing role in Syria


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Capitalism & Slavery

          Capitalism & Slavery

Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.
-Honore De Balzac

   In his classic work "Capitalism and Slavery" Eric Williams exposed in vivid detail a fact that the west would like to forget. The west owes it's wealth in large part to slavery (and genocide of course). It was slavery that funded the industrial revolution. Not in some abstract way but quite literally the famous Watt engine (The first steam engine) was funded with money from the West Indian sugar plantations. Many of Europe's great fortunes owe themselves to slavery. Williams wrote his book long ago in 1942 but the facts he revealed have been intentionally ignored ever since. Thus only recently historians have rediscovered what Williams wrote about back then. Williams work is a classic of both Marxist analysis and black history. Actually Marx himself had noted the role of Slavery in fueling the rise of Capitalism. Williams focuses his work on the  relationship between British capitalism and slavery, but he also deals with the role slavery played in funding the rise of France and the US. Those interested in the role of slavery in fueling France should read C. L. R. James classic "Black Jacobins" which I discussed in my August 2015 article "Revolution in Haiti". Williams charts the economic history of slavery fueling the expansion of commercial capitalism, leading to the rise of Industrial Capitalism. Lavery Williams argues  was abolished in England not purely for the moral reasons cited at the time but simply as part of the triumph of free trade over mercantilism. Slavery was abolished in the British empire but ended up being "outsourced" to Latin America and the United States. Slave grown cotton would fuel the industrial revolution of the 19th century just as the profits from slave grown sugar had fueled the 18th century. Anti-Slavery would become a cover for British Imperialism as it expanded in India, and would serve as the excuse for the conquest of Africa later in the century. Actually I'm currently reading Gerald Horne's "Negro Comrades of The Crown" which deals with the great use England made of the slavery issue against it's american rivals mobilizing slaves to rise up against their masters during the war of 1812 or using black troops (former slaves) to defend Canada. It's another masterpiece but lets return to Eric Williams Classic work which has inspired (and doubtless been plagiarized by)  so many recent historians.

   I should mention that Eric Williams later became the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago an important biographical detail. "Capitalism and Slavery" begins by examining the origins of slavery. Slavery arose out of the economic necessity for labor. First to be enslaved were the Natives but they died quickly, or knowing the local territory often escaped. Ironically next it would be the turn of the whites who were forced into servitude. In a detail especially relevant today with the rise of mass incarceration state as Glen Ford calls it was the way the legal system was used to force the whites into servitude for a variety of petty crimes. They were given the choice of deportation and servitude or a hanging. However servitude was temporary not permanent. In addition the english poor mounted violent resistance against the "spirits" as they called those who kidnapped people into servitude anyone they suspected could easily be killed  by an angry mob. In the colonies it was much easier for a white in servitude to run away and pass for free. Williams offers a vivid picture of the terrible conditions faced by those in servitude who were also packed into ships in only slightly better conditions then the slaves, and reminds his readers that it was perfectly legal for masters to beat their white servants both in England and it's colonies.  Africa became the new source for forced labor and their slavery was usually permanent.

I should explain There were two types of colonies. First Those with poor soils and little resources like the northern US or Canada. Ironically this would later be to their advantage as they were forced to become diversified self sufficient economies. However the second type colonies with rich soils or natural resources could be used for quick and easy profits by producing a single crop. In the 17th and 18th centuries one extremely valuable cash crop was  sugar cane. Sugar was the Oil of it's day with the introduction of tea and coffee back in Europe there was ever growing demand for sugar.  The most efficient way to cultivate it was on large plantations. Since it was so valuable it was cheaper to just import food with the profits so as much land as possible could be dedicated to sugar cultivation. It was the islands of the west indies like Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba, and Barbados that were ideal for growing it. Sugar Cane exhausted the soil which would be an important factor in the future. The British West Indies were far more valuable then the mainland in the amount of profits it generated. The British West Indies were at one point 4 times as valuable as all the other British colonies combined. The Growth of the still colonial future northern united states was fueled by providing the food and supplies for these islands which generated enormous fortunes. Those plantation owners who got rich in the sugar  returned to England where they formed the powerful "West Indian Interest" as Williams called it which bought a number of famous english politicians like Gladstone and the famous conservative Burke. They used their political muscle to enforce a sugar monopoly forcing England to buy it's more expensive west indian sugar instead of the cheaper sugar from France's newer and hence more fertile Caribbean colonies. This would later be their downfall but for a time they would rule England and their enormous fortunes would fund the industrialization of England.

    But it was not merely the wealthy plantation owners of the colonies that made their fortunes off of slavery. The economic growth of the English cities was closely tied to slavery as Williams documents in extensive detail. Liverpool owed it's fortune in the slave trade. They supplied not just english colonies with slaves but their Spanish and French competitors.  It was well known at the time and once when a visiting (and intoxicated) actor was being heckled he shouted back that he refused to be insulted in a town built entirely on the blood of slaves. From it's humble beginnings with a single slave ship stetting sail in 1709 by 1795 Liverpool controlled 5/8 of the British Slave Trade and 3/7 of the whole european slave trade. Bristol had begun as the dominant slave trading city but was forced by Liverpool's competition into the equally slavery related sugar refining interest. The Growth of Manchester was driven by the cotton manufacturing Cotton supplied by slave labor in America's south. Birmingham sold Guns that were traded for African slaves (1 gun for 1 slave) fueling the massive but forgotten slave catching wars that would destabilize much of the continent spreading chaos, horror and murder across Africa. Incidentally as Gerald Horne points out once Britain abolished the slave trade in 1807 the United States would take over, Brazil for example owes it's massive black population to the energetic efforts of the american slave traders.

   In addition to fueling the growth of some of Britain's most important cities. Williams points out the many sectors of the english economy whose growth was fueled by the profits of slavery and slave trade. The growth of Iron industry was fueled by the demands for chains, swords, guns used in the slave trade. Slavery Financed the growth of the commercial Insurance industry a vital element in the growth of capitalism allowing for the "management of risk" the slave Trade was a risky business with the constant threat of shipwreck, disease, and of course uprisings among the captured slaves. Each slave, a valuable piece of merchandise was insured for the voyage. The Banking industry also owed it's growth to the massive profits generated by slavery. In fact many bankers began as slave traders. Captain on a slave ship was the first step on the ladder that lead ultimately to the Merchant-Banker as Williams points out. One famous bank that made it's fortune off slavery is Barclays for example. The rich West Indies Planters often became bankers on their return to England. Actually they were so rich that even the King was annoyed and envious of their opulence and they quickly married into the highest ranks of the nobility. Of course even the monarchs of Europe got rich off the slave trade. In fact one major reason for the "Glorious Revolution" as Williams points out was to destroy the lucrative royal monopoly on the slave trade opening the doors to the "Free Trade in Slaves" which would fuel England's economic growth during the 18th century. England and France fought wars over the "Asiento" the right to sell slaves to Spain's colonies. To return to the industries fueled by slavery and the slave trade, there was shipping. Slavery contributed to a huge growth in shipbuilding and paid for the construction of the ports and docks in Liverpool Bristol, and other cities. Textile manufacturing was fueled by the need to provide clothes for the millions of slaves. Wool for example was used to clothe the slaves even though it was completely inappropriate for the tropics. The raw materials for cotton came from slavery and the finished goods were traded in Africa for more slaves. The dye industry developed to provide colorful patterns to trade for slaves. There was a whole industry that produced useless trinkets to trade for slaves. The Iron industry itself produced bars of iron which were used as currency on the coast to pay for slaves. The wealthy west indian interests funded the invention of the steam engine as Williams describes in detail. They also invested heavily in building England's railroads the Industrial revolution was thus fueled by slavery. Cotton would drive the massive growth of industry in 19th century England. Cotton mills were the biggest factories in England and their raw material was grown by slaves in the US south, Latin America, and the supposedly "free" semi-slave labour of their Indian empire.

    Even England's great philanthropists had been enriched by the slave trade. The various  Churches were also involved. In America slave traders would found famous universities like Brown. Some of the most powerful politicians in England were in the west indian interests pockets. Slavery was perfectly respectable. As Williams points out it was only changing economic circumstances that forced a change in attitude although there were important geopolitical reasons as well. For example the victory of the Haitian revolution and the inability of the British to conquer the island where they suffered disastrous defeat at the hands of the former slaves who were masters of guerrilla and conventional war and beat the British, the Spanish and the French.

    Williams devotes the last two chapters of his book to examining the abolition of slavery. First he deals with the efforts of reformers who were backed by powerful new economic interests intent on destroying the west indian sugar monopoly. They wanted cheaper food so they could pay their workers less and so wanted to institute free trade in food. England had become the most powerful economy in the world and it was cheaper to rely on the slave labor of the United States and Latin America, as well as the cheap labor of feudal India. Free markets became the key to english economic dominance and the West Indian interest were standing in their way. The abolitionists were the tools of a new East India interest. These were the economic motives behind the abolition movement. Of course as the system of slavery was a nightmare of barbarous cruelty (again I recommend C. L. R. James who provides a full account of the horrors of slavery where a hundred different forms of torture and grisly murder became part of everyday slang) Thus it was easy to whip up a massive public relations campaign simply by describing the everyday conditions of slavery. A powerful mass movement against slavery was built up. To break the power of the west indian lobby democratic reforms were carried out to redistrict parliament. Politicians debated endlessly in parliament. However as Williams points out there was a certain unavoidable hypocrisy in all this as it was still to profitable  to trade with the slave societies like the US and Latin America for Capitalism to actually break it's ties with slavery. In fact until 1823 the english abolitionists didn't seek to end slavery which they claimed would die out naturally.  They were only trying to end the slave trade.

   Williams attributes the real cause of the abolition of Slavery to the resistance of the Slaves themselves. In the wake of the Haitian revolution the West Indies was rocked by waves of slave insurrections. British Guyana, Jamaica and Barbados all had nearly successful slave revolts. Upon learning of the outlawing of the slave trade in 1807 they misinterpreted it as being a Royal decree ending Slavery itself and began to refuse to work and to constantly petition the authorities. While the politicians debated back in London the Caribbean had become a powder keg and Britain was faced with the choice of either ending slavery or loosing control of their colonies altogether as France had lost control of Haiti. Finally in 1833 Slavery was abolished in the English empire although it secretly continued in India. Of course as Williams pointed out in 1942 this history of slave rebellion is constantly being suppressed just as more then 70 years later the same is equally true. This is of course no accident our present day masters want us to forget that we have the power not only to resist but to overturn their entire fragile system based on the exploitation of the many by the few. A friend in Academia tells me that research along these lines is actively discouraged. Thus we are continually forced to discover anew our history. Brilliant works like "Black Jacobins" and "Capitalism & Slavery" are suppressed forgotten and then rediscovered again and again.

   To conclude the wealth of the western powers like France, America, and Great Britain was based on slavery and genocide. Today this same process continues and Ironically as the UN revealed recently slavery is on the rise worldwide. Meanwhile with the end of the civil war in the United States they put an important loophole in the abolition of slavery allowing it for prisoners. Prison Labor is a massively growing sector of the american economy and just as the great fortunes of the 18th and 19th century were tied to slavery todays multinational corporations are deeply invested in the growth of the mass incarceration state. Of course it would take a whole new article to describe the companies involved big names like McDonalds and Goldman Sachs. Slavery didn't end like they told us in school. Slavery is on the rise! Latin American workers in the US have become major new victims.  There is no crime that capitalism will not commit if it creates a few percentage points of profit. Until Capitalism is abolished the world will never know an end to war, slavery, genocide, imperialism, exploitation and poverty.


A Special Thank You to @Zaganashikwe for suggesting I read this book.

    You should definitely read Eric Williams "Capitalism and Slavery" for yourself as I've only offered a brief outline. It is written with a delightful irony. I also recommend C. L. R. James "Black Jacobins" which does a great job of showing how slavery fueled french economic growth and unlike Williams who deliberately avoids the topic, gives a nightmarish picture of what life was like for the slaves on the sugar plantations. I've just begun reading Gerald Horne's "Negro Comrades of the Crown" and I highly recommend it as well. Horne is a master at bringing suppressed history vividly to life and I'll smile whenever I hear the year 1812 I'll imagine angry slaves burning the white house and stealing president Madison's silver ware.

Since it is Black History Month I direct you to Abayomi Azikwe's podcast where I have learned a great deal of black history from listening too. It was from Azikwe that I learned about Williams, James and Horne.


And Check out The Black Agenda Report which created the term "mass incarceration state" and does a great job of exposing the crimes of capitalism.


And Check out my friend @arghshell who has a blog and a podcast that did a great expose of the US military role in Sex Trafficking another continuation of slavery


Here is the third episode which describes the lives of enslaved women in the US