Social Protest Lit.: Karl Marx “Address to President Lincoln”

indexTaken from the “Address to President Lincoln” drafted by Karl Marx from the International Workingmen’s Association. This piece of an essay is from Book V called “Revolt.” This chapter is summarized as to pertain to “The struggle to abolish injustice; the battle cries of the new army which is gathering for the deliverance of humanity.”

When an oligarchy of three hundred thousand slaveholders, for the first time in the annals of the world, dared to inscribe “Slavery” on the banner of armed revolt; when on the very spot where hardly a century ago the idea of one great democratic republic had first sprung up, whence the first declaration of the Rights of Man was issued, and the first impulse given to the European revolution of the eighteenth century, when on the very spot the counter-revolution cynically proclaimed property in man to be “the new corner-stone of the new edifice”- then the working classes of Europe understood at once that the slaveholders’ rebellion was to sound the tocsin for a general holy war of property against labor; and that for men of labor, with their hopes for the future, even the past conquests were at stake in that tremendous conflict on the other side of the Atlantic.

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Social Protest Lit.: Langston Hughes’ “Scottsboro”

indexA poem by Langston Hughes, Black American poet and writer, entitled “Scottsboro” from Book IV called “Out of The Depths.” This chapter is focused on man’s pursuit of remedy for social injustice:

8 BLACK BOYS IN A SOUTHERN JAIL

WORLD TURN PALE!

8 black boys and one white lie.

Is it too much to die?

Is it much to die when immortal feet,

March with down Time’s street,

When beyond steel bars sound the deathless drums

Like a mighty heart-beat as they come?

Who comes?

Christ,

Who fought alone,

John Brown.

That mad mob

That tore the Bastille down

Stone by stone.

Moses

Jeanne d’Arc

Dessalines

Nat Turner

Fighters for the free.

Lenin with the flag blood red.

(Not dead! Not dead! None of these is dead.)

Gandhi

Sandino

Evangelista, too,

To walk with you–

8 BLACK BOYS IN A SOUTHERN JAIL.

WORLD TURN PALE!

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Would Reparations be Good for America?

c08527e5aThere is a must read, extensive piece in The Atlantic‘s Features section entitled “The Case for Reparations” that everyone should read.

It gives as close to a complete history of racism against African-Americans in the U.S. (that can fit in a magazine format) as you can get with broad historical sweeps all the way down to personal biographies. It covers the times of 1669 to today, from slavery, to the end of reconstruction, to the government policies of the New Deal and the Eisenhower years, to Jim Crow, to redlining, and the current attacks on affirmative action.

This piece is essential.

Yet, I am always skeptical about any arguments regarding the allowance of reparations to African-Americans for I have a few questions, mainly: Who will pay? How much should we/whoever pay? Etc. But the author, Ta-Nehisi Coates, proposes some ideas:

Scholars have long discussed methods by which America might make reparations to those on whose labor and exclusion the country was built. In the 1970s, the Yale Law professor Boris Bittker argued in The Case for Black Reparations that a rough price tag for reparations could be determined by multiplying the number of African Americans in the population by the difference in white and black per capita income. That number—$34 billion in 1973, when Bittker wrote his book—could be added to a reparations program each year for a decade or two. Today Charles Ogletree, the Harvard Law School professor, argues for something broader: a program of job training and public works that takes racial justice as its mission but includes the poor of all races.

But what he wants us to take away from his article is:

And so we must imagine a new country. Reparations-by which I meant the full collective biography and its consequences-is the price we must pay to see ourselves squarely.

Coates points us to the story of the acceptance of reparations paid to the Israelis by West Germany for the crimes of the Holocaust for comparison. That did not always go well in terms of acceptance by all Israelis, but it might be a start if we to take the idea of reparations seriously.

Yet, I have one more question regarding the proposed reparations and that is what to do about the Native Americans. The murder, the genocide, the forced migrations, and the pandemic poverty within Indian reservations today, what should be done there? How should we right both wrongs and are reparations the answer to the White-Americans crimes against these two minorities?

 

 

Harsh Conditions for MIgrant Workers in Qatar

1829841181383766092A must-read peace in The Post on the inhumane conditions migrant workers in Qatar live in and their bleak situation in general.

These South Asians (Pakistanis, Indians, and others) build the epic Qatari capitol of Doha and then reside, with their passports seized by the authorities, in what Human Rights Watch calls “slums.”

Read Here.

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BBC News – A tipping point in the fight against slavery?

BBC News – A tipping point in the fight against slavery?.

Always worth noting the world is still plagued by slavery in various forms, even in the United States.  Sometimes it’s easy to forget or pretend this isn’t happening but, as the article shows, educating more people about it and keeping the pressure on the people committing this crime is the best way to end it forever.