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economic justice | imperialism & war

Imperialism Now and Then

I heard on the radio this morning that the reinactment "fort" for Lewis and Clark burned down and that it was being "treated as a crime scene". It's about time Lewis and Clark were recognized for the crimes they committed wittingly and unwittingly against the first nations of this continent.
Just in time for Columbus Day, creeping up on the centennial celebration for Lewis and Clark, on the verge of invading yet another sovereign nation, while occupying scores of others...
The imperialists' steps are echoing around the world, ringing with the hollowness of soulsucking capitalism, and followed by vultures who eat up the scraps and leave nothing for anything left alive. Lewis is painted as a herioc rugged individualist, and Merriweather has such a kind ring to his name- but they were nothing but agents for a heartless master, attacking the integrity of every people that they met. They traded beads for land in manipulative (and still broken) treaties, they killed anyone who resisted their displays of power (and held a special hatred for nations who enforced their borders) and they consumed, decimated, and catalogued the world they had come to destroy.

Why do we hold them in such a tender place in our heart, with all there sickening reinactments of the triumph of the white men against the dangers of "wilderness" and "wild men"? For a little insight, why not look at Columbus Day, since that is coming right up. Columbus is a national hero, kind of a father figure to many. There he is in his tri-cornered hat, Cristabol Colon, the merchant seaman, visionary who believed the world was round. But look closer. There, it's dripping from his gold-ringed fingers...it's genocide, pooling at his feet, marking his footprints. He and his men would slice people's heads off to test the sharpness of their blades. They enslaved hundreds of thousands, praising the gentleness and docility of the people, while wiping whole peoples from the face of the round earth.

Perhaps his vision is respected because he laid the foundation for America's global imperialist system. We believe the world is round, and we can control it all, with bombs or bread, or smallpox and cholera. There are a lot of people who hate Bush, just because this fire we stoke with everyone but the elite few, to fuel the crushing weight of our capitalist motor, is getting too big and too hot and is starting to singe more and more of us. But how many have the strength and dignity to stand against imperialism as a whole, and demand an end to this killing machine?

Whether the fire that burned down the fort in Astoria was lit by a human or some other hand of poetic justice, I wholeheartedly am glad that it happened,
200 Year Old Imperialist Threats 06.Oct.2005 02:02

bitter root

President Thomas Jefferson, on January 4, 1806, addressed "My friends and children, Chiefs of the Osages, Missouris, Kanzas, Ottos, Panis, Ayowas, and Sioux" visiting Washington, D.C.:

"The French, the English, the Spaniards have now agreed with us to retire from all the country which you and we hold between Canada and Mexico...Be assured you shall find advantage in this change of your friends...

My children, we are strong, we are numerous as the stars in the heavens, and we are all gunmen. Yet we live in peace with all nations; and all nations esteem and honor us because we are peaceable and just. Then let my red children then be peaceable and just."

p. 40 from "I have spoken--American History Through the Voices of the Indians", compiled by Virginia Irving Armstrong, first edition 1971, Sage Books, The Swallow Press Inc., Chicago

Fix yourself first 15.Oct.2005 20:11


If you were happy with yourself, you wouldn't be quite so critical of what others do. You really hate a lot of things about others. Resolve.