>I was unaware of the exploitation of Native Americans in the North. One
>might have thought that reservations and genocide made exploitation
>impossible, but perhaps in your scientific rigour you have discovered
>some new form of exploitation.
I am referring to the general sense of exploitation, not the technical
Marxist sense. For example, Israel exploited the Palestinian people when it
stole their land. The word exploitation preceded Marx's use of the word. If
you can find a better word to describe taking advantage of people, I'd be
happy to use it. What we differ on is the substantial question of social
justice. You side with the land thieves, I side with the victims.
>How, then, to heal the anti-capitalist cancer of the colonies? ... Let
>the Government put upon virgin soil an artificial price, independent of
>the law of supply and demand, a price tht compels the immigrant to work
>for a long time for wages before he can earn enough to buy land and turn
>himself into an independent peasant.' p721-2. L&W ed.
Virgin soil? Yes, I've heard this before. What was Zionism after all: A
people without land looking for a land without people. It doesn't matter if
Marx used the term "virgin soil." This does not make it right, for god's
sake. It was a barbaric misrepresentation of American civilization. The
Native Americans were living here minding their own business and colonial
settlers stole their land. And you apologize for this by quoting the more
unfortunate aspects of Marx and Engels. Engels said that the conquest of
Algeria was an "important and fortunate fact for the progress of
civilization." Does this excuse the French colonialism because Engels said
it? Whoops, I forgot who I was talking to. I suppose in your eyes it does.
>what sense are they responsible for the wrong done to the Seminoles? Is
>land ownership a part of your socialist programme? Why not start at home
>and hand over your apartment to the Algonquin?
These questions are popping up everywhere in the world today. The NY Times
reported that Mugabe is threatening to finally expropriate the rich white
settlers and give the land to the land-based Zimbabweans. The whites
complain about the injustice that is about to be done to them. Poor dears,
where will they go. Israelis have from the day of the birth of their
nation constructed a wagon-circling ideology directed at the Palestinians
who want to "drive them into the sea." Settler states have accounts to pay
and that's that. The most blood-stained settler state in the world is the
USA and the Seminoles et al, and African-Americans deserve restitution. It
is really not an issue that can solved in the state of Florida by itself.
It has to be settled on a national and global level. Socialism involves
fair play. The Seminoles and other Indians have to be given top priority in
their quest for justice. No Seminole has asked for the state of Florida to
be returned, by the way. What they are asking for is respect for their land
rights. Socialists should defend them today and in the future.
This is from the Seminole Web Page and it should serve as a guideline for
the sort of debt that is owed to them:
Survival In The Swamp
The Seminoles began the 20th century where they had been left at the
conclusion of the Seminole Wars - in abject poverty, hiding out in remote
camps in the wet wilderness areas of South Florida. There, finally left at
peace from U.S. government oppression, the last few Florida Indians managed
to live off the land, maintaining minimal contact with the outside world.
Hunting, trapping, fishing and trading with the white man at frontier
outposts provided the Seminoles with their only significant economic
enterprise of the era.
By this time, development had reached the coastal rivers and plains of
South Florida. Inland, a "drain-the-Everglades" mentality promoted by
politicians and developers, forever altered the course of the "River of
Grass." Even in the untamed wilderness of the Seminole, man's social and
ecological pollution had dire effect. Poor crops, shrinking numbers of fish
and game, droughts, serious hurricanes and other calamities once again
heaped pressure on the Seminoles.
The collapse of the frontier Seminole economy in the 1920s threatened the
Florida Indians with assimilation and extinction. The wilderness no longer
offered salvation; many lived as tenants on lands or farms where they
worked or as spectacles in the many tiny tourist attractions sprouting up
across tourist South Florida.
By this time, however, the U.S. Congress had begun to take notice. By 1938,
more than 80,000 acres of land had been set aside for the Seminoles in the
Big Cypress, Hollywood and Brighton areas and the invitation to move in, to
change from subsistence farming and hunting/trapping to an
agriculture-based economy, was offered. Few Seminoles moved onto these
Indian reservation lands, however, mistrusting the government that had
hunted their forebears. Even the religious missionaries had a tough time
breaking through the determined Seminole spirit.
In 1934, Congress passed the Indian Reorganization Act, recognizing the
rights of American Indians to conduct popular vote elections and govern
their own political affairs by constitution and bylaws. Again, inherently
suspicious, mistrustful of any government intervention, the Seminoles did
not take advantage of this opportunity until 23 years later when the Tribe
was faced with official termination by the U.S. Government. They did,
however, file a petition with the U.S. Indian Claims Commission in 1947 for
a settlement to cover their lands lost to the U.S. government aggressors.