Re: Marx on Native Americans

1998-01-06 Thread Michael Perelman

Some of this thread reminds me of just what is wrong with our academic style.
Heartfield seems adapt at appropriating some very important texts and turning
them into silliness.  I would like merely at this time to interject a few
questions.

1. If more slaves died from disease during the Middle Passage than died from
maltreatment by their slavemasters, could that justify slavery?

2. Marx did justify slavery in a world historical sense.  It helped to
discipline workers and to accumulate capital.  Nobody in his right mind would
use Marx to defend slavery.

3. The way that I read Heartfield, the following scenario would make sense.  I
declare myself to be smarter and better educated than he is.  I with a gang of
toughs go to his place, kill him or push him into destitution.  With my
newfound wealth, I accumulate still more.  I live well and enjoy life.  After I
die, I have my new place turned into a university.  Would my actions be
justified by him.

4. He declares that the westerner farmers were proletarians escaping Eastern
elites.  The cost of a homestead was about $1500.  Few proles had that type of
money.  Most western farmers were previously eastern farmers.  In the Great
Lakes area, you did have quite a few Scandanavian immigrant farmers.  But other
than that, Heartfield needs something more stable.

5. Heartfield, like slavery and the conquest of the Indians, may  have served a
positive purpose by setting off an interesting thread, by his recent responses
now seem predictable and so serve little purpose.

Written hastily under jet lag,
--
Michael Perelman
Economics Department
California State University
Chico, CA 95929

Tel. 916-898-5321
E-Mail [EMAIL PROTECTED]






Re: Marx on Native Americans

1998-01-06 Thread Michael Perelman



Louis Proyect wrote: 1) Dee Brown -- Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee

 2) Peter Mathiessen  -- In the Spirit of Crazy Horse
 3) Peter Mathiessen  -- Indian Country

Matthiessen, Peter [2 t's also wrote, at least I thought it was him, maybe
someone else can correct me] a book with a title with "the rise and fall".  In
any case, it panoramically began with the groups from Mass. and moved out west,
showing the great differences in the lives and cultures of the various tribes.

After reading that book, I never felt comfortable generalizing about the customs
and mores of all those disparate people.  I seemed like luming the indigeneous
people of Algeria with those of present day South Africa.

--
Michael Perelman
Economics Department
California State University
Chico, CA 95929

Tel. 916-898-5321
E-Mail [EMAIL PROTECTED]






Re: Marx on Native Americans

1998-01-05 Thread Sid Shniad

Louise Erdrich. Great author. Wonderful insights.

Love Medicine is the second title.

Sid

 
 I liked "Bingo Palace". I can't remember the woman's name who wrote it, she
 also wrote Heart Medicine? (or Love Medicine?) or something like that and
 "Beets... something" I know it's very current, were you looking for olden
 days stories? I'll dig you up a better reference if you don't mind reading
 about living people. Ellen
 
 Thanks to everyone who's supplied titles on Indians. Most have been about
 their decimation by the Europeans - I'm more interested in stuff about
 their social lives - work, kinship, property, etc. Any ideas?
 
 Doug
 
 
 





Re: Marx on Native Americans

1998-01-05 Thread anzalone/starbird

I liked "Bingo Palace". I can't remember the woman's name who wrote it, she
also wrote Heart Medicine? (or Love Medicine?) or something like that and
"Beets... something" I know it's very current, were you looking for olden
days stories? I'll dig you up a better reference if you don't mind reading
about living people. Ellen

Thanks to everyone who's supplied titles on Indians. Most have been about
their decimation by the Europeans - I'm more interested in stuff about
their social lives - work, kinship, property, etc. Any ideas?

Doug






Re: Marx on Native Americans

1998-01-05 Thread William S. Lear

On Mon, January 5, 1998 at 13:23:13 (-0500) Doug Henwood writes:
Thanks to everyone who's supplied titles on Indians. Most have been about
their decimation by the Europeans - I'm more interested in stuff about
their social lives - work, kinship, property, etc. Any ideas?

You might try:

Alvin M. Josephy, Jr (ed.). *America In 1492: The World of the Indian
 Peoples Before the Arrival of Columbus*. Alfred A. Knopf, 1991.


Bill




Re: Marx on Native Americans

1998-01-05 Thread Robert Saute, CUNY Grad Center

Doug,

You might want to look at:

Klein, Laura  Lilian Ackerman (eds.) Women and Power in Native North
America (1995 Norman, OK)

Bernstein, David J.  Prehistoric Subsistence on the Southern New England
Coast (1993 San Diego)

Simmons, Wm. S. The Narragansett (1989 NY)

Sharer, Robert  The Ancient Maya (5th ed. 1994)

Wallace, Anthony F. C.  The Death and Rebirth of the Seneca (1969)


Gerald Sider who is an anthropologist at CUNY Grad Center has written an
interesting book about the Lumbee Indians who were/are attempting to be
recognized as an official tribe by the US government.  It is:

Sider, Gerald  Lumbee Indian Histories: Race, Ethnicity and Indian
Identity in the Southern U.S.  (1993 NY)


The University of Oklahoma publishes quite a bit about the Indians of
North and Meso-America.  They probably have a web page.

Good luck,


Robert Saute
[EMAIL PROTECTED]

On Mon, 5 Jan 1998, Doug Henwood wrote:

 Thanks to everyone who's supplied titles on Indians. Most have been about
 their decimation by the Europeans - I'm more interested in stuff about
 their social lives - work, kinship, property, etc. Any ideas?
 
 Doug
 
 
 





Re: Marx on Native Americans -Reply

1998-01-05 Thread Tim Stroshane

There was a book in the late 70s or early 80s called KEEPERS OF
THE GAME by an anthropologist (Calvin ???) whose last name I
cannot remember.  He makes a very interesting and HIGHLY
controversial argument about how the tribes in the northeast and
northwest (that is, what we now refer to as the Midwest) had no
"scientific" way to explain the diseases brought by the Europeans
(Dutch, French, English, others) were striking down their
populations.  They reasoned that their gods were angry at them
and they sought revenge against animals whom they thought were
the channels for disease.  This confluence of interpretations
coincided with the extinction and near extinction of many species
(e.g., beaver, mink) through their increased hunting for the fur
trade.  We're probably talking mid- to late-18th century in North
America.

This book was really controversial.  It is well-argued and
documented, but there are some leaps that the author had to
explain and document.  I don't remember what consensus emerged
from the brouhaha.  One major objection was that it really takes
the gloss off of the image of Native Americans as somehow more
spiritual and loving stewards of the natural world.  It was,
after all, as the book shows, Indian warriors and hunters who
showed the European fur traders where the habitats of these
animals were and helped kill them.  

In California, disease (venereal, and small pox among them) was
also believed to cause an 80 percent drop in the populations of
the California tribes in the 50 years subsequent to the arrival
of the Spaniards in the late 18th Century.  That stat is my
recollection; it was incredible the impact of disease here
though.  My (recalled) source on that is Sherburne Cooke's book
on the California Indians from the 1940s.

This was also true of Cortez' conquest of Aztec Tenochtitlan too,
and Pizarro's conquest of the Incas.  The native peoples on both
continents had no immune defenses against the critters the
Europeans brought.  Same with Hawai'i when contacted in the late
18th Century by Captain Cook, particularly with sexually
transmitted diseases.  The list is a long, sad one.





Re: Marx on Native Americans

1998-01-05 Thread Peter Bohmer

See the book edited by Annette James, "The State of Native America". It 
was published by South End press in 1992 or 1993. there ar many excellent 
articles dealing with land, fishing rights, water, governance, and 
resistance. 

On Mon, 5 Jan 1998, Doug Henwood wrote:

 Thanks to everyone who's supplied titles on Indians. Most have been about
 their decimation by the Europeans - I'm more interested in stuff about
 their social lives - work, kinship, property, etc. Any ideas?
 
 Doug
 
 
 




Re: Marx on Native Americans

1998-01-05 Thread Bill Burgess


 Doug Henwood wrote:
  
  Can anyone recommend anything good to read on Native Americans/Indians?
 
I found Ronald Wright's _Stolen Continents_ a real education. His account
of the Spanish conquest is incredible. If I remember correctly, Wright
estimates that 9/10s of the Indian population died from new diseases
before the actual military conquest occurred. New research on the (much
later) contact here along the Fraser River in B.C. also suggests that 9
out of 10 died in smallpox epidemics (previous research had estimated
death rates of about 25%).  

Such estimates have real political importance, particularly in light of
the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision that Indians DO have title to
much of the land mass of Canada (including most of BC), and establishing
continuous occupation and use as one of the criteria for proving title.

I look forward to more discussion of the alliances between Indians and the
French and British and Americans against each other. Any effort to paint
Indians as reactionary for lining up with the British against the
Americans is surely out of line.  I happened to go to a high
school named after the Indian leader Tecumseh, who provided the
majority of the actual fighting forces on the British side in the
war of 1812, but who was abandoned in battle and killed, and the
British promises to provide land for his fighters were, of course, never
honored. But they didn't tell us about that in high school!

Canadian marxist historian Stanley Ryerson quotes an 18th century
historian about the Iroqois strategy: "to hold the scale evenly balanced
betwen the two [white] nations, whose mututal jealosy the Iroqois sought
by both and ensured their safety". Similarly, he quotes a New York
official of the alliances in the earlier French period: "To preserve a
balance between us and the French is the great ruling principle of modern
Indian politics."   

Bill Burgess





Re: Marx on Native Americans

1998-01-05 Thread James Michael Craven

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 Thanks to everyone who's supplied titles on Indians. Most have been about
 their decimation by the Europeans - I'm more interested in stuff about
 their social lives - work, kinship, property, etc. Any ideas?
 
 Doug

Perhaps take a look at Jack Weatherford's "Native Roots" and "Indian 
Givers".

Jim 


*---*
* "Who controls the past,   * 
*  James Craven  controls the future.   *  
*  Dept of Economics   Who controls the present,*
*  Clark College controls the past." (George Orwell)*
*  1800 E. Mc Loughlin Blvd.* 
*  Vancouver, Wa. 98663  (360) 992-2283  FAX:  (360)992-2863*
*  [EMAIL PROTECTED]* 
* MY EMPLOYER HAS NO ASSOCIATION WITH MY PRIVATE/PROTECTED OPINION  * 





Re: Marx on Native Americans

1998-01-05 Thread Doug Henwood

Thanks to everyone who's supplied titles on Indians. Most have been about
their decimation by the Europeans - I'm more interested in stuff about
their social lives - work, kinship, property, etc. Any ideas?

Doug






Re: Marx on Native Americans

1998-01-04 Thread Patrick Bond

A comment on this thread, from near Zimbabwe:

 Date:  Sat, 3 Jan 1998 10:56:43 +
 Reply-to:  [EMAIL PROTECTED]

Louis:
 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...

James:
 Quite different questions altogether. In Zimbabwe land-ownership and the
 displacement of blacks is a social condition of their exploitation at
 the hands of white farmers today. There property in land is the
 instrument of exploiting black labour in the here and now, not an
 historical question..

Comrades the sad reality is that Mugabe is not going to give the 1400 
farms (mostly white-owned) designated for redistribution recently to 
the landstarved peasants. His Agriculture Minister, Kumbirai 
Kangai, announced on radio last month that rich folk -- he 
specifically mentioned government ministers -- will be the prime 
beneficiaries as they are the ones he deems capable of running the giant 
farms.

Some designated farms are clearly just political spoils. One 
(Simukai) is run by a reknowned left cooperative that came from the 
minority Ndebele tribe's liberation army and represents the country's 
most advanced form of searching for new agrarian relations of 
production. Another is run by a friend of mine in the eastern region of the 
country, a white hippy from old Rhodesian stock who married a black 
woman, and whose 60 acre farm has 40 acres of steep mountain land, 10 
acres of arable veg garden and 10 acres of minefield since it 
borders Mozambique and the Rhodesian army lost track of where it laid 
mines. Anyhow to illustrate the silliness, this place was designated, 
for the sole apparent reason is that it is extremely good terrain for 
smuggling goods (especially grass) from Mozambique (there are a 
couple of safe trails across the mine field). The local 
political bureaucrats who made the call had no other obvious reason.

My bet is that in any case Mugabe doesn't follow through with more 
than 20% of these because even giving only partial compensation to 
the owners (on buildings not land), his treasury is bust. There is 
general chaos in Zimbabwe (I spent much of last month there, 
completing a book out soon.) The central bank upped the interest rate 
6% in Nov-Dec, the currency fell 55% against the US$, the stock 
market is down 45% since August and now the land market is paralysed.

All of this is structural, of course, a reflection of the damage done 
by Mugabe's orthodox structural adjustment policies, the failure of 
which he's now trying to distract his citizens from through another 
round of populist posturing. 17 years too late on land reform, and it 
won't even happen.

The good news is that on Red Tuesday, December 9, more than a 
million Zimbabweans joined a stay-away and tens 
of thousands participated in street protests in all the major 
centres. This was a trade union-led protest against increased taxes 
to pay for liberation war veteran pensions, but in fact had a very 
progressive content against Mugabe's overall patronage-tinged 
neoliberalism. The police responded by bashing Harare protesters as 
well as thousands of bystanders; the trade union leader -- quite a 
tough leftist, Morgan Tsvangirai -- was beat up the next day at his 
office;  and the scene is now set for some form of (probably 
half-assed) popular front political party challenge to ZANU in 2000. 

The land designation will cost a couple or more GDP points next year 
and probably in '99 if it really gets even partially implemented, but 
won't make any other dent in social relations (the minister-farmers 
are not great as baases); there's lots more interesting stuff in Zim that 
bears watching and solidarity.

  Patrick Bond
HOME:WORK:
51 Somerset Road   University of the Witwatersrand
Kensington 2094  Graduate School of Public and
Johannesburg, South Africa  Development Management
Phone:  (2711) 614-80882 St.David's Road, Parktown
E-mails:  [EMAIL PROTECTED]  [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Work phone:  (2711) 488-5700 Fax:  (2711) 484-2729




Re: Marx on Native Americans

1998-01-04 Thread Doug Henwood

Can anyone recommend anything good to read on Native Americans/Indians?

I notice lots of people here  on the Spoons Marxism lists using "Indians."
Is "Native American" just not sticking?

Doug






Re: Marx on Native Americans

1998-01-04 Thread James Michael Craven

Response: Even granted that Indians did not historically have a 
concept of  private ownership of land or institutions of private 
property governing establishing basis of legitimacy of ownership of 
land, capitalist society does and from the standpoint of the core 
criteria and values for establishing legitimate ownership, Indians 
"owned" the land on they clearly and provably occupied and improved 
as much as any homesteaders granted title on the basis of occupancy 
and improvement.

The point is that the robbing of territory, displacement of Indians 
and genocide idicted Capitalisms own private property institutions 
and legal criteria for establishing "ownership". On the basis of what 
has been done to Indians, presumably anyone with a bigger gun and who 
is more ruthless can effectively take over, hold, maintain and make 
nominal improvements of someone else's territory and call it "land" 
and then call it "privately owned" land and generic private property.

The contradictions between the professed and de jure core values, 
institutions and ideals of capitalism versus the real or de facto 
practices, institutions, ideals and power relations--as manifested 
throughout the whole history of the U.S.--leads to pseudo palliatives 
like the BIA and reservations otherwise the whole basis of the system
--private property is what it is historically based on and how it is 
ususally acquired: theft-- lies naked and exposed.

 Jim Craven











  
   Heartfield:
 The Native Americans were slaughtered, not robbed. Property rights are
 alien to native American culture.
 
 
 The American Indians did not have a concept of land ownership like Donald
 Trump's, but they certainly did have a concept of territoriality.
 Heartfield is aware of this, I'm sure, since he has been anxious to remind
 us of the intermittent wars between various tribes, who fought over hunting
 grounds typically.
 
 Both the American government and the tribes understood the territorial
 rights of the Indians, since the evidence of such an agreement can be found
 in the myriad of treaties that they hammered out and which the whites
 betrayed over and over again. Heartfield hates these treaties as much as
 the capitalist class did and finds all sorts of "Marxist" reasons to throw
 them into a bonfire and piss on them while they burn. But they were based
 on law and were not at all "fictional." The Supreme Court of the United
 States and state supreme courts are called upon to adjudicate them
 constantly. All these cases involve land claims made by Indians on the
 basis of various treaties. Like them or not, they are real, not fictional.
 
 In 1851 the Cheyennes, Arapahos, Sioux, Crows and other tribes met at Fort
 Laramie with US officials and hammered out an agreement that would allow
 roads and military posts across their territory. The treaty did not
 relinquish any rights or claims to the land and guaranteed the Indians
 hunting and fishing rights.
 
 In the following decade gold was discovered and miners flooded into the
 territory. Little Raven, an Arapaho chief, told them that they could keep
 all the gold they found since the Indians had no use for it, but he also
 reminded them that the land belonged to the Indians.
 
 Unfortunately the Indians' generosity did not assuage the greed of the
 American capitalist class. The treaty of 1851 was subverted through a
 provocation by the capitalist government. A single rancher's cow was
 slaughtered by a Minneconjou Sioux and the rancher demanded compensation
 all out of proportion to the  value of the cow. When the tribe resisted
 payment, the cavalry attacked. The ensuing wars had nothing to do with
 revenge, but desire for material gain. The Indians stood in the way of
 maximum exploitation of the land. Specifically, buffalo-hunting and
 cattle-ranching were mutually exclusive "means of production." The
 territoriality of the Indian tribes had to be overcome through force and
 violence. It was an act of theft. General George Cook, the most renowned of
 the campaigners against the Indian, said, "Greed and avarice on the part of
 the whites--in other words, the almighty dollar, is at the bottom of all
 our Indian troubles."
 
 A new treaty was signed during the Civil War which would permit the
 railroad to be built through Indian territory. This treaty was violated,
 just as the 1851 treaty was violated. Northern troops launched an
 unprovoked attack on a Sand Creek, Colorado encampment and slaughtered 300
 sleeping Cheyennes. The troops returned to Denver with the Indian scalps.
 
 This raid provoked a general conflagration on the Plains territories. With
 the end of the Civil War, the US ruling class was now able to concentrate
 its fire on the Indians who were an impediment to the untrammeled
 capitalist growth that Heartfield is so in love with. Black Kettle, the
 chief of the Cheyennes, tried vainly to accommodate to the armed might of
 the bourgeoisie, 

Re: Marx on Native Americans

1998-01-04 Thread James Michael Craven

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 Can anyone recommend anything good to read on Native Americans/Indians?
 
 I notice lots of people here  on the Spoons Marxism lists using "Indians."
 Is "Native American" just not sticking?
 
 Doug

The myth goes that the term "Indian" came from Columbus who thought 
he had hit "India". Pure crap. In the 15th Century there was no such 
thing as "India" as what is now called India (in Hindi Bharatha) was 
a collection of Maharaja-run "states" and regions.

The term Indian actually came from In Dios when Columbus referred to 
indigenous peoples as La Hiente In Dios (People with God) as he wrote 
that the indigenous peoples were warm and loving and easy to trick, 
control, enslave, steal from etc (Diaries of Columbus). 

Check out "Rethinking Columbus: Teaching About the 500th Anniversary 
of Columbus's Arrival in America" by Rethinking Schools Ltd or Jack 
Weatherford's "Native Roots" and "Indian Givers" or for basic 
chronologies Judith Nies Chronology of Native American History.

Many non-Indians and some Indians use "Native American" while others 
see "Native American" as a somewhat solicitous, perhaps well meaning 
but nonetheless rather patronizing term. I can tell you that on the 
Blackfeet Reservation in Browning, the term "Native American" is 
rarely if ever used--the term is American Indian just as in the 
American Indian Movement rather than Native American Movement. It is 
sort of like "people of color" may or may not be used for nefarious 
and ahistorical purposes.

On the issue of numbers of Indians killed by diseases as opposes to 
guns and other methods, on what basis does this author make this 
assertion. I have a copy of a 1755 Proclamation from William Hirley, 
Governor-General of the Massachusetts Bay Colony offering 40 pounds 
for the scalp of an adult Indian male and 20 pounds for the scalp of 
an Indian woman or child (scalping goes back to ancient Greece) and 
there is so much evidence of deliberate, calculated genocide through 
very overt and brutal means. Even on the issue of diseases, there is 
so much evidence of infected goods being deliberately held and used 
for trade with Indians, of conscious awareness of diseases to which 
Indians were not resistant etc.

By the way, anything on the issue of the Blackfeet National Bank, the 
IRS and the U.S. Government. I will resend the original post to 
remind people of the many ways--including through "commerce", "law", 
the "tax code" etc that genocide can still go on under new banners 
and facades.

   Jim Craven

*---*
* "Who controls the past,   * 
*  James Craven  controls the future.   *  
*  Dept of Economics   Who controls the present,*
*  Clark College controls the past." (George Orwell)*
*  1800 E. Mc Loughlin Blvd.* 
*  Vancouver, Wa. 98663  (360) 992-2283  FAX:  (360)992-2863*
*  [EMAIL PROTECTED]* 
* MY EMPLOYER HAS NO ASSOCIATION WITH MY PRIVATE/PROTECTED OPINION  * 





Re: Marx on Native Americans

1998-01-04 Thread Louis Proyect

At 03:17 PM 1/4/98 -0500, you wrote:
Can anyone recommend anything good to read on Native Americans/Indians?

I notice lots of people here  on the Spoons Marxism lists using "Indians."
Is "Native American" just not sticking?

Doug

1) Dee Brown -- Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee
2) Peter Mathiessen  -- In the Spirit of Crazy Horse
3) Peter Mathiessen  -- Indian Country
4) Vine Deloria Jr. -- Custer Died For Your Sins
5) Ward Churchill-- From a Native Son, selected essays in indigenism,
1985-1995

All of these are in print. I suspect that Indian is the term that has the
most common usage without any "PC" implications one way or the other.

Louis Proyect





Re: Marx on Native Americans

1998-01-04 Thread James Michael Craven

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 At 03:17 PM 1/4/98 -0500, you wrote:
 Can anyone recommend anything good to read on Native Americans/Indians?
 
 I notice lots of people here  on the Spoons Marxism lists using "Indians."
 Is "Native American" just not sticking?
 
 Doug
 
 1) Dee Brown -- Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee
 2) Peter Mathiessen  -- In the Spirit of Crazy Horse
 3) Peter Mathiessen  -- Indian Country
 4) Vine Deloria Jr. -- Custer Died For Your Sins
 5) Ward Churchill-- From a Native Son, selected essays in indigenism,
 1985-1995
 
 All of these are in print. I suspect that Indian is the term that has the
 most common usage without any "PC" implications one way or the other.
 
 Louis Proyect
 
Follow-up: Indians were not even made (de jure) American citizens 
until 1924. In Arizona, Indians could not vote until 1958. Many 
Indians see "Native Americans" as a term that gives some focus to 
being part of a nation that was formed well after their ancestors 
came and lived here--a nation that did not bother to include them as 
citizens until 1924 and still does not include them as citizens (do 
we have a Bureau of Caucasian Affairs or even a Bureau of African-
American Affairs? Further, there was no referendum among Indians as 
to whether they wanted to be summarily declared to be American 
citizens in 1924. 

Those who use the term American Indian mean an Indian of what is now 
called the Americas. So Indians of South America are also referred to 
as American Indians by those Indians who use the term Indian or 
American Indian---it does not mean an Indian in/of the United States 
of America; nor does it mean Indian-American like Italian-American or 
even African-American.

With this background in mind, perhaps there is indeed a big 
difference between the term "Native American" and Indian or even 
American Indian.

 Jim Craven

*---*
* "Who controls the past,   * 
*  James Craven  controls the future.   *  
*  Dept of Economics   Who controls the present,*
*  Clark College controls the past." (George Orwell)*
*  1800 E. Mc Loughlin Blvd.* 
*  Vancouver, Wa. 98663  (360) 992-2283  FAX:  (360)992-2863*
*  [EMAIL PROTECTED]* 
* MY EMPLOYER HAS NO ASSOCIATION WITH MY PRIVATE/PROTECTED OPINION  * 





Re: Marx on Native Americans

1998-01-04 Thread William S. Lear

On Sun, January 4, 1998 at 15:17:35 (-0500) Doug Henwood writes:
Can anyone recommend anything good to read on Native Americans/Indians?

I notice lots of people here  on the Spoons Marxism lists using "Indians."
Is "Native American" just not sticking?

Here are some I have found helpful:

Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall. *Agents of Repression: The FBI's
 Secret Wars Against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian
 Movement*. South End Press, 1990.

Ward Churchill. *Fantasies of the Master Race: Literature, Cinema and
 the Colonization of American Indians*. Common Courage Press, 1992.

Ward Churchill. *Indians Are Us?: Culture and Genocide in Native North
 America*. Common Courage Press, 1994.

Vine Deloria, Jr. and Clifford M. Lytle. *American Indians, American
 Justice*. University of Texas Press, 1983.

Richard Drinnon. *Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian-Hating and
 Empire-Building*. Schocken Books, 1990 [1980].

Francis Jennings. *The Invasion of America: Indians, Colonialism and
 the Cant of Conquest*. W. W. Norton and Company, 1975.

Francis Jennings. *The Ambiguous Iroquois Empire: The Covenant Chain
 Confederation of Indian Tribes with English Colonies*. W. W. Norton
 and Company, 1984.

Francis Jennings. *Empire of Fortune: Crowns, Colonies and Tribes in
 the Seven Years War in America*. W. W. Norton and Company, 1988.

Hans Koning. *The Conquest of America: How the Indian Nations Lost
 Their Continent*. Monthly Review Press, 1993.

Francis Jennings. *The Founders of America: From the Earliest
 Migrations to the Present*. W. W. Norton and Company, 1993.

David E. Stannard. *American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New
 World*. Oxford University Press, 1992.

Russell Thornton. *American Indian Holocaust and Survival: A
 Population Survey Since 1492*. University of Oklahoma Press, 1987.

Tzvetan Todorov. *The Conquest of America: The Question of the Other*.
 Harper Perennial, 1984 [1982].


Bill




Re: Marx on Native Americans

1998-01-04 Thread Robin Hahnel

Doug Henwood wrote:
 
 Can anyone recommend anything good to read on Native Americans/Indians?

Ward Churchill is about as much native american as most white radicals
can handle. He has written much to challenge white radicals' views and
stands on native american issues. I always find his writings insightful
and provocative. I usually agree with him more than most of my white
progressive friends do. I by no means always agree with him. He has
written books for South End Press and Common Courage Press and others
over the past 15 years. He has also published some challenging pieces in
Z Magazine from time to time. He writes much more extensively for a
variety of indigenous publications. I think his first book with South
End Press was titled Marxism and Native Americans.




Re: Marx on Native Americans

1998-01-04 Thread Sid Shniad

Blaut made the memorable statement that indigenous people weren't
conquered -- they were _infested_! (This drew a hearty laugh from a
Guatemalan friend of mine.)

Sid
 
 If I'm remembering correctly, James Blaut says in The Colonizer's Model of
 the World (Guilford, a couple of years ago) that European diseases killed
 many more indigenous North and South Americans than European guns. Blaut
 writes with great confidence - is this a controversial claim at all?
 
 Doug
 
 
 
 





Re: Marx on Native Americans

1998-01-03 Thread James Heartfield

In message [EMAIL PROTECTED], Louis
Proyect [EMAIL PROTECTED] writes
 What we differ on is the substantial question of social
justice. You side with the land thieves, I side with the victims.

You confuse questions of history with questions of policy. I'm not
taking sides with anyone in history because it has already happened and
cannot be reversed. History for me is first a question of the truth, not
of striking moral poses. I want to understand how things change, you
want to kid yourself that nothing ever changes.




(quoting Marx)
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. LW ed.

Virgin soil? Yes, I've heard this before. What was Zionism after all:

Hmmm. So now Marx is a Zionist. I've heard that one before. 

 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. 

Right does not come into it. It happened. It cannot be undone. Unless of
course your appeal to God almighty is less rhetorical than I think.


It was a barbaric misrepresentation of American civilization. The
Native Americans were living here minding their own business and colonial
settlers stole their land. 

Like Ricardo who thought that the cavemen consulted the stock exchange
before exchanging fish and furs, you have native Americans doing
business and owning land - but you cannot steal what was never owned.
Strip away the property fetish if you want to understand what happened.
The Native Americans were slaughtered, not robbed. Property rights are
alien to native American culture.

And you apologize for this by quoting the more
unfortunate aspects of Marx and Engels. 

I'm not apologising for anything. Nor were Marx and Engels, who you
finally appreciate shared none of your moralistic fervour, but preferred
a scientific understanding of history, without the hystrionics.

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. 


 No Seminole has asked for the state of Florida to
be returned, by the way. 

Then it was a bit premature of you to offer it to them.


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. 

Quite different questions altogether. In Zimbabwe land-ownership and the
displacement of blacks is a social condition of their exploitation at
the hands of white farmers today. There property in land is the
instrument of exploiting black labour in the here and now, not an
historical question. 

In Israel, the principle motor of the Zionist occupation is political:
the subordination of the Arab people as a whole. Opposition to Israel is
a question of the self determination of the Palestinian people. Within
Palestine the land question is more traditional in the sense that Israel
has become dependent on Palestinian workers - but even there the
principle motives for settlement are political control, rather than
economic exploitation.

Needless to say, the United States in no sense resembles a settler state
like Zimbabwe or Israel, since native Americans do not constitute the
exploited class in the US. No matter to Louis, for whom understanding
the specificity of distinctive historical periods is just a distraction
from the true lesson of history: nothing ever changes. 
-- 
James Heartfield




Re: Marx on Native Americans

1998-01-03 Thread James Heartfield

Again it is difficult to talk sense into Louis when accusations like FBI
membership collusion with genocide and other emotionalism is in the air,
but here goes. 

In message [EMAIL PROTECTED], Louis
Proyect [EMAIL PROTECTED] writes
The American Indians did not have a concept of land ownership like Donald
Trump's, but they certainly did have a concept of territoriality.
Heartfield is aware of this, I'm sure, since he has been anxious to remind
us of the intermittent wars between various tribes, who fought over hunting
grounds typically.

Not quite. Territoriality is a long way from property. The wars amongst
native Americans were not *over* anything. As kinship groups they were
irresolutely hostile. It is just ahistorical to read capitalist
competition back into these societies.


Both the American government and the tribes understood the territorial
rights of the Indians, since the evidence of such an agreement can be found
in the myriad of treaties that they hammered out and which the whites
betrayed over and over again. 

This is just surreal. Louyis should ask why the US govt. like the
British govt. before it recognised native American land rights. Was this
some love of justice on their part? In all other respects native
Americans were denied the basic civil liberties of US citizens. So why
should the US courts suddenly reverse their position and embrace native
Americans as legal subjects? Only the most naive would be taken in by
this charade.

The so-called treaties (in fact unilateral impositions by the more
powerful force) only negotiated the retreat of the Indian tribes. Their
terms were onerous. The 'property' that they granted was not property in
any sense enjoyed by US citizens. It was not theirs to dispose. On the
contrary. These treaties weere ghettoes, as their degeneration into
'reservations' for the management of native Americans by 'Indian
Agents', like Custer, who were appointed to 'manage' this property on
their behalf. 

It is difficult to imagine a more fictitious land title than that
granted to native American tribes. That much is forcefully demonstrated
by the ease with which these treaties were unilaterally overturned by
the US govt.

The sense in which the US govt.
understood the territorial
rights of the Indians

Is explained by Louis himself
The treaty of 1851 was subverted through a
provocation by the capitalist government.

This treaty was violated,
just as the 1851 treaty was violated.

the US Cavalry
attacked at dawn, slaughtering 150 poorly armed Indians. The architect of
this "victory" was

Indian agent under the treaties

 George Custer.





Heartfield hates these treaties as much as
the capitalist class did and finds all sorts of "Marxist" reasons to throw
them into a bonfire and piss on them while they burn.

Again, I neither hate nor love the treaties. They are there, and they
ought to be understood.

 But they were based
on law and were not at all "fictional." 

Touching faith in the law.

The Supreme Court of the United
States and state supreme courts are called upon to adjudicate them
constantly. 

All power to the Supreme Court

All these cases involve land claims made by Indians on the
basis of various treaties. Like them or not, 

neither - like has nothing to do with it

they are real, not fictional.

And yet, strangely, afforded native Americans no protection whatsoever
against the invasion of these lands and the slaughter of their
inhabitants. Native American land rights proved about as 'real' as the
rights of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto.

As to the honouring of these treaties today, what role exactly does land
ownership play in socialism?
-- 
James Heartfield




Re: Marx on Native Americans

1998-01-03 Thread Louis Proyect

Heartfield:
And yet, strangely, afforded native Americans no protection whatsoever
against the invasion of these lands and the slaughter of their
inhabitants. Native American land rights proved about as 'real' as the
rights of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto.

This is baloney. Native American land rights are protected by law. The Nazi
government acted above the law. The law that ceded tens of thousands of
acreage to the Seminoles in 1938 was passed by a left-wing Congress that
reflected enormous yearnings for social justice in the US in the general
population. There were sharp lawyers like William Kunstler who fought for
such Indian claims in the courts protected by treaties or law throughout
the 1970s. In 1943 nobody could take the German government to court for
violating Jewish property rights. In the 1970s the radical movement
petitioned, rallied, marched and sat-in for Indian land claims. By the
1940s the radical movement had been already been exterminated in Germany.
Heartfield's historical analogies are the product of ignorance and
fanatacism, a deadly combination.

The reason that Heartfield wants to lump the Indians with the Jews is that
he is anxious to portray their struggle as futile. Since 60 percent of all
energy reserves are on Indian reservations today--particularly on the Hopi
lands which are rich in coal--it is urgent that Indian self-determination
be undermined to make way for capitalist exploitation of the land.
Pressures from right-wing ideologues like Rush Limbaugh and their "Marxist"
cousins in Great Britain is intense. I plan to deal with the energy
question at some length in a couple of weeks. It is vital to understanding
the struggle of Native American peoples today.

Louis Proyect







Re: Marx on Native Americans

1998-01-03 Thread James Heartfield

In message [EMAIL PROTECTED], Louis
Proyect [EMAIL PROTECTED] writes

The law that ceded tens of thousands of
acreage to the Seminoles in 1938 

I see. As Marcel Marien said of the Belgian Resistance, native land
rights came 'after the war'. I don't really see how a law passed in 1938
changes the fact that Indian treaties afforded no protection against the
slaughter of the latter half of the nineteenth century.

was passed by a left-wing Congress that
reflected enormous yearnings for social justice in the US in the general
population. 

This is, to say the least, a generous interpretation of the New Deal.
Paul Mattick argues that the New Deal was the product of a peculiarly
low level of class consciousness, that it involved the militarisation of
labour - he could have added the destruction of truck farming that
disposessed a million Southern Blacks (Economics, Politics and the Age
of Inflation, Merlin, 1980). 

Rather than looking at the ostensible reason for the passing of land to
the Seminole, this land transfer should be understood in terms of the
Roosevelt administration's more general land policy, under which many
tracts of undeveloped land were given away, as in Washington state, for
example, to sustain the monopoly of land.

There were sharp lawyers like William Kunstler who fought for
such Indian claims in the courts protected by treaties or law throughout
the 1970s.

Again, the key to the revitalisation of land claims in the seventies is
to be found in the times themselves, not in any innate character of
Indian land claims. These were the vessel through which a quite new kind
of struggle was being fought, effectively the beginning of identity
politics in the US. 

Fraternally
-- 
James Heartfield




Re: Marx on Native Americans

1998-01-02 Thread James Heartfield

In message [EMAIL PROTECTED], Louis
Proyect [EMAIL PROTECTED] writes
Heartfield:

In Particular Marx and Engels both considered native American society
backward technologically and morally, as the blood-ties of kinship
groups (gens) stifled individual personality.


I think at this point we understand what Heartfield means by "individual
personality". It has little to do with Marxism,

' However impressive the
people of this epoch appear to us, they are completely undifferentiated
from one another; as Marx says, they are still attached to the navel
string of the primitive community'

Engels, 'Origin of the Family...'


 With
respect to technological backwardness, this is a truism and hardly worth
commenting on.

On the contrary, it was a discussion on this list, which Louis P
contributed to at length.

 With respect to morality, I am not aware of Marx dwelling
much on this question outside of the context of the need to establish
communism.

A common misreading of Marx. Because he eschewed a fixed moral order, it
does not follow that Marx has no moral goal - on the contrary, the goal
is human development, of yes, free individuals (quite how Marxism got
counterposed to freedom is a mystery to me). Where Marx's morality
differs from say Kant, or the medieval church, is that his is open-
ended.

 Now one could read into Heartfield's selective quotations and
possibly conclude that if the Aztecs et al were bellicose, why wring one's
hands over the rape and pillage wrought by the Spanish invaders?

Well, I presume you did not want me to reproduce the whole thing. But
what is it that you mean here? That Marx did not write these things?
That the Aztecs did not engage in human sacrifice? That the Iroquois did
not engage in bloody wars against other native Americans? Or that
evidence of these atrocities should be supressed? Do we want to
understand native American society, or idealise it?

As to the rape and pillage wrought by the Spanish invaders five hundred
years ago, I must say it leaves me wholly indifferent. None of the
perpetrators lives. It is at most of historical interest. 'Let the dead
bury their dead' I say. On the other hand, the social inequality created
in that historical transition is with us today, and that we can do
something about.

I plan to offer my own reading of the history of the genocide against
Native Americans and subject the standard Marxist interpretation to a fresh
re-evaluation. My sources will be scholarly histories of today, not
selective quotes from Marx. 

I look forward to reading it. 
-- 
James Heartfield




Re: Marx on Native Americans

1998-01-02 Thread Louis Proyect

Heartfield:

In Particular Marx and Engels both considered native American society
backward technologically and morally, as the blood-ties of kinship
groups (gens) stifled individual personality.


I think at this point we understand what Heartfield means by "individual
personality". It has little to do with Marxism, but the sort of
libertarianism publicly embraced by his cult leader Frank Furedi. With
respect to technological backwardness, this is a truism and hardly worth
commenting on. With respect to morality, I am not aware of Marx dwelling
much on this question outside of the context of the need to establish
communism. Now one could read into Heartfield's selective quotations and
possibly conclude that if the Aztecs et al were bellicose, why wring one's
hands over the rape and pillage wrought by the Spanish invaders? This of
course is the standard counter-attack of right-wingers in the face of the
evidence of European genocide. It fits in perfectly with LM's overall
pro-capitalist stance.

I plan to offer my own reading of the history of the genocide against
Native Americans and subject the standard Marxist interpretation to a fresh
re-evaluation. My sources will be scholarly histories of today, not
selective quotes from Marx. Speaking of citations, Heartfield, I demand
that you furnish the bibliography for your hatchet job on Native Americans
that you crossposted a while back. To refresh your memory, this was the
piece that claimed that the Indians always sided with the French or the
British. I plan to rub your nose in this lie, but I am interested to find
out which right-wing source you picked this tidbit up from.

Finally, on the subject of the Ethnological Notebooks. I don't plan to
delve into them until the new edition is available since it will be of much
more use to scholars and activists than the old edition. This is email I
received from the author and it is a pretty convincing case for having the
patience to wait for the new edition:

*

Dear Louis Proyect,

Thanks for your query.  There are two main differences between this version
of the Ethnological Notebooks and the original Krader edition:  (a)  this
edition is entirely in English (you'll recall that Krader's book was a
transcription, not a translation, and that more than half of the text was
in German, French, etc.); and (b) with Krader's help, this edition is much
more completely annotated, to ensure that readers follow the twists and
turns of Marx's argument.

With any luck this book will finally appear mid-to-late next year -- and
I'll send you a notice when it does.  Thanks again, take care,

David Smith








Re: Marx on Native Americans

1998-01-02 Thread James Heartfield

This is a bit of a mess, because Louis is angry about something that
gets in the way of his thinking, but here goes:


In message [EMAIL PROTECTED], Louis
Proyect [EMAIL PROTECTED] writes

Or was "ennobling" American Indians just a convenient fiction?

Isn't that what I said? Fictitious. Property in land was an institution
that was alien to native Americans.

The notion that there was any sort of class ties between the colonizers and
the Calibans of the New World is actually an obscene lie. 

Indeed it is is! Who is the dastardly character who dared say such a
thing. I'll have him!

LM:
The early Colonists lived in peculiar subservience, often as indentured
servants to their English masters. The monopoly over the land held by a
handful of English lords guaranteed their servitude and their masters power.

Louis Proyect:
So the early Colonists lived in subservience? This is a novel view, I must
say, in light of all the Marxist research into American society of the
1600-1800 period. What history book did you consult to come up with this
startling statement? I was under the impression that there was a landed
aristocracy in colonial America. How did they disappear in your account?

Again, where is the controversy. The the estates were held by landlords
of English Origin like William Penn (the name of a nearby School when I
was a boy, we called them 'Billy Biro'.) These men were naturally closer
to England than America in the emerging conflict, as English ships were
the garantor of their power. They were also hostile to expansion
Westwards because that undermined the monopoly power over the means of
subsistence that their land ownership represented.

Louis Proyect:
Again, with the absence of an American landed aristocracy, LM's history
makes perfect sense. 

Whoever said it. The expansion westwards was driven by a desire to
escape the social domination of landlords.

 Marxists prefer to include
all major classes, however, when we evaluate history and not leave a single
one out. On the question of the tensions between Indians and frontiersmen,
it is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL to factor in the landed aristocracy, the class
LM relegates to Derridean "erasure."

Bizarre. It was me who introduced the discussion of the monopoly over
land into the equation.

 It was not an "English governor" that
the poor whites were in struggle with, but the emerging American
bourgeoisie who were wealthy tobacco, cotton and livestock farmers.

Of course there was that small matter of a War of Inependence, and
indeed of Nathaniel Bacon's revolt. But why let historical facts
interfere with myth-making. And now suddenly the landlords have
transformed themselves into a bourgeoisie! Where was the struggle that
facilitated that change?

In the Bacon Rebellion of 1676 in Virginia, poor whites drifted westward
when they were left out of huge land grants awarded to plantation-owners.
On the frontier they collided with Indian tribes. Wealthy Virginians
playing Indians against poor whites is a familiar pattern in American
history. The goal was to punish Bacon's rebels and prevent the Indians from
uniting against them. 

I'm not sure that this accounts for Bacon's bloodcurdling demands for an
aggressive Indian policy. If it was a matter of playing Indians of
againsst poor whites in classical divide and rule mode, it didn't
exactly work, issuing in the overthrow of the governor on that very
issue. The point was that the frontiersmen were constantly tempted to
press West to escape the heavy hand of the East coast ruling class.

After some skirmishes between frontiersmen and
Indians, the ruling class in Virginia DECLARED WAR on the Indians. Why do
you leave out this fact, Heartfield? 

Well, it was only a sketch. As to the declaration of war, I would see it
as the attempt by the Virginia gentry to get back in the saddle and take
hold of a situation that was running out of their control.

Isn't it of interest to note that such
an event took place? Doesn't the truth matter to you?

Now you're just being rude.


The fundamental class struggle in the New World was not between
"revolutionary" capitalists and precapitalist social formations in alliance
with the French or British Crown. It was rather between the emerging
American ruling class and an array of subclasses: landless whites, Indians,
and African slaves.

This all seems a bit formulaic to me. Your 'emerging American ruling
class' is a broad abstraction that ignores real historical developments.
The conflict between the British and the French, between colonists and
the British, between the East coast elites and the West, and between
North and South in the Civil war are all subsumed into a ready-made
moral schema of rich v poor. That might make you feel good, but it
hardly describes the real conditions when the 'landless whites' were at
the forefront of the seizure of Indian lands, or that the Northern
Industrialists finally abolished slavery, (while the Southern poor
fought to defend that peculiar 

Re: Marx on Native Americans

1998-01-02 Thread Louis Proyect

Heartfield:
This is a bit of a mess, because Louis is angry about something that
gets in the way of his thinking, but here goes:

James, it not a bit of a mess. Your post is a complete mess. You should be
aware that PEN-L is not the Spoons Lists. Over on the Spoons Lists you can
feel free to make all the messes you want. Over here much more rigor is
necessary. Don't you realize that all of the most important left-wing
thinkers in the world are lurking here. Every serious journal in the world
has at least one of the editors perusing PEN-L. Ernest Mandel was a
frequent contributor until his untimely demise. I had a brutal debate with
him just before his death about the role of relative surplus value in the
delicatessen business in 1948. I wonder to this day if I didn't give him
heart failure.

Now you should stop making messes here and strive for lucidity, you bad
boy. Your post was filled with raw emotion, bad grammar and misspelling.
Surely your Oxford education can do better than this.

Meanwhile, there's nothing you wrote that I find worth commenting on except
one small item. You ask me how American landlords transformed themselves
into a bourgeoisie without a struggle? My suggestion is that you take a
look at Part 8 of Volume One of Capital, "The Secret of Primitive
Accumulation" for an answer. There is one proviso, however. There was a
struggle in the US which was as bloody as the one Marx described. The
struggle took place not against Scottish and Irish village-based
subsistence farming, but against Native Americans, and the Africans who
were enchained and brought to the US to help in the accumulation of
capital. It is the genocidal exploitation of Native Americans and African
slaves that made US capitalism possible.

Oh yeah,  one other thing. I am in favor of giving Florida back to the
Seminoles. And that's just a start.

Louis Proyect





Re: Marx on Native Americans

1998-01-02 Thread James Heartfield

In message [EMAIL PROTECTED], Louis
Proyect [EMAIL PROTECTED] writes
 Over here much more rigor is
necessary.

and then

It is the genocidal exploitation of Native Americans and African
slaves that made US capitalism possible.

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. 

Surely your Oxford education can do better than this.

Flattered as I am by the praise, I must admit I don't have an Oxford
education.


Meanwhile, there's nothing you wrote that I find worth commenting on except
one small item. You ask me how American landlords transformed themselves
into a bourgeoisie without a struggle?My suggestion is that you take a
look at Part 8 of Volume One of Capital, "The Secret of Primitive
Accumulation" for an answer.

Might I suggest that you read Marx on the American Civil War (collected
works, vol 19) for a full appreciation of the conflict between the
plantocracy and the Northern Capitalists, and that the most useful
chapter of part eight of Capital volume one would be ch 23, The Modern
Theory of Colonisation, in which Marx explains the importance of a
monopoly of land (ie means of subsistence) to the maintenance of
Capitalist social relations):

Citing Wakefield's complaint about the lack of subservience amongst US
workers:

"The labourers most distinctly decline to allow the capitalist to
abstain from the payment of the greater part of their labour. It avails
him nothing, if he is so cunning as to import from Europe, with his own
Capital, his own wage-workers. They soon 'cease ... to be labourers for
hire; they ... become independent landowners, if not competitors with
their former masters in the labour-market.' Think of the horror!



[Then citing Merivale] 'In ancient civilised countries the labourr,
though free, is by a law of Nature dependent on capitalists; in colonies
this dependence must be created by artificial means.'"



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. LW ed.

Here Marx captures one point of the conflict that took place throughout
the Westward expansion of the US, between capital and a free peasantry
who evaded subservience by moving West. The authorities ran to keep up
with this expansion, first trying to monopolise land, and then giving in
to pressure to make it cheap. 

Oh yeah,  one other thing. I am in favor of giving Florida back to the
Seminoles. And that's just a start.

This is the kind of childish political posturing that one expects of
somebody who is not used to taking responsibility for their actions. Is
this meant to be rhetorical, or serious? Do you intend to forcibly
remove the current inhabitants? Or just remove their citizenship? In
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?

Such emotionalism leads to a wholly rhetorical radicalism whose grand
gestures are in inverse proportion to its seriousness.
-- 
James Heartfield




Re: Marx on Native Americans

1998-01-02 Thread Louis Proyect

Heartfield:
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.

(quoting Marx)
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. LW 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.

 In
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:

Louis Proyect



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