By Jeff J. Brown
Pictured above: Gerald Horne shows that today’s headlines are a long, sordid continuation, going back centuries in his must-read book, “The Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism: The Roots of Slavery, White Supremacy, and Capitalism in Seventeenth-Century North America and the Caribbean”.
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Sixteen years on the streets, living and working with the people of China, Jeff
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Jeff J. Brown: One, two, three. Good morning, buddy. This is Jeff J. Brown China Rising Radio Sinoland in Chiang Mai, Thailand. And I am truly honored to have Dr. Gerald Horne on the show today.
How are you doing, Dr. Horne?
Gerald Horne: Fine, thank you.
Jeff: I would like to thank Dr. T.P. Wilkinson, a mutual friend of ours whom I recently interviewed for putting us in touch. I’m going to take a couple of three minutes and introduce Dr. Horne to all the fans out there. Before we start our interview, Dr. Horne holds the University of Houston Mors professor, a ship of history and African American Studies. His research has addressed issues of racism and a variety of relations involving labor, politics, civil rights, international relations and war. He has also written extensively about the film industry. Dr. Horne received his PHD in history from Columbia University, his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and his B.A. from Princeton. Dr. Horne is the author of more than 30 books and 100 scholarly articles and reviews.
His current research includes an examination of U.S. Southern African relations since the so-called Anglo Boer War. At the end of the 19th century and an analysis of the political economy of the music called jazz from the late 19th century to the present, I bought and read Dr. Horne’s latest book, The Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism, which will be the focus of our discussion today.
And before we start, I highly recommend to all China Rising Radio Sinoland fans to read Dr. Horne’s very engaging and informative book. It is available in e-book and print form for as little as 25dollars. I was even offered a discount coupon. Check it out. Hey, I got it for half that. What a deal. If you don’t have the money, ask your local library or school to order it. They love it when people ask to order books.
It’s perspective, just a posing 17th century colonialism and how the world works today is uncanny. The aphorism, what goes around comes around and history keeps repeating itself. Come alive and the apocalypse of settler colonialism. So thank you for joining us tonight, this morning for me and tonight for you in Houston. Dr. Horne.
Gerald: Thank you for inviting me.
Jeff: Hey, listen, first question I always asked for every guest. Please tell us a little bit about yourself, past and present and your arc of awareness about racism in the United States. I suspect growing up as a black man there honed your focus.
Please, please share with us some of your comments.
Gerald: Well, I was born in apartheid St. Louis, Missouri. In the US Midwest and I was actually born in an apartheid hospital, settling, I guess.
Jeff: I was, too. I was born in St. Louis at St. John’s, and I was going to ask you back then with what the hospitals being segregated. I guess you weren’t born in St. John’s like me and St. Louis.
Gerald: Well, yes. As you may know, St. Louis was to a certain extent still is a apartheid city or as they say in the United States, a Jim Crow city. Yeah, it’s a legacy of law. It’s a legacy of tradition. It’s the legacy of slavery.
I look forward to reading more your books because you’re the one that the I read was just really, really good.
Listen, before we move on, I have to ask you this, because how do you answer people who say that since Obama is called the first black president of the United State that the though he was half black and half white or still is that Obama’s election proves the U.S. is colorblind and it’s a non-racist society.
Why, Lord have mercy. Just look how far black citizens have come, equal rights and all that. What do you say about Obama?
Gerald: Well, I would point those questioners to the election of November 2016. It was a counter reaction by virtually every measure to the elections of 2008, 2012. And in any case, the ability of a society to utilize the talents of an intelligent or competent black person does not mean that.
Jeff: Go ahead. I like your delivery for is really good. I’d like to go to one of your lectures. Go ahead.
Gerald: Does not mean that society has transcended races. I mean, for example, I’m about to publish a book on the 16th century and the Spanish who invaded the Americas post 1492 often times were accompanied by conquistadors or conquerors of African descent. But the Spanish also enslaved people of African descent. So the fact that you have Spanish conquistadors like one Garrido does not mean that those were nonracist the site. It does mean they decided to utilize the skill and talent a particular Africans to accomplish their malign goal.
Jeff: Yeah, absolutely. Hey listen, your book was really I liked it because, what was so fascinating, it was about the 17th century, but it was like we were reading today’s headlines. And I hope that’s a message we can bring to the audience out there. And because it’s just like nothing has changed, if it’s depressing or enlightening or both.
But I was just amazed at, how much the record just keeps going around and around. And one aspect of the slave business was how much a devastated African cultures, economies and societies for generations into the future, since those who were stolen from their homes were the young and the strong, leaving behind children and the elderly to fend for themselves. And I have read from several sources that Native Americans had very advanced socio political and economic civilizations with extensive infrastructure, especially up in what is now New England. Please tell us about those African civilizations that were affected by the slave industry before contact with Western plunderers and afterwards.
Gerald: Well, as recent research suggests, these slave traders who went into West Africa often times were searching for Africans with particular skills.
For example, that the rights culture of what is now South Carolina is a direct result of slave traders going into West Africa and stealing agriculturalist who specialize.
Gerald: It would be as if hypothetically, China decided to go along the west coast of the United States from Seattle to San Diego and kidnap all these software engineers. Suspicious of called carpenter Christians, etc.
I dare say that the United States would have difficulty in recovery.
Jeff: Absolutely. Yeah. Very good answer. You mentioned an historian talking about British crimes against humanity, one day being exposed. And of course, there’s a lot of people talking about this, not just. Because of the Brits, but American, slavery and war crimes in Asia and Africa and South America, etc., we can add to them all the colonial settlers in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania. What would it take for there to be a global truth and reconciliation commission on the West, 500 years of global imperialism?
Gerald: Well, I think that it’s inevitable.
I don’t see it on the immediate horizon. It would mean a dramatic change in the correlation of forces globally. But I dare say that at some point, probably in this century, there will be not only such a truth and Reconciliation Commission, but a commission that will recommend massive reparations to the plundered continents and the plundered peoples of those continents, for example, people of African descent in North America, the indigenous population of North America, etc.
Jeff: Yeah. Well, it’s that’s gives me hope because I do a lot of writing and trying to inform people about the past, present and future with a span from a China perspective.
And so I hope you’re right. I’m probably a 65 years of age too old to probably see it happen, but maybe my daughters or their children we’ll be able to experience that very celebratory event.
All right. A fascinating aspect of the global slave industry is I couldn’t believe this. I mean, am I smudged. My jaw dropped. A fascinating aspect of the global slave industry is the estimation that one to one point to five million Europeans were enslaved by the Ottoman Empire, mainly kept on the Barbary Coast of North Africa.Westerner’s even enslaved their own, such as the English enslaving the Irish in competing countries, pirates even kidnaping rival European ships and stolen colonial lands. I guess it’s in your books. An amazing story. The whole story seems totally opportunistic at the powerful. Exploiting every situation is that arrived. Please tell us a little bit about this phenomenon.
Gerald: Well, if you had been around in 1859 and you were crusading against slavery, I dare say that you would have been instructed and told that this was a hopeless crusade because slavery had existed for centuries. Turns out that was a misguided point of view. On the other hand, it is fair to say is your iteration just suggested that slavery was a mass phenomenon. First of all, you have to make a distinction between slavery as a socio economic system, like feudalism, like capitalism, for example, and the kind of slavery that’s mostly described in my book, which deals with a kind of chattel slavery and that was a central part of capitalism and that involved racialization, that is to say, kidnaping people and enslaving them, supposedly because they were inferior. This should be, to a certain extent, distinguish from that slavery that existed as a socioeconomic system.
Jeff: OK. All right. Well, that brings me to another direct question you wrote frequently, that’s a slave industry, at least as you define it marks the dawn of capitalism. Could capitalism have evolved into what it is today without the global slave trade.
Gerald: Well, that’s obviously a counterfactual question. And since we already know that capitalism was grounded, insulate for it now. But it’s fair to say that the African slave trade in particular, which helped to build the United States and to this superpower, was one of the most lucrative enterprises known to humankind. You could invest one dollar and receive 1700% in return.
Gerald: I dare say that there are those who might sell their first born child for seventeen hundred percent in profit. Certainly they would have no scruple about buying and selling the children of Africans. They did not know the Africans who came to North America came in the wake of a genocide that was unleashed against the indigenous population, the Native American population that quote clear the land, unquote. That’s then built up by these enslaved Africans. I think that in order to get a grasp of the crime, the profundity of the criminality of this particular situation, you might have to dip in to fiction in order to really grasp the utter depravity of what took place.
Jeff: You are not the first guest I’ve had on the show who explicitly referred to white supremacy being the core belief of Western civilization. Our mutual friend T.P Wilkerson waxed on the subject and James Bradley talked on the show about the Aryan myth being a foundation of Europeans exterminating and stealing their way across North America and then later on and of course, into Asia.
And you used the term bull a lot. Whiteness, quote, to whiteness. End of quote. Numerous times in the end, the United States been founded on the solemn principles of white supremacy, often described in deceptive, non-racial words. Please talk about the West Core belief of white supremacy. The word you used, whiteness and how it affects today’s headlines both at home and around the world.
Gerald: Well, first of all, it’s quite striking, is it not, that those who were warring on the shores of Europe, English versus Irish, English versus Scot, British versus German, German versus Pole, Pole versus Russian, northern Italian versus southern Italian, French versus Spanish.
When they crossed the Atlantic, they assume a new identity, at least when they entered the United States. They’re all redefined as, quote, white, unquote. These other identity soon to disintegrate. And that kind of identity politics was needed in order to form a muscular block that could confront oftentimes rampaging enslaved Africans and warring indigenous populations. This led to a kind of class collaboration between poor and richer Europe. From the beginning. And, of course, you saw that class collaboration most dramatically once again in November 2016 during the U.S. presidential election when you had more poor Europeans. Now, of course, called whites who voted for an alleged billionaire even and then shunning those of their class, for example, poor black people. And that has been a repetitive and redundant theme in the history of the United States of America.
Jeff: Yeah. And Roxanne Dunbar, Ortiz’s book A Native American People’s History of the United States.
She talked about that a lot, about how as soon as the poor whites and the blacks and the Indians, started to get together to try to organize against the wealthy elites would just instill fear and loathing among the poor whites to attack the blacks and the Indians.
So it’s obviously been a historical problem and still is today, as you said in today’s headlines. This is a question I’ve been wanting to ask someone who can really inform me and all of the listeners out there, please distinguish between indentured servants, bonded laborers, slaves and slaves for life.
Gerald: Well, the term bonded laborers is a general category that, depending upon the speaker, could encompass slaves, slaves for life, indentured servants, even because when we use the term bond that we’re referring to certain manacles on the particular worker that hampers their autonomy. To put it euphemistically and insert late word is someone, usually a European who came to North America for a set term to basically work for next to nothing. And then after that term was over, say, seven years would be free and therefore would be capable of perhaps getting a portion of the land stolen from the Native Americans. The slaves or slaves for life were, generally speaking, Africans, although it’s fair to say that a number of quote Indians, unquote, were also in jail.
Jeff: You wrote about that, and I couldn’t believe it, that they were even there. They enslaved Native Americans, too. It’s incredible.
Gerald: Right. And in these Spanish colonies, for example, Mexico, there were Filipinos who were brought in the public movements to be enslaved to Mexico unbelieve.
And in fact, as these cutthroats and pirates from Western Europe were stealing the seven seas, you no darker skinned person was safe. I daresay that there were probably some poor Thais who were snatched from courts and dragged across the zipping to be enslaved as well.
Jeff: And Chinese from Fujian Guangdong, Southern China. I did a lot of research on that for my writing. And they after the black slave trade was stopped, they just as you said, they went over to Asia and started kidnaping. People over there is just and bringing them to the Caribbean for to harvest the sugar, etc. So thank you for that.
What role or cog did Western Catholicism and Protestantism play in the machinery of the slave industry.
Gerald: Well, first of all, the Catholic Church in particular, to a certain degree, not only gave its blessing to the slave trade, but was implicated in terms of employing slave labor. Second of all, the Protestant faith, which is arises via Martin Luther in 1517, reaches a kind of zenith in London and England in 1530. And London, in order to compete with this antagonist in Spain, has been or had been a pioneer in developing the Antra doctrine of white supremacy because, as noted, Spain tended to privilege religiosity.
If you were an African, you could be a slave, but you could also become a conquest. The door to England had a different problem. The problem was, is that the elite in London was Protestant, but there were large Catholic populations in Ireland and in Scotland as well. And whiteness and white supremacy helps to reconcile the tensions and contradictions between English on the one hand and Irish and Scots on the other. And at the same time, this also spurs London to develop what might be called the highest stage of white supremacy, which in turn was based upon the degradation of black people. Now. It’s striking to note that religion, that racism and white supremacy basically flows out of religious conflict, which is one of the reasons why it’s so difficult to combat white supremacy today, because it still contains a kernel of rationality that characterize murderous religious conflict.
Jeff: Yeah in China, the churches of all of whether the Christian churches of all different sections and, Catholic, Protestant were up to their necks in opium supporting the opium addicting the other addicting people to opium. And it’s not a pretty picture. And then people wonder why the Chinese government is suspicious of Western churches.
They have a long, long history of depravity in China.
Also, for me one of the most interesting aspects of this of the slave industry is how unstable and volatile it was. When I was reading your book, the stolen piece. I couldn’t.
But, I’m just out there and they were kind of like submissive and, kind of took it.
But the stolen people did not sit on their hands. And because of this, their owners lived in constant fear of being attacked and overthrown. In fact, they were like in Haiti. Is this why slavery was officially banned in Europe decades before the southern states lost it with the U.S. civil war.
Gerald: I think that’s part of the reason, because slavery breeds instability. Slavery breeds violence. I think that the whole question of mass poisonings is something that is to say, slaves poisoning their masters and their master’s family was a central aspect. Oh, this entire system, arson, burning down the masters helps wasn’t a central part of this entire slave system at all. In fact, in the earlier book, I argued that London, as a result, abolished slavery in 1772 and that outraged the settlers and North America, led by slave owner number one George Washington, who then four years later in 1776 led a revolt against British rule that led to the formation of the nation now known as the United States of America.
Jeff: It was amazing to read the Maroons. You hear the name Maroon and attacking, an armed formation and uprisings and rebellions. And it was really, really fascinating to read. The other aspect of your book that surprised me was how reptilian all the Western countries were during their reign of colonial terror, stealing and plundering each other’s lands and ships with nonstop government abetted piracy, kidnaping and wars, blockades and sanctions.
The West’s headlines in the 17th century are no different than today’s, with your Anglo land kidnaping people from perceived enemies, seizing ships, gold companies, global assets, occupying countries to steal their resources and mafia style trade and economic sanctions to plunder even more wealth around the world. The world’s first drug cartel was sugar, then opium, and we can now add cocaine all controlled by the Western deep state. You wrote about the west morally blind, quote, pragmatism and also doing what works. You also wrote that at its root, capitalism not only meant slavery and white supremacy, but the ethos of a gangster.
I, reading your book confirmed to me that nothing has changed. Do you agree that this is the face of Western civilization, a horde of locusts raping and pillaging anywhere it can.
Gerald: Well, I would only add this friendly amendment. The idea of Western civilization would be a good idea. Not sure if you can use the term civilization to describe what you just articulated. A term of plunder, pillaging, crime, piracy, slavery, genocide and all the rest. Certainly the underlying ethos of the gangster still prevail, which is one of the reasons why gangster movies is so popular in Hollywood and not to mention on the stage in Manhattan.
Jeff: Yeah, I also interviewed Douglas Valentine, who wrote the CIA as Organized Crime.
Really excuse me. He really, showed how much is just so much a part of ethnos and also I interviewed Morris Berman and him talking about, the United States is a nation of hustlers. And so, yeah, I agree.
And also Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi had some kind of a quote like that, also about, his use of Westerns, maybe as something a lot like that, Western democracy or whatever, be creative is just too bad, it didn’t happen or something along those lines.
Your book sticks mostly to the 17th century as being a key time for the slave industry and the foundation of global capitalism. Europe began its genocidal rampage in the 15th century and greatly expanded. And then the next. The 18th and 19th century saw Western colonial exploitation of most of the world’s land and seas reach its zenith. The 20th century saw the two biggest wars in human history, both focused on which Western countries were going to continue to plunder the rest of the planet. Why was the 17th century so critical to this story and so unique.
Gerald: Well, first of all, I’m afraid to say that time constraints will have to mean that this is my final response. And let me say that England was a minor power at the beginning of the 17th century, say1600, but 1699 England was a major power a well on its way to a kind of head Germany and domination that it then passed on in the 20th century to its revolting spun known as the United States of America. But the crucible for these dastardly developments were obviously in the 17th century.
We’re obviously in the middle of the 17th century when Oliver Cromwell and his band of cutthroats beheaded the king and engaged in a kind of Republican experiment that led to waging war on Spain, seizing Jamaica by1655. Then you had those who had been expelled from Portugal and Spain that had arrived in Brazil and had mastered the dark art of turning sugar into fabulous profits by dint of slave labor. This mostly Jewish population were fleeing Brazil because the Portuguese were making a comeback.
All of a qualm well, welcome them into Jamaica and turn that into one of the most profitable slave labor camps known to humankind. Those profits were then used to build up the British Navy, which I should say the English Navy, which then ousted the Dutch from Manhattan, and 1664 systematize the African slave trade with the Royal African Company by 1672and then by 1688.
You have the so-called Glorious Revolution when the merchants basically seize began the process of seizing control of the African slave trade, turning the monarch into a kind of figurehead of the likes that you see now with Queen Elizabeth. And then, of course, the going on to rampage throughout the world, not least in what came to be called British India. But thank you, sir, for inviting me to your program. I look forward to speaking with you sooner rather than later.
Jeff: Well, I had one more question, but we’ll save that maybe for an interview after I read your next book. Hey talk to you later, Dr. Horne. Bye.
Gerald: Good luck.
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