“These people are very unskilled in arms… with 50 men they could all be subjected and made to do all that one wished.”
“Gold is a treasure, and he who possesses it does all he wishes to in this world, and succeeds in helping souls into paradise.”
“I should be judged as a captain who went from Spain to the Indies to conquer a people numerous and warlike, whose manners and religion are very different from ours, who live in sierras and mountains, without fixed settlements, and where by divine will I have placed under the sovereignty of the King and Queen our Lords, an Other World, whereby Spain, which was reckoned poor, is become the richest of countries.” – Christopher Columbus
If there was one thing, that one had to choose to lay bare the inhumanity of this United States Of America one would not have to go any farther than the celebration of Columbus Day. The genocide that Columbus thinking set in place is unparalleled in the world. A genocide of wholesale slaughter that has never really ended. It’s never really ended because the pathology that Columbus used, continues today in Afghanistan and in Iraq and in Palestine and in Northern Ireland and especially in Puerto Rico… the oldest colony in the western hemisphere, a colonization that began under Columbus and continues today under the US.
Racism is a relatively young concept within world history. It’s only a little bit over 500 years old. Before Columbus there was no racism. It was the writings of Columbus that set in motion the idea that some were superior and others were inferior and that the criteria for that superiority and inferiority was in the color of a man or a woman’s skin. The ideology of racism opened the door to mass murders, torture, rape, disease and enslavement. What makes racism even more particularly odious is that it’s rooted firmly in the soil of capitalism. Racism was and is, simply a means to an end. It was a means to impoverish the many to enrich a few and it all began with Columbus.
From the enslavement and genocide of indigenous populations in North, Central and South America and in the Caribbean, to the trans-atlantic African slave trade to the subsequent colonization of Africa and parts of Asia. The common means in all this is racism and the common end is capitalism. It’s built a foundation and a template for capitalism that is used to plunder and exploit to this day.
Some 500 years later people have taken to the streets to connect the dots. It began in the Spring in North Africa with Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, and Sudan in the African Spring. It spread to the Middle East in Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and Yemen in the Arab Spring. In the summer it spread across Europe in the European Summer in Greece, Spain, Italy and England and now it’s finally reached the modern-day epicenter of capitalism with the occupation of Wall Street and the American Fall.
The uprisings that began in North Africa and spread to the Middle East were clear about the racist implications of capitalism and how it affected their lives with the way that European and American powers back dictatorial regimes in their respective countries in order to rape and plunder the natural wealth and resources of their countries. The difficulty connecting the dots between the 500 years of racism in service to capitalism however is not something that is as prevalent in the European Summer. The uprisings in Europe were an indication to the end results of capitalism’s austerity measures on the populace. However the link between capitalism and racism cannot be broken so easily. What may have begun as racism towards others in service to capitalism is now being applied to the European population. Although there was no connecting of the dots between racism and capitalism among native Europeans the effects of austerity measures against them and the resistance movements built up to them are the same as in the African and Arab Spring.
As an aside – the reference to the African Spring as being a part of the Arab Spring is something that is a blatant example of racism. The very negation that these uprisings began on the continent of Africa and then spread to the Middle East is something that is done by design to further remove the issue of racism in the global question of capitalism.
Now it’s America’s turn to turn up the heat on capitalism. The Occupation of Wall Street that was inspired by the African and Arab Spring in a tactical sense is a good start but the American Fall hasn’t connected the dots to capitalism’s handmaiden racism, in much the same way that the European Summer didn’t. This could be the fatal flaw in the Occupation of Wall Street. The financial collapse for white Americans and Europeans may have started in 2008 but for non-whites it started with Columbus in 1492 and has continued since then.
This issue of recognizing the 500 year history of racism within the machinations of capitalism has a huge impact on the Occupation of Wall Street. Wall Street is the epicenter of the financial world. If the dots between racism and capitalism can be connected here then they can be connected around the world. If something can be done about racism and capitalism here in America with the Occupation of Wall Street and the other Occupations that are spreading around the country that are quickly making up the American Fall then maybe, just maybe, a paradigm shift of the last 500 years can be made. A paradigm shift that can re-shape the world and turn it back to right side up.
This federal holiday of Christopher Columbus is a perfect example of the disconnect between racism and capitalism in America. There are a lot of bright, young, intelligent, college educated people downtown on Wall Street struggling physically, spiritually and mentally to come up with solutions to the wholesale greed of capitalism. Yet the annual parade for Columbus that marches up 5th Avenue in New York City on this federal holiday seems to have gone off smoothly. You would be hard pressed to find a wider chasm between racism and capitalism than with the Occupation of Wall Street downtown and the Columbus Day Parade uptown. You would be hard pressed to find a greater disconnect between what Columbus began with the genocide of indigenous people’s in the Americas and the subsequent trans-atlantic African slave trade and what the banks did and continue to do to the global population.
If after the American Fall the United States of America is still celebrating Christopher Columbus who is the embodiment of the genesis of the Native American holocaust and the birth of the trans-atlantic African slave trade, and the harbinger of what the world is suffering under now, then it would be better if those who were Occupying Wall Street just went back home. It’s not too late to make the paradigm shift that will not just free the us from the corporate exploitation we ALL suffer under… black, white, red yellow and brown. It’s not too late to shackle the means that capitalism uses divide us to make that exploitation possible. It’s not to late to understand that racism is a tool of capitalism…
Some notes on the art. The first piece DISCOVERED is of course a Christopher Columbus credit card. The two sets of four numbers on the card are 11/19/1493 which was the day that Columbus landed o the island of Boriken, now known as Puerto Rico. The second two sets of four numbers are the date 12/10/1898 is the day that the Spanish gave the possession of Puerto Rico to the United States after losing the Spanish American War. The flag in the right hand bottom corner is the first flag of Puerto Rico known as the Lares flag. It was named after the mountain town of Lares where it was used in an uprising Spain against Spanish colonial rule that took place in 1868 and is known in Puerto Rico as El Grito de Lares, the Cry of Lares.
The second piece is Enjoy Colonialism Since 1493. It’s a design i did for RICANSTRUCTED a design company dedicated to the liberation of Puerto Rico from US colonialism. You can get that design on a T-shirt or Hoodie. It’s 1493 because that was the year that Columbus landed in Puerto Rico.
The third piece is an AMERICAN EXPROPRIATION credit card for Uncle Sam. The first two set of numbers on the card are 07/25/1898 which is the day that the US invaded Puerto Rico during the Spanish American War. The second two sets of numbers are 03/02/1917 (on the card, the year is first followed by the month and day – for aesthetic design reason) that was the day that Puerto Ricans were made US citizens by the US congress (without their consent) so that they could be drafted to fight in World War I. The 1952 under the small Puerto Rican flag is the year that Puerto Rico became a Commonwealth of the US in order to have Puerto Rico avoid being listed on the United Nations list of colonized nations.