Racism and identity politics is one of the most fundamental and effective tactics of divide and conquer in the world since the beginning, and particularly the United States. As the American empire dies down, lower order divisions will be amped up. Identity politics is being pushed by the Established Order as never before. Traditionally the right-wing has been pushing the bigotry. Currently, we see Liberalism taking up the mantle (see here, here and here). It is vital that the masses open their eyes to the tribalism pushed on them.
Sexism is older, more fundamental to society, and without it things would have turned out much differently. Capitalism has long been predated by the subjugation of women, for it can only rest on a foundation of patriarchy, which in turn made racism easier to implement.
The fateful decisions made in colonial Virginia, USA, set the pattern for mass control in the southern states. That legacy affects society down to this day. Much of modern Conservatism has been focused on, among other things, denying aid and opportunity to poor black people, which has also meant divestment from themselves; meanwhile Liberals have dropped everything else for identity politics policing, without addressing the causes they will not fix.
It would be instructive for Conservatives and Liberals to understand that their attitudes, particularly those of bigots of whatever political persuasion, are reflecting the script written into society by ruling class evolution. The “racist” should learn that their racism exists so that the ruling class may benefit. Moreover, their anger and animosity towards others helps to weaken their own position vis-a-vis the ruling class. This is the part usually taken by the Conservative. Liberals are like bigots because like bigots they misplace blame onto the powerless — in this case the low level white bigot — and ignore those who are the real cause of their misery (besides themselves). This is divide and conquer.
The consequences of colonial decisions have been a poor backwards society full of hatred. Today Conservative states are more dependent on the federal government than Liberal states, yet lower order Conservatives everywhere have been Our closest ally in the fight against public investments and unionism. Thus, “white privilege” is not a result of evil white men but an institution developed to separate the masses, and prevent them from forming a natural union of interests, and while Conservatism has historically been the vehicle for this process. Liberals seem to be perpetually blind to the fact that bigotry is a ruling class tool. They could point out to their more Conservative peers that had their blacks brothers and sisters been given opportunities and education, and generally brought into the fold, the poor black stereotype would not exist today.
Theodore Allen, author of the ground-breaking work Invention of the White Race stated, “[w]hen the first Africans arrived in Virginia in 1619, there were no “white” people there.” There were Englishmen and Dutchmen but no “whites”. It was in the aftermath of Bacon’s Rebellion, when authorities saw Africans making common cause with their fellow European laborers, that a conscious effort was made to split the two groups.
Before Bacon’s Rebellion there was no systematic disenfranchisement of African-Americans. Studying the historical record, Allen found no instances of the word “white” used to denote European American before 1691. Lifetime bondage was not the law. Both European and Africans were bound to limited terms service. Although there were attempts by some courts to make black servants into permanent slaves, others liberated servants or sided with them and cut their terms. There was no consistent policy to disenfranchise the black population altogether.
In a summary of his work Allen tells of captain Richard Jobson and his book Golden Trade, recounting his trading voyages to Africa. Jobson refused to deal in human beings. He said, the English “were a people who did not deal in any such commodities, neither did we buy or sell one another or any that had our own shapes.” The local slave dealer told him it was the custom to sell Africans “to white men,” Jobson replied “they [“white men”] were another kind of people from us….”
In Virginia, the ruling class Englishmen may not have known it but they working toward “white man” status. It was the logic of the circumstances, nor were these republican planters very democratic. Labor costs in the colonies were high, especially for the intensive mono culture of tobacco. In volume two of Invention, Allen reports,
[t]he laboring people in Virginia in the beginning of 1622 were predominantly tenants, not convicts, wives, or apprentice youth. This is a fact of obvious importance in any effort to investigate the beginnings of the system of chattel bond-servitude as the basic for of labor in the Anglo-American plantation colonies.
Early on the ruling class made the mistake of sending tenants to populate the New World. At first, tenants brought to Virginia “received one hundred acres ‘to be held by them, their heirs and assigns for ever,’ paying only two shillings annual rent. Others were wage laborers. After mid 1616 they had to complete a “customary” term with no land guarantee, but they were “free to move where they will.” This is modern freedom of movement. Early on all freeman could also vote in elections, but as the propertyless ranks grew, the General Assembly excluded them from the vote in 1670.
While establishing a wage schedule, the Colony Council related their misgivings to London that “hindered by a lack of ‘hands at so Cheape a rate as cannot yett possibly bee.” Captain John Nuce, a council member, signed the proclamation of wages, but four months later he motioned for a reconsideration. In Virginia
wee pay iii s [three shillings] a day for the labor of a man who hath no other waie but to digg and dealve,” [they] must not be confused with “Italie, Spain or ffraunce: countries plentiful and prosperous: where are thousands of women and children and such ydle people to be hyred for i d [a penny] or ii d [two pence] a day.”
This is essentially the same argument for moving production to China or other cheap labor countries today, and moving away from middle class standards. In the U.S. and the EU this is the agenda behind open borders and “flexible” labor that pit states against each other in a race to the bottom. Why would a democratic people vote for this — that is, if their vote counted?
Captain Nuce sent a proposal to London:
Wee have heerin closed sent you a project of Capt Newces which if you shalbe pleased to take likinge of, it is thought here will yeelde you, a more certain proffitt then [than] your Tenantes to halfes, which beinge proposed to the generall Assemblie, was by them well approved of.
The enclosures did not survive history, but the substance is clear from references to it in other documents. A year later the Governor of Virginia and the Council pushed on what We call today “labor reform”:
Wee conceave that if you would be pleased to Chaunge the Conditione of Tenants into servants for future Supplies, . . . your revenues might be greatly improved.
This trend, undemocratic as it was, was necessary to reduce the costs of labor, which tobacco production greatly exacerbated. Allen writes:
Obviously the prospective creation of a permanent class of tenants would be designed to encourage capital investment, as would the reduction of the growth in numbers of self-employed freehold farmers, through the accretion of landless ex-tenants. On the other hand, this was a policy that would increase class differentiation by reducing social mobility from tenant to landowner, and sharpen class contradictions.
This was the age of John Locke and the dawning of the Enlightenment, but it was not yet the systematic and uniform bigotry against the African-American population that resulted from race by color.
As the laboring class and the propertyless population grew their condition worsened. And to make it worse still, in 1622 Indians massacred four hundred colonists, one third of the population, in an effort to halt European encroachment of their lands. This gave the rulers the opportunity to forbid the growth of corn with the excuse that it could supply cover for hostile Indians. It was also part of an agenda to destroy tenantry. What then to do with this lot of festering lower order misery? Historian Jeffrey Perry recounts the unfortunate decisions made. If you look no further watch this video for an excellent summary of the saga. The ruling class
at that time, do what we’ve seen over the next few centuries — Naomi Klein talks about kind of implementing a shock doctrine — they impose a new category of labor on these laboring people, who are free wage earners or tenants-at-halves [tenant gives have of what they produce to the planter-owner]. And it’s chattel bond servitude.
In Feudal England the serf and lord had obligations toward each other. After feudalism laborers were to be paid and protected from slavery, but in Virginia it was a strictly capitalist venture: the bond laborers had no rights and there was no obligation of any sort imposed on the master except what the parties “agreed” to, normally 4 years of service from the servant.
Life was particularly brutal for the lower orders. The bond-laborer “customarily” served a term of 4 years but as their life expectancy increased and caused them to live longer, their term of served were lengthened. In 1662 the customary term was increased to five years. But even with the “customary” terms in place, servants often served much longer and received no land or other form of compensation. There were also restrictive laws against fornication, because pregnancy and child care took the female servant out of the production process.
The records are full of instances in which owners tried to extend their servants terms far beyond their original agreement. Allen recounts some of these stories.
“Between 1660, when the price of tobacco takes a dive, and 1676, the start of Bacon’s Rebellion, there were over 10 laboring class and bond-servant revolts,” says Perry. What horrified the Virginia ruling class was the solidarity of the much more numerous laboring class. What the evidence showed, said Allen, was
class solidarity of laboring-class European-Americans with African-Americans, and the consequent absence of an all-class coalition of European-Americans directed against African-Americans. Considering the fact that no more than one out of every four bond-laborers was an African-American, even as late as the 1670s and 1680s, there were a significant number of court-recorded collaborations of African-Americans and European-Americans in a common endeavor to escape their bondage . . .
He goes on to relate some of those stories.
Bacon’s Rebellion began as a conflict over “Indian policy” between the emerging frontier families, called “county” families, and the English interest of the Virginia colony. The former wanted to expand their holdings which meant conflict with Indians. The English interests wanted to maintain friendly relations with the Indians on their border as a buffer shielding them from enemy tribes. Friendly Indians were also crucial in recapturing runaway servants for the colony oligarchs.
The Rebellion quickly turned into a revolt of laboring people and bond-servants. Allen writes,
Philip Ludwell, Assistant Secretary of the colony . . . expressed concern about “the Indians on our borders. But his greatest fear was “our servants at home, who (if God prevent not their takeing hold of this Great advantage), must carry on beyond Remedy to destruc[ti]on.”
After a breakdown of a ceasefire, Captain Thomas Grantham, in the British interest, “resolved to acoste them [the rebels] with never to be performed promises” of pardoning for the freemen and liberty for bond-laborers. Grantham recounts his dramatic confrontation with the rebels, who were comprised of English- and African-Americans fighting together:
I went to colonel West’s house . . . I there mett about foure hundred English and Negroes in Armes, who were much dissatified at the Surrender of the Point, saying i had betray’d them, and thereupon some were for shooting mee, and others were for cutting mee in peeces: I told them I would willingly surrender myselfe to them till they were satisfied from his Majestie, and did ingage to the Negroes and servants that they were all pardoned and freed from their Slavery . . .
He managed to persuade most to go home with “Rundletts of Brandy”. Eventually in 1677 the rebellion was crushed and nine rebel leaders were hung. Governor Berkeley, supported by the Royal Commission repealed the right to vote that had been extended to all freemen with or without property by “Bacon’s Assembly”.
Fear of the lower orders still terrified the Virginia ruling class and in 1723 they pass a law which forbade any negro, mulatto, or Indian to vote in any “election whatsoever”. Attorney General Richard West, adviser to the Lords of Trade and Plantation on whether laws passed were consistent with English law questioned the 1723 measure:
I cannot see why one freeman should be used worse than another, merely upon account of his complexion . . .; to vote at elections of officers, either for a county, or parish, &c. is incident to every freeman, who is possessed of a certain proportion of property, and therefore, when several negroes have merited their freedom, and obtained it, and by their industry, have acquired that proportion of property, so that the above-mentioned incidental rights of liberty are actually vested in them, for my own part, I am persuaded, that it cannot be just, by a general law, without any allegation of crime, or other demerit whatsoever, to strip all free persons, of a black complexion (some of whom may perhaps be of considerable substance,) from those rights, which are so justly valuable to every freeman.
Not all “white” people, it seems were on board with the new sweeping measures. The Lords of Trade and Plantation inquired what inspired the Virginia colony to pass such an act. The reply, of Governor William Gooch was “to fix a perpetual Brand upon Free Negros & Mulattos.” He claimed the immediate cause for the law, Allen writes, was the supposed “discovery of a revolt among African-American bond-laborers in 1722 ‘wherein the Free Negroes & Mulattos were much suspected to have been concerned (which will for ever be the case) . . . though there could be no legal proof’ of it.” Another reason he gave was to make African-Americans “sensible that a distinction out to be made between their offspring” and those of the English.
There is much more to this story, but we will end it here. The interested reader may find much more at the leftist site http://www.jeffreybperry.net/.
It is a vitally instructive and consequential period in American history. Had the tenants won their battles there would have been established a strong stratum of tenant yeoman, and the South would not have become the tragic third-world society it is wrestling with today. It is also important for the Liberals and Conservatives, bigots and identity-firsters to understand how their positions have been shaped and herded by the ruling class.
“I think it [the US] was great,” Senate candidate Roy Moore said, “at a time when families were united – even though we had slavery – they cared for one another…Our families were strong. The country had direction.”
However, survey of society in those days shows a miserable population of slave and poor white people. This is well catalogued in Eric Foner’s book Free Soil, Free Men. Indeed, it is not a coincidence that the U.S. has one of the worst and stingy public services sector. Other first world nations have been able to build up strong public services due to the homogeneity of their lower order populations. This after all, was the aim of the establishment of the “white” race which individuals on “either side” often overlook: the establishment of “white” privilege was to keep unprivileged “whites” down as well as their “black” peers.
The recent electoral wins in Virginia, New Jersey and Alabama; the new governor of the state of Virginia, Ralph Northam, voted for George Bush twice and calls himself a fiscal conservative, but he’s a Democrat! Philip D. Murphy captured New Jersey governorship is a former Goldman Sachs swamp creature, and Doug Jones, beat the archaic Roy Moore for the Senate in Alabama. He’s called a “moderate Democrat” who seeks compromise.
We call it a well-functioning system. Too well-functioning!