Voices from Russia

Friday, 10 November 2017

The Civil War was About Slavery. Period. End of story. Deal With It.


Slavery caused the Civil War. A failure to compromise had nothing to do with it. Yes, I know a thousand people have made that point in the days since White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s nonsensical assertion on Fox “News” that “the lack of ability to compromise” is what tore America apart. Allow me to be the thousand and first. There are things that need saying here, and I need to say them. It isn’t just that there is no “compromise” between slavery and freedom. It’s also that Kelly’s use of that word is painfully ironic in a nation that’s always been all too ready to bargain with the humanity of African-American people.

In 1776, in his first draft of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson condemned slavery. Southern states baulked, so he compromised. In 1820, North and South argued whether the new state of Missouri would permit slavery. Congress intervened, so they compromised. In 1877, there was a disputed election. Someone suggested giving the presidency to Rutherford B Hayes if he agreed to withdraw federal troops that protected former slaves in the South. The two sides compromised. In 1961, the Freedom Riders pulled into Mississippi. The federal government made a deal with the state that if Mississippi guaranteed no violence, it could arrest the riders, though they’d done nothing illegal. They compromised. And so on. Historically, America always seems to find a way to sell black people out.

Kelly is just the latest in a long line of those who lack the guts to face this straight-on. They hide out in textbooks where slaves become “settlers”; they flee from Roots because it’s “depressing”. Moreover, they insist on moral equivalence between people sellers and the people they sold, lynchers and the people they lynched, traitors who fought to destroy America and patriots who fought to preserve it. Kelly added in the Fox interview:

Robert E Lee was an honourable man.

That’s an interesting take for a military man on an enemy general in a war that killed more Americans than Hitler, Hirohito, and Bin Laden combined. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in defending Kelly:

All of our leaders have flaws.

As if Lee’s ordering two men and a woman stripped to the waist and whipped (he did say, “Lay it on well”) for the crime of seeking freedom was in the same moral universe as Barack Obama’s cigarette jones. I can anticipate how all this would land among certain people. They’d call it “racist”. They’d call it “divisive”. They’d call it everything but untrue. You see, they deeply invested in the myth that their struggles with poverty, mass incarceration, joblessness, and miseducation arise from something African-Americans chose or did, while the rest of the country, innocent as the dawn, did nothing to cause or benefit from any of it. They’ll be angry at the reminder that this is ridiculous… as if this was about them. As if we should give a damn about their anger.

This country stole from black people. It stole their bodies, their children, their names, their land, and their lives. Now, some of them seek to steal the very memory of the crime. Well, let them tell a thousand lies. Let them treat truth like the money card in a game of three-card monte. Let them salve history with the balm of false equivalence. However, let them know that some of us find strength for our own trials in knowing the trials of our mothers and fathers. We won’t be fooled and we won’t be robbed. We will remember… and demand they do the same.

No compromise.

3 November 2017

Leonard Pitts Jr

Miami Herald



Sunday, 3 July 2016

Here’s Some TRUTH on U S Grant

01 I Love a Hater


On 20 April 1871, US President Ulysses S Grant sent federal troops to the south to smash the Ku Klux Klan. It’s worth noting that at the very time Grant sent troops to the south, across the ocean, Paris was under the control of the Communards. Grant was amazingly progressive. He not only sent soldiers to protect freed slaves, but also repeatedly blocked settlements in the west to protect Native Americans. I’m currently reading his personal memoirs, a great work of literature. In his reflections on the Mexican-American War, he accurately describes the war as a “conspiracy to acquire territory” for slaveholders in which Texas was “stolen” from Mexico. There are many very revolutionary and progressive people in the history of the USA. People who seriously want to have an impact on US society should become familiar with them.

2 July 2016

Caleb Maupin



Remember U S Grant’s words about slaveholders when you hear the gun nutter crowd caterwaul. Many of them are descendants of slavers or of those who bore arms for the slaver Confederacy. The Confederacy was so wedded to the evil of human bondage that it threw away its only chance for national survival to preserve slavery. Britain promised that if the CSA abolished slavery, the Royal Navy would break the blockade (at least, for British-registry vessels). However, the Confederates loved human bondage more than they loved independence. Ponder that whenever you hear the righties speak on anything…

They preferred national death to abolishing slavery. They felt “niggers” beneath them then… they still do. However, they’re better than Liberals are. Conservatives, at least, are open haters. Liberals want to keep coloured folk on the “Plantation” and subservient to Uncle Charlie. The Conservatives offer the lash… but the Liberals want a set of Happy Darkie Step n’ Fetchits to tell them how good they are. The former are cruel, but they only hurt the body… the latter are far crueller, for they rape the soul. Do think on that…


Tuesday, 27 March 2012

27 March 2012. Lest We Forget… Slave Labour in Nazi Germany… the Dora Plant Making V2s


In 1945, the USA took the lion’s share of the technological booty from Nazi Germany. It also took Nazi scientists into its service, with no regard to their past actions or beliefs. Of course, the Nazi scientists preferred working for the USA rather than the USSR, as it fit their racist conceptions. They believed that Westerners were “superior” to “subhuman” Eurasian Slavs, and they found American racism quite compatible with their Nazi preconceptions. That’s why I find contemporary American posturing over the Demjanjuk case so disgusting and nasty. John Demjanjuk wasn’t much better off than the Mittlelbau-Dora slave labourers. Of 60,000 prisoners (mostly Russians, Frenchmen, and Poles), one-third died. In like manner, John Demjanjuk survived the hell of the German POW camps for Red Army men, where the survival rate was LOWER. Yet, he was vilified at the end of his life, but the German scientists got off scot-free. I find that racist… and I think that I’m NOT alone in thinking that.


Tuesday, 21 February 2012

21 February 2012. A Point to Ponder…


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