Edward E. Baptist: “The Half Has Never Been Told”

Historian Edward E. Baptist visited Google’s Cambridge, MA office to discuss his book, “The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism”. As he shows in the book, slavery and its expansion were central to the evolution and modernization of our nation in the 18th and 19th centuries, catapulting the US into a modern, industrial and capitalist economy. In the span of a single lifetime, the South grew from a narrow coastal strip of worn-out tobacco plantations to a sub-continental cotton empire. By 1861 it had five times as many slaves as it had during the Revolution, and was producing two billion pounds of cotton a year. It was through slavery and slavery alone that the United States achieved a virtual monopoly on the production of cotton, the key raw material of the Industrial Revolution, and was transformed into a global power rivaled only by England.

Dr. Baptist is Associate Professor of History at Cornell. “The Half Has Never Been Told” is his second book; his first was “Creating an Old South: Middle Florida’s Plantation Frontier Before the Civil War”.

 

Advertisements

The Soundtrack of Capitalism

Look at the image above. It is the emblem of an enslaved mind, the icon of a slave mentality. It symbolizes a popular kind of hip hop lifestyle, one that celebrates crass consumerism and the capitalist system despite the fact capitalism is responsible for the destruction of the lives of hundreds of millions of people across the globe.

For people of African descent, in particular, capitalism has been a holocaust. It was the enslavement, branding (literally and figuratively), and commodification of African people that was the catalyst for the development of the capitalist system. Being “in the black” is not a euphemism for making a profit. Buying, selling and owning “blacks” is how profit was made, how wealth was created, how capitalism was invented. The European slave trade established the foundation for the system by enabling certain elites to amass immense capital in the form of “black” bodies whose value could be extracted as labor, used as capital to purchase goods, pledged as collateral for loans and mortgages, or given as gifts and endowments that could be passed down from generation to generation.

Profit still is made from “blacks,” only these days its done by making us slaves to consumption by selling us trinkets and perishable goodies to the tune of nearly a trillion dollars a year. And the new auctioneers are hip hop bling entrepreneurs like Pimp Daddy Combs and Hustle Simmons, who devote their lives to promoting crass consumption despite the fact Cristal ain’t made in Harlem, Bentleys ain’t built in Bed-Sty, Rolexes don’t come from Crooklyn, unless they’re as fake as the Negroes who worship them.

A recent report from The Nielsen Company and the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), a federation of more than 200 Black community newspapers across the U.S., projects African American buying power will reach 1.1 trillion dollars by 2015. The report titled “The State of the African-American Consumer” contains a number of interesting facts about “black” buying habits. Among its highlights is the noteworthy finding that “with a buying power of nearly $1 trillion annually, if African-Americans were a country, they’d be the 16th largest country in the world.”

The sad fact is we would be a country of Cadillac Escalades, Asian hair weaves, Xboxes, Nikes, and flat-screen televisions. Given our addiction to bling, and our gullibility to hucksters selling shit for the price of gold, we should call our country Assholeland.

The rankings by nation shown on the chart to the left are based on GDP (Gross Domestic Product) for 2010, as determined by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

A projected income of 1.1 trillion dollars in 2015, actually would place Assholeland in the 14th position immediately below Australia and above Mexico. Look at some of the other nations on the list that have a smaller GDP than the Negroes of Assholeland … South Korea (makers of flat screen tvs, cars, computers, cell phones) …  Saudi Arabia (oil, oil, and more oil) … The Netherlands (land of tulips and marijuana) … South Africa (diamonds, gold, platinum) …

And what do the Negroes of Assholeland make? … Other people rich.

The Negroes of Assholeland love capitalism. And capitalism loves the Negroes. But all the Negroes get out of the deal is the “ism” … the capital just passes right through our hands. We get the baubles, the bullshit, the bling, and the debt that goes with it. But the Negroes don’t care. If the beat is tight and dance floor is packed, we are happy to live out our days in Assholeland as contented consuming slaves.

Look at the image below. This is what you should be seeing. This is the reality behind the bling.

To learn more about the role of certain hip hop artists in sustaining the deathstyle that passes for a lifestyle in Assholeland read: The sound of capitalism | Prospect Magazine.

For insight into whose money really rules America check this out: Wealth, income and power.


Neocolonialism Comes Dressed in Pinstripe Suits

I’ve reported previously on Harvard and other U.S. institutions getting in on the land grab in Africa. Now here’s an article with a link to a veritable rogue’s gallery of rich thugs who see Africa as one giant plantation:

Meet The Millionaires And Billionaires Suddenly Buying Tons Of Land In Africa.

See also:

Ethiopian Review

Infochange India News

Farm Land Grab.org