The Hydra Must Die

“I’ve been watching, or maybe keeping track of the Enough Project for a while. I don’t see any ideas that would result in a change. A change being that which would make issues like the Congo Gold, if not impossible then improbable.

So far the main idea is to work with the people that are doing, financing or supporting these things? Doesn’t really sound like a plan does it? There is absolutely no reason for these people to stop. As long as they’re in power – this will continue.”

Usually I just read the captions in the emails and delete them but I took a minute this morning to revisit the site. I did this specifically to see if I could get an update on the plan. What I saw was what I saw last time. Good people wasting a lot of resources. What the site is good at is disseminating information. The recent information is on the gold business and the Congo.

So now anyone who is interested knows what’s going on in the Congo and other parts of Africa. People across the planet know that people in Africa are getting the life beat out of them. I want to revisit a time in our history when the issue was the slave trade. What we had was people who were willing to buy people and put them to work doing those things they wanted done. Yes, just like today.

There were five components at play in this.

  • 1. People with money willing to buy other people
  • 2. People who provided transportation
  • 3. Governments who were cooperating or participating in the business
  • 4. People on the ground where the slaves originated who gathered them up and brought them to market

This is the same today. The components for the operation have to be in place. They are in place. What happened in North America that ended the slave trade?

Thomas Jefferson, principal drafter of the Declaration of Independence, was a tireless promoter of civil liberties. However, he did not conceive of the universal nature of human rights. He owned slaves himself, and even fathered mixed-race children by one of his slaves. Some of his thoughts on slavery were recorded in his “Notes on the State of Virginia.” He was opposed to general emancipation, arguing that “Deep-rooted prejudices entertained by the whites, ten thousand recollections by the blacks of the injuries they have sustained…” would hopelessly destabilize society. Jefferson was one of the promoters of the American Colonization Society, which was organized in 1816. It sought to free young African-Americans by educating them and transporting them to a colony outside the United States. Jefferson never freed his own slaves.

So where or what led to ending the slave trade?

The mass movement to abolish slavery started in England in the mid-18th century. British ships controlled much of the slave trade at the time. Ships from Bristol and Liverpool transported tens of thousands of Africans annually to the Americas. Yet, within a few years “The worlds biggest slave trading nation was to become the prime mover behind the ultimately successful suppression of the trade.”

In 1772, Lord Chief Justice, Lord Mansfield, ruled that slaves in England could not be forced to leave the country. In 1783, actions of the captain of a slave ship Zong made a major contribution to the abolition movement. Believing that the ship was running short of water, he ordered 132 sick slaves thrown overboard to their deaths. When he later attempted to collect on the insurance policy, the public became outraged. The Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade was founded at that time.

In 1787, William Wilberforce (1759-1833) was persuaded to lead an attack on slavery in Parliament. In 1788, a Committee of the Privy Council was appointed to study the question.

William Wilberforce (24 August 1759 – 29 July 1833) was a British politician, a philanthropist and a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade. A native of Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, he began his political career in 1780 and became the independent Member of Parliament for Yorkshire (1784–1812). In 1785, he underwent a conversion experience and became an evangelical Christian, resulting in major changes to his lifestyle and a lifelong concern for reform. In 1787, he came into contact with Thomas Clarkson and a group of anti-slave-trade activists, including Granville Sharp, Hannah More and Charles Middleton. They persuaded Wilberforce to take on the cause of abolition, and he soon became one of the leading English abolitionists. He headed the parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade for twenty-six years until the passage of the Slave Trade Act 1807.

Wilberforce was convinced of the importance of religion, morality, and education. He championed causes and campaigns such as the Society for Suppression of Vice, British missionary work in India, the creation of a free colony in Sierra Leone, the foundation of the Church Mission Society and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. His underlying conservatism led him to support politically and socially repressive legislation, and resulted in criticism that he was ignoring injustices at home while campaigning for the enslaved abroad.

In later years, Wilberforce supported the campaign for the complete abolition of slavery, and continued his involvement after 1826, when he resigned from Parliament because of his failing health. That campaign led to the Slavery Abolition Act 1833, which abolished slavery in most of the British Empire; Wilberforce died just three days after hearing that the passage of the Act through Parliament was assured. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, close to his friend William Pitt.

So what do we have so far? We have people and governments that are in the business of slavery – one way or another. Here is a major point in the comparison – everybody knew. Everybody knew about the issue of slavery. Everybody today is aware of every issue, to some degree. A lot of people are aware of issues that are – on the table so to speak. Some people care deeply. Some are to busy to pay attention and some don’t want to know (it’s painful).

There were two components for change.  (1) The public (2) A person in government who was supportive of the public  wishes.

So one of the components in all this will always be the public. Another component will always be the people willing to pay out money. With slavery it was people who wanted labor at a certain price.

Creating Slavery

Slavery in the United States was part of a long established system of labor exploitation that dates to ancient times. Much of the ancient world was composed of well-organized slave societies of one sort or another. Slavery existed in the great civilizations of ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, China, and even among the Inca and Aztec worlds of pre-colonial America. The business of capturing and trading enslaved people was also a fundamental part of human society throughout recorded history. Prior to the Atlantic trade of enslaved Africans to the Americas, Muslim traders out of the Middle East and Northern Africa purchased, sold, and captured millions of enslaved Africans and Central Europeans in a slave-trading network that extended from present day Hungary to Southeastern Asia and the Far East.

From the beginnings of slavery in British North America around 1619, when a Dutch ship brought 20 enslaved Africans to the Virginia colony at Jamestown, nearly 240 years passed until the Thirteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution officially ended slavery in 1865. This means that 12 generations of blacks survived and lived in America as enslaved people-direct descendants of the nearly 500,000 enslaved Africans imported into North America by European traders. Some of the 180,000 African Americans who fought for their freedom as Union soldiers in the American Civil War could trace their families to the time of the Pilgrims. Some of their family histories in America predated those of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and most sitting members of Congress and the U. S. Senate in 1860.

On the eve of the American Civil War approximately 4 million enslaved African Americans lived in the southern region of the United States of America. The vast majority worked as plantation slaves in the production of cotton, sugar, tobacco, and rice. Very few of these enslaved people were African born principally because the importation of enslaved Africans to the United States officially ended in 1808, although thousands were smuggled into the nation illegally in the 50 years following the ban on the international trade. These enslaved people were the descendants of 12 to 13 million African fore bearers ripped from their homes and forcibly transported to the Americas in a massive slave trade dating from the 1400s. Most of these people, if they survived the brutal passages from Africa, ended up in the Caribbean (West Indies) or in South and Central America. Brazil alone imported around five million enslaved Africans. This forced migration is known today as the African Diaspora, and it is one of the greatest human tragedies in the history of the world.

Above taken from www.slaveryinamerica.org (which I couldn’t find last time I tried)

You may be wondering why I’m spending all this time on slavery. Issues will come and go. If we are so focused on the issue that we lose sight of the bigger picture we will continually move from issue to issue forever.

The components are really the key to all this. Without the components there are no issues. As long as the components remain the issues will remain. You see all the good work done by the people who managed to abolish the laws that made slavery an issue only managed to deal with one head of the hydra.

The reason for the Hydra myth is to teach us something and save us from spending a lot of time and energy on singular issues. The Hydra must die. The components must be dealt with once and for all if we ever want to move on.

Do I think we should stop showing people pictures of the issues?  Absolutely not.  I do it everyday. But let’s think about the forest and the trees idea. Do we, who are so passionate about the trees (issues) see the forest (components)?  I see this, “Not seeing the Forest for the Trees”,  happening a lot.  What continues to happen is that the activist looks to the components to provide solutions.

What components are willing to bring an end to the issues they created?  The only component that can be dealt with productively today  is the public. At some point a saturation point will be reached and the mind of the public “might” change.

The other components simply need to be removed. That’s the only solution possible. All else is folly. Government officials who support issues that the public doesn’t support – need to be removed. Businesses that profit from the destructive issues – need to be removed. You can’t ask these components to remove themselves. That’s what I see going on in most of the largest  activist groups.  They’re as much components as the components they ply for gifts.

There are a lot of people who are beginning to wake up today. They see the components, they understand the problem. If you are looking for a group to connect with in an effort to make a difference – look for the groups ties to the components. Do they want to work with the components? Or remove them?

If they are working with government to fix things you might as well look elsewhere. Remember what the components are:

  • 1. People willing to buy
  • 2. People providing goods
  • 3. Government cooperation and participation
  • 4. People who ignore, benefit from or work with these groups

Do I have a solution? Yeah, but most people aren’t going to like it. It goes like this.

  • 1. Find out if you’re a component. Are you cooperating or trying to work with a component? If yes: Stop.
  • 2. Stop being a consumer. Don’t buy anything you don’t need. When you must buy something, make sure the vendor is not a component. This is hard and can’t be accomplished absolutely. For now it will have to be done to the best of ones ability – that’s enough for now. In other words – Boycott.
  • 3. Governments cooperating and participating: Don’t vote for them. Even if you’re sure they’re going to be reelected, don’t vote for them. Get your own candidates. Find candidates from the people in your community whom you know well and elect them. Start at the local level and fill those positions. Work to replace the current Government as quickly as possible. Everyone in office can be replaced. The cooperating government is a major “necessary” component and all issues will remain, in one form or another, until  complete replacement is accomplished.
  • 4. Groups who ignore or work with the components. Don’t join, they are part of the problem. Form your own group. Get a blog and pump out real news. Saturate the world until it’s impossible for anyone to ignore.
  • 5. Take care of yourself. Don’t seek answers or solutions from the components. There are non-components that offer everything that governments and other components  promise. Yes, literally everything.
  • 6. Work toward the total replacement of the monetary system and the capitalist political system. If you can’t see how this is possible, work at seeing it. Read everything I and others have written.
  • 7. Work as hard as you can to ignore the trees and get a clear picture of the forest – it’s there.

Can’t think of anything else at the moment. If you can think of anything to add, or you know of groups you’d like to see on the “alternative activists list”, tell me and we’ll start such a list.