Ho Chi Minh on Lynching

Charles Brown CharlesB at SPAMCNCL.ci.detroit.mi.us
Mon Oct 30 12:56:17 MST 2000


On Lynching And The Ku Klux Klan
By Ho Chi Minh (1924)

It is well known that the Black race is the most oppressed and the
most
exploited of the human family.  It is well known that the spread of
capitalism and the discovery of the New World had as an immediate
result the
rebirth of slavery, which was for centuries a scourge for the Negroes
and a
bitter disgrace for mankind. What everyone does not perhaps know is
that
after sixty-five years of so-called emancipation, American Negroes
still
endure atrocious moral and material sufferings, of which the most
cruel
and
horrible is the custom of lynching.

The word "lynching" comes from Lynch.  Lynch was the name of a planter
in
Virginia, a landlord and judge. Availing himself of the troubles of
the
War
of Independence, he took the control of the whole district into his
hands.
He inflicted the most savage punishment, without trial or process of
law, on
Loyalists and Tories.  Thanks to the slave traders, the Ku Klux Klan,
and
other secret societies, the illegal and barbarous practice of lynching
is
spreading and continuing widely in the States of the American Union.
It has
become more inhuman since the emancipation of the Blacks, and is
especially
directed at the latter....

>From 1899 to 1919, 2,600 Blacks were lynched, including 51 women and
girls
and ten former Great War soldiers.

Among 78 Blacks lynched in 1919, 11 were burned alive, three burned
after
having been killed, 31 shot, three tortured to death, one cut into
pieces,
one drowned, and 11 put to death by various means.

Georgia heads the list with 22 victims, Mississippi follows with 12.
Both
have also three lynched soldiers to their credit.  Of the 11 burned
alive,
the first State has four and the second two.  Out of 34 cases of
systematic,
premeditated and organized lynching, it is still Georgia that holds
first
place with five.  Mississippi comes second with three.

Among the charges brought against the victims of 1919, we note:  one
of
having been a member of the League of Non-Partisans (independent
farmers);
one of having distributed revolutionary publications; one of
expressing
his
opinion on lynchings too freely; one of having criticized the clashes
between Whites and Blacks in Chicago; one of having been known as a
leader
of the cause of the Blacks; one for not getting out of the way and
thus
frightening a white child who was in a motorcar. In 1920, there were
fifty
lynchings, and in 1922 there were twenty-eight.

These crimes were all motivated by economic jealousy.  Either the
Negroes in
the area were more prosperous than the Whites, or the Black workers
would
not let themselves be exploited thoroughly.  In all cases, the
principle
culprits were never troubled, for the simple reason that they were
always
incited, encouraged, spurred on, then protected by politicians,
financiers,
and authorities, and above all, by the reactionary press....

The place of origin of the Ku Klux Klan is the Southern United States.
In
May, 1866 , after the Civil War, young people gathered together in a
small
locality of the State of Tennessee to set up a club.  A question of
whiling
away the time.  This organization was given the name "kuklos", a Greek
word
meaning "club".  To Americanize the word, it was changed into Ku Klux.
Hence, for more originality, Ku Klux Klan.

After big social upheavals, the public mind is naturally unsettled.
It
becomes avid for new stimuli and inclined to mysticism.  The KKK, with
its
strange garb, its bizarre rituals, its mysteries, and its secrecy,
irresistibly attracted the curiosity of the Whites in the Southern
States
and became very popular.

It consisted at first of only a group of snobs and idlers, without
political
or social purpose.  Cunning elements discovered in it a force able to
serve
their political ambitions.

The victory of the Federal Government had just freed the Negroes and
made
them citizens.  The agriculture of the South - deprived of its Black
labor,
was short of hands.  Former landlords were exposed to ruin.  The
Klansmen
proclaimed the principle of the supremacy of the white race.
Anti-Negro was
their only policy.  The agrarian and slaveholding bourgeoisie saw in
the
Klan a useful agent, almost a savior.  They gave it all the help in
their
power.  The Klan's methods ranged from intimidation to murder....

The Klan is for many reasons doomed to disappear.  The Negroes, having
learned during the war that they are a force if united, are no longer
allowing their kinsmen to be beaten or murdered with impunity.  They
are
replying to each attempt at violence by the Klan.  In July 1919, in
Washington, they stood up to the Klan and a wild mob.  The battle
raged
in
the capital for four days.  In August, they fought for five days
against the
Klan and the mob in Chicago.  Seven regiments were mobilized to
restore
order.  In September the government was obliged to send federal troops
to
Omaha to put down similar strife.  In various other States the Negroes
defend themselves no less energetically.

(Ho Chi Minh, 1924)





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