[Marxism] Notes on David Brion Davis' review

gregory meyerson gmeyerson at triad.rr.com
Wed Nov 1 15:40:22 MST 2006


that citation below is correct as far as I know.  if slaves and 
indentured servants lived under very similar circumstances, it also 
ought to be noted that black property ownership was high in early  and 
mid 17th century virginia, with some black property owners owning 
european indentured servants.


as ted allen puts it, the regime of racial oppression had not been yet 
instituted based on white identity and white supremacy.


and edmund morgan called this period "the volatile society" for good 
reason.


on the other hand, allen uses the term religio-racial oppression to 
describe english-irish relations.  he does a good job of justifying the 
term, comparing it to racial oppression based on white supremacy in the 
plantation colonies.

this oppression was certainly not based in scientific doctrines of 
racial inferiority but the oppression was no less structural or 
persistent for that.




I have not followed this thread that closely but I thought rakesh was 
not extending the term racism to anglo-indian relations in the 
plantation colonies.  and I find this to be pretty strange.  the 
ideological mechanisms justifying extermination or oppression, even 
enslavement, were different from the mechanisms of scientific racism. 
"savage," "heathen," "devil," "roaming beasts," etc.
On Nov 1, 2006, at 5:25 PM, Rakesh Bhandari wrote:

> Thanks for the paper Andrew. I do look forward to reading it.
>
> To Zinn's statement in which racism seems to have been found 
> anachronistically in early 17th Century Chesapeake , I would 
> counterpose this passage from John Cheng:
>
> http://www.pbs.org/race/000_About/002_04-background-02-03.htm
>
> Although it was permanent servitude, slavery in the 17th century 
> Chesapeake was not like slavery as it later developed and in some 
> ways, was difficult to distinguish from indentured servitude. In an 
> era where few laws defined slavery, slaves enjoyed limited rights 
> including the ability to work land for themselves, to own property, 
> including other slaves, and to marry. Children of slaves did not 
> inherit their parents' bondage. Although it was not generally the 
> case, slaves could earn or save enough money to purchase their own 
> freedom. While indentured servants worked under temporary, as opposed 
> to permanent, terms of service, the life expectancy in the early 
> decades of the Chesapeake colonies was so low that almost two-thirds 
> did not survive to the end of their contracts. Indentured servants 
> often worked with slaves under the same conditions - one reason why 
> there was occasional intermarriage between the two groups, European 
> and African.
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