[Marxism] White supremacy and slavery: Gerald Horne on the real story of American independence - Salon.com

Joseph Catron jncatron at gmail.com
Sat May 31 06:46:02 MDT 2014

On Sat, May 31, 2014 at 5:11 AM, Louis Proyect via Marxism <
marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:

To be fair, there were only about 15,000 Africans in London in the 1770s.
> They were not the essential component of the English economy nor the
> Scottish economy. The exploitation of Africans basically took place
> thousands of miles away. And thus it became easier, it seems to me, for
> Londoners to have a more civilized attitude. It became easier for William
> Hogarth, the painter, to invest Africans with a kind of humanity that was
> marginally absent in terms of the consideration and contemplation of many
> in the colonies.

This is true as far as it goes, but I think it may omit, or perhaps
obscure, something important. In 1776, slavery as a racialized institution,
and the biological racism that proceeded from it, had existed for less than
a century its cradle, colonial Virginia.


It hadn't yet caught fire, even much nearer to home. As close as South
Carolina, an equivalent color line did not fully exist.


This had little to do with the numbers or proportions of slaves, which were
always much higher there than Virginia.


As Horne says, "there was a lot of back-and-forth between those islands and
the North American mainland," especially the more Southern states, and the
Caribbean had somewhat more fluid ethnicity and less stigmatized

So I think the difference between the perspectives of Londoners and
Virginians, "the locomotive of the revolt," had more to do a certain set of
ideologies than demographics alone, as Horne seems to indicate here.

Of course, he may cover all this at great length in his book, which looks
fascinating regardless, but which I have not yet read.

"Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen

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