Independence Day again and yet again we are not free

frederick douglass portrait
Frederick Douglass delivered a speech, “What to the slave is the Fourth of July,” which to this day serves as a pertinent reminder of the hypocrisy of a nation declaring its freedom and independence while holding other human beings in chains and pretending they were not human but chattel!




Independence means to break free. The colonial settlers in the US led by its educated and moneyed class issued a declaration saying in essence they have had enough.  Consequently they took extreme measures.  They made a revolution and they did not stutter! Alternately the people who oppose the injustice that has become these United States have an immense capacity to watch the suffering of others without taking extreme measures. They have not had enough!

One of the reason we won’t bring ourselves to say we had enough is because we have a false assessment of where and who we are. ‘There is no need for anything drastic.’ some say, because all we need to do is ‘to get back to where we were.’ Of course where we were is not a good resting place.

There is no such thing as an idyllic moment in history where the US lived out its promised creeds. There were periods in which we were granted a reprieve and hope sprung forward such as the Reconstruction which provided the possibility for people who worked in factories and farms, newly freed Africans, immigrant Europeans and poor and working class Whites, to ally and reach across the aisle and unite around  common interests.

But that was disrupted by the same people, the same class that has manufactured crisis after crisis as a result of its meanness, prejudice and greed. Those include the more recent; foreclosure crisis,  AIDS crisis, Crack epidemic and the accompanying policy of mass incarceration, the opioid crisis, the ever present crisis of police violence and more recently the border crisis.

Rest assured this conversation will be had next July 4th and the July 4th after that and the following July 4th and every July 4th until the passion of those determined to keep us enslaved(symbolically) is met by a corresponding passion.

Nothing will change if as some liberal scribes writing on this day continue to insist if we believe that “resistance is patriotic.” It is not! Resistance in this society is viewed as criminal.

Nothing will change as yet another liberal scribe insisted that we simply “strive to be better than this.” He doesn’t get it this system cannot, will not get better than this.

Nothing will change if folks continue to pine for what never was and never has been. This United States, which liberal writer after liberal writer continues to refer, simply does not exist. And ironically when writers call for returning  this country to this imaginary place there is never a path outlined.

Nothing will change if we continue to assign this system values it never possessed or aspired to hold. Yes on this day nearly 250 years ago they declared “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; and that, among these are, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

However those were just words. Tens of thousands of men women and children were being held in chattel slavery, while the words were being written. This system has only one thing it values and it is not human life (well at least not yours as evidenced by the current crises), not adults, children’s or the unborn. (despite Alabama’s hypocritical insistence that life is sacred)

Moreover since this Declaration, this system has unequivocally demonstrated that it values things, power, materialism and money. Its primary value consists of making and hoarding as much money as possible, by any means they can obtain it; including swindle, con or outright theft. And to this end it this system this social/ political/ economic system we know as capitalism employs the strategy of divide and rule to perfection, using primarily White Supremacy and patriarchy to keep us disunited making fools of us all, while its members laugh all the way to the Bank.

But only free people with free minds can conclude that extreme changes  and extreme measures should be made.

This Independence Day finds the US run by extremists who are determined to carry forth the real goal of the revolutionary project, which is to allow the US bourgeoisie free reign and the ability to plunder and exploit at will its well indoctrinated, unsuspecting working and farmer class.

We will not change; this nation will not change until we stop thinking like them, stop mimicking their ungodly values, and stop believing the country is something it is not. There will be no real change until we are as determined to do good, as the opposition is determined to do evil. The US revolutionaries did not simply resist, they did not seek to make the English experiment better, they did not harken back to an idyllic past, they recognized there was nothing left on that old rotting carcass that could be salvaged and they were not afraid to risk it all, they rebelled and declared their independence.

“Give me liberty or death,” proclaimed US bourgeoisie revolutionary Patrick Henry.

“At a time like this, scorching iron, not convincing argument, is needed. . . It is not light that is needed, but fire. It is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake,” Frederick Douglass from his speech on this day, “What to the slave is the Fourth of July?”

justice then peace

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