NYC History: Trump, Slavery and the Implosion of Whiteness

By Max Eternity

 

Donald Trump did not invent White supremacy, and neither did Rudolph Giuliani.  They are, however, the latest face of that sadistic, narcissistic psychology that has consumed the flesh of African-Americans for the last five centuries.  It is a mindset—an ideology, a pathology and worldview—that sees anyone, but themselves, as grist for the hegemonic mill, with people of African descent as its choice historical commodity

And curiously, it is more than a little ironic that Trump and Giuliani are both from New York, because that’s actually where the capitalistic enslavement of Africans really got its start.

The first slave auction in New Amsterdam in 1655. By Howard Pyle 1917
“The first slave auction in New Amsterdam in 1655” by Howard Pyle 1917

Yet Trump and Giuliani, like so many self-assured and grossly-entitled White men before them—and, their brethren alive and well today, like David Duke et all—believe themselves to be victims of a culture in which they themselves are the chief victimizers.  And it is this active belief that has survived—this same active belief that designed the formative economic structure of capitalism in the New World.

Among who knows how many others, we can thank Christopher Columbus for this.

It would be the wholesale socioeconomic, physical and spiritual demolition of the entire African continent, as well as the same treatment for the Americas, as the price that was paid by the ancestral inhabitants of those lands at the hands of sociopathic White men, like Columbus, who came calling with their holy books and guns enshrined in the language of good will, freedom and democracy.

Over the millennia, through the capital-driven institution of slavery, Jim Crow and the prison industrialist complex, which could not exist without Giuliani’s racist “stop and frisk” police policies, White men-at-large have terrorized the people of Africa and the Americas—have absconded every resource that wasn’t nailed down for their own enrichment and self-aggrandizement.

Holding this in mind, and to be absolutely clear about slavery, the enslavement of Africans as a renewable resource of skilled free-labor was always about money, money, money.  White male enrichment was not an incident, it was the main show, and slavery was business on a scale the planet had never seen before.

A 1846 letter from Karl Marx to P. V. Annenkov, cited at Temple University, states plainly the truth about the emergence of a slave-based global economy:

Direct slavery is just as much the pivot of bourgeois industry as machinery, credits, etc. Without slavery you have no cotton; without cotton you have no modern industry. It is slavery that has given the colonies their value; it is the colonies that have created world trade, and it is world trade that is the pre- condition of large scale industry. Thus slavery is an economic category of the greatest importance.

Without slavery North America, the most progressive of countries, would be transformed into a patriarchal country. Wipe out North America from the map of the world, and you will have anarchy— the complete decay of modern commerce and civilization. Cause slavery to disappear and you will have wiped America off the map of nations.

Thus slavery, because it is an economic category, has always existed among the institutions of the people. Modern nations have been able only to disguise slavery in their own countries, but they have imposed it without disguise upon the New World.

So any notion that attempts to conceal the fact that slavery was the life force that created the reality of today’s global economy is a maniacal lie, and in tandem, the oft accepted narrative that slavery was simply a Southern vice…well, that’s just poppycock.  And in line with this, it is both ignorant and disingenuous to act as if Trump and Giuliani represent anything outside the norm of mainstream White [male] America.

Furthermore and for the record, New York City was the original “capital of American slavery,” and according to the New York Historical Society, during the colonial period 41 percent of New York City’s “households had slaves, compared to 6 percent in Philadelphia and 2 percent in Boston.”  Too this, nearly “every businessman in 18th-century New York had a stake, at one time or another, in the traffic in human beings.”  And in fact, to “extent to which slavery penetrated everyday life” the only other colonial city that had as many slaves was Charleston, South Carolina.

In 2005, the New York Historical Society curated an exhibition called Slavery in New York, which explored “the role that slavery played in New York and the United States.  This event(s) included an informative website that states in part:

Though it is barely mentioned in school textbooks, slavery was a key institution in the development of New York, from its formative years…[t]hose in our past who spoke the language of liberty always had in mind – and often in view – shackles on the legs and manacles on the wrists of the enslaved.

And as well, that:

At the height of the revolutionary conflict, George Washington, our greatest apostle of freedom but also the owner of hundreds of slaves, warned that if the Americans did not resist British tyranny they would become “as tame and abject slaves as the blacks we rule over with such arbitrary sway.”

So for anyone with ideas that New Yorkers were less brutal on the enslaved Africans held there, such was not the case.  Because in actuality:

Slavery was no milder in the urban North than in the Deep South. Instances of abusive treatment permeate public and personal records. The city’s Common Council passed one restrictive law after another: forbidding blacks from owning property or bequeathing it to their children; forbidding them to congregate at night or in groups larger than three; requiring them to carry lanterns after dark and to remain south of what is now Worth Street; threatening the most severe punishments, even death, for theft, arson, or conspiracy to revolt – and carrying out these punishments brutally and publicly time and again.

The history of slavery and New York are inseparable.  And while perhaps unintentional, to the benefit of this nation the face and the legacy of White male supremacy is revealing itself more clearly and more fully in the embodiment of our newly elected “grab them by the pussy” commander-in-chief.

On first glance, the 2016 presidential election may appear otherwise, but make no mistake: White male supremacy is definitely on the wane.   It has been since 50 years ago when Malcom X declared it so.

Nevertheless, White supremacy is far from gone, that’s true, but Donald Trump could become the last foul fart of a dinosaur (and no disrespect to dinosaurs) struggling to stay relevant.  And as White supremacy in the United States completes its ongoing spectacular implosion, remember that the current iteration of this multi-millennial, hellish and never-ending nightmare has its roots in New York City.

 

4 comments

  1. Good article that reminds me of how things are not what they seem to be. White supremacy is not taught in school and too experience first hand in this election makes you wonder why we are not educated on these issues.

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