The educational system, particularly in the United States, loves to boast about the success of democracy, the rise of capitalism, and freedom in the western world. Ideologically indoctrinated from a very early age, we are lead to believe the U.S.A is this unique land of the free and home of the brave where anyone and everyone can achieve success and that success equates to money. But an imperative yet uncomfortable conversation is often evaded, the truth behind America’s development. Like most if not all colonial powers, the U.S.A was built on the grounds of a brutal genocide of indigenous people, a massive trans-Atlantic trade of African people, and their enslavement for centuries. When the need for a free labor force to build up the economy was no longer crucial, black people were lynched, segregated, surveilled, chased down, and legally murdered under the pretext of keeping law and order in society.
Our criminal justice system, particularly the prison industrial complex and police state, is rooted in the same oppressive system responsible for the genocide of Native Americans, for stealing people from Africa as disposable commodities, and later on, segregated blacks and whites in the name of justice and the rights of whites.
The alteration of the same, handed-down oppressive system becomes apparent when, for example, looking at the crack epidemic, police brutality, and even with the events that took place on January 6th. How did those people truly break-in? Was the police department not “equipped” enough? Number one in police brutality but unable to prevent white Trump-loving conspiracists from entering what should be one of the most guarded buildings in America? What would have happened if the people raiding the Capitol were black?
Foreign involvement also played a significant role in the development and enrichment of the country. The damage made overseas has been colossal, whether through governmental or non-governmental institutions such as religious establishments or massive corporations: the transmutation of land, its fruits and minerals; the abuse of human lives, their labor and consumption force; and overall, the exploitation of natural resources and human resources. Depending on the territory and geopolitical location, lands and peoples were assigned specific roles and functions to serve the United States’ development. This strategical role assignation was a typical colonial practice, substantially instituted through massive neoliberal corporations.
Although I am no expert on the subject, I strongly believe we must all gain social and political awareness and continuously learn about history. I invite you to check out the resources available at the bottom of this page to gain knowledge on essential concepts such as the prison industrial complex, the police state and police origins in its colonial context. Learn about bright minds and key actors in the struggle for racial justice such as Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Frantz Fanon, Richard Wright, and James Baldwin.
To better understand our present, we must inform ourselves of the past. After all, James Baldwin said it best:
“History is not the past. It is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history. If we pretend otherwise, we literally are criminals”.
Douglass, An American Slave, by Frederick DouglassDownload
Unity and Struggle’s Google Doc Reading List: a study of race through the lens of Marxist historical and dialectical materialism.
Rev Left Radio Podcast Episodes
- Paying Tribute to Black voices of Black Liberation
- Nina Simone The Revolutionary High Priestess of Soul
- Identity Politics and Class Conciousness
- Malcolm X
Reveal Podcast Episodes
- The Wretched of the Earth pt 1: on Violence and Spontaneity
- The Wretched of the Earth pt 2: on National Conciousness and National Culture
- The Wretched of the Earth pt 3: Colonial War, Mental Illness, and Psychoanalysis
I Am Not Your Negro – available on Amazon Prime
13th – available on Netflix and on Youtube!