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Burning Spear News

Parasitic Capitalism 101

Apr 23, 2009


Capitalism was born from the theft of African people, African gold and African labor, along with theft of Indigenous lands and resources throughout the world.

As Omali Yeshitela teaches, impoverished, war-like, disease-ridden, feudal Europe set out to solve its problems by assaulting Africa, the Americas and Asia.

By the year 1500 Europe had already forcibly removed 700 tons of African gold and nearly a hundred thousand African people.

Parasitic Capitalism Began with the Slave Trade

Today stockbrokers discuss the price of oil over martinis at lunch. Two hundred years ago they talked about the price of a shipment of African people over a pint of ale.

The first stock market sprung up in Amsterdam in 1602, at the height of the trade in enslaved Africans that turned human beings into the world’s most lucrative commodity.

The dollar sign ($) is modeled on a symbol resembling shackles used by slave ship owners to keep count of their human cargo.

The unthinkable auctions of African people throughout the Americas not only made large profits for the slave owners, they shaped the modern U.S. economy.

For example, in the Shokoe Bottom neighborhood of Richmond Virginia, 350,000 African people were auctioned between 1790 and the 1860s.

That’s just one city among hundreds in the hemisphere where Africans were sold as chattel. In every case the auction markets fed the establishment of hotels, transportation systems, stores and countless other trades, services and opportunities for white people based on the enslavement of Africans.

The abolishment of the official trade in African human beings did not end white society’s dependence on the exploitation of forced African labor. The imperialist extraction from African people today is far greater than it was during the time of chattel slavery.

The U.S. outlawed the importation of African people ended in 1808, but the trade continued with African people smuggled in as contraband.

Additionally, plantation owners began to “breed” African people. Forcing African men and women together in hideous dungeons called “breeding pens,” one Virginia slave owner boasted he had sold 6,000 African children bred under these inhumane conditions.

Slavery Continues as “Convict Leasing”

Following the Civil War, Southern states set up the genocidal system of Convict Leasing that persisted until the 1940s in some states. With mass arrests on Jim Crow laws that made just about everything African people did illegal, hundreds of thousands of African men, women and children were rounded up in state-controlled work camps.

The motto of Convict Leasing was “One dies, get another,” because there was no longer the profit motive for slave owners to keep their property alive. African people were leased out to plantation, mine and railroad owners for hard labor.

Africans were brutalized, worked to death in the heat and bitter cold and starved. Little children were sent into the fields and down in the coal and phosphate mines of Birmingham and northern Florida.

Convict Leasing made so much money that it rebuilt the economy of the south after the Civil War. The state of Alabama, for example made 75 percent of its revenues from Convict Leasing in the 1890s.

Capitalism Loots Africa

After the Civil War was the period of direct colonialism in Africa. The entire continent was carved up by European powers in 1885 to begin the greatest plunder of natural resources in the history of the world.

Rubber, diamonds, ivory, oil, animals, wood and every mineral known to science were extracted with the labor of Africans, coerced through the generous use of gun powder, Christianity and every imaginable form of terror.

At least 20 million African people were slaughtered in Africa during this process. Europe and the U.S. got fabulously rich, beyond imagination.

Continued next week.

 

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