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TorgoX (1933)

TorgoX
  sburkeNO@SPAMcpan.org
http://search.cpan.org/~sburke/

"Il est beau comme la retractilité des serres des oiseaux rapaces [...] et surtout, comme la rencontre fortuite sur une table de dissection d'une machine à coudre et d'un parapluie !" -- Lautréamont

Journal of TorgoX (1933)

Wednesday October 23, 2002
05:59 PM

Some Disassembly Required

[ #8548 ]
Dear Log,

«Perhaps most grotesque in this postmodern calculus of political repression is the moral blindness displayed towards the record of colonialism. For most of the last century, vast swathes of the planet remained under direct imperial European rule, enforced with the most brutal violence by states that liked to see themselves as democracies. But somehow that is not included as the third leg of 20th-century tyranny, along with Nazism and communism. There is a much-lauded Black Book of Communism, but no such comprehensive indictment of the colonial record.»

--"The battle for history: The now routine equation of Stalin and Hitler both distorts the past and limits the future"

I am amazed at how easily the concept of "history" has changed from being hagiography of grandees (where knowing history meant knowing who bravely invaded/defended what when), to estimating numbers of dead (where knowing history means being able to play a game where everyone sits around and says "Oh yeah, well what about the N million dead in...", with points being scored for bigger numbers and more undeservedly obscure locales.

One of these days, history might mean the study of past ideas, instead of the assembly of stirring ethnic/national myths.

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  • And very odd, considering that the original "Black Book" was written by las Casas about the genocide of the Indians, because he was so horrified by it.. Here's a cultural reading for ya [upenn.edu]...
    • For most of the last century, vast swathes of the planet remained under direct imperial European rule, enforced with the most brutal violence by states that liked to see themselves as democracies.

    I'm no student of history, but is this really accurate? For most of the last century, vast swathes...? And, was colonialism "the most brutal violence" in the 20th century?

    The largest colony in history, that of the Indian subcontinent, ended in 1947. For the last few decades of it, it's hard to describe it a

    • How else does one describe the US worker's relationship (via Walmart) with
      workers in China?

      Much of the world is involved in extractive industry (mining, logging) or
      largely unskilled manufacturing work (products sold at Walmart) which end up
      being used by people living in more powerful nations. Whether the people doing
      this work are being kept down by a local dictator, or direct colonial rule, has
      little effect on how awful the situation is.

      An African travel log by a decent Irish fellow is here [struggle.ws]. French and
        • How else does one describe the US worker's relationship (via Walmart) with
          workers in China?

          Much of the world is involved in extractive industry (mining, logging) or
          largely unskilled manufacturing work (products sold at Walmart) which end up
          being used by people living in more powerful nations. Whether the people doing
          this work are being kept down by a local dictator, or direct colonial rule, has
          little effect on how awful the situation is.

        Somehow, American business takes the brunt of criticism here. The

        • See the definition [nizkor.org]
          of "straw man". Seriously! Follow that link!

          Somehow, American business takes the brunt of criticism here. The left is
          silent about the activities of the real slave owners, the Chinese Political
          Machine and their like worldwide.


          At no point did I suggest support for the Chinese state, or the horribly corrupt
          people who run it, or the system that leads to such corruption ard repression.
          The nastiness of a colonial government does not change the colonial
          relationship.

          If you don't draw some
            • See the definition [nizkor.org]
              of "straw man". Seriously! Follow that link!

            I know what a 'straw man' is. I wasn't really debating there. I was trying to draw you out on what you really believe.

              • Well, we can make laws against "Hate" crimes (by definition, crimes committed
                against majorities cannot be motivated by Hate)...

              You are assuming
              that anyone who acknowledges injustice in the current world supports these
              things? Do you actually know anyone who does either of them?

            What do you believe? Up to now, I've not

            • I'll try to be more clear.

              1. Are you asserting that the US worker's relationship (via Walmart) with workers in China is not colonial?

              2. While Walmart is not responsible for the actions of Chinese elites, it pays money to said elites, and certainly does not aim to depose them. So I agree with you that one cannot blame solely the owners of Walmart for the sorry situation of Chinese workers.

              3. Do you not agree that these "evil American Capitalists" exist, and are powerful? Have you been paying attentio
                • 1. Are you asserting that the US worker's relationship (via Walmart) with workers in China is not colonial?

                I'm not sure what you are saying here. Is China like a US colony because we buy goods from them?

                Is your argument is that they are like a colony because they get so little for their goods because they are essentially slave labor?

                I don't get it. If Wal-Mart didn't buy their goods, then the Japanese, Russians, Indians, Australians and Europeans would buy their goods. Oh, guess what? They all do!

                • Thanks for taking the time to respond.

                  Is your argument is that they are like a colony because they get so little for their goods because they are essentially slave labor?

                  Yes.

                  Is anyone who buys goods made in China contributory to their enslavement? Or, is it possibly more complicated that that?

                  Yes, and yes.

                  If the commercialization of China is increasing their standard of living, as it appears to be, is there more opportunity for the Chinese to become educated and help to throw off their own chains?