Sunday, October 8, 2017

From "business purposes" to U.S. history

I was poking around on the Food Empowerment Project's blog and read this post.

I'll summarize (which means I'll probably leave out important nuance so either read the post yourself or keep in mind the difficulty with a summarization...ok?) the post by saying that it is critical to realize business interests/purposes really only accidentally have anything to do with being a moral good...they have to do with somebody getting somebody else's money...if they also produce something that benefits living beings or life on Earth then that's a function of chance or something else, not "business".

One of the things that is constantly messaged to we who live here in the U.S. is that capitalism is "good" and anything that impedes and/or interferes with capitalism (or "business') is "bad" or even "Anti-U.S. American." or "anti-democratic".

Go read the F.E.P. post and decide for yourself whether the instance of business interests elaborated there is "anti-democratic". While you're at it go sign the petition that is referenced in the blog post.

What the heck does that post have to do with U.S. history? Well, most of us here in the U.S. are ignorant about the fact that Haiti is a nation came into being because it was the place where a successful revolt of enslaved humans resulted in the founding of a nation that was ruled by those who were formerly enslaved. In fact, that's the only place where that happened. That revolt ended in 1804 with the establishment of the nation of Haiti.

Hmmm...1804...that's not too long after the establishment of the United States as an independent nation...hmmm. We here in the U.S. have a big celebration every year on July the 4th that commemorates our pursuit of "liberty and justice for all" and such and such. Folks here in the U.S. must have been really happy and elated to see other peoples pursuing their own liberty right here in the western hemisphere, right?

Nope, not so. In fact if you'll read this article (I realize wikipedia can be informationally problematic but in this instance we can make use of what's written there) it says: "...the United States attempted to suppress the Haitian Revolution. The US even went as far as to refuse acknowledgement of Haitian independence until 1862...".

That should give you some pause. Some peoples were seeking their their freedom not long after the struggle for freedom here and the United States attempted to stop them. Hmmm...what the heck is that?

Business, that's what that is. Folks in the United States were afraid that the pursuit of liberty by enslaved peoples in Haiti might give the enslaved people here in the U.S. ideas so the U.S. attempted to suppress the Haitian Revolution. 

Human enslavement was profitable...its continuation was a "business interest" and the pursuit of profit least in common practice here in the U.S....a more powerful value than the "pursuit of liberty".

Yup, that's true here in the "land of the free", and was true even way back then...and...based on F.E.P.s blog post...such valuing continues. (vegans might want to think about "business" and the harm done by factory farms)

In case you didn't realize it...capitalism and/or business have no relationship to freedom and/or democracy. Capitalism/business references an economic system and freedom/democracy reference a political system. Those are different systems and while they may co-occur, one doesn't create the other.

But...if you're like me...and have been exposed to the constant cultural messaging that goes on here in the would be quite likely to think they're interchangeable...they're not. They have nothing to do with one another, in fact they can be (and often are) in opposition (however that's not what those who pursue profit want you to to realize or know).    

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