(September 21, 2009)
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Michael Barker's Combating [Some] Slavery
To the Editor:
As a long-time fan of Michael Barker's investigative journalism and an amateur scholar of slavery, I was especially pleased to see his article "Combating [Some] Slavery" in the latest Swans.
It pleases me to no end to see him take up the cause of Eric Williams who has become something of an unperson in lef-twing scholarly circles for his insistence that slavery was critical to the rise of capitalism. While an Adam Rothschild might have been guilty of the sin of omission by leaving out the economic dimensions of the slave trade, others -- including a number of Marxists -- fault Williams for positing slavery as the midwife of capitalism. Influenced chiefly by UCLA historian Robert Brenner, they explain the rise of capitalism as a function of yeoman farmers producing for profit in the 17th century in the British countryside. Eric Williams's insistence on the importance of Jamaica and other sugar-producing colonies during the same period is regarded as "anti-Marxist." Jim Blaut, the author of The Eurocentric Model of the World, took up the cause of restoring Williams's thesis to its rightful place and I have tried to follow in his footsteps since his untimely death.
As a film critic, I always try to draw out the social and economic dimensions of the movies I review. My take on Amazing Grace, an uncritical biopic of British abolitionist William Wilberforce, reached conclusions similar to Michael's. The movie not only had little to say about the economic imperatives behind slavery, it also minimized black activism against the system. I also cite Daniel Lazare's excellent review of Hochschild's book in The Nation Magazine. The review can be read at: http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2007/02/18/amazing-grace/.
Finally, although I have had my disagreements with James Heartfield, a Spiked Online regular, I can strongly recommend his own discussion of the contradictions of the abolitionist movement on MRZine.
New York City, New York, USA - September 14, 2009
Raju Peddada's The Conversion To Intolerance
I can confirm this is happening in Gujarat as well in my home village. I live in London and visit Gujarat yearly and two years ago to my utter amazement the largest building in the village -- a church -- appeared. I was so shocked I approached the pastor asking him where the Christians for this church lived. He replied the Roman Catholic school next door they ran had 95% Hindu and 5% Muslim and no Christians. I felt utterly helpless as I know in the former colonisers country UK this whole religion has been discredited by science and secular ideas. Raju should not feel guilty for writing the truth but we need urgent action to raise awareness. The Vatican on its Web site states the India will be targeted this century to convert and there appears to be a military style program to convert poor illiterate Hindus. Raju's article is excellent for the whole of Hindu India is under attack.
London, UK - September 10, 2009
OPEN LETTER TO UNITED STATES CONGRESS
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, & Members
U.S. House of Representatives
V.P. Joseph R. Biden, President, & Members
United States Congress
Washington, D.C. 20515, USA
September 8, 2009
SUBJ.: Health Care
Dear Members of Congress,
Profiting from the sufferings of others indebts the soul.
14070 River Bend Road
Mount Vernon, Washington
cc: Health Magazine
Compleat Mother Magazine
The New York Times
The Washington Post
The Los Angeles Times
The Bay Area Reporter
Spirituality & Health Magazine
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Toronto Star
The White Plains Journal News
Congressional Black Caucus
Congressional Progressive Caucus
District of Columbia Republican Committee
The Republican Party of Virginia
Healthy Childcare Magazine
Axis of Logic
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