July

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July

Post by Bobinwales » Tue Jul 04, 2017 7:28 pm

Happy Birthday America.
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Signature: All those years gone to waist!
Bob in Wales

Re: July

Post by tony h » Tue Jul 04, 2017 8:05 pm

Bobinwales wrote:Happy Birthday America.
I am always confused as to whether it is a birthday or a divorce day? A distinctly weird conjunction in biological terms. :)

But, whatever it is, I agree - have a happy one.
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Signature: tony

With the right context almost anything can sound appropriate.

Re: July

Post by BonnieL » Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:23 pm

Thanks! I would like to extend my apologies for how violet the separation became. Had it not been for certain hotheads, we might have had an amicable divorce. :)

Of course, my ancestors weren't here at the time, but still...:D
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Re: July

Post by Erik_Kowal » Wed Jul 05, 2017 8:02 pm

BonnieL wrote:I would like to extend my apologies for how violet the separation became.
On the other hand, maybe that's what was needed to (sort of) unify the American purple.
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Re: July

Post by trolley » Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:21 pm

Do you mean the Revolutionary Mauvement?
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Re: July

Post by Erik_Kowal » Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:12 pm

Yes... It was in a state of indigonation.
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Re: July

Post by tony h » Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:58 pm

BonnieL wrote:Thanks! I would like to extend my apologies for how violet the separation became. Had it not been for certain hotheads, we might have had an amicable divorce. :)

Of course, my ancestors weren't here at the time, but still...:D

I will accept you apology if you will accept mine on behalf of my country trying to place a colony under an unfair tax regime.

In general terms I do find the current penchant for apologising for the perceived wrongs done to others by ancestors and states of bygone eras to others to be unhelpful. Both in the giving and the expectation of apologies. The times, the expectations, the morals were of a different time. I fell there should be a time limit. After which we should concentrate on the new way of being with no harbouring of grudges or guilt which in themselves stop life being lived equally.
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Signature: tony

With the right context almost anything can sound appropriate.

Re: July

Post by Erik_Kowal » Fri Jul 07, 2017 1:14 am

tony h wrote:In general terms I do find the current penchant for apologising for the perceived wrongs done to others by ancestors and states of bygone eras to others to be unhelpful. Both in the giving and the expectation of apologies. The times, the expectations, the morals were of a different time. I fell there should be a time limit. After which we should concentrate on the new way of being with no harbouring of grudges or guilt which in themselves stop life being lived equally.
It could be argued that this is a reasonable position when the parties involved are roughly comparable in terms of wealth, status and political clout. In the case of the USA and Great Britain, we're talking about two of the world's largest and most powerful economies, both of which owe a considerable degree of their wealth to their past and present imperialist activities — though as far as I'm aware, no-one is seriously suggesting that either country owes the other apologies and reparations.

However, where a great deficit of power and resources continues to exist as a consequence of historic oppression, such as with the descendants of the enslaved or otherwise subjugated populations in countries like the USA and South Africa, a strong case can be made for both reparations and apologies. (A similar moral case can also be made for the payment of reparations to former colonies.)

After all, the wealth that these disadvantaged populations generated for their masters back in the day is still generating wealth for the latters' descendants today, while the miserable economic and societal circumstances of those oppressed forebears still largely characterize their descendants. Their lives cannot possibly be 'lived equally' when none of the preconditions for being able to do so are in place.

Similarly, the most powerful financial centres of the world, whose development has been considerably dependent on the economic colonialism of the countries they are situated in, continue to suck in wealth from all over the globe. Needless to say, these centres are located in cities like New York and London, not Kampala or Manila.

The otherwise consequence-free disposal of historic grudges and guilt will therefore remain largely a convenient fiction (or aspiration) concocted by the beneficiaries of the bounty still accruing from slavery, land theft and other forms of oppression. These long-standing and unresolved wrongs cannot be expiated without a suitable process for doing so being agreed and properly followed through — however painful that process might turn out to be.

The fundamental point is that we, today, are able to view these historical injustices via a more expansive perspective that allows us to assess the damage done both to the long-dead victims and to their living descendants. We know about the impacts of slavery, of genocide, of dispossession. Historians, journalists and novelists are constantly exploring this territory. We cannot fall back on the excuse that some of the oppressors could have employed if challenged: "We don't know any better. We're just trying to survive". When it is obvious that great wrongs were done in the past, as a society we have an obligation to do what we can to remedy the adverse consequences that are still inflicting damage even now. Otherwise, our pretensions concerning what we like to believe is our moral progress in relation to our ancestors will be just so much hypocritical make-believe.

Unfortunately, regarding the USA in particular, we can confidently predict that no such remedies will be forthcoming. There, the supreme societal value enforced by the power elite — and given added impetus by the deep-seated racism that remains endemic there, augmented by the curious parallel myths of 'American exceptionalism' and a nation that enjoys God's special blessing — is the self-serving pretence that if you haven't 'made it' you have only yourself to blame.

Apart from anything else, the attempt to secure reparations there, or to set up some sort of 'truth and reconciliation committee' as in South Africa, would invite many questions about the presumptions underpinning America's deeply entrenched elites' current position atop the totem pole that they would find highly inconvenient, not to say impossible to justify. So any initiatives in that direction will go nowhere politically, because those who belong to the self-protective elite class (which is tiny in size compared with the population as a whole, but wealthy and influential out of all numerical proportion) who have benefited from the centuries-long oppression of their fellow-countrymen will never agree to any move that has the potential to erode their social standing or their source of wealth.

In a proper democracy — in other words, one in which all individuals are able to have a meaningful and proportionate say in how their country is run and organized — such a tiny tail could never wag such a big dog. But America is not a proper democracy, and never has been; and today, Donald Trump and the plutocratic fellow-travellers and myrmidons in his administration appear determined to continue the work of Trump's predecessors in tearing up the social contract altogether.

In its essence, the territory of what is now commonly called America was conceived of by the European settlers who colonized it (and who diligently strove to dispossess its inconveniently resistant indigenous inhabitants) primarily as a readily exploitable source of wealth generation for the benefit of an investor class that was determined to stoop to any means it considered necessary to achieve its profit-seeking ends, even when these involved slavery, indentured servitude and genocide. Its much-touted role as a haven for religious freedom is a small and skimpy fig leaf that numerous professional apologists have been using to distract everyone's attention from an ugly central truth. This is that the absurdly revered US Constitution was inherently a tool for minimizing the influence of ordinary people on the freedom of action of the patricians who drafted it. Nothing has significantly changed in terms of this ultimate function in the centuries that followed its adoption, save that the resulting disparities of wealth and power are even more glaring today than they were when the modern American state was born.

All gains made in terms of expanding the voting franchise, social reforms and public welfare have been wrested from America's elites only following prolonged political struggles, a civil war, frequent rioting in the cities, and civil disobedience campaigns that have cost very many ordinary people their lives. After more than 40 years of Democratic Party collusion with the Republicans in promoting the welfare of America's plutocrats at the expense of the middle class and (especially) the working class, those gains are now rapidly being rolled back and replaced by a nakedly devil-take-the-hindmost programme of privatizing and in other ways eviscerating most of those public institutions and safeguards that were brought into being to protect and serve America's citizens. This is being pursued in tandem with the further 'liberalization' of the economy — in other words, the neutering or elimination of any significant remaining impediments that have proved capable of restraining corporate greed and the economic exploitation of ordinary individuals or the destruction of the environment. The upward wealth redistribution produced by this legalized larceny, thraldom and vandalism has been exacerbated by the banking bailouts of Bush 41 and Obama, plus a tax regime and corporate policy-writing role which have grossly privileged individuals and corporations that were already vastly wealthy.

In sum, America's so-called 'experiment in democracy' has turned out to be not simply a dishonest failure, but a massive and unremitting strategy of thievery, deception and exploitation by a small group of self-interested and parasitic elites at the expense both of the immigrant masses and of North America's indigenous peoples.

When I contemplate the most likely ways this 'experiment' will evolve from this point on, I shudder at the visions I see.
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End of topic.
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