More rights

I found this while doing my research on the rights post:

Samuel P. Huntington, an American political scientist, wrote that the “inalienable rights” argument from the Declaration of Independence was necessary because “The British were white, Anglo, and Protestant, just as we were. Advocates for the Declaration’s adoption had to have some other basis on which to justify independence”.

I have also mentioned the opinion in Somersett’s Case (1772) in a previous post. This opinion was widely taken to have held that slavery was illegal in England:

The state of slavery is of such a nature, that it is incapable of being introduced on any reasons, moral or political; but only positive law, which preserves its force long after the reasons, occasion, and time itself from whence it was created, is erased from memory: it’s so odious, that nothing can be suffered to support it, but positive law.

As I said in my preivious post:

Did the colonials see the handwriting on the wall that the institution of Slavery’s days were seriously numbered? The problem is that Slavery was an issue on both sides, Tory and Patriot, in the War for Independence from the above belief that “Britons never will be slaves”. Slavery went on to cause problems in the US. In Britain, William Wilberforce formed the Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade in 1787. Wilberforce led the parliamentary campaign to abolish the slave trade in the British Empire with the Slave Trade Act 1807. He continued to campaign for the abolition of slavery in the British Empire, which he lived to see in the Slavery Abolition Act 1833.

If one considers that a fair amount of the founding fathers were slave owners, in particular the ones from the Southern States, and that their livelihood was based upon the enslavement of other human beings, wouldn’t it indeed be ironic if all the talk of freedom and rights was just a smokescreen for being able to keep slaves and otherwise exploit the poorer classes? After all, most of those who served in the Continental Army and militia were not the better off in society who could find others to take their place.

Despite the words of the propagandist Thomas Paine, the War for American Independence was hardly one that was fought for the common man. Most of the founding fathers were affluent. How well known is the rebellion at Morristown and how close the War for Independence came to being a failed cause?

I will add in that Patrick Henry’s “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, Give me Liberty, or give me Death!” speech was made in 1775. He knew about the abolition movement and was probably aware of Somersett’s Case, as a letter he wrote on 13 January 1773 points out. He acknowledges the receipt of Anthony Benezet’s book against the Slave trade and mentions the Quaker movement toward abolition. Despite a claimed abhorrence of the institution, he remained a slave owner until his death. Henry owned 75 slaves during the five-year period from 1779 to 1784. Obviously, slavery was not acceptable for Henry personally, yet he could countenance being a slave owner.

The problem is that we are again seeing the use of rights and liberty language being used as terms to oppress the lower classes. Republican Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, has declared all-out war on workers. He’s slashing taxes for the richest residents of his state, and wants to eliminate the rights of teachers, health care workers and thousands of others to organize a union, bargain for fair wages or advocate for decent pay and benefits. The attacks on the middle class won’t stop with Wisconsin. In the U.S. Congress and across the country, we’re seeing similar attacks on working families and the middle-class. That’s why we must continue to stand together in every state until we’ve secured the rights of people, not corporations, to control our government.

Governor Walker’s election was partially financed by the infamous billionaire Koch brothers who donated millions last year to elect politicians who represent Wall Street CEOs and the wealthy over middle class working people. These politicians are not on our side. This is part of a larger strategy funded by corporations to take over our government and to roll back protections for middle class consumers by repealing the Affordable Care Act, privatizing our Medicare and Social Security, and allowing oil companies and drillers to destroy our environment so they can make more profits.

Benito Mussolini, who didn’t like the term “fascist,” preferred to call himself a “corporate capitalist”, and would have loved to see his dream come true, as it has in the Land of the Free. Benito would likely be a Republican today, adored by the modern corporate media, who would describe him in their deceptive fashion as a “conservative,” which today stands for what we used to call “fascist,” having little relation to the traditional meaning of the word. Those called “conservative” today go against most of the traditional definition, as corporate media twist the language to justify corporate greed at any cost to the public interest. Most they call “liberal” were known as recently as the 1970’s as “conservative.” Pro-lifers are nearly all people who support war and capital punishment while disliking gun control– it is all Orwellian speak in corporate media.

Don’t let the language of rights and freedom be a smokescreen behind which people lose their real rights and freedom.

I would like to add this as a reference: www.bloomingtonwilpf.org/localagenda/jamessomersett.pdf

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