Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Audio of WBAI Wake Up Call on Black Patriots and Loyalists with Felipe Luciano



Felipe Luciano read Black Patriots and Loyalists with enthusiasm and his comments/passages he read/questions reveal much of what is striking in the period. Listen here (his conversation with me begins at 30 minutes in).

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Felipe emphasized the surprise of the story - that most blacks fought for freedom with the Crown. This is, indeed, the "dirty secret" of the American Revolution (Gary Nash), and I think makes an enormous impression on everyone who hears, for the first time, that the British arguably defended the liberation of the most oppressed more than the "so-called," as Felipe puts it, Patriots.

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Felipe was also struck by the international character of the movement, in particular the origins of the revolts that shook America in the Caribbean (the many uprisings in the 1750s, the revolution in Saint Domingue which stimulated Gabriel's rebellion in Richmond in 1800).

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In American history writing, the Revolution is often mistakenly treated in solitude, not as part of a more fundamental international uprising against bondage which it was shaped by, of which it is a part.

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I likened Monticello to Candieland in "Django" which Felipe found humorous; we are now collectively learning some of just how bad slavery was. See here, here and here.

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Felipe wondered whether whites have a morbid fear and guilt about blacks. Many do (consider how Romney got more than .0001% of the vote...). But many of the rest of us are anti-racist, are happy that Barack is President (and happy to organize movements to press Obama from below to do decent things and today, to stop murdering innocents with drones), are democrats (know that each of us has a responsibility for as well as an interest in fighting for a decent society, that an injury to one is an injury to all, that "an injustice anywhere" affects all of us everywhere as King put it in his "Letter from the Birmingham City Jail"), and have a vision of a decent, multiracial, anti-patriarchal, anti-homophobic society.

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And some in the black middle class also fear ordinary blacks - Michelle Alexander describes a journey to write The New Jim Crow which includes overcoming, even as an anti-racist, some of the fears and prejudices about drugs which the ACLU cultivated. This is not surprising in any community (Israel and AIPAC outstandingly betray the cause of the oppressed, of the descendants of slaves in Egypt and prophets against kings, in this regard).

And it means that the fight from below to achieve justice, inclusion and democracy is long.

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