Giving Thanks for Our Occupation of America?

Here it is, that time of year (the fourth Thursday in November) when we are all beseeched to consider “what we are thankful for.” This invitation to a mass cultural ritual targets everyone regardless of race, creed or sex (or these days, gender). The conformity of thought it reinforces does not discriminate among such superficial characteristics; it goes way deeper. The fundamentals (literally, the foundational elements) of the “American” mind are laid each year at this time.

Those fundamentals hold that we are a strong, brave, resourceful people – whether by our evolved nature or by the grant of a deity – standing atop the shining hill of history, surveying our domain. This belief is adorned with different coats, some prettier than others, varying by class or other social division, but itself is unquestioned except on the margins of society.

Like many other beliefs, this one is false. It is far more accurate to describe our role simply as “occupier.” That is, what is called “the United States” is factually an active occupation. Those of us here who have no Native American heritage are engaging in ongoing acts of military, cultural and economic war not only against the people who lived here first but against the land itself. Occupying is inevitably destructive.

In terms of the Thanksgiving holiday, many scholars have brought to light over recent decades what Native Americans always knew and never forgot; namely, that the traditional story is not historically accurate and is cultural propaganda. (If you’re not in the know on the details yet, I urge you to educate yourself. I have listed some links at the end of this article.)

What happened in 1620, when some English people settled in what came to be known as Massachusetts, was an exercise in dispossession, massacre and ecocide. These have been the hallmarks of European contact with Native Americans and “the New World.” Over next three centuries what was accomplished was near total conquest of the people and the real estate.

These events are “in the past” only in the way that the formative experiences of childhood are in the past for every adult. That is, though they occurred years ago, they are present now today because they were the building blocks of our character. For individuals, they can include injuries sustained young and never properly mended or healed. For this nation, they consist of massacres and broken promises.

The “Indian Wars” never ended. Our occupation of the native land and our subjugation of its people is a current event. Right now, in November of 2017. On Thanksgiving.

So what are we supposed to do with this holiday? Give thanks for being the occupiers? Be grateful for the ongoing repression of millions of people and hundreds of cultures? All our material wealth is the product of the occupation; it is, in fact, ripped screaming from the occupied every day.

We could face this. We could start by recognizing the validity of our treaties with Native American tribes. These agreements remain on the books, were never nullified, and are still “real” according to our – the occupiers’ – own laws. Yes, this will probably mean “giving back land.” Yes, this will inconvenience a number of occupiers. If the formerly occupied are willing to offer mercy to such individuals on a case by case basis, that is their right, and it’s not for us to say (or even to ask for).

As former occupiers we can offer assistance to anyone made homeless, and that is one thing, but it is time for the military’s protection to be withdrawn from the settlers. Historically, the invasion was regularly carried out first by individual settlers who ignored ratified treaties and who called the cavalry in when the conflict escalated to violence (more often than not by the settlers themselves). Step-by-step in this way, the “frontier” was “advanced.” In Mexico, in what would become the southwestern United States, the Spanish pushed out the frontera, which is “boundary.”

Reversing this process – “settler colonialism”– is a necessary step at this point in time; our destructiveness must end as it is now threatening almost all life on the planet. Yes, I am aware that the logistics of such a situation seem impossible to imagine, at least from mainstream viewpoints. Facing us are other big questions, related: what about those occupiers whose descendants were forcibly brought here as slaves and who have never received their own reparation? We must stop business-as-usual and address these issues head-on with no delay.

So… can’t we just acknowledge all that and then celebrate Thanksgiving anyway, because we all really do have things to be thankful for? Like “family and friends”?

What is a friendship between two occupiers if each is empowering the other to keep occupying? Now, when all available evidence shows that the occupation is harming most living things including the occupier? When supporting the status quo is in fact suicidal? We say “friends don’t let friends drive drunk” but apparently friends do let friends participate in ecocide. Too often, “friends” are nothing more than people we set up to stand between ourselves and loneliness. In so doing we end up holding each other back, enforcing a lowest common denominator, enabling ignorance and stunted maturity.

What of “family”? Among the occupiers, it is an enforced relation, by definition inescapable as it is based on blood. These are the people you really have to stay with, regardless of how terrible they might be to you. Built-in punching bags for each other. Generally it’s a horror show, frankly.

This “family” as we speak of it is an intact relic from the Abrahamic religious complex in which kinship is biologically decided and legally bound within a male-dominated power structure. Those beliefs were a force for the self-colonization (domestication) that started thousands of years ago and set us on a path we have since beaten quite far from its source. Starting with the desertification of the Middle East through agriculture, we have ravaged and poisoned the earth from one end to the other, and in so doing made our relationships with one another toxic too.

Thanksgiving is truly communal in one very real sense, though: we manufacture it together, on the individual level, with personal intent. Yes, there is a powerful media machine that pumps up the holiday to make money, but the real power still lies in the masses. Our peer pressure on each other, through our social interactions, is still the dominant acculturating force, whether it’s online or IRL.

No, I am not thankful for the occupation of “America” (and I recognize that’s the occupier name but don’t know what else to use). The nominal benefits that accrue from my legal citizenship within it are limited and I find abhorrent the roles of abuser, tyrant and killer that are included with it.

Robert Jensen proposed a National Day of Atonement, to be marked with “self-reflective collective fasting” rather than huge meals and televised sports. Sounds great to me, especially since our arrival at such a place would necessarily be through camaraderie rather than top-down fiats.

In the best of all worlds, a sudden flash of collective awareness would spark spontaneous action in order to bend the arc of history to justice sooner rather than later. Such a thing is within the realm of possibility. How likely is it? Ultimately, such conjecture is probably fruitless unless you’re an odds-maker, but we cannot claim that it is impossible. This is not a call for “hope.” We would all be better off if we avoided the hopeful/hopeless trap and focused on practical realities; they are quite daunting on their own.

“There’s nothing we can do” is nihilism. I have wondered if such profound cynicism is a luxury that only occupiers can afford. How often is “We can’t” used when “We won’t” is truly the case?

On Thanksgiving, few people would say, “I am thankful for the illegal occupation of this land,” yet with our collective actions that is exactly the message we are sending.

Facts about Thanksgiving:

The Politics of Thanksgiving Day by William Loren Katz at the Howard Zinn Education Project

Howard Zinn on Thanksgiving at Circle News

Thanksgiving, a day of mourning for Native Americans by Alli Joseph at Salon

Why I Hate Thanksgiving by Mitchel Cohen at Serendipity

Celebrating the Genocide of Native Americans by Gilbert Mercier at Counterpunch

ThanksGiving or ThanksTaking? by Thandisizwe Chimurenga at LA Watts Times

Why We Shouldn’t Celebrate Thanksgiving -and- No Thanks to Thanksgiving by Robert Jensen at Alternet

See also National Day of Mourning: Every year since 1970, United American Indians of New England have organized the National Day of Mourning observance in Plymouth at noon on Thanksgiving Day


Originally published on 2017-11-24

About the author: Kollibri terre Sonnenblume is a writer living on the West Coast of the U.S.A. More of Kollibri’s writing and photos can be found at Macska Moksha Press.

Source: Counter Punch

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

READ MORE!
“Fake Scholarship” and the Future of America’s University
Harvard University has established a modern version of the Catholic Church’s Index Librorum Prohibitorum, a list of prohibited online publications which are tagged as “fake” and “false”, broadly following the politically tainted “List” of censored independent and alternative media. As we recall the Catholic Church’s Index was a list of books “deemed heretical, anti-clerical or lascivious”.1  Ex Cathedra, Harvard has decided in one fell swoop that virtually the entire US based “Alternative Media” pertaining to tens of thousands of authors would be categorized not only as fake news, but fake science, knowledge and analysis. The Harvard Index however goes far beyond the Catholic Church’s Index which selectively banned books ...
READ MORE
A Special Relationship Born in Hell: The US Should Cut all Ties with War Criminal Israel
If you want to understand what the “special relationship” between Israel and the United States really means consider the fact that Israeli Army snipers shot dead seventeen unarmed and largely peaceful Gazan demonstrators on Good Friday without a squeak coming out of the White House or State Department. Some of the protesters were shot in the back while running away, while another 1,000 Palestinians were wounded, an estimated 750 by gunfire, the remainder injured by rubber bullets and tear gas. The offense committed by the Gazan protesters that has earned them a death sentence was coming too close to the Israeli containment fence ...
READ MORE
100 Years Ago US Troops Attacked Russia’s Pacific Coast and Committed Atrocities
Four men, accused of being partisans, are alleged to have been buried alive. The wife of a partisan is said to have been “pierced by bayonets and drowned in a garbage pit” [искололи тело штыками и утопили в помойной яме]. The author (who is unnamed) states that his own elderly father was taken as a hostage by Allied forces from the town of Kharitonovka [Харитоновка]. He was returned home alive but in a bloodied condition. He is said to have died a few days later, after asking “Why did they torture me…”? [За что меня замучили]. The man is said to ...
READ MORE
Noel Malcolm: “Kosovo – A Short History”, 1999. A History Written With an Attempt to Support Albanian Territorial Claims in the Balkans (Second Part)
Noel Malcolm – Kosovo – A Short History A history written with an attempt to support Albanian territorial claims in the Balkans   Historical Institute of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Art Belgrade, 2000 Response to the Book of Noel Malcolm Kosovo – A Short History Milorad Ekmecic, Academician Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts Belgrade Historiography By the Garb Only Reading, from necessity, the books by some Western, particularly American scholars, dealing with the past of the Serbs and the Balkans, I recall the impressions that are in my memory, for some reason, related to the socially committed painter Georg Grosz. Today the flashes of those recollections of my college ...
READ MORE
McCain Against the World
In his militarist lust he was near lunacy; his ignorance: profound; he was, in many respects, conventional—numbingly conventional—on Washington’s global role. That was John McCain. This was a man who, post-9/11, promoted measures expected to boost foreign terrorism. “Within hours” of that morning’s carnage, he made himself “leading advocate of taking the American retaliation against Al Qaeda far beyond Afghanistan,” to countries—like Iraq—with no Qaeda ties, where revenge, really, would be aggression. On CNN, aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, on “Face the Nation” he pushed for assaulting Iraq, stressing the “need to keep telling the American people” about Saddam’s menace, to ...
READ MORE
Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes Speech
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest. Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
READ MORE
Why are We in Kosovo?
Once again, U.S. air and naval forces are preparing strikes on Serbia’s army and police for refusing to stand down in Kosovo. And, once again, Americans are deeply ambivalent about intervention. “Either we get in there with a NATO force, or we get the hell out,” said an exasperated Sen. John Warner after Yugoslav strong man Slobodan Milosevic showed two NATO generals the door. Warner advocates intervention. But Americans sense that, despite our disgust at the latest massacre and Milosevic’s thuggery, no vital U.S. interest exists there. The Serbs do not threaten NATO; they have not attacked Americans; they are fighting to ...
READ MORE
Imperialism and the Politics of Torture: Towards a Global Secret Police Force
The US Senate Report documenting CIA torture of alleged terrorist suspects raises a number of fundamental questions about the nature and operations of the State, the relationship and the responsibility of the Executive Branch and Congress to the vast secret police networks which span the globe – including the United States. CIA: The Politics of a Global Secret Police Force The Senate Report’s revelations of CIA torture of suspects following the 9/11 bombing is only the tip of the iceberg. The Report omits the history and wider scope of violent activity in which the CIA has been and continues to be involved. ...
READ MORE
A Hybrid War to Break the Balkans?
In the spirit of the New Cold War and following on its success in snuffing out South Stream, the US has prioritized its efforts in obstructing Russia’s Balkan Stream pipeline, and for the most part, they’ve regretfully succeeded for the time being. The first challenge came from the May 2015 Color Revolution attempt in Macedonia, which thankfully was repulsed by the country’s patriotic citizenry. Next up on the destabilization agenda was the political turmoil that threatened to take hold of Greece in the run-up and aftermath of the austerity referendum, the idea being that if Tsipras were deposed, then Balkan ...
READ MORE
The Dirty War on Syria
The following text is the introductory chapter of  Professor Tim Anderson’s forthcoming book entitled The Dirty War on Syria. Although every war makes ample use of lies and deception, the dirty war on Syria has relied on a level of mass disinformation not seen in living memory. The British-Australian journalist Philip Knightley pointed out that war propaganda typically involves ‘a depressingly predictable pattern’ of demonising the enemy leader, then demonising the enemy people through atrocity stories, real or imagined (Knightley 2001). Accordingly, a mild-mannered eye doctor called Bashar al Assad became the new evil in the world and, according to consistent ...
READ MORE
What Should We Expect from the Talks on Syria in Astana?
At the beginning of March 2017, it will be exactly six years since the beginning of the conflict in Syria. Some journalists even make unfavorable forecasts wondering about the very possibility of reconciliation. Complicated by the foreign intervention on the part of Israel war in Lebanon, for example, had been for about 15 years. But even a six-year term it is too long. That is why we may hope that the meeting in Astana scheduled on January 23 will eventually lead to a positive result. And then there will be an occasion to consolidate the success of the negotiations in Geneva ...
READ MORE
Western Warmongers Killed 1.5 Million Muslims in “War On Terror”
“I believe the perception caused by civilian casualties is one of the most dangerous enemies we face.” – U.S. General Stanley A. McCrystal in his inaugural speech as ISAF Commander in June 2009. The dust had hardly settled on Russian airstrikes on ISIS positions in Syria before Western media reports claimed that ‘civilians’ had been killed “including women and children”. Leaving aside the dubious nature of these allegations – the first of which was made before Russian airstrikes had even begun, according to Putin – Western propaganda outlets and the politicians they serve are in no position to point the finger at Russia ...
READ MORE
Libya: Is this Kosovo all over Аgain?
Another NATO Intervention? Less than a dozen years after NATO bombed Yugoslavia into pieces, detaching the province of Kosovo from Serbia, there are signs that the military alliance is gearing up for another victorious little “humanitarian war”, this time against Libya. The differences are, of course, enormous. But let’s look at some of the disturbing similarities. A demonized leader As “the new Hitler”, the man you love to hate and need to destroy, Slobodan Milosevic was a neophyte in 1999 compared to Muammar Qaddafi today. The media had less than a decade to turn Milosevic into a monster, whereas with Qaddafi, they’ve been ...
READ MORE
The U.S. War Crimes in North Korea: Video
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest. Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
READ MORE
Monetary Imperialism
In theory, the global financial system is supposed to help every country gain. Mainstream teaching of international finance, trade and “foreign aid” (defined simply as any government credit) depicts an almost utopian system uplifting all countries, not stripping their assets and imposing austerity. The reality since World War I is that the United States has taken the lead in shaping the international financial system to promote gains for its own bankers, farm exporters, its oil and gas sector, and buyers of foreign resources – and most of all, to collect on debts owed to it. Each time this global system has ...
READ MORE
Fifty Years of Imperial Wars: Global Neoliberalism and America’s Drive for World Domination
Over the past 50 years the US and European powers have engaged in countless imperial wars throughout the world. The drive for world supremacy has been clothed in the rhetoric of “world leadership”, the consequences have been devastating for the peoples targeted.  The biggest, longest and most numerous wars have been carried out by the United States.  Presidents from both parties direct and preside over this quest for world power.  The ideology which informs imperialism varies from “anti-communism”in the past to “anti-terrorism”today. Washington’s drive for world domination has used and combined many forms of warfare, including military invasions and occupations; proxy ...
READ MORE
The U.S. Documentary Movie: “The Origin Of Islamic State”
Truth in Media, THE ORIGIN OF ISIS Ben Swann explores the origin of ISIS that has already been long forgotten by American media. Swann takes on the central issue of whether or not ISIS was created by “inaction” by the United States government or by “direct” action. Link to the movie: THE ORIGIN OF ISIS Originally posted by Posted by Ben Swann on Thursday, 19 March 2015. Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging ...
READ MORE
U.S. Crimes of Genocide Against North Korea
The crimes committed by the US against the people of Korea in the course of the Korean War but also in its aftermath are unprecedented in modern history. “We Killed Off – What – Twenty Percent of the Population. We Burned Down every Town in North Korea…” The above quotation is from General Curtis Lemay, who coordinated the bombing campaign (1950-53) Who is a Threat to Global Security? The US or the DPRK? The public perception of the entire population of  North Korea is that the US is a threat to their national security. During the Korean War, the DPRK lost more than 25% of ...
READ MORE
Kosovo: An Evil Little War (Almost) All US Candidates Liked
Although the 2016 presidential election is still in the primaries phase, contenders have already brought up America’s failed foreign wars. Hillary Clinton is taking flak over Libya, and Donald Trump has irked the GOP by bringing up Iraq. But what of Kosovo? The US-led NATO operation that began on March 24, 1999 was launched under the “responsibility to protect” doctrine asserted by President Bill Clinton and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. For 78 days, NATO targeted what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia – which later split into Serbia and Montenegro – over alleged atrocities against ethnic Albanians in the ...
READ MORE
A Short History of Kosovo & Metochia (not approved by Noel Malcolm!)
Dechani monastery in Metochia - one of the most important shrines of Serbian Orthodox Church (14th century) The region of Kosovo & Metohija was a political center of mediaeval Serbia and makes the very essence of Serbian spiritual and cultural identity and statehood since the Middle Ages up today. The biggest and the most important number of Serbian Orthodox mediaeval monasteries and churches (for instance, Gračanica, Pećka Patrijaršija, Bogorodica Ljeviška and Visoki Dečani) are built exactly in Kosovo & Metohija and the headquarters of the Serbian Orthodox Church – Patriarchate established in 1346 was located (till 1766) in the city of ...
READ MORE
“Fake Scholarship” and the Future of America’s University
A Special Relationship Born in Hell: The US Should Cut all Ties with War Criminal Israel
100 Years Ago US Troops Attacked Russia’s Pacific Coast and Committed Atrocities
Noel Malcolm: “Kosovo – A Short History”, 1999. A History Written With an Attempt to Support Albanian Territorial Claims in the Balkans (Second Part)
McCain Against the World
Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes Speech
Why are We in Kosovo?
Imperialism and the Politics of Torture: Towards a Global Secret Police Force
A Hybrid War to Break the Balkans?
The Dirty War on Syria
What Should We Expect from the Talks on Syria in Astana?
Western Warmongers Killed 1.5 Million Muslims in “War On Terror”
Libya: Is this Kosovo all over Аgain?
The U.S. War Crimes in North Korea: Video
Monetary Imperialism
Fifty Years of Imperial Wars: Global Neoliberalism and America’s Drive for World Domination
The U.S. Documentary Movie: “The Origin Of Islamic State”
U.S. Crimes of Genocide Against North Korea
Kosovo: An Evil Little War (Almost) All US Candidates Liked
A Short History of Kosovo & Metochia (not approved by Noel Malcolm!)
Policraticus

Written by Policraticus

SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website. The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu

Website: http://www.global-politics.eu