Press "Enter" to skip to content

What is July 4th to US Imperialism? What is It to the Oppressed?

Hits: 1020

The Declaration of Independence implicitly legalized the enslavement of Black people and the genocide of Native people within the context of the developing American capitalist nation-state.”

July 4th is once again approaching and principled left forces need to use the day as a teaching moment. In a speech given on July 4th, 1852, Frederick Douglas spoke before a packed Rochester Hall and did just that, highlighting the hypocrisy that stains the July 4th celebration of the American Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Independence, as Douglass emphasized, held no worth to the millions of Black people in the United States whose existence was subjected to the racism and exploitation of chattel bondage.  Over a century and a half later, the celebration of July 4th remains not only a practice of hypocrisy, but also a blatant co-sign US imperialist plunder all over the planet.

Liberty, independence, and equality are abstract ideas.  Their presence in the Declaration of Independence must be placed in proper political-historical context.  White capitalists, many of them slave-owners, wrote the Declaration of Independence. Independence from the British Crown for the American, slave-owning colonial bourgeoisie meant the ability to develop a settler colonial-capitalist order free from the British Empire’s restrictive policies.  Most notably, the likes of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were concerned about a British mandate to abolish chattel slavery in its colonies, a policy that had the potential to severely weaken the colonial bourgeoisie and prevent further expansion of the capitalist system in North America. The Declaration of Independence implicitly legalized the enslavement of Black people and the genocide of Native people within the context of the developing American capitalist nation-state.

The likes of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were concerned about a British mandate to abolish chattel slavery in its colonies.”

This is the type of  “liberty” that is celebrated annually every 4th of July. Douglass addressed the antagonisms brought forth by the July 4th “holiday” when he asked:

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; y our national greatness, swelling vanity; your sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanks-givings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.”

Douglass’s indictment of the American way of life remains true. Despite the relentless misinformation war waged by the US imperialist corporate media and education system, the conditions of oppressed people are far worse now than they were at the date of Douglass’s speech.  Black America and Native peoples reside in the US in a state of neo-slavery.  As indigenous nations battle against President Obama’s pipe-line incursions for survival under genocidal exclusion in forced residence on reservations, Black America’s masses live with the daily colonial realities of police-state terror, mass imprisonment, and economic and social death. Undocumented immigrants, many of whom are indigenous Chicanos, are super exploited for their labor and have been deported in record numbers by Obama Administration.  The internal landscape of US imperialism is by definition the highest stage of Anglo-American settler colonialism, the founding social system that inspired Douglass’s July 4th analysis.

 The US settler state is now an imperialist one that ensures the exploitation and misery of billions of people around the globe.  The US has nearly 1000 military bases all over the world and spends trillions per year in overt and covert military operations.  Recent corporate media focus has been on the re-invasion of Iraq to “protect” the Iraqi state from terrorist insurgents. This ignores the 1.6 million Iraqi people that died during the decade-long US occupation alone.  Imperialist rhetoric of bringing “stability” to Iraq flies in the face of the fact that the US military-intelligence apparatus sponsors ISIS and other terror groups all over the Middle East and North Africa inside the allied nations of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the rest of the GCC and NATO alliances.  US imperialism is scorching the earth, either by militarizing neo-colonial allies or conducting “humanitarian intervention” to justify overt invasion, as was the case in Libya and now again in Iraq. For the victims of US imperialism forced to live under imperialist political instability and economic dependence, the 4th of July is indeed a “hallow mockery” and “mere bombast, fraud, and deception” as Douglass eloquently put it in his speech.

Black America’s masses live with the daily colonial realities of police-state terror, mass imprisonment, and economic and social death.”

In the era of Obama, US imperialism has been very vocal in its disregard for humanity.  In 2010, President Obama joked that he would “predator drone” the Jonas Brothers band, making a mockery out the thousands of people his Administration has murdered by drone strike. The Obama Administration’s left-flank imperial politics has branded imperialism and corporate exploitation with anti-Black racism (see Obama’s 2013 Morehouse graduation speech) and fascist nationalism (see Obama’s 2014 West Point Commencement speech).  Additionally, Hilary Clinton is making quite a name for herself in mainstream political discourse after stating on CNN that  “Just because your child gets across the border, that doesn’t mean the child gets to stay.” This answer came after the question of immigration was raised in relation to the thousands of children that have been crossing the border of Mexico from Central America. The architects of imperialism are exposing their own illegitimate system, and by extension, the sham that July 4th represents.  The ruling class’s vocal and visible ruthlessness is both a signal of decay in the US imperialist system and of the political crisis among left forces in the US that allow such brutality to be carried out with impunity.

In the spirit of Frederick Douglass, this July 4th should be a moment not of celebration, but of deep reflection for left political forces. What does “American Independence” really mean?  Does it mean the freedom for US imperialism to destabilize nations, murder millions, and force the world into its political and economic sphere of influence?  Does it mean the independence for US imperialism to imprison the largest number of (mostly Black) people in the world?  Is “liberty” defined by the US imperialist system’s centuries-long colonization of Native and Black America, now taking form in the privatization of entire cities like Black Detroit?  The answer is yes to all of the above. The masters of deceit can’t and won’t end the imperialist system the July 4th holiday represents. Only we can do that. Instead of going out to celebrate this farcical holiday, let’s organize our communities and people in the direction of liberation from the US imperialist system.


Originally published on 2014-07-01

About the author: Danny Haiphong is an activist and case manager in the Greater Boston area. You can contact Danny at: wakeupriseup1990@gmail.com

Source: Black Agenda Report

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!
What Trump Has in Common with the Last German Emperor
President Donald Trump appears sui generis. Other troublesome populists, like Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, hold power. But no other nation of great influence is governed by someone so little rooted in reality and so much dominated by personality. However, the president has a historical soul mate who ruled a century ago. The similarities are striking, though their lives obviously differed in important ways. One wonders: was the German Empire’s Kaiser Wilhelm II reincarnated as President Trump? Wilhelm II was born in 1859 in the house of Hohenzollern. A grandson of British queen Alexandrina Victoria, he grew up in a life of wealth ...
READ MORE
Contribution to the 20th Annual Conference of Central European Political Science Association
Vilnius, a capital of Lithuania, is a host of The 20th Annual Conference of Central European Political Science Association: “Security Architecture in CEE: Present Threats and Prospects for Cooperation”. The conference place is at the Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University, from September 25 to 26, 2015. It is organized by the Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University and the Lithuanian Political Science Association. The conference sponsors are the Lithuanian Research Council, the Ministry of National Defence of the Republic of Lithuania, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania, and the ...
READ MORE
The Unspoken Crimes of World War II: The Dresden Massacre of 1945
It is 70-years anniversary of the end of the WWII – the bloodiest and most horrible war ever fought in the human history. The war that caused creation of the UN in 1945 in order to protect the world from similar events in the future – a pan-global political-security organization of which first issued legal act was the UN Charter, which inspired the 1948 Geneva Conventions’ definition of genocide. The Nüremberg and Tokyo Trials were organized as “The Last Battles” for justice as the first ever global trials for the war criminals and mass murderers including and the top-hierarchy statesmen and ...
READ MORE
North Macedonia Is Being Used by NATO to Target Serbia and Russia
The North Macedonian House of Representatives unanimously approved on Monday for their country to accept the NATO Accession Protocol, taking the former Yugoslav Republic a step closer towards accession into NATO which is expected to be completed and finalized in the spring. North Macedonia’s rapid accession into NATO is only possible because of the Prespa Agreement signed between Athens and Skopje in June 2018, bringing an end to the name dispute between the two countries that emerged in 1991 with the breakup of Yugoslavia.The Prespa Agreement, named after a lake that traverses the borders of Greece, North Macedonia and Albania, defined ...
READ MORE
The Real Story of Zbigniew Brzezinski that the Media isn’t Telling
 Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security advisor to President Jimmy Carter, died Friday at a hospital in Virginia at the age of 89. Though the New York Times acknowledged that the former government advisor was a “hawkish strategic theorist,” misrepresenting his legacy as one of otherwise infinite positivity may not be as easy as the establishment might like to think.As the United Kingdom plays around with levels of the so-called “terror threat” following a devastating attack by an ISIS-inspired individual — and as the Philippines goes into an almost complete state of martial law following ISIS-inspired destruction — Brzezinski’s timely death ...
READ MORE
The Collapse of the European Union: Return to National Sovereignty and to Happy Europeans?
Imagine – the European Union were to collapse tomorrow – or any day soon for that matter. Europeans would dance in the streets. The EU has become a sheer pothole of fear and terror: Economic sanctions – punishment, mounting militarization, the abolition of civil rights for most Europeans. A group of unelected technocrats, representing 28 countries, many of them unfit to serve in their own countries’ political system, but connected well enough to get a plum job in Brussels – are deciding the future of Europe. In small groups and often in secret chambers they decide the future of Europe.Take ...
READ MORE
Only Fools and Liars will Blame Assad
So, here's how it is: 1) There is still no evidence - that has been presented to the public - that Assad ordered a chemical weapons (CW) attack. 2) Yes, that evidence should be made public, discussed and debated by Congress, and a vote taken before we use force. I acknowledge that the War Powers Resolution gives the President the authority to use force for 60 days - but the interests of peace and stability are better served through a debate and a democratic process as opposed to a unilateral decision made in secret, especially when the military action is punitive and ...
READ MORE
Was Israel Under Existential Threat in June 1967?
Up to June 1967, a border separated Jews living in Israel and Palestinians residing in the West Bank and Gaza. The Six Day War, which occurred exactly fifty years ago, erased that line. Israel has been occupying these territories ever since. This has been the source of an endless conflict between Jews and Arabs. Who started that war? Having won the war, Israel set out to give an answer to that question which would suit its needs.To cement its hold over the new territories Israel had sought to mold the story of the Six Day. The attempt to frame the ...
READ MORE
The Story of Charlottesville was Written in Blood in Ukraine
“While I recognize the danger of the violent right-wing movement, I am more concerned with the right-wing policies that are being enacted into law and policy by both Democrats and Republicans.”What is the character of racist right-wing politics today? Is it the crazed white supremacist who plows into an anti-fascist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, or can it also be the assurance by Lindsay Graham that an attack against North Korea would result in thousands of lives lost…. but those lives will be “over there”? What about the recent unanimous resolution by both Houses of Congress in support of Israel and ...
READ MORE
UN Anti-Nazi Resolution 10 Year Anniversary: Syria, Israel and North Korea Support It, US Adamantly Opposes It
Throughout the past decade, the UN General Assembly Third Committee has adopted the resolution: “Combating Glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.”Every year the resolution is adopted by an overwhelming majority of UN member states, while the European Union, which, as the battleground of Nazism should have supported the resolution, merely abstains, and their fence-straddling raises disturbing questions about their actual tendencies. Japan’s abstention raises equally disturbing questions. The United States has consistently, and shockingly, opposed this resolution.The resolution is sponsored by the Russian Federation, which ...
READ MORE
Here’s Why France Should Be Blamed for the Destruction in Syria
Why is France so interested in Syria? According to the Guardian, France’s policy in Syria has been “more forward than any other Western country”: “[France] was early in calling for President Bashar al-Assad to step down, still insists he must go, and recently joined airstrikes inside Syria against the Islamic State.” France joined the United States in bombing Syrian territory (without a U.N. mandate) even before the United Kingdom did. In 2013, France stood by Obama’s side despite the fact the United Kingdom’s parliament voted not to join Obama’s efforts to “punish” Syrian president Bashar al-Assad for crossing Obama’s imaginary red line. ...
READ MORE
Is Washington the Most Corrupt Government in History?
Robert Mueller, a former director of the FBI who is working as a special prosecutor “investigating” a contrived hoax designed by the military/security complex and the DNC to destroy the Trump presidency, has yet to produce a scrap of evidence that Russiagate is anything but orchestrated fake news. As William Binney and other top experts have said, if there is evidence of Russiagate, the NSA would have it. No investigation would be necessary. So where is the evidence?It is a revelation of how corrupt Washington is that a fake scandal is being investigated while a real scandal is not. The ...
READ MORE
Five Myths about American Indians
Thanksgiving recalls for many people a meal between European colonists and indigenous Americans that we have invested with all the symbolism we can muster. But the new arrivals who sat down to share venison with some of America’s original inhabitants relied on a raft of misconceptions that began as early as the 1500s, when Europeans produced fanciful depictions of the “New World.” In the centuries that followed, captivity narratives, novels, short stories, textbooks, newspapers, art, photography, movies and television perpetuated old stereotypes or created new ones — particularly ones that cast indigenous peoples as obstacles to, rather than actors in, ...
READ MORE
Will Washington Kill Us All?
Did you know that Washington keeps 450 nuclear ICBMs on “hair-trigger alert”? Washington thinks that this makes us “safe.” The reasoning, if it can be called reason, is that by being able to launch in a few minutes, no one will try to attack the US with nuclear weapons. US missiles are able to get on their way before the enemy’s missiles can reach the US to destroy ours. If this makes you feel safe, you need to read Eric Schlosser’s book, Command and Control. The trouble with hair-triggers is that they make mistaken, accidental, and unauthorized launch more likely. Schlosser provides ...
READ MORE
Stepan Bandera: The Legacy of Self-Loathing Nazi’s in America
Stepan Bandera’s 106th birthday celebration passed on New Year’s day 2015 and the question of what it means in Ukraine is front and center again. Are there really nazis in Ukraine today? When the Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseni Yatsenyuk can say on German News “We cannot allow Russia to attack Ukraine and Germany again like the Soviet Union did in 1941” – Isn’t that case closed regarding ideology? Yet history and the facts are clear that the Bandera legacy has little to do with Ukrainian history except mass murder. Instead history shows the mass murderer and torturer Bandera’s greatest impact on the ...
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
Prof. Vladislav B. Sotirović about the Situation in Ukraine
Professor Vladislav B. Sotirović, Ph.D. is a Senior Lecturer of: “Middle East Studies” at the Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius, Lithuania; “Mediterranean Studies;” “Ethnicity, Multiculturalism and Globalisation;” “Balkan Nationalism and Ethnic Conflicts”and “Europeanisation: Process and Results.” Prof. Dr. Sotirović is a distinguished expert on the History of the Early Byzantine Empire, 330–846”, Comparative History of Central and South Eastern Europe and Ottoman History, History of Lithuania and Ukraine. He is well known abroad for his influential books and popular lectures about Lithuania, Russian Federation, the Balkans and Baltic Nations and the Multiculturalism. Professor Sotirović has studied at the Central European Summer University, Budapest, ...
READ MORE
A Geopolitical Convergence Between the US and Russia
The end of the Cold War era in 1989 brought during the first coming years a kind of international optimism that the idea of the „end of history“ really can be realized as it was a belief in no reason for the geopolitical struggles between the most powerful states. The New World Order, spoken out firstly by M. Gorbachev in his address to the UN on December 7th, 1988 was originally seen as the order of equal partnership in the world politics reflecting „radically different international circumstances after the Cold War“.[1] Unfortunately, the Cold War era finished without the „end of ...
READ MORE
How Palestinians Can Reverse Israel’s Divide and Conquer Tactics
Most veteran observers, including Israeli security authorities and Palestinian leadership, were dumbfounded by recent events in Jerusalem, where tens of thousands of Palestinians mobilized non-violently in response to the Israeli closure of the Old City and placement of metal detectors at the entrance of the Dome of Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque. What was the secret ingredient that made such a mass action take place and be a successful example in Palestinian non-violent resistance to the 50 years of Israeli military occupation? How did it happen so spontaneously, non-violently and with seemingly no leadership?A new report by the group, titled, Relations Between Palestinians Across ...
READ MORE
Hillary Clinton – A Member of the “Axis of (D)evil”
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
What Trump Has in Common with the Last German Emperor
Contribution to the 20th Annual Conference of Central European Political Science Association
The Unspoken Crimes of World War II: The Dresden Massacre of 1945
North Macedonia Is Being Used by NATO to Target Serbia and Russia
The Real Story of Zbigniew Brzezinski that the Media isn’t Telling
The Collapse of the European Union: Return to National Sovereignty and to Happy Europeans?
Only Fools and Liars will Blame Assad
Was Israel Under Existential Threat in June 1967?
The Story of Charlottesville was Written in Blood in Ukraine
UN Anti-Nazi Resolution 10 Year Anniversary: Syria, Israel and North Korea Support It, US Adamantly Opposes It
Here’s Why France Should Be Blamed for the Destruction in Syria
Is Washington the Most Corrupt Government in History?
Five Myths about American Indians
Will Washington Kill Us All?
Stepan Bandera: The Legacy of Self-Loathing Nazi’s in America
“Fake Scholarship” and the Future of America’s University
Prof. Vladislav B. Sotirović about the Situation in Ukraine
A Geopolitical Convergence Between the US and Russia
How Palestinians Can Reverse Israel’s Divide and Conquer Tactics
Hillary Clinton – A Member of the “Axis of (D)evil”
Mission News Theme by Compete Themes.