49 thoughts on “The end of slavery in the USA


    Has the South won the Civil War nearly 150 years after its conclusion?

    BuzzFlash doesn’t ask that question in a technical sense. Robert E. Lee surrendered to the Union forces at the Appomattox Court House in 1865.

    But culturally and politically, in 2011, the Union of the United States more and more is reflecting the values of the Confederacy, minus the institution of slavery, of course.

    Increasingly, states’ rights are superseding the federal government, and many of the states are tilting toward the oligarchs (corporations and the rich). But, of course, even the federal government is siding with supporting the plutocracy and enacting policies that result in low-wage labor. Just replace the lack of accountability of corporations and Wall Street with the free hand of plantation owners.

    Not that the South believed much in a centralized government that provided a safety net. The poor were poor; the sick were sick; and the wealthy were wealthy; that was the natural order of things.

    The South wasn’t just built on slavery, as BuzzFlash has pointed out before. Most whites were poor and worked as sharecroppers, indentured servants or plantation hands. Much of their belief in white supremacy came from the feeling that, although the majority of whites were economically poor, they were “superior” to black slaves. But the economy, overall, was built on cheap labor as compared to economic ingenuity and innovation.

    Baptist Christianity was central to the South, a deeply religious section of the country. The authoritarian paternalistic hierarchy of the Confederacy was considered sanctioned by divine decree. Plantation owners and their extended “work forces” would be right at home with “creationism,” because things didn’t evolve in the South. The ultimate value was on preserving “the Southern way of life,” not evolving. Progress was, thus, a threat.

    If you see some common themes to the modern Republican Party and the conventional wisdom found in the corporate press, it began most recently with the development of the Nixon “Southern strategy” – and the merging of Southern “values” with a corporatist agenda, perfected in the Reagan presidency.

    How would one expect the Southern agenda to value labor, when in the South labor was cheap or, in the form of slavery, literally free (except for the initial “cost” to buy a slave)?

    So, in 2011, we find ourselves at a point when the Confederacy has risen from the ashes to dominate public policy and economic inertia.

    Mark Karlin
    Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout

  2. Italian diplomat and wife face jail

    UNITED STATES: An Italian government envoy posted at the San Francisco consulate and his wife were arrested and charged on Tuesday with turning a Brazilian woman into an indentured servant after luring the woman to the country with promises of a better life.

    Guiseppe and Kesia Penzato were charged with one count each of forced labour, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.

    Federal prosecutors didn’t identify the plaintiff, who alleges the couple withheld pay and food from her during her three months in their home and that Ms Penzato physically assaulted her twice.


  3. Luther King to get Charleston honour

    United States: The city where the US civil war began is set to host a memorial to civil rights leader Martin Luther King.

    Charleston’s Post and Courier reported today that the city and National Park Service will place the memorial at the four-acre park at the Fort Sumter National Monument Visitors’ Centre.

    The war began in 1861 and led to the abolition of slavery. Mr King helped lead a civil rights movement 100 years later to secure rights for black people and end segregation policies concocted following the 19th-century conflict.


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