Repression Isn't "The Answer"


In 1822 the Denmark Vesey slave insurrection was planned in Charleston but was thwarted.  Nearly three dozen people were executed.  Erskine informed us that “thirty-five Blacks were hanged and more than forty sent to the Caribbean or to Africa.” (40)  Historian Lacy K. Ford added that the Vesey insurrection revitalized the “colonization movement” among Southern whites, as a possible means of colonizing free Blacks and troublesome slaves as a way to enhance white security.(41) The net effect of the Vesey revolt changed many white Charlestonians views of management of the enslaved.  As Stampp said “After the Vesey conspiracy, Charlestonians expressed disillusionment with the idea that by generous treatment their enslaved ‘would become more satisfied with their conditions and more attached to whites.”’(42)  In other words, enslavers ramped up greater repressive actions dropping the paternalistic pretense that slaves were family.   Berlin noted that “white supremacy manifested itself in every aspect of antebellum society, from the ballot box to the bedrooms.

MARSE: A Psychological Portrait of the Southern Slavemaster and his Legacy of White Supremacy:  H.D. Kirkpatrick, p.151-2

I see clear parallels as to how denials of and retaliation against “socialists” and Black People are framed today with paternalistic moralism.  

A more vivid parallel exists with the Israeli “Settlers”, Government military, and police responding to actions related to Palestinian People.   Blowing up houses, indefinitely holding people without charges, private roads and checkpoints slowing and stopping movement in the West Bank and similar is recognition that the Palestinians are Not accepting how they are being treated.  Collective punishments and actions far more extreme than actions - retaliating for what Palestinans have done reflect the reality of “Jewish Supremacy” in Israel.   The United States Government and lesser powers support what goes on, similar to how non-slaveowning white Southerners, and Northern powerful interests supported slavery.

In all these situations, the fears of those with the seeming power dictates systemic repression.  Repression works often in the moment, but is not a likely long term successful strategy.  In the end the repression usually fails, absent a HUGE massacre that tries to eliminate “the problem”.

We white men don’t want to surrender our power today!   Slaveowners didn’t surrender until the end of the Civil War, paying a huge price for their resistance.   The Israeli Jews - eventually are likely to pay a terrible price.   In our fears of (another) Holocaust, we make another disaster for us - much more likely.  

It is scary to believe in Peace - Lasting Peace!   It is the only path, and its dangers are far smaller than the (current) “realistic alternatives”.   Keeping our heads in the sand - and not proactively working for justice is destroying the United States.   Hopefully more of us worldwide, as well as locally, will learn and act upon the truths before it is too late!


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