Tag Archives: Colonization

An Earth Day Post-The World We Want

#EarthDay

What kind of world do you want? Do you want a world where there is no arable land, where there are no fish in the seas or oceans, where islands have been submerged, and where the government’s science division designated to forestall these occurrences flourish? Do you want to live in a world where impoverished people, Black People, and Other POC folx globally are disenfranchised, marginalized, exploited, invisibilized, and considered to be expendable externalities?
 
Or do you want to live in a world where your future and the future of your children matter, where people are not after thoughts in economic equations, where it is not big business and illegitimate governments who do not represent the PEOPLE who are making decisions about our lives and our futures?
 
Zahara and I have been talking a lot lately about consumerism and consumer culture, and how so many of the mainstream environmental solutions are consumer based. Consumerism in the United States, where the people here have a carbon footprint of four times the Earth’s resources do not need to be developing plans for us to consume more, but rather to consume less. However, what we often see is that attention is focused on the point of extraction, instead of the point of consumption as the problem. Real talk, the Global South would not be suffering exploitation, imperialism, or the harmful effects of #ClimateChange if the West was not so hell-bent on consuming all their resources. Consuming more is not the solution.
 
“It is like the philosophy of a man having a headache who beats himself on the head with a hammer to get rid of the ache.”
 
#Capitalism, #colonialism, #patriarchy, #racism, #consumerism, #imperialism, major #agrobusiness, #PrisonIndustrialComplex , anon… essentially the structural underpinnings of our entire system need to change if we are to actually achieve the world most of us, and most certainly the most impacted, seek to achieve.
 
Each one of us shares some responsibility, some much much more than most others, for the world we create. External change begins internally, this is a spiritual journey. Consumerism is fueled by a fabricated and facilitated feeling of incompleteness. This society is designed to make people feel incomplete. And so, it leads people to reach without, to take, to consume to seek to try and make themselves complete; and the very thing we think will satisfy us and bring us life is that which is killing us.
 
 
#PowerToThePeople #Liberation #ClimateJustice
 
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Sleepers

I am pissed beyond belief
It seems there’s no relief
To the ignorance, in people’s minds, locking them to see
From but, one perspective
Like, nothing is subjective
And, every thing else, is a form, of invective
Yet, they claim to be objective & empirical in nature/
facts of the maker
Making up their own data
As skewed as the Matrix,
patrons of the surface layer,
Brains in a vat, down-loading stimulation
Oblivious, to the hideous, truth they clearly miss,
Cuz belief is but opinion & a symptom of a guess,
& the really don’t know/ what the fog has in stow
Cuz the state, they’re incased in, won’t permit, their minds to grow
The evil genius demon, illusion be what he schemin
Left the world to slumber dreamin
Tricked’em into thinkin, awake, while they’re sleepin,
Weep and read it, been defeated, wash and repeat it
Their humanity, so treasured, is depleated,
Free will has been deleted,
interject only to free them
From the, prisons of their minds, barred so completely
They can’t believe, and, won’t see it
Xenophobic, homophobic, transphobic, anti-blackness
Fear of the “Other” seems the everlasting way of fascists
Lost in madness, tragic in the coldest sense of stratus(es)
Hitlers in their living rooms, posting facebook statuses
Screaming “all lives matter,” till we move into their hoods
Or when the school-to-prison pipeline, is, clearly understood
As a real mechanism, causing schisms, long the lines of race
Class, religion, gender, economic, time-space
Spanish Inquisition, which followed occupation
color and belief, were, the factors of ENSLAVEMENT
Constricting education, to, stifle alteration
Nothing but, a totalitarian modus operandi inflammation/
Pick and choose’n what is read, or is spoken from the pavement
Lacking opposition, because, that requires questions,
Not, ignorant opinions, of the status quo contingent/
but rather, insurrections that fathom through the nexus
complex is, the structures that perplex us, and bar us from our freedom
Yet, short on the knowledge, of, alter situations
The sleepers are the vanguard, we confront on daily basis
So, the choice is never vacant, it’s always latent, waitin,
Like the worst of constipations/
Do we, have to murk these agents?
Or contend like Morpheus, to wake these sleepers from the Matrix?
And free them from their mind-prisons
The chains of a system that has closed the blinds of wisdom to them
To these drones, these brains in a vat, locked in recidivism
When justice lies, just on the other side, of their manifested ignorance?
To be woke, is both a blessing and a curse
But this tasty wheat, disgusting though it is, I love it,
at least I know what truly hurts.

“Letter to the Men” by Renaissance the Poet: New HipHop Song & Explanatory Essay

How the hell is a man going to jump up and scream for Liberation and Justice, Equality and to be treated fairly, to have greater bargaining power, and to be treated like a human being; then turn around to promote Misogyny and Patriarchy which are mechanisms of Colonization and the Exploitation of the bodies and minds of women?

There is a manifest contradiction when these two opposite ends of the spectrum—justice vs. injustice—coalesce into one individual, wherein the latter completely disqualifies the former to the point that the man promotes a system of injustice instead of justice. Any ideology or societal organization principle that systematically relegates a particular group of people to a position of inferiority in a hierarchical structure, simply because of their affiliation or identity with the group is discriminatory, bigoted, and unjust to its core. Patriarchy is one of those unjust ideologies because it systematically seeks to relegate all women to positions of inferiority simply for being women. Ideologies that generalize and discriminate based on qualities beyond the will and volition of the individual is ignorant, short-sighted, and unjust.

Capability, merit, previous accomplishment, and potential future contributions are by far a more efficient and just means of distributing power and respect among and between people. Some men are promoted to positions of prestige and power, but lack the integrity, the intelligence, the character, and the communication skills necessary to perform the role they are selected for because they were selected solely on the basis of gender. This is a detrimental and foolhardy practice. Likewise, denying a position of prestige and power to a woman because the very same vital qualities that are necessary to fulfill the role are ignored for men and discounted in women, that is, they have not been considered in the cases of many women, qualities that they in fact possess. This is also a detrimental and foolhardy practice. If people were evaluated, both male and female, in terms of their capability; their merit, their previous accomplishments and their potential future contributions instead of their genders, sexes, ages, or ethnicity then the roles they are selected for would actually be fulfilled and the outcomes would be much more productive and achieved more efficiently.

A person should be judged by the contents of their character; not by their gender, sex, color, creed, or religion.

Adding Sexism to this discussion of the unjust hierarchical social structure of patriarchy, wherein the bodies of women are objectified and commodified, denying their humanity and instead attributing value to women only in sexual or monetary terms; the dehumanization of women is a glaring and unacceptable problem. It is also a dangerous and harmful combination.

Patriarchy is insidious because it has been the norm for thousands of years, and as a result the many ways it crops up could seem to many of the cisgendered men to be benign. For instance, the oldest reference to women as bitches I have found was in Homer’sThe Odyssey” from Ancient Greece. The term and the hatred of women, misogyny itself, is old, very old. Furthermore, contemporary women may be subjected to continuous unwanted sexual advances from men; men who feel entitled to do this because they are men and feel we must be macho and promiscuous to fulfill our roles as men. Patriarchy also denies women the same sexual freedoms granted to men and instead they are condemned and shamed by men and other women—who have been indoctrinated with patriarchy—for expressing themselves sexually, or dressing in a revealing manner. For thousands of years women have been thought of as being naturally ‘incompetent’ in some fields or activities, and their opinions in leadership roles have often been viewed as less credible. Women have rarely been given the same space to express their thoughts as men, regardless of how correct and astute they are and have been. Of course this denies the very real truth that women have been present and have been powerful decision makers in many of the biggest decisions that have shaped our world; the Julio-Claudian blood-line of the 12 Caesars of Rome in the era of Jesus was controlled by women; the shaping of the United States was heavily influenced by Abigail Adams, the wife of John Adams, one of the revolutionaries; Sojourner Truth the African American abolitionists; Harriet Tubman, an African American abolitionist and freedom fighter; Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the suffragist; Eleanor Roosevelt, the first chairperson of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights; Madam C.J. Walker, the first Black Woman millionaire who created a line of black hair products; the list can go on. Patriarchy also shows up when a woman justly and intelligently asserts herself and her autonomy and she is referred to as a bitch, which is an attempt to discredit her and her assertions. Patriarchy is ugly and ubiquitous and the list can go on, but the point is that patriarchy seeks to deny women their humanity and relegate them to positions of inferiority wherein they are only perceived as minor partners, partial contributors, sexual objects, and needing a man’s guidance and protection (paternalism); none of which is true.

Here are three interrelated points:

1. In a sense, culture is a living entity. It does and must evolve. To claim that subordination of women must be “be natural and correct” because “that is how it has always been” is wrong. It is a cop-out, it is recklessly conservative, it is unjust, and it is childish.

2. That a man may feel ‘entitled’ to a woman’s body is a continuation of exploitation and slavery; slavery simply being the ownership of another’s body. It is the refusal to recognize the autonomy of another. Entitlement can only emerge when one ‘feels’ they have the right to ownership over something or someone.

3. For a man to clamor for his rights and equity, and deny women similar rights and equity is a manifest contradiction to the concept of justice, equality, and world free from oppression.

Furthermore, that men are afraid of women and their inherent potential to shape our world; much the same as racism is about managing the fear of Black people coming to social, political and economic power because white people fear that the same harms they have visited on Black People will be visited upon them. This fear is driven by greed, the most fundamental components of colonialism and exploitation. It is about power, which is expressed in terms of control of the external world and, most often control of resources or other people. This fear is a plague that has led men to attempt to silence women and to hold them in bondage because of a fear of a loss of control, but this behavior is stifling our ability to develop as a people into a more mature society and culture. Since all living things must grow, this pestilent nostalgia is actually choking our culture and killing us: Reverse Racism.

I am calling on the men to be more; to do less; and to acknowledge, accept and respect the leadership of women. I am calling on the men to end our subordination of women; to end our abuse of women; and to stand up to those who continue to hate and abuse women. I am calling on the men to see and acknowledge the true value inherent in each and every woman; to treasure that value; and to disregard the antiquated valuation of women that has been instilled in us by the oppressive and colonizing culture of conquest and sexual exploitation. I am calling on the men to recognize the harm we are doing to us all by holding half of our population hostage, in bondage, attempting to silence the best within us. I am calling on the men to be Men, and in particular Black Men, to do away with this ideology of dualism and competition so that we can move forward as a people and achieve the liberation we so desperately desire.

i.Written by Renaissance the Poet

ii. Edited by Sharon Welensky & Tim Sage

___________________________________________________

Backing Track & Mix by Scott Paul Johnson

www.facebook.com/spjohnson

Written & Recorded by Renaissance the Poet

www.facebook.com/renaissancethepoet.official

___________________________________________________

Lyrics:

Verse 1

There’s a very real problem that needs to be addressed

And I hope my words offend, cause you to question your intents

As a man, a male, privileged, to live without regrets

This letter is for you, from a man who finally gets

That Oppression of women is the sickest form there is

there is nothing that epitomizes hatred more than this

Weakness, feeling the need to express dominance

Prominently, by suppressing a woman’s right to live

& to live un-assailed by male hostility

In the streets, on the job and in our families

Sexual harassment an infectious demon,

Spreading because men feel entitled to bodies bein

Perceived as property, a fallacy Contradicting we

The liberty we scream for we constantly recede

Cuz our greed makes us think we can take all that we see

We’d never tolerate being another man’s property

Chorus

Sisters, Mothers, Daughters, Aunties, Girlfriends, Wives, Friends

The Women of the World combine to be the best there is

I just can’t take the hate no more, I’m calling out the men

You have a duty to us all to be the best you can

Verse 2

Walking down the street women have to risk the cat calling

Being asked for numbers, getting groped, raped and can’t stop it

& when they Stand Their Ground, flipping around the situation

Denying a man has the Right to incur this inflammation

She is insulted, threatened and in the worst cases

Women have been killed for denying men to their faces

& if that is not entitlement then I don’t know what is

Because who has a claim to another’s life

Let alone to a smile or even her mind

If she graces you the privilege, it is a gift, not a right

And she has the Right, like us, to be left alone

On her way home, to school, work or talking on the phone

& She has the Right to associate with you or not

Without fear of reprisal or the way being blocked

It’s not for you to decide, this is her choice

Infringement is Wrong, man, so cease all the noise

Chorus

Sisters, Mothers, Daughters, Aunties, Girlfriends, Wives, Friends

The Women of the World combine to be the best there is

I just can’t take the hate no more, I’m calling out the men

You have a duty to us all to be the best you can

Verse 3

Women should be valued and cherished not disrespected

They’re Amazing, Intelligent, Partners, and they’re Finished

They do not need anything added or taken from them

There is nothing a man has that a woman needs from him

Not even semen, if that’s what you’re thinking

You can Check a sperm bank if you think that I am beefin

Paternalism a joke, they’re as capable as men

Neither need concealing nor protection, because they’re Women

They’re Human and were born with all they will ever need

Save respect and to be loved, just like you and me

And humans deserve to be treated with dignity

That means treated with equity, honor and esteem

Fail in any of these and you’ll see that she up and leaves

And finds one who can provide all the things that she needs

But I see that so many out get this wrong

& that’s why I wrote you a letter in the form of a song

Chorus

Sisters, Mothers, Daughters, Aunties, Girlfriends, Wives, Friends

The Women of the World combine to be the best there is

I just can’t take the hate no more, I’m calling out the men

You have a duty to us all to be the best you can

Reforming a System is One Thing, Reforming People is Another: Viceroy Toledo & Peru

Francisco de Toledo http://epicworldhistory.blogspot.com/2012/04/francisco-de-toledo-spanish-viceroy-of.html

In analyzing whether the Toledo Reforms were successful it must first be acknowledged that these reforms occurred within the context the Spanish Empire that had conquered many peoples and that within Spanish colonial rule many mistakes had to be rectified. My intent here is not to argue the ethical axiology of the colonization project itself, but rather, whether the response to faults and mismanagement of the colony by the Spanish Empire were answered by the reforms Viceroy Toledo implemented in Peru during the 16th Century. To be certain, when a technologically advanced group conquers another group by force, usurping its customs, politics, economics, and its entire social structure a great harm is done to the people. This becomes all the more apparent as evidence of rape, murder, the spread of disease, and the enslavement of indigenous peoples comes to bear on our understanding of the situation. Therefore, when I argue that the Toledo Reforms were successful, in no way do I imply that they were free of harm, nor do I argue that they mitigated the harm being done in any way. I only argue that the Toledo Reforms sought to rectify mistakes that the Spanish Empire believed itself to be making. The reforms Viceroy Toledo implemented in the 16th Century Spanish Colony of Peru, both succeeded and failed because while the reforms did not achieve a strict and to the letter materialization of Toledo’s vision, the reforms nonetheless, did achieve an administrative structure that was used for nearly two hundred years during which time there was relative peace and prosperity in the colony, that was for a time accepted by the Andeans.

Immediately after don Francisco de Toledo arrived in Lima, Peru in 1569 he went on a five year trek through the Andes conducting what became known as the General Inspection, implementing a census, surveying the topography and designing a system of laws and procedures that he hoped would harmonize the interaction between the Andeans and Spain. The organization that the Spanish had initially imposed upon the indigenous populations proved not to maximize the population’s productive capacity. The culture, geography, and the needs of the people fostered different constraints than the Spanish were accustomed. As a result, the Spanish could not reap the same volume of resources from the Andes that they initially found there, in part because the Spanish stole a surplus that had accumulated over generations and in part because the Andeans were dying at unprecedented rates.

One of the resources that the Spanish were the most interested in was the silver that had to be mined in places such as, Potosi and Huancavelica, but for the Spanish gaining access to this resource required a cheap or free labor force; namely, the Andeans. However, if the Andeans were not alive, or they could not be accounted for, then they could not be forced to work in the mines in the interest of Spain.

The Junta Magna, which formed just prior to Viceroy Toledo’s journey to Peru in response to the management or lack thereof in the colony, suggested that there “can be no information about affairs in the Indies,”[1] because Spain lacked the necessary infrastructure to provide the required information to control outcomes in the colony. The General Inspection was a direct response to the complications that Spain was having managing its colony and was a component of a much larger project of resettlement of Andeans that was in part justified by providing “at all times the necessary number [of workers] in the mines” via Viceroy Toledo to the King of Spain, Phillip II.[2]

The “Reduccion General de Indios–the General Resettlement of the Indians”[3] was both the purpose of the General Inspection and the result of it. The logic behind it was bring order to the colonial system by increasing the accuracy of population data, centrally locating the Andeans for greater control and Christianization, and making the colony safer for the Spanish. However, the fact that the Spanish wanted to organize Peru to fit Spanish standards and structures, does not mean that the Andeans lacked a complex social structure prior to the arrival of the conquistadors in 1532.

Pre-conquest Andeans lived and organized themselves very differently than the Spanish and much of this organization was owed to the Inca, who formed the Tawantinsuyu Empire (1438-1533), and much of it predated the Inca. The empire was not unlike the Spanish Empire in that a particular group of Andeans who were centrally located in Cuzco controlled most of the Western seaboard of South America and the lives of all the peoples therein. The major cities such as Cuzco were laid out in a grid-like fashion around a plaza that had both running water and sewage systems, much like cities in the Mediterranean.[4] Outside of the cities and the vast majority of the Andes were organized into what has been termed an Archipelago, which were “settlement enclaves at different elevations” that “pooled the products of diverse ecological zones,” so that Andean communities could maximize their access to necessary resources.[5] It was the Incas who implemented the kuraka, (known as a cacique to the Spanish) and was local leader who organized the labor and taxation for a given region. Because of the size of the empire and its ecological variation resulting from elevations that stretched over hundreds of miles of mountains, the king needed a hereditary class of elites to manage localities that he could trust.

The Inca also implemented what was known to them as the mita, which Mumford states “translates roughly to ‘turn-taking,’” was an annual compulsory labor to be fulfilled in rotation by all adult males. The mita was used to build roads (the empire had a system of roads that stretched over 3,000 miles), temples, palaces, for state farming and more. However, this sophisticated society had not developed a system of writing (yet), so they managed this complex network of taxation, redistribution, and labor with a system of data tracking called “khipu” that utilized the tying of knots on rope for accounting purposes. One very important feature of the mita system was a ritual hospitality that occurred in what they called a tamp’u, which were Inca state complexes that were situated throughout the Andes and functioned “to reward workers and their caciques” on the plaza with gifts.[6]  The Tawantinsuyu Empire was highly structured and organized, both within and in between the major cities, and the civilization had a social structure that produced an incredible surplus that the Spanish both envied and respected.

The Spanish Conquistadors who conquered the Inca disrupted the Andean societal structure and also caused many of the problems within the Spanish colony that Viceroy Toledo sought to rectify.

Many of the conquistadors that risked the journey across the great Atlantic Ocean and exploration in the ‘New World’ did so because they were fortune seekers attempting to garner upward social mobility within the Spanish society. Their reward for valor and success in battle was a claim to land, encomiendas, in the Americas within the regions they had conquered and the right to collect tribute from the people therein; they became ‘lords’ called encomenderos. The conquistadors brought with them diseases that the indigenous lacked the antibodies to defend against and they tore through the “New World’ with a fury, leaving in their wake a decimated population. In addition to the diseases, the encomenderos were able to act with impunity shortly after the conquest killing, raping, and enslaving whomever they chose.

This however, posed an increasingly problematic situation as the definition of conquest and justification for involvement in the lives of indigenous people evolved. Queen Isabella was a very pious person and believed that the ‘Indians’ had the potential for conversion to Catholicism from their so-called ‘paganism’. The situation was further complicated because it was believed, although not always adhered to, that Christians should not be enslaved. “We listen but do not obey,” an adage from the Spanish colonies that seems to have fit the actions of the conquistadors very well. The autonomous behavior of the conquistadors undermined the authority of the Spanish royalty, was in the process of destroying the social structure of the Andean people, and caused many revolts to emerge. These are many of the reasons that caused the determination of the Junta Magna and for Viceroy Toledo’s journey to Peru to conduct the resettlement.

Viceroy Toledo sought to establish order in the Peru to streamline the acquisition of wealth by curtailing the power of the encomenderos, creating a clear chain of command, and situating the indigenous population for efficient applications of forced labor. However, the actual outcome was not as clear and straightforward as Viceroy Toledo’s model proposed, and although some reducciones (the newly founded cities) were homogeneous, Peru as a whole was a motley patchwork of social and political structures. One of the parameters that Viceroy Toledo set to establish was that the reducciones were to be self-governing, but Chérrepe actually became “the cabecera or head town” of Guadalupe.[7] Both reducciones were part of one repartimiento and were further segregated by occupations; farmers in Guadalupe and fishermen in Chérrepe, making each reduccion homogeneous.[8] The Condes repatimiento, on the other hand, had a very complex and mixed population; not homogeneous at all.[9]

Mumford argues that the inspectors who established the reducciones within the repartimientos had such variation because thy both acknowledged and accepted the geographical constraints that led to develop the Archipelago social structure in the first place. Thus, what resulted for the most part, was a Spanish system of control that was placed right on top of an existing social structure; both the Kuraka (cacique) and the mita remained as functioning institutions. Mumford suggests that the Spanish were contending with two competing goals when considering how to manage their Andean colony: “cultural survival and cultural change” and that it should be “partly preserved and partly remade,”[10] and in that, Viceroy Toledo was successful in his objective.

A report survives from forty years after the General Resettlement that was written by an Andean born man named don Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, who details the corruption that still existed within the Spanish colonial system in Peru. Guaman Poma reveals that while he agreed with the premise of resettlement, that he disagreed with how the locations the reducciones were selected because they tended to relegate the Andeans to “places with damp and unhealthy soil, stench and pestilence,” while the Spanish selected choice and profitable locations. This had multiple effects; it made it difficult for the indigenous to sustain themselves and pay tributes, made many of them unhealthy, and removed them from lands that were connected to their families like children. Guaman Poma also severely critiqued the priests who were supposed to be responsible for setting the ‘Christian example’ to the indigenous population, promoting Catholicism and educating the people. In stark contrast to this proposed objective he mentions that the priests, “gambled and dueled, extorted gifts from the parishioners, and even falsified Andeans’ wills to get their property.” He also notes that the priests were sexually abusive to women and girls, making some their sex slaves and participating in a form of nepotism with the women’s fathers so as to avoid or deter being reported. He also reports that the priests omitted educating the Andeans because they feared that educated Andeans would assert their rights and report their un-Christian-like and misconduct. Guaman Poma then implicates both the caciques and the cabildos in the corruption and suggests that they followed the examples set by the priests. The most pressing problem that Guaman Poma mentions pertained to the Andeans leaving the reducciones and after the reports of corruption and abuse, it is very plausible that they were seeking more equitable arrangements elsewhere. What is clear is that both the presence of the Spanish and the Toledo reforms had dramatic social impacts on the Andean society, even if they did rectify some of the problems that Toledo and the Junta Magna sought to fix.[11]

In terms of the relative peace experienced in Peru between 1569-1780 by both the Spanish and the Andeans, the Toledo reforms were successful. This is particularly evident when compared to the Tupac Amaru Rebellion (1780-1781), which emerged as a response to the Bourbon Reforms of the 18th Century that restructured the Spanish administration of Peru to correct what the new royalty perceived as mismanagement of the colony. The Bourbon Reforms were criticized by the Andeans for violating the social contract that was established by the Toledo Reforms and which the Andeans had agreed to by imposing harsher “mitas” or forced labor, more stringent taxation, limited autonomy and recourse in the courts for harms done. The new burdens upon Andeans and the subsequent lack of legal retribution that came with them, led to an explosion of violence that lasted for several years and ultimately to over 100,000 deaths, the collapse of the economy and further restructuring of the colonial administration.

By 1826, Peru had won its independence from Spanish colonial rule and thus, brought an end to the oppressive reforms of the 18th Century. By strict comparison, the Bourbon Reforms failed, whereas the Toledo Reforms were successful, at least in terms of Spanish colonial rule in Peru.

[1] Jeremy Ravi Mumford. Vertical Empire: The General Resettlement of the Indians in the Colonial Andes. (Durham: Duke University Press, 2012), 77

[2] Mumford, 82.

[3] Mumford, 1.

[4] Mumford, 14-16

[5] Mumford, 4.

[6] Mumford, 25.

[7] Mumford, 126

[8] Mumford, 127

[9] Mumford, 129

[10] Mumford, 4

[11] Mumford, 143-156.