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Monday, February 18, 2013

Day 302: Slavery: The Repeating Act

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/02/17/opinion/greene-slave-narrative/index.html?hpt=hp_c5

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/snhtml/snhome.html

"I was owned by Johnson Bell and born in New Orleans, in Louisiana."
Those words were spoken by a man named Frank Bell.


He said that according "to the bill of sale, I'm 86 years old."
His words, and those of thousands of other American citizens, were transcribed in the 1930s, at the depth of the Great Depression. As part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's efforts to restart the economy, the Works Progress Administration was founded, and one arm of the WPA was something called the Federal Writers' Project.
Men and women were hired by the government to work on various assignments documenting American history and American life. - CNN

What is slavery? Wikipedia defines it as: Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation. Historically, slavery was institutionally recognized by many societies; in more recent times slavery has been outlawed in most societies but continues through the practices of debt bondage, indentured servitude, serfdom, domestic servants kept in captivity, certain adoptions in which children are forced to work as slaves, child soldiers, and forced marriage. There are more slaves in the early 21st century than at any previous time but opponents hope slavery can be eradicated within 30 years.

Don't kid yourself. We are all slaves to our incomes, without which we would starve, freeze, succumb to a preventable illness/situation and be pretty miserable - you get the idea. Consider every war in history: most of the soldiers only became soldiers because they had no other choice - they had to make a living to support themselves and their families. These days, joining the military is a viable financial solution for many with some countries offering "signing bonuses".

Slavery implies the lack of free choice. In this regard, most of us are slaves. Our choices are restricted by our incomes - by our nett worth. Slavery also implies being treated as property - or as a commodity. Are we not all commodities to our respective countries/employers/elite that rule the world? Slavery implies the lack of choice: how many of us are actually in a position where we can deny work?

OK, you may say that the defining difference in this scenario is that we receive compensation - but how many of us receive enough compensation to truly have free choice? So now just because we are paid a small salary as a token of "appreciation of our value" we are no longer called slaves? Now we are simply named "lower income bracket", "working middle class". Fancy new names, but enough similarities remain for it to still be slavery.

Would you really be doing the job that you do, living the life you live, working the number of hours you do - if you had the choice? Does your answer not imply that you too, are a puppet who's strings form part of a massive collection all being moved by one puppet master: money? Would poverty exis if there were no such thing as money? Unlikely.

We have lived in the same cycle for most of our known history across most of our known cultures: Majority work in order to survive, receiving only a token compensation so as to keep from mutiny. All the while, a few rich and royal prosper and live in a state of real free choice, but without any form of integrity of consideration, except for their own personal desires.

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