theguardian.com/ 2-2022 Moses Roper: the fugitive from slavery cast aside by British abolitionists – Historians argue Roper’s story could have helped end US slavery earlier but supporters turned on him
aaihs.org/ 9-2021 Theorists, Strategists, and Histories of Slavery By Diana Paton
“In the 1640s in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, Maria Portogoys, a “half free,” formerly enslaved woman, arranged that her daughter be apprenticed as a household servant. Jennifer L. Morgan interprets this act as a strategic effort to break the matrilineally inherited commodification inherent in Atlantic racial slavery. Morgan’s wide-ranging Reckoning with Slavery: Gender, Kinship and Capitalism in the Early Black Atlantic has women like Maria Portogoys at its heart. This “interdisciplinary examination of ideas” (23) asks readers to reorient our understanding of enslaved African and African-descended women, thinking of them as intellectual agents, as theorists and strategists, rather than primarily as people to whom history happened.
Reckoning with Slavery develops and expands the concerns of Morgan’s influential earlier book, Laboring Women: Reproduction and Gender in New World Slavery (2004), which focused on the significance of African women’s presence and reproductive potential in early colonial Barbados and South Carolina. Reckoning with Slavery, however, is more explicitly indebted to work from disciplines other than history, building in particular on the work of Black feminist theorists and literary scholars such as Christina Sharpe, Hortense Spillers, and Sylvia Wynter. Morgan does more than translate and provide archival grounding for the work of these theorists. She also argues persuasively that enslaved women’s embodied experience of slavery enabled, indeed compelled, them to understand and challenge the system’s brutality in specific ways. In lingering on the brief moments in the historical record when individual women are brought into view, and in pausing to think about what it must have meant for women to recognize–to reckon with–the commercial implications of their potential and actual pregnancies, Morgan requires readers to sit with horror. This strategic move challenges the weight of centuries of denial of Africans’ social and familial relationships written into the sources historians use. …”…
aaihs.org 1-2022 The Black Radical Tradition in The Dawn of Everything By Kevin Suemnicht
..”… Ultimately, if we want to understand how we lost our freedoms, we must turn to that most horrific of institutions: slavery. Drawing on Orlando Patterson, Graeber and Wengrow argue that slavery is a condition of social death characterized by the severing of previous relationships and the inability, in legal terms, of the slave to make promises or create ongoing social connections. The slave is characterized by “caring-relations” where the slave, who is denied personhood, exists to care for others so that the master can become a fully realized human being. In the process, we have inherited a whole set of relations that confuse caring relations with domination itself. Such is the nature of kings and their modern counterparts – the rich, the politicians, the White Man – to mobilize caring labor toward the realization of some at the expense of an Other. Graeber and Wengrow’s work suggests that when people were faced with violence and domination, they would escape their situations and create something new somewhere else. Today, however, the racist world-system fully encapsulates everything, thus spatial escape is increasingly impossible. To deal with this impasse, perhaps we should follow Yannick Marshall’s suggestion to foreground the Maroon as the archetypical figure of Black Liberation – riffing on George Jackson, to escape from Empire while grabbing a weapon and articulating other liberatory ways of life along the way. Indeed, this form of alterity is what Fred Moten and Stefano Harney call “blackness” itself – that internal difference within society that brings law and the police online. There is thus an irrefutable and direct confrontation between this empire – bolstered by its founding myth which elevates white men to its overrepresentation as Man – and blackness itself, which will not be won through appeals to reform the system, but which will only be achieved by a revolutionary process. Black experience provides the raw material for constructing this other world, and the Black proletariat can alone play the part of a revolutionary vanguard simultaneously creating while burning it down. Whether in terms of the practical world-building and emancipation being articulated within some strands of abolitionist organizing, or the reappropriation and police demolitionism of the George Floyd Uprising – the Black Liberation consistently pushes beyond the aporias and willful omissions of the European history of humanity. As has always been the case, Black Liberation alone has the capacity to tear down this – the largest monument of all – and set the world free.”
theguardian.com 26/10/2021 Born in Blackness by Howard W French review – dehumanised in the age of discovery – The scale of the west’s exploitation of Africa and Africans in the pursuit of economic power is laid bare in this painful, passionate retelling of Eurocentric history – by Peter Frankopan
“The way we think about history is entirely wrong, says Howard W French at the start of this magnificent, powerful and absorbing book. The problem is not just that the people and cultures of Africa have been ignored and left to one side; rather, that they have been so miscast that the story of the global past has become part of a profound “mistelling”. That process starts, argues French, with the age of discovery. The impetus for what turned into the creation of multiple European empires stretching across continents did not come from the “yearning for ties with Asia”, but from a “centuries-old desire to forge trading ties with legendarily rich Black societies” in Africa that were home to huge quantities of gold and an “inexhaustible source” of labour. It was along Africa’s western coast that Europeans “perfected techniques of map-making and navigation”, where ship designs were tested and improved and where sailors learned to understand the winds of the Atlantic Ocean…”…
wallpaper.com 11/12/2021 Ambitious new art project examines Britain’s role in Transatlantic Slave Trade – Combining the work of art icons and an open call to emerging talent, new UK art education project The World Reimagined seeks to transform contemporary understanding the Transatlantic Slave Trade
dw.com pt1 2021 Slavery routes – A short history of human trafficking
The history of slavery did not begin in the cotton fields. It has been going on since the dawn of humanity. Part 1 of this four-part documentary series investigates how Africa became the epicenter of human trafficking.
The first installment of the series Slavery Routes – A Short History of Human Trafficking opens the story of the slave trade. By the 7th Century AD, Africa had already become a slave trading hub. Barbarian invaders brought on the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD. Less than two centuries later, the Arabs founded an immense empire on its ruins, stretching from the banks of the Indus River to the southern Sahara. Now a new era of systematic slave hunting began, from the Middle East to Africa. At the heart of this network, two major merchant cities stood out. In the North, at the crossroads of the Arabian Peninsula and Africa, Cairo – the most important Muslim city and Africa’s main commercial hub. In the South, Timbuktu, the stronghold of the great West African empires, and point of departure of the trans-Saharan caravans. This documentary tells how, over the course of centuries, sub-Saharan peoples became the most significant “resource” for the biggest human trafficking networks in history.
dw.com pt2 2021 Slavery routes – A short history of human trafficking
How did Africa become a hub for the trade in human beings? Part 2 of this four-part documentary series begins as the Middle Ages comes to an end and Portuguese conquerors head for Africa in search of riches.
At the end of the Middle Ages, European powers realized that the African continent harbored a seemingly inexhaustible wealth of resources. The Portuguese were among the first to set out to conquer the continent. They went in search of gold, but they came back with hundreds of thousands of captives to sell as slaves in Europe.
From the coasts of Africa, the Conquistadores sailed on to Brazil, where they established a trading center. There, the Portuguese set up the first colonies that were populated exclusively by slaves. On the island of São Tomé, off of Gabon, they found their most lucrative commodity: sugar cane, and the sugar plantation became the blueprint for the profitable exploitation of the New World.
dw.com pt3 2021 Slavery routes – A short history of human trafficking
In the 17th century, almost seven million slaves toiled in sugar production. The French, English, Dutch and Spanish empires all sought profits from “white gold.” Part 3 of this four-part series focuses on the brutality of the colonial powers.
In the 17th century, the Atlantic became the battleground of a war for sugar. European kingdoms sought ever-greater riches. To satisfy their greed, they opened new slavery routes from Africa to the islands of the New World in the Caribbean. With the complicity of banks and insurance companies, they industrialized the slave trade, pushing the number of deportations to unprecedented levels. Almost seven million Africans were trapped in captivity, in an endless spiral of violence. Up until the abolition of slavery, humans were trafficked across immense territories. The slave trade drew its own frontiers and created its own laws in a world marked by violence and the thirst for power and profit.
The history of slavery dates back to the earliest advanced, human civilizations. As early as the 7th century A.D, Africa became the epicenter of a human trafficking network that stretched across the globe. Nubian, Fulani, Mandinka, Songhai, Susu, Akan, Yoruba, Igbo, Kongo, Yao, Somali… more than twenty million Africans were deported, sold and enslaved. The scale of the trade was so immense that for a long time, it was impossible to untangle the mechanisms that drove this criminal system.
dw.com pt4 2021 Slavery routes – A short history of human trafficking
Twenty million Africans were enslaved by European colonial powers. It was only in the 18th century that opposition to the slave trade formed in Europe. The final installment of this four-part series examines how slave revolts influenced public opinion.
Africa was long at the center of the slave trade. In the 18th century, the abolitionist movement began gathering momentum in London, Paris and Washington. After the slave rebellion in the French colony of Saint Domingue (modern-day Haiti), and in the face of growing public outrage, Europe’s major powers abolished the trans-Atlantic slave trade in 1807. But Europe was in the midst of the Industrial Revolution, and couldn’t afford to give up its slave workforce. To satisfy its need for raw materials, it relocated the frontiers of slavery and turned a blind eye to new forms of human exploitation in Brazil, the United States and Africa. When the slave trade was abolished in 1807, there were more Africans in captivity than ever before. Within 50 years, nearly 2.5 million men, women and children were deported. The ban was far from the end of slavery.
theguardian.com 2021 The ignorance that underpinned empire and slavery still has staunch defenders – It’s not the ‘woke’ who want to erase the past, but those who are determined that it should never be examined – by Zoe Williams
… “The threat is actually coming from the opposite direction – by ignoring history we are unable to understand the shape of our nations. I’m thinking specifically of three recent works of popular history about colonialism and slavery; Nikole Hannah-Jones’s 1619 Project for the New York Times, for which she won a Pulitzer last year (the podcast is incredible); Sathnam Sanghera’s Empireland; and Alex Renton’s Blood Legacy, which details his own family’s slave ownership in late 18th-century Tobago. Each work is hauntingly original, and the perspectives different, but certain themes emerge. The first, forensically analysed by Hannah-Jones in the American context, is how slavery and exploitation as systems get into the fabric of all that is woven afterwards, whether that’s modern-day healthcare or the economics of agriculture. “We’re here because you were there”, Sanghera writes, quoting the academic Ambalavaner Sivanandan, collapsing the walls between the past and the present. …
This was implicitly argued by the German state in an ongoing case against it for the Namibian genocide of 1904-08. “The legal concept of genocide does not apply in this case,” read its motion to dismiss, which left lawyers scratching their heads: it only doesn’t apply if the Herero and Name people aren’t, you know, people.
The problem is, it’s not true: from Renton’s book, which draws on archives of his family’s letters, it is quite plain that slave owners did conceive of enslaved people as humans, and some of them did have a unified theory of what “humane” treatment looked like. What comes across much more strongly than a completely other, unrecognisable worldview is total cognitive dissonance …” …
theguardian.com/ 5/2021 Their stories need to be told’: the true story behind The Underground Railroad
“Barry Jenkins’ acclaimed 10-part adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s novel shines much-needed light on a history that many still don’t know. Don’t be fooled by the train carriage. The Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum might be housed inside one but its content has nothing to do with railways. Its true genesis lies across the street in the Pamlico River, once used as an avenue of escape by enslaved African Americans seeking freedom. …”…
Slavery was and is a pathology of economics. Our long-standing failure to reflect that has caused us to mishandle our foundational concept of “an economic agent”. Correcting that will not only secure the integrity of our discipline at its core but is also essential to for us to grasp exactly what is at stake in the earthquake now unfolding in the United States—and its global implications—after the murder of George Floyd, and to ponder what is to be done about it.
‘A critical piece of history and a devastating exposé’ Shashi Tharoor, author of Inglorious Empire
‘Scintillating … gripping … compulsively readable’ Guardian
For two hundred years, the abolition of slavery in Britain has been a cause for self-congratulation – but no longer.
In 1807, Parliament outlawed the slave trade in the British Empire, but for the next quarter of a century, despite heroic and bloody rebellions, more than 700,000 people in the British colonies remained enslaved. And when a renewed abolitionist campaign was mounted, making slave ownership the defining political and moral issue of the day, emancipation was fiercely resisted by the powerful ‘West India Interest’. Supported by nearly every leading figure of the British establishment – including Canning, Peel and Gladstone, The Times and Spectator – the Interest ensured that slavery survived until 1833 and that when abolition came at last, compensation worth billions in today’s money was given not to the enslaved but to the slaveholders, entrenching the power of their families to shape modern Britain to this day.
Drawing on major new research, this long-overdue and ground-breaking history provides a gripping narrative account of the tumultuous and often violent battle – between rebels and planters, between abolitionists and the pro-slavery establishment – that divided and scarred the nation during these years of upheaval. The Interest reveals the lengths to which British leaders went to defend the indefensible in the name of profit, showing that the ultimate triumph of abolition came at a bitter cost and was one of the darkest and most dramatic episodes in British history.
‘Fascinating … riveting and first-rate’ The Times
‘A thoroughly researched and potent historical account’ David Lammy MP
theguardian.com 2020 the-interest-by-michael-taylor-review-busting-the-british-slavery-myth by Fara Dabhoiwala
How abolitionist businesses marshaled intense moral outrage over slavery to shape a new ethics of international commerce.
“East India Sugar Not Made By Slaves.” With these words on a sugar bowl, consumers of the early nineteenth century declared their power to change the global economy. Bronwen Everill examines how abolitionists from Europe to the United States to West Africa used new ideas of supply and demand, consumer credit, and branding to shape an argument for ethical capitalism.
Everill focuses on the everyday economy of the Atlantic world. Antislavery affected business operations, as companies in West Africa, including the British firm Macaulay & Babington and the American partnership of Brown & Ives, developed new tactics in order to make “legitimate” commerce pay. Everill explores how the dilemmas of conducting ethical commerce reshaped the larger moral discourse surrounding production and consumption, influencing how slavery and freedom came to be defined in the market economy. But ethical commerce was not without its ironies; the search for supplies of goods “not made by slaves”―including East India sugar―expanded the reach of colonial empires in the relentless pursuit of cheap but “free” labor.
Not Made by Slaves illuminates the early years of global consumer society, while placing the politics of antislavery firmly in the history of capitalism. It is also a stark reminder that the struggle to ensure fair trade and labor conditions continues.
reviews.history.ac.uk/ 2020 Alexandra M. Macdonald
Recent social media campaigns have promoted #BuyBlack and #BuyIndigenous businesses, and corporations have been working to align themselves with these and other social justice movements in a bid to publicly perform their corporate social responsibility. Coffee companies have built global brands based on their fair-trade partnerships, and key players in the fashion industry have begun to re-think their role as ethical producers and consumers. Each of these campaigns link questions of ethical production and supply chains, fair labour, and ideologies of inequality to consumer choice and demand. They highlight the fact that how we spend our money says something about where our ethical and moral compasses point. While the scrutiny of global capitalism may feel modern, as Bronwen Everill illustrates in her new book, Not Made by Slaves: Ethical Capitalism in the Age of Abolition, ‘Fair trade didn’t just spring up out of nowhere’ (p. 244).
A deeply researched book, Not Made by Slaves uncovers how a variety of people in West Africa, America, and Britain in the ‘Age of Abolition’ (1770-1885) argued that it was possible, and indeed profitable, to use consumer purchasing power and choice as a way to undermine reliance on the Atlantic slave trade …” …
amazon.co.uk 2010 Robin Blackburn traces European doctrines of race and slavery from medieval times to the early modern epoch. The Making of New World Slavery argues that independent commerce, geared to burgeoning consumer markets, was the driving force behind the rise of plantation slavery. The baroque state sought successfully – to feed upon this commerce and unsuccessfully – to regulate slavery and racial relations. To illustrate this history, Blackburn examines the deployment of slaves in the colonial possessions of the Portuguese, the Spanish, the Dutch, the English and the French. Plantation slavery is shown to have emerged from the impulses of civil society, not from the strategies of the individual states. Robin Blackburn argues that the organization of slave plantations placed the West on a destructive path to modernity and that greatly preferable alternatives were both proposed and rejected. Finally he shows that the surge of Atlantic trade, predicated on the murderous toil of the plantations, made a decisive contribution to both the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the West.
2017 Unsere schöne imperiale Lebensweise – Wie das westliche Konsummodell den Planeten ruiniert
Von Ulrich Brand , Markus Wissen
Haben wir die Zeiten des Imperialismus nicht längst hinter uns gelassen? Wenn man erwägt, in welchem Maße sich der Globale Norden nach wie vor an den ökologischen und sozialen Ressourcen des Globalen Südens bedient, rücken die Begriffe »Globaler Kapitalismus« und »Imperialismus« wieder näher zusammen. Unsere Muster von Produktion und Konsum erfordern einen überproportionalen Zugriff auf Ressourcen, Arbeitskraft und biologische Senken der restlichen Welt. Mit anderen Worten: Die Ausbeutung von Mensch und Natur hält nach wie vor an – und nimmt weiter an Fahrt auf.
nachdenkseiten.de 2017 : Imperiale Lebensweise: Zur Ausbeutung von Mensch und Natur in Zeiten des globalen Kapitalismus by Udo Brandes
„Imperiale Lebensweise“ – so nennen die beiden Politologen Ulrich Brand (Professor an der Universität Wien) und Markus Wissen (Professor an der Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht Berlin) den für unsere Gesellschaft typischen Lebensstil. Und so heißt auch ihr Buch, das den Untertitel „Zur Ausbeutung von Mensch und Natur im globalen Kapitalismus“ hat.
klimaretter.info 2017 Widerstand zwecklos? Susanne Götze
Die Analyse geht von einem urlinken Verständnis von Herrschaft aus: Der Status quo ist so lange stabil, wie eine Mehrheit der Deutschen oder der Bewohner des globalen Nordens von der Lebensweise profitiert – für Markus Wissen die “Normalisierung der Herrschaftsverhältnisse”. Übersetzt heißt das: Obwohl wir von dem Schicksal der Näherinnen in Bangladesch wissen, kaufen wir trotzdem die schnittige Sommerbluse von Primark. Das ist paradox, weil wir als Konsumenten ja eigentlich nicht wollen, dass jemand 14 Stunden am Tag arbeitet und schon gar nicht irgendwelche zwölfjährigen Mädchen. Trotzdem kaufen wir es. “Der Einzelne kann sich diesem System nicht entziehen”, glaubt Markus Wissen, “wir werden als Konsumenten in diese Gesellschaft hineinsozialisiert”.
diss-duisburg.de 2017 Zur Ausbeutung von Mensch und Natur im globalen Kapitalismus von Wolfgang Kastrup
Das viel beachtete Buch von Ulrich Brand und Markus Wissen Imperiale Lebensweise trägt den Untertitel Zur Ausbeutung von Mensch und Natur im globalen Kapitalismus. Damit wird klar, worum es den beiden Politikwissenschaftlern – Ulrich Brand lehrt an der Universität Wien, Markus Wissen an der Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht (HWR) in Berlin – geht: um eine Analyse der Zusammenhänge einer in westlichen Staaten von vielen Menschen geschätzten alltäglichen Lebensweise, basierend auf ungerechten Verhältnissen im globalen kapitalistischen Kontext.
Inhaltlich ist der Band entlang von vier grundlegenden Aspekten unterteilt: Erstens geht es um „die Alltagspraxen sowie die ihnen zugrunde liegenden gesellschaftlichen und internationalen Kräfteverhältnisse, die Herrschaft über Mensch und Natur erzeugen und verstetigen.“ (13)Zweitens möchten sie erklären, weshalb in einer Zeit der sich zuspitzenden Krisen (sie meinen damit „soziale Reproduktion, Ökologie, Wirtschaft, Finanzen, Geopolitik, europäische Integration, Demokratie etc.“) die Lebensweise, die sie „imperial“ nennen, in diesem Zusammenhang zentral zu verorten sei.
zeit-luxemburg 2018 Warum die Imperiale Lebensweise die Klassenfrage ausblenden muss von Thomas Sablowski
Ulrich Brand und Markus Wissen haben vor einiger Zeit ein neues Konzept in den Kosmos der kritischen Gesellschaftstheorie eingeführt: Die „imperiale Lebensweise“ … Was erklärt dieses Konzept? Wie verändert es unser Denken über Herrschaft und Ausbeutung, über die kapitalistischen Verhältnisse? Wie beeinflusst es unsere Strategien?
taz.de Buch über widersprüchlichen Lebensstil :Die imperiale Lebensweise ist schuld – Klimawandel, Finanzkrise, Rechtsruck. Die Probleme sind klar, doch nichts ändert sich. Dazu trägt laut einer Studie das westliche Konsummodell bei. von Knut Henkel
Trotz ihrer vielen inhaltlichen Überschneidungen und einem ähnlichen theoretischen Fundament sind die beiden hier besprochenen Bücher zur sozial-ökologischen Krise des globalen Kapitalismus für unterschiedliche Lesergruppen interessant.
Sozialwissenschaftlich geschulten LeserInnen bietet die „Imperiale Lebensweise“ von Ulrich Brand und Markus Wissen ein stärkeres Analyseinstrument und eine historisch-geographisch weitergehende Perspektive. Der große Anklang, den das Konzept gefunden hat, zeugt davon, dass es den (kritischen) Zahn der Zeit getroffen hat.
Stephan Lessenichs „Neben uns die Sintflut“ bietet zwar eine interessante Erweiterung der Thematik um das diskriminierende Grenz- und Mobilitätsregime, kann aber in seiner Herausarbeitung globaler Ungleichheitsverhältnisse letztendlich nicht vollständig überzeugen. Dank des Verzichtes auf Fachjargon sollte es aber für ein allgemeineres Publikum zugänglich sein.