Leftist Ravings?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Oct 26 05:04:05 PST 1998

>When you find an alternative political strategy that will not lead to
>Nuremburg or Lubyanka or Tuol Sleng or Tien an Men, let me know. But you
>haven't found one.
>Brad DeLong

Why don't you add Wounded Knee to the place names found above? Demographers estimate that there were around 15 million North American Indians in 1492 and an 1890 census reported 250,000.

(From David Stannard's "The American Holocaust")

As Richard Drinnon has shown, in his book "Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian-Hating and Empire-Building", America's revered found-fathers were themselves activists in the anti-Indian genocide. George Washington, in 1779, instructed Major General John Sullivan to attack the Iroquois and "lay waste all the settlements around. . . that the country may not be merely overrun but destroyed," urging the general not to "listen to any overture of peace before the total ruin of their settlements is effected." Sullivan did as instructed, he reported back, "destroy[ingl everything that contributes to their support" and turning "the whole of that beautiful region," wrote one early account, "from the character of a garden to a scene of-drear and sickening desolation." The Indians, this writer said, "were hunted like wild beasts" in a "war of extermination," something Washington approved of since, as he was to say in 1783, the Indians, after all, were little different from wolves, "both being beasts of prey, tho' they differ in shape."

And since the Indians were mere beasts, it followed that there was no cause for moral outrage when it was learned that, among other atrocities, the victorious troops had amused themselves by skinning the bodies of some Indians "from the hips downward, to make boot tops or leggings." For their part, the surviving Indians later referred to Washington by the nickname "Town Destroyer," for it was under his direct orders that at least 28 out of 30 Seneca towns from Lake Erie to the Mohawk River had been totally obliterated in a period of less than five years, as had all the towns and villages of the Mohawk, the Onondaga, and the Cayuga. As one of the Iroquois told Washington to his face in 1792: "to this day, when that name is heard, our women look behind them and turn pale, and our children cling close to the necks of their mothers."

They might well have clung close to the necks of their mothers when other names were mentioned as well--such as Adams or Monroe or Jackson. Or Jefferson, for example, who in 1807 instructed his Secretary of War that any Indians who resisted American expansion into their lands must be met with "the hatchet." "And . . . if ever we are constrained to lift the hatchet against any tribe," he wrote, "we will never lay it down till that tribe is exterminated, or is driven beyond the Mississippi," continuing: "in war, they will kill some of us; we shall destroy all of them." These were not offhand remarks, for five years later, in 1812, Jefferson again concluded that white Americans were "obliged" to drive the "backward" Indians "with the beasts of the forests into the Stony Mountains"; and one year later still, he added that the American government had no other choice before it than "to pursue [the Indians] to extermination, or drive them to new seats beyond our reach." Indeed, Jefferson's writings on Indians are filled with the straightforward assertion that the natives are to be given a simple choice--to be "extirpate[d] from the earth" or to remove themselves out of the Americans' way. Had these same words been enunciated by a German leader in 1939, and directed at European Jews, they would be engraved in modern memory. Since they were uttered by one of America's founding fathers, however, the most widely admired of the South's slaveholding philosophers of freedom, they conveniently have become lost to most historians in their insistent celebration of Jefferson's wisdom and humanity.

Louis Proyect


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