There is of course little to celebrate on this 4 July, the 235th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. declaration of independence from British control. This is generally the case with holidays set in the interests of those whom Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos and others term “l@s de arriba.” That 4 July is mere ideology is established well by Chomsky, who in a 1995 piece locates the holiday’s birth within the Wilson administration’s constellation of police-state tactics designed to suppress working-class militancy and other manifestations of revolutionary potential—considerations on which to reflect, if such an understanding of the day were not already to be self-evident.
Rather obviously, the U.S. declaration of independence can hardly be termed revolutionary, however much dominant forms so attempt to insist. It together with the 1787 U.S. Constitution is clearly very far-removed from the “Declaration of the Rights of Man [sic] and Citizen” that arose from the events of 1789, for example, let alone the 1948 UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights or Franco-Belgian Situationist Raoul Vaneigem’s Declaration on the Rights of Human Beings (2004). In light of the genocide and slavery overseen by the founding fathers of the U.S., the demand by colonists for formal independence from Britain should be likened to the 1965 Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) issued by Ian Smith for the white-supremacist ruling class of Rhodesia (i.e. now Zimbabwe).
Prevailing society’s dominant forms—perhaps most dangerously accumulated in hegemonic social practices of the U.S. and among agglomerations elsewhere that aspire to reproduce much of the same pattern—are entirely absurd, irrational, unjust. The UN is reporting that the lives of some 10 million persons are imperiled by the second consecutive failure of annual rains in the East African countries of Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, and Djibouti. More than half of the 10 million individuals are children.1 As Guardian staff have it,
“Child malnutrition rates in the worst affected areas are more than double the emergency threshold of 15 per cent and are expected to rise further.”2
Guardian writer Rice continues:
“For Somali refugees arriving in neighbouring Ethiopia, rates of severe malnutrition are as high as 23%, according to Oxfam. A 4% incidence normally constitutes an emergency.”
The Dadaab refugee camp in northern Kenya, destination for multitudes of dispossessed Somalis and Ethiopians, was designed to be able to house 90,000 persons; it now is inhabited by some 400,000. Wildfires in the U.S. Southwest have reportedly been threatening the Los Alamos nuclear-weapons facility in New Mexico—the very birth-place of nuclear arms, that “destroyer of worlds.” Neo-liberalism in the U.S. threaten budget cuts of perhaps $100 billion in Medicaid health-care services for millions of impoverished U.S. citizens, including many children—services from which mere residents of the country (that is, ‘illegals’) are barred. Greece’s capitalist class votes to institute thoroughly destructive economic reforms, in total contradiction of the expressed wishes of the Greek populace, with total disregard for social well-being. It sends its police forces to stop solidarity-activists from taking much-needed supplies to the besieged Gazan Palestinians. A recently released Brown University report finds the number of millions displaced by U.S. wars in the past decade to be 7.8, with some $4 trillion having been wasted on such barbarism. The ongoing disaster at the Fukushima-Daichi plant is likely far worse than capital and the State have said it to be: in the patriarchal formulation of former nuclear operator Arnold Gundersen, Fukushima is the “biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind.”
“We have 20 nuclear cores exposed, the fuel pools have several cores each, that is 20 times the potential to be released than Chernobyl. The data I’m seeing shows that we are finding hot spots further away than we had from Chernobyl, and the amount of radiation in many of them was the amount that caused areas to be declared no-man’s-land for Chernobyl.”
Clearly we must have the development and intervention of a new constitutive power, one different and better than most that have been had. One noteworthy historical model is that of the processes which overthrew slavery in Saint Domingue/Haiti in the years following the French Revolution—the only successful slave rebellion in recorded human history. To consideration of that project is here shared Carlos Santana’s “Toussaint L’Ouverture”—a work whose reproduction here should not be taken to condone Toussaint’s dictatorial methods following Haiti’s formal independence, the debasement and murder by armed ex-slaves of family-members of French slaveowners, or the tortured history of that space since 1804, brutalized like so much else by capitalist-fascism.
1 Xan Rice, “Drought in East Africa prompts calls to address humanitarian emergency,” The Guardian, 4 July 2011