When you think of slavery, you probably envision black folks working out in the cotton fields, in tattered clothing, being mistreated, malnourished, and overworked. But, slavery comes in many forms and has many characteristics. Human trafficking girls into sex, using drugs and violence is a form of slavery. Children working in factories for underpaid wages, deadly working conditions, malnourished and physically and mentally abused is a form of slavery. Back in the 1700’s, Chinese workers who were forcibly brought to America to work in the unhealthy and inhumane conditions in mines until they literally fell over and died from exhaustion or were shot for entertainment was a form of slavery. Women being forced into brothels or children sent to work in mines or farms with no food, no income, and repeatedly beaten was a form of slavery.
So, what is slavery? Is it the oppression of black men and women from the 1700’s through the mid 1800’s in America? Is it the Chinese workers who suffered indignities far beyond that? Perhaps the girls who are kidnapped from their homes and sold for sex trades are slavery? Not all of them are the same color. Not all of the people who have suffered these indignities came from a single nation. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Slavery has been a global issue for as long as there has been … well … a globe!
Attila the Hun was an infamous tyrant for two reasons: his terrifying, murderous rampages to dominate foreign lands, and his enslavement of every man, woman, and child, he didn’t happen to kill. Rome was infamous for its slavery of men, women, and children – and all of multi-ethnic backgrounds. Egyptian pharaohs kept slaves (such as the Jews, for example) to do their bidding, paying them nothing, whipping them, and forcing them to labor under terrible conditions in the burning heat. Even tribal groups in the Americas were known to have slaves among their own long before Africans were enslaved in America.
The only conclusion one can draw from this multitude of planetary-wide, indiscriminate slavery is that slavery has nothing to do with a prejudice, color, gender, age, creed, or nationality. And, since slavery is clearly not limited by such boundaries, then what could possibly characterize slavery? Is it physical and/or mental abuse? That seems too small since everyone in the world could potentially be a slave at some point. Perhaps the abuse has to be more epic – although even that potentially categorizes large groups of people without much discernment? Is it economic, whereby people aren’t paid for their services and aka. the term, “slave labor”? Is slavery limited to the idea of freedom, a concept based on perception that varies from person to person?
Perhaps … slavery is a little bit of all those things.
This brings to question: is slavery dead? And, if not, what does modern slavery look like? After all, human trafficking takes place everyday in the world. Certain countries stuff children into factories and work them until they bleed out. There are even modern cases of parents working children and others without pay, refusing them daylight, and forcing them into hard labor. But, do any of these … or all of these … or even some of these, count as slavery?
Perhaps the best way to assert the facts about slavery is not to take it from the mouths of those who choose to obnoxiously express their feelings about being victimized in a world that is clearly not as color-prejudice as the media would have you think, but evaluate the circumstances that surrounded the real victims. Let’s go back to that image of early America, where Africans were brought over and put into the fields to work. Why were they brought here? Well, setting aside the idiocy of their own people who sold them out, it was an economic issue. Slavery started because indentured servitude just didn’t make enough money – even if it hurt the innocent men and women who gave up everything trying to find freedom. Even the Chinese were brought over because of money. In fact, almost every form of slavery, just shy of locking someone in a basement, is economically based.
Are you, a slave? Are you a commodity? Are you a serial number on a human resource sheet, bank statement, marketing campaign, or DMV record that has been repeatedly de-humanized? Are you forced to work through some form of threat or control – say like, the with holding of food or water if you don’t?
Yes, it’s hard to think of slavery outside of the overtly abusive and horrifying treatment of some individuals (such as sex trafficking). Yet, the current leadership in America over the black community is still pushing and pushing and pushing to gain privilege over others, pulling themselves up the ladder of greed, relying on a practice of slavery that died almost a couple hundred years ago. What about their strife makes the struggles of anyone else less important? In truth – it doesn’t, and we know that. But, why do people still give in, still surrender, and still allow others to push them around and walk all over them, using guilt for something that is no worse a historical travesty than any other? Pitting people against people is slavery … Rome did it in the Colosseum, and just like in the early Roman empire, today, the lions still win. Black vs. white, Mexican vs. American, men vs. women … and the battles keep being waged … not in the streets or by the people, but by Universities, the media, and the press who are driven by corporations to push children, push adults, and drive the wedge that keeps people weak, so the corporate big cats may strike.
Perception is an instrumental consideration when evaluating what slavery is. Some may see what Oliver Twist endured as slavery because he was used to make one person wealthy, being forced to break the law, and barely able to eat – and certainly wasn’t free. On the other hand, with no one else willing to take him in or take care of him, Oliver was at least sheltered and fed (if not in the least at the most inhumane levels imaginable).
But, this is not the 5th century with barbarians running the countryside on horseback. It’s not the medieval ages with kings raping and taking girls as they please. It’s not even the early pioneer days of America with farmers, factory workers, and gold miners. This is the 21st century. Today, we have cars, television, and nationalized borders. Today, every country has a militia, many have nuclear weapons, and far too many people have cell phones. Machines pick cotton in the fields far more effectively than any human being. Mining with slaves is about a 1000 times less efficient than paying an experienced crew with tools. And, nobody’s building pyramids.
Is slavery over?
Try picturing the world, 3000 years from now, looking back, what would they say?
- Those people were denied water and food unless they worked.
- Those people were told by marketing, television, and government how to think and behave.
- The separation in classes between the slave owners (the millionaire – billionaire’s club) and the working classes was heart breaking.
- The people were kept in line with authority figures they feared and dared not back-talk without repercussion.
- No one was free to travel without someone watching them and guiding their trips, funneling them into pre-chosen destinations.
- No one could just talk openly – they were monitored and sometimes arrested for speaking out of turn.
- Their goods and belongings were often times taken by the authority figures and never returned.
Is that, freedom? You are not free to watch what you want – you are free to watch what is chosen for you, when you work to afford to pay them to force you to watch what they create. Take the recent Paramount pictures attack on fan films: evidence that the capitalist ‘machine’ can use government power and armed authority to control what’s said. Sure – you might be thinking, ‘If you don’t think America’s free, then try living in one of those third world countries!‘
Are you aware how much News is censored and controlled? If you understood that it was done to control how you think, where you travel, and what you submit to … well … it might look a little oppressive. Perhaps you think the food you eat is freedom? If you knew what was in that food, and just how terrible it was … well, just remember, even Oliver Twist got a bowl of grog. But, you have a job, make money, and have shelter, right? Geishas – have shelter. Slaved factory workers in China – have shelter. Maybe it’s how nice your shelter is, right? Try not paying your rent or mortgage. Or, maybe you own land – try not paying your taxes. But you have a home … and a car … and … well … you got them because you ‘had’ to (really?), and to keep them you ‘have’ to keep working (really?), and to keep them safe you ‘have’ to pay taxes (really?), and … and … and …
Who says? To whom are you captive? Yourself? Well … that’s what you’re thinking – because that’s what they tell you. But, you didn’t create the system the way it is – the same as victims of slavery in early America didn’t ask for their problems, either. Technically, if you want to focus on having things but being forced into eternal labor with no hope of escape, you don’t have to think of it as slavery, think of it as indentured servitude simply because you have, ‘stuff’. Just, don’t be surprised when that justification falls short of the truth.
What appears to be freedom may substantially be the farthest thing from free you can imagine. Your cars, your home, your food, and even your clothes – the resources and origins are kept from you. The costs are raised to make sure you can’t get ahead … and even if you can – either you put it in a bank or other security – or you lose it. Money is not yours to have – it’s the carrot in front of the donkey. Just look at the picture way back at the beginning … black slaves who were well dressed and fed … creating ‘wants’ and ‘desires’ to feed a growing need for status that could be used against them like it’s used against the world, today. And, yes, there are a few folks who get rich … supposedly … but their wealth came at the cost of your freedom. Ever think about the fallacy of voting in a two party system when the two parties are the same people (establishment)? That’s deception. Deception’s designed to control … and control … is slavery. Maybe you work and live the way you do because that’s what freedom is, right? Who says? The books you were raised with in school? ‘Cause frankly it wasn’t the modern authors of the day who were writing to warn the people about what was coming (ie Grapes of Wrath)! And, didn’t you learn later on that those school books sort of ‘twisted’ history, left out parts of the story, and told things in a peculiarly false light? Deception.
Maybe you live and work the way you do because that’s what your mom and dad taught you! No way they were lied to or led astray! Well … of course, that is … unless you knew that they learned those things from their parents who heard it from their parents who heard it from campaign ads sponsored by the same corporations that are billionaire moguls today. For instance, did you know that drinking 8 glasses of water today is not really a necessity for hydration? Perhaps you didn’t know that the saying, ‘No two fingerprints are alike,’ is a bunch of bongo? Sadly, if you were to look into it, almost everything your parents knew when raising you – was a lie passed down to them.
Free speech? Then why is Facebook, Youtube, and even your cell phone free to be monitored (and it is probably being monitored right now). Think that my typing this is an expression of freedom? Freedom and rebellion are very different matters. Remember, this is a modern era. Even African slaves couldn’t be controlled with just whipping them. Their families were put in danger. They were offered goods, arranged marriages, and more. Even today, the push for black Americans to fight for privilege over others is just another form of slavery. It keeps the tensions high, the dissension higher, and as long as the people are at war with one another – they’re too busy to see what’s happening right in front of them.
Perhaps you’re free because you can choose who you marry. And, on that, I might relent. Of course, throughout the annals of history, enslaved peoples found ways to get married. On the other hand – your marriage is not entirely as free is as it may sound. The so-called traditions of our time like rings, wedding dresses, and even church-based ceremonies are modern inventions of corporations. It’s a great way to keep tabs on people – like a census.
If you wanted to control a group of people, would putting leashes on them, kicking them night and day, and then locking them in cages be very motivating? You would need to give them water and food. And, even then, if they sit and think too long – they’ll devise ways to break free and take out their vengeance. So, it’s best to make sure you supply them with entertainment. Of course, literally kicking them everyday may eventually wear them down to the point of retaliation … after all, even golden retrievers have been known to snap when little kids keep beating their unborn pups in the belly (yes … true story … witnessed it first hand). So, it’s good to give them things to buy. After all, you’re distributing the money to them for their services, why not trick them into giving it right back? They might interpret their lifestyle as “free”, distracted by all those ‘things’ of the world.
Look, this could go on and on. I think the point is clear – the face of modern slavery doesn’t look like its 5th century counterpart with the scourge of god and his hun lords raiding your village. Today, your governmental authorities simply raise your taxes and take more, and more, and more, passing laws without your involvement, giving themselves more authority – and taking over your villages … ‘hun’ style. You haven’t been chained down because this isn’t the 18th century. You’re free to move around, within a limited range and set routine that keeps you working on a non-stop cycle and only gives a little when they can trick you into traveling and giving back the money they gave you. Again, even though these ‘modern’ forms of slavery aren’t sex trafficking or running child factory workers … it’s still slavery … and it may be too hard for you to see it – when you’re in the middle of it.
Did you ever wonder if the reason that the News tells you about the things you can’t control and have no part of is to keep you from seeing what’s right in front of your eyes? Can you compare one bad story to another? Just because one child was beaten and another neglected doesn’t make one situation worse than the other … both suffer. Interesting that the picture above puts forced prostitution in the same light as financial debt. After all … wherever you live … whatever your country (especially America), your government, your employers, your leaders, have ensured that one way or another – you’re in debt. And, ‘stuff’ is the heroine that will keep you coming back … trust me … that’s why Hollywood exists (status!!!).
I know … this sounds like some crazy, stupid conspiracy theory … ‘thing.’ I don’t disagree. But, after listening to the News, watching the elections, seeing the commercials, and hearing everyone walk around like zombies – ignoring the lies of what’s being done and accepting it as if it was okay – I can’t help but wonder: is this the face of modern slavery?
Hope this wasn’t too much of a bummer. Next one will be more light-hearted, I promise!
“They say ‘modern slavery’, you say ‘modern slavery’. .. Don’t mistake one for the other, don’t make one worse than the other … otherwise … the truth remains hidden.” – Me