Yesterday, July 4th 2020, was once again Dependence Day. I know that a lot folks are confused. Some people mistakenly call it “Independence Day”. Don’t worry, I’m here to set the record straight.
In 1776, a group of wealthy white people used poor white people, black people and international aid to continue colonizing and spreading genocide but without having to pay taxes to an overseas government. This resulted in the writing of the Constitution which despite overblown rhetoric about “the People”, worked primarily to solidify power in the hands of wealthy white men.
This has been by and large successful: the country continues to support and solidify power in the hands of wealthy white men. (There are now some exceptions made for wealthy white women and wealthy people of color but at a cost and without changing their relative status.)
The entire system, of course, is dependent on the subjugation and attempted eradication or erasure of all other groups. There would be no United States without the principles of white supremacy – assuming that white people were “predestined” as the “master race” to rule over the continent “from sea to shining sea”.
The country is dependent on the free labor of enslaved black people – originally in the plantation system, and now in the form of mass incarceration. The companies we rely on are invested in the maintenance of the police state. The police ensure that quotas are met – so many people per month turned to grist in the prison system. We benefit from the free labor and the wheels of capitalism spin on.
The United States is dependent on a lack of populous participation in voting. If you disbelieve this, check out what happened in Kentucky. Look into the voter suppression that has been going on since day one to ensure that only white people have the vote. White people are allowed to vote because we still buy into the myth that our whiteness will let us live the “American Dream”. See 2016.
We white people still think that we can pull ourselves up by our boot-straps. So we won’t vote for anyone who is actually working for our interests. We’d rather vote for demagogues.
The United States is dependent on the subjugation of women and the continual threat of violence if they behave in any way that might be disruptive. Just see how many women receive death threats and rape threats online for speaking out about just about anything.
The United States is dependent on the attempted erasure and eradication of indigenous people. We are not content with attempting to erase their cultures, their languages, or stealing their land, we continue to violate the terms of treaties. Indigenous people continue to be hit hard by police violence and an utter lack of health care (exacerbated by the pandemic).
So, yes, happy Dependence Day to us all. The country we live in is dependent on our subjugation, suppression and exploitation. It does not serve anyone but the wealthy elite. It does not provide justice. It does not protect us.
My proposed alternative is vaguely based on loose communities formed of like-minded people across the country. There’s also something in it about turning lands back over to their rightful owners and paying reparations. There also is definitely something about taking stock, having a reckoning, abolishing the police and the prison system, providing a Universal Base Income and health care…
I suppose if the United States were able to accommodate these needs, then maybe it could continue as a country. Maybe we could even talk about having an independence day from our past self.
Until then, happy belated Dependence Day.