NYU Black Renaissance Noire Fall 2015 Volume 15.2 - Page 60

Ancient history. What about Cuba today? What has this to do with Cuba? 58 Remember the Alamo? Honestly, no. The Euro-Americans who died at the Alamo were martyrs for the right to bring slavery to Mexico, which had abolished it in 1829, as well as to grab land from the Comanche in Mexican territory that, at the time, extended as far north as Colorado. To bring success to their mission, the settlers played the independence card, declaring themselves the Republic of Texas. Once the dust settled, the new nation seceded from Mexico, gained huge land spaces, and then got itself annexed to the United States with the right to slave labor guaranteed. When Rick Perry and other Texans bluster on about seceding from the u.s., they are not channeling the Confederacy so much as they are being nostalgic for the time Texans played the independence gambit and got away like bandits. (A few die-hards pretend that the Republic of Texas was never fully annexed, and today run a kind of Mom and Pop shadow government, for which a governor contestant recently ran as a secessionist and got 19,000 votes.) Declaring independence has been a key maneuver among the “Little Europes” — overseas colonies like Canada, Australia, Kenya, Rhodesia, Namibia and South Africa, whose European settlers came in numbers and settled to stay. In his book, White Supremacy: A Comparative Study of American and South African History, George M. Fredrickson describes the freedom these immigrants sought — the freedom to crush others — as “white freedom.” He summarizes, “Sometimes — as in the analogous cases of the Great Trek and southern secession — the cause of white freedom and independence was directly linked with a desire to maintain flagrant forms of racial hegemony.”2 In addition, Gerald Horne notes that when Ian Smith declared Rhodesia independent from Great Britain in order to block decolonization of what is now Zimbabwe, he “argued that his unilateral Declaration of Independence was a replay of 1776.” Cuba shares a painful historical experience with the Philippines. Filipino revolutionaries were gaining ground against Spanish colonialism until the United States came in and hijacked their insurrection, defeated Spain and battled the Filipino revolutionaries in a very bloody war (during which Americans refined water-boarding). The Philippines were shifted from one Euro-American colonizer to another. To save face, the Spanish colluded with the Americans to stage a phony naval battle before surrendering. This is a meme of Western colonialism, passing dominions around like call girls at a Dominique Strauss Kahn party instead of letting them fall into the hands of locals. Some say this Philippine intervention is ancient history, but the match is nearly perfect with the u.s. attack on Vietnam’s revolution for self-determination. The tool kit of u.s. expansionist geopolitics is well equipped. Always at hand are the staged event, the manufactured threat, the call to an endangered honor, and the seething media blitz. “You couldn’t make this stuff up,” says the cia chief in a Jason Bourne movie. But the real cia, the Pentagon and their media hacks have no writer’s block when it comes to fabricating a pro-war scenario. Richard Sanders compiled a number of examples in his article “How to Start a War: The American Use of War Pretext Incidents.” Pretexts for military offensives are no more occult than war games, espionage, black ops and white-washed historical narratives. Much of the discourse of u.s. state-craft is in fact framed according to pretexts. The Declaration of Independence, for example, serves as a pretext and very much like a Declaration of Innocence for current and future double-dealing.