On June 11, 2020, US President Donald Trump gave a remarkable interview to Fox News. Trump argued that he has done more for blacks in the Us “than any other president before me.” He then explicitly referred to Abraham Lincoln, who is said to have abolished slavery in the United States. Trump said, “Lincoln did good for the black community but the end is questionable.” Abraham Lincoln, elected 16th President of the United States in 1861 and assassinated in 1865 while still in office, had done good for blacks, but the end was questionable. The interviewer, Harris Faulkner, himself a black man, interrupted the white man by saying, “Well, we are free, Mr. President, so I think he did pretty well – Well, we are free, Mr. President. So I think he did it quite well.” Trump remained stubborn, saying, “Yes, we are free.” For him, it was about US freedom. To the freedom of his like. To freedom of capital. To the freedom to make maximum profits. The interviewer argued that it was about the freedom of black people.
In fact, Lincoln said in 1862, “What I do about slavery and the race of color, I do, because it helps to save the Union; and what I fail to do, I will refrain from doing because I do not believe that it would help to save the Union.” Accordingly, the result of the civil war, in which the North was supposedly concerned with the abolition of slavery, but in reality with the expansion of productive capital in the north also increasingly to the south and outwards and above all with the defense of the huge market and the enormous raw materials on the territory of the United States.
After the North’s federal troops defeated the Confederates of the Southern states, 19 of the 24 northern states continued to deny blacks the right to vote. And all southern states, in their new constitutions, stipulated the withdrawal of the right to vote for blacks. This was valid until 1900. Added to this were the “black codes,” laws that established a separation of whites and blacks throughout public life and in large parts of working life – and then became valid in important parts for a century, until the 1960s.
In the overall balance sheet, the current president of the United States is not so wrong with his assessment of Lincoln’s policies. The result of Lincoln’s politics, then implemented above all under his successors in office Andrew Johnson (1865-1969) and Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877), must indeed be described as “questionable”. Billionaire real estate speculator Donald Trump’s interpretation of the American Civil War expresses a class instinct that aligns with that of Abraham Lincoln. Both presidents could be put on the formula: “Make America great.” That will have to be returned.
500 years of the world market
“The discovery of the gold and silver lands in America, the extermination, enslavement and burial of the native population in the mines, the beginning of the conquest and plundering of East India, the transformation of Africa into an enclosure for the trade hunt for black skins, signify the dawn of capitalist production. These idyllic processes are the main moments of the original accumulation.” With this sentence Karl Marx described the foundations of the industrial revolution in Europe; he spanned an arc from the end of the 15th century to well into the 18th century. Under the original accumulation, Marx understood a first accumulation of capital in the form of infrastructural facilities, transport routes, canals, railways, buildings and machinery, which laid the foundation for industrialization. This basis was created in part by internal processes in Europe (modernization of agriculture, agricultural imports, displacement of peasants from the land and creation of a proletariat, extreme exploitation of it, including through women’s and child labour). However, the decisive part of this first capital stock was provided from outside: in the form of colonial spoils, above all of precious metals, and by huge profits from the slave trade.
Basically, it was about the first capitalist globalization. This was more intense than the globalization we have experienced in recent decades. The share of foreign trade in the total economy – now known as gross domestic product – of the slave trade and colonial countries of Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, The United Kingdom, and France is likely to have been much greater than in the case of the share of exports and imports in the gross domestic product of today’s world leaders, the US, China, Japan, and Germany.
It was about the first global expansion of capital. This was associated from the outset with expulsion and racism and anti-Semitism. 1492 was not only the year of the discovery of America. It was also the year of the Reconquista; this year, Granada was the last bulwark of the Arabs in Spain. At the same time, 150,000 Jews of the country who profess themselves as such were expelled. Three years later Christopher Columbus was at the head of a campaign against the natives of Santo Domingo. He returned with rich loot, including more than 500 captured Indians, who were sold as slaves in Seville. From the very beginning, the campaigns were mainly business; they were mostly financed by private individuals. Profit margins were clearly in the double-digit range. While in the current form of globalization the associated brutality – child labour in cobalt mining in Congo, cheap work by women in Bangladesh’s textile sheds, or recycling of highly toxic garbage from Europe in the form of family work in the dumps of Ivory Coast – often takes place covertly, it was usually exposed openly at the time. In his book “Africa. Walter Rodney writes: “John Hawkins made three trips to West Africa around 1560 and deported Africans to America, where he sold them. On his return after the first journey, his gain was so considerable that Queen Elizabeth I was interested in participating […]. For this purpose, she provided a ship called “Jesus”. Hawkings set out with ‘Jesus’ to kidnap even more Africans and returned to England with such a high profit that Queen Elizabeth knighted him. Hawkins chose the depiction of an African in chains as the coat of arms.”
Developed slave trade
The slave trade was a recognized business from the beginning. It was the reaction to the expansion of capital associated with the discovery – and forced depopulation – especially of the areas of South and North America. It was not clear from the outset that it hit the Africans. When the settlers in the colonies of America declared a need for manpower, they first tested the enslavement of the native population. This proved to be very limited in scope; above all, these people were quickly swept away by diseases. When the settlers demanded supplies of cheap labour from their home countries, they took action in a specific way: white “service members” were now hired and created above all by class justice. Gustavus Myers describes this in his sobering standard work on the US money nobility as follows: “Poor devils without heller and penny, who had been arrested and convicted for any of the numerous offences that were severely punished at the time, were transported to the colonies as criminals and sold as slaves for a period of years. The English courts were eager to grind human material for the plantings in Virginia.”
However, the result of these job creation measures was unsatisfactory. There were legal battles over “illegal deprivation of liberty,” rebelliousness – and, most importantly, that many of the recruits in America soon set out to act as settlers, a few hundred miles further west. The distinction of which white man is a master and which white man is a servant or slave was not always easy to make. This is not the case of slave imports from Africa. Because of their main color, escaped African slaves could easily be captured. At the same time, it turned out that they were also much more powerful than Native American or white slaves. The means of coercion, especially floggings, was used particularly often and with great brutality against Africans, which was clearly racially motivated.
Here, too, it is interesting to see how concretely the slave trade was organized as a globalized capitalist industry. There were concessions, monopolies and oligopolies; there were large companies that specialized in the purchase of Africans – i.e. manhunt – and their shipping (e.g. the Dutch West Indian Company or the British Royal African Company). There were specialists – doctors who had to tax the potential slaves (who were often shown soaked in palm oil during the review to make it difficult to determine age and physical condition). Only young, strong people were eligible; two-thirds of men and one third of women. The loss rate on the sea journey due to illness and through – very many! Suicides were calculated at 15 to 25 percent. The leading in the slave trade industry was, over the entire period, Great Britain, followed by the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, France and Kurbrandenburg. Large companies with proud names are due to the slave trade, such as Barclay Bank or insurer Lloyds. Rodney argues that there are branches down to the details of modern industry and writes about an early garage start-up: “Even James Watt remained attached to the West Indian slaveholders throughout his life because they had financed his famous steam engine and brought it from the drawing table to the factory.” Thriving port cities and commercial centers such as Liverpool, Genoa, Nantes, Lisbon, Seville, Amsterdam – and in the US New York, Boston, and Portland – owe their very existence to this thriving, globalized industry.
The number of those who arrived in the Americas and the Caribbean in three and a half centuries, between 1520 and 1867, when slaves were operational, is estimated at at least eleven million. Robert René Kuczynski wanted to know very well and came to 14,650,000. And there are also much higher estimates.
Dramatic repercussions on Africa
The African slaves came from different regions; for obvious reasons, often from the coastal areas or from a 200-mile-wide coastal strip. West Central Africa, Benin, Biafra and the Gold Coast had the biggest bloodletting. The loss of human beings for the African continent was, of course, enormous in purely quantitative terms. Some specific factors are to be considered that complement the drama: these figures related to those who arrived alive in America. It was not only the high losses in transport that were mentioned, where these victims were crammed together in a confined space, chained together. There have already been many deaths in the actual manhunt in Africa. The slave traders usually used African, local intermediaries, who in turn went on the hunt for human beings in organized campaigns.
As mentioned, only the most powerful young people – as physically grown as possible – ever entered the machinery of the slave trade. In contrast to many racist prejudices, buyers also made sure that they could bring people with high culture into the market. This has increased market prices. It was also important to catch people who had already had smallpox and were therefore immune to this disease, which at that time claimed numerous deaths.
This system, in turn, had a corrosive effect on the social structures in Africa itself. The economy of the entire continent was increasingly and for more than three centuries determined by the hunt for slaves and the slave trade. The loss of millions of people, especially the younger generation, meant that Africa, as the only region in the world, experienced only a population growth of around 20 percent between 1650 and 1900. Over the same period, the population of Asia tripled; Europe’s population quadrupled.
Clearly, the slave economy imposed by Europeans on the African continent had a massive impact on Africa, and only negatively. The colonial system, which developed in the tow of the slave trade and which in the 17th and 18th centuries led to a completely new division of Africa and the almost complete division of the continent among the great colonial powers, did the rest. Eventually, some South African peoples were enslaved by the Boers– who immigrated from Europe, which led to the apartheid system that existed there until the end of the 1980s. By the way, always strongly supported by American companies (but also by German companies such as VW and Siemens).
Europe’s capital stock
Conversely, the global system of colonial loot and slave trade had an invigorating effect on North America and Europe. This applies very directly to the import of the stolen precious metals. Thus, between 1503 and 1660 alone, 185,000 kilograms of gold and 16 million kilograms of silver from the colonies entered the Spanish port of San Lécar de Barrrameda in Andalusia. Eduardo Galeano assessed this in his grandiose opus “The Open Veins of Latin America” as follows: “The silver brought to Spain in just over a century and a half surpassed the total reserves of Europe three times […] The metals snatched from the new colonial areas promoted the economic development of Europe, and it can even be said that they made it possible in the first place. Not even the revolutionary influence of the conquest of the Persian treasures that Alexander the Great poured over the Hellenic world could be compared to this enormous contribution of America to foreign progress.” In this way, on the eve of the industrial revolution, the expansive money economy of Western Europe was promoted in a way on time; the coin demand could be met with the precious metals from the Americas and also from Africa , especially from Guinea. The Encyclopaedia Britannica explains that “the Guinea” was a “gold coin that was circulated in the United Kingdom. In 1663 it was coined for the first time during the reign of Charles II, of gold imported from the Guineacoast of West Africa by a company that traded there with the permission of the British Crown – hence the name.”
There are also attempts to calculate all the colonial profits that flowed into the entire capital stock in Europe at the beginning of the industrial revolution. It concerns the profits mentioned from the robbery and import of precious metals, the profits from the slave trade, the profits that the Dutch extracted from Indonesia, and the profits that England derive from the plundering of India. In summing up, Ernest Mandel writes: “If we add up these sums, we will receive more than a billion pounds of gold, that is, more than the value of total investment capital in all European industrialized nations around 1800. The flow of these huge capital masses into the trading nations of Europe between the 16th and the end of the 18th century not only created a favorable atmosphere for capital investment and “entrepreneurial spirit”, it in many demonstrable cases directly financed large manufactories and factory foundations, which gave with the impetus to the industrial revolution.”
Slave economy in the USA
There has never been a profitable future for a slave economy in Europe in recent times. It is true that African slaves were also shipped to Europe. But this was done rather in homeopathic dosage – for individual activities in banks, shipyards, hotels, trading houses, for service as service personnel in the houses of the new rich and in the manor houses of the old nobility. In principle, in Europe, there have always been enough workers in these centuries, even for low-paid jobs. Above all, however, the up-and-coming factory and the first factories were not suitable for slave labour. In America, however, with its immense natural treasures, with the areas untapped for the settlement of whites – freed up by the expulsion and liquidation of the native Indian population – slavery and the slave trade were profitable. This was true for so long and where an extensive plantation economy – with the cultivation of tobacco, rice, sugar cane, cotton – prevailed. Slavery, based on violence and naked coercion, proved too rigid for industrial development. Slaves must have coarse, unbreakable tools, which hinders the capitalist development of industry and also that of highly developed agriculture. The use of slaves and forced labor in a developed industry also proves to be prone to sabotage.
Accordingly, there was a considerable difference between the northern states and the south of the USA very early on in terms of the use of slaves. In 1680, 1805 slaves were counted in all northern states. In the southern states, there was not so much more at that time with 5076; almost three times. Ninety years later, in 1770, there were 47,735 in the northern states; in the southern states there was now an army of 422,141 enslaved people, almost nine times that. In 1860, at the start of the civil war, there were virtually no slaves left in the north (64 mentions the statistics); in the southern states, exactly 3,953,696 slaves were now listed in the statistics. The impression that the entire population in the South has benefited from the slave economy is wrong. In 1860, the nearly 4 million slaves listed were concentrated on 385,000 slaveholders. The entire white population was eight million people. The share of slaves in the total population was just under a third (wherethe slave population was explicitly not counted as human beings and not as part of the population, but as things and values).
Here, too, this treatment of slaves as a matter and as capital is illuminating. There was precise information on the value of a slave of specific qualifications, at what time and in which state. And there was a kind of cyclical movement of slave prices: between 1800 and 1837, the price of “an average, first-class field worker (young slaves in good shape, but unskilled)” climbed from 500 to 1300 dollars, then plummeted to 800 and 900 dollars in 1843-1848 – and climbed back to a record 1800 dollars by 1860.
The character of slaves as property was already reflected in the founding documents of the United States. The draft Declaration of Independence, written by the future President Thomas Jefferson and the basis of the separation from the British crown, stated: “He (the British. King; W.W.] has waged a cruel war against human nature by violating the most sacred rights of life and freedom among members of a distant people by capturing these people […] and taking them to another continent for slavery. […] This pirate warfare […] is the war of the Christian King of Great Britain…” This passage had to be deleted; it was unacceptable to the representatives of the southern states. In the constitution adopted in 1787, the oft-cited constitutional principle that “all human beings are by nature free and equal” did not refer to slaves. It states that the state should “rely on the domination of property.” For the South, this meant the ownership of slaves. For the North, it meant ownership in the commercial and financial sectors. By protecting property, the Constitution had also recognized the institution of slavery; only the import of slaves should be prohibited – but only after a 20-year period, i.e. in 1808. John Hope Franklin and Alfred A. Moss (Jr.) take stock in the enormously factual “history of blacks in the Usa” cited here: “It should then take 75 years to undo what was decided in Philadelphia. […] With the end of British rule […], the Americans could no longer blame the motherland for slavery. […] Ironically, it was America’s freedom that was supposed to ensure long-term survival for slavery at home than in the British Empire.”
Civil War and the End of Slavery
The American Civil War was above all an expression of the fact that the dynamic development of the productive forces in the North was increasingly constrained by the largely static situation in the South with its plantation economy, based on slave labor. However, the newly elected US President Abraham Lincoln would not have waged a war on the abolition of slavery. Lincoln had explained this several times, and in doing so he had come out as someone who is no stranger to racism. Speaking in Charleston, southern Illinois, in front of a Southern audience during his presidential campaign, he said: “So I say that I was not in favour of achieving the social and political equality of the black and white race in any way (applause); that I was neither now nor at some point in favour of making negroes voters or jurors, or admitting to them […] marrying whites. […] If they continue to stick together, there must continue to be inferior and higher-quality positions, and I am, like everyone else, in favour of giving the white race the higher-quality positions.”
It was the ruling circles in the South that effectively began the war by declaring themselves independent of the North shortly after the election of Lincoln as US President. This decision was played a major role in the decades-long decomposition of slavery in the South through mass and organized flight to the north (“Underground Railroad”) and widespread refusal to work. This decomposition was compounded by the fact that during the Civil War, hundreds of thousands of slaves turned their backs on their masters whenever the federal troops advanced and approached their farm, their plantation. In total, half a million blacks left their masters during the civil war in the South and moved to the North or hid until the end of the war.
The behaviour of the North’s leadership on whether blacks would be allowed to serve in the army proved to be highly contradictory. The North States General Henry Halleck had already argued for this at the beginning of the war for highly pragmatic reasons. Especially fugitive blacks from the south were willing in droves to leave their farms and join the Northern States troops. Lincoln, as US President, had objected to this. Thus, during the Civil War, blacks were for a long time denied fighting together with the white northern erasfor the liberation of their brothers and sisters with the weapon in their hands. Moreover, in 1861, on behalf of President Lincoln, The Northern States General Winfield Scott sent a call to Brigadier General McDowell to allow owners of escaped slaves in Virginia to cross the Potomac and reclaim fugitive slaves who had sought refuge behind the Union lines.
The North, however, changed its position on this issue by 180 degrees during the civil war. There were two reasons for this: On the one hand, the Southern states began convening blacks into the Confederate Army and promising them freedom if they served loyally until the end of the war. On the other hand, the purely military aspects were increasingly weighing on admitting blacks into the Northern States army (first of all with a salary equal to half of the whites' wages!). The result was astonishing: a total of 180,000 black men were recruited for the Union troops by the end of the war; Of these, 93,000 had come north from the breakaway states of the South. The blacks fought particularly bravely – and paid far disproportionately with death and injury. A total of 38,000 black soldiers lost their lives in the civil war; the death rate was 40 percent higher than for white troops.
The result of the civil war initially seemed to bring equality for blacks. Slavery was formally abolished with the thirteenth Amendement to the Constitution: “Neither slavery nor involuntary service is to be done in the United States […] except as a punishment for a crime for which the person concerned has been duly convicted.” Another constitutional amendment, the fifteenth amendment, said: “Citizens' right to vote may be exercised by the United States or by a federal state (!) not be refused or restricted on the basis of race, colour or a previous state of serfdom.' In 1875, a federal civil rights act even banned blacks from hotels, theaters, railroads, and other public institutions.
Apartheid by US style
Nevertheless, there was a comprehensive rollback. This was, of course, mainly due to pressure from the old Southern elites. However, it was also made possible by a sometimes passive, sometimes active support, especially from the Lincoln successor in the presidency, Andrew Johnson. The old southern states introduced the Black Codes, provisions that equated the freed serfs who were still working on the plantations – now on the basis of contracts that they could only break at the expense of a prison sentence. In 1870, individual states in the South – first Tennessee and then all other southern states – passed laws against mixed marriages of both races. Five years later came the so-called “Jim Crow Law” (again first in Tennessee and then in all southern states): blacks and whites were separated on trains, at train stations, in toilets, at the harbour quays. The Supreme Federal Court repealed the Civil Rights Act in 1883. Now black people were no longer allowed to visit all the hotels, hairdressing shops, restaurants, theatres and cinemas where white people were traveling. A separate school system and “racial segregation” were established at universities. With the adoption of the new constitutions in the individual southern states, the “color line”, the barrier between black and white, became firmly entrenched. In 1886, the Supreme Federal Court upheld the “racial segregation” in a “separate-but-equal” doctrine.
A very large part of these racist legislations should now last another three quarters of a century. “racial segregation” also survived the two world wars in which African-Americans contributed much to the victory of U.S. troops. Until a new massive confrontation, which was once again to take on almost civil war-like proportions: the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
The rollback described was, as has almost always been the story, not one that would have played out solely at the level of governments, parliaments, and courts. Rather, it was enforced by open force. The white elite in the southern states used their economic power to form terrorist organizations, especially the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan was founded in 1865, banned by Congress in 1871, then continued to operate locally; Newly founded in 1915, formally dissolved in 1944, but in fact still existing to this day – already a few years after its founding, it had half a million members. He carried out a nationwide terror, which killed hundreds of people of black skin. Especially in the late 1860s and early 1870s, then reinforced again between 1889 and 1913, there were thousands of local acts of terrorism with violent excesses and lynchings. The latter were often held in public; Up to 15,000 people took part. Howard Zinn: “Between 1889 and 1903, an average of two blacks a week were lynched by mobs – hanged, burned, mutilated.”
Class struggle and racism
Racism is always a means of dividing society across social classes. Racism is intended to counteract the decisive division, the social, distraction and the organization of the poor and lower classes in the class struggle. The white working class, especially those in the north, often feared competition from black low-wage workers. The Long White Union Of Labour (AFL) often supported this stance and refused to include blacks in its ranks until after World War I. Blacks, on the other hand, could be mobilized as strike breakers. This is what happened in 1863 during the dockworkers' strike, where the dilemma and evil politics of the white ruling class became particularly obvious: “3,000 dockworkers went on strike. Blacks took their places under police protection. When the government began to call in unemployed whites” – all this happened in the midst of the civil war! – “They saw this as a sheer mockery that doubled the injustice of dismissal: black people had been put on their jobs and were now sending them into a war that would free even more black son.”
After the First World War, there were large-scale racist clashes within the working class. In 1927, for example, the United Station Companies of Atlanta agreed in an agreement to give priority to white heaters over black heaters when it came to hiring. In 1932, ten black railroad workers were killed by white railroad workers on the Illinois Central Railroad in racist attacks. A breakthrough on this fatal front came when the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and Maids was founded in 1925 by the Pullman Company, which in the 1926-1937 period was an example of the successful organization of black and white railway workers. Similar progress has subsequently been made in slaughterhouses, meat processing and clothing. The creation of the Committee for Industrial Organisation (CIO), which was an organization “regardless of race,” marked a huge step forward in reducing the dangerous division among wage-earners.
During World War II – and in the run-up to the US entry into the war – there were again front positions along the color of the skin. The industry switched to large-scale arms production. Until now, the industry has been almost entirely driven by white workers. The aforementioned Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and Maids began organizing a march on Washington in January 1941 to establish the equality of black and white throughout the industry. Us President Roosevelt feared the reactions of the racist Nazi Party, which could expose racist US policy – and issued Executive Order 8802 on June 25, 1941, in which he declared that “there must be no discrimination in the employment of workers in the arms industry or in the civil service on the basis of race, faith, color or national origin, and it is the duty of entrepreneurs and trade unions to be , […] to ensure the full and equal participation of all workers in arms industries […].”
Nevertheless, in principle in the United States, this division of society along the color of people remained. The means of division, racism and the laws and measures that justify and strengthen these ones are still in place today. The countries of Uruguay and Argentina show that history could have been completely different. In the 16th to the 18th century, there were a comparable number of african people who ended up there as slaves and were stranded. But in these two countries, the population has completely mixed up. While in Uruguay, for example, at the beginning of the 20th century there were still some associations that felt connected to Africa’s cultural heritage, today there are no longer any associations – especially as a result of this mixture. Nor is there any racism in these countries comparable to that in the United States. There is no basis for this.
Continue marching on the endlessly long road
“Black Lives Matter” - this slogan basically stands for the centuries-long struggle for the emancipation of African Americans. The life of the Africans in the two Americas counted for centuries nothing – in the eyes of the rulers and colonialists it was – already purely formal – not people, but things; book values and Unvalues. And when formal slavery was abolished, in the eyes of racists, African Americans were subhuman; they come, as racist Trump used to say, from “Shithole Countries – from shithole States.” And since many of them were killed, it is – as the president – in-office also said - “all just losers” who are not worth remembering.
The Black Lives Matter movement, which emerged in 2013, stands in the long Tradition of a committed, creative and diverse resistance that these centuries-long enslaved, abducted and to this day systematically discriminated against. Who knows today that in the north-east of Brazil, in Alagoas, in the years 1630 to 1697, there was the Republic of Palmares, a state of the Africans: tens of thousands of escaped slaves had settled there. They defied several sieges by Portuguese and Dutch for decades. Only in 1697 could a superior military force overcome the fortifications and take the city. The leaders of the insurgents, also called” Maroons”, plunged from a rocky outcrop to certain death. Until recently, who knew anything about the “Underground Railroad” with its thousands of organizers and quartermasters – among them a few hundred whites? Who knows today the great analyses and writings of W. E. B. Du Bois and the Niagara Movement, first founded 115 years ago in 1905, which would later develop into the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People – NAACO – which was important and often successful for decades? Of the Civil Rights Movement, which began in the mid-1950s and reached its peak in the early 1960s, the names Martin Luther King and Malcolm X are still present. Perhaps also the sentences from the famous, last great King speech"I have a dream". It is hardly known how threatening the ruling class in the United States felt about the mass mobilizations of the time, the enormous financial, intelligence and police resources they used to buy in, Destroy and even-in the case of the Black Panther activists – murder the leaders of this movement. The successes brought about by the mass movements of the 1960s are still significant today: large parts of the described rollback, which had followed the Civil War, had to be withdrawn. This may also have to do with the fact that this movement ran parallel to the Vietnam War – and that US imperialism suffered a heavy military defeat for the first time in this war. The weakening of the outside was at the same time a weakening of the inside – and gave the emancipation movement scope.
Quite obviously, the claim often made by racists that blacks endured their fate or would at best rebel uncontrollably is false. There is a wide range of well-organized movements for the emancipation of African Americans, with ramifications in the fields of culture, art, music, and sports. The anti-racist Statements of the US Basketball professionals in the years 2018 to 2020, above all the statement of Colin Kaepernick " Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything. – Believe in one thing. Even if that means sacrificing everything, " is in the tradition of the protest of October 16, 1968, when American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists at the award ceremony at the Olympic Games in Mexico-dressed in black gloves. The now iconic photo is even trumped by the iconic phrase that the most famous Boxer of all time, Muhamed Ali, said when he refused military service – and thus military service in Vietnam – in June 1967: “I aint got no quarrel with them Vietcong – I have no quarrel with this Vietcong.”
Racism is used again and again by the rulers – in times finer and in times less finer dosage – as a cleavage agent. Armin Laschet knows that Bulgarians brought the Virus to Rheda-Wiedenbrück. Trump knows that Corona “is a Chinese Virus”. And the Red Cross in the US knew long after World War II that the blood of blacks and whites must be kept separate and used in the blood banks set up to rescue the wounded. The banal recognition that the crucial dividing line is the one that runs along the social classes can easily be forgotten against the backdrop of this racist pandemic. And also that racism was only invented by modern society – and this is capitalist society – for the sole purpose of division. W. E. B. Du Bois: “the discovery of the whiteness of a Person is a very modern thing among the peoples of the Earth – only a thing of the 19th and 20th centuries. Antiquity would have laughed at such a decision. The Middle Ages regarded skin color with mild curiosity, and even in the eighteenth century we hammered our national masculine with full zeal until it had become the great universal man, ignoring skin color and race even more than birth. Today we have changed all that, and the world has discovered in a sudden, emotional frenzy that it is white and therefore wonderful.”