There are three ways to win wars.
On the street…
On the battlefield…
At the policy table…
Or through a combination of the three approaches.
For example, the continent of Africa expelled European colonizers to gain independence, correct?
Perhaps, but African colonialism was replaced with a growth-inhibiting partnership of the European and African elite classes, as well as their respective governments. How else can you explain the impoverished Democratic Republic of Congo extracting over USD 40 billion in resources from its mines between 2007 and 2012, but its citizens see almost none of the wealth or even an infrastructure upgrade? Or how the African continent can generate more than USD 300 billion in fuel and mining exports and still require economic aid?
Most of you will think of the American Civil War and generate visions of disgraced, Confederate soldiers who lost their “way of life” to an uncompromising US government, while African-descendant slaves were finally free to leave the plantation prisons that they were once forced to call home.
But while everyday White Southerners lamented over the loss of some nebulous, conceptual lifestyle, the plantation owners had a more tangible problem—the immediate loss of their inexpensive labor force. Such adverse business conditions can bankrupt a Dixie oligarch.
Thankfully, these poor plantation chiefs received the gift of Black prison laborers—thanks to Reconstruction and the Black Codes.
Those Southerners who didn’t own slaves—but owned guns—had even less use for the remaining free Blacks, and conducted bloody pogroms.
Thousands of African descendants were murdered—and this lynching study by the Equal Justice Initiative makes me think there are even more dead, Black bodies to discover—but Capitol Hill never passed legislation to outlaw lynching.
Which collectively means these newly conquered Southern territories kept their states’ rights to conjure up decades of laws or blatant actions to mitigate the power of African-descendant citizens, or to ignore human rights violations.
And the North’s silence back then can only signal acceptance or endorsement.
Think about that for a moment—prior to the Civil War, the South used private property and states’ rights as their reasoning to protect slave ownership from the overbearing North.
And today, the South utilizes states’ rights to fight education reform, health care access and even the ability to cast votes.
Plus, these states get to maintain the presence of Confederate flags and monuments across the land south of the Mason-Dixon line.
So…who won the war?
song currently stuck in my head: “my first love” – rene & angela