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Old 12-01-2004
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Default Why I Hate Thanksgiving

I know this is a bit old, but hey, I didn't check the e-mail where I get all my events and news articles to until today:

November 25, 2004
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?
Why I Hate Thanksgiving (2004 Version)
By MITCHEL COHEN

On Thanksgiving morning 2003, George W. Bush showed up in Iraq before
sunrise for a photo-op, wearing an Army workout jacket and surrounded by
soldiers. He cradled a platter with what appeared to be a golden-brown
turkey. Washington Post reporter Mike Allen wrote that "the bird looks
perfect, with bunches of grapes and other trimmings completing a Norman
Rockwell image that evokes bounty and security in one of the most dangerous
parts of the world."

As the world was soon to learn (but quickly forgot), the turkey platter was
a phony, a decoration, that Bush posed with for the cameras. Bush shook a
few hands, said a few "God Bless Americas," and scurried back to his plane
as quickly as he had arrived.

Thus, in one fell swoop, the new Conquistador had tied to history's bloody
bough the 511-year-old conquest of the "New World" * whose legions smote the
indigenous population in the name of Christ * with last year's bombardment
and invasion of Iraq and the torture-detentions of prisoners of war at U.S.
military bases.

Since last Thanksgiving George Bush's America has filled the Iraqi landscape
with depleted uranium armaments that have poisoned the agriculture and water
supply for thousands of years to come.

As I write, U.S. troops are blasting their way through the town of Fallujah,
and hundreds of dead civilians lie in the streets everywhere. The military
calls them "corpses" and "collateral damage" * and so too do the media. U.S.
and British journalists have fled the carnage and return only as "embeds" *
reporters planted in the safety of large army squadrons * embellishing
slightly on military press releases and faxing their reports to their
editors as "eyewitness news". It is only through the photos taken by Arab
journalists and independent media that we learn of the actual horror, of the
children's bodies lying in the street alongside the tanks as American
soldiers satisfactorily survey the scene.

The NY Post ran a picture of one of these soldiers and captioned him the
"Marlboro Man," the generic embodiment of what it means for them to be a
"man," rugged, oil-smeared face dragging on a U.S. cigarette. It's not the
individual grunt's fault that the media needs to invent its heroes in such
caricatures, but forgive me if I look elsewhere * perhaps to the guerrillas,
to the hundreds of military resisters, to the immigrants rounded up for
simply existing, to lawyers like Lynne Stewart who are fighting against the
USA Patriot Act and the decimation of the Bill of Rights * for reminding of
what it means to be human in an era of robots.

Similarly, in Palestine where Israeli occupiers are building a huge wall *
basically, a concentration camp * around and through Palestine, paid for by
U.S. tax dollars.

The mind set that created the first Thanksgiving in the 17th century on the
corpses of murdered Pequot Indians runs free today in the 21st century over
the corpses of murdered Iraqis, Afghanis, and Palestinians.

* * *

In November 2003, as George Bush's plane was landing in the pre-dawn hours
for his faux-dinner in Iraq, I wrote "Why I Hate Thanksgiving," and it ended
up being published all over the place under various titles, such as
Counterpunch's" Genocide? Pass the Turkey." Much has transpired since then.
But, despite enormous antiwar protests that shook the world, the true
history of what Thanksgiving represents, as I discussed in my article, has
re-emerged without apology from the Shopping Malls of suburbia in the form
of the Night of the Living Dead. The elections were stolen, and ignorant
armies are clashing everywhere by night.

I received hundreds of letters responding to that essay; In future printings
of this booklet I will append readers, comments, so please send them to me.
In this printing I've supplemented some historical views and made some other
adjustments.

One additional consideration has to do with our fetishization of
"Thanksgiving food," why we eat it, where it comes from. While I fondly
remember the results of Aunt Dora's secret recipe for her delicious turkey
stuffing that I enjoyed so much as a kid, I am revolted by the annual ritual
slaughter of tens of millions of turkeys, which many of us feast on while
watching equally sanitized images of blown-up Iraqi and Afghan children.

William Kunstler, bless his soul * whirling as he is in his grave furiously
trying to generate the energy needed to power all the indymedia websites
worldwide * towards the end of his life began to speak of the link between
the mass slaughter of animals, capital punishment and the history of
colonization ... and, what we'd need to do to begin to change things:
"Marjorie Spiegel, a neighbor of mine in Greenwich Village, has written a
most compelling book * The Dreaded Comparison * in which she details the
devastating similarities between animal and human slavery," Kunstler argues.

He continues:

"Alice Walker, in her most eloquent foreword, states that The animals of the
world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more
than black people were made for whites or women for men., ...

"We owe it to ourselves and the animal world as well to create, not merely a
body of rules and regulations to govern our conduct but a level of
sensibility that makes us care, deeply and constructively, about the entire
planet and all of its varied inhabitants. If we can accomplish this, then,
perhaps, in some far-off day, those who follow us down the track of the
generations will be able to dwell in relative harmony with all the creatures
of the earth, human and nonhuman."

The ritual slaughter of turkeys; the fact that each American's average
Thanksgiving dinner is 2000 calories, and that we live in a country with 5%
of the world's people consuming 27% of the world's natural resources, while
making 50% of its garbage * these present us with strong arguments against
factory farming, with its subjugation of animals (and plants) to severe
abuse, genetic engineering, pesticides, and a sewer of antibiotics, leading
to conditions that not only torture the animals but enter the U.S. diet and
severely impact on human health.
We are getting sicker as a nation physically, as well as mentally. The two
are related.

We know that we need to speak truth to power, and that justice will prevail
eventually; the questions, though, are "How long is eventually?" "How many
people must be tortured and killed in the meantime?" And, "How can we stop
it? What do we need to do, NOW?"

After reading my essay, one writer wrote: "Good Lord, I'm so depressed! I
hope he doesn't write Why I Hate Christmas,! His family must really look
forward to his arrival on Thanksgiving Day. For my sanity's sake I think
I'll cling to the revisionist version!"

Another writer asked me: "I've been reading your posts for years and I
wonder, is there anything you celebrate and take joy in? We never hear about
those things, but only about what you find wrong with the world. What do you
find right?"
I can answer in one word: "Resistance." Celebrate Resistance. That is what I
take joy in, Resistance in its political, artistic, social, and sexual
forms.

* * *

This Thanksgiving Day, I will get together with MY family * those of you who
believe in resistance * and FAST in front of U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer's
house in Park Slope, Brooklyn, to protest his support for the wars against
Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. financing of Israel's occupation of
Palestine, and the detention and torture of immigrants and prisoners of war
by the U.S. government.

I will fast outside Sen. Schumer's in order to meditate upon the historical
threads that bind U.S. policy today to its colonial genocide of the Native
people of Turtle Island.

I will fast for Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and all political
prisoners in the United States.

I will fast against the USA Patriot Act, repression of immigrants, and the
decimation of the Bill of rights.

I will fast against global ecological devastation.

I will fast to better contemplate what new forms the resistance will take.

The effort in finding ways to turn despair into resistance is a happy one.
CREATE the alternative. BE the alternative. Don't let the system determine
for us how to experience its rituals and warfare, or the approved ways to
combat its terror. Be Creative. Resistance keeps you young, forever!

Mitchel Cohen
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
November 25, 2004


Why I Hate Thanksgiving (the Original Version)
by MITCHEL COHEN
with much material contributed by Peter Linebaugh and others whose names
have been lost

The year was 1492. The Taino-Arawak people of the Bahamas discovered
Christopher Columbus on their beach.

In A People's History of the United States, historian Howard Zinn writes how
Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their
villages onto the island's beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the
strange big boat. When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying
swords, speaking oddly, the Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food,
water, gifts. Columbus later wrote of this in his log. Here is what he
wrote:
"They brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other
things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks, bells. They
willingly traded everything they owned. They were well-built, with good
bodies and handsome features. They do not bear arms, and do not know them,
for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out
of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of sugar cane. They
would make fine servants. With 50 men we could subjugate them all and make
them do whatever we want."
And so the conquest began, and the Thanotocracy * the regime of death * was
inaugurated, for the first time, on the continent the Indians called "Turtle
Island."

You probably already know a good piece of the story: How Columbus's army
took Arawak and Taino people prisoners and insisted that they take him to
the source of their gold, which they used in tiny ornaments in their ears.
And how, with utter contempt and cruelty, Columbus took many more Indians
prisoner and put them aboard the Nina and the Pinta * the Santa Maria having
run aground on the island of Hispañola (today, the Dominican Republic and
Haiti). When some refused to be taken prisoner, they were run through with
swords and bled to death. Then the Nina and the Pinta set sail for the
Azores and Spain. During the long voyage, many of the Indian prisoners died.

Here's part of Columbus's report to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of
Spain:

"The Indians are so naive and so free with their possessions that no one who
has not witnessed them would believe it. When you ask for something they
have, they never say no. To the contrary, they offer to share with anyone."
Columbus concluded his report by asking for a little help from the King and
Queen, and in return he would bring them "as much gold as they need, and as
many slaves as they ask."

Columbus returned to the New World * "new" for Europeans, that is * with 17
ships and more than 1,200 men. Their aim was clear: Slaves, and gold. They
went from island to island in the Caribbean, taking Indians as captives.
But word spread ahead of them. By the time they got to Fort Navidad on
Haiti, the Taino had risen up and killed all the sailors left behind on the
last voyage, after the sailors had roamed the island in gangs raping women
and taking children and women as slaves. Columbus later wrote: "Let us in
the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold."

The Indians began fighting back, but were no match for the war technology of
the Spaniard conquerors, even though they greatly outnumbered them. In eight
years, Columbus's men murdered more than 100,000 Indians on Haiti alone.
Overall, dying as slaves in the mines, directly murdered, or dying from
diseases brought to the Caribbean by the Spaniards, over 3 million Indian
people were murdered in the Americas between 1492 and 1508.
What Columbus did to the Arawaks of the Bahamas and the Taino of the
Caribbean, Cortez did to the Aztecs of Mexico, Pizarro to the Incas of Peru,
and the English settlers of Virginia and Massachusetts to the Powhatans and
the Pequots. Literally millions of native peoples were slaughtered. And the
gold, slaves and other resources were used in Europe * to spur the growth of
the new money economy rising out of feudalism. Karl Marx would later call
this "the primitive accumulation of capital." These were the violent
beginnings of an intricate system of technology, business, politics and
culture that would dominate the world for the next five centuries.

In the North American English colonies, the pattern was set early. In 1585,
before there was any permanent English settlement in Virginia, Richard
Grenville landed there with seven ships. The Indians he met were hospitable,
but when one of them stole a small silver cup, Grenville sacked and burned
the whole Indian village.

The Jamestown colony was established in Virginia in 1607, inside the
territory of an Indian confederacy, led by the chief, Powhatan. Powhatan
watched the English settle on his people's land, but did not attack. And the
English began starving. Some of them ran away and joined the Indians, where
they would at least be fed. Indeed, throughout colonial times tens of
thousands of indentured servants, prisoners and slaves * from Wales and
Scotland as well as from Africa * ran away to live in Indian communities,
inter-marry, and raise their children there.

In the summer of 1610 the governor of Jamestown colony asked Powhatan to
return the runaways, who were living among the Indians. Powhatan left the
choice to those who ran away, and none wanted to go back. The governor of
Jamestown then sent soldiers to take revenge. They descended on an Indian
community, killed 15 or 16 Indians, burned the houses, cut down the corn
growing around the village, took the female leader of the tribe and her
children into boats, then ended up throwing the children overboard and
shooting out their brains in the water. The female leader was later taken
off the boat and stabbed to death.

By 1621, the atrocities committed by the English had grown, and word spread
throughout the Indian villages. The Indians fought back, and killed 347
colonists. From then on it was total war. Not able to enslave the Indians
the English aristocracy decided to exterminate them.

And then the Pilgrims arrived.

When the Pilgrims came to New England they too were coming not to vacant
land but to territory inhabited by tribes of Indians. The story goes that
the Pilgrims, who were Christians of the Puritan sect, were fleeing
religious persecution in Europe. They had fled England and went to Holland,
and from there sailed aboard the Mayflower, where they landed near what is
now Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Religious persecution or not, they immediately turned to their religion to
rationalize their persecution of others. They appealed to the Bible, Psalms
2:8: "Ask of me, and I shall give thee, the heathen for thine inheritance,
and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." To justify their
use of force to take the land, they cited Romans 13:2: "Whosoever therefore
resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist
shall receive to themselves damnation."

The Puritans lived in uneasy truce with the Pequot Indians, who occupied
what is now southern Connecticut and Rhode Island. But they wanted them out
of the way; they wanted their land. And they wanted to establish their rule
firmly over Connecticut settlers in that area.

The way the different Indian peoples lived * communally, consensually,
making decisions through tribal councils * contrasted dramatically with the
Puritans, Christian fundamentalist values. For the Puritans, men decided
everything, whereas in the Iroquois federation of what is now New York state
women chose the men who represented the clans at village and tribal
councils; it was the women who were responsible for deciding on whether or
not to go to war. The Christian idea of male dominance and female
subordination was conspicuously absent in Iroquois society.

There were many other cultural differences: The Iroquois did not use harsh
punishment on children. They did not insist on early weaning or early toilet
training, but gradually allowed children to learn to care for themselves. On
the other hand, the pastor of the Pilgrim colony, John Robinson, advised his
parishioners: "And surely there is in all children a stubbornness, and
stoutness of mind arising from natural pride, which must, in the first
place, be broken and beaten down." The Pilgrims embraced those strict,
brutal practices.

Each tribe held to different sexual/marriage relationships; they practiced
many different sexualities, and celebrated them. These ideas repelled the
Puritan hierarchy and attracted some of the European "commoners". Native
people did not believe in ownership of land * that concept was totally
alien; they utilized the land, lived on it. The idea of "ownership" was
ridiculous, absurd. The European Christians, on the other hand, in the
spirit of the emerging capitalism, wanted to own and control everything
land, children, sexuality, and other human beings.

In 1636 an armed expedition left Boston to attack the Narragansett Indians
on Block Island. The English landed and killed some Indians, but the rest
hid in the thick forests of the island and the English went from one
deserted village to the next, destroying crops. Then they sailed back to the
mainland and raided Pequot villages along the coast, destroying crops again.

The English went on setting fire to wigwams in the village. They burned
village after village to the ground. As one of the leading theologians of
his day, Dr. Cotton Mather put it: "No less than 600 Pequot souls were
brought down to hell that day." And Cotton Mather, clutching his bible,
spurred the English to slaughter more Indians in the name of Christianity.

One colonist rationalized the plague that had destroyed the Patuxet people *
a combination of slavery, murder by the colonists and disease brought by the
English * as "the Wonderful Preparation of the Lord Jesus Christ by His
Providence for His People's Abode in the Western World."

The Pilgrims robbed Wampanoag graves for the food that had been buried with
the dead for religious reasons. Whenever the Pilgrims realized they were
being watched, they shot at the Wampanoags and scalped them. Scalping had
been unknown among Native Americans in New England prior to its introduction
by the English, who began the practice by offering the heads of their
enemies and later accepted scalps.

Three hundred thousand Indians were murdered in New England over the next
few years. It was the Puritan elite who wanted the war, a war for land, for
gold, for power. It is important to note that ordinary Englishmen did not
want this war. Often, very often, they refused to fight.

There has always been a strong anti-war movement in the United States and
when some Europeans refused to kill Indians, that was the start of this
proud heritage. Some European intellectuals like Roger Williams spoke out
against the genocide. And some erstwhile colonists joined the Indians and
even took up arms against the invaders from England. In the end, however,
the Indian population of 10 million that was in North America when Columbus
came was reduced to less than one million.

"What do you think of Western Civilization?" Mahatma Gandhi was asked in the
1940s. To which Gandhi replied: "Western Civilization? I think it would be a
good idea." And so enters "Civilization," the civilization of Christian
Europe, a "civilizing force" that couldn't have been more threatened by the
beautiful communal anarchy of the Indians they encountered, and so they
slaughtered them.

These are the Puritans that the Indians "saved", and whom we celebrate in
the holiday, Thanksgiving. Tisquantum, also known as Squanto, was a member
of the Patuxet Indian nation, and Samoset was of the Wabonake Indian nation,
which lived in Maine. They went to Puritan villages and, having learned to
speak English, brought deer meat and beaver skins for the hungry, cold
Pilgrims. Tisquantum stayed with them and helped them survive their first
years in their New World. He taught them how to navigate the waters, fish
and cultivate corn and other vegetables. He pointed out poisonous plants and
showed how other plants could be used as medicines. He also negotiated a
peace treaty between the Pilgrims and Massasoit, head chief of the
Wampanoags, a treaty that gave the Pilgrims everything and the Indians
nothing. And even that treaty, like hundreds to follow, was soon broken.

We learn in school to celebrate this as the First Thanksgiving. A community
college named "Massasoit" today commemorates that indigenous leader who
saved the Pilgrims.

Richard B. Williams, a Lakota Sioux and the executive director of the
American Indian College Fund * a historian, educator and the founder of the
Upward Bound Program at the University of Colorado at Boulder * casts this
tale in a very different light:

"One day in 1605, a young Patuxet Indian boy named Tisquantum and his dog
were out hunting when they spotted a large English merchant ship off the
coast of Plymouth, Mass. Tisquantum, who later became known as Squanto, had
no idea that life as he knew it was about to change forever.

"His role in helping the Pilgrims to survive the harsh New England winter
and celebrate the "first" Thanksgiving has been much storied as a legend of
happy endings, with the English and the Indians coming together at the same
table in racial harmony. Few people, however, know the story of Squanto's
sad life and the demise of his tribe as a result of its generosity. Each
year, as the nation sits down to a meal that is celebrated by all cultures
and races * the day we know as Thanksgiving * the story of Squanto and the
fate of the Patuxet tribe is a footnote in history that deserves
re-examination.

"The day that Capt. George Weymouth anchored off the coast of Massachusetts,
he and his sailors captured Squanto and four other tribesmen and took them
back to England as slaves because Weymouth thought his financial backers
"might like to see" some Indians. Squanto was taken to live with Sir
Ferdinando Gorges, owner of the Plymouth Company. Gorges quickly saw
Squanto's value to his company's exploits in the new world and taught his
young charge to speak English so that his captains could negotiate trade
deals with the Indians.

"In 1614, Squanto was brought back to America to act as a guide and
interpreter to assist in the mapping of the New England coast, but was
kidnapped along with 27 other Indians and taken to Malaga, Spain, to be sold
as slaves for about $25 a piece. When local priests learned of the fate of
the Indians, they took them from the slave traders, Christianized them and
eventually sent them back to America in 1618.

"But his return home was short-lived. Squanto was recognized by one of
Gorges, captains, was captured a third time and sent back to England as
Gorges, slave. He was later sent back to New England with Thomas Dermer to
finish mapping the coast, after which he was promised his freedom. In 1619,
however, upon returning to his homeland, Squanto learned that his entire
tribe had been wiped out by smallpox contracted from the Europeans two years
before. He was the last surviving member of his tribe.

"In November 1620, the Pilgrims made their now-famous voyage to the coast of
Plymouth, which had previously been the center of Patuxet culture. The next
year, on March 22, 1621, Squanto was sent to negotiate a peace treaty
between the Wampanoag Confederation of tribes and the Pilgrims. We also know
that Squanto'sskills as a fisherman and farmer were crucial to the survival
of the Pilgrims that first year * contributions which changed history.

"But in November 1622, Squanto himself would also succumb to smallpox during
a trading expedition to the Massachusetts Indians. The Patuxet, like so many
other tribes, had become extinct.

"Feasts of gratitude and giving thanks have been a part of Indian culture
for thousands of years. In Lakota culture, it's called a Wopila; in Navajo,
it's Hozhoni; in Cherokee, it's Selu i-tse-i; and in Ho Chunk it's Wicawas
warocu sto waroc. Each tribe, each Indian nation, has its own form of
Thanksgiving. But for Indian culture, Thanksgiving doesn't end when the
dishes are put away. It is something we celebrate all year long * at the
birth of a baby, a safe journey, a new home."

My own feeling? The Indians should have left the Pilgrims to their own
devices, even if it meant they would die.
But they couldn't do that. Their humanity made them assist other human
beings in need. And for that beautiful, human, loving connection they paid a
terrible price: The genocide of the original inhabitants of Turtle Island,
what is now America.

Thanksgiving, in reality, was the beginning of the longest war in the U.S *
the extermination of the Indigenous peoples. Thanksgiving day was first
proclaimed by the governor of the Massachuesetts Bay Colony in 1637, not to
offer thanks for the Indians saving the Pilgrims * that's yet another
re-write of the actual history * but to commemorate the massacre of 700
indigenous men, women and children who were celebrating their annual Green
Corn Dance in their own house.

Gathered at this place, they were attacked by mercenaries, English and
Dutch. The Pequots were ordered from the building and as they came forth
they were killed with guns, swords, cannons and torches. The rest were
burned alive in the building. The very next day the governor proclaimed a
holiday and feast to "give thanks" for the massacre. For the next 100 years
a governor would ordain a day to honor a bloody victory, thanking god the
"battle" had been won. [For more information, see Where White Men Fear To
Tread, by Russell Means, 1995; and Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian
Hating and Empire Building, by R. Drinnon, 1990.]

The Maypole
In 1517, 25 years after Columbus first landed in the Bahamas, the English
working class was in the midst of a huge revolt, organized through the
guilds. King Henry VIII had brought to England Lombard bankers from Italy
and merchants from France to undercut wages, lengthen hours, and break the
guilds. This alliance between international finance, national capital and
military aristocracy was in the process of merging into the imperialist
nation-state.

The young workers of London took their revenge upon the merchants. A rumor
said the commonality * the vision of communal society that would counter the
rich, the merchants, the industrialists, the nobility and the landowners *
would arise on May Day. The King and Lords got frightened * householders
were armed, a curfew was declared. Two workers didn't hear about the curfew
(they missed Dan Rather on t.v.). They were arrested. The shout went out to
mobilize, and 700 workers stormed the jails, throwing bricks, hot water,
stones. The prisoners were freed. A French capitalist's house was trashed.

Then came the repression: Cannons were fired into the city. Three hundred
were imprisoned, soldiers patrolled the streets, and a proclamation was made
that no women were allowed to meet together, and that all men should "keep
their wives in their houses." The prisoners were brought through the streets
tied in ropes. Some were children. Eleven sets of gallows were set up
throughout the city. Many were hanged. The authorities showed no mercy and
exhibited extreme cruelty.

Thus the dreaded Thanatocracy, the regime of death, was inaugurated in
England in answer to proletarian riot at the beginning of capitalism.

The May Day riots were caused by expropriation (people having been uprooted
from their lands they had used for centuries in common), and by exploitation
(people had no jobs, as the monarchy imported capital). Working class women
* organizers and healers who posed an alternative to patriarchal capitalism
* were burned at the stake as witches. Enclosure, conquest, famine, war and
plague ravaged the people who, in losing their commons, also lost a place to
put the traditional emblem of the Commons *their Maypole.

Suddenly, the Maypole became a symbol of rebellion. In 1550, Parliament
ordered the destruction of Maypoles (just as, during the Vietnam war, the
U.S.-backed junta in Saigon banned the making of all red cloth, for people
were sewing it into the blue, yellow and red flags of the National
Liberation Front).

While heretical liberation-theologists of the day were burned at the stake,
the Bible'slast book, Revelation, became an anti-authoritarian manual
inspirational to those who would turn the Puritans, world upside down, such
as the Family of Love, the Anabaptists, the Diggers, Levellers, and Ranters.
In 1626, Thomas Morton, who had come over on his own, a boat person, an
immigrant, went to Merry Mount in Quincy Massachusetts and with his Indian
friends put up the first Maypole in America, in contempt of the Puritans.
The Puritans destroyed it, and in retaliation exiled Morton, plagued the
Indians, and hanged gay people and Quakers.

In Great Britain, the proletarian insurgency flared in fits and starts
throughout the empire. Oliver Cromwell's Puritan army blazed into Ireland in
1649, slaughtered 3,500 defenders and local citizenry of the town of
Drogheda, and confiscated almost forty percent of indigenous Catholic lands
in Ireland, resistributing them to Protestants born in Britain. The British
treatment of the Irish patriots paralleled the monarchy's regard for the
indigenous people of the "New World".

Although the Puritans were removed from power in England in 1660 with the
death of Cromwell two years before and the ascendance of Charles II to the
throne, the Puritans in the Americas continued their war against the Pequot
Indians while in Britain May Day was abolished altogether, as part of the
attempt to defeat the growing proletarian insurgency.

In the Americas, rebellion was brewing among the colonists. Charles II put
down Bacon's Rebellion with great bloodshed in Virginia, during which both
sides used, abused, and murdered Indians to reinforce their power. The
king's emissaries began the conquest of a new string of colonies in the
South.

A century-and-a-half after Morton planted the first Maypole in the British
colonies, another great "troublemaker," the Manchester proletarian Ann Lee,
arrived in the Americas (1774) and founded the communal living,
gender-separated Shakers who praised God in ecstatic dance and, in rejecting
marriage and refusing to procreate, drove the Puritans and other religious
zealots up the wall.

The story of the Maypole as a symbol of revolt continued. It crossed
cultures and continued through the ages. In the late 1800s, the Sioux began
the Ghost Dance in a circle, with a large pine tree in the center, which was
covered with strips of cloth of various colors, eagle feathers, stuffed
birds, claws, and horns, all offerings to the Great Spirit. They didn't call
it a Maypole, but they danced, just as the English proletarians danced, just
as the Shakers, danced, for the unity of all Indians, the return of the
dead, and the expulsion of the invaders. It might as well have been a
Mayday!

Wovoka, a Nevada Paiute, started it. Expropriated, he cut his hair. To buy
watermelon he rode boxcars to work in the Oregon hop fields for small wages,
exploited. The Puget Sound Indians had a new religion * they stopped
drinking alcohol, became entranced, and danced for five days, jerking
twitching, calling for their land back. Wovoka took this back to Nevada:
"All Indians must dance, everywhere, keep on dancing." Soon they were.
Porcupine took the dance across the Rockies to the Sioux. Red Cloud and
Sitting Bull advanced the left foot following with the right, hardly lifting
their feet from the ground. The Federal Agents banned the Ghost Dance. They
claimed it was a cause of the last Sioux outbreak, just as the Puritans had
claimed the Maypole dancers had caused the May Day proletarian riots, just
as the Shakers were dancing people into communality and out of Puritanism.

And, just as the American working class was engaging in pitched battles in
its fight for the 8-hour day.
On December 29, 1890 the U.S. Government (with Hotchkiss guns throwing 2
pound explosive shells, each containing 30 one-half-inch lead balls, at the
rate of 50 per minute) massacred more than 300 men, women and children at
Wounded Knee. These same weapons were also turned against striking
industrial workers and their families. As in the Waco holocaust a century
later, or the government's bombing of MOVE in Philadelphia, the State
disclaimed responsibility. The Bureau of Ethnology sent out James Mooney to
investigate. Amid Janet Reno-like tears, he wrote: "The Indians were
responsible for the engagement." Nothing has changed.

In 1970, the town of Plymouth, Massachusetts held, as it does each year, a
Thanksgiving Ceremony given by the townspeople. There are many speeches for
the crowds who attend. That year * the year of Nixon's secret invasion of
Cambodia; the year 4 students were massacred at Kent State and 13 wounded
for opposing the war; the year they tried to electrocute Black Panthers
Bobby Seale and Erica Huggins * the Massachusetts Department of Commerce
asked the Wampanoag Indians to select a speaker to mark the 350th
anniversary of the Pilgrims, arrival, and the first Thanksgiving.

Wamsutta "Frank" James, a leader of the Wampanoags from Massachusetts, was
selected. But before he was allowed to speak he was directed to show a copy
of his speech to the "citizens" in charge of the ceremony. When they saw
what he had written, they would not allow him to read it.

First: the genocide. Then, the suppression of all discussion about it, even
a century later.

Here is a portion of James, speech * one of the most famous "undelivered"
speeches in American history:

"It is with mixed emotion that I stand here to share my thoughts. This is a
time of celebration for you-celebrating an anniversary of a beginning for
the white man in America. A time of looking back, of reflection. It is with
a heavy heart that I look back upon what has happened to my people.

"Massasoit, the great Sachem of the Wampanoag, ......and his people,
welcomed and befriended the settlers of the Plymouth Plantation. Perhaps he
did this because his tribe had been depleted by an epidemic. Or his
knowledge of the harsh oncoming winter was the reason for his peaceful
acceptance of these acts. This action by Massasoit was perhaps our biggest
mistake. We, the Wampanoag, welcomed you the white man, with open arms,
little knowing that it was the beginning of the end; that before 50 years
were to pass, the Wampanoag would no longer be a free people.

"History wants us to believe that the Indian was a savage, illiterate,
uncivilized animal. A history that was written by an organized disciplined
people, to expose us as an unorganized and undisciplined entity. Two
distinctly different cultures met. One thought they must control life; the
other believed life was to be enjoyed, because nature decreed it.

"Our spirit refuses to die. Yesterday we walked the woodland paths and shady
trails. Today we must walk the macadam highways and roads. We are uniting.
We're standing not in our wigwams but in your concrete tent. We stand tall
and proud, and before too many moons pass we'll right the wrongs we have
allowed to happen to us.

"We forfeited our country. Our lands have fallen into the hands of the
aggressor. We have allowed the white man to keep us on our knees. What has
happened cannot be changed, but today we must work towards a more humane
America, a more Indian America, where men and nature once again are
important; where the Indian values of honor, truth and brotherhood prevail.

"You the white man are celebrating an anniversary. We the Wampanoags will
help you celebrate in the concept of a beginning. It was the beginning of a
new life for the Pilgrims. Now 350 years later it is a beginning of a new
determination for the original American: the American Indian."

For the indigenous people of the Americas, Thanksgiving is "the National Day
of Mourning."

What does anyone have to be thankful for in the genocide of the Indians that
this "holy day" commemorates? As we sit with our families on Thanksgiving,
taking the opportunity to get out of work or off the streets and be in a
warm place with people we love, we realize that none of the things we have
to be thankful for have anything at all to do with the Pilgrims or the
official (sanitized) version of American history, and everything to do with
the alternative, anarcho-communist lives the Indian peoples led before they
were massacred by the colonists in the name of Christianity, privatization
of property and the lust for gold and slave labor.

Yes, I am an American. But I am an American in revolt. I am revolted by the
holiday known as Thanksgiving.
I have been accused of wanting to go backwards in time, of being against
progress. To those charges, I plead guilty. I want to go back in time to
when people lived communally, before the colonists, Christian god was
brought to these shores to sanctify their terrorism, their slavery, their
hatred of children, their capitalism, their oppression of women, their
holocausts. But that is impossible. So I look forward to the utter
destruction of the apparatus of death known as Amerika * not the people, not
the beautiful land, but the machinery of empire, the State, capitalism,
religious bigotry that in many ways dominates everyday life, greed, and the
lies that enable it to continue, sucking us into being complicit with this
awful history ... as it is repeated today.

I look forward to a future where I will have children with America, and ...
they will be the new Indians.
Mitchel Cohen is co-editor of "Green Politix," the national newspaper of the
Greens/Green Party USA. He can be reached at: mitchelcohen@mindspring.com
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Old 12-01-2004
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as i have said before, i dont pay attention tot he news.

but i could have sworn Bush was supposed to be at his RANCH on thursday, supposedly he was supposed to Host the KING AND QUEEN of Spain.

if i am not mistaken, i could have sworn i saw a picture of this....

either or, that shit he pulled in irag seems just liek a politician..... especially a dumb one as Bush.

i have to read about the rest of it. it a bit lengthy.
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Old 12-01-2004
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Not sure if you know, but the turkey was fake also. Plus Spain is nearer to Iraq than the US is.
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Old 12-01-2004
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I dont care that much about the news
And I believe Bush is not a good president
Al Gore should of won the election and
Kerry had a good chance of winning if he
would of stayed in the race but that really doesnt matter
Holidays arent always great but you deal wit them
and this is a long story. Keep it simple with your stories
and not with a history lesson
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Old 12-01-2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tecpaocelotl
Not sure if you know, but the turkey was fake also. Plus Spain is nearer to Iraq than the US is.
yeah, i readin the article it said it was a FAKE turkey, and i know SPain is just right there. but i said, He was supposed to HOST the King and QUeen of spain, not that spain was supposed to host bush...


but hell, he has all the transportation he wants at his mercy
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Old 12-02-2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LAbaby07
I dont care that much about the news
And I believe Bush is not a good president
Al Gore should of won the election and
Kerry had a good chance of winning if he
would of stayed in the race but that really doesnt matter
Holidays arent always great but you deal wit them
and this is a long story. Keep it simple with your stories
and not with a history lesson
My stories? WTF? When was this? The best way to learn from mistakes, you have to learn from history. It's the only way unless you want to repeat it.
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Old 11-21-2007
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Default Re: Why I Hate Thanksgiving

bump
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Old 11-23-2007
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Default Re: Why I Hate Thanksgiving

Quote:
Originally Posted by LAbaby07 View Post
I dont care that much about the news
And I believe Bush is not a good president
Al Gore should of won the election and
Kerry had a good chance of winning if he
would of stayed in the race but that really doesnt matter
Holidays arent always great but you deal wit them
and this is a long story. Keep it simple with your stories
and not with a history lesson
what a simpleton
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Old 11-25-2007
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Default Re: Why I Hate Thanksgiving

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralo El Dorado View Post
what a simpleton
what a complement
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Old 11-26-2007
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Default Re: Why I Hate Thanksgiving

Turkey was delicious!!! =)
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Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quimiizzzhhhiiippiiilllliiii
thanks, but i have no car and no money. i think it's just her time. she's already 10 yrs old so, she is an old lady.
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Old 12-04-2007
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Default Re: Why I Hate Thanksgiving

^ so was the frijoles
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Old 12-04-2007
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Default Re: Why I Hate Thanksgiving

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Originally Posted by Ralo El Dorado View Post
^ so was the frijoles
same here....
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"It's embarrassing when Europeans come over here, they all speak English, they speak French, they speak German," he had said. "And then we go over to Europe and all's we'se can say is 'merci beaucoup.'"
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quimiizzzhhhiiippiiilllliiii
thanks, but i have no car and no money. i think it's just her time. she's already 10 yrs old so, she is an old lady.
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