WHITE SUPREMACY AND OLIGARCHY IN THE DEEP SOUTH: A NOTE

December 6, 2020 Kelley Kidd For most of the history of the American experiment the politics and economy of the deep southern states have turned on only one issue-: Are you for them or against them? By them of course I mean the people who are now usually referred to as Black or African American. Beneath all the other issues and above every other consideration the vast majority of our contested elections have been about race in one way or the other. Most of us pretend that other concerns are more important to us personally. And ultimately the other concerns are about economic and social power. But the fulcrum for our power struggles has been race.

The real winners in racial conflict have always been the very rich. And race has always played a major role in their dominance of the rest of us. The rich tell us the fairy tales we substitute for the truths we ignore. The power that makes the rich rich also gives them control of our teachers and the process by which the teachers get those roles to begin with. From these teachers we learn such “facts” as that Christopher Columbus discovered America, while hearing from the same teachers that an indigenous people of many different nations had been living here for thousands of years! Many of us gave all the credit for this odd “discovery” to the leader alone. And so George Washington forged a great fortune, as did many other founding fathers, although we were aware that none of these founders did much physical work; rather it was done for them by dark skinned people they and their law treated as chattels. And it was done on the fertile land that had been taken by force from natives who also were not white. Neither the seizures of the land nor the slavery of the workers were dealt with by our teachers as the moral crimes they were, The very rich white men who profited by those crimes were not to blame somehow, although it was neve clear whether these deeds were to be seen as triumphant conquests or inevitable consequences of he presumed superiority of the white men who profited.

So we have always had a one party system in the Deep South. A system in which people like the real or imagined heroes of our history books ran everything. When I was younger it was the Democratic Party. Our leaders were not nearly the caliber of George Washington, but they were as close as their salesmanship and our imaginations could make them. They were white men, usually tall and always believers in the plantation system that denigrated labor and extolled the power and dignity of ownership. And in extolling ownership in a system in which only white men could own, my teachers extolled white men. And the corollary was that they denigrated the red folks, whose property rights were ignored and abrogated, and they denigrated the black folks who were things white men could own.

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