Wednesday July 6th 2022

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Raise Your Voice Indigenous Day Dialectics (Negation of the Negation)


From Howard Zinn”™s A People”™s History of the United States:

“Columbus tried again for gold, but this time he and his men didn”™t go looking for it. They ordered all Taino* people 14 and older to deliver a certain amount of gold dust every three months. If they didn”™t, their hands would be cut off”¦. In 1500, Columbus wrote: there are many dealers who go about looking for girls; those from 9 to 10 are now in demand.”

Recorded scenes of slaughter will not be rewritten here. Suffice it to say, “a nexus of slavery, overwork and famine” produced diseases which took millions of lives. Thank goodness, Minnesotans will never again honor Columbus.


In October”™s “Raise Your Voice”, in reflecting on the local indigenous arts scene, the expression ”˜dialectical tension”™ was deployed. This created a number of “teaching moments” for the one who does The Alley bulk distribution (me).

For example, to a young man behind the counter in the Matthews Park building, I remarked: “Dialectical means that all things are self-contradictory (i.e., all material formations embody a unity of opposing forces) and therefore exist in motion and are subject to change.” A blank stare then ensued, to which I responded: “Hey, if this is not true, everything would forever remain the same.” He got it!

Later on, over a plate of biscuits and vegan gravy at the Seward Café, the matter was discussed with a female friend. I stated: “When analyzing a contradiction, it is normal to observe that one aspect is dominant over the other. However, as contextual conditions might determine, the relationship of dominance can reverse.” Invoking the classic example: “When adding more and more heat to water, the forces of adhesion are overcome by”¦” “The forces of expansion!” she exclaimed.

So evidently, most of us are capable of outthinking the “wise men” who perceive only the “facts” which suit their interests. Real estate moguls might take D. Trump”™s proposal to purchase Greenland as a visionary hedge for their grandchildren. However, the rest of us also exist.

Consider the following extrapolation from the locally produced Land Stewardship Letter”™s splendid review of The Uninhabitable Earth, Life after Warming:

“Reading The Uninhabitable Earth is like staring at a beautiful painting of an execution. You are both compelled by artistry to look, yet repulsed by what you see.”

Eternal expansion is systematically essential to capitalism”¦ just ask the ruling class. However, our planet is finite, and the contradiction between labor and capital remains. (External factors are the conditions of change, internal contradictions on the basis of change.) What conclusions should we draw?

We are told that the Amazon jungle stands between humanity and an uninhabitable planet. It now burns, for the sake of surplus soybeans, even as oxygen remains the choice for life”™s breath. Indigenous peoples of the forest resist, while the revolution festers deep within Labor of every hue. We are tasked with saving our Mother Earth, and with rendering Columbus”™ day its long last due.

*The Taino were an Arawak people who were the indigenous people of the Caribbean and Florida. At the time of European contact in the late 15th century, they were the principal inhabitants of most of Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic and Haiti), and Puerto Rico.

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