top of page

THE UNITED STATES AND ITS COLONIAL EMPIRE

THE UNITED STATES AND ITS COLONIAL EMPIRE


By Siphiwe Baleka


CONSIDER:


Various African peoples were trafficked as prisoners of war to *several British colonies* that legalized slavery: Massachusetts in 1641; Connecticut in 1650; Virginia in 1657 and Maryland in 1663 leading to The United States of America officially entering the Dum Diversas War trafficking of people from Guine (Africa) after the American pro-slavery counter revolution in 1776 that established the first apartheid state in history; and . . .


Importantly, General Sherman’s Fourth request was worded, “State in what manner you would rather live - whether scattered among the whites *or in colonies by yourselves*_ . . .” Sherman’s Special Field Order Number 15 defined and established de facto “self-governing colonies” . Additionally, General Rufus Saxton was appointed Inspector of Settlements and Plantations and was required to make proper allotments and give possessory titles and defend them until Congress should confirm his actions. . . . Saxton testified: ‘General Sherman’s Special Field Order No. 15 ordered their *colonization* on forty-acre tracts . . .” Here then is our basis of the argument that at Emancipation in 1865, concentrations of New Afrikans were referred to as colonies. DuBois referred to America’s “distinctly colonial” racial state. Mary McLeod Bethune, a last-minute addition to the NAACP’s consultant team at the founding of the United Nations in San Francisco, spoke forcefully on how the UN Conference had painted in ‘bold relief’ that ‘common bond’ between African Americans and the colonial peoples” . If anything, Bethune remarked, the UNCIO had made it very clear that the ‘Negro in America’ held ‘little more than “colonial status in a democracy*.’ The similarities were appallingly clear. The fight for colonial self-determination paralleled the battle to overturn the South’s racist voting restrictions. The efforts to revise the UN’s ‘domestic jurisdiction’ clause matched the assault on the states’ rights philosophy of the South. And the dissatisfaction with a trusteeship plan that denied colonies the right to lay their grievances before an international tribunal mirrored the opposition to America’s separate and unequal system of justice.



THE QUESTION MUST BE ASKED AND ANSWERED: WHEN AND HOW DID THE NEW AFRIKAN PEOPLE, ORIGINALLY ENSLAVED IN COLONIES AND THEN COLONIZED BY GENERAL SHERMAN’S SPECIAL FIELD ORDER NO. 15 CEASE BEING AN INTERNAL DOMESTIC BLACK COLONY BY 1945-1960?

WHY WERE AFRICANS UNDER ALIEN RULE ON THE CONTINENT CONSIDERED “COLONIES” BUT AFRICANS UNDER ALIEN RULE IN THE WEST, ESPECIALLY THE UNITED STATES, NOT CONSIDERED AS COLONIZED PEOPLE?


The question was answered in REPARATIONS YES! A Suggestion Toward the Framework of a Reparations Demand and A Set of Legal Underpinnings by IMARI ABUBAKARI OBADELE, CHAIRPERSON, THE PEOPLE’S CENTER COUNCIL (NATIONAL LEGISLATURE) OF THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF NEW AFRIKA, SEPTEMBER 1987:


“THE RECORD IS REPLETE WITH INSTANCES OF ARMED CONFLICT AND ARMED SUPPRESSION OF SUSPECTED MILITANTS BY THE UNITED STATES, DURING AND AFTER SLAVERY. MOREOVER, THE GENERAL CONDITIONS OF SLAVERY MAKE CLEAR ALSO THAT *WE WERE SUBJECT DURING THE SLAVERY ERA TO ‘COLONIAL DOMINATION AND ALIEN OCCUPATION.’* . . . . IT IS RELEVANT TO THE CHARGE OF WAR AGAINST THE UNITED STATES THAT WE WERE STILL AN OCCUPIED AND OPPRESSED NATION IN THIS PERIOD BETWEEN THE CIVIL WAR AND 1968. *WE WERE A COLONY LIVING ON TERRITORY CLAIMED BY THE UNITED STATES* , SUBJECT UNTIL 1968 TO A BODY OF LEGISLATION AND COURT DECISIONS WHICH DEFINED OUR *SUBORDINATION TO THE WHITE NATION AND FACILITATED THE WHITE NATION’S ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL EXPLOITATION OF US, AND OUR SOCIAL DEGRADATION.”



MAP OF THE ‘GREATER UNITED STATES’ AS IT WAS IN 1941


“At the turn of the 20th century, when many territories were acquired - Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Guam, American Samoa, Hawaii, Wake - their status was clear. They were, as Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson unabashedly called them, colonies. That spirit of forthright imperialism didn’t last. Within a decade or two, after passions had cooled, the c-word became taboo. “The word colony must not be used to express the relationship which exists between our government and its dependent peoples,” an official admonished in 1914. Better to stick with a gentler term, used for them all: territories.”

- Daniel Immerwahr, How the US has hidden its empire


***********************************


“The history of the U.S. settler-colonial project is characterized by the ethnic cleansing, mass displacement and dispossession of Indigenous peoples and the enslavement of African peoples to consolidate white power over land and capital. Settlers, in the words of scholar Mahmood Mamdani, ‘are made by conquest, not just by immigration.’ Seeking to ‘eliminate the Native,’ settler-colonizers deployed strategies of removal and replacement to violently uproot Indigenous peoples and create a racialized and gendered labor system to establish domination and extract profit from stolen land.


In undertaking overseas expansionism at the turn of the 20th Century, the United States employed many of the same strategies of racialized dispossession and oppression it had employed across the continent and in Hawaiʻi. At the same time, while island possessions like Guam and Puerto Rico were seen as strategically important, they were not viewed as suitable homelands for white settlers. Thus, rather than incorporating the territories into the settler-colonial Union, the United States developed a system of administration that afforded the federal government immense power over the territories but very little responsibility for the well-being of territorial inhabitants. The doctrine of territorial incorporation, announced by the U.S. Supreme Court in a series of racist decisions, known as the “Insular Cases,” provides that because the “alien races” of the territories are “savage” and “different,” the territories “belong to” but are “not a part of” the United States and, accordingly, the Constitution does not apply of its own force therein. Instead, the territories remain subject to the plenary power of Congress, which determines the extent to which the Constitution applies and when and if the territories shall become more than mere possessions. To this day, the doctrine of territorial incorporation has been upheld and defended by the Supreme Court and every presidential administration as an appropriate framework for administering the territories. It was on this basis that, in 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court held that territories, unlike states, have no independent sovereignty. Rather, under U.S. domestic law they are considered to be under the total dominion of the federal government. - Towards Decolonization & Repair: U.S. territories, self-determination, and the incompatibility of colonialism and human rights NGO Shadow Report before the United Nations Human Rights Committee 139th Session, Geneva, 9 October - 3 November 2023



IN 1945, THE UNITED NATIONS WAS FOUNDED. ACCORDING TO THE UN CHARTER, CHAPTER XI, ARTICLE 73 REGARDING NON-SELF GOVERNING TERRITORIES, THE UNITED STATES WAS OBLIGATED TO ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE FORMER SELF-GOVERNING NEW AFRIKAN TERRITORIES THAT REVERTED TO NON-SELF GOVERNING TERRITORIES AS A RESULT OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN’S ASSASSINATION AND SUBSEQUENT US GOVERNMENT CAMPAIGN OF FRAUD AND TERROR LIMITING THE NEWLY-FREEDMEN’S POLITICAL RIGHTS. ALTERNATIVELY, THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT COULD HAVE DECLARED THESE NEW AFRIKAN TERRITORIES AS TRUST TERRITORIES, UNDER UN CHARTER, CHAPTER XII ARTICLE 77.1.C TRUSTEESHIP SYSTEM (SEE BELOW). HAD THE UNITED STATES DONE SO, THEN THESE NEW AFRIKAN TERRITORIES - NAMELY, THE BLACK BELT - COULD HAVE BEEN SUBJECT TO THE DECLARATION ON THE GRANTING OF INDEPENDENCE TO COLONIAL COUNTRIES AND PEOPLES (GA RESOLUTION 1514 (XV) OF 14 DECEMBER 1960). THE QUESTION OF SELF-DETERMINATION, SELF-GOVERNMENT AND INDEPENDENCE FOR NEW AFRIKAN/AFRODESCENDANT PEOPLES IN THE UNITED STATES WOULD THUS HAVE BEEN HANDLED BY THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON DECOLONIZATION, OR C-24 ESTABLISHED IN 1961 BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY (GA) AS ITS SUBSIDIARY ORGAN DEVOTED TO THE ISSUE OF DECOLONIZATION, PURSUANT TO GA RESOLUTION 1654 (XVI) TO


EXAMINE THE APPLICATION OF THE DECLARATION ON THE GRANTING OF INDEPENDENCE TO COLONIAL COUNTRIES AND PEOPLES (GA RESOLUTION 1514 (XV) OF 14 DECEMBER 1960; AND


TO MAKE SUGGESTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ON THE PROGRESS AND EXTENT OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DECLARATION.


THIS IS THE ISSUE THAT MALCOLM X TRIED TO BRING BEFORE THE WORLD COURT BEFORE HIS ASSASSINATION IN 1965. THIS IS THE CASE THAT STILL MUST BE DECIDED.

THE UNITED STATES TERRITORY IS AN ACQUISITION OF LEGAL TITLE BY CONQUEST THAT HAS BEEN REJECTED AS ANACHRONISTIC AND CONTRARY TO THE CHARTER OF THE UNITED NATIONS. AFRO DESCENDANT/NEW AFRIKAN PRESENCE ON SAID TERRITORY IS THE RESULT OF A DECLARATION OF TOTAL WAR AND THE SUBSEQUENT “TRANS ATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE” THAT HAS BEEN ACKNOWLEGED AS A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY BOTH NOW AND THEN. TERRITORIAL ACQUISITIONS OR OTHER ADVANTAGES GAINED THROUGH THE THREAT OR WRONGFUL USE OF FORCE CANNOT HAVE LEGAL EFFECT, BECAUSE INTERNATIONAL LAW CANNOT CONFER LEGALITY UPON THE CONSEQUENCES OF WRONGFUL ACTS INCOMPATIBLE WITH THE CHARTER. IN SUCH CASES, THERE SHOULD BE FULL RESTITUTION. TO CLAIM THAT OUR STATUS IS “AMERICAN CITIZEN” IS TO CONFER LEGALITY ON AN ACQUISITION OF TERRITORIAL LEGAL TITLE BY CONQUEST, A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY, AND A CAMPAIGN OF FRAUD AND TERROR BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (AFTER THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN AND THE 14TH AMENDMENT).

AT ISSUE IS: WILL THE UNITED STATES’ INTERNAL DOMESTIC BLACK COLONY BE RECOGNIZED AS SUCH?”



**************************************************************************************************************

NEW AFRIKAN STATEMENTS ON OUR COLONIAL STATUS


Mary McLeod Bethune, a last-minute addition to the NAACP’s consultant team in San Francisco, spoke forcefully on how the UN Conference had painted in ‘bold relief’ that ‘common bond’ between African Americans and the colonial peoples. If anything, Bethune remarked, the UNCIO had made it very clear that the ‘Negro in America’ held ‘little more than colonial status in a democracy.’ The similarities were appallingly clear. The fight for colonial self-determination paralleled the battle to overturn the South’s racist voting restrictions. The efforts to revise the UN’s ‘domestic jurisdiction’ clause matched the assault on the states’ rights philosophy of the South. And the dissatisfaction with a trusteeship plan that denied colonies the right to lay their grievances before an international tribunal mirrored the opposition to America’s separate and unequal system of justice.



Harold Cruse: Revolutionary Nationalism and the Afro-American (1962): “From the beginning, the American Negro has existed as a colonial being. His enslavement coincided with the colonial expansion of European powers and was nothing more or less than a condition of domestic colonialism. Instead of the United States establishing a colonial empire in Africa, it brought the colonial system home and installed it in the Southern states. When the Civil War broke up the slave system and the Negro was emancipated, he gained only partial freedom. Emancipation elevated him only to the position of a semidependent man, not to that of an equal or independent being. . . .The Negro is not really an integral part of the American nation beyond the convenient formal recognition that he lives within the borders of the United States. . . The only factor which differentiates the Negro's status from that of a pure colonial status is that his position is maintained in the "home" country in close proximity to the dominant racial group. . . . Of course, the national character of the Negro has little to do with what part of the country he lives in. Wherever he lives, he is restricted. His national boundaries are the color of his skin, his racial characteristics, and the social conditions within his subcultural world.. . . Unlike the situation in the colonial area, the Negro could not seize the power he wanted nor oust "foreigners. . . . Their rejection of white society is analogous to the colonial peoples' rejection of imperialist rule. The difference is only that people in colonies can succeed and American Negro nationalists cannot . The peculiar position of Negro nationalists in the United States requires them to set themselves against the dominance of whites and still manage to live in the same country.”


The Provisional Government of the African American Captive Nation (PG-AACN) Declaration of Self-Determination of the African American Captive Nation by “Chief” Oseijeman Adefunmi President; Robert F. Williams, Prime minister; Abdul Rahman, First Deputy Prime Minister; Audley Moore, Second Deputy Prime Minister:


“Be it further resolved that all the land south of the Mason-Dixon line where our people constitute the majority, be partitioned to establish a territory for Self-Government for the African nation in the U.S.A.; and Be it further resolved that the United States Government take full responsibility for training our people for self-government in all of its ramifications, and Be it finally resolved that the Provisional Government of the African American Captive Nation be recognized by the Government of the United States as of now.”


Malcolm X:


“Every nation in Asia gained its independence through the philosophy of nationalism. Every nation on the African continent that has gotten its independence brought it about through the philosophy of nationalism. And it will take black nationalism -- that to bring about the freedom of 22 million Afro-Americans here in this country where we have suffered colonialism for the past 400 years.”


“America is just as much a colonial power as England ever was…what do you call second-class citizenship? Why, that's colonization. Second-class citizenship is nothing but 20th (century) slavery. How you gonna to tell me you're a second-class citizen? They don't have second-class citizenship in any other government on this Earth. They just have slaves and people who are free! Well, this country is a hypocrite! They try and make you think they set you free by calling you a second-class citizen. No, you're nothing but a 20th century slave.”


-Malcolm X, The Ballot or the Bullet



Max Stanford:


“There are two conflicting views; the first sees our people as citizens denied their rights and believes that they will be assimilated or integrated by revolution, reform, or other means into the White American way of life; which means exploitation of non-white peoples. The other sees our people as a nation within the boundaries of another nation, a nation in captivity striving to obtain independence, self-determination, or national liberation. . . . By the proportion of the population - in the South especially - AfroAmericans constitute a nation within a nation.”


Donald Freeman:


“Further the conference [1964 AfroAmerican Student Movement conference at Fisk University] maintained that the federal government's refusal to enforce the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments renders AfroAmericans slaves or a colonized Black Nation, not American citizens, thus relegating them to a position analogous to that of Afro-Asian and Latin American nations under Western imperialism.”


Eldridge Cleaver, Head of the International Section of the Black Panther Party, stated,


“We have, in the United States, a ‘Mother Country Working Class’ and a ‘Working Class from the Black Colony. We also have a Mother Country Lumpenproletariat and a Lumpenproletariat from the Black Colony. Inside the Mother Country, these categories are fairly stable, but when we look at the Black Colony, we find that the hard and fast distinctions melt away. This is because of the leveling effect of the colonial process and the fact that all Black people are colonized, even if some of them occupy favored positions in the schemes of the Mother Country colonizing exploiters.


Kathleen Cleaver, Minister of Information for the Black Panther Party stated,


“There was an explanation for why our housing was bad, our education was poor, our political power was limited. And that explanation was that we were held as colonial subjects within the United States. It’s not a perfect explanation. It’s an analogy to situations in Africa and in Asia that we could see that ‘fit’ us. Therefore, colonialism had been denounced by the United Nations and people were entitled to their independence and they were justified in breaking out of that type of control. That was the basic American history.”


Huey P. Newton, founder of the Black Panther Party, stated,


“Police in our community couldn’t possibly be there to protect our property because we own no property. They couldn’t possibly be there to see that we receive the due process of law for the simple reason that the police themselves deny us the due process of law. And so it is very apparent that the police only in our community not for our security but the security of the business owners in the community, and also to see that the status quo was kept intact. . . . In America, black people are treated very much as the Vietnamese people or any other colonized people because we’re used, we’re brutalized. The police in our community occupy our area, our community as a foreign troop occupies territory.”


Imari Obadele made an explicit connection to our colonization and African national liberation movements:


“For no less than they have We boldly shed the nationality of our colonizer and gone to contest for independent land. . . .“ and “The essential strategy of our struggle for land is to array enough power ( as in jiu-jitsu, with a concentration of karate strength at key moments) to force the greatest power, the United States, to abide by international law, to recognize and accept our claims to independence and land. The purpose of this strategy can be further simplified: it is to create a situation for the United States where it becomes cheaper to relinquish control of the Five States than to continue a war against us to take back or hold the area.” - from Foundations of A Black Nation


In A Suggestion Towards the Framework of A Reparations Demand And A Set of Legal Underpinnings, Imari Abubakari Obadele Chairperson, the People’s Center Council (National Legislature) of the Provisional Government Republic of New Afrika And Associate Professor of Political Science, Prairie View A&M University, Texas writes,


“It is relevant to the charge of war against the United States that We were still an occupied and oppressed nation in this period between the Civil War and 1968. We were a colony living on territory claimed by the United States, subject until 1968 to a body of legislation and court decisions which defined our subordination to the White nation and facilitated the White nation’s economic and cultural exploitation of us, and our social degradation.”


Ramon Gutierrez writes in Internal Colonialism: An American Theory of Race (2004),


“The tangible results of the Civil Rights Movement remain evident through heightened levels of political representation, patterns of voting participation, and economic upward mobility for some, swelling the ranks of the Black rich and middle class leaving behind a much larger permanent underclass that has continued to fall further and further behind. The theory of internal colonialism was elaborated in the United States for them.”


Albert H. Dyson, Office of the General Counsel, Dept. of Defense, Chokwe Lumumba, Chairman, New Afrikan Peoples Organization, Brooklyn, N.Y., Nkechi Taifa-Caldwell, Minister of Justice, Republic of New Afrika, Washington, D.C., for Dr. Mutulu Shakur. - 690 F. Supp. 1291 (1988) UNITED STATES of America,v. Marilyn BUCK, Defendant. UNITED STATES of America v. Mutulu SHAKUR, Defendant. Nos. 84 Cr. 220-CSH, SSS 82 Cr. 312-CSH. United States District Court, S.D. New York. July 6, 1988.


“As is the case with every colonial experience, the New Afrikan Nation as a colony has no independent economic structure. The vast majority of the population of New Afrika, however, has at all points in history been contained within the same imperialist economic structure, and has shared the misfortune of suffering discriminatory treatment within it. Indeed it is appropriate to say in the case of New Afrika, as in the case of most colonies, that New Afrikans as a National population are an underclass frozen at the bottom of the American economy.”


Nkechi Taifa, in Black Power, Black Lawyer: My Audacious Quest for Justice, writes, “In one of my college papers, ‘The Political Economy of the Black Ghetto,’ titled after a book of the same name by William Tabb, I argued, ‘A colonial relationship presently exists between the Black ghetto and the larger society, having many similarities with the same oppressive dependence that exists between many underdeveloped countries and industrial nations.’ My paper’s conclusion was that the ‘Black ghetto was also a colony whose situation closely paralleled the political and economic relationships existing between many Third World nations and the industrially advanced countries.’”

Comentarios


bottom of page