Posts tagged Fuck Columbus.

Disappointing #StrikeDebt Affinity Group Banner Drop


On Saturday, October 13th, as part of a convergence at Columbus Circle for #GlobalNoise actions, an affinity group affiliated with Strike Debt dropped a banner reading: “DEBT IS THE NEW COLONIALISM”

Banner drops with banners that have rad messages are awesome! But a banner, at Columbus Circle, reading “DEBT IS THE NEW COLONIALISM” which purports to be a
“solidarity message,” is disappointing, to say the least. Disappointing, but not surprising, as the action and messaging seems to originate from at least some of the all too familiar cohort of political gentrifyers who time and time again, AND one year later, refuse to relinquish their “weird tunnel vision” and decenter white middle-classness. But instead INSIST on promoting “ethical solidarity between the ideological polar extremes of Whiteness.”

Why do people refuse to take pause? Who is being served and what is being gained by conflating consumer/student/mortgage debt with the so-called “old” colonialism? Why couldn’t folks challenge themselves as to how to get the point across that debt is bad! Student loans ARE bad. Health care bills ARE bad. Foreclosures ARE bad. But debt IS NOT the new colonialism! I’ll just say, let folks, as an example, go by the J. Marion Sims statue or the African Burial Grounds and drop a banner reading “DEBT IS THE NEW SLAVERY.” Or go by a prison and drop a banner reading “DEBT IS THE NEW PRISON.” FOH! (Affinity group or no affinity group!)

Debt is debt… it is an oppressive system, but it is not THE “new” anything. Not the “NEW COLONIALISM” or “NEW SLAVERY” or “NEW PRISONS.”

If debt is the new colonialism, then what’s colonialism? Here’s a tip: anytime you’re doing what you’re calling a solidarity action, run the message by the people you’re trying to act in solidarity with. Make sure it’s cool by them. The key word in solidarity action is solidarity.

Also from a design perspective, this venue and the timing are pretty sweet but are completely wasted on this illegible banner. When you put in the effort to do a banner drop (and I LOVE a good banner drop) (but key word is “GOOD”), make sure people can actually read it easily.

Yay friends! This photo is in the local newspaper’s slideshow of the Columbus Day Parade.

The signs read “No pride in genocide” and “‘We shall take you, your wives & your children & make slaves of them.’ —Columbus, 1493.”

I should also note that I wasn’t able to be at this (and wasn’t excited anyway about talking to white people about Columbus, white people are really really not my priority) but hopefully there will be a post about how it went? A couple of the people picketing are of Italian descent, so they were having conversations with people about how they can celebrate Italian-American culture with other heroes. And there might be more in the media to come. I’ll check with one of these sweet kids.

Also, they managed to hand out 150 copies of an essay by Tommi Avicolli Mecca about why Columbus Day is fucked and Italian-Americans should move on from the dude.

Edit: I was asked where this was: New Haven CT in a super old-school Italian-American neighborhood.

They (Native Americans) didn’t have any rights to the land, and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights which they had not conceived and were not using. What was it that they were fighting for, when they opposed white men on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existence, their ‘right’ to keep part of the earth untouched, unused and not even as property, but just keep everybody out so that you will live practically like an animal, or a few caves above it. Any white person who brings the element of civilization has the right to take over this continent.

- Ayn Rand, statement at a Q and A session following her address to the graduating class of The United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, March 6, 1974 

“Any white person who brings the element of civilization has the right to take over this continent.”

I don’t even need to analyze this or add commentary to the extent I normally do. Ayn Rand is just a jerk.

(via she-hulk-smash)

She seriously is fucking terrible.

(via offbeatorbit)

I wish I had brought in this quote to school today! The kids I was working with are starting a project about exactly this.

(via bad-dominicana)

They probably felt so represented by the 99% that they took the day off.

My partner, in response to me saying I couldn’t find any info on a local college’s Native American student group’s annual anti-Columbus Day dance/event. My cynicism is rubbing off on him.

Columbus was an A-hole, does everyone in this room know that? Cause, I didn’t know that for a long time, I’m just now reading about it. Are we all straight on that?

one of my favorite students, to a room full of other students doing homework.

We then had a nice little chat because I asked him about what he was reading. He and a classmate were mad that no one had taught them anything realistic about Columbus and that it was garbage to say a European discovered America. I said that, yeah, history classes were usually a bunch of racist lies.

I asked about the essay he was going to write, did he want to tell me about it, and he started with, “Can I swear? I don’t want to get in trouble for swearing, but I’m so mad!” I said he always had my permission to swear when talking about colonialism, and so he started yelling about what an asshole Columbus was. So smart!


Epistola de insulis nuper in mari indico repertis, 1494

Christopher Columbus published a letter detailing his “discovery” of the Indies upon his return from his first voyage to the new world, now called Epistola de insulis nuper in mari indico repertis. The woodcut shown above, from a later Latin edition of the letter, is titled “Insula Hyspana”, and shows Spanish ships arriving at the island that Columbus named “La Española,” and which is usually known in English-language historical tradition as Hispaniola. It is probably the first European visual depiction of the indigenous people of the Americas. The ship depicted on the foreground bears no resemblance to the late 15th century carracks in which Columbus sailed to the New World.

From the Jay I. Kislak Collection at the Library of Congress. 



Re: Columbus/Colon & colonialism

stuffsickpeoplehavetoputupwith answered: Regarding the subject of colony / colonization, may I suggest the following? —-…

Cool, thanks, I’ll check that out when I can get to a printer.

Also my baby bro says:

Columbus was Italian, his last name being Colombo, a super-common last name. Colonus is Latin for farmer, colony being a place for farming. Maybe it’s just wildly appropriate that it worked out that way. and colombo means dove

I woke up wondering this this morning, srsly: Does anyone know if there’s a connection between the word “colonize/colonization” and the fact that Christopher Columbus’s last name in spanish is Colon? Is it a coincidence?