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Friday, August 21, 2015
St Augustine FL and the falsification of history
by Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired
The man above does not recognize private property in land. The war against the commons in England and the enclosure of the land threw millions of peasants off of it in to poverty and then the workhouse, prisons or exile as capitalism had not yet developed to the point that it could absorb all this "free" labor. Then laws were enacted against the poor who would poach to find food. To return to the point where a human being is not a commodity and the land and nature is not a commodity, and is not private property is the goal. But they will resist ferociously. The world's poor and propertyless can attest to their commitment to violence in defense of their interests. But we have the numbers.
I commented some time ago about the naming of places, colleges and other institutions after historical figures whose activity in the colonization of what we now call the Unites States and the “New World” in general, can only be described as genocidal. Growing up in England I don’t recall too many places named, King Canute Way or Agricola University, perhaps William the Conqueror Street.
I commented in particular on Jeffrey Amherst, a British Colonial officer who has a university and various towns named after him. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Amherst’s policies were genocidal as he was supportive of selling typhoid infected blankets to Native Americans. On September 8th, Augustine Florida will be celebrating the landing of the Spanish sailor Pedro Menendez de Aviles with a reenactment of his landing on Florida’s east coast. As the European masses lived a life of poverty, illness and hunger, the ruling class of Spain, sought new lands, riches and populations it could exploit. Along with the feudal aristocracy went the Catholic Church and its representatives. As the dominant Christian organization at the time it too sought riches and wealth.
Pope Francis, on his recent visit to Bolivia made a half-hearted apology to Evo Morales and the indigenous population for the brutality this organization waged against them and for the wealth that it stole. One can see much of this wealth in the Vatican today. The Pope however made no promises to return it. As a representative of the European ruling class and the Catholic Church, Pedro Menendez, while initially being greeted in friendship by the native people soon revealed the true nature of the expedition, the exploitation of the people and the extraction of all wealth on behalf of the Spanish royalty and the Catholic Church. Just like today, invasions in search of wealth and riches are not popular with the exploited and in order to carry out his mission Menendez massacred, murdered and enslaved the native population.
This brutal activity was made all the easier with the sanctity of the Catholic Church, after all, these people were not Christians. Papal authorities instructed all representatives of the Christian faith to,“capture, vanquish, and subdue the Saracens, pagans, and other enemies of Christ,” to “put them into perpetual slavery,” and “to take all their possessions and property.” There is perhaps no other organization that comes close to the Catholic Church when it comes to savagery imposed on the poor peoples of the world. The city of St Augustine has planned a re-enactment of Menendez’ landing on the 450th anniversary September 8th and the Resist 450 Coalition is planning a series of events protesting the celebration of the landing of what became a force for savagery and genocide. The call is for those who can to come to St. Augustine or organize a similar protest in your area (see below).
The group reminds us that, “The City of St Augustine essentially became a prison town for Indigenous Peoples who were held at the Castillo de San Marcos. The origin of the City of St Augustine became the foundation for the abrogation of the rights of Indigenous Peoples and the blueprint for ecocide throughout the world.” It is important to note that along with papal edicts calling for the violent conversion of conquered people to Christianity or face death, the very name St Augustine should be a relic of the past. The myth of Sainthood was and still is a powerful tool in the subjugation of populations, both in Europe and in their colonial ventures. There is no such thing as a saint and no such thing as sin.
September 8 CALL TO ACTION in St. Augustine
As part of the Resist 450 Coalition (link: Resist450.org) Flood the System and Rising Tide North America call upon our networks to take action against colonialism and indigenous genocide on September 8th. From Resist 450: The Resist 450 Coalition are planning to demonstrate our opposition to the City of St Augustine’s commemoration, which is honoring and re-enacting the landing of Pedro Menendez on September 8th.
This re-enactment of Spanish conquistadors landing on present-day Florida is comparable to celebrating Adolf Hitler’s return for Jewish people. We welcome everyone who can to join us in St Augustine on this day and for a weeklong action and demonstration camp led by indigenous peoples and their allies from Sept 5 - 9. On September 8th a group of conscious canoeists and kayaktivists paddle out to meet the re-enactment to show our support for the rights of Indigenous Peoples and to uphold our responsibility to bring awareness that Mother Earth is the source of life not a resource for exploitation.
The Pedro Menendez impersonator in St Augustine represents the European colonial mentality of domination and privilege. This misguided and illegal belief is empowered by the Catholic Church’s papal bulls, which directed Christians to “capture, vanquish, and subdue the saracens, pagans, and other enemies of Christ,” to “put them into perpetual slavery,” and “to take all their possessions and property.”
As Pope Francis is traveling the world apologizing to Indigenous Peoples for the Church’s actions, the City of St Augustine is still celebrating these acts of terror and theft. We, the Resist 450 Coalition, intend to show that we do not share the same values as those that are attempting to glorify the colonial mentality.
The City of St Augustine essentially became a prison town for Indigenous Peoples who were held at the Castillo de San Marcos. The origin of the City of St Augustine became the foundation for the abrogation of the rights of Indigenous Peoples and the blueprint for ecocide throughout the world. This moment in history marks the beginning of what has become the United States Empire, built on genocide, ecocide, theft, slavery, war and exploitation of the Earth for profit.
The "Doctrine of Discovery" is the root of the system that has brought the entire planet to the point of irreversible climate change, unprecedented period of mass extinction and the moral deterioration of society. If you cannot attend the event in St. Augustine, the Resist 450Coalition asks that you organize a solidarity demonstration in your own community at a Spanish Consulate or other appropriate venue to deliver the message:"Renounce the 450th celebration of Spain's genocidal war criminals and the doctrines that promote the destruction of Nature for profit." See this list of cities with Spanish Consulates