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perpetrated by the bayonets of American sailors and marines, with the silent and shameful acquiescence of 12,000,000 American Negroes too cowardly to lift a voice in effective protest or too ignorant of political affairs to know what is taking place. What boots it that we strike heroic attitudes and talk grandiloquently of Ethiopia stretching forth her hands when we Africans of the dispersion can let the land of L'Ouverture lie like a fallen flower beneath the feet of swine?
The facts of the present situation in that hapless land are given in the current issue of The Nation (a white American weekly). Taken together with the accounts which we have printed from time to time, it tells a tale of shuddering horror in comparison with which the Putumayo pales into insignificance and the Congo atrocities of Belgium are tame. The two West Indian republics have been murderously assaulted; their citizens have been shot down by armed ruffians, bombed by aeroplanes, hunted into concentration camps and there starved to death. In their own land their civil liberties have been taken away, their governments have been blackjacked and their property stolen. And all this by the "cracker” statesmanship of "the South," without one word of protest from that defunct department, the Congress of the United States !
The Constitution of the United States says that the power to declare war shall belong exclusively to the Congress of the United States. But the Congress of the United States has been shamelessly ignored. In furtherance of the God-given "cracker” mandate to “keep the nigger in his place," a mere Secretary of the Navy has assumed over the head of Congress the right to conquer and annex two nations and to establish on their shores the "cracker-democracy" of his native Carolina slave
It is high time that the Negro people of the United States call the hand of Josephus Daniels by appealing to the Legislature of the United States to resume its political functions, investigate this high-handed outrage and impeach the Secretary of the Navy of high crimes and misdemeanors against the peace and good name of the United States. The ordinary excuse of cowards will not obtain in this case. We would not be violating any law---wartime or other—but, on the contrary, we should be striving to put an end to a flagrant violation of the Constitution itself on the part of a high officer, who took an oath to maintain, support and defend it. This is our right and our duty. Irishmen, on behalf of Ireland, sell the bonds of an Irish loan to free Ireland from the tyranny of Britain—with whom we are on friendly terms—on the very steps of New York's City Hall, while we black people are not manly enough to get up even a petition on behaf of our brothers in Hayti.
Out upon such crawling cowardice! Rouse, ye slaves, and show that the spirit of liberty is not quite dead among you! You who elected “delegates” to go to a Peace Conference to which you had neither passport nor invitation, on behalf of bleeding Africa, get together and present a monster petition to the American Congress, over which you have some control. Remember that George the Third engaged in a contest with these colonies because he had trouble at home. He could not defeat the Pitts, Burkes and Foxes at home, and wanted to win prestige from the colonials. Had he succeeded in setting his foot on their necks he would have returned home with increased prestige and power to bend the free spirits of
England to his will. Pitt knew this, and so did Fox and Burke. That is why they took the side of their distant cousins against the British king. And the British liberals of today thank their memories for it. If the “crackers” of the South can fasten their yoke on the necks of our brothers overseas, then God help us Negroes in America in the years to come!
If we were now appealing directly to the white men of America we might dwell upon the moral aspects of the question. But we must leave that to others. Yet we cannot do so without recalling the words of a great poet:
"But man, proud man,
As make the angels weep." And we draw some slight consolation from the fact that, even if he should escape impeachment, Josephus Daniels must surrender up his “brief authority” in another twelvemonth.
But we who are still free in a measure must not wait twelve months to act. We could not do that and preserve our racial self-respect. For“Whether conscious or unconscious, yet Humanity's vast
frame Through its ocean-sundered fibres feels the gush of joy
or shame; In the gain or loss of one race all the rest have equal
When Might Makes Right. A correspondent whose letter appears elsewhere raises
the question of the relation between mental competence and property rights. “Does inability to govern destroy
" title to ownership?” he asks. The white race assumes an affirmative answer in every case in which the national property of darker and weaker races are concerned and deny it in cases in which their own national property interests are involved. It seems strange that whereas the disturbances occurring in our own southern states are never considered sufficient to justify the destruction of their sovereignty, on the other hand, such disturbances occurring in Hayti or Mexico are considered a sufficient reason for invasion and conquest by white Americans. The same is true of England, France and Italy. A disturbance in Alexandria, Delhi, Ashanti or the Cameroons suffices to fix upon those territories and cities the badge of inferiority and incompetence to rule themselves. The conclusion is always drawn in such cases that the white race has been called by this fortunate combination of circumstances to do the ruling for them. But similar disturbances occurring in Wales, Essen or Marseilles would never be considered as sufficient to justify the dictatorship of foreign powers in the interest of "law and order."
The truth is that "might makes right" in all these cases. White statesmen, however, often deny this at the very moment when they are using "force without stint, force to the utmost” to establish “rights” which they claim over territories, peoples, commerce and the high seas. Their characteristic hypocrisy keeps them from telling the truth as plainly as Von Bernhardi did in his now famous book, "Germany and the Next War.” The “sociological" reason for this hypocrisy is the fact that they need to preach "goodness," "right" and "justice" to those over whom they rule in order that their ruling may be made easy by the consequent good behavior of the ruled. But they themselves, however good, must practice ruthlessness, injustice and the rule of the strong hand to make their governance go. It is this fact which causes intelligent Negroes, Filipinos, Chinese and Egyptians to spurn with contempt the claims which Caucasian diplomats, statesmen, writers and missionaries make on behalf of their moral superiority. They lie; they know that they lie, and now they're beginning to know that we know it also. This knowledge on our part is a loss of prestige for them, and our actions in the future, based upon this knowledge, must needs mean a loss of power for them. Which is, after all, the essential fact.
Bolshevism in Barbados.
Among the newspapers in Barbados there is a charming old lady by the name of the Barbados Standard. From time to time this faded creature gets worried about the signs of awakening observable in those Negroes who happen to be living in the twentieth century. Then she shakes and shivers, throws a few fits, froths at the mouth, and, spasmodically flapping her arms, yells to all and sundry that there is “Bolshevism among Negroes.”
Recently this stupid old thing and its congeners have discovered evidences of a Bolshevist R-r-r-revolution in Trinidad, and, presumptively, all over the British West Indies. Now the specter which these fools fear is nothing but the shadow cast by the dark body of their own system of stiff-necked pride, stark stupidity and stubborn injustice whenever the sun of civic righteousness rises above the horizon of sloth and ignorance. But, like fools afraid of their own shadows, they point at the thing for which they alone are responsible and shriek for salvation.